product research: outdoor machine washable picnic blanket

I spend a lot of time researching quality and practical items that suit my and our family’s needs so I’m going to start posting them on my blog in hopes that it’ll save you time and headache when in need of the same item.

Here on the Gold Coast, we picnic numerous times a month. On top of that, I visit the playground and beach several times a week. I soon discovered it was a necessity to have a picnic rug. So without researching it, I grabbed a flannel, water resistant backing blanket at Coles (a local supermarket) since it was only $10. It even rolled up nicely. Since everyone has one, I thought I was set. After having it for over a year, I can not get over the fact that it does not clean well, if at all. Fuzzy things and anything miscellaneous sticks to it and I can only use a damp cloth to wipe it down. With kids around, you can imagine how dirty it gets with sand, dirt, food scraps and juices, etc. Luckily the blanket was dark and had stripes so its level of dirtiness was hidden. Once Azalea came into our lives, I thought it was worth it to find a better quality blanket that I could throw in the wash, especially after a messy outing.

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Azalea sitting on the blanket

Into my life came the water resistant Tuffo picnic blanket. Thank you God for this blanket! It is a nice size to fit our family of four. It’s light-weight, easy to fold up and comes in a carrying case, has a cute design, and is beach friendly. Best of all, I can chuck it in the wash on cold for thirty minutes, line dry it, and it’s gorgeous again and CLEAN! Because my pattern is light, more than ever, I notice how dirty a picnic blanket gets when it’s used with kids. I’m so glad I can wash it time and time again. I highly recommend this product. It is pricey at $55 AUD excluding shipping, but I think it’s definitely worth it!

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staying in touch with everyone

Hi all,

I am finding it quite difficult to stay in touch with everyone, especially those of you that don’t have Facebook. As well, I’m finding it hard to keep this blog updated with my continued thoughts, reflections, and growth as we settle into life here in Australia. I can’t seem to let go of the blog and still strive to stay connected with y’all, so I’m going to try to just post on the blog more often with little updates versus proper personal growth posts. My hope is that we can be a part of each others’ lives that way. So here goes our long awaited response to those of you who have lovingly wrote me by email, FB, and snail mail! Please know I love you and think of you and wish I could be just as beautiful as y’all with making time to connect.

Adapting to Australia: Life is pretty nice here as I’ve always mentioned. It’s amazing all the different activities going on and how I never run out of parks to visit or things to do. It’s so beautiful here and the culture embraces families and being physically active. This past December the family fell ill except for me, and that threw us into a bit of a funk. It seems we have a yearly funk come December. It’ll last for a few weeks up to a month. Then come January and it’s as if the clouds part and a beautiful rainbow appears. I’m thankful to say January has been an uplifting month for us. I guess that’s all about adapting and supporting one another through the journey.

Business: Daniel on boarded a new rent roll this past November (this is his second one). It was a busy time for him, but all very good since he had been waiting for a rent roll like the one he came across. Recently he also acquired more rental properties, which arrived as an unexpected blessing. He’s also selling properties too, so as you can imagine, he is a busy bee. I’m very proud of him and we are progressing well with our family dream goals.

Kiddos: Azalea is six months and Zane turned three in Nov! Time flies. A is a delight; always smiling, has a beautiful laugh, and already is showing a fiesty yet chill personality. Zane started in a family daycare once a week for six hours and is loving it. He is very verbose, has a huge and thoughtful heart, sensitive, and full of energy! I’m very thankful to stay home and raise the kids and observe their developments. There are many long days and tough moments but I’ll never look back and regret our decision for me to take time off work to commit to this endeavor.

Friends and family: We spend tons of time with family. It’s nice to finally have family close by when we were so independent for seven years. My parents visited for two months and that was beautiful as well. I wish they lived closer. Our friends here are a treasure as well. We have found ourselves a community that cooks us meals during tough times, cares for Zane when I need a break, and in general lifts us up and are fun to be around. What more could we ask for?

Myself: with two kids, I barely have constructive time to achieve something, and even if I get time, I’m too tired to do anything. With that said, I do find time to meet up monthly in the evening with some of my mom friends. And Daniel and I do date time a bit even if it’s candlelight dinner at home (with Azalea). I started yoga again, and this time am challenging myself more with it. I’ve started walking more. My daily endeavors now include cooking healthy dishes for my family, limiting our use of plastics around food, and limiting our use of chemicals. I made my own bread today and recently I made my own all purpose, stain remover, insect repellent, and glass cleaner sprays! I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed since being a stay-at- home mom! I guess the researcher in me manifests differently in this role and my brain is always utilized.

Faith walk: we regularly go to Newlife United Church in Robina. Love the people, sermons, and style. In a year, Zane will start preschool at a local Christian school, King’s Christian College. I’m thankful Daniel and I both are on the same faith walk. As I write this, he is at his men’s group at church.

I think that sums up our life update. Like I said, going forward, I’ll try to just write little posts to keep you updated. You can respond by commenting or writing on FB.

Love you all!

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living in a small space

I have been open with many people about my first world struggles of living in a small duplex-like unit. Having downsized from a house with a yard, our move into our unit was a tough one leading me into a funk initially. I had such distaste for our new living arrangement and was blind to seeing any good in it. Looking back, I think the pregnancy hormones didn’t help. :-) Now after having lived here for a year, and having had my parents stay with us, I have come to embrace this home of ours. No longer being pregnant and having a little more energy after Azalea’s birth, I have come around to seeing the many blessings this little place has to offer. For example, we are surrounded (literally) with pleasant neighbors. There’s at least four of them we regularly interact with and three of them are single women. There’s no dramas or noise surrounding us. (I’m sure we are the noisy ones with two kids). Speaking of noise, it is so quiet here. These units are tucked away from the noise of any major roadways and anyone driving by needs to be in this area for a purpose. Regularly we hear birds chirping and the trees swaying from the wind. Other perks include two nearby parks in walking distance, feeling safe here and parking is abundant. I can go on about the many characteristics about this unit that I’ve come to appreciate, but I think you get the point. After discovering I don’t have it bad, I decided to take a step forward in making it more homey. I put up more frames, bought interim furniture pieces that brighten the space, and use our patio and outdoor space more. With all this said, Daniel and I have signed on to live here at least 6-12 months longer (happily)!
    My change of heart, perspective, and attitude has really convicted me lately. I’ve questioned how much space we really need.. How I love cleaning a small unit.. How intimate and cozy it feels to be in close quarters.. How I’m constantly challenged to be a minimalist and let go of items as new ones come in.. How we get to save money by living here so that we can spend it on other enjoyable things and for our future home.. I’m just very thankful this experience is humbling me. (But don’t get me wrong, I still dream of living in my dream home in the near future ;))

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Three-years-old now!
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Three-month photo shoot
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