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It is very easy to stop and complain about what is happening in our lives. What is more difficult is taking a moment or two to be grateful for something we may already have.

What made you grateful this week? Made a new friend? Had coffee with an old one? A friend fell pregnant? The sun was shining? You got to put your feet up and enjoy your favourite drink?

Stop for a moment - think about it.

Mine was getting to enjoy some time in the pool with my family. It was hot, I was having a bad day and just having the cool water wash over me as I dived in made the difference. Seeing the smiling little faces of the three "boys" in my life as they tossed each other around the pool was icing on the cake.

There had to be at least one, if not  more of those special little moments this week that made me smile. What was yours??

Have a great weekend and I hope you had a special Valentines day. Mine was nice, flowers, breakfast made for me and out for a coffee and morning tea. Another moment to be grateful for.

Cheers,

Lee



 
 
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I was perusing my Facebook page the other day when I came across a post from a friend of mine. Now let's be clear it is a Facebook friend not one I have in "real" life but one I find interesting none the less.
 
The post was on adversity and overcoming events in your life. He talked about things that he had overcome and how he was still able to move on in his life with a sense of purpose and joy.

Now it is not my place to mention someone else's traumatic events so I will not be going into what happened to him but I must add that once I had read his story and just one other friends (who had commented underneath) and I realised the enormity of what they had overcome I realised how much I had to be grateful.

My parents are divorced, my family is a little fractured, I live in a different state to every  person I am related to but these problems were so small and insignificant next to these two peoples worries. I thought perhaps it was time I took a moment to reflect on what I was thankful for in my life, not just focus on the areas I issue with.

This is not to say that I now believe you have to have something huge happen before you can worry about anything or count it as a worthwhile event in your life. I mean, how big does a bump in the road have to be to count as something big?? I believe that problems are very subjective and personal to each person but what I really wanted to focus on here was joy. Moments of happiness. To think about, to dwell on, to enjoy.

So each week on a Friday I am going to share with you something that gave my life joy, purpose and meaning that week and I would love it if you would share yours with me.

So to start of the very first TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) post I give you my moment of happiness from this week the first of February. (Imagine a litle bit of fanfare here - you know streamers, trumpets ... that kind of thing)

This morning I play wrestled with my two (and a half ) year old little guy on the lounge room floor and as I held him down I smothered his face with light kisses. He laughed with such joy and abandon that it filled my heart with joy.

There - that's it. Simple. But the thought of that moment even while he is asleep having his afternoon nap still brings a smile to my face.

I would love to hear you moment of joy from this week. What was it??

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
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A number of years ago my eldest son who was then an only child and about four years of age was babysat by a friend of mine. I had to go and do something that required him not to be there (I can't remember what it was). Later that day he told me how much he had enjoyed my friend looking after him and when I asked him what it was he liked about it the most he said "it was great because she played with me."

Well, didn't that feel a bit like a slap in the face! The train of thoughts in my head went round and round questioning what kind of mother  I  was if he had enjoyed an afternoon spent with someone else much more than he did with me! I play with him all the time, I thought. But then when I really rationalised it, I realised that I probably didn't.

As a parent, you want to spend a fair amount of quality time with your kids each day, I mean, you're around each other a lot - there must be heaps of quality play time in there? But then when you look at that long list of stuff to get through, play time often scores pretty lowly on the to do list. I mean, there is all that meaningful stuff like washing, cleaning the floors, cooking... actually when you look at it like that, there isn't that much meaningful stuff on there at all but the thing is, it still has to be done.

This past week I was away visiting my mum in Fingal Bay (which is a really beautiful beach suburb close to Newcastle in New South Wales) with my two year old. Mum lives in a retirement village... how's the serenity? Well, actually it was really nice, thank you. All of the activities are pretty low key, no wild parties or anything like that and you can only drive in the village at 8km (yep, that's right 8 - that was not a typo) so traffic isn't really an issue. Mum spent most of the week focusing on doing all that boring stuff (that still has to be done) and I spent the week playing with my two year old. Wow, what a revelation! We went to the beach every morning and every afternoon, we got a visit in to the park each day, we ate ice cream and we watched the boats bob on the water and it was marvellous.

Now that we are home again all that boring stuff comes crashing back in on me like I have never been away. It's amazing how quickly you can get back into the swing of monotony. The big difference for me is that my little guy wanted to go outside today and play for a while and I usually watch him through the window while I sort washing, (or complete some other mundane job) but today I looked at his joyful little face and thought all that stuff can wait .... and it did. We jumped on the trampoline, played catch and sat down together to share a bag of chips.

All that stuff will still be there, but it can wait. After all, nobody ever laid on their deathbed wishing they had got one more load of washing in.

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
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The outdoor garden area at Sugardough.
Here we are again and it's Monday already. The weekend always seems to pass so quickly and it's nice to not have to race kids from school pick up to after school activities. The weekend is our families chance to take a breather and try a few new things out. 

So here's the thing. Everyone that knows me well (oh, alright even people I don't know that well) know that I love cake. I mean what's not to like!!?? Don't answer that.... it was rhetorical anyway. I have my favourite places but I have also been known to drive across town to try a new one out. So when I read an article a few weeks ago in the Sunday paper about the top 5 cakes places in Melbourne, my first thought was .... What!! I've only been to one of these places, how can that possibly be? My second thought was, Challenge accepted!!

So after spending the morning organising everyone else's breakfasts, getting them dressed, packing bags with the multitude of things you have to take with you "just in case" when you are out and about with a toddler and a little bit of kid (and husband) wrangling and we were in the car on our way to Sugardough, Panificio Patisserie. It's located at 163 Lygon Street in Brunswick East (just in case you would like to pay them a visit yourself).

Once we finally arrived at our sweet destination we found that there was not a seat to be had. While our 9 year old and his toddler brother pressed their faces against the glass it was  hard to even see the cakes let alone move around the cafe, I've been in ensuites that were bigger. But, having said that once we did get a look at the cakes, they were amazing. The kids of course, picked their usual cupcakes - I don't think they even noticed anything else. I picked a couple of yummy treats to take home; a three layered vanilla cake and a chocolate brulee. We found a couple of seats outside for the kids to eat their cupcakes. You know, because there was no way they were going to last until we got home and when the kids were almost done, we realised there was a lovely little garden seating area out the back. Oh well, next time.

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My photo's really don't do these justice - but due to the difficult nature of food photogra.....oh, alright. I ate them.
Now even though this was an outing for cake we decided to stop in and visit a little deli on Lygon St which we had seen featured on Getaway and it was so worth the visit!! More cake which was of course, delightful. But the real reason we went there was the cheese. La Parisienne Pates is located at 290 Lygon St, Carlton and they had the most amazing selection of cheese and cold meats. I had to try the cheese which was shown on the episode of Getaway which made me want to go and visit in the first place.  You heat up the cheese in the little container it comes in and then dip crusty bread straight into it. Yum!
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The cheese comes like this.
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It's making my mouth water just looking at it.
I ended up taking a small portion of the cheese and putting it into a ramekin to heat up and eat. (You can only eat so much cheese in one sitting!)
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The cheese ready for dipping with the crusty baguette. Yum.


I love a lazy Sunday where you can just wander around with the family and try out a few new tasty treats. So we took our booty home and had a crusty baguette with cheese and olive salami for lunch with beautiful cakes for desert. It was like the best day ever!!

Hope the weekend with your family was just as nice.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
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So what kind of mother are you? If you didn't catch the article on A Current Affair the other night about Mummy Mafia's you could be forgiven for saying ... well how many categories are there?

According to the latest parenting "expert" (who has written a book), there are at least 80 different kinds on mums. One of those being the chardonnay mum - the mum who can't wait for 5 o'clock to hit, to pour herself a glass of wine. Perhaps it's just the crowd I hang with but that one title alone describes nearly every mum I know. I'm not talking about a throw down alcoholic binge, just a glass to take the edge off at the end of the day. So from where I'm sitting it would have been a very short book if I'd written it. But I digress, those are not the types of mum to which I am referring. What I am talking about comes more down to whether you allow fun in your house, how much of it and what type? 

In downtown Melbourne it has been raining pretty much on and off for the past few weeks. Yes, of course we do get that crack of sunlight which manages to break through every so often but those are few and far between. The significance of this is that there are lots of puddles about the place. So here is the dilemma that causes the great "fun" divide. Do you let your kids go out and jump in said puddles or do you rein them in to cleaner indoor activities so as not to create more unnecessary work for yourself??

You see I kinda get both sides. I am on the "there's your boots, go for it my friend" side of the fence. But I do have a little internal dialogue that goes something like this "it's ok, only his boots will get wet and they're waterproof anyway... OK, so now his pants are getting a little wet.. it's only the bottoms of them. No big deal. Oh, look his pants are pretty much wet to the crotch now. Calm down you can wash it, what does it matter? Oh, now his shirt is getting wet... and look there's mud..." I am sure I am not alone in this internal struggle of fun against dirt.  

At the end of the day, it didn't hurt anyone. It was free entertainment and he was having the most wonderful time, even if I did have to pour the muddy water out of his half full boots at the end.

Seriously, what can you do when you see that happy little face but grab a camera and let him go for it!! But, that's just my opinion and if I was honest I would have to say it has taken me a while to embrace this side, having a bit of an issue with dirt and yet more washing myself.

So which side of this issue do you fall on? I would love to know.

Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend.... it must be nearly 5 o'clock somewhere by now?

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
Hello there,

Having a baby is hard work and anyone that tells you any different is lying to your face and is not your friend. Being pregnant is also hard - not for all people (and those people I would like to punch) but it certainly was for me. I spent nine months vomiting, with severe headaches, massive mood swings, oily hair and a massive set of bazoombas I had to rest on the table when we went out to give my back a break. 

Having said that there are wonderful moments in between and this is my favourite photograph of one of those moments, so I wanted to share it with you. I have this picture on my bedside table and I look at it every night before I go to bed and it makes me smile. Not because I look so tired and warn out (and I do - why wouldn't I, it was bloody hard work!) but because of that little head the size of a grape fruit resting on my shoulder. What an amazing thing! And when my little guy, who is now two came up to me the other day and rested his head against me like that because he was upset, I thought to myself how wonderful it is to be held by someone who loves you unconditionally and who can make you feel better just by wrapping you up in their arms. I would have to say, that's one of the best bits.

Have an amazing weekend.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
Hey there Groovy Chicks,

I hope that you have had a great week.... and if not it's almost the weekend, so perhaps next week can be a do-over. I know as a stay at home mum that not having a regular "working" day or even working week can mean that days often blend into each other. I know myself I have forgotten what day it was a number of times this week. So I have put together a few lovely things to inspire, motivate or perhaps just make you smile.

Lunch Box Inspirations and Pretty Tasty Things

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Timbuktu Magazine
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Picture from design-dautore.com
I don't know that I have the time or energy to actually make either of these "dishes" but I
thought they were great anyway. Lunch box inspiration never goes astray. If you
have a go yourself I would LOVE to see it! And that cake looked so beautiful -
what can I say.... I love a good cake.

Crafty Stuff to do with the Kids

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from www.smallhandsbigart.com
I really love this idea. Very simple but lots of fun!! There are a few options for making these. You could have some dress up fun first (each child needs four different outfits - so you have a picture for each side) or you could just use magazine pictures. Either way it would be fun. You can get the kids involved in the cutting and gluing and then the actual fun of mixing and matching the bodies. I know kids love doing stuff which is all about them, so having pictures of your kids to do this with would only add to the entertainment value. Instructions are at http://smallhandsbigart.com/blog/featured-article/mix-match-dolls/  if you want to see how they did it and learn from their mistakes. Awesome idea!

The winner of ........ I wish I was there right now.

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Italy in the summer picture from design-dautore.com
I included this picture because it has been so very cold in Melbourne lately and I really wanted to be there in the warm... and it looked so very beautiful.

Websites to Check Out

OK, lastly I know I have already brought up www.picmonkey.com before but if you have not had a little play with it already you are really missing out. So I have decided to include (with her permission, of course!) a before and after example from someone I have converted to a lover of picmonkey. No, I am not on commission... I just love what you can do with it!!
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Before picmonkey
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After picmonkey.
I told you it was impressive!!
Anyhoo, I am hoping you have enjoyed today's joylights. These really are a few of the things that have brought me some joy this week or just amused me.  

Have a wonderful weekend.

Cheers,

Lee

PS Sending a big warm fuzzy hug and I hope you feel better real soon to my BFF Daniela, who is not doing so well this week.
 
 
Welcome to Friday! I have put together a few tasty and fun things for you to look at this week. Things which made me smile or I just thought they should be shared. I hope you like looking at the Friday Joylights as much as I like putting it all together for you. 

Well, today is a bit of a special day ... probably more for me but I am sharing it with you anyway. Today marks the end of the first month of posting online for Mother-Load.. Yay me!! Yes, I know in the grand scheme of things a month is not a fantastic length of time (and when people have been dating for that length of time and feel the need to celebrate it, it's really a bit sad) but when you look at the fact that I have kept to my (self) challenge of posting everyday it's pretty impressive...... well for me anyway. So yay, look at me go!

Happy 1 month Mother-Load!!

OK, enough about me ....  First up we have

Websites you should check out.

Did you ever want a recipe book where you could put in what you actually have left in the fridge and pantry and it gives you some great ideas on what you can make with it?? Well da da, here it is  - My Fridge Food http://www.myfridgefood.com/index.php - just click on the ingredients you have and away you go. Try it out for yourself.

Stuff on my "to buy cause it looks so tasty list"

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Mr Stanley's Pink & White Coconut Ice from www.johnlewis.com
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From Ganache Chocolates.
How yummy do these things look? How could you not want to get your hands on them? I love coconut ice - and this box is sooo pretty.... and really, what do you say about chocolate and shoes!! I should think, no words are necessary...

Kids activities to give you a bit of quiet time

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From holistichomemaking.org
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Ocean in a bag by Crafts and Art for children.
I love love love both of these fantastic ideas and I will definitely be giving both of them a whirl to keep my small person entertained.  (I have attached links to the pictures for the original blogs and instructions for you to have a go - if you so desire)

And lastly ... things that looked yummy and made me happy

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From DeelusciousCupcakes
As you may have noticed by now, I do have just a little bit of a sweet tooth. Oh alright, a big one. But these were just so pretty how could I not put them in!?

Have a wonderful Friday, look around for things that make you happy and make sure you notice that lovely moment when you find them.

Toodles,

Lee
 
 
In the round up of things I liked, or that amused me or images that brought me
some joy this week it was very difficult to stop adding things! 

I have come across some amazing images, projects and fun stuff but I did manage to narrow it down to a small selection - or taster if you will - of stuff I liked this week. After all, we are all busy girls and we only have so much time to dedicate to things other than households, kids and everything else in between.

Stuff which would take too much time to actually make but I liked the look of anyway......

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From Boutique Buffets
I loved, loved, loved the finished look of this amazing little chocolate "desert bowl". It looks incredible and I'm sure would really impress - but I don't believe I would have the dedication to follow it through to completion? And you?
I loved the idea of being able to recycle the cot into something so useable. I may store this idea away for future consideration. Or perhaps this is another one of those moments where I turn to my husband and say .... Oh honey, how busy are you? I have the best idea ....

And who doesn't love cake??

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From Catchmyparty.com
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From Cakecentral.com
How beautiful are these wonderful little cakes!! I would never have the patience to actually make them myself but I thought they were desirable none the less, so I wanted to share them with you.

Favourite Photo Editing Site

A friend of a friend recommended picmonkey.com for photo editing - and I thought "I don't have time to learn another new thing" but I went and had a look anyway ... and I'm totally hooked on picmonkey. It has really easy photo editing tools, lots of lovely filters and tricks to make your so, so images look - fabulous. And it is FREE - yay free!!
 
I think there may be plans to charge for extra tools or filters at some time in the future but don't let that put you off. There is even a wrinkle remover and a lip gloss tool - in case you didn't have time to slap something on before the camera was brought out. You can even add text and little stickers and all sorts of fun stuff too, to create cards (if you have the energy). Here is a little sample of a before and some afters so you can see what picmonkey does. Anyway don't take my word for it ... go check it out yourself.
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Before
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After using a few filters.
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After using different filters and having a bit of a play.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at these lovely things and perhaps were inspired by one of the ideas... at the very least go and take a look a picmonkey.com and glam yourself up with the airbrush tool, you'll know then how those ladies in the women's mags look so much better than women in everyday life.

Enjoy,

Lee
 
 
I have posted a little about finding your joy in the past and I know that sometimes when you are bogged down by the same old stuff each week, every week, it's hard to focus on the good stuff. In a concerted effort to focus more on the good stuff I have decided to share the highlights of all the things I enjoyed or the stuff which made me smile each week. Basically some "joylights" from the week.

Favourite blogs / Facebook page's of the week.

Portraits of Wildflowers - has some amazingly beautiful nature close -ups. A nice cup of tea and a scroll through here is almost like getting some breathing room and going on a nice walk through nature..... Almost.
From Timbuktu Magazine's Facebook page - lots of really fun pictures for kids and stuff to do with them. I loved this particular pic. of "lunch" - but I do wonder if I would make the effort to create them myself....I'm going to go with probably not.  

Favourite show of the week goes to .....

If you have not seen Snow White and the Huntsman get yourself a babysitter and get out there. I know its a effort and it's cold - but do it anyway. I also went to see Rock of Ages, with Tom Cruise which was not bad either. I actually caught both of these movies in the last week which is ironic because these are the only movies I've actually made it to see all year! That's probably my quota for 2012, so don't expect a lot more of them.

Pretty stuff I just liked and wanted to share

I don't even own an iphone - but I love this little cover anyway. The image just made me happy.
I'm not planning on wearing them - they amused me.

Just a few quick ones to add at the end. I am also loving

* The fact that my two year old little guy is now talking in sentences - yay, very cute. Although it's usually to demand something, so manners are high on the to do priority list. And my nine year old is finally experimenting with new foods - dinner times having always been a battle at our house. So now that that's subsided we have gone back to being regaled with Skylander stories and knock knock jokes at the dinner table.... but I'm sure that's a win - Right?

* Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/ - if you have not gotten into it yet, check it out. It's like an online cork board to keep all your stuff on the net. I know it sounds like one more thing to learn about but trust me it's worth it.  There is some great stuff for the kids and you on there.

* I also enjoyed the fact that my hubby was on holidays with us this week during the school holidays which made it feel less like groundhog day, even though it was a "stay-cation" (i.e - we pretty much hung around the house, unless you count our visit to Costco and my happy place San Churros as a day out).

Wishing you a weekend of "joylights"

Tooddles,

Lee