Smart Sleep Logic

Learning the tricks Parents use for regular, good, sleep.

If your own existence is ruined by lack of sleep, or because your child seems to avoid sleep like the plague, then you are not alone.

It is one of the biggest hurdles faced by mothers and fathers of young children, but we seem to struggle through and just catch-up when we can.

So what do we do about it?

An old friend reminded me to look to the past. Before electricity was readily available, people went to bed at dusk and woke at dawn. Sounds old fashioned, but it makes sense. We used natures cues to trigger our sleep patterns.

This is far from what happens now in the modern home. Lights and TV are on well after dark and our temperature is controlled to a certain degree to afford us comfort. But is it costing us a good nights sleep?

How can the body have natural processes when we are surrounded by our artificial environment?

We have to set up routines and patterns that will trigger the same response of ‘it’s time to start falling asleep’.

Easier said than done though hey?

But with persistence, a routine can be made, and if it’s held religiously, then it should work.

Best practices to try:

Develop a PRE-bedtime routine.

  1. Mimic the natural adjustment of daylight into dark. Our house needs to get darker, slightly, as bed time gets closer.
  2. TV then shower then glass of water. Over an hour or so, this 3 step action will help the body to start the unwind process that allows for sleepiness to creep in. It’s no secret that screen time ‘blue light’ is bad for sleep so TV is a better option and sitting on the couch together is really awesome together time.
  3. Toilet then brush teeth then bed time story (optional). Another 2/3 step process that tells the body that you are going to bed now to sleep.

Routine is key.

  1. Time of the night is key.
  2. All this is most effective if it is done the same way every day and at the same time every night.
  3. Our brains are really good at anticipating,  and your child is no different. Knowing what is going to happen next and when, creates contentment. This is important for sleep and will allow for a good nights sleep too.

This is the practice I have used for years and it works for me. Everyone will have different strategies that work for their unique situation.

I just want you to explore the idea of recreating the natural process of sleep that evolution  created.

Our modern lifestyle doesn’t have to affect our sleep if we are smart about it.

Please note that sleep disorders are only diagnosed and treated by professionals, and if your worried that you or your child may be suffering from a sleep disorder, then you should seek the advice of your practitioner. Information is available from

Sleep Health Foundation (Australian website)

and links from there will guide you to more info should you need it.

Knowledge is power.

Sleep well people.


Christmas is coming Be prepared!!!!

Love it or loath it, Christmas is on it’s way…FAST.

And if your like me, it’s going to be sooner than can be properly afforded.

So why do we leave it till the last minute to have everything organised? Who knows.

But, I have been looking into the ways that Christmas can be carefully planned in advance to take the stress out of this most amazing part of the year.

So here is a list of the things I try to do in the lead up to the festive season.

  1. Get the kids to write a Xmas Wish List.   For us, it’s a book that the kids make and then list all the things they would love to get for Christmas. Anything, nothing is off limits. But they know that they most likely will not get everything on their list, but it’s the best chance of getting something they really want.                 They start this on the school holidays when they are bored, and spend hours researching for it which is great for boredom busting during the holidays.             This book is something that I can take with me shopping so that I can remember what the kids want, cause I can’t remember everything, I’m only human.
  2. Make your own Xmas book.     I use an old exercise book and keep it handy to write things in as I remember.       It is broken into sections for                             – Food for Xmas day, so I can make a shopping list out of it and start purchasing things as Christmas gets closer.                                                                          –  Presents,    a section for each person where I can list what I have already purchased, and a section for what I would like to look for as I think of amazing ideas.                                                                                                                                         – The Secret Santa List,   who is buying for who and what they eventually buy, so I don’t double up. In our house, 8 kids means secret santa is a great way to allow the kids to buy for each other without me having to fork out on 64 gifts!! And it teaches them the value of money because it’s a challenge to get someone a nice gift within their $25 budget.                                  – What I have already coming, this is usually form Chrisco. Oh how I love Chrisco. This years bounty will include mini hampers for the oldest girls who have moved out of home, gift cards so I can go to Kmart and Woolies and spend like I’m actually rich and lolly hampers to keep the kids happy until Christmas actually arrives.                                                                                                  – The gifts and cards for everyone else who isn’t in our home.
  3. Start building your present stash as early as possible. I’ve been using lay by to gather a few gifts already. There is nothing worse than trying to do all the present shopping on Christmas Eve,  AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS people. Trust me, I’ve tried it and it will ruin your Christmas spirit real fast.
  4. Check your budget.      If you can forecast all your upcoming bills and expenses through until New Year, then you should be able to calculate how much money each week you can afford to spend on Xmas purchasing. This is not a guarantee to a debt free Christmas, but it gives you a base line to work from. Because nobody loves the December Credit Card Bill that is bigger than Ben Hur.

So, it’s still September, just, so if you haven’t started yet, there is not time like the present.   If you have any other great Xmas prep ideas, let me know. I’m always looking to refine this most fabulous time of the year.

Best Toy box EVER

Over the years, I have dabbled in oodles of toy box configurations.

  • Large plastic boxes
  • Large wooden boxes
  • Multiple small boxes
  • Slim cupboard on it’s side

Nothing much really looked more like a dumping ground for every toy in the house because to find anything, the kids had to take everything out to find the toys they were looking for, OR multiple small boxes stacked by 4 year olds looks like chaos. Honest.

But finally, I have discovered a toy box that is not only functional, but it looks really cool and sophisticated. So without further ado, I introduce to you…..



I can’t take credit for this idea but I’m going to share the s#@t out of it, because it is sooooo freakin amazing.

  • It looks like a nice piece of furniture
  • You can organize toys into the draws/boxes
  • Everything is stored out of sight
  • It comes in plain colours or funky colours
  • It comes in different sizes
  • When the toys are gone (along with the kids) it can convert into a beautiful display shelf

What more could one ask for from this essential item in every family friendly home?

It feeds my need for organisation and simplicity. It’s easy for the kids to find the toys they are looking for without emptying EVERYTHING onto the floor. Win win.

So if your craving a stylish toy box that is organised and easy for the kids to use, I cannot recommend one of these enough. And here is a link to an awesome cube shelf set up that will turn your life around.

Disclaimer: Should you purchase the item after following this link, I will be paid a small commission. I am only recommending a product I have tried and tested. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, I am simply showing you a version of what I have.

Kids and Vegies

Now I’m no expert, but I’ve learnt that most kids hate at least one kind of vegetable, sometimes multiple vegies.

So if you’re concerned that your little (or big) ones aren’t getting a good balance of vitamins and minerals because they refuse to eat anything aside from potato, then hopefully this can help you out.

I feel like it comes down to two things,

  1. Hide the vegies in something they like            or
  2. Develop a want to try them.

This is nothing new, I know. But if you’re like me, and want a peaceful meal time at least several days a week, then these are the best two methods to use.

Because really, it’s a battle nobody wants, and choosing your battles wisely can make the difference between winning and losing.

The execution will depend on your family and your time.

If you can hide vegies in at least two meals for the week, then you’re already filling your need of providing vitamins and minerals from vegies for nearly half the week.

This can be done by blending or grating vegies into spaghetti sauce, rissoles, meatloaf, and pies. You get where I’m coming from.

Just don’t make my mistake and let them see you do it or your plan is ruined. Totally.

But how do you develop a’ want to try them’ into kids with a deep hate of vegies?

Well, I achieved this by starting a vegie garden.

Kids are sooo keen to try out something they have grown.

This is a slow process and won’t work on all vegetable types, but if you can get them to at least WANT to try a few new vegies, then you’re already winning.

 If a vegie garden is not possible, getting your kids to design fun animals or figures with some colourful vegies that can be eaten raw is another approach.

And vegies aren’t entirely a night time thing. Anytime is good enough.

 Remember that your trying to get your kids to change the way they perceive vegetables.

Because once kids hate a vegie, it’s hard to come back from that. But it’s never too late to try.

Now, each of my kids still have a hated vegie that is mostly different from their siblings and even I hate peas.

So, in order to be able to prepare family meals without making 10 individual meals each night, everyone has to put up with one thing on their plate they don’t like.

So we make it fun by hanging out of the person who has to suffer that night.

And they take it well, knowing that they will get their revenge in due time.

So hopefully you can have most of your meal times in relative peace. Even if vegies are on the menu.

Parenting is a Journey, not a Destination.

Becoming a parent is a milestone in its own right. But this milestone is now your new way of life, forever. You never stop being a parent, even after your kids leave home. I know, I’m doing it.  But along the way you find some reoccurring things that are worthy of noting. 20+ years of being a parent has taught me a lot, and I still have 10 more years before my youngest leaves school.

So here are 7 parenting lessons I have learnt along the way so far:

  1. Things are always changing. Always, always, always. Every day, every year, every milestone is different. So take life as it comes. Every day is a new adventure with new challenges and new victories, hopefully.
  2. Parenting is hard. Super hard but super rewarding. There is no guide book to it and sometimes way too much advice. But every parent is doing it in their own special way and so can you.
  3. Women become Mums. What does that even mean?? Well, we start our adult life as women, and then once we become a Mum, we kind of loose ourselves. This is something I have struggled with because I have such a large family; I’m nearly always referred to as “that lady with all those kids”. And that is correct, but I’m also an individual and a person in my own right. But I’m going to own it anyway because my family defines me and I define my family.
  4. Personal space is a distant memory. There are no boundaries as to when a child can talk to you. Toilet, shower, bed, garden etc. I am starting to think that the toilet and shower are more attractive to your children to catch a chat with you because you are practically trapped and can’t avoid them. Well played kids. But as much as it is an inconvenience, it is only temporary. The older kids get, the more gross it becomes to go anywhere near you when you are in the toilet or shower. So hang in there, it doesn’t last forever.
  5. Presence instead of presents. Kids want your attention. They want toys and gadgets too, but ultimate happiness comes from your love and attention. I have learnt to always answer them. It’s painful at times, but it reassures them that I am there and listening. And while doing things together as a family is great, one on one time is important. We get this done by grocery shopping. Weird, I know. But I take just one kid with me to do the weekly shop each week. This gives us about an hour of one on one time for the week. It’s not much, but it works. Quick trips to the shop outside of groceries are done too and I sometimes forget whose turn it is, but the kids usually know and remind me if I’ve taken the wrong kid.
  6. Boundaries. This is one I find hard to maintain. Luckily, my husband has missed his calling as a navy ship commander, and is happy to take on that role at home instead. That is where our balance works. He is the bossy one and I am the soft one. But I have learnt that kids are more content when they know where the boundaries lie, and what happens when they are crossed. They don’t always like it, but it gives them security and structure to grow from.

I hope some of this is helpful to you in some way. We are all trying our best which doesn’t always feel adequate. But  Miss 21 and Miss 19 have made me realise, I remember things one way and they remember things another. They remember always feeling safe and loved despite the things I thought were affecting their growth.

Good luck.

Welcome to Modern Basic Living.



This is a blog designed to help anyone trying to navigate the modern world within a basic lifestyle but still living life to the fullest.

Blogs will be added twice weekly and hopefully you can read along and get a laugh, learn something new or just be humble with the fact that someone else is stumbling through parenthood too.