Packing up our house


We have officially moved house and towns! I have spent the last month and a half packing up our old house, and I'm so glad at least this part of the moving house process is done! I realise the unpacking could possibly be worse than the packing part, but I'm actually excited to 'set up house' again.

I started packing very slowly, as we weren't originally going to move until the April school holidays. It turns out it was very hard for the girls and I to be away from Brendan, who had to begin his new job in our new town as soon as he accepted the position. He's been coming home once during the week, and then for the weekends. It's been a very stressful time - knowing I had to pack up the whole house, putting our house on the market, cleaning up the house for inspections and open houses, and all while trying to keep life as normal as possible for the girls, but not having Brendan around (it's been tough for him too - starting a new job but not having his family around). We decided to remain in our old house to keep it furnished for open houses, plus Miss M was still doing daycare and swimming, and we figured we'd see the term out. Now that we've moved sooner, I'll be travelling back for daycare, library and playgroup until Easter (approx. 3 more weeks).

I began by packing those things that we didn't use on a daily basis - some of our books, our photo albums, party supplies, Christmas items etc. Brendan has a large wagon car and he was able to fill his car and do trips back and forth, so that we didn't have a pile of boxes sitting in our house while we were trying to sell it. Slowly our house became more and more minimalist, and I LOVED it! I know the goal is always to live this way, but it's easier said than done when you have to cull lots and lots of sentimental items. I've also realised just how little you actually need to live (just like when you go away on holidays). I'm hoping when I unpack, that I can cull even further. It has been a lot easier keeping the house tidy (handy for inspections) and I'm finding Miss M is playing with the few toys we've left her a lot more! There's been no negatives at all to culling actually!

In the last week before we did the big move, I spent a Tuesday when Miss M was at daycare packing up everything we definitely weren't going to use that week. Our meal plan helped with that, as I knew exactly what ingredients/utensils/pots & pans etc. that I needed to keep in the kitchen. It was the same with the kids clothes - I just kept out what the kids would wear that week, plus a few extra outfits because kids are so unpredictable!


We were given lots of boxes from family and friends, and I made sure I kept each box roughly to a theme (e.g. kitchen items) and labelled each with specifically what was in there. I'm hoping this makes unpacking easier! It was also much easier to put everything in boxes, as they all stacked nicely, and so far, we haven't broken any fragile items!




My brother drove a truck from my Mum's work with our furniture and large items on the day we moved, and it was the oddest feeling seeing our life packed up, and our house empty. Excitement, relief, sadness... I was glad half the process was done, but very sad to leave our first house!



The house is now all clean and almost empty (just one load to go). Here are some pics of our empty house:




















I can't wait to share pics of the unpacking process on my Facebook page, and my pics of our new place once it's all complete!



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Something new - Essential oils




A friend recently invited me to a DoTerra essential oils party/workshop. I had been wanting to try essential oils for years, and just hadn't gotten around to it. The presentation went through the many uses for essential oils, and we got to smell the most popular ones. I was keen to try some oils for their health properties, as well as using them around the house for cleaning (for the smell they provide). I was unaware how beneficial they can be for kids, and that you can also use certain oils in food! I'm loving finding new ways to use my oils (Google is great for this!) and thought I'd share my experiences so far.


At that party, I purchased Peppermint, Lemon, a blend called Balance, and I was given Wild Orange (for bringing a friend along to the party). I have used Peppermint in a diffuser I bought, and in my mop bucket when cleaning. It can also be used in food. From the DoTerra website, it says that it also promotes respiratory function and clear breathing, helps reduce bloating and gas, you can apply to your skin to relieve feelings of tension, and you can use it in a diffuser when you are feeling fatigued.

Lemon is my absolute favourite so far! I have used it in cooking (in cupcakes, biscuits and icing), and I have used it in the diffuser and in my mop bucket (I have used the Wild Orange for these things as well). The DoTerra website says it also cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces, naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion, supports healthy respiratory function, and it can enable a positive mood when diffused. You can also use lemon and orange oils in an all-purpose spray, you can add a drop to flavour water, you can rub it on clothing or onto your neck/wrists/back etc. to potentially aid in times of anxiety.

I purchased the Balance blend for it's calming properties. It contains Frankincense, Chamomile, Spruce Needle, Ho Wood, Blue Tansy Flower and Fractionated Coconut Oil. It promotes relaxation and can be used for a restful night's sleep.
This image is from here .


I'm keen to get a blend called 'Easy Air' next, which can be diffused to help clear a blocked nose. A friend of mine lent me hers and it really works! Lavender is another oil I'm keen to purchase, as I absolutely love the smell.

You can buy a DoTerra brand diffuser, but I found one which I think works just as well. I have diffused lemon, orange and peppermint (you aren't supposed to diffuse blends). I love the smell in the air and I really do think it promotes calmness. My diffuser has a cool LED light which changes colour too!


At another DoTerra party I went to, the focus was on making blends for mother's and babies. I chose to make these 4 below: calm mama, happy mama, sleepy baby and tiny teeth. Each has a few drops of certain DoTerra essential oils and then is filled with Fractionated Coconut Oil, and they have a roller inside the lid so that they can be applied topically. I use these every single day, and they do exactly what their title suggests! There are more blends for mother's and babies too, and I'd love to make more if I attend another make and take workshop! A friend bought me some of the glass spray bottles in the top pic, and this is a good way to apply blends topically as well!


To give you more information about DoTerra essential oils, I have copied and pasted this from their website (click here to view the original):

What Are Essential Oils?

If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Essential oils provide plants with protection against environmental threats and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices.

How Do I Use Essential Oils?

Essential oils are used for a very wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends in one of three methods:

 Aromatic

Certain essential oils, when diffused, can be very stimulating, while others can be calming and soothing. Diffusing essential oils can also cleanse and purify the air of unwanted odours.

 Topical

Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin and can be safely applied topically.

 Internal

Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements for targeted wellness.

Essential oils are both exciting and promising when it comes to taking care of your own and your family’s health. Whether you’re applying essential oils topically, enjoying the aromatic benefits through diffusing, or taking essential oils internally, the positive effects of essential oils are boundless.

That’s why you’ll want to ensure that the essential oils you are using are capable of delivering on their promise. You’ll want to make sure that you are choosing essential oils for their potency and their purity.


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Navigating my way through bottle feeding

Bottle feeding was all new to me when we made the decision to bottle feed Miss O - I had breastfed Miss M for 14 months, and she would never take a bottle! You can read more about why we made this decision in a previous blog post (click here).

The midwives at the hospital suggested Karicare formula and we've stuck with that one as it seems to agree with Miss O. I began preparing bottles and putting them in the fridge up to 24 hours ahead of time but I found it took far too long to heat them up using boiling water. Then I began leaving the cooled, boiled water out of the fridge in a sealed jug and preparing the bottle fresh, but the best thing I did was purchase a second-hand Closer to Nature 'Perfect Prep' machine (shown below) which dispenses filtered water at the perfect temp (and you just add the formula). It is so quick and convenient!


I still keep cooled boiled water in a jug on the bench so that I can pour 150mL's into a bottle, pop the lid on the bottle, chuck it in my nappy bag, and use a dispenser for the 3 scoops of formula, either a single container or a container which has 3 sections (shown below). If I'm only going out for an hour or so, even if Miss O shouldn't need to be fed, I'll always at least have one bottle made up in my nappy bag. If I know I'll be out for 6 hours for example, which should be 2 feeds (if I feed before I go), I'd chuck in 3 bottles and 4 servings of formula just to be safe (an extra bottle, and 2 extra formula servings, as it is easier to boil and cool more water, but formula may be harder to find if you run out).


Miss O began on 100mL's approx. 7 times a day, and is now on 150mL's approx. 6 times a day. I have often thought I should increase the 150mL's per feed, but if it's obvious Miss O needs more at a feed, I just make up another 50mL's (because there are times she barely drinks the full 150mL's). Miss O feeds every 3 hours, and once overnight, about 4am.

Once I've finished with a bottle, I rinse it and place it on the sink (as shown below) until I am ready to wash it up.


I wash up the bottles 1-2 times per day and always wash up bottles first in the fresh washing up water before washing up anything else. I love these Heinz bottle brushes which have a teet brush which fits inside the end of the bottle brush. I only use this brush for bottles (and not for anything else).


Once they are washed up, I use this Closer to Nature electric steriliser to sterilise the bottles (I borrowed this from a friend). It only takes about 6 minutes, uses only steam (you pour in 80mL's of tap water) and can sterilise 6 bottles, plus teets (and even dummies) at a time. Once the cycle has been completed, you can leave everything in the steriliser for 24 hours and it will remain sterilised (as long as you don't open it). It is sort of annoying having such a large appliance sitting on my bench, but I use it 1-2 times a day and again, it is quick and convenient. As shown in the pic below, we use Phillips Avent bottles as Miss O seemed to take to these straight away (I borrowed a few different bottles and bought my own teets to try a few out before I bought some). I have 8 bottles which means I usually only have to wash them up once a day.


Rather than take the electric steriliser on holidays, I bought this large D├ęcor tub which can hold all my bottles, formula and bottle brush, and it can be used as a steriliser when filled with 4L of tap water and 2 Milton tablets (sterilise for 15 mins). It works well!


If you choose or have to bottle feed, there are definitely many benefits. It is very handy that others can feed Miss O, and that she can be babysat by my Mum for example, for longer periods of time. Bottle feeding is a lot quicker than I remember breast feeding being (at least at first). I don't have to wear special feeding tops, or breast pads, or risk getting mastitis (I had it twice with Miss M). It's so good knowing exactly how much milk Miss O is getting. I am able to take any medications, and don't have to worry whether they are safe for breastfeeding, plus I don't have to worry about whether what I'm eating is making Miss O unsettled. We still have a really strong mother and baby connection, and I love as she is feeding that she can look up at me.

The negatives are definitely the cost of formula, and the cost of buying all the various things you need for bottle feeding. It is sometimes a pain having to wash the bottles up each day, and ensure that I have bottles made up when we go out. Breastmilk changes as your baby grows, and can protect against illness, and it is always readily available, whereas formula can't do this. As you can see there are pros and cons for both, but at the end of the day, many factors will determine our choices, and my decision was predominantly for both mine and my family's mental health and wellbeing. Hopefully some of the information I've provided about bottle feeding might help someone who is needing to or choosing to bottle feed!

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The girl's baptisms

Last Sunday we celebrated Miss O's baptism (she is 5 months old). Miss M was baptised in November 2015 when she was 11 months old. I just wanted to share some photos of both days. Miss M wore a white dress that I picked up at an op shop, which I was able to reuse for Miss O, and I guess that's how family heirlooms start! Both days were wonderful and witnessed by lots of our family and friends.



{A family photo}



{Miss O is baptised!}


{Brendan and I with Miss O and her godparents}


{Pretty girl!}


{Brendan and I with Miss M}



{Miss M is baptised!}


{Miss M with her godparents}


{Gorgeous girl!}

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Rainy day fun!




We woke up on Monday morning to the most beautiful rain! It would have been the perfect morning to stay in bed, but the girls were wide awake early, so up we got! It was still so dark, and I decided that today, as it was forecast to rain all day, we would enjoy a day in our pyjamas with some indoor fun!


I had found these Frozen cupcakes on special at Woolies, and so we started with some baking! I love to bake - I have as long as I can remember! I always hoped to instill a love of baking into my kids, and Miss M certainly loves it!



Baking is a perfect rainy day activity. It is also very educational for kids - developing fine motor skills like pouring and stirring, measuring and counting as ingredients go into the bowl, as well as time and temperature when items go into the oven.



These cupcakes came with edible Frozen decorations - so cute!



After we cleaned up, we enjoyed a tea party with our cupcakes!


I had about 6 very ripe bananas to use up, and Brendan had requested some banana bread, so that was next on our activity list. Here's the recipe I used (I typed this up years ago and have no idea of the original author, my apologies!)


Again, Miss M was excited to stir (and clearly taste some of the raw ingredients, woops!)



We love singing the 'mix, mix, mix, mixing' song from Playschool when we bake!



I made a double batch, which actually filled 3 tins! Into the oven they go.



All done about 40 minutes later - I added some choc chips to half the batter (Brendan should enjoy that!)



It was then 9:30am, so Miss M watched Playschool while I cleaned up the kitchen (again lol).

After Playschool, we put together some puzzles...



And then Miss O woke up from her morning sleep, and we all enjoyed playing some music with our percussion instruments!



Then we read some books...



And enjoyed some colouring in...



Before making and having some paper aeroplane races!



Then we did a Science experiment with bicarb soda, vinegar and food colouring - very cool!


Rainy days are always perfect for snuggling up with a movie, and Miss M got to pick, and of course it was Frozen! Lucky it's a great movie!



It was a really fun morning, and both girls seemed to enjoy it! Now for a midday nap!

Other ideas for rainy days or indoor activities could include:

Craft


Theatre & Puppets / Putting on a show


Playdough


Dress-ups / Make Believe



Playing Shops


Make a fort

Making hot chocolates with mini marshmallows and sprinkles

Making popcorn for your movie

Playing hide and seek

Playing board games

Having a treasure hunt

Having a dance party

Writing letters

Camping indoors

Making sock puppets

Face painting

Making homemade pizzas


And when the rain clears, make sure you jump in the puddles!


[Top image from myminiadventurer.com]
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