Gratitude is more than just a #

What does the word gratitude mean to you? How does gratitude feel? Is it more than just an Instagram caption with a hashtag at the end? Is it more than a few lines in a journal once a month when you can remember? Is it just saying that you’re grateful and not really feeling it? Or are you someone who had mastered the important art of being a grateful person?

In my opinion gratitude is the most important thing you can practise and is the core of a happy life. It is a marathon, not a race, and needs to be worked on everyday. A life of gratitude, is a life of self fulfilment and personal happiness. Gratitude helps to create a balance between your body and your spirit in a way that they work together in harmony. If the mind is ungrateful the body is punished. Without gratitude we worry and we have doubts, and it is worry and stress that lead to sickness and illness. If we live a negative life of stress this can manifest into our bodies.

To live a life of true gratitude is one of my life goals. It is not hard to find things to be grateful for and is as simple as being grateful for the fact that you are alive today. Or for the fact that the sun was in the sky when you woke up this morning, or that it set at night. That you have good clean water to drink and food to eat. It sounds cliche but you can simple be grateful for today.

Lately I have found myself feeling like I am not grateful. It wasn’t that I was actually acting ungrateful or necessarily being an ungrateful person. It was just the fact that I was not being grateful for the things that I did have, and paying gratitude for them. I was thinking of the things that I didn’t have and focusing on the fact that I didn’t have them yet. I have so many things to be grateful for, and as soon as I stopped to think for even five seconds I realised that.

So the fact of finding things to be grateful for isn’t the difficulty, but the hard part is actually practising being grateful on a day to day basis.

In particular recently I had been focusing on my desire to have a third child, and the fact that this might take more time then what I would like in my ideal world. I had been so focused on that third child who doesn’t even exist, that I had forgotten to be grateful for the two healthy and happy children that I do have. To thank the universe, god or whoever for the things that I am grateful for. Isn’t that already a better place to live in, where I am grateful instead of full of worry and sadness.

So I had a realisation that this is something that I need to work on. I know so many people in my everyday life who need this same reminder. I see them acting negatively, and focusing on the difficult or challenging parts of their lives then all of the amazing bits in front of them. Perhaps you do this too? I’m not going to tell you how to be grateful and I’m not going to tell you the things that you can do to practice gratitude. I simply want to remind you to be grateful today, just as I have needed this reminder lately.

So… what are you grateful for today? Think about the, then think about them again tomorrow. I PROMISE you and your life will be happier for it.

Enjoy!

Note – my outfit in the photo above is from the gorgeous Bonnie and Harlo

SCHOOL LUNCHES FEATURING YAYTRAY

With the new school year here in Australia well and truly past, and lunch box ideas running low, I thought this would be the perfect time to refresh all of our Mum brains with new inspirations for school lunches.  I absolutely LOVE making kindy lunches, and take a lot of pride in the options, variety and presentation of Ari’s food, making lunchtime a really exciting time for him.

As in the past I prepare Ari’s lunch in his Yaytray which is a super cool, fun and innovative lunch box from Yurica Labs.  Prior to this blog post I have written 7 Lunches for 7 Days featuring the Yaytray which you can revisit here.

I have previously shared the many reasons why I love the Yaytray product.  Here they are again:
1. It saves me time – I only prepare and clean up one container.
2. It is great for the environment – no more cling wrap.
3. It is neat and compact – the worlds first all in one eating tray.
4. Things don’t get lost – it holds it’s own cutlery.
5. Is clean and convenient – leak proof and packs up in a matter of seconds.
6. It holds a large meal – 400mls actually!
7. It’s stable and non slip – making it easy for children to eat from.
8. All the important things – like food-safe, BPA-free, phthalate-free, microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
9. It’s cost-effective, you don’t have to buy a million containers just this one.
10. They are a small business, so you are buying from real Mum’s and Dads who designed it because they know what we need.

To purchase a Yaytray click here and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and you will receive your 10% off discount code!  To follow Yurica Labs on Instagram click here

MONDAY – Bold and Bright
Fresh, crisp and healthy.

Rice Paper Rolls
Leftover Roast Chicken
Pretzels
Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Slice
Strawberries

Recipe – Roast Chicken.  Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Slice.  Rice Paper Rolls.
Time Savers – Roast your own chicken the night before and serve it for dinner with vegetables, or buy a store-bought version to save even more time.
Variations – Swap the chicken breast for any cold meat selection, a can of tuna, smoked salmon or cold marinated tofu.  Cheese can be swapped with a vegan alternative.  Rice Paper Rolls can be made in countless variations.


TUESDAY – Turning Japanese
A yummy selection of food from one of our favourite destinations.

Sushi
Edamame
Cucumber Sticks
Orange Slices
Pop Corn

Recipe – Sushi.
Time Savers – Edamame can be purchased in peeled form in the freezer section of grocery stores.  I just pull a bag out from my freezer when I am ready to use it, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Variations – Sushi can be made using lots of different options to suit all dietary requirements.  If your children don’t like the idea of seaweed there are lots of varieties that are seaweed free.


WEDNESDAY – Family Favourite

A freezer friendly twist on a family favourite.

Macaroni Pasta Bites
Carrot Sticks
Soy Crisps
Raspberries
Blackberries
Dried Fruit

Recipes – Macaroni Pasta Bites.
ime Savers – Use last nights left over pasta (any variety it doesn’t have to be Macaroni) to easily create this meal.  Or double the batch, you can even freeze a bunch of pasta cups for future lunches.
Variations – Use your favourite pasta meal to create this dish.  Carrot sticks can be exchanged for ticks of cucumber, carrot or capsicum.


THURSDAY – Healthy Balance
My perfect go to for stocking up the freezer.

Mini Quiche
Vegemite Twist
Snow Peas
Banana Slices
Yoghurt Covered Sultanas

Recipes – Mini Quiche.  Vegemite Twist.
ime Savers – Make a double batch of the quiches and store them in the freezer or serve for dinner the night before.
Variations – There are countless options of quiches available.  Vegemite twists can be made glute free.  The fruit and vegetables can be swapped out for your littles favourites.


FRIDAY – Baker’s Delight
Homemade versions of family favourites!
Savoury Scroll
Banana, Zucchini and Carrot Loaf
Bean Mix
Apricot Delight
Dried Cranberry
Kiwi Fruit
Capsicum Slices

Recipes – Savoury Scroll.  Banana, Zucchini and Carrot Loaf.
Time Savers – These savoury scrolls are seriously so quick and easy.  Banana loaf can be cut and popped in the freezer for future lunches.
Variations – There are lots of scroll variations like keeping them meat free for vegetarians.


After School Snack –
This last recipe is a new favourite afternoon snack which my littles are loving.  I came across it on the Instagram page of Sarita Holland who’s account is ful of delicious recipes that she makes with her children.  Click here to see the post with full recipe that contains only four ingredients.

Before I wrap this up I want to share with you my three biggest time-saving tips for when it comes to meal prep!  Once again I have shared these before, but they truly are life savers! 
1. Make all of your meals in one go.  I make breakfast, lunch and dinner all in the morning.  This is a huge time saver especially in the clean up and it means that I don’t feel like I ‘live’ in the kitchen.
2. Food prep in bulk with cook ups every few months.  I tend to do a big one every three months to get my lunch staples sorted.
3. Always take a packed lunch out with you when you have little babes.  I make Ari and Chloe’s lunch in their Yaytray every morning, even if we think we might be home.  It saves me time and money if we end up unexpectedly out for lunch.

To purchase a Yaytray click here and don’t forget to subscribe to receive my discount code!  To follow Yurica Labs on Instagram click here

DETAILS
Photos –
Nicola Holland Photography
My outfit –
Mumma Bear Nursing Wear
Chloe and Ari’s Outfits (for their picnic) – Piper and Me
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for a full list of discount codes including ones for all of the stores mentioned in this blog.

THANKYOU for reading, I hope that you  gained a useful tip or meal to work into your lives.  on’t forget to keep up to date with our family life on Instagram.

Enjoy!

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*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here.

15 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Pre Mama Self…

Oh hey there you! Bright eyed, plump skin, zero bags, hair brushed, clean clothes you! Firstly you look GREAT! Secondly I just wanted to let you know a few things before you get started on the whole having a baby or two situations. So listen up…

  1. It’s going to take what feels like a million years to leave the house every morning but try to not get frustrated.
  2. You’re going to be a GREAT Mum. Sure you will doubt yourself and yes sometimes you will fail, but you’ll ALWAYS be a great Mum.
  3. They say it takes 5-7 compliments to balance the negative effects of one criticism, so be KIND to yourself.
  4. Always follow your gut over other people’s opinions.
  5. Your Mother doesn’t always know best, but most of the time she does.
  6. Stay in bed. Stay in the bed for as long as you can. Eat breakfast in there, drink tea, watch movies, eat lunch and dinner in there! One day you’ll long to just stay in bed.
  7. Don’t spend the start second pregnancy guilt tripping yourself because you decided on a close age gap. The kids will love it and no Ari won’t miss out so cut yourself some slack.
  8. Yes you can have it all.
  9. Don’t overpack. Seriously. To the beach, to the supermarket, on holiday. Babies actually don’t need a lot and you’ll drive your husband crazy. Less is more.
  10. Let yourself cry and don’t overthink it. Sometimes it just feels good to cry.
  11. You’ll find yourself saying no more then you hoped.
  12. Some days you’ll feel super touched out. You’re an affection person so this will take you by surprise but some days you’ll just want to be alone.
  13. Yes you will still see the world. No it would be the same. It will be busier, tiring and won’t feel like a holiday but it will be full of more laughs and more memories.
  14. Learn to compromise with your husband. You are two people raising the same children, you both need to meet in the middle. Oh and be prepared to love him more and more especially when he does the 11pm feed.
  15. You think that you are living your best life now but darling it hasn’t even begun. Get ready for your heart to explored with more love then you know possible.

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