Friday, April 29, 2011

A Baby to Love

This week I'm joining in with the Boys in Motion photography challenge which has made a move to the MOB Society. The last Friday of each month they are giving us the opportunity to link up our favorite photos of our boys.

And because I think he is such a cutie, here are a few photos of our youngest boy having cuddles with Dad.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Living on one Income

I little while ago a friend was asking me how we manage to get by on one income and support 3 kids. Him and his wife were thinking of having kids but were concerned about going from two incomes to one. So in reflection here are some things that have made this season of life (being a one income family with young kids) doable for us.

1) Have low or zero debt levels except for a mortgage. We even went the extra step last year of replacing our credit card with a debit card even though we would pay the balance off in full each month.

2) Budget. There are heaps of online tools that will help with creating a budget. Living by it- well that's a work in progress I think.

3) Spend less than what you earn. IE save!!!

4) How to spend less?
* Cut down discretionary spending. Hobbies, (who will have time after having kids anyway), alcohol consumption, gym membership etc.
* Get the best deals on phone, Internet, mobile, insurance etc. Regularly review what you are paying and whether there is a better deal out there.
* Buy second hand if possible and use cash!
* Hold on to things. Who really needs to update their furniture or car every few years?
* Buy quality!
* Research, research, research when making major purchasing decisions! That's my husband's strong point and where I have gotten into trouble a few times.
* Cook your own meals at home and have some easy meals available as an alternative to takeaway. We are still working on this one.
* Develop an attitude of contentment. Focus on expressing thankfulness for what you do have regularly.

5) Give a proportion of your income away even when you think you can't afford to. I believe giving helps us to have less attachment to stuff, appreciate what we do have and what really matters in life, our relationships. It also helps us to honour our responsibility to help the poor in our world.

6) Cultivate an attitude of learning. Read about finances, learn from other families, utilise websites such as Simple Savings.

Disclaimer: Let me say though that this journey isn't always easy and sometimes we think about being in a different situation. But the benefits of raising our kids at home while they are young is worth it for us.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Life at 3 months

Life is:
* Time spent with this cuddly, smiley baby who now wants to be with us and see what we are doing.
* Longer stretches at night between feeds (5-6 hours from the 10pm dream feed) but still getting up a lot to him and the other two at times.
* Giving myself slack about trying to exercise.
* Busy.
* Appointments and more appointments. Dentist, physio, GP etc.
* Making sure I sit down to have my cup of tea in the mornings even if things are really hectic.
* More routine but more tiredness and less motivation to keep on top of things.
* Gorgeous autumn weather so more time outside playing.
* Spent getting through each day thankful for God's grace.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Helping Out (Link up)

One of the things that I appreciate about our second child is his willingness to help out with tasks around the house. Maybe its just his age and he will grow out of it- hopefully not! :)

I love this photo of Shaan helping with filling up the water for the chooks and ducks. Its his thing!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Praying Through Your Pregnancy

One of the things I appreciated during my third pregnancy was the input of Jennifer Polimino's Praying Through Your Pregnancy. Each week she sets out specific things to pray for about your unborn child's development and also your own pregnancy journey.

As No 3 was unplanned and unexpected, and the challenge of having two close together, I needed the encouragement that God was involved in this pregnancy and every detail of my son's life. I am not sure how God has answered everything that I prayed about for Dhiraj while I was pregnant with him. But I do know that praying prepared my heart to love and accept him as our precious baby.

One thing I am thankful for is having a baby that does not have reflux after my first two did. I was dreading all that cleaning up and washing that goes with having a baby that brings up a lot of milk each feed. So glad he burps!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Matzah Bread with Vanilla Icecream and Plum Sauce

This week we are focusing on the Festival of Unleavened Bread. So yesterday I made Matzah bread with the kids and told them the story of the exodus of God's people from Egypt.

The recipe I followed for Matzah bread was:

1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups water
6 cups flour

I mixed all the ingredients together in the bread maker on the dough seating. Then rolled it out (all the while trying to stop Shaan from eating all my raw dough) and cut them into cracker size pieces pricked with a fork. Baked in a hot oven for about 10 minutes depending on how soft or hard you like them. We liked them very crisp.

We enjoyed eating them for lunch with salad and then for dinner with pumpkin soup. But definitely the best combo is smothering them in icecream and homemade plum sauce. Yummo!

This year is my first time to do anything to remember the biblical festivals that God ordained for His people. So the way in which I am going about it is more about the idea and teaching my kids about God's involvement in the nation of Israel and the role of Christ than being correct. Hence my Matzah probably had some natural fermentation because I definitely didn't get it into the oven in 18 minutes they say to. I am not interested in becoming Jewish anyway. Enough effort goes into understanding my husband's culture!

A good thing is we are actually use to eating flat bread anyway. Parathas, chapatis, pooris etc. Indian food includes a lot of unleavened bread.

Why am I wanting to do this? Well I have found that our lives are void of celebrations that are biblical and focus on Christ. I grew up in a Christian family and my husband grew up in a Hindu family. Of course he didn't celebrate Easter or Christmas and more unusual my family didn't either. I am use to going hiking or camping at Easter and going away for holidays at Christmas. So yes we could just pick up Aussie traditions- Father Christmas and Easter bunny or Christian traditions- attending a church service. I personally find Christmas and Easter anything but spiritual times of the year. So to me remembering the festivals is a possible alternative which can be shared at home where ever we happen to be living or whatever age our kids are. Are the biblical festivals meant to still be celebrated today? I don't know the answer to that one! But I am interested to know what will come out of doing this, this year.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Brotherly Love

These photos make me think of the potential for a great friendship and bond to grow between these two brothers in the years to come. I pray for that also. Dhiraj was our unexpected blessing and part of that blessing I reckon is companionship for Shaan who will be at home with Mum for almost another 3 years before starting school. Hmm- we still have the constant reminders at this age though of "be gentle Shaan, don't hit the baby"!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Slowing Down

I was going to start this post but I have just been challenged to slow down and simplify so I am heading outdoors for 5 minutes, maybe more. Taking my youngest little man with me.

Back again and oh how good it is to have time out to just sit outdoors. To observe native birds drinking nectar from the flowers on our tree and washing flapping on the line and listen to the ducks quacking and splashing in their bath and feel the warm breeze... I get in touch with how exhausted I am feeling right now and I hear God saying to me that He knows that I am tired and though I think I can't cope with the demands of my life right now He gives me strength. Its His grace that I need to live a full and abundant life not my own effort and ability. Somehow I feel more rested.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Birthday Gone

Here's some of what we got up to on my birthday. Overall it was a good day but busier than I would have liked mainly with kid stuff. I guess that's to be expected with the ages our kids are currently at. But I do enjoy seeing them getting so excited about singing happy birthday and blowing candles out etc.

So I did get to have some time to myself and I read a book called "Depression in New Mothers". I actually really enjoyed it and found it informative and interesting. It was written for the medical community and so had a lot of references to research and how the human body works. A form of writing I appreciate. I learnt things like how research studies have found that communities that have a diet high in seafood have a low incidence of depression. Apparently its the omega 3s. Hmm!

We also went for a short walk along the river near our house. Love being out in the bush.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My First Attempt at Cooking Rasam

It has been one of those weeks- again! I have to remind myself that life at home with young kids is sometimes messy, chaotic, noisy and tiring especially when I'm doing it on 5 hours sleep a night. We have had a lot of grizzling, whinging and fighting this week as everyone is more tired than normal getting over colds. But weeks like this are apparently normal and nothing to stress about! So I've decided to post anyway. I was hoping to upload some photos of my gorgeous boys but the computer got rebooted this week and I haven't managed to locate the files that the photos are in.

So instead I thought I would share my experience with making rasam. A great thing to have when you are feeling under the weather. I reckon its the equivalent of our chicken soup with a whole lot more spice. If you haven't heard of it before, its a South Indian soup which can be eaten alone or with rice. I had it with rice. My South Indian mother-in-law made it a couple of times when she was staying with us recently. The funny thing is I love it and my Indian husband doesn't.

Anyway I heated about 3 cups of water and then added a bit of tamarind, a chopped tomato, rasam powder to taste (meaning mine was a lot milder than traditional rasam), finely chopped ginger, curry leaves, chopped fresh coriander, salt and cracked fresh pepper. Would have been good with a whole garlic but I didn't add it to mine this time. Simmered for about 10 minutes and then I added a tarka (mustard seeds popped in hot oil) to it. Of course you can add fresh or dried whole chillies if you like the heat. Yum!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My First Giveaway

My birthday is less that a week away and I have been thinking about how I would want to celebrate turning 35 for a while now. Arrh-I know 35! Normally I organise some kind of dinner party with friends and family because I like cooking for people in that setting. Last year I did a girls only dinner party to celebrate my birthday. It was such a lot of fun and even though my friends didn't all know each other they got along really well.

Well this year I couldn't decided and the main reason being that my energy levels have been really low. I have found from the experience of going to other social engagements recently that interacting with a bigger group of people is tiring for me. If I was having more sleep... Anyway I finally worked out, that what I would like to do on my birthday is get a good book and hopefully spend a part of the day lying in bed reading. That's it! :) Well not quite since that would be disappointing to my kids. So in the morning we will have our family tradition of a special breakfast together which includes birthday cake and presents. Looking forward to it!

So anyway its a good reason to have my first giveaway on this blog. I have copy of this book What every MOM Needs by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall and a sample from one of my favourite suppliers of locally made soap Corryne to send to one reader. All you have to do is leave a comment sharing about one of your favourite ways to spend your birthday by Monday 11th April. Love to hear from you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

My First Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Welcome to those who are visiting here for the first time. My blog is a work in a progress. After starting this blog a couple of years ago I gave up when I got pregnant while on 12 months maternity leave for our second child. Now we have 3 kids under 5 and I'm back blogging. Mostly for my sanity! But also because I enjoy saying something through words and pictures and I hope that my little voice is an encouragement and help for other people also journeying through similar things.

So far I post a lot about my family and what we get up to. Here they are from left to right: Kalyani (4 going on 13), Shaan (21 months) and Dhiraj (almost 9 weeks).

As well I like to post my reflections on parenting, managing our home, living more simply, cooking, the Indian influence and whatever I think people would be interested in reading that I'm interested in. I would love you to check out my blog and leave your comments. :)

Moving from a cot to a bed

We spent all day Saturday moving furniture around to set up a bed for Shaan to use and the cot for Dhiraj. Yep at 8 weeks Dhiraj was getting too big for the bassinet and the great thing is since he's been in the cot he's only been waking once between 10pm and 6am for a fed. Big improvement! Hopefully it will continue.

But since Shaan is only 20 1/2 months we were unsure (actually mainly me) about whether to leave him in the cot longer and get a second cot. Kalyani was about 2 1/2 years when we moved her to a bed and the great thing was that she had no idea she could get out of it and so she stayed in it. No chance of that with Shaan since he has been sharing a room with his sister since he was 16 months he knew all about getting on and off a bed. That was actually one of the reasons to make the move so he get down himself in the morning and Mum and Dad could stay in their bed a bit longer. Anyway we decided to go with the bed and except for a bit of excitement and mucking around the first couple of nights he's been sleeping great.

However what did surprise me about seeing Shaan sleeping in his own bed for the first time was how emotional I felt. More so than seeing my daughter start kindy for the first time. It was like I could see our house with two teenage boys living in it and all that goes with that. Arrh- I am so not ready for teenager boys yet! I had to remind myself Shaan is still a toddler, we have a long way to go. My boy is growing up!