Parents Retreat To Bali

Parents Retreat To Bali

Hi guys,

As this post is landing on your browser my husband Leki and I are heading to Bali for a ‘Couple Retreat’.

We have left baby #1 (4yo) and baby #2 (1yo) with my parents (Nena and Poppy) for 5 days and 4 nights while we enjoy ourselves.

So how did this come about?

I outlined earlier in the year what our Family Core Values are!

Husband and Wife is always number one.

We reinforce this rule by having parts of our day that are routine.

It’s more then just saying ‘I Love You”.

It also about how we argue and attempt to listen to each other when we try to resolve disagreements.

We fight at times like any couple do!

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We’re not special by any means.

But what does make our connection special is that we’ve spent time understanding each other.

That comes with time, love and a lot of patience with each other.

What’s the result?

A little step closer to a tighter bond.

The stronger our bond is as husband and wife then more fertile the soil is for our family to grow.

I have also laid out small but regular trips away to recharge and reconnect.

As a family we try and have little getaways every 3 months.

Doesn’t have to be extravagant although committing to a time away is the priority.

We are very big fans of the Big 4 family camping sites.

I’ve written about this – HERE.

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So far we’ve been to Big 4 Melbourne, Big 4 Moama, Big 4 Bateman’s Bay and Big 4 Bellarine.

We don’t wait for nice getaways for us to reconnect.

We stay connected but this is a chance to strengthen that connection even further!

The central theme of our core values is Discipline and Routine.

Our main family meal is in the morning and we all look forward to talking and sharing things at Breakfast.

Then on the weekend Leki and I co-ordinate our diaries and plan the upcoming weeks to make sure we are organised. I’ve talked about this – HERE.

Having the discipline to keep to our daily routine gives us the freedom to plan and do things we want.

There’s no sense urgency which helps reduce stress and because we are coordinated in our schedules we create time.

Makes you feel light on your feet when you aren’t bogged down by unnecessary commitments or being ‘busy’.

So Bali here we come 🙂

Love ya work Mamas!

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With love,

Belinda xo

 

[UPDATE] Child Development

[UPDATE] Child Development

Hi guys,

Today I thought I would revisit this post from Oct 2018 – read about it HERE.

It documents how my 2 x kids are developing.

Our daughter Emelina will be 4yo very soon and our son Kyneton recently turned 1yo!


Kyneton is 13 months old

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Sleep

Ky’s sleep is now more regular. He wakes at 5am and he hangs out with my hubby Leki who likes getting up early (lucky me!).

His first nap is around 10am and then again at 3pm.

He averages around 1 hour of nap time in which gives me a chance to rest up and sleep or to finish any tasks at hand.

We have been successful in having Ky in his own crib and in his own room since he was 7 months old.

Read about how we did that – HERE.

 

Body Movements

He’s walking!

Only a couple of steps confidently although he does wobble around a little bit 🙂

We celebrated his birthday at Geelong and soon after his party he started taking some steps the next few days and weeks after!

We’re so happy!

Ky was not a crawler and only started at around 9-10 months although we had him on plenty of tummy time (he was NOT a fan!) and sometimes in the baby walker for short periods of time.

Now that’s he’s up and running… we’ll have to keep an even closer eye on the little man 😉

Spatial Awareness

Ky is very adventurous and is not afraid to crawl around the house and down the long hallways independently.

If the rest of the family are in the lounge room watching TV it’s not uncommon that Ky would disappear into the kitchen or other parts of the house for a little while before resurfacing with a cheeky grin on his face 🙂

If he’s gone for longer then 5 minutes or he’s been ultra quiet then either Leki or I go and investigate what he’s up to.

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He’s very interested in tissue paper and toilet paper at the moment and if w’re not careful I’ve seen my lipstick, toothbrushes and toys down the toilet. (So now all toilet bowl seats are closed LOL).

Unfortunately Ky has had a few falls and knocks as he wondering around on his feet.

He has a few bumps on his head and his worst fall was off the arm rest of the couch. Luckily he landed on a soft toy which cushioned his landing but he got a big fright and burst into tears.

We’ve since observed that he’s very careful being off the ground like if he’s on the couch, on a bed or being sat on a bench. We think we has a better understanding of depth now and has learnt that a fall from a height is painful 😉

Food

This boy can eat anything.

We have him on formula when he wakes up and when he’s due to go to sleep at the end of the day.

Other then that he has main meals with us and eats was we eat.

The only thing is that I tend to ‘Mama’ his food. That is, I chew his food and mash it up and then I feed it to Ky. Kinda like a seagull 😉

He eats our pre-prepped meal plans, enjoys the sweet treats, drinks water like a champion, enjoys some take away with us and is very fond of ice cream 🙂

The only thing he doesn’t like?

Eggs.

That sucks because that’s our go to breakfast.

So what does he have? Sometimes, 1 x Weetbix or some porridge with chia seeds, milk and banana.

Discipline

Ky is a boy’s boy.

He crashes into things and likes to hear the boom bash of things making loud noises.

We are very patient with his curiosity and the only time we’ll intervene is if he’s going to break something or if it’s dangerous!

We also believe in discipline.

Firm discipline.

If little Ky doesn’t understand by the tone of our voice that he’s in trouble and needs to listen then he gets a little flick on the back of his hand.

What sort of flick?

Imagine you’re play marbles and you flick your thumb to launch the marble forward.

Same thing only with the middle finger.

It can be quite forceful and painful but Ky gets the message 😉

Ky is very good with picking up the tone in our voices now so he very well knows when he’s in trouble!


Emelina is 4yo (almost)!

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Sleep

I’ve started added a nap into Emelina’s routine.

When Ky goes down around 3pm I take Eme down too and we have a nap to recharge the batteries.

This is helpful as we are heading towards 3 x half days for her Montessori School.

By the end of the year we hope to increase her to 4 x half days.

The daily nap helps her and ME recover adequately to see out the day with good energy 🙂

Overnight Eme is our dream child.

She may have a few little things that causes her to be scared to begin with but then we encourage her to be a big girl and after her nightly prayers she closes her eyes and falls asleep around 7:30PM most nights.

She’s such a blessing!

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Spatial Awareness/Gymnastics

Eme has graduated to the next class of her gymnastics school!

There are some older kids in her class and although it’s early in the year it’s good to see her training with them.

Just like her Montessori School there is an age range of 4-6yo in her gym class.

There are some kids in her class who are so  athletic already! Their little bodies are so flexible, strong and fluid that it’s amazing to see the potential of what Emelina could develop into if she is consistent.

So proud of her effort so far I hope she continues to enjoy it!

Discipline

Eme is talking back to me. Not so much Leki but she’s definitely testing the boundaries.

At school and at gymnastics she struggles to take turns and always wants to be first!

As we understand it can be completely normal and developmental issue.

It’s interesting for us as parents because we choose NOT to intervene when Emelina is being pushy.

Why?

Emelina needs to learn from her peers that it’s not appreciated.

There will be an older child who will just tell her it’s not on.

Or Eme will see that she’s made another child upset make her want to change her behaviour.

It’s really hard for me to stand by and watch her cause a disturbance but I believe it will help her own development.

It’s even harder when other Mums or parents are looking at me disapprovingly BUT I am not a helicopter parent.

I don’t mind if my kids fall over and get hurt.

I don’t worry if there’s a chance that my child will get fingers caught in the drawer.

I like watching Eme climb ladders and play in the local playground without having her need me to help her.

I am trying to teach her to be resilient and self sufficient.

In the real world we feel pain, we get disappointed and come second or last.

What matters is how you bounce back and learn from those failures.

I love my kids but I’m not always going to be there to cushion their fall.

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So looking ahead for the next 12 months I would like to tell you of our intentions.

School and Gymnastics for all our children will be mandatory.

Then every 6 months we will look to introduce new things for the kids to try.

It may be an learning instrument, scouts, nippers, sport or drama. Whatever may take their fancy but we are not looking at letting them be lazy on school holidays. Especially in the final years of primary school leading into high school!

From Term 1-2 we are looking to put our kids into local swimming classes.

Then from Term 3-4 we are looking at entering Eme into my friend’s Hawaiian dance group – Nuholani.

More news to come as I look to keep you updated on how the kids are going every 6 months or so.

This is helpful because it reminds me how quickly they grow and what little time I have with them before they’re too cool for Mum and Dad 😉

I hope you enjoyed this post.

With love,

Belinda xo

I’m Losing My Hair

I’m Losing My Hair

Hi guys,

Today I thought I’d share with you one of my primary weaknesses – my thinning hair.

The biggest fear I have in losing my hair is looking like Golem from the Lord of the Rings 😉Gollum_Render

I may be over doing it a bit but you can understand my worry.

So my hubby and I went into a little deep dive on what may be the cause of my hair loss.

We like the information relating to biohacking and general well being from Dave Asprey and the team at Bulletproof 🙂

Here is a recent blog post from the Bulletproof guys that I will be directing a lot of my energy on.

Leki also enjoyed listening to the Bulletproof podcast which helps give us more information on this topic and everything related to biohacking.

After reading the research/blog post above – here are the top 3 things I am going to do in order to help reduce and reverse my hair loss:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Reduce inflammation
  3. Monitor my hormone levels

Stress

Dr. Sophia Kogan MD reports that stress is a huge component of hair loss.

The body’s stress hormone – cortisol – causes a 40% drop in the production of key compounds that protect your hair follicles and help them grow.

When these 2 key compounds (hyauronic acid and proteoglycans) are depleted or reduced then your hair falls out. Sometimes it never grows back!

So what am I going to do?

The big positive thing in reducing stress directly reduces the load on the nervous system.

So if I can reduce my stress and make it a conscious part of my daily habit it can help unload my nervous system.

How am I going to do this? I’m going to challenge myself by doing these 3 things!

Something I’m going to be working on is being grateful in the moment. Challenge: I’m going to thank someone everyday and it’ll be a random text/call to friends or family and I can’t send a thank you to the same person 🙂 So that’s 365 different people I’ll be send a message to! Or even a simple thank you throughout the day will do!

This has been a big problem for me. Apart from having a 11 month son who struggles at night I’m also a night owl staying up at night on my phone. Challenge: Keeping my phone on airplane mode and out of arms reach when I go to bed.

Although I been losing a lot of weight it has not been from a lot of exercise. This is another big weakness of mine. Challenge: Committing to a 4 min Tabata/HIIT program of burpees. 20 seconds ‘on’ doing burpees and 10 seconds resting.


Inflammation

Although the direct link of chronic inflammation and hair loss is not clear Dr. Kogan believes there is a correlation.

So she’s saying that a lot of people who have hair loss problems also have chronic inflammation problems!

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Going baldy 🙁

So what am I going to do?

I feel I have this one in pretty good check.

We have been a practising paleo family for over 2 years and most recently upgraded to a cyclic ketogenic food strategy with intermittent fasting for over a year.

This has greatly helped reduce my inflammation. I’ve written a lot about this in my monthly weight loss update.

If you’re unsure about what to do then check out these guides to help with your well being 🙂

The biggest challenge is setting a new routine and being disciplined with the small changes over time!

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Hormones

Thyroid and testosterone imbalances are also key causes of hair loss.

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Be careful!

These 2 hormones affect the growth of hair and can cause the hair follicles to shed.

The report continues to show that both thyroid (either high or low thyroid activity) and testosterone imbalances can be managed with medications.

**CAUTION** These common medications prescribed by your GP and over the counter products can also give you problems!

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Caution!

Minoxidil commonly known as ‘Rograine’ and Finesteride are medications I’ve seen on TV adverts and in the pharmacy but I haven’t used them before.

As I understand it, these medications block the pathways that make these hormones – thyroid and testosterone.

Minoxidil blocks thyroid pathways which can give you scalp inflammation, oily residue and irritation (dandruff) which contributes to hair loss.

Finersteride which alters testosterone can cause loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction and problems ejaculating. Major problems so please consider medications carefully!

So what am I going to do?

Easing stress will definitely help – so the first point takes care of that for me 😉 But,  something I need to improve on is working on my gratitude and exercise.

Nutrition also helps balance your hormones and the second point covers that for me too 🙂

I’m choosing not to make this too complicated for me right now.

Instead of trying to foods that’s hard to find or buying ‘quick fix’ supplements I’m going to focus on gratitude and exercise first.

Once I’ve made those changes consistently I’ll review how my hair regrowth is going and if it’s still stalling I’ll then try some other measures mentioned in the report (like eating adaptogens and monitoring hormone levels closely)

I have recently organised to have a blood test looking specifically at my hormone levels. Then in 6 months I’ll get another blood test for my hormone levels and compare.

Fingers crossed.

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So there you go.

I’ll be looking to monitor my hair regrowth and keep you updated 🙂

In 6 months I’d like to update you on how I’m going with my gratitude and exercise program. I’ll also show you some before and after with my hair regrowth.

Looking forward to sharing the results with you.

Wish me luck 🙂

 

With love,

Belinda xo

Child Development

Child Development

Hi guys,

Today I thought I would write about how I’m observing my kids develop over time.


Kyneton is 9 months old

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Our little Island boy

Sleep

He’s still been a struggle with short naps throughout the day (averaging 30-60 mins 2-3 times per day) and wakes 3-4 per night (5-10 mins each time for comfort feeding).

Not much progress here other then maybe getting some relief with topping up my breastfeeds with formula after he’s 1yo.

Body Movements

He’s getting around very happily with his walker but is a very lazy crawler. He can hold his head comfortably while lying on his stomach and looks side to side especially when he sees me and he’s hungry 🙂

He can sit independently now although when he starts to lean one way too far he hasn’t learnt to correct himself and sometimes falls over.

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All smiles 🙂

Spatial Awareness

Ky is still learning about potential hazards and doesn’t understand the risks he takes… yet.

We do know that he learns from pain.

Like playing is a toy then he jams his fingers which causes him pain. Or putting his fingers in my mouth and then I lightly chew on his fingers. The next time he tries and sticks his fingers in my mouth he’s more careful and avoids it! Smart little cookie monster. 🙂

Food

I am absolutely blessed that Kyneton doesn’t appear to have any allergies and enjoys most foods we give him.

We alternate his breakfast as we previously documented and he eats a smaller portion of what we eat throughout the day.

He loves his little water bottle and looks forward to his morning booster shake with Eme and I 😉

Discipline

It’s a bit early to talk about how we discipline Ky because we don’t really know what to do.

Apart from telling him “no” to certain things – like when he bites my nipples when feeding, or if he’s clawing out at other kids, trying to push away food because he doesn’t want to eat etc.

We are looking to start smacking Ky around the 12 month mark.

Nothing heavy handed, just a flick of the fingers if it’s unsafe or a tap on the bum if he’s doing something dangerous.

It seemed to work with Eme and we’ll observe how it goes with Ky until we can hold a simple conversation and when we can start him in our local Montessori school at around 18-24 months.


Emelina is 3yo

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Visiting Nani and Papa

Sleep

Eme is a dream when she’s asleep at night. She can power through pretty much uninterrupted from 8:30pm to 7am most days. Some days if it’s been full on she may have a nap in the car driving about and can close her eyes for 1-2 hours if it’s really needed.

We have found that when she watches some programs on TV/ABC Kids or sees something on the ABC kids app on the iPad she can start ‘seeing things’ during our wind down time.

She can be a struggle to put down to bed because there are ‘monsters around’.

This may happen 1-2 per week. Leki and I try and remain strong to avoid her sleeping in bed with us so we often resort to lying in bed with her to calm her down, read a couple of books and then creep out quietly once she’s fallen asleep.

Our ideal night routine involves tucking her into bed snugly, saying her nightly prayer and blessing her family then she has a stack of books next to her that she reads.

Often after 15-20 mins she’s fall asleep with the books lying flatly on her face. We’d then return the books to the shelf and switch off her night lamp and then we’re free 🙂

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Eme’s local gymnastics school

Gymnastics

Eme has almost completed her first full year of gymnastics. She loves it!

I remember watching her in the early lessons and she would not listen to the teacher.

She struggled to follow instructions.

Fearful of climbing horizontal ladders and scaling the ladder wall. She also had a hard time following the other students because she was one of the older kids in her class and the ‘smaller kids’ were struggling to perform the tasks properly.

Fast forward 6 months – she’s improved so much.

A lot less fearful of the obstacle course. She can keep her balance on a beam much better and can swing, hang and jump without too much trouble!

We are so proud 🙂

Discipline

Eme is doing a lot better on the discipline front.

A lot of her development is due to our self-education.

We have reduced our need for smacking and started to talk more about her feelings. We have found that sometimes she screams because she’s in pain or she’s angry or that she’s scared. But to us all we hear is the ‘scream’.

So before we jump the gun and assume it’s always the ‘same’ scream we ask what’s she’s feeling and try to describe it.

For example – in the morning if it’s cooler then normal we ask Eme to put on her robe. When she’s trying to put her arm through the sleeve she used to scream. We would then ask her to try and explain what’s wrong and she’d usually say:

‘Arm stuck… please Mama help.”

Or another example is when she’s not listening when we ask her to do something. Like putting toys away she either ignores us or doesn’t respond. Instead of making her feel unsafe and scared by smacking her we would speak to her at eye level rather then talking down to her and explain why we need her to pick her toys up.

If she listens then she’ll do what we ask. If she continues to be difficult we then send her to her room to sit it out for 10 mins.

After a while she realises that all she had to do was do as we ask and then she can continue to have fun instead of sitting in her room bored.

We’ve noticed the next time she is asked to do something – she pauses and thinks for a couple of seconds – and then does what we ask. We think it’s because she doesn’t want to be banished to her room again 🙂

Discipline is always a work in progress.

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Eme’s Montessori School

Montessori Report card

We have been enjoying Emelina’s progress through her Montessori school.

HERE – is Eme’s mid term report to give you an idea of how our little 3yo is developing 😉

Leki and I find this report as a fantastic guide for how we can developing our parenting style.

It’s on our Montessori teacher’s recommendation that we explore Emelina’s understanding of feelings so that we can help guide her development.

As always – it’s a work in progress for Emelina and ourselves as parents!


I plan to update the development of the kids every 6 months.

It’ll be to document how they grow and change over time which seems small and insignificant but over time they change SO MUCH!

For example in the week that I was away from Eme (in Tonga for my Grandma’s funeral) she had seem to grow so fast in those 7 days.

Similarly Leki observed that Ky had more hair, 2 new teeth poking through the gums while being overseas.

We’ll continue to hold our kids close before they think they’re too cool to be around us 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post.

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Leki 33yo, Eme 3yo, Ky 9mo and Belinda 32yo 🙂

With love,

Belinda xo

Avoiding The Naughty Things

Avoiding The Naughty Things

Hi guys,

I hope you all had a lovely time with your Grandfathers, Fathers and partners over the weekend celebrating Father’s Day.

Today I’m writing about trying to maintain your lifestyle when there are so many temptations.

We had a Father’s Day weekend as Saturday our family celebrated for my husband Leki and Sunday was flat out with my father’s breakfast and then catching up with my father-in-law for lunch/dinner.

So with that said here are my 3 main points:

  1. Communication
  2. Food prep
  3. Decision making

Communication

Leki and I talk all the time.

Over breakfast in the morning we communicate to our family about what’s happening today, what we’re looking forward to later in the week and little trips coming up in the next few months.

During the day while I’m running around or holding the fort down at home Leki might call me on the phone and we’d chat for 20-30 mins while he’s driving to and from different locations for work.

We often talk about things that we’re planning to do later that week or events that are about to happen over the weekend.

Then later at night we would continue to talk about it while we’re winding down.

The theme of this is communication.

We discuss and plan for what is coming down the pipeline because we can understand it from both perspectives – his and mine.

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Watching Rugby with Ky

Let’s take the Father’s Day weekend for example.

Leki works every Saturday.

After he finished we drove 60 mins to support my cousin play in his Rugby League grand final at 2:30pm.

Then from there we travelled another 30 mins to a meeting Leki had until 7:30pm.

We would return home after 8pm on Saturday night.

It would be almost too easy to drop into Maccas or take away on Saturday – but we didn’t.

Instead of making excuses we communicated over the week on how we busy we were going to be plus managing our little kids.

The solution?

We prepped meals and talked about how we would manage our day.

Once I had prepared the meals Leki and I talked about our respective eating windows (intermittent fasting) and how we would manage things together.

You see, Leki only eats in a 4 hour window from 2-3pm until 6-7pm and I’m eating within a 8 hour window from 8am-4pm.

So we talked through how we’d be managing ourselves and our family over the upcoming weekend.

Communication with your partner is key to being consistent!


Food prep

Last week I shared our outlook on prepping meals to free up time later in the week.

Our food prep can supply our household from Sun to Fri most weeks.

By Saturday lunchtime we’ve run out of food which is when we’d do our weekly shopping, have our carb refuel meal (cheat meal) then rest up Saturday night having a night in.

Sunday after church from 1pm to 3pm we’d spend the time bulk prepping nutritious meals for the upcoming working week.

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Bulk shopping 🙂

Over the Father’s Day weekend though things were a slightly different.

I knew we’d be busy all weekend long so in order to keep our healthy buzz going we would have to prep and pack food to take.

My goal is to get to less 69kg by the time I’m away in Bali in late Oct. That’s about 7 weeks away and I’m around 71.5kg.

In order to lose the weight I need to be consistent.

Moments of weakness or a weekend of ‘letting myself go’ can undo over a fortnight of ‘being good’. It’s happened to me before!

So I was willing to get on the front foot, shop, cook and prep meals and snacks all the while balancing my 2 x kids and keeping my home in good working condition.

On Thursday (leading to the Father’s Day weekend) I went to Aldi and did some extra shopping.

Then over Thursday and Friday I pre cooked some meals so that we’d have them ready for the weekend coming up!

We had some snacks for the Rugby game and then we had some food ready to have just before Leki’s meeting on Saturday night.

Which leads me to my next point…

Communication + Prepping = Better decision making


Decision making

With our efforts to communicate throughout the week we can make better decisions.

In my “Sister chat” which we discuss things on Facebook Messenger in a group chat and it’s here my sister organised Father’s Day breakfast for my Dad.

Similarly with Leki’s family on a group Viber chat they had organised something for Sunday lunchtime.

The result was challenging.

2 x restaurants to eat on the same day with a lot of temptations 🙂

Given that we would be tempted we decided to check out the menu of Lazy Moe’s where we’d be having part of our celebrations.

After having a quick preview on what was on offer we both decided to grab the Veg breakfast option with extra poached eggs, avocado and picked the gluten free toast.

It was amazing because we enjoyed ourselves with family but didn’t feel too guilty after as we maintain our disciple with our food choices.

Soon after we caught up with Leki’s parents and last minute decided to eat out at a Chinese restaurants in Crown called Man Tong Kitchen.

This was unplanned.

As we sat down to enjoy the banquet meal we decided on some options that would not throw us out of wack.

We decided to order some smaller entree dishes (dumplings etc.) and one fried rice and sizzling chicken plate to share among us. We also had some dessert – Leki had the red bean pancake with ice cream and I had the banana split with Eme.

The result?

I put on 500g or half kilo the next day when I weighed myself.

I take that as a positive because I could have chosen to ‘let myself go’ for the weekend and easily put on over 2kg (which has happened in the past).

It’s now 2 days after the weekend and I’m back to where I was on Saturday – weight wise.

So, 2 x meals on Sunday takes me 2-3 days to return back my ‘usual’ weight.

Decision making is important and I feel you need to help yourself as best you can by communicating with your partner/support network and prepare food to make choices easier on you and your family.


We are all human and there are things that we like and don’t like.

I like eating.

I like having fun.

I like seeing the numbers on the scales going lower and lower.

I like feeling and looking good.

Whatever you like comes at a cost and you have to be prepared to make the sacrifices.

The struggle continues 😉

#49DaysUntilBali

 

With love,

Belinda xo

Top Purchases for < $100

Top Purchases for < $100

Hi guys,

Very fun post for you today!

I thought I would put together a list of the most helpful purchases in the last year which hasn’t broken the bank account but has been invaluable in our daily life.

I’m not really focusing on the cost of the product but rather the time it saves!

I hope you find it helpful 🙂

Ambiano blender

Now to be honest we purchased this blender years ago at Aldi and it lasted us about 2 years before it died.

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Ambiano

The cost for the blender was $40 from memory but it was so helpful.

We started making our Bulletproof coffee with it. I used to puree Eme’s food without issue. I made smoothies over the summer time and it was really cheap but well made.

We have since upgraded to an expensive blender and we chose to buy the Vitamix 5200 Black which cost us $729 from Costco.

You don’t really need this type of blender to begin with but with amount of food prep we were planning to go through we decided to treat the family to something more robust.

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Vitamix

It hasn’t skipped a beat since!

Velocity Points

I wrote earlier about small trips that we try and plan as a family to rest and recharge.

We have a credit card with is linked to a rewards program and we completely forgot all about the Velocity Points we had collected over the last 3-5 years.velocity

Leki got an email reminding him of the rewards program and was surprised with what we could redeem.

We’ve just returned from a weekend trip to visit family in Sydney.

90% of the trip was redeemed through the Velocity Points program.

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Fun in Sydney

Airfares, car hire, public transport and a few meals was what we were able to redeem plus we stayed with family in west Sydney.

We also managed to get some tickets to watch the Bledisloe game 1 match. Our family are proud Wallabies supporters and we had a great time watching them at Olympic Stadium.

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We lost 🙁

Thin Lizzy

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This is my go to brand for light make up.

Cheap price but quality product. I’ve been using them for over 10 years and will continue to use their products!

I like that the look is natural and I don’t have the glossy reflection in photos.

Besides it doesn’t take too much to remove the make up after I’ve had a little glam session 😉

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My Thin Lizzy pack costs $30 and lasts me around 3 months easily 🙂

Montessori toys

Check out our little Montessori space at home. It’s one of our many pride and joys within our little home.

 

Montessori toys are nothing fancy or expensive.

They are basically toys that challenge the senses of the child to help their curiosity to learn.

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Learning with water

Some of our collections are from our recent trip to Thailand.

Others are from Target like her shopfront where she pretends to be the shop lady selling us fruit and coffee 🙂

Eme was gifted a kitchen set where she pretends to make pancakes and breakfast when Leki cooks in the morning.

We also love hosting kids at a party because they are self contained in our little Montessori space 😉

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Learning about nature

Each of things that we’ve collected over the last year range in cost from being FREE (giveaways or hand me downs), second hand from the local op shop or purchased from Aldi/other stores for $8-$35.

Coconut oil

We go shopping at Costco once a month – I wrote about how we organise our grocery previously here.

One key product we always purchase in bulk is coconut oil.

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We go with either the Kirkland (Costco generic brand) one or the Absolute Organic brand (which is still a Costco branded product I think) and we use it for lots of things.

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Leki uses it to slick his hair.

We both use it for our skin as a moisturiser.

It’s our only option of oil for cooking (our only alternative is extra virgin oil as we strictly avoid vegetable oil or other oils with a low melting point).

We usually purchase one bottle for approx. $13-18 and it lasts us about 3 months! Talk about value for money 🙂

Veggie Bullet

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We only just picked this one up less then a month ago.

Advertised at $89 at JB Hifi we were then offered a further $5 discount at purchase. I think their competitors The Good Guys were also having a promotion!

The veggie cutter is saving me a MASSIVE amount of time plus improving my family’s health.

How?

Firstly the chopping, dicing and spiralling work takes time and effort. It would take us 30-45 mins to get through our prep work for 3-5 days of sweet potatoes, cucumber, broccoli, carrot etc.

The Veggie cutter has this all prepared and ready to be cooked within 5 minutes 🙂

Plus we have now removed white rice from our diet and replaced it with spiralised zucchini mixed with our meat of choice for a great effect!

Read about out automated meal plans here.

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Spiralised zucchini 🙂 Our rice replacement!

Baby bathing seat from Gumtree

I reached out to a Mama who was advertising her bathing seat on Gumtree.

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Within 30 minutes we had reached an agreed time for pick up and later that day I was a proud owner of this bathing seat.

It’s been such a welcome relief because we’d shower him in tandem with Leki when he’s home which can be quite late so I needed an alternative. I struggled to manage them both at the same time.

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This product which is obviously second hand has been a lifesaver and Ky really enjoys his bath and looks forward to it everyday 😉

It only cost me $25 second hand which is a bonus! Brand new is $45 from Baby Bunting 🙂

Go Pro Black 4 from Facebook Marketplace

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This is an expensive purchase but it’s been such a great buy I had to share it with you!

We decided to purchase an older version to learn how to use the Go Pro.

It was the perfect purchase for our recent trip to Sydney.

The quality of the videos, the accessories that come with it, the memories they capture. Priceless!

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Leki found a great deal on the Facebook app within ‘Marketplace’.

The seller lived in the Melbourne CBD and Leki organised the exchange which cost us $270.

We also bought a memory card and the mounting stick on top of that for an additional $110 from JB Hifi.

Check out the video we posted using our new (but old lol) Go Pro!

What purchases for < $100 have you found invaluable or time efficient to help you on your day? I’d love to hear of other products other there that help Mums 🙂

See you next week!

Time To Say Goodbye

Time To Say Goodbye

Hi guys,

Today is a funny post… well for me at least.

As you know I recently moved home and Leki and I saw it as an opportunity to get rid of things which we’ve held onto for too looooong 🙂

We are both sentimental with things.

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Eme directing traffic

That little piece of paper that Eme first scribbled on as a baby.

My old cards and work slips that serve no purpose.

Leki’s old rugby gear which can take up a whole room.

Little toys that Ky was given that he doesn’t even use.

Other assorted knick knacks that don’t have a home in the house but live in a tired looking box ‘just incase’ we need it in the future.

We all have them.

Well most of us anyway.

So Leki came across a lady who’s whole ‘shtick’ is minimal living.

Now I know it can be simple to declutter and get rid of useless things but her whole angle is how you get rid of things.

Marie Kondo developed the “KonMari Method” which is a decluttering method based on Japanese values in order to surround yourself with items that spark joy.

Now personally when I think of a ‘Japanese home’ what I think of very little clutter and a simple natural feel within the home.

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On the way to the tip

Basically Leki and I agreed that we would get rid of 90% of our things and practice a simple version of the KonMari method.

So how does it work?

To the item you are struggling to ‘let go’ you simple look at the object and think about the joy it had brought you… once upon a time.

It may be an old book, or a article of clothing, or in my case… boxes upon boxes of shoes, little things that have lingered in the closet for the day you might need it (and that day never comes).

You then say to the item – “you have brought me joy and now I must let you go“.

I’ll let you go to the op shop to bring someone else joy.

I’ll let you go and give joy to other family members.

I’ll let you go and help someone in need elsewhere.

You get the picture.

It’s almost reframing the item which was once much loved or neglected to be released and give someone else that joy.

Now I know this sounds crazy and woo woo but it really helps.

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Fun times with Eme

Leki loves Rugby.

He’s been involved in Rugby and has collected A LOT of rugby gear and memorabilia from over the years.

He said goodbye to over 90% of his things and gave it all away.

I love shoes.

I have shoes spilling out of every closet of my home and I had more in storage.

I gave away 90% of my shoes.

We both feel good about it.

Speak to us 12 months ago and there would be no chance that we’d part with our special treasures.

Let me give you some insight:

Leki has traveled a lot with sporting teams and there is often tracksuits, tops, polos and other various equipment that comes with travel.

He would travel almost 6-8 x times a year and each traveling team would have their own uniform. After 5-7 years of traveling at 6-8 tours per year you can imagine how much stuff you collect.

Each tour would be special and he would tie some of those special memories to the clothing.

No anymore… he’s said goodbye to 90% of that stuff now.

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Leki at the tip

 As I quoted earlier I love shoes.

All sorts of shoes too! High heels, platforms, knee high boots, sleek flats, runners. You name it, I had it in one shape or colour 🙂

I remember the exact pair of shoes I wore when Leki and I went on our first date!

They traveled with me in each of the homes we moved into even when I never wore them because they weren’t that fashionable as the years went by.

Regardless of that I still held onto them.

That was until I say goodbye to them last week and off they went. Given away to family in Tonga.

Wherever all our treasures have ended up…

“I hope they give you joy as much as they have given me”.

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YAY – We’ve finally landed 🙂

With love,

Belinda xo

Travelling Overseas With 2 Kids

Travelling Overseas With 2 Kids

Hi guys.

Sorry I haven’t been in touch for over 2 weeks.

I was having a great time overseas in Thailand and when we got back we finished up our move into our new home 🙂

Things are settling down now and I’m glad to be back with you!

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Excited to jump on a plane together – Melbourne Airport

Today I thought I would write to you about how we recently travelled to Thailand with 2 kids, a pram and lots of luggage LOL

To begin with we had to prepare ourselves for the long haul.

It takes about 9 hours direct from Melbourne to Phuket and flying in economy class it’s not very glamorous or comfortable.

But, like all things we try and make the best of the situation.

In our group booking we knew there would be a lot of the family traveling with us so if we needed some extra hands then it was great to have them to lean on.

But in the end we wanted to complete the trip ‘on our own’ so that in future when we travel we know we can handle it – but it was good to know there’s a Plan B 😉

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Eme and her cousin looking at the big planes!

So here’s my Top 3 travel tips after our recent experience:

  1. Pre-trip prep work
  2. Games and iPad
  3. Sleep hacks

 


 

1. Prep work

I would strongly consider night time flights both outbound and returning home.

When we left Melbourne at 2pm to Thailand the kids were full of enthusiasm and were hard to ‘contain’. Then, once we arrived at the other end at almost 11pm Australian time the kids were pretty whiny and understandably irritable.

On the way back we left Phuket at 11pm (Thailand time) and the kids were already asleep before we had wheels off the ground! Emelina slept all the way through and Kyneton woke 2-3 times over the return trip mostly to feed.

If possible, try and leave at night time as it’s far easier for the kids and as a by product… easier for Mum and Dad 🙂

Another thing we did was prepare Eme (our 3yo) for the flight by explaining what we would be going through in the weeks leading up to the trip.

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Photo booth at Phuket Airport!

We explained to her in a playful way how big and busy the airport will be and she’ll have to hold hands with Mum and Dad so she doesn’t get lost, smile at the customs officer when they look at her passport, put her watch and travel bag through the xray machine and finally you’ll get to sit on the plane!

We would then mimic how the plane rattles when it starts down the run way and shudders when you take off the ground.

Emelina can be sensitive and can be very cautious in any new environment so when we explain things to her and describe what she may be experiencing we know that she’ll be much better prepared.

We even showed her Youtube videos of families going though the airport and being on the plane with kids of similar age and that seem to do the trick. Eme was very happy and excited when we arrived at the airport seeing her family especially her little cousins about to jump on a plane!

It’s funny now because whenever Eme sees a plane now she says: “We’re going to Thailand” 🙂 I wish Eme!

The last thing I would recommend is getting your passport organised early.

We had a few dramas with our application for Kyneton because the photo quality was not up to standard.

We went to the local Post Office and they were adamant that holding the baby behind a white background would be good enough. What happened? We got declined as his head position wasn’t quite right.

The second time we applied for Ky’s first passport we got declined a second time because there was a slight shadow on the photo – this time it was taken at the local pharmacy.

Finally we managed to get it through on the third photo attempt.

How? We used a white blanket on the ground and then asked the pharmacy attendant to take a photo of him from the top looking down. Wish someone told me that from the beginning. It would have saved us 3 weeks of time!

*TIP – I would recommend organising all your travel documents 3 months before you leave just in case something comes up especially if you are applying for a toddler


2. Games & iPad

On our Jetstar flight (a budget carrier) there are entertainment packages where for $10 you can have access to the TV and cartoons for the kids.

We were in a tough spot here philosophically because we only allow screen time for Eme at night when we ‘wind down’. I wrote about that previously here.

Should we allow it on the plane as a one off? Or should we be consistent?

We both decided on the way there that if Eme could get some sleep on the flight we’ll reward her with screen time.

She was asleep before the plan even took off!

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Haven’t even left yet guys 🙂

I think the excitement of it all and the big build up exhausted her. Poor Eme 😉

She probably slept for 2 hours which meant we had another 7 hours to try and keep her occupied.

I was focusing on managing Eme because she’s more active and required more attention to make the trip for us and everyone around us more comfortable.

Colouring books lasted about 30 mins before she got tired of that.

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Trying to pass the time

Trips to the toilet and walking up and down the aisle with Leki probably totalled 30 mins.

6 hours to account for….

I would probably say she had 3 hours of screen time where she watched 2 movies on the iPad and play some games.

The remaining 3 hours was sleep at the tail end of our trip with the help of our cushion (more on that later).

Kyneton on the other hand was pretty low maintenance.

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Eme watching movies with her favourite unicorn headphones

All he wanted was to be fed every 3 hours and cuddled. He probably slept 4-5 times for around 45 mins each time. The rest of the time Leki and I took turns holding him or one of the family members took him of a little while to hang out.

He was getting a little irritable by the end of the flight and I think it was just the new stuffy environment he was in.

Neither of our kids had trouble with ‘popping’ in the ears at take off or landing although we were prepared with lollies for Eme and breastfeeding for Ky.

Always room for improvement 🙂


3. Sleep Hacks

I would probably say we need to focus more on our sleep efforts next time. The kids were fine it’s more about Leki and I.

Kids first.

I had been doing some research about a product that is an inflatable cushion that creates a ‘bed’ for a toddler.

After speaking to my sister we decided we’d buy one for our toddlers to see if would make the travel a bit easier.

After my experience I would highly recommend Kooshy Kids for your overseas travel if it’s more then 4 hours and your toddler needs a good quality sleep!

*TIP – Just make sure your carrier allows this product as we had a bit of resistance from the flight attendants (we had gained approval pre-flight from Jetstar but the flight crew weren’t informed)

The cushion is easily inflatable with a manual pump in only 10-15 minutes and you can add it as apart of your carry on luggage.

It works by inflating into the ‘negative space’ under your legs when you are sitting on a flight.

We used it in the final 3 hours of sleep that Eme got on the way to Thailand and she was very comfortable in the fetal position.

Unfortunately the hand pump was broken when we used it to inflate some floaties for the pool at the Thailand resort and so we were unable to use the Kooshy Kids cushion on the way back.

The result?

Eme was very uncomfortable with her attempted sleep in the fetal position and she was splayed out across Leki’s lap and her seat on the flight home. Poor girl!

One thing we saw but didn’t apply ourselves (wish we did though) was using the tray tables as a bassinet for Ky.

Imagine dropping the tray tables down, laying some blankets down and putting a baby on the makeshift bassinet. That’s what my sister did on the return flight with her baby but I didn’t think to do it myself.

Next time I will be using the cushion for Eme and the tray tables for Ky!

Lastly, we had focused so much on the kids that we forgot all about ourselves.

Next time we travel overseas I will be doing some research on a neck pillow and one of those face masks with earplugs so I can get some quality sleep. More on that next time.


Well that’s a little insight into our trip overseas.

Although it only covers some of the struggles with travelling with a little family I must say we had a great time!

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We’ll be back!

Not only in Phuket but enjoying our first time on a plane together as a family.

One of many firsts I’m sure 🙂

Have a great day.

Belinda xo

Baby Wraps

Baby Wraps

Hi guys.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my random thoughts 🙂

Today I would like to share my observations on baby carriers and baby slings.

Now to be honest I’ve only started to pay more attention to baby wraps the second time round. When I had my first child I carried her for the first 8 months then transitioned to the Baby Bjorn carrier which was gifted during my baby shower.
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This time round though with my newborn son I’ve come across baby wraps through my local community 🙂

If you’re unsure about baby wraps, don’t stress because I was too!

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Ky in the kangaroo pouch 🙂

Looking at it purely as a newbie the baby wraps looks so difficult to put on.

You have almost 5 metres of material that you need to carefully wrap around you while you’re making sure care that it sits comfortably on you.

So why have I decided to give the baby wraps a go this time? Because it feels better.

I have a closer connection with my child as he’s resting his head right over my beating heart.

It is really convenient when breastfeeding as the need arises because the wrap can provide some privacy.

One of the significant down sides of the baby wrap is the time it takes to put one on and it can get pretty hot and stuffy if it’s a warm day.

I have also been introduced to baby ring slings which I haven’t had a chance to try out yet although I do know a few ladies who swear by them!

It’s essentially the same design although instead of layers of material to pull on (baby wrap) the ring sling can take some of the guess work out.

This made me think about how other cultures tend to carry their babies.

The two main styles that similarly carry their babies on their back are African and Asian cultures which I thought was interesting.

It may be better for my posture to have the baby slung across my back but I like the intimacy of having them across my chest especially when they’re infants!

If they’re old enough to walk then I’d prefer to have them on their own two feet then have me lug them around everywhere 🙂

The African style

The Korean style – Podaegi

In short, I am starting to use my Baby Wrap more and more and with time I should be able to reduce the time to pop the baby wrap on.

Currently it takes me about 5 mins to put it on compared to 30 sec with the Baby Bjorn carrier but I’m really interested in maintaining that bond with little Ky until he gets a bit too big and heavy for it 😉

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Altona Beach 2015

To be honest I’ll most likely use the Baby Bjorn carrier when Kyneton gets bigger purely because of the convenience.

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Moonlight Cinema – 2015

What’s your experience like with wraps? I’d love to hear it!

Have a great day,

Belinda xo

The Simple Life

The Simple Life

Hi everyone,

Thank you for tuning in 🙂

Today I wanted to talk about the differences around different generations and how I came to observe this…

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A Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, Millennial and ‘Generation Google’ 🙂

I was lucky to have 4 x generations under one roof earlier this year – My maternal grandmother, mother, myself and my daughter. It was great time and it was heart warming to see my grandmother play and interact with Emelina even though she doesn’t speak English well and Eme only understands basic Tongan. The way they communicated was through the international language of love and affection 🙂

While talking to my grandmother I started to wonder about her experiences and I was transported to a different time.

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Which generation do you belong to?

My grandmother belongs to a generation called Traditionalists.

She grew up in a time where there were disastrous world war conflicts (WWI and WWII), raised by her parents (my great-grandparents) who had just survived the post-Depression years with food and services were not readily available so I can understand these testing circumstances will shape the core values of the people of this era.

Just take a moment and think about your own grand parents. Are they spend thrift? Do they focus on saving money rather then spending it? If something is broken do they try and fix it rather then pay for a service to fix it? Are they more inclined to walk from A to B rather then drive? Do they feel like a burden if they ask for help because they would rather do everything for themselves? Do they typically eat ‘just enough’ rather then over indulge on food?

How did you go? Did you mostly answer YES to the above? Interesting thought isn’t it?

What is abundantly clear to me is that they lived in a different time to how we live now.

Let’s look at our current living conditions…

According to the table above I belong to a generation called Millennials born from 1981 onward.

This informative chart describes exactly what I’m feeling but finding difficult to express.

We are living in a time of convenience. We expect things to be available on demand, head to the local shopping centre we expect longer trading hours, on demand TV to watch programs when we want, purchases made on the credit card with one flick of the wrist, online shopping, self-driving cars… the list goes on! Wow, what a time we live in! Although there is nothing wrong with advancements in technology I also sense that there is a negative side to all these positives.

Thinking about my own experience when I was a teenager I had different ideas on what was important to me. Make up, boys, wearing fashionable clothes. Then as a young adult working full time my focus shifted to meeting different people, having a great time out in town and having difference experiences. Meeting Leki and getting into a serious relationship shifted my focus from experiences here and now to forecasting the future together. Pretty much moving from a single focus to a shared focus. But now, having a little family our outlook has shifted again to our children and what their future holds.

The family unit is the bedrock of our society. When I was a young single adult without a life partner or family I would typically have no issues with taking risks. When you have a family you start to question everything you do and make conscious decisions to reduce the risk of harming your family.

My observation is that the Family unit is the foundation of our society. 

Living in a time of convenience means longer trading hours so families can typically go longer without Mum and Dad while they are at work, we can be distracted with too much screen time, being time poor we make bad decisions on food, alternative working hours mean that families don’t sit and eat together, people don’t simply talk to each other anymore when texting is less confrontational…

If you’re ‘with me’ you feel a sense of uneasiness as the generations are vastly different across the whole spectrum including home life, working career, lifestyle choices, technology, money, education, social, political, economy… and so on.

I almost feel like I belong in a different time.

The time of my grandmother. I belong at home and find genuine happiness raising my children, preparing meals for my family, making things, fixing things and keeping the home homely.

The simple life.

With love,

Belinda.