Friday, May 24, 2013

How to get married for under $4000!

It's my 10 year wedding anniversary with my awesome hubby today!  10 years married and we've been together for 15 years.  Yep, I was 17 when we became "boyfriend and girlfriend", 18 when we started living together, engaged at 19 and then at the ripe old age of 22 we were married!

We were living with my brother at the time trying to save to buy our first house, so we really didn't want to spend too much on the wedding.  So we didn't.  Here are my hints of cheap but fun wedding:

1. I had a hen's night out in the city with a few friends, we stayed at a hotel and had a blast!

2. I had my sister (who is a hairdresser) and Mum do my hair.

I look pretty happy about that don't I?

3. We didn't hire anyone for anything really - I did my own make-up and my bridesmaids make-up. 

4. My bridesmaids were invited to wear whatever they felt comfortable in. There was no additional expenses for them. They didn't need spray tans, expensive dresses, shoes, hair and make-up.  It was very relaxed and they looked beautiful.  

My bridesmaid Erica helping me with my necklace

5. I wore my sister's veil and borrowed jewellery. We bought simple wedding bands. My dress was a $200 deb dress from Garfunkle.

My sister Sharon fixing my hair...

6. We didn't hire cars...we were having a ceremony in a park so no-one could see the car anyway.

My Dad and special...

  7. We paid a small fee to have our ceremony at a rotunda in Catani gardens in St Kilda.

The kiss!

 8. We only invited immediate family and our bridal party.

Our family photo...

9. We didn't hire a photographer.

My beautiful bridesmaids...
10. I didn't buy any bridal magazine or browse wedding websites.  

 My bridesmaid Bean (nickname) - we've know each other since we were 3yo!

11. We didn't book a reception venue for our reception.  We booked a room in a restaurant called Donovan's in St Kilda. 

12. We didn't order a "wedding cake" or a "bridal bouquet" - we just needed a cake and flowers. 

 My Mum and I...

My brother and I

Michael and his mate Ryan

 My niece Kelly was our flower cute!

13. We didn't go on a honeymoon straight away (and when we did we got discount tickets to fly to the Gold Coast for a week and stayed in a holiday park!)

14. On our wedding night we stayed at the Hilton Hotel in East Melboune and spoiled ourselves the next morning with a buffet breakfast and massages.  We then headed to Crown Casino to watch a movie before we headed home.  

15. We didn't get caught up on perfection.  It's the fastest way to spend a whole lot of money on details that no-one notices anyway!  Focus on on why you're getting married and the connection between you and your's the commitment that matters, it's the love that's important and actually not much else.

Happy Anniversary to my husband Michael.  We have shared so much of our life together, we've had ups and downs, 4 beautiful boys and now we're working on our dream in the country.  I'm so excited to see what the next 10 years brings! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grass fire...

We decided to surprise the boys after school with a trip to my in-laws to go swimming.  It had been another super hot February day and thought it would be nice to cool off. 

Just as we were heading a thunderstorm came over and there was a quick downpour.  We turned on to the dirt road heading to their house and the temperature had already started to rise back up again.  Michael had looked out the window and noticed the start of a fire over in the paddocks!   We couldn't stop and do anything because the phone reception is so not very good out there, so we kept heading to my In-laws home. 

We raced inside and let Michael's Dad know and he jumped on the phone.  They then headed up to their back paddock to see what was happening. 

Soon enough there were water helicopters helping local CFA to put the fire out.  Grass fires can spread so quickly we were a little concerned for a while when the smoke started blowing close to the house, but then it quickly turned away again luckily. 

After a while, the boys still wanted to go for their swim, and while I felt a little odd about it, there was nothing else that we could do.  Michael and his Dad were still up at the property boundary to make sure it wasn't a threat to the house so we knew we were all safe and sound. 

It sure was a bit of excitement for the evening and luckily the fire was out by the next morning with no damage to any home's or sheds. The volunteer CFA guys do such an amazing job and we have had such a busy fire season this year.  They are absolute heroes in my opinion!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Joey Scouts Sleepover

Louis had his first Scout sleepover! Dylan was also lucky enough to come along as he's nearly 6 and has been attending weekly for a little while.  He was beyond excited about that little fact!  I was feeling more lucky than both of them to be able to attend as a parent helper...although to be honest I was a little worried about how crazy it would be with a room full of 6 and 7yo boys! It turned out to be so much fun though and I was so happy to spend such a solid amount of time with the both of them.  They were both so happy to have me as well, which I enjoyed so much because I know it won't probably last very long!!

Setting up their beds...

Dylan was in his element.  He's such a social butterfly! 

They all made their own pizza's for dinner...

and then we headed off for a walk around Benalla...

Louis looking for the ducks...

Dylan enjoying the walk...

The weather was just gorgeous - perfect for an evening walk...

We returned back to the scout hall for some glow in the dark painting...

and late night movies...very late night movies!  I had fallen asleep before the last movie finished - it was after midnight! 

Breakfast with some very sleepy kids...

Some last minute games before home time...

All 3 of us had an awesome time! The Joey Scouts program has been such a great activity for the boys.  This was back in February (I'm still catching up on my blog posts!) however now that we're heading into winter we're taking a break.  Joey Scouts runs about 45min away from us and I'm just not really willing to take the risk driving in the dark, on wet roads later at night.  The amount of kangaroo's and wombats on the roads are enough to put me off.  We're hoping that Mansfield Scouts will open up a Cub scout program soon so that Louis can jump into which would solve all of our problems!  Otherwise we we will wait until term 4 to jump in again!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happiness Lies...

I've been a little worked up about something of late...

I feel like we're all being taken for a massive ride and we're too sucked in to notice. 

Starting from such a young age, and increasing as we grow older we are told lies that "stuff" will make us happy.  

Money, cars, houses, clothes, gadgets, boats, furniture, TVs, motorbikes, holiday homes...

Did you know how much equipment and toys children need now just to develop normally and  survive to adulthood?

Don't forget how much happier you'll be when you use all of those expensive beauty products, inject toxins into your face and then of course when you get old you can just fix up all the saggy bits with surgery.

If you're overweight make sure that you follow expensive diet plans, take a multitude of supplements and you really need to invest in thousands of dollars of equipment to exercise or it just won't work

Oh, and socially attend all of the greatest parties, hire party planners for 2nd birthday parties, dinners out at the latest and greatest restaurants and of course, if you want to be really happy don't forget to throw in all of the travel to exotic overseas resorts. 

Then, once you're working and striving and stressing to pay for all of this, you'll live with the fear that you have to hold on to it all so tightly for fear that you may lose it all!  You believe that you're happiness would disappear along with all of the superficial, material items that you own...

Or, if you're not rolling in money, you are probably drowning in debt, just trying to keep up with all of the latest and greatest that you need to be "happy", because, well, those people on all of the ads look like they're having a blast! Isn't life so much easier when you purchase more? You'll laugh and smile every time you hop into that new car, and you know that deodorant will have the opposite sex falling at your feet!

Work, work, work, buy, buy, buy, stress, stress, stress, buy, buy, buy, work, work, work.

What would you be left with if it was all gone tomorrow?  What if you were left with nothing?

Just you, on your own, nowhere to hide.

Do you actually even know who you are if you take away your possessions and your job?  If all of that was taken from you would you still feel like you were worth anything? 

What if at the end of your days you look back and realised that you missed so many special, beautiful, simple moments because money was your higher priority?

Marriages are ending in divorce, family units are being broken, the rates of depression and mental illness are higher than ever, Self esteem and the self worth of people is at an all time low,  people are drowning in debt...and somehow we still think earning more money and buying more stuff will fix everything!!!

How happy is all that stuff your working so hard for really making you? 

I fell for the illusion, and I ended up with a rocky marriage, a heap of debt and was feeling pretty low.  It was the toughest time of my life.  I felt like I was sliding further and further down into a big black hole.  It not only affected my marriage, it affected my children as well. 

I'm so grateful to be able to say that this was a short term situation, however we have a lengthy long term plan to repair what we damaged.  I changed a lot of my beliefs and thinking radically.  Radically.

There's nothing wrong with working hard and earning good money, but is it the focus and priority in your life?  Are your relationships suffering?  Are you taking part in addictive, numbing behaviours to avoid dealing with your problems?  Do you feel like you need to get the thrill of buying something new to brighten up your day?  Is the high of purchasing very quickly replaced with a low of guilt or emptiness?  Is your idea of a time spent with the family at the shopping centre or do you simply not have family time at all?

I've been working on my own changes for quite some time now and I would love to share some of the ideas that have worked for me.  Of course, they won't suit every situation, and every person, they are just what have worked for me.  I'm certainly not an expert!

What I can say though is the ideas come from someone that thought more "stuff" would make them feel like they had their life together, and that more "stuff" would make them feel important, more "stuff" meant they didn't have to face their emotions and mostly that more "stuff" would make them happy...and then learnt the hard way that this is simply not true.

Can you relate to this at all? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, May 13, 2013


I have so many other topics I want to write about bubbling away in my head, that catching up seems a little crazy to do.  For the sake of family records though I will continue until the important ones are done...

Jayden's 3rd Birthday - March 29th

Such a spunky boy...these Magnetix have been the greatest present for all 4 of the boys...they are pricey but a great investment...

We have a tradition of helium birthday balloons - 1 for each year of age! 

Michael's 32nd Birthday - March 30th

My spunky hubby on the excavation site for our house...technically this was taken the day after, but he was super spoilt with an impressive ice cream cake the night before!

Dylan's 6th Birthday - April 20th

Getting ready to open pressies in Mum and Dads bed!

Birthday Card

Dylan's cake for his party!  He invited his whole class over because he didn't want to leave anyone out!

Dylan with his birthday balloons!

Mothers Day

My goodies for Mothers Day!  I so love the gorgeous handmade gifts...better than anything you could buy!

From Dylan...

From Louis

Dad wrote this from Ethan...

and from Jayden...

I'm such a lucky Mum!