What it’s like in our household of 11 people

What it’s like in our household of 11 people

Jodi Bingley Photography

It’s 8 am, and the older girls wander down with a basket to the hen house, it’s time to feed the chickens and collect fresh eggs! There is laughing and giggling and they are all excited to reach down and pick up fresh warm eggs! It’s a great start to each day and they are the kinds of moments we love in our life. There is pure fresh happiness, a house full of little girls and a handsome little boy and a wonderful husband. It really is a daily adventure. Every day is a blessing

My husband Mark, 37, and,  I live in a little rural town near Canberra with our nine children,  yes, that’s right 9 children! Eight girls, and one boy! Their names are Georgina, Charlotte, Franchesca, Abigail, Catherine, Elizabeth, Rose, Martina, and Michael.

We have a busy, but well-managed household. Every day at our house we always fun, full of love, joy happiness and laughter! Living in a rural town is lovely, but it also has it disadvantages too. We do not have any shops and have travel 45kms to get groceries and other normal day items.

A lot of people ask me “how do you cope with a large family” or “do have a TV? Or “Your husband must be a CEO!” I always say that although life is hard it’s hard for the right reasons. A large family is a blessing a truly wonderful experience. Honestly, it’s really not that bad, we just do what we have to do and draw strength from our Christian Faith. We have hard days like anyone else, and sometimes life throws some difficult challenges our way, but I would not have it any other way! We have also been very smart, and fortunate, with our finance. We purchased our home in an affordable and up and coming area and only 45 minutes from the Capital Canberra. My husband works full-time and I stay at home looking after and homeschooling the children. Life is good!

At 1:30 pm we stop our busy day for some lunch and some garden play! The children absolutely love being in the garden with the animals! I capture these special moments on camera, as really, every day is a special day! I know that my husband and I will cherish these moments forever!

As a family of 11, 1 dog, 7 hens, 1 duck, 1 cockatiel, it is very important to shop around and find the best deals! We do our grocery shopping once a fortnight at Aldi and we set a budget of $450- $500  for our food shopping. Petrol money and bills money is kept separate, However, I do keep some extra money aside for any other extra expenses we have throughout the fortnight. We buy 48 litres of milk, 3-kilogram blocks of cheese, and 2 thickened creams. That’s a lot of dairy!REPORT THIS AD

I like to meal plan for the fortnight. I think it is very important to do this especially in a busy household like ours. We do sometimes shop at Costco, Coles and Woolworths to see what’s on special. For Sundays, we often buy really big pork and cut it in half. We cook 1 half for Sunday roast and then use the other half the following Sunday. otherwise we buy 2 chickens. We boil the left over’s and use it to make curry the following night.

If you want to save money on petrol, birthday cakes or other items I recommend going to your nearest Costco store. (if you have one) You can find some of the best deals here.

We shop around for the best insurance policies. We have an awesome deal at Saint George Bank for our vehicles (through Alliance), and home and contents insurances. We bank with service one for our mortgage and main accounts, and so far we have found them the best bank to deal with. They also are very good to bank with, if you have a larger family, they treat you fairly from our experience.

We save money by not buying too many luxuries and finding the best deals. We have seven hens and 1 duck which we free-range and get a good quantity of eggs. We also have been growing some vegetables and fruit which has been really great for us!. Another smart way to save money is by opening up a Christmas club account with your bank. Ours does not let you withdraw the money until November 1st. We try to put $150 in the account once a month. Holidays are ad hoc when we have available funds but we normally getaway for 2 weeks per year.

We are not penny pinchers, dole bludgers or anything in between. We work hard, save money and do the right thing for our family and community. We are not big spenders either. We always make it work no matter what! No one ever goes without. We are adaptable and able to adjust our budget needs if and when we need to.

When it comes to buying clothes and shoes I like to shop at places like Kmart, Target, Best & Less, Big W and even charity shops like St Vincent De’Paul. My mother in law is a hairdresser and often cuts the kids hair for me which is wonderful and a big benefit for us. Not everything has to cost money, like days out etc, why not take a picnic in the park or go to your local botanical garden? Lakes, beaches national parks and bush walks are also great ways to enjoy time with your family.  Be creative with your ideas. Kids will absolutely love that!

Or the typical day is very busy but after baths, dinner and other activities we are now finished and snuggled up on the, very large, lounge together. We talk about our day, how we are all feeling and what the new day will bring. We look at our tribe with so much pride, love and joy it makes us so happy!

At 8:30 pm it’s time to be tucked into bed and get comfy with bedtime stories. My husband and I use this time to reflect on our day, discuss the future and enjoy each other’s company.

We (my husband and I) feel so incredibly blessed to have our family. We thank God for our blessings and graces. We are no different from anyone else. We are part of your community. We are Australians.

My tribe – Jodi Bingley photography

Claire Louise Hooker

Advertisements
Meet the Tribe

Meet the Tribe

Meet the Tribe

Hello everyone,

I thought I would introduce you to my tribe one by one. I hope you will enjoy reading about them all as I did writing about them. They are all so different form one another and have such amazing traits and personalities. I feel very proud of them all. I feel so blessed to have nine beautiful children. We are a full-house and we are full of love. Life is amazing.

Georgina

This is my eldest daughter Georgina. She is 11 years old. Georgina is smart, caring and full of life. She is extremely good at art and crafts. She also loves Science and writing stories. Georgina loves looking after the chickens and ducks and one day wants to be a vet. I am very proud of the young lady she is becoming. 😍

Charlotte

This is my second eldest daughter Charlotte. She is 10 years old. Charlotte is a very kind and caring person and loves to help out her younger siblings. She always asks me if I need help with anything. Charlotte is very strong-willed and is always determined to get things done. Charlotte loves arts/crafts, dancing and singing. She told me she would like to work at an airport one day. I am very proud of her and the little lady she is blossoming Into.🤩😍

Franchesca

This is Franchesca. She is 8 years old. Franchesca was born at 28 weeks gestation which was absolutely terrifying. It was a very tough time for us all. But she amazed us all be growing stronger and stronger everyday and she only spent 6 weeks in the hospital NICU before coming home at 35 weeks gestation. Franchesca is strong, smart and is an avid reader and enjoys reading storybook collections. Franchesca loves to help out with her siblings. Franchesca also likes science and art. Franchesca told me she wants to be a mummy when she is older. Franchesca is my miracle girl and we are very blessed to have her. 😍😘

This is my daughter Abigail. She is 7 years old. Abigail loves to sing like me and is actually pretty good. Abigail loves music, gardening, baking and art. Abigail is acing reading all her school books. Abigail is doing her first Holy Communion in 2 weeks which she is really excited about. Abigail is not sure what she wants to be when she is older and said she is still thinking about it. Abigail is very talented and caring and I’m very proud of her and all her achievements.😘
.

Catherine – twin 1

This is my Daughter Catherine. She is 6 years old. Catherine has a non-identical twin sister called; ‘Elizabeth who you will meet tomorrow in the series. The twins were born 6 weeks early and had to both stay in NICU for about 6 weeks. We eventually came home but Catherine got sick and had to go back to go hospital where she spent another 2 weeks recovering and growing. Catherine has an eye condition called ‘Amblyopia’ which is another term for the ‘lazy eye’ she wears really awesome glasses but didn’t have them on for this photo because they were being fixed at Specsavers. Catherine has big blue eyes and people always tell her she looks like a Disney princess. Catherine is a bright girl and despite her eye condition is coming along really well with her reading and writing. She has always been a fighter and a go-getter. Catherine is very much a sensitive soul. She is kind and caring. Catherine loves going to the beach and swimming in the sea. Catherine’s favourite subjects are art and Geography. Catherine amazes me every day and I am so proud of her.

Elizabeth – twin 2

This is my daughter Elizabeth. She is 6 years old and she is also Catherine’s twin sister. They were both born at 34 weeks gestation and spent 6 weeks in NICU. They are non-identical twins and are very different from one another in looks and personalities but together they have a very strong and unique bond. The bond they share is so beautiful.
Elizabeth is kind, caring, stubborn and cheeky but is very affectionate and loves hugging her baby brother. Elizabeth loves to sing and do arts and crafts. Elizabeth also loves going to the coffee shop for a cake and a milkshake. She also loves going to the beach. Her favourite subjects are music, English and art. I am very proud of my little ‘busy Lizzy’ 😍

Rose

This is my daughter Rose – Olivia. She is 4 years old and is turning 5 next month. Rose Rose always introduces herself as ‘wose’ which is really cute.🤗
Rose gets grumpy easily but it’s quite easy to make her laugh too.
Rose is such a bright little button and already wants to do big school ‘homeschool‘ with her older siblings. She has been unofficially schooling with them for 2 years now and has learnt so much already and is eager to learn more. Rose really loves Reading eggs and Maths Online. She is a great little singer and adores bunny rabbits. Rose is always hugging her brother and showing him books. Rose is kind, caring and full of life. Her favourite subject is Art. I am very proud of my little Rosie Posey. 😍

Martina

This is my daughter Martina. She is 2 years old and is turning 3 on January 31st. Her middle name is Alice. She is growing so fast and is so full of life! She has such character and make us all laugh every day.
Martina is currently growing her molars which has been painful for her. She has also been going through the terrible 2 phase 😂
Martina is currently toilet training and although it’s early days she is doing really well with it. Martina loves Peppa pig so much and takes a giant soft Peppa pig toy to bed with her every night. Martina loves to be in the water and has no fear of it at all. She loves the bath with her ducks, She also loves going in the sea, swimming pools and even in our inflatable water parks we put up in our garden throughout the summer. I think she will be a great swimmer as she gets older. When Martina is out and about she waves and says “hello” to everyone. Martina is showing a strong interest in books and colouring in books. I am very proud of my youngest daughter. Being 2 years old is hard but she is AMAZING and is growing into a very beautiful little girl. 😍

Michael

This is my son Michael. Michael is now 20 months old. His birthday falls on Valentine’s day and is also the day before his sister’s Franchesca. Michael was born at 38 weeks but had a rough start to his life with breathing issues and he spent a week in the NICU. After this minor blip, Michael grew from strength to strength. Michael is very tall and his almost the same height has his sister Martina Michael is strong and very clever for his age. He loves to play with his toy trucks and cars. Michael is very sweet-natured and is also very charming. He loves cuddles and kisses from us all. He is adored by his 8 sisters. Michael just loves life and is always smiling. He is a very happy little boy. Michael is saying new words every day but his favourite words are; ‘yesh’, ‘okay’ and ‘ickles’ as in Michael’ and 😂 Michael loves his blue soft bunny rabbit that he takes to bed with him every night. Michael loves to dance to Bob the builder when it comes on the telly. He is also a great little dancer. I’m so proud of my little Prince charming. He is such a beautiful boy and we feel so blessed to have him after having 8 beautiful girls.

Family

Thanks for reading

Claire xxx

The Artisan gift co – Review

The Artisan gift co – Review

Michael with his very own personalised cushion

Hi Everyone,

We recently collaborated with an amazing family owned company called : https://artisangiftco.com.au/ They sell amazing keepsake gifts and prints. My family and I, quickly fell in love with their products. What I love is that they put so much love, care and attention into their products and it truly shows how passionate they are about what they create for us. They are creating and designing products that we will love and cherish forever.

About arts and gift co

The Artisan Gift Co. was established in 2018 with the idea of creating hand made keepsake gifts that will last a lifetime. Starting off with hand made prints, they have grown their range and added decor, toys and gifts but they have and continue to stay true to what they’re all about: hand made and high quality. They are not wrong there either because their products are incredible!

The unique and beautifully hand made gifts you buy from The Artisan Gift Co will be so special and will be something you and your family will cherish for many years to come and nothing is more special then a beautifully handmade keepsake you can share with your loved ones.

My family and I received 2 wonderful products from The Artisan Gift Co.

My little Mikey with his personalized storybook cushion
  1. Was the ever so beautiful Personalised story book range cushion – Bicycle design : https://artisangiftco.com.au/collections/kids-decor/products/storybook-cushion-customised-bicycle .

This is a fully personalised cushion. The cushion also features a small paragraph on the back which really cute and gives it that story feel. They retail at $85.00 and afterpay is also available. The quality and design of this product is absolutely impeccable and I know that my son Michael will cherish this for many years to come.

2. The next thing was the family name print keepsake. https://artisangiftco.com.au/collections/family-keepsake/products/family-surname-keepsake-print

Family surname keepsake print with rose gold foil

I wanted to have something special and meaningful that I could proudly place in my house and this was the perfect idea. This is the perfect definition to what a family is. This is what we have written on our print:

  1. a group of people related by blood or united through friendship and love.
  2. . the result of two people falling in love.
  3. the ones you live for, laugh with, support, forgive and love unconditionally with all your heart. You can also choose what color foil you want for the the big capital letter of your surname on the top of the print. We went with rose gold as it’s my favorite color. We absolutely love our keepsake print. It’s very special and I already have it up in my living room with all of our other family photos. You can also have other themes for your keepsake print just contact someone in their friendly team who will happily assist you.

We are so thrilled with our personalised products and have never had anything like this before, so a very big thank you to The Artisan Gift co for gifting my family and I these beautiful keepsakes. At the moment they have 10 percent of site-wide all you need to do is use the code : 10SITEWIDE. They also have afterpay available.

Claire Xx

Reasons to always SMILE

Reasons to always SMILE

R E A S O N S TO S M I L E 😁
.
SMILE because you are BEAUTIFUL
SMILE because you are AMAZING
SMILE because you are WORTHY
SMILE because you are UNIQUE
SMILE because you are BLESSED
SMILE because you are LOVED
SMILE because you can!
SMILE because tomorrow is a new day!
SMILE because life’s to short not too!
.
I SMILE not because life is perfect because it isn’t, It just means I appreciate everything God has given me and for that I am internally grateful.
.
I SMILE every day because I am very blessed to have my family, my faith and my friends and so so much more..
When I’m feeling a bit down I think of all the positives in my life and eventually, it outweighs all the negatives. Smiling is so important. Smiling is also good for your mind, body and soul.
.
What makes you smile?
.
Claire Xx .

Staying hydrated and supporting mental health

Staying hydrated and supporting mental health



Hi everyone,

Recently I have been working really hard getting back into my fitness regime. I have been going on early morning runs and I am back to eating keto-friendly foods. One of my biggest downfalls, when I’m trying to keep fit, is not drinking enough water! I’m terrible at remembering! Recently I was scrolling through Instagram and had stumbled across @realactivemovenent They sell big beautiful and unique water bottles and accessories. I purchased a purple 1.4L bottle and I have filled it up twice a day every day for the last 7 days and I am very proud of myself for remembering! It’s big enough and I don’t think I will forget to drink water anytime soon! 😉
Did you know that 10% of the proceeds from every sale is donated to their incredible mental health charity partners. How awesome is that!


I haven’t spoken about this topic much but I too have struggled with my mental health over the years due to different life challenges being thrown my way. But it needs to be spoken about alot more and I will do all I can to help with this. I am very happy to support such a great movement. It’s important to always support each other and be kind always. You can never truly know what a person is going through in their life. Your kindness and support will go such a long way.


Visit their website to read their full story and listed charity partners: www.realactive.com.au
Claire Xx .

Maths made easy with Maths Online

Maths made easy with Maths Online

Georgina aged 11 is watching a Math tutorial

Hey everyone,

As most of you know by now we are large homeschooling family living in regional  New South Wales and we have been schooling now at home for almost 5 years and it’s been wonderful.  Although homeschooling has mostly been a breeze for my children and I,  there, of course have been some struggles along the way especially when it comes to maths. Maths is not their favourite subject and if i’m honest it’s not mine either, however,  it’s important that we work hard at mathematics because we will be using  these skills for the rest of our lives! The children often find their workbooks boring and lose interest very quickly! I decided it was time to try a different method of learning.

Maths onlineIn collaboration with Maths Online

In the last few days we have starting using a 12 month family membership with maths online and although it’s only early days my children are really excited to use it! I have never seen them so excited about maths before so I’m definitely a very happy mum right now! Over the next 12 months I will be updating you on their ongoing progress with the program We are so excited! Maths has just been become a fun subject in our household thanks to maths online!

How it works

Each of the 1,400+ Maths Online tutorials last around 4-9 minutes and present the concepts of the maths lesson step-by-step. Using synchronised audio and animation which harnesses both audio and visual learning styles simultaneously. Maths Online lessons can be studied at home or at school and all devices. Obviously no one can force a young person to study maths, but what we have done here is to provide materials that are interesting and stimulating in themselves, and which will encourage the student, once started, to continue studying.

What we love about it

What I love about the programs far is the video tutorials that you can listen to  before each lesson. the tutorial explains the lesson very well and even shows you few examples to help you. I also love that I am able to set tasks and keep a track of my children’s progress.

Useful links for you to take a look at:

Free Trial Parent :https://www.mathsonline.com.au/free-trial?type=parent

Free Trial Student:https://www.mathsonline.com.au/free-trial?type=student

Maths Online:https://www.mathsonline.com.au/

Home school Pricing :

https://www.mathsonline.com.au/purchase/homeschool   — (We do ask that once you have purchased your homeschooling membership that you provide a scanned copy of your certificate or registration of approval to home school within 4 weeks of purchase)

I’m looking forward to sharing more with you all over the next coming months. Stay tuned because tomorrow I will announcing a huge math online giveaway over on my Instagram. Make sure you are following me at : https://www.instagram.com/thistribeofmineofficial/ and the team at maths online at: https://www.instagram.com/mathsonline/

Claire Xx

My Faith

My Faith

Hey everyone,
I want to talk to you about something personal
I feel quite nervous though but here goes:

I don’t talk about this much publicly, but it is a HUGE part of my everyday life!
I am a Catholic and I am proud of it! I love my beautiful faith! We are raising our children Catholic also. We feel this is the right choice for our family.

I haven’t always been a Catholic, nor was I bought up religiously and In-fact I was baptized in the church of England as a baby

I actually became a Catholic eight years ago. Yes, I did marry into a Catholic family but it took me another four years after that to make my final decision to convert. I researched and studied so much before I decided what I wanted to do. I realized I already had faith within me, I just didn’t understand it or know how to use it.

The beautiful thing about faith is that you learn something new every day. I am so glad to have made that decision to become Catholic because my life feels so much better with God in it. Call me a ‘bible basher’ all you want it honestly doesn’t bother me and it actually reminds me that I should read the bible more than I do 🙈

I understand that not everyone is religious, and that’s fine. I respect and love everyone. I am still human and make mistakes every day. I am by no means perfect. I am still the same old bubbly & clumsy Claire everyone knows and loves!

I am just opening up more and giving you a bit more of an insight to my life. I, of course, do not condone the terrible things that have happened within the church. The priests/people who have committed these crimes will have to answer to God! I pray for peace and people every day. Prayer is so powerful and I will continue to do it for the rest of my life 🙏
I am not ashamed to say that I have faith.🙌

I will always stay true to what I believe and I will always be honest and real with everyone who follows me.

Are you religious? If so what is your faith
Let me know in the comments
.
God Bless

Claire XxX