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Changing Meal Culture for 2019 in our family!

If I could change one thing for 2019 in my families daily routine, it would be the pain around mealtime culture. Six o’clock is one of the most painful times of my day. I am exhausted, my kids are over it and the table sitting in the middle of my kitchen becomes our battlefield.

Mealtime culture brings with it a whole heap of triggers from my childhood. By accident, we stumbled upon something that was genius in our mealtime family peace, and it is simply this.

We bought a roundtable. A gold moment of revelation; when everyone sits equally around the table. 

One of the things that has profoundly changed my 2018, is sitting at our roundtable and surrendering to the pain that I have found waiting there. I find it difficult to relax at the dinner table and enjoy my meals with the intensity of that time of day with the age of our children. I eat as fast as possible to skip over the drama that is sure to unfold, and I retreat to the sink.

How about your family?

Is mealtime peaceful or is it a time of all-out war!

Four Thoughts That Have Helped Me Shift Meal Time Culture In My Family

HIGH POINTS AND LOW POINTS

Conversation and food go hand in hand don’t they?

Yes, when friends sit around with a glass of wine, or a board game in front of us. Full of cheer, beauty and maybe a big ham at Christmas with a pot of mustard on the side.

But what about the times when sleep is in our eyes, as dawn breaks a new day?

I don’t want to speak to anyone or the times when my husband comes home after a twelve hour shift and I have spent the afternoon trying desperately to negotiate between my children. This year we brought a simple question to our roundtable that has helped conversation flow in the tenure of our little team.

The question is this;

What was a high-point from your day today?

Then often on the back of this question comes the divulging of a low point as well. Teaching our children to talk at the dinner table has brought with it a focus and peace in our family each afternoon. It has also become a simple communication tool between a husband and wife, who are desperately trying to juggle all there responsibilities in a career balancing act.

EATING FROM NATIONS OF THE WORLD

Mealtimes often brings with it, emotions around dislikes, outbursts of frustration and fear. Recent studies show that the culture of a families dinner table directly impacts teenage obesity and dietary habits. It is a problematic part of family life, especially with young children and different dietary needs — the difficulty surrounding families with budgets, nutrition and understanding the complexity of the changing nature of information around healthy eating.

We have started to introduce countries of the world in the way we eat as a family. With music, different tastes and kinds of foods and distracted our children with facts and stories from these different and diverse cultures.

We want our children to explore the global diversity that is found across mealtime cultures. Finding ways to introduce new tastes and experiences though can be really tough. It brings interest outside of the food on the table and helps them find simple pleasures in trying something new.

SITTING AT THE TABLE

The last thing I feel like doing often is sitting at the table and facing the people who see me at my best and worst. I am definitely not that bright and sparky morning person. It takes me a few coffees or hours to find my words and thoughts clearly.

I have been really trying to change the culture that I knew of sitting in front of the television to eat, or eating takeaway in the car. Finding ways to sit at the table, to breathe, to talk and find rhythm has been a huge shift in culture this year in our meal time routine.

How often do you sit at your table and eat mindfully?

THE WORD DIET HAS BEEN BANNED IN OUR HOUSE

The word diet has been banned in our house. I was put on my first diet when I was about eight years of age and pretty much every year since I have embarked on some kind of eating restriction program. The problem is it works sometimes, but mostly it has become an up and down regime of cycles of food addiction and complexity that has never helped. I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that food is her enemy or her comfort. The language we have chosen for our house is that food is fuel. That is it. Food is not a reward. Food is not a punishment. Food is not comfort. It is fuel. Therefore food is not good or bad, it is just an every day food or a sometimes food. Removing the emotion and shame based dialogues around this part of our everyday life. I know friends and family who start a new diet every Monday and then come back to a place again of failure and reinforcing the shame based patterns.

The word diet has been banned in our house because we want our children to grow up with a healthy sense of how to live a life that honours the body they have been given.

How do you react to the word diet?

Take the time to talk about the culture of mealtimes in your family. I have created a family vision book tool this year, that you can download and start conversations like this with your family and partner.

DOWNLOAD TODAY

TOGETHER; NEW YEAR VISION DAYBOOK

Are there some simple ways that you can make a small change next year?

This simple tool will help you define and articulate the culture in your family home.

Amanda Viviers

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Small changes in our family that have changed everything

Have you ever thought “surely things need to change?”

As a family, we have been intentionally shifting the atmosphere in our house. Little steps, small decisions to let go of our days and embrace the moments as the season shifts again. Winter to Spring, three-year-old to four-year-old.  Sleep deprived Mum of toddlers to chief negotiator of children who talk a lot!

My husband recently emailed me this poem he found and we have been actively applying it to the letter. Laying our phones down, switching them off and throwing out anything in our house that doesn’t bring joy.

Movie nights and embracing our big feelings. Running off to the pool instead of doing homework. Giving away things that make us feel cluttered. Taking them out after they had already been in bed for fifteen minutes to catch pokemon on our windy foreshore.

I have a tendency to lean towards the serious. If you meet me in person, I am much better at a one on one conversation than a quick shallow networking moment. I am extroverted on stage, but quite introverted by nature in my everyday.

My children draw all the words I have stored up in my memory bank of imagination. My work is words and then I find myself swirling at 5 pm because I am in desperate need of letting go of all the feelings I have accidentally packed into my emotional backpack.

Laying it all down.

Doing all the hard things.

Focusing on the present rather than disappearing into my future through story and imagination.

Children are miraculous, but they are deep sea divers in your patience and history.

Let’s remember this and sit on the floor and bang pots with them. One day soon I’ll be waving them off to university. But for today, I will embrace the little things that bring them great delight and remember that releasing control is often one of the greatest achievements we will ever attain.

Love

Amanda

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School Mum Hacks; a list of resources I have found to help make a Mums Day!

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I am totally a Novice School Mum, but I have been on the search for some Mum hacks to prepare my family for some wins. Number one, tell my husband to bring wine home after work and chocolate and flowers. And takeaway Thai food. That is my sure fire success recipe for a happy Mum!

Here are some more gems I have gathered along the way…

Thirteen School Mum Hacks

  1. B B Cream- Basically BB Cream, is an all in one Beauty Balm. It is super simple and super quick, but it is designed to combine all your beauty regimes into one. It moisturises, protects and corrects all in one. It sounds like I am advertising someone, but I am seriously not. It is basically a light foundation cream, sunburn cream and moisturising cream in one. I bought some from Aldi today, but my all time favourite is: Garnier BB Cream, it has been my go-to light foundation bronzer for years.
  2. Whole Loaf Freezer- I remember at least twenty years ago sitting in my Aunts kitchen as she made a whole loaf worth of sandwiches at a time. My Aunty had eight children. We would sit and watch her make a whole loaf worth of sandwiches and then fold the bag down and put them all back in and put them in a freezer. Today I did this for Max. Ham sandwiches are his favourite. So I do a whole loaf at one time and back in the freezer, they go ready to grab out on the run.
  3. Small Snack Recipes- Our families meal time culture is pretty good. We have a whole range of go-to recipes we use over and over, however, Max’s new school is a rubbish free school so finding recipes that are easy for snacks has been my current obsession. Today I made this cinnamon scroll recipe from Be a Fun Mum and it uses just a few ingredients and is amazing. I also make these Egg Snacks often. They are an amazing protein rich snack: wrap bacon around a muffin tin and crack an egg. Bake for ten mins. My kids love them and so does my husband.
  4. Set your cars atmosphere- We have just put a new CD in our car that our kids absolutely love, they sing along and it helps me breathe. We also have a diffuser in our car, with essential oils that are simple but profound. This year I will be spending more time in my car than ever before, so I need to be the one who sets my car’s atmosphere.
  5. Have a Mum Uniform- I was chatting with a seasoned school mum the other day and she said to me “Amanda you need to have a Mum uniform, just like you had one for your career” Simple, easy, go to clothes, that you can grab on the run and not spend hours in front of your cupboard each morning wondering what you are going to wear. One thing I have always done is to lay out my clothes, each night before a busy morning. When I am dressing my kids for bed, I lay out clothes for the next morning. I am not a morning person at all, so the night before when I do this helps me so much the next day.
  6. Each Sunday Night Check my Calander- I have a family calendar on the back of our pantry door and I also have a calendar for work via google calendar on my phone. Every Sunday night I recalibrate all the calendars, checking in on our week, what is needed when and making sure everything is written down for my family.
  7. My Kalita Wave- Rather than taking the time to make an espresso, the Kalita Wave, is a drip coffee system that is seriously as easy as instant but no one has time for an instant. Ha, ha. You grind some coffee, pour hot water over and take with you on the run. I bought mine from Five Senses. Here is their article explaining how to use it.
  8. My Slow Cooker is my obsession- I cook with my slow cooker at least three to four times a week. I put everything and anything into it. Right now, there is a simple curry sauce, with a leg of lamb, that is slowly cooking away and I will add sweet potato and more vegetables to it closer to dinner time.
  9. Over Night Oats- A simple and easy breakfast for all is simple oats, soaked overnight in individual serves. I love putting them in jars, some oats, some coconut milk and any additions that I like, cinnamon, apple, blueberries. In the morning I put some yogurt on top and off we go.
  10. Washing Every Morning, Folding Every Night– Every school day, I wash in the morning and hang out before leaving the house and I fold and put away each load. It is funny, but when I have this rhythm happening, it is like everything else in my house runs much better. Wash in the morning and fold, put away at night. It is a satisfying way to keep this part of my families chores humming.
  11. Handle my mail once- I have a little rule, that if possible, I try to handle my mail only once. As it comes in from the mailbox, I throw it away, I file it or I pay the bill as soon as I can. Pieces of paper aimlessly cruising around spaces can be so cluttery. So I have a little mantra. Handle the mail once. Junk- bin. Bills- pay them. Information required- on the back of the fridge. When they are finished with throw out.
  12. Empty the Car- Each time I come in from the car, I do my best to empty it. Also whenever I have things that need to go with us on the way out, I line them up near the door. Each time I empty the car it recreates a simpler space for us to drive around in. This is a hard one for me, with a two-year-old, because I am constantly stopping her from running away, but I do my best to bring everything I have inside.
  13. Buy the Flowers, Buy the chocolate and Buy the takeaway Thai- It’s funny some days how I end up feeling so sorry for myself waiting for someone to buy me flowers or acknowledge how hard I work as a Mum. In my career, yes I had people telling me what a bad job I was doing, but I also had so many people encouraging me along the way. I have learned as a Mum, some days, like today, you just need to buy yourself flowers. When we are kind to ourselves everyone wins.

These are just some thoughts from my swirling, first day of full time School Mum head.

Tell me your #schoolmumhacks and link me some great recipes and ideas below!

Happy Days Friends.

Amanda Marie

 

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I love humans

I love humans

Yesterday was a bizarre old day with many a challenge. The greatest one being we seemed to loose a poo. Yes, you read that right. Maybe four and a half years of having two little cling on’s roaming around everywhere with me has casued this, but my blog has now sunk to new levels.

The case of the missing package began when I was having my five mins with Kym. She is one of my coping strategies as a Mum and most days we have a five-minute phone conversation. Yesterday I needed my five minutes. I wanted to talk about something other than aeroplanes, nappies, trains and shopkins. And especially I did not want to talk about the potty, the toilet, wiping your bum or flushing the toilet, singing a song that included washing our hands and be on our way.

I snuck away into my bedroom for five minutes of peace and as I popped my head around the corner, I saw that there were remnants of the former present, left as a clue that a game of poo and seek would now be required. I quickly said goodbye to my friend after only three minutes with Kym and ran quickly to check my new lounge room rug and breathed a sigh of relief.

My rug had survived another near tragedy and I began to search. I looked in every corner, in every toy box, I searched under the rug and offered bribes to both Miss nearly two and Mr four and a half. The case of the missing present lasted for three hours. Three long hours of searching every single corner in my house, with the case remaining left unsolved.

It wasn’t til late last night as I shook my head in confusion that it dawned on me what might have happened to the unwanted load. Maybe she took it off to its rightful place in the bathroom and flushed away its existence.

No.

Couldn’t be.

Could it.

I have been teaching her this for the last three months.

Did she actually “gasp” do what I had shown her?

As I laid there in absolute shock, I quickly thought about this little scenario. How often do I believe the very worst, than the best possible explanation for one’s behaviour?

In life, I think we might be saved a whole heap of worry, fear, searching and procrastination if we just believed the best, rather than the worst. We live in a world that is unravelling at its seams and every single day we are bombarded with problems and justified arguments, sad stories and divorce.

What if we just believed the best case scenario and worked the rest out later? With our children, with our husbands, in our workplaces and schools.

I love what Audrey Hepburn says;

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn

I am starting to realise there is so much more that I believe in, than what I hate. But so often I am inclined in this season to swing straight to the tragedy, than believing the very best.

I love humans and I want to be known for loving them right down to their very ordinary moments. I want my kids to know that they are loved, that they are accepted right now, even when they do the craziest stuff.

Why didn’t I believe that my daughter would do something as simple as the things I had already taught her too?

Why do I often go straight to worse case scenario and spend my whole afternoon looking for something when the answer had been just so simple.

I am learning a lesson from the case of the missing poo…Maybe I should believe that the very little, seemingly ordinary and repetitive moments with my little humans is actually sinking in.

Maybe, unless I find her little package somewhere like at the back of the pantry.

But for now, I am on a mission to believe the best, rather than exploding into the worst case scenarios. Every single time.

Hilairous.

And so very sobering.

Happy Tuesday my friend,

Tuesdays are for dancing

Amanda

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Teary Ballerina’s and learning to change the way I think. Again.

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Tiny Ballerina | Liberty ninth of Feb | twenty sixteen.

If there is one scripture that I have cliched, wrapped in gladwrap and handed out with ease, it is Philippians 4: 8…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

It is seriously my go to favourite.

The last two weeks, I have had to tell and re-tell the wisdom of these simple words to myself over and over.

One could say twenty sixteen has not gotten off to the best start here in our household. From all of my great expectations, I have been struggling to find my peace in the midst of a swell that has been rising. I feel like I have been in a strong ocean current and every time I have gained my breath and landed my sight on the shoreline, I have been dunked again.

When life is treating you like a spin cycle on a washing machine, what can you do?

How do you hold on, when the cycle hits full speed?

I have remembered and I have counselled, get back to your basics and refresh your internal world. My thoughts rage against a peaceful life and these last few weeks have been no different.

Another version of this scripture says it this way;

Keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things.”

My little ballerina has struggled so much the last two weeks, sleeping, clinging, screaming and crying. She has not handled the transition of big brother waltzing off to school. It was Max that I was worried about but his comment on the second day as we entered the school gates was “No photos and you can go now” showed me that he was handling the transition just fine. It was my teary ballerina that I left in his wake, that had me scrambling as a Mumma Bear.

Yesterday I found myself thinking, I just need to give everything up, I cant do this, this is my fault. You know the guilt driven dialogue well. One of the greatest silencers of our voice, is negative words that do everything they can to stop the dreamer from rising. The words we speak over ourselves can either be the greatest elixir of inspiration or the most devastating of mute button.

We are often silenced mostly in our dream realms from the words we speak to and over ourselves.

Our inner dialogue is the most profound anticipators of our future. The more we tell ourselves we can’t, the less likely we are to actually have a go. The more we tell ourselves we can and reframe who is in control of our future, the more success will follow us.

Our dream battles are often won and lost in the tenure of our thoughts.

Here I am today telling myself…

Whatever is lovely, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure.

I am going to think about these things.

This is my meditation for today.

How about you?

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