Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mastering HTML!

Even though I married to an IT man, I know nothing about HTML. So the links at the top of the page haven't actually worked since... well... ever! But now some do! I have figured out a couple of things (although it is time consuming so I haven't finished), but next time you check in, check out the links for more details on the things I'm living at the moment! 

Book Review: Home Court Advantage

This is one of the books I have recently finished from my 30 Excellent Books in 2010 List

I tripped across it recently in a Christian Book Store for a bargain price ($3!) and thought it would be good to put in the parent library at work. 

I decided to read it first...and perhaps not put it in the library after all! 

Dr. Leman is a psychologist and a Christian and I have read a couple of his other books this year which have been great. 

This one just wasn't what I expected. 

Dr. Leman's view point is that children are given the very best to prepare for life when they spend the majority of time in a stable and warm family home environment. So far, so good. He gives many reasons for this and many I agree with no problem. 

As an Early Childhood Educator, I struggled with many aspects of this book. I agree that families really need to question whether both parents working full time is in the best interests of the children, but Dr. Leman goes further and suggests that Early Childhood settings are unhealthy and even damaging for some families... 

I'm being careful here, a lot of what he said rang true for me, but by the same token I am seeing the coin from both sides, and its a hard thing to do. 

I have often wondered whether I would be able to return to work in EC if I had young children. Its something we haven't really fleshed out in detail as yet. I think one thing is certain however... if I was a hairdresser, a builder or an office worker - anything but an early childhood teacher - I would probably find it a tiny (very tiny) bit easier to return to work.  This is purely because right now, my current job would have me being paid to look after other people's young children while paying someone else to look after my own... It's sort of too hard for me to get my head around.

And I don't think its a bad thing as such - its just a bit weird. I know lots of people who do it - some like it some don't. I'm not judging. I'm just not sure what I would do

I don't think there is a right answer as such - every family has to make their own choices and for their own best interests. It just made me think. 

I don't think everyone would agree with everything Dr. Leman has to say, and thats ok. It's just good to start the discussion. As far as the book goes, it was worth the read as it made me think and question some things, and I think good books should challenge you, whether you agree with them or not!

Any thoughts? 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Sugar Challenge Update

Well we are entering day 3 of my No Sugar Week. 

How am I doing?

I think I'm actually doing pretty good! There have already been a few set backs like a virus I have picked up and the crazy last minute take out dinner (that turned out quite well) last night, but on the whole I am feeling good (except for the flu and the sore neck...). 

The first day I went through what I normally would take to work and realised that most things had no sugar at all! Its the things I go and buy at the shops on my lunch break that let me down!  So I decided not to take any cash to work this week and instead took lunch and snacks from home. 

My favourite are these: 

They are deeeelicious and sugar free! Don't worry I am not getting paid to recommend them - I just really enjoy them!

I did start to get a bit hungry last night and realised I was having sugar cravings, but a big glass of milk helped that!! 

As I have been sick, we have been relying on the freezer meals I have stashed away to get us through - with the exception of a last minute drive through run for fast food last night, which actually didn't turn out so bad as they forgot the sauce on my burger and the bun was stale so I just ate the meat ( maybe it was payback for being slack about the challenge!). 

No major changes as yet, but I'll keep you updated!

Completing Him Challenge Week 7

I am really enjoying this series on Completing Him from Women Living Well. It has helped me to take intentional time each week to focus on the little things that help improve our marriage and has reminded me to spend more time focused on discovering what God wants for me as a wife and a woman!

Here's this week's challenge:Support his vision. Discuss his vision for your family. Where does he see your family in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Share with us how you let your husband lead.

We had a quiet conversation about this during the week.  It surprised me how quickly and easily Awesome was able to articulate his vision for us. Some of the things that he mentioned included:

- Taking time each week to be intentional in hanging out together
- Save money so as to be able to pay off a large chunk of our mortgage when our fixed period is over
- Spend time now becoming healthy and waiting on God's plan for our family
- Use the jobs and time we have now to help us prepare for whatever God has next, be it Bible college, mission work, studying in our current fields or continuing in our current jobs

It's nice to know that even when I get busy or worried about what the future has in store for us, that God has chosen this man to lead me, who has such confidence that God will keep things together. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What I'm Really Eating

So now that I am going sugar-free for a week, what do I really have left to eat and drink?


Fruits and Veges
Homemade bread with yeast proofed using honey instead of sugar
Plain meats, seasoned with herbs and spices
Seeds, grains and legumes

The hardest part for me is the snack times of the day. I am so used to just grabbing a chocolate bar at the local shop (or from the guy who turned up on the doorstep at work today with a massive box of chocolates for charity...).

My success will only come from planning ahead for snacks and meals and being prepared!

I'm also looking forward to these recipes if all else fails!!

Cutting Back on Sugar Ideas

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hey Sugar!

I think this one might be the hardest challenge so far.... 

One Week Without Sugar!

Anyone who knows me well will know I am an absolute sucker for sugar. Not just chocolate and lollies (which I can eat in excess quite easily) but also sugary drinks and sweet carbs.  NO WILL POWER! 

But after watching Donielle's video and spending some time looking at Sugar Stacks, I am ready to try no sugar for a week.... This is already a difficult ask as I have already shopped for the week and lots of things came home with sugar in them! But I want to see just how much difference sugar makes to my insulin resistance.

The fact is I probably would eat 16 sugar cubes.  I crave sugar really strongly, for most of the day, every day. In fact, last night I felt particularly unwell, and thought I was going to be sick. Instead I realised my body was just craving sugar as I had forgotten to eat lunch and was late for dinner. That's ridiculous.  Seriously. 

I already experience quite severe peaks in my reaction to sugar. When I have been eating too much sugar I experience:

- Hyperactivity
- Talkativeness
- Increased heart rate from moving faster
- Increased productivity and concentration followed by...
- Major 'crashes' of extreme tiredness, listlessness and dizziness

And yet a "happy medium" of a high sugar diet everyday has meant that my body has become used to sugar and without it I actually have WITHDRAWAL!! Ridiculous I know, but my PCOS manifests itself mainly in insulin resistance for me, and its something I really need to get a handle on.

There's just one other thing though - I can't handle diet products.  Sugar replacements usually contain phenylalanine or aspartame and my body just can not handle either of those things! 

So... its a week without the sweet stuff for me and we will see how far I get! 

What Am I Giving Up?
- Processed foods containing forms of sugar; such as cereals, milo, biscuits, pasta sauces, dressings and condiments
- Chocolate and lollies
- Sugary drinks
- Note: I already do not drink tea, coffee or alcohol so this will make things a bit easier

What I'm Not Giving Up
- Fruits and vegetables containing natural sugars, as the health benefits of the other elements of these are nutritionally dense and good for you!

I'll check back in this week and let you know how I'm going. Anyone else up for the challenge?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nourish: favourite places for good mood food

Here are some of the places I regularly visit for good food ideas and recipes

Taste Website Australia: thousands of searchable recipes from recipe magazines. This website has got me out of trouble on more than one occasion! (Plus the measurements are all metric which eliminates having to have the converter website open on the computer).

Keeper of the Home: I am a better cook and budgeter for the information I have learned from Stephanie's website and ebooks. It was tripping across this blog while searching for information on PCOS that got me into real food, healthier eating and blogging!

Passionate Homemaking: Lindsay's recipe section is full of tempting recipes and her techniques

Naturally Knocked Up: For lots of info and ideas on a more natural and health friendly diet. Donielle has battled PCOS too so she's a "cyster"!

Jamie Oliver's Website: I am blessed to own two of his beuatiful cook books and I LOVE what he is doing with his Food Revolution campaign. I love that he will freely give away so many recipes just because he is passionate about people eating well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July At Our Place

Here are some of the July Happenings from our place. 

White board messages from my guy :)

Awesome Ironing while we visited a friend in the country 

Visiting Western Plains Zoo

Little Friends at the Zoo


More Baking


Happy half-year! Can you believe its has gone so fast? 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Tuesday-January 2010 List

Photo: The Fijian Island of Malolo Lailai

185. Quietness that breeds gratitude
186. Being wise in decisions
187. Contentment in chaos
189. Abundance of food and resources
190. Team hands to help
191. Old books read anew
192. Clear vision and focus
193. A child's eye contact
194. A mother who loves
195. Quiet beauty of a garden
196. Warm breeze
197. Stillness
198. Time to rest with your Word
199. Your timing
200. Ducks
201. The ability to write
202. Summer sounds in the air
203. A new year and fresh start
204. Hungary tummy
205. Beauty in creation
206. Time away with friends
207. Tropical warm water
208. Cold orange juice
209. Warm gritty sand

Its funny, but as I read back over these lists, suddenly I can remember all the things we were doing and even how I was feeling at the time. And I'm thankful all over again.

Its worth doing, this giving back in gratitude...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Completing Him Challenge Week 6

After an accidental week-long blog hiatus, I am back and ready to move on to week 6 of the Completing Him Challenge. 

This week:Make your husband a priority. Ask him what his favorite dinner, dessert and drink are. Be sure to serve him all three one night this week. Bonus: cook his favorite dishes all week long!

Well, I am going to take up this challenge this week and I decided last minute to have a spontaneous Husband's Day!

When Awesome got home from work there was a printed tag that said:

"Surprise! Today is Husband's Day!  Today you do not have to do any house work, will have one of your favourite meals prepared for you and will have complete control of the remote and your activities!  I just want to celebrate you! With love, Your Wife"

He thought it was fantastic!  I have decided to do each part of  the meal (dinner, drink and dessert) separately across the week as we have a bit of a busy one and I thought it might be fun. 

I started tonight with one of Awesome's favourites: Mini-Sausage Rolls! 

Here is the recipe:

8 Beef Sausages
2 Sheets Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
1 Egg Lightly Beaten
Sesame Seeds to sprinkle for the “gourmet look”
Tomato Sauce to Serve

1.   Preheat oven to 220◦C. Line baking tray with non-stick paper.
2.   Cut each pastry sheet into quarters.
3.   Please sausage in centre of each square. Bring one side over to enclose sausage. Brush opposite side with egg and bring over to completely enclose sausage. Place seam side down on tray.
4.   Brush tops with eggs and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
5.   Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden. 

They are not quite as good as his Mum's but they do the trick! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Tuesday-January 2010 List

154. Flies!
155. Common ties of blood
156. Meaningful time together with family
157. Relaxing by the quiet river
158. The inspiration of a friend
159. Christian accountability
160. Challenging marriage message through film
161. Time by myself to unwind
162. Brothers spending time together
163. Technological marvels... mobiles!
164. Setting goals for 2010
165. Memorising the Word
166. Being strong in conviction
167. Friends who share the faith
168. The passion of fledgling faith
169. Well loved resources lent to friend
170. Loving, devoted family
171. Your Word changing my family
172. Writing old fashioned letters by hand
173. Love letters
174. 10 minute oven cookies
175. % off after Christmas sales
180. Husband's unwavering love
181. Getting to know church family
182. The challenge and joy of serving
183. Email reminders from thoughtful friends
184. Music ministry

Monday, July 12, 2010

Completing Him Challenge Week 5

The Completing Him Challenge this week is: Make a list of 5 things you currently do and ask your husband to prioritize them for you of what is important to him. For example - a clean home, home cooked dinner, coupon clipping, service at church, having friends over for dinner, watching/doing sports with him, etc.

Last night I made a list of all the things I could think of that would be things that enter into Mr. Awesome's world. I gave him the list and asked him to prioritise the items. There were 11 things on my original list, and he added one more.  Here are his top five:

5. Keep the social calendar organised
4. Plan and prepare meals 
3. Invite people over to visit
2. Ensure bills are paid and mail is sorted/answered
1. Keep time for me

As we both work full time and I work varying shifts, Awesome is often home before me, so almost everything else on the list (including cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping) we share very evenly. At this point in our lives it works really well, so most of those things scored further down the list as shared items. The things above are those that Awesome prefers me to take care of. The item he added was #1 Keep time for me!  As I am often busy with work and church commitments during the week, it has always been extremely important for me to be at home as much as possible. Every now and then I jam my calendar full with too many out of house activities and by the end of the week things can get a bit wobbly round here! Thankfully we have recognised this pattern and I try very hard to keep it under control as much as possible. 

This was a really encouraging discussion for us to have and I was really touched when Awesome offered me the chance to make a list for him. It was great to just sit and discuss things together. Here (with his permission) is my list:

5. Garbage/recycling duty (that sounds very petty but we are on the third floor!)
4. Washing and ironing
3. Keep an eye on house maintenance
2. Initiate date nights
1. Plan time for us to read the Bible together

A couple of hours later, he asked me which nights this week I was free to read the Bible and go on a date night! We have planned these into the week's schedule! 

How did your top five go? 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just a little encouragement today :)

"You gotta have God in your marriage"

Amen Sister!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thanksgiving Tuesday - December 2009 List

121. Inquiring minds focused on God's plan
122. Faith that God works through all things to His glory
123. Sweet Christmas foods
124. Thoughtful encouragement from a Pastor
125. A reliable car
126. Cooling summer rain
127.Wonderful friends at church
128. Satisfaction in knowing God is at work
128. Bosciola chips!
129. Nacho pizza
130. Date night with my boy
131. Wise decisions from my husband
132. Prayers committed to faith in God's plan
133. Sleepless nights
134. Early nights
135. Wisdom of older women
136. Soft spikiness of his cheek
137. Firm touch of his hand
138. Dinner date night
139. Chilled out music
140. Moisturiser for dry hands
141. The will to study the Word
142. Made-up bed
143. Wonderful moments to treasure
144. Lifetime friends who know
145. Thousands crowding for carols
146. Candle light in the night air
147. Bat silhouettes
148. Clothes that still fit
149. Deep kisses
150. That last deep breath before their tears stop
151. Time to explain
152. Family loudness
153. Quiet fishing

Monday, July 5, 2010

Admiring Mr. Awesome!

This week's Completing Him Challenge is to admire your husband. It is so easy for me to focus on all the things that didn't go my way, or to pick apart the tiniest of flaws.  Today I'm going to be counter-cultural and tell you some things I admire about my husband. 

Things I think are Awesome about Mr. Awesome!

His maniacal laugh, his faith, his gentleness, his serving nature, the way he just gets on and gets the job done, his jokes, the way he would do anything to see me smile, his independent spirit, the way that he supports me in anything I choose to do, his BBQ skills!, his patience, his sense of humour, his hugs, the sense of deep loyalty he has for those around him, the way her perseveres when things get tough, his sense of determination and the strength with which he undertakes hard tasks, the warmth he has in his eyes when he sees me, his amazing intelligence, his practicality, the way he grins... 

Mr. Awesome... I love you!

Demonstrating how to be a red STOP light man. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

30 Excellent Books Update

Back in January I decided to read 30 excellent books in 2010. The point was to stretch my mind and spend time focussed on things that would pull me forward, majorly in the areas of Christian living and spiritual discipline. Its time to review the list and see how I'm doing!

I originally only chose 21 books so that I was open to reading other books that crossed my path throughout the year. It seems that so far I have read more "other" books than those on the original list! 

My 2010 30 Excellent Books List (in no particular order)

  1. Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes
  2. A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A Carson
  3. According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy
  4. From Clutter To Clarity by Nancy Twigg
  5. The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
  6. The Lion Handbook to the Bible by David and Pat Alexander
  7. The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
  8. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
  9. Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartin
  10. Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Omartin
  11. The Plight of Man and The Power of God by Martin Lloyd-Jones
  12. How Should We Then Live by Frances A. Schaeffer
  13. Guidance and the Voice of God by Phillip D. Jensen and Tony Payne
  14. Knowing God by J.I. Packer
  15. Knowledge of the Holy by A.W Tozer
  16. The Pursuit of God by A.W.Tozer
  17. Commentary on Romans by Martin Luther
  18. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  19. The Cross by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  20. Spiritual Blessing by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  21. Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  22. Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman
  23. The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman
  24. How Women Help Men Find God by David Morrow
  25. Finding God by Larry Crabb
  26. Home Court Advantage by Dr. Kevin Leman
  27. Hungry for God by John Piper
Some of the reason for my slowness has been the difficulty of finding the books I originally set out to read - most of these were recommendations so I didn't actually own them (note to self: next year I will pick all the books on my shelf I haven't read yet!). I also have had a number of work related books to read this year which have devoured some of my time and energy. I currently have about 4 of these books on the go (I have a very distractable personality so I like to have different options at anyone time!!) and I intend to blog about several of these that I have recently finished reading also. 

I thought it was probably also time to have a quick reflect on the goals I set for 2010. 

  • Find time to have quiet time with God everyday - I am still working on this but at the moment I am managing around 3-4 days a week
  • Use less internet each day - create stillness in the home - hmmm..this one needs work...!
  • Have less junk in my life - physically and spiritually -physically I have been through 3 of the 6 rooms in our home so far and have been ruthless in riding us of the excess junk we just don't need - typically I have saved the harder rooms for last!!
  • Read 30 excellent books
  • Complete the first level of the Preliminary Theological Certificate - I am hoping that now that work has settled down I will be able to enroll for the next intake of subjects in the series.
  • Plan meals to manage the budget more effectively - we are finally starting to save more effectively through managing our budget and particularly our food. I am learning to use my freezer and slow cooker to help keep the costs down and not throw out so much food. 
  • Memorise Ephesians this year- oh dear - this is one I haven't even STARTED yet!
  • Remember more and forget less! hmmm.... only those around me can tell me if this is working! I am trying very hard to return phone calls emails and messages in reasonable time frames and to remember the things that I promise people I will do for them! 
  • Complete sewing projects for gifts and for the house - is a sewing list ever complete? I think that's a whole blog post in itself!
Overall, I have perhaps been a little ambitious in my goal setting for this year - but on the positive side we are only half way through! Praying that God will give me the strength to prioritise. 

How are your goals going this year?