Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ask Naomi: my lunch box routine

Hi Naomi,

Can you please tell me about your lunch box routine? 
When do you make them and do you do them all the same?

I have three children and find it a struggle keeping up with the different wants that they have. 
Any tips you have to share would be really helpful!



Dear Susan,

I have to say right from the start that I have a love/hate relationship with the lunch box routine that I have. Every morning, Monday to Friday, I wake up at 5am and immediately start on the lunch boxes. Yes. It is crazy and very, very early. 

I wake up that early because at just past 5am I wake my oldest daughter up to get ready to leave for an early class she attends. After I wake her up I start to put together the lunch boxes for my cherubs.

Often the night before I will cut up fruit and put it in containers and leave it in the fridge. Then in the morning I can put it in the lunch boxes all ready to go. My husband often get's up early to help me with the sandwiches and we talk whilst most of the other children are asleep. It is nice to have that time together. 

My oldest daughter leaves at about 5:40 and then I wake up my oldest son who also attends a different early morning class. Some mornings I also wake up another daughter who leaves early for school to attend band practice. 

So I am up early every morning anyway and have decided to use this time for getting the school lunches ready. My children do have alarm clocks but I like to be up early to support them and help them prepare for the day. They do most of it themselves and I am just there for anything extra they need. 

With seven cherubs and seven different lunch boxes to get ready I have to say that I do cater to the different needs of my children when putting them together. Not in an over the top way, but in a small way. For example: certain children like green apples and certain children like red apples. Some like grapes and some like strawberries. So I tend to personally cater only in that way. 

With the sandwiches I normally do them all the same. Depends what I am making. For example, if I decide to do egg/lettuce sandwiches, I know that four out of my seven children only like it. So the other three get vegemite or honey or something easy. 

Often my children will help me out the night before in putting crackers/chips/sultanas etc. in the lunch boxes if we are doing those things for the next day. So my children are involved in helping me and just yesterday Nathan mentioned to me, 'Doing lunch boxes is like putting together a puzzle'. I tend to agree with him. Every morning I wake up and put together seven puzzles. I love doing this for my cherubs but it also tends to drive me crazy most mornings!

I find it really helpful to have a list of what you can put in a lunch box for your cherubs and if you are exhausted and too tired to think you can refer to it to help you out. Even though I do the boxes five days a week, I still have mornings where my brain can't remember what my kids like!

I know you are probably thinking this is all just insane but it is a routine that for some weird reason works for me and for those of you thinking of having a large prepared to put together a lot of lunch boxes over the years. 7 lunch boxes x 5 days a week x say 30 weeks a year = 1050 lunch boxes! See why I have a love/hate relationship with my lunch box routine!

Hope that has been helpful and answered your question.


If you have a burning question you have always wanted to ask me email: and I will do my best to answer them. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

The stay at home mum, 'I AM BORED' list

Being a stay at home mum can be insanely busy and also at times insanely boring. Naturally, there is always something we can be doing around the home and there are endless opportunities to clean and care for our family. But, just like any other career or full time work it can be easy to become bored doing the same thing over and over again. So to help you out I am sharing my Stay At Home Mum, 'I Am Bored' List. Of course, this list can be used by anyone. Not just stay at home mum's.

I have found it most boring as a stay at home mum when I am stuck in the same routine with little chance to leave the house and it is at these times I feel I am losing my mind! I start to feel as if I am trapped in my own home and my mind begins to become a little numb to the tears, tantrums and games that I need to play with my cherubs. Don't get me wrong, I love being a stay at home mum and caring for my family. I am simply saying that at times, I get a little bored within myself.

It is important to mix up your day with a variety of activities not only for yourself but also for your children. This is not as easy as it sounds. I know that when you feel exhausted, are sleep deprived and that nothing seems to be working out with your cherubs, the last thing you feel like doing is being all inspired and creative with trying to come up with a new idea to try or do with kids in tow. So with this in mind I have decided to share my, 'I am bored' list with you.

I actually wrote this list after I had my twins {numbers five and six}. I found taking care of six children so tiring and I really needed a distraction of sorts from the monotony of our routine. I also did not want to mess up the feeding/sleeping routine we had happening in our home and I needed some quick and easy ideas to keep me uplifted each day. I would use my list to help plan in some activities to look forward to and also refer to it when I found myself surprised to have a spare 15-30 minutes to myself. Golden moments that are not to be wasted but to be seized and treasured!

I hope you find these idea's helpful and you are welcome to copy and use this list.

I also hope it helps you have more fun planning and mixing up your day.
If anyone has anything else they would like to add let us know!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

no more children: when you know, you just know

{Motherhood, by Elizabeth Norse (1860-1938)}

Knowing when to stop having children is a personal decision for every woman. Some of us have no choice in the matter, some of us don't have partner support, some of us simply stop because we want to and some of us stop because we know it is the right time to finish. For those of us who stop because we know it is the right time to end having children it can be hard to share with others how we know it is the end.

I have spent most of my life feeling clucky. Every time I would see a baby it was like a change would come over me and I would have this burning desire within me to have more children. It was a feeling I loved and hated at the same time. I loved the feeling of warmth and tenderness that would come over me when I saw a sweet cherub but I also hated the knowledge that I would have to go through the whole pregnancy process to have another cherub come into our family. {I hate being pregnant!}.

After having seven children I wondered if this feeling of wanting more would ever end. For some women I don't think it ever does but with the many women I have spoken to, an end does come and when it does it can be very bitter sweet. Even though I have now finished having children, I still get asked if I am having any more. To answer this question I often share that I now know I have finished and that when you know it is the end, you will simply know.

For me, when I was giving birth to Liberty {my last cherub}, I begun to feel that this was my last child. My body was really struggling with the birth. It was as if my body was saying it had had enough of this whole pregnancy/giving birth process. The longer that the birth went on the more I started to feel that this was my last child I would be having.

As the pain of labour contractions flowed through my body, so did the sadness flow that this would be the last time that I would be doing this. I shed a few tears to mourn the loss of my child birthing years and then moved on to getting my cherub out and to being excited that this was my last precious cherub. I vowed to cherish every moment that was to come from now on and as she continued to grow I knew more and more that she was my last. I knew in my mind and in my heart that I was finished. Hard to describe but basically, I just knew.

So, what about you? Did you know it was the end?
Are you still waiting to find out? Did you have no choice?

You can read my birth stories: Part 1 and Part 2
I have not yet shared Liberty's birth story

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Zimmiz review + giveaway

I like to involve my cherubs in my blog. Especially, when I get emails about toy reviews. My four youngest cherubs decided that Zimmiz was a toy that we needed to have in our home and a must for our family to review. I was a little skeptical about it but since we have had a Zimmiz visiting our house my cherubs have been loving it!

Basically, Zimmiz is a free App developed by an Australian company and is therefore a phone face toy that has just become available here in Australia. The App includes more than 300 animations and actions for the Zimmiz characters. You can check out the App HERE and your children can play with it on an iphone, ipod touch or ipad. 

To help bring the App to life more they have developed a specially designed plush playmate to hold your phone or ipod touch to play with the Zimmiz character. The plush sells for around $24.95 and is compatible with iphone 4S, iphone 4, iphone 3GS and ipod touch. You simply insert your ipod or iphone into the snug pocket provided and your Zimmiz becomes like an interactive teddy bear!

Zimmiz are a lovable alien race that have crash-landed on Earth whilst searching for their lost twins. They come in three different colours: green, pink and blue. Zimmiz are also very cheeky and like to play games. Children can help design the way the Zimmiz character looks by changing the colour of their eyes, skin, nose, lips and teeth.

The fun part about having Zimmiz is that children can interact with them. The Zimmiz shows a variety of emotions and feelings with through noise and facial expressions included in the App. I would not go so far as to say it is highly educational but from the expressions children can clearly tell how the Zimmiz is feeling. In that way it is teaching children about feelings and emotions. Having a Zimmiz would also be a great help if you were travelling and you needed something for your children to entertain them in the back seat. Sadly, you can't talk back to the screen but you can have the Zimmiz characters respond and react when you:

Hold him upside down
Shake him until he get's dizzy
Scratch him when he is itchy
Feed him his favourite food
Tickle him until he laughs
Put him to sleep by closing his eyes and you can slide open his mouth to access extra cool games.

My children have enjoyed the interactive feature of the App and have loved having a plush toy to play with. They have included it in games they are playing, put it to sleep in their bed and I have found that the plush and App is just the right size and ability for 4+ years of age to use. 

Here is the introduction to Zimmiz if you are interested:

I have 4 Zimmiz plush characters (green in colour) to giveaway to Seven Cherubs readers.
Giveaway details:
Open to Australian residents only
There are 4 plush Zimmiz available to win and there will be 4 winners
Please make sure you have email linked to your comment profile
Giveaway closes 5pm 7th of March, 2013
Winners will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours or new winners will be announced

To enter:

Follow Seven Cherubs on Google Friend Connect 
{>>>> on sidebar and tell me what name you are following me by}
Leave a comment below and tell me:

Why you need a Zimmiz to visit your home?

Disclosure: I received a free Zimmiz plush toy to review 

CONGRATS TO: Bev, Rachel Kriss-Newell, Chris and Lisa Wilson.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a fun, easy, child friendly and totally unhealthy dessert

When we went to Adelaide at Christmas time, Matt and I were in charge of the dessert for family night. Attending the family activity were 9 adults and 15 children. So we came up with a fun, easy, child friendly, and totally unhealthy dessert. It was a great success. This is the first time we have ever made it. Probably the only time we will ever make it and don't recommend you eat this on a regular basis!

Here is how you make it:

1. Get an outside table and cover with cling wrap. 2. Take 2 large tubs of ice cream, 1 large bowl of any toppings you want to add (we used small marshmallows, M&M's and chocolate chips), 1 large bottle of chocolate topping or any other flavour you like and one large can of spray cream.

3. Empty large containers of ice cream, as is, onto the table. 
Cover with chocolate topping. 
Then sprinkle with bowl of fun toppings to your liking. 
The messier the better.

4. Spray can of cream all over the top of the ice cream, chocolate topping and other desired toppings.

5. Hand each child and adult a spoon and let them attack. 
Prepare yourself shoving and laughter. 

6. Enjoy your ice cream feast and try not to eat too much and feel sick.
You will no longer have the desire to eat ice cream for at least a couple of days.

So there you have it. 
Really fun and really bad for you at the same time.

Why is that always the way?

Monday, February 18, 2013

cheap and easy homework area

Last week, I set up a cheap and easy homework area in my kitchen/dining room.
I sits under my kitchen bench and there is still enough room for kitchen stools to line up along side it.

I picked up the white cube shelves from K-Mart for $19.
I picked up the circle baskets for $2 each also at K-Mart.
I picked up the clear pencil/pen holders also from K-Mart for $1.

The white basket I already owned as well as the stationary supplies.
The large basket on top is our homework change out basket.

It is where we keep the readers and library books and bags.
It is also where my older kids normally store extra books for different subjects.

Very easy to put together and easy for my cherubs to see what supplies they want to use and need.
So far it is working really well for us.

Love a cheap and easy storage solution!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

12 Key Powers of Motherhood + Book giveaway

In 2010, I saw that the Power of Moms website was having a writing contest for a book they were going to publish. On a whim, I decided to enter. After all, they were asking for submissions about motherhood. Right up my alley! Much to my delight, I was very surprised to find out that they liked what I had to say and I was going to be one of the authors in their book - Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order and Joy

No Way! I am published in a book!
*insert dancing and jumping up and down and screaming around the house*
So as you can imagine, I am a little excited to share this book with you :)

{The proof! I am even in there more than once! I had to make this picture large you know!}

The 12 powers explained in the book are: Acceptance, Love, Patience, Individuality, Intention, Progress, Balance, Priorities, Organisation, Fun, Optimism and Moments. 

Each of the 12 'powers' shared in this book is to help you on your motherhood journey. The great part about this book is that you can chose to focus on reading one chapter/one power a month and over the course of a year you can apply all twelve powers to your home and family. Or you can open the book at any page and read about the many personal experiences shared from 60 different authors on motherhood. I am delighted to be among the collection of inspiring women who lend their words and heart to make up this wonderful book.

This is a book that is written by women for other women. It is not a book written by a professional who has many qualifications and no children about motherhood, it is a collection of varying mothers who are stay at home mums, single mums to professional women working all talking and sharing what motherhood means to them. The experiences are real, they are honest, they are inspiring and they are heart felt. 

All the authors have one common goal and that is to be a deliberate mother. A mother who really thinks about what you do as a mum and also a mother who wants to learn and grow and develop yourself as a person through the experience of motherhood. In other words you live life purposefully. You embrace what you uniquely bring to your family and try to become the best you can.

As a mother who is passionate about motherhood and an author in this book, I naturally want everyone to read it and benefit from the wisdom it contains. So, to help as many people as we can, The Power of Moms and Seven Cherubs are giving away 50 copies of Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order and Joy. Yes! 50 copies! Woo Hoo! 

As we want to make this as easy as possible for everyone, we have decided to giveaway 50 digital copies of the book. That way we can simply email you and you can download it to read in your own time and leisure. I am really, really excited to share this wonderful book with you and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do! 

To enter use rafflecopter below:

{Open worldwide. Winners will be notified by email. Winners must contact me within 48 hours of email being sent out to claim prize. Prize is one digital/ebook copy of Deliberate Motherhood Book by the Power of Moms.
There are 50 available to win.}

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the deflowering

I love flowers. Always have and always will. I love flowers in big bunches, small bunches and even a cherub handful of weeds. They add joy and happiness to my home whenever there is a scattering of them in a vase and even when there is a bunch of cherub weeds in a plastic cup full of water.

I love that having flowers gives me something special to look at during the day, something wonderful to smell and a pinch of joy whenever I walk past them. They are a personal reminder to me of how far I have come. How much I have blossomed. How much I have yet to grow.

I love how flowers reach for the sun and how you can find them growing in the most unusual places. In cracks of cement, in full bloom in the dessert, from a small space in a wall and from where no nourishment or sunlight seems to exist at all.

I love how they fight to exist, how they come into bloom and how there is such a vast range and variety to be admired. Each flower is unique and special in its own way, even in a whole field of flowers if you take the time to look, you can see the differences. You can notice the special qualities each flower has.

Even from far away you can see their beauty. However, if you take the time to get down to their level, to bring yourself closer, you can really appreciate them.  The closer you are, the more you can see the detail, the brightness of their colour and their real beauty.

So, what happens in life if you see yourself as a flower and you know you are beautiful and unique and wonderful and special and then someone comes along and picks that flower. They snap it right off the stem and take that blossom away from you. They decide, without your permission, to deflower you.

How do you recover?
How do you find the nourishment and strength to grow a new bud?
How do you blossom again and become as you once were?

In my personal experience you are never the same again. The flower never grows the same. No matter what you do, you have to accept that it is gone. It hurts, you feel incredible pain and you want it all to end. But, it doesn't have to be that way. You have the opportunity to create a new flower. Your own flower and with a design of whatever you want it to be.

When you are left to live off barren ground, with no source of water or nourishment and you feel like you are all alone, in the blazing sun and pruned to a bare twig, it changes you.

I was left to find my own water, sun and nourishment. I was left to fight for my own survival and to create my own watering system so that I could develop my own way to blossom in life and to design my own new unique colour.

It took me years and many attempts to find the right way to flower. It took a lot of tears and dealing with a lot of anger and hurt.

I am reluctant to share the process I went through here on my blog because everyone has a different way of coping and of flowering. Everyone must find their own way. I like to share little pieces to inspire and encourage but I don't ever want to tell anyone what they should do to heal and to blossom in life.

For me now, I feel happy with the flower I have become. At times it is a little faded and limp but at other times I know I am standing tall, reaching for the sun and spreading my petals as far as I can. I love the colour I have created. It is constantly changing and growing with more nourishment and care as I grow and develop but it is my flower. It is what I have created with the help of my wonderful husband and with a loving God.

I love to share that it is possible to heal in life and to create a beautiful new you. Not a perfect you, but a wonderful, loving you who can be surrounded by love and nourishment to help you grow. Often the nourishment needs to come from within yourself. It is hard but it is possible. My wish is that everyone could blossom and flourish no matter what type of deflowering they have had in life. I also hope that my words have added a few drops of water to your flower today :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

fight for YOU

This year I want to encourage people to fight for their own health. In other words, to fight for YOU. I also want to learn to be better at vlogs. So I have decided to combine the two ideas and to share a few more vlogs here on my blog. I am still learning to be good at doing them and really, I don't think it is possible for me to make them without getting teary. I think I cried in the last two that I shared!  

I have decided to share a few inspiring words, {well, I hope you find them inspiring!}, because today I was thinking about how touched I have been by the wonderful messages you have sent to me with the various personal experiences I have written about here on my blog. I am just posting it as is, because it is how I feel and how emotional I get when I talk about these topics. I think I am a little too passionate about them. It is a learning process. Thanks for being patient with me. N x

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Yes, you heard right. We are giving away a Thermomix! I have been wanting a Thermomix myself for a while now as I have heard they are simply life changing. I still don't own one and if you know what a Thermomix is you will know they are simply brilliant! I am really excited to let you know that Seven Cherubs has teamed up with a bunch of other wonderful companies to give YOU the chance to win a Thermomix. 

So what is a Thermomix? Basically, the Thermomix ''is the world's smallest and smartest kitchen''. The Thermomix can weigh, chop, mix, mince, pulverise, grate, grind, mill, beat, blend, whip, whisk, knead and emulsify. It can also cook, steam, melt, simmer, and fry. You can prepare your meals, soups, drinks, and desserts in a quick, easy and healthy manner...all with one machine with an unbelievable fast speed! 

I know several people who have a Thermomix and they absolutely rave about it. They RAVE people! They say it has totally changed the way they eat and cook. They eat much healthier and save so much time in the kitchen. So, I am delighted to let you know we have 1 Thermomix TM31 to give away to 1 winner.

One very blessed and lucky person will have a brand new Thermomix worth an incredible $1,939.00 delivered to their door. They will also receive the book 'For Foods Sake' valued at $50.00 to get them started. 

In addition to the main prize, there are 4 signed books which will be divided between another 4 winners. To gain entry in this competition you need to 'like' ALL sponsors via Rafflecopter. This is mandatory to have valid entry so please ensure you do like them all. You can space out your 'likes' during the competition and we suggest you do.  

There are a few simple rules which we ask you abide by upon entering:
* You must be an Australian resident aged 18 years or older to enter this competition.
* Entry via fake Facebook profiles is not allowed.
* You may be asked for proof of identification to ensure that this is a fair competition.
*  The giveaway commences now with last entries to be received by Sunday 10 February 2013 @ 8.30pm Queensland time.
Enter below - v v v v v v

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information about the giveaway click HERE
Good luck xx

Saturday, February 2, 2013

little girl lost

Memories of my childhood are very sparse. It is as if they float around in my mind in a scattered mess and every so often I manage to reach through the fog to grasp a moment, a memory. Most of my childhood feels like it is lost because I simply can't remember it. A lot of it I have blocked out. When this happens I quickly prepare myself. I never know if it is going to be a good or a bad memory. I am still trying to remember moments of my life that I have blocked out. Moments that I was participating in so that I can help use them to piece together my life. So much of my life is a blank and I am slowly filling in the gaps to work out who I am.

On my recent trip to see family I spent an afternoon looking through photo albums. I was delighted to find many pictures of myself as a young girl looking happy and enjoying life with my younger sister. I took pictures of them and soaked in my own personal history. It was simply delightful! Then I turned a page and found this picture below. I felt as if I had been hit by a truck.

When I look back at pictures of myself as a child I feel a deep sadness. As an adult with a more mature outlook I can see I am often smiling in a picture and I look happy on the outside but on the inside I know I am carrying deep shame and a secret. I know I still have an innocence about me but also I can see that it has been taken away. I can also see a shyness, a desire to please and a desire to be happy.

Sure I had moments of happiness during my life but in my mind most of my memories are of the desire to want to run away, to hide, to let the anger out and of the building pressure in my mind and heart to be better. At first when I found this image, I wanted to reach out, to love and to nurture this little girl and to help her in any way I could. Then I realised that I am already doing those things. I am loving myself now and I am nurturing and helping myself the best way that I can. I may be a few years late in making this happen, but it is happening and that is all that matters. I no longer feel like a little girl lost.

Even though I still have pieces of my life I can't remember, I truly feel like I am found. I am happy with my life and I am no longer trying to run away from it. Even though I felt a great sadness when I first saw this picture, I now look at it and feel proud of how far I have come. I am no longer that little girl lost, I am a survivor and thriver who has worked hard and is completely found.