Choices

The choice to love even when they’re not very loving.

The choice to sit and watch a movie (the entire thing) with your child on their birthday instead of tackling your ‘to-do’ list.

The choice to keep your mouth shut even when you want to ‘give them a piece of your mind’.

The choice to say no to something today because tomorrow it will have been the right decision.

The choice to stand up for what you believe in, and be honest when you need to.

The choice to make the tough decisions now to reap the benefits later.

The choice to take a deep breath and a moment to think before disciplining your children.

The choice to put yourself in others shoes and treat them as they would want to be treated.

The choice to have manners.

The choice to be positive. To think of the good in a situation, or someone instead of focusing on the negative.

The choice to slow down and s t o p. Instead of running a million miles an hour and leaving only a mess in your wake.

The choice to live life deliberately and with purpose, instead of circumstances dictating to you.

 

Blessed by birth

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It’s Fathers Day here, and like many other ‘Special Calendar Days’, it has become a day to reflect and contemplate the Fathers in my life. I am so blessed to have some amazing men in my life. My wonderful Dad, who has always been there for me. Soft and tender-hearted, yet strong and stable. He has always been an example to myself (and my siblings) of what it is to be a husband and father. I’m so blessed to have been born into his family.

It’s this upbringing I believe that led me to my husband. We’ve been married for nearly 10 years now, and with 2 children, he’s still the one I’d choose all over again. He’s a fabulous Father to our two young boys. Their eyes light up every time he comes home from work… and wrestle time with Daddy will forever be a favourite.

My wonderful husband, also has a wonderful Father too. I’m so thankful for this. His Dad instilled so many wonderful qualities in him (and some quirky traits too), but I think the one I see the most is love. The love for his children and family. That you know they’d do anything they could for you. With love.

This year the fathers in my life also now extend to my brother. As a new Dad of a gorgeous 6 week old baby girl… it’s wonderful to see him enjoying the journey that we’ve been on the past few years. I’m so excited to see him become the wonderful Father I always knew he would be.

What did I do to deserve all these amazing men in my life?

Nothing. I was born. Born into a family with a mother and father who loved, cared for and cherished me.

I know that Fathers Day is a very difficult day for some, and one day perhaps for me too. It’s with this knowledge that I don’t take it for granted. These wonderful men I’m blessed with will all not be around forever, so I’m going to appreciate and make the most of each moment with them. Thankful for times past and hopeful for times to come.

So reflect. Reflect on all the men in your life, both past, present and future. We all wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

~ Rebecca

Growing Up… Financially.

Recently my husband and I have been on a serious ‘financial journey’, and during conversations with friends and family I’ve had many people ask me how we “do money”. So instead of just posting a link or quick blurb… why not post our story.

“Your situation ultimately comes down to your decisions and what you are willing to sacrifice to make a change.”

~ Dave Ramsey

Approximately 8 months ago my husband and I got “sick and tired of being sick and tired“. We’d had enough of struggling to make ends meet. Had enough of fighting about money, and had enough of feeling like we were never getting anywhere.

I had started listening to a daily podcast on money and life and the lightbulbs had started to turn on. I felt like I’d finally found a strategy and tool that we could use to change our financial situation.

Enter the “Baby Steps“…

I’d been listening to  The Dave Ramsey Show Podcast. Where it’s not just information being ‘thrown’ at you about how to manage money. It’s REAL people calling in about REAL situations, and someone honestly and genuinely giving advice. There is no ‘theory’ about it… it’s all about ‘real’ life.

My husband raised his eyebrows each time I mentioned the podcast I was obsessed about. To say he was hesitant at first would be an understatement. But after many conversations, and him allowing me to play him a couple of excerpts, we started talking about it more and our mindsets began to change.

With me being the ‘nerd’ and him the ‘free spirit’. I prepared for him some information showing where we were financially and what it was going to take for us to get ahead. There was no magic formula or special system that was going to get us out of our ‘rut’, but a couple of simple things:

- We had to increase our income

- We had to commit to a written budget every month

- We had to spend less than we made

- We had to COMMUNICATE

- We had to have a plan

So in essence… it was time for us to grow up!

Within the first month of us ‘getting serious’, my amazing and hard-working husband had found a new job (he was  previously self-employed, but his health had been deteriorating and he was really in need of a change).
We sat down and did our first monthly budget. Where we gave each dollar a purpose.
We saved our ‘Starter Emergency Fund‘.
We cut up all our credit cards and created a written plan on how to pay off our debts using the ‘Debt Snowball’.

We began reading and implementing ‘The Total Money Makeover‘.

Two months later we were now on ‘the plan’… full steam ahead… we were “living like no one else”, but we had committed to an overseas holiday in August (’13). So we rolled up our sleeves, got to work saving up cash like crazy and created a written budget for the holiday. Surprise, surprise, it worked. We had a great holiday, paid CASH for it, and came home with no debt and none of that ‘sick in the stomach’ feeling that you get when you then realise now you have to find out how to pay for it. It certainly gave us encouragement to keep going.

Now 8 months since starting our Debt Snowball we are so excited to have NO consumer debt… which means we owe no money to any institution anywhere!
No finance. No car payment. No ‘interest free’. Nothing. Zero. Zip. And it feels GREAT!

This year is now dedicated to knocking out our last debt. A loan to a family member. It’s our last piece of debt, and the last debt we will ever have, aside from a home loan (but more about that another time).

People think we’re strange when we talk about not having debt, and how we don’t have any credit cards. But we’re fine with that. We love the amazing feeling of freedom that we have. And we’re never going back.
Many people I’ve talked to say that they “need” their credit card… or that they always pay it off… and I too used to think this way. But as Dave says “it’s 20% the numbers, and 80% behaviour”. Its the behaviours that credit cards create that make them dangerous. You spend more. You rely on ‘VISA’ more than your own self-control and savings.
And for the believers… what are you putting your ‘faith’ in? Your card, or God?
Ever wonder why they call it ‘Master-Card’?

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It hasn’t always been easy, but it is getting easier. We haven’t always agreed, but we barely fight about money anymore. It’s certainly a journey, but we actually do feel like we’ve finally (financially) ‘grown up’.

Now those who know me, also know that I could write (and talk) forever about subjects that I’m passionate about. So with so much more to say… but self-control taking hold. I hope that this information can be of benefit to someone, and help give you the encouragement you need to know that you CAN change your circumstances, and your destination. If you have questions about any of the above, or would like details on how we budget etc please let me know.

~ Rebecca

My Children Are Not My Own

Ok… for those who know me and are now freaking out… don’t worry. They are ‘my children’. But read on…

For some time now my first born son has had some troubles with his digestive system, he’s mostly dairy intolerant, but still seems to have issues. So this past week, at his Drs check up, I bought it to the attention of my GP again, and it’s now looking like we’re needing to get some more tests done for him.

As a mother I’m concerned for him. Many thoughts flood my mind, but even in all of this I have peace.

Whilst driving in the car today, with my beautiful boys in the back, my thoughts turned to this again. Questions about what might happen… will he be ok… what does the future hold… and I was reminded…

“They are not yours. They are Mine.”

My children are an absolutely wonderful blessing from God. He has entrusted them into my care. He loves them more than I ever could. And wants the best for them greater than I could ever imagine.

The tighter I ‘hold onto them’ will not change anything. Their time on this earth is not determined by anything that I can or can’t do.

To lose a child would obviously be heartbreaking, and I can’t even bear to think about it. But I need to just remind myself to enjoy every day. Make every moment count. Never take for granted the time we all have here on this earth.

So I’m going to slow down a little more. Breath a little more. And try to absorb all these precious moments of the ‘early years’ with my gorgeous boys. Looking forward, and planning for the future, but always being ‘present’ in the present.

~ Bec

Luke 18:16
Psalm 127:3-5

By Request: Leek, Feta & Spinach Tart

I don’t remember what initiated my craving to make something with leeks and feta recently… but I found myself with the ingredients in my fridge and of course had to find a recipe that would satisfy.

So finally I took the chance yesterday and cooked up this yummy Leek, Feta and Spinach Tart with Parmesan, Thyme and Pine Nuts.

Ingredients

200 g feta
1 leek
20 g butter
160 g baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup thickened cream
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon of fresh Thyme
Shaved Parmesan
Handfull of pine nuts
cracked black pepper
1-2 sheets frozen puff pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Remove pastry from freezer and place on baking paper to defrost (keep the plastic on and that side ‘up’).
  3. Cut the leek in half and thinly slice the pale part after washing, to achieve 1 cup.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and lightly saute the leek over medium heat for 4 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach to saucepan, cover and cook until wilted, remove from heat and remove excess water by using a strainer or placing on paper towel.
  6. Combine in a bowl sour cream, cream and lightly beaten eggs. Mix together. Season with cracked black pepper. stir well.
  7. Line a non stick, rectangular quiche pan or tart pan with the pastry, over lapping, gently pushing down in the centre.
  8. Gently push the pastry into the sides of the pan then trim excess pastry.
  9. Place the pastry lined pan onto a baking tray and lightly prick the base with a fork.
  10. Spread the leek and spinach over the pastry, and pour the prepared cream cheese mixture into the pan.
  11. Crumble over the Feta, sprinkle with fresh thyme, shaved parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
  12. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes until firm and golden.
  13. Remove from baking tray before serving or cutting.
  14. Serve with a light green salad and some caramalised balsamic vinegar… YUM!

Here is where I got the original recipe from: http://australian.food.com/recipe/feta-spinach-and-leek-tart-374407?oc=linkback

Busyness vs Happiness

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I read a quote on a page today that read “The busiest people are the happiest people”.

Now I’m a fairly busy person, but I definitely don’t think that being less busy would make me less happy… probably the opposite.

I like to try to find ways to do the things I do more efficiently and with less effort so I can enjoy more of life’s simple happiness.

Think about the ‘simple life’ a few years back, before all the gadgets and gizmo’s that we have now. People were ‘busy’ going about life, but nothing like the pace of life and distractions of todays world.

Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock and enjoy quieter times where we actually picked up the phone to talk to a friend, or just dropped over for a cuppa and cake. When ‘snail mail’ was our first choice and when we couldn’t wait for that once a month phone call to the friend living overseas.

Many may find this strange coming from me as I seem to be a very busy person… yes, I do have lots of things on my plate (and I’m consistently training myself how to take them off, or not put them there in the first place). But I think it’s that I like to be ‘productive’ not just busy. If I’m being busy and not getting anywhere (and that doesn’t have to be tangible), that’s when I’m frustrated.

I like being happy whilst doing things. Being happy at the park with my kids, being happy cooking dinner, being happy catching up with friends, being happy working, and even being happy up late with a sick baby night after night.

Happiness is a choice.

The end and beginning

It’s been a tough week, hit with a nasty head cold that my boys had thrown around for a while now, as well as lots of work to do, a very busy hubby too and a getting better toddler and a getting worse (colds too) 4mth old.

But it’s the weeks end now, and after a lovely visit from my parents I’m ready to start a new one.
My fortnightly meal plan is done.
The groceries are ordered with only fresh things to buy.
I’ve planned the calendar with hubby. Most of my washing is done (big thanks to my Dad for helping out).
I’ve quickly revised the things I need to do tomorrow and I’m ready for the week.

I don’t know what it is but if I’m not organized at the beginning it just seems to go downhill from there and the stress increases. That’s not to say that things change, they always do, but the fundamental things (or pressure points) I need done are sorted… Meals, food & housework.

So it’s with that little thought that I tuck this bub in my arms in for the night & count some zzzzzs myself.

All the best for your week, praying it’s a good one : )

Rebecca