Thursday, 30 July 2015

126,230,400 seconds. {4th Anniversary}

"Because of you, I can feel myself slowly but surely becoming the me I have always dreamed of being."  - Tyler Knott Gregson.
  • 126,230,400 seconds.
  • 2,103,840 minutes.
  • 35,064 hours.
  • 1461 days.
  • 208 weeks and 5 days.
  • 4 years.
Our wedding day.
Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband, who is my best friend & the love of my life. 
I am so incredibly thankful for the fortunate life we have. It has been a beautiful 4 years but admittedly we have had a few challenges but that just makes us stronger as a couple. Everyone faces challenges, but only the strong stay together. 
Our theory on a good marriage is to be each others best friend, be supportive, be open & be good forgivers - this works for us & ensures we overcome whatever life throws our way. 
They say marriage is a journey, well I think ours is much more like an adventure. We are always planning our next path & sometimes we have to forge our own. We married each other 4 years ago with big dreams, most of them have come true - but we are still dreaming, still planning and always thinking ahead. But that is not to say we aren't enjoying the now, we love to take time to soak in & celebrate the wonderful that our life is at the moment, to cherish the small things. 
Our adventure isn't perfect, but it's ours... And I will stick with you until the end. 
I am fortunate to have Trent & I am grateful to God every day for our relationship & marriage. We together are so thankful for being blessed with the light of our lives, LuLu. Becoming parents has made us stronger, closer & a better team. I wouldn't want to go on this adventure of parenthood with anyone else. 
Thank you Trent for being such a wonderful and supportive husband for me & the worlds best Dad to our LuLu! And for making my dream of becoming a Mumma true. 
You will forever, be my always.
Our family, my whole world. 
4 years, wow. I'm praying for many, many more happy years & looking forward to growing old with my amazing T-Rex. 
I'm off to enjoy my anniversary with my husband!
Have a lovely day!

As a wife, I choose to honor my husband. Not because I am weak, but because I am strong. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The start of our new journey... {Simple Living}

Make it simple, but significant. - Don Draper.
Lately I've had something on my mind, when i say lately I mean for well over a year. For a long time I have been yearning for a new type of lifestyle, so I've been slowly starting a journey towards it for a few months now. But I feel now is the time I want to fill my friends & my readers in on it...
I drift away from this lifestyle idea, but it is only temporary and I am always drawn back to it. And to me that is how I know I am truly passionate about something, when I cannot stop thinking about it. 
The idea of simple living. A back to basic style of life. 
live simply water colour feather quote
What is simple living? 
There are so many definitions of simple living, everyones idea is different. For me it is making voluntary lifestyle changes to simplify our life & get back to the basics. 
Now I'm in 2 frames of mind about how I ideally would like to live simply. I love the idea of being a minimalist with only the bare essentials, living off grid & solely off the land & being entirely self sufficient, but realistically it probably isn't fair on my family or myself or viable really at this point in our lives. So the style of simple living that I keep leaning towards is, well I guess you could say "suburban simple living". 
Gradually changing small aspects of our lives to be more self sufficient & simple. 
Now while I say all this I must stress I still enjoy our luxuries, I am not parting with my Thermomix which helps me in the kitchen, I like our "things", I love technology & I enjoy modern conveniences. I want less stuff but I do enjoy what we have. But ultimately I want our home to be filled with things we either need or love, not just "materialistic crap". I won't be stripping my daughter of her lovely toys or making Trent part with his possessions - this journey is all about compromise and being realistic, so instead I want to teach my daughter to take good care of her things, make them last but not be materialistic as at the end of the day they are only "things". I'm not going to go off grid - but I see the sense in cutting down on my technology time. I am still shopping for pieces to add to my new studio (which I will show you all shortly) and also searching for perfect items for LuLu's big girl room - so I am not claiming I'll give up my love for Kmart or good deals - but I don't buy things just to spend money, I buy things we need or love.
So what sparked this lifestyle change? 
I have realised I get so much satisfaction from doing things for my family, myself. I love the idea of living simply & devoting more of our time & selves to each other. Working together to benefit our family and spending quality time with each other. One of my most favourite things to do is to cook an entire meal for the people I love, I love my kitchen being busy, filled with my entire family, eating the food I made for them. That simple moment, makes me so deliriously happy.
We live in such a materialistic & spoilt world. We always want bigger & better and I'm guilty of this too, so I am not judging. We always want to be better than the neighbours. But I couldn't care anymore what anyone else is doing, I want to be doing things that benefit my family - not just now but in the long run. I want to instil values, ethics and morals into my daughter now that will last with her for the rest of her life. I want her to know how to do things for herself and that you don't always have to pay someone to do basic things for you! To show her how to live a life that is calm enough that you remember to stop and enjoy the small things. 
I'm not in life to compete with anyone, I am in this life for my family & I feel it's part of my purpose to make this life as wonderful & honest as I can. For me that is living simply, focusing on family, God and embracing a calmer life.
I want calm, I don't want chaos, I don't need drama - I crave simplicity, peace & joy. 
live simply water colour feather quote  joy peace
Over the past few months I've made a handful of simple changes in our life; I've started making our own laundry powder, cleaning with more natural & home made cleaners, mending more, making homemade gifts, eating venison we hunt, baking our own bread, meal planning, cooking & baking more from scratch and letting go of hurt & anger. While some of these changes aren't super "convenient" & some people may find them very odd, these changes give me satisfaction & help me live a calmer & simpler life. 
These changes are very small & just a start, but it's a start & a step towards a lifestyle we desire to have. 
Our next goal as a family is to start a kitchen garden (vegetable garden) so we can grow our own produce. I would love to have an orchard & some chickens as well, but with the chickens - well, I have a border collie who may think they are some type of snack. Hopefully one day if we have enough space we can have some chooks, but at this stage it isn't wise - well, we will see - maybe I am wrong about Daisy! 
Now we can grow tomatoes like professionals - I am not even joking tomato bushes just seem to follow us and grow everywhere, we can grow cucumbers & squash, but that's about it. If you have any advice or tips and tricks for growing a very successful veggie garden please let me know! 
A long term goal for us is to purchase a property. We wish to own at the very minimum 41 acres (who knows though, we would be happy with even just 10 acres!) & build a functional & beautiful family home & small farm. We want to have a large vegetable garden, have some fruit trees, raise our own beef & chickens, possibly have a cold room facility so we can butcher our own venison that we hunt, have space for our daughter to play freely & safely.
The certainty of the life expectancy of Trent's job is currently up in the air which is why we haven't moved forward on this plan - for now we are staying at our current home for at least 3-4 more years, at the very least. If Trent's workplace ended up closing we would be fine & are confident in his work skills that he could easily find another job & he already has good contacts to find a new job if he needed to. This doesn't worry us greatly, we do love the area we live in and hope we can stay here but if we end up moving well then it was meant to be and we will build our dreams somewhere else. But that is why this is a long term goal.
This being said our current home is a stunning & large house that we are very fortunate to have, the only reason we want to move is for more land & to be more rural. We don't want a bigger house, we just want more acreage! We love space, most of my childhood was spent on my families farm of 102 acres, I love the freedom of owning land - having your own space. Being able to get a goat because you feel like it. I feel more at peace when I am surrounded by "bush" other than neighbours. 
So that's our dream, one day... One day we will have space, maybe it won't be in 3-5 years, maybe it will take us 10, but I know one day we will have land and boy, will it be amazing. 
Trent and I are both people who enjoy the outdoors, we are both keen hunters, we both prefer to spend time in the "country" opposed to the "city" - so that would be our ideal life and hopefully if & when we buy a larger piece of land we can build our "forever home".
So that is where we are at currently. Dreaming of owning a farm, growing our own produce, raising our own meat & just enjoying family life in our own space. But life is a journey and we are well on our way to achieving our dreams one day, we just have to be patient and make do with what we have currently. That isn't to suggest our life now isn't wonderful, it is more than wonderful, but we just want land - space to live, grow & be calm. One day, one day we will have it.
Also the images used in this post I designed today, just something I came up with as I was playing with my water colours. I am fairly happy with the feathers I know my "fake calligraphy" needs a lot of work but beside from that - thoughts? Be kind, they are my first attempts really at water colour. :) I really enjoy using water colours to paint, it is very relaxing & I was a bit shocked at how well they turned out!
Until next time, take care.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Our First Ever Snowy Winters Day. {2015}

 Winter; A lingering season. It's a time to gather golden moments, embark on a sentimental journey and enjoy every idle hour. - John Boswell. 
How was your Monday?
Mine was unbelievably amazing, best Monday ever! Albeit cold, but totally memorable & brilliant!
There is some super cold weather going on in the south eastern states of Australia at the moment, like very chilly! They are calling it the Antarctic Vortex. This weather is so wintry that places that don't often get snow, get snow. Our town & towns close to us were predicted to maybe get snow, the last time they got snow was 30 years ago! So never in my lifetime and I was out of my mind excited! Unfortunately our town didn't get snow neither did the town close by, but some towns about 3-4 hours away in the next state did. 
On Sunday they got snow, we wanted to go and see it but Trent had just come off night shift & it wasn't smart for him to be driving that far while tired. We decided that maybe Monday we would go, depending if snowed again. We woke up Monday morning and checked out Higgins Storm Chasing on Facebook and sure enough it was snowing as they had predicted. When we flicked on the TV we saw the place we wanted to visit, they were doing a live cross from where the snow was and it looked amazing. We ummed & aahed on whether to go, it was a long time in the car, we had slept in a bit, would the snow be melted by the time we got there? We hadn't prepared anything, should we go? 
Now I am not a spontaneous type of person anymore, not since having LuLu. I absolutely love having every single thing planned as a Mum, my life just runs easier when I am prepared & organised. Sure back in the day, give me a half hour notice for a crazy random trip - enough time to put my face on, organise a bag of basic essentials & be out the door. But now, the idea of that almost sends me into a panic attack. But that being said, Trent & I looked at each other and said, "let's go!". We figured that this maybe our only chance to see snow for a little while, both he & I have never ever seen snow and obviously neither has LuLu. I was mid way through getting ready and Trent said to me, "let's pack a bag, just incase they think it will snow over night again"... My brain was freaking out, half was jumping around going "this is awesome, woo hoo - so excited" the other half was huddled in a corner hyperventilating into a brown bag going through all the things that needed to be packed & prepared & worrying it would forget something important.
Right, I threw my makeup on super quick (seriously, Homer's makeup gun would come in handy some days!), pulled out our over night bag and tossed pyjamas, underwear, clothes, toiletries, chargers, everything and anything I thought we may need while spending a night away, while yelling out to Trent to feed the cats & dogs and make sure they have water. I think the time it took for me to get ready from deciding we would go to pulling out of the drive was maybe an hour, maybe a slight bit more - but it was record time. 
We were on the road, I was full of so much joy & anticipation. If you know me at all (like if we are friends in real life or you are a long time reader) you will know how much I've always wanted to see snow, every winter I pray for snow, I dream of having a white Christmas - I feel like the snow would be my type of season, like I day dream about living on a farm in a small sleepy country town where it snows. This is a massive deal to me! 
I was in tears when we drove out of the fuel station and started heading towards Stanthorpe - I was that over come with excitement. I couldn't believe that finally, I was going to see snow and what made it even better was that I would share that first experience with Trent & LuLu and it would be there first time as well!
We travelled for 3 hours and reached the town of Tenterfield by midday, we stopped in the main street which was very busy. We found a bakery that had a few hot pies left (lots of places were sold out!), we ate our lunch quickly while talking to others in the store who had been to see the snow - they said it was lovely and still hadn't melted - thank the Lord. 
After we had our quick bite to eat, we piled back in the car and headed up Mt. Mackenzie. 
And then, we saw it. The stark white stood out against the damp timber and grass perfectly, once again there were tears.
Now just so we are clear I don't cry over anything, I am not a super emotional person, I am actually a bit emotionally hard I guess - but when special or overwhelming things happen or things I weren't expecting happen, it hits me.  I am more likely to cry because I am happy than because I am sad. I am more likely to cry over an experience than a sad movie or book. This was a big moment, a bucket list moment. My whole life, since I was a child I have wanted to see snow - it just doesn't happen where we live & it wasn't possible for my parents to take all 4 of us kids to the snow, understandably. We went to lots of holidays to the beach instead, as it was easier & more accessible and that's just what Queenslanders do - beach holidays. A lot of people I know who are my age are the same, growing up in Queensland, you just don't really see snow unless your school does a ski trip down south. 
Anyway, the tears were there as I stared out the car window in awe of the beautiful crisp white snow. There was lots of "look Trent, look at that", "LuLu look at the snow, brrr it's cold out there", "wow" and "this is the most beautiful thing I have seen".
We got to the top of Mt. Mackenzie and jumped out of the car. We made sure LuLu was bundled up, we slipped socks on her hands because I couldn't find gloves small enough for her and went to see the snow!
We took pictures, we held it, we just stared - it is so pretty. 

Touching snow together for the first time.
The 3 of us at Mt. Mackenzie seeing the snow.
Very icy snow at Mt. Mackenzie - Tenterfield N.S.W. 
Once we were back in the car we headed a little bit down the mountain and pulled over on the road side to a place with some snow for us to play in. We made a tiny little snow man and LuLu had fun playing! On the mountain there was some rain & the wind was so cold it cut right through us, I was so glad we had layered LuLu up & I had bought her a lovely lined raincoat at the start of winter! 
Patting her little friendly snowman. 
We had seen it, bucket list item checked off. 
We now had to decide do we continue on to Glen Innes or head back home. There was no snow predicted over night so it was likely we wouldn't be spending the night away. It was 1:30pm, if we headed back now we would get home at a reasonable hour. But we had come so far and I had heard Glen Innes was beautiful and had some nice snow. So we drove the 1 hour and as we reached Glen Innes we noticed there was a lot of heavy drizzly, very icy rain - almost sleet, that rain had melted all the snow. I was a little sad as the photos from earlier in the morning had looked lovely. We decided to drive through KFC and get a hot chips to share and guess what, they were out of chips! Argh, I prayed this wasn't a sign that our day was taking a bad turn. 
Trent quickly went into the tourist information centre and he found out the highway to Ben Lomond had just opened in the last half hour. I had seen so many beautiful photos online of this area and apparently the snow had just stopped falling there just before lunch, I had spoken about visiting there during the drive but thought it maybe too far. But Trent decided we would head there for a quick look, it was a gamble as we didn't know if the snow had melted there too. But boy, are we glad we took that risk. 
We saw so many beautiful sights, the country side was just covered in beautiful white snow with little tufts of golden grass poking through. Black cattle stood out against the white snow that covered the hills and it just looked magical. Everything was so picturesque and absolutely breath taking. I could've have spent hours just staring & taking photos of the incredible sights. 
1 degree!! Brrrr... That is chilly!
We pulled over to a nice little area of beautiful snow and took some stunning photos of our darling girl, photos so she can remember this exciting trip. Trent & LuLu then made a giant snow ball! 
Snow turns people of all ages into children, we saw so many families having fun times in the snow - snowball fights, building snow men & just laughing and smiling - it was lovely to see!
We drove a little further - we saw beautiful paddocks blanketed in snow, giant snowmen (one was 9ft tall!) and snow on the roofs of a church and some houses. It felt like it should be Christmas! The New South Wales country side just looked magical, breathtakingly magical. 
Seeing snow on a roof was bit of a novelty for us! It looked like something out of a Christmas movie!
After seeing the most stunning sights, taking endless photos and having the most amazing day, we decided it was time to make the 4 hour drive home.
Goodbye beautiful snow.
We called in for a quick McDonalds dinner at Glen Innes (LuLu hates happy meals - this was her 2nd one ever, she nibbled at her apple slices, had a few chips and drank her water! Thankfully I had packed lots of yummy/healthy snacks for her!) 
We arrived home around 9pm, exhausted, amazed & happy. LuLu had travelled really good, this was the biggest day of driving she has ever done. All up we would have driven around at least 10 hours that day, which is insane and she happily sat in the back, occasionally napping, calling out to the animals she could see with the sounds they make & telling us stories. LuLu was such a great little travel companion & is such a joy of daughter. When we saw snow each time we would ask her "what do we do in the snow" and she would reply "brrrr". So sweet!
This day trip was a dream come true for me, it may not have been the thickest snow but to me it was beautiful, I once again was just in awe of one of God's amazing creations. Like wow. I am so thankful that Trent was on days off & that he is happy to take LuLu and I on such fun & wonderful adventures, he gives me the confidence to be a little more spontaneous with LuLu and helps me realise even if everything isn't planned 100% I am still ok! 
This was just a perfect day, it truly was, we experienced a proper Winters Day.
Wow. 2 days later and I am still smiling about it!
(Sorry for the overload of photos in this post, it is super difficult trying to only pick a few!)
Enjoy your week and if you have been at the snow this season or anytime show me your photos! Tag me in them on instagram (@ModernWifeLife31), tweet them to me (@ModernWifeLife3) or share them on my Facebook page! I would love to see them!! 

"Everything's magical when it snows. Everything looks pretty. The clothes are great. Coats, scarves, gloves, hats!" - Lorelai Gilmore.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Recipe; Roast Pumpkin Soup.

Hello my lovely friends!
Boy is it chilly or what? And it's going to get colder! A cold snap is headed our way in a few days... So I am here with a delicious meal idea that will keep you toasty warm!
Roast Pumpkin Soup!
Roast Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Roast Pumpkin Soup.
Now this recipe is for a Thermomix, but you could easily just use a big pot on a stove top and a stick blender. Sorry it's a bit vague, I kind of made it up and it's just been in the notes on my phone & I adjust them each time I make it! But the last 2 batches of this soup I've made have been perfect! 

  • 1 Parsnip 
  • 2 onions 
  • 2 potatoes 
  • 1000g - 1500g of your choice of pumpkin (I've used Butternut, Jap & Kent - all taste great!)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A little bit of olive oil
  • Stock (it is up to you whether it be chicken or vegetable) I use 2 tbsp of the Quirky chicken stock paste & 1 tbsp of Vegetable stock paste. 
  • 500g of water or until the consistency is to your liking - we like a thicker soup.
  • 100g of pouring cream. 
  • Seasoning of your choice.
  • (I also added 2 carrots to my last batch just to add in extra veggies as I was feeling unwell, it didn't taste any different, so if you wish to add in a few carrots to get more veggies into this soup it is fine!)
  1. Peel and cut all vegetables (I leave my onions and garlic whole), space out on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and some seasoning if you like, but DO NOT OVER SEASON, it is better to season at the end when you can taste and adjust. It is very easy to over salt this dish especially if you are using a Thermomix with stock pastes. I do a very light sprinkle of roast vegetable salt on my veggies.
  2. Roast vegetables at 180-200 degrees for 1-1.5hours (until veggies are soft) make sure to turn veggies occasionally. You may have to remove the onions & garlic early so they don't get too roasted (burnt!).
  3. Once the veggies are soft & nicely roasted start adding them in small batches to the Thermomix (or pot) and blend until smooth, then add more - blend and keep repeating until all veggies are smooth and combined. I start by blending the onion and garlic first so it is chopped up very fine, then the parsnips & potatoes & finally the pumpkin.
  4. If using a Thermomix add 3 tbsp of stock paste of your choice (I use 2 of quirky chicken and 1 veg) and 500g of water. 
  5. For non Thermomix users; 1 Tablespoon of Veggie stock is apparently equal to one stock cube. Basically if I wasn't using the Thermomix stock paste I would add in my favourite stock in stages, stir & taste - if the taste was to my liking but the consistency was too thick I would perhaps add water, but try to only use stock. The water added in the TM recipe is because the water & stock paste = liquid stock. Sorry I can't be more helpful in this step! The stock paste made in a Thermomix is hard to compare to anything from a shop, it is amazing.
  6. Cook soup for 15-20mins at 80-90 degrees, speed 2.5 (I cook mine on speed 3 sometimes but be aware that it can get hot and a bit splashy sometimes) 
  7. If on stove top heat soup for 15 minutes and stir occasionally.
  8. Blend on speed 4-5 for 10 seconds after it has been heated. (Be careful of splashes!)
  9. Add cream.
  10. Blend for 30 more seconds gradually increasing speed from 1-8.
  11. If your Thermomix is too full to safely blend at speed 8, just blend at a speed you feel is safe. Sometimes mine is a bit full and I only go to speed 5 because soup splash burns don't sound like fun to me! 
  12. Season to your liking. I find if I use the Quirky chicken paste stock it adds a lovely flavour & it also adds enough saltiness. Cumin is a nice addition to soup but add it in slowly and carefully because if you season too much it's hard and pretty much impossible to fix. Trust me! As mentioned above I also like roast vegetable salt. Onion salt can also be added.
  13. This recipe can be frozen, we freeze half the batch to have as a quick & easy dinner when Trent is on days off. I freeze it in a ziplock bag so it can freeze flat in my freezer. I just slide it out of the bag and into a microwave safe bowl to reheat (you could also reheat it on the stove top). Trent said this meal is the only meal that tastes as good reheated as it does freshly made and I agree!
Sorry this recipe isn't exactly perfect. I just go by taste, I'm not a food blogger so writing recipes isn't my strong suit!
But I can assure you this soup is delicious & lovely and will warm you up! So I hope it has given you at least a basic recipe to work with! I have made this countless times, LuLu loves it & finishes her whole bowl. Trent likes it & I have also cooked it twice for my Mum and she loved it - which says something because she is incredibly fussy and will not eat anything she doesn't like!!
A perfect addition to this soup is some fresh bread, I make a fresh loaf before the soup so we have lovely homemade bread to dip in the soup - but bread from the bakers is just as nice!

I hope you all stay toasty warm during this chilly cold front that is about to hit us!!
1 degree! We are going to get down to 1!! Brrr!! 
If you make this soup I would love to see your photos or hear what you think! Tag me in your photos or leave me a comment on social media!
Stay warm & have a lovely weekend!