Thursday, December 30, 2010

Today you are 4

Four years ago today, a cheeky monkey was born...

My darling child - I admire your kindness and your compassion for others.

I couldnt live without your wicked sense of humour, your laughter and your cuddles.

I thought I had the most full and interesting life and then you came along, and improved it ten fold. You have bought me the most amazing highs, lows, joys, challenges and passion for life. And you add the most amazing colour to both Mr B and my lives.

As you tell me daily - you are my big boy now but you have and will always be such a beautiful physical representation of my heart xxx

“Making the decision to have a child - It's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”- Elizabeth Stone

Friday, December 24, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peace, love & happiness

Dancing be the heart within us,
Open be our souls to bliss,
Courage vanquish every shadow,
Greet Midsummer with a kiss.
- from Celtic Devotional - Daily Prayers & Blessings 

Wishing you all lots of peace, love and happiness at this special time of year. May you be merry, full of joy and playfulness during this Christmas holiday time in whatever form you celebrate.

  A kindy Xmas gift from Little B to us

Puddings anyone?

 Picture courtesy of **

One of my favourite things about Christmas Day is our family tradition of ice cream puddings. Granny B used to make them but for the last 9 years, it has been my contribution. In the week before Christmas, I make our own ice cream with my trusty Krups ice cream maker. I then tailor make the pudding to the brother loves home-made honeycomb and chocolate, Mr B loves traditional pudding (which I crumble and fold through), Granny B loves berries and the list goes on.

When we have extended family or friends for Christmas Day, I cater to what they like (if I know) or I like to make something light and fresh. I love making fresh cherry and dark chocolate...yummo :-)

Before Little B was born we used store bought ice cream, and for the last 3 years I've made rice milk ice cream puddings. This year I'm using Rhonda's recipe for simple vanilla ice cream. Not only was it simple but it is so creamy and absolutely divine!! Bonus is we trialled the ice cream on Little B and no allergic reaction - yay!!!! :-)

** I would love to show a pic of ours put they are in the freezer getting ready for Christmas Day LOL

Monday, December 20, 2010

a tv free childhood

After reading the comments on Meagan’s lovely post “a tv free childhood” over at ecoMILF, I thought I’d write about what we do during poison hour / crafting / day to day since we don’t use TV as an entertainment form for Little B.

I’ve slowly been acclimatising Little B to my crafting / knitting during out days together. It’s not uncommon to find me perched on the edge of the sandpit / or ensconced in a chair next to it knitting while he plays and we chat together.

When I want to do short bursts of sewing, this is what Little B does:

He loves beading at his little table near me. It’s that or threading or building big Lego towers.

During poison / impossible hour which always falls while I’m cooking dinner *sigh*, I’ve got a revolving repertoire of play dough, painting or cutting. This is all done at a table in our kitchen as he’s keen to be near me. I also play a poison hour soundtrack that we have put together which keeps both he and I calm and happy.

But these are obviously things I do with an almost 4 year old. When he was smaller, I didn’t craft during the day, but for poison hour I put a big chalk board on the floor of the kitchen and let him draw. Or I would give him a bowl with crushed ice to play with.

Other great hits were two sets of magnets (dinosaurs, alphabet) that I rotated for him to play with on the fridge. And some photos he could rearrange all over the fridge in magnetic protective covers. Banging pots and pans and emptying the bottom shelf of my pantry was another big fave :-)

And when he was littler again, I wore him in an Ergo backpack and we used to sing and dance while I cooked. I was also best-friends with my slow cooker :-)

I love Christy’s idea of bags that only come out during this time period with toys that don’t see often that rotate. If Little B was younger I would have tried this option.

Audiobooks play a huge role in our lives as well. Little B loves to listen to stories and this gives us periods of down time during the day. His current favs are Paddington at Christmas and Jack & the Beanstalk. But our collection ranges from Fireman Sam to Winnie the Pooh to Dr Suess. These are really good when he is sick or confined to the house due to crappy weather.

As one of my favourite kids books says “everybody is different”, so this post isn’t to make you feel guilty if you use TV in your house, instead I hope it gives you some ideas, so that TV isn’t the first or only port of call as you play out your days together with your little ones.

Friday, December 17, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Handmade Christmas

I’ve spent the last few weeks working through my list of hand made presents. We are having an early Christmas with Mr B’s family the week before Christmas day and then the actual day with my side of the family.

So I’ve been getting our gifts ready for the first occasion as a priority. Last week I made a batch of mango butter, as well as passionfruit shortbread and pfeffernusse (iced gingerbread cookies). I’ve sewed some shopping bags out of our fabric stash and sourced some gorgeous vintage reference books for other family members.

I’ve got some patterns for make up purses and scarves that I still need to make, plus some little eco kitchen cleaning kits to make up (home-made washing powder, knitted cotton & jute cloths, plus some little wooden pegs that Little B is going to decorate).

I said it last year and I’ll say it again, Christmas feels more meaningful to me these days because we try to make our gifts. Yes it’s frugal and yes it’s green but I like giving these gifts of love to family and friends. It also helps that I love sewing, knitting and baking LOL. And where it’s not possible for me to do so, I love buying hand made items from other people to give as gifts. I feel like I’m supporting a little grass roots business and it makes my purchase feel more useful.

** No pictures for this post as I have family members who read my blog :-) They’ll just have to wait for Christmas to see what they are getting *giggle*

Monday, December 13, 2010


Contrary to the title of this post, I havent been swapping Little B ;-) Last week I attended a local kindy fundraiser that is similar to a clothes swap.

For $15 entry, you received 10 tickets to swap for items. You could donate kids clothes, toys, books and other items like prams. Anything left over at the end was donated to a local toy library and / or op shop.

We had a ball. I managed to pick up some lovely wooden toys, a few puzzles and a brand new unopened complete set of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe book series. Great for Little B when he is a bit older.

It was a great event to have just before Xmas and it is a lovely way to fundraise for a kindergarten. They hope to make it a more permanent fixture on their calendar next, and it would be great to see the popularity of green and frugal events such as these on the rise.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Happy List

Inspired by Kate at Foxs Lane, here is my current happy list. I love the concept of a happy list as it keeps my spirits high :-)

Home baked allergy friendly choc chip cookies -- Making jungle decorations for Little B's party -- Sewing (my skirt is so very nearly finished) -- 5 tiny tomatoes on my tomato plants (after a battle with early blight) -- Christmas through the eyes of a 4 year old -- finger knitting (when in doubt, add some finger knitting LOL) -- cuddles with my family -- sunshine -- hand made presents -- 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A useful giggle...

The weather in Melbourne has been very hot, humid and full of thunderstorms. To me it feels really tropical (and not in the best sense). This means the mosquito juggernaut has descended.
Little B experiences the worst munching from the mozzies so we’ve gotten a little bit creative.
We’ve installed a mosquito net over his sandpit. He happily plays in his new “tent” and isn’t over run my mozzies. I have to say it’s quite pleasant sitting in there with him. Good company, nice breeze, no mozzies…what more could a girl want ;-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Party time

It’s that time of year again :-) We have Little B’s birthday party at the start of December even though he is a late December baby. This means his little friends can come along easily rather than being away around Xmas.

Last year I focussed on ensuring the party was both eco-friendly and allergy friendly. And these are my main focuses again this year but I am also aiming for the food to be as whole and nourishing as possible, while still being party food.

We will be re-using our home made bunting and paper lanterns from last year. I bought a variety of paper lanterns last year (to cover all our birthdays throughout the year) and the green will suit our Jungle theme. We are also putting up our solar lanterns as bright decorations out the front of the house.

Goodie Bags
Last year, I made fabric bags from some party theme fabric I found at the op shop. This year I’m using recycled paper bags. In these will be a home-baked choc chip cookie, a wooden toy and a little crafty something extra.

I believe in a lot of unstructured play for kids, even at parties. I have a few Montessori games up my sleeve, revolving around the Jungle theme (like “The Waterhole”) and we will be doing some strewing (like a jungle park in the sandpit) and some strategically placed toys around the garden. I’ve also set up some drums for some African drumming sessions ;-)

I have been inspired for our party food mainly from Jude Blereau’s “Whole Food for Children”. We are having jelly boats (from pear & mango juice with agar agar), fairy bread (with sourdough, labne and allergy friendly sprinkles), home-made tzatziki & pinto bean dips with spelt crackers, and finally a gorgeous fruit platter. Little B’s cake will be a spelt butter cake, decorated with Hullabaloo food coloured icing.

I’ve asked our guests not to give Little B any plastic toys. I’ve also asked people to be as environmentally conscious as they can be in their gift choices.

** NB: If it’s raining, we’ve organised for 3 separate play spaces in the house. One following the strewing jungle theme, one with some jungle inspired playdough and craft and one for freeplay (with a big dress up box provided for inspiration.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So proud of

I am so proud of and happy for Mr B. On Friday he got his dream sustainable job and to make it even better it's part time. So work / life balance will abound. This is a bit different from his current job but we are very much looking to more family time together.

I also know he is very excited to apply his knowledge and background in sustainability and renewable energies to a new industry.

Friday, December 3, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar #2: Paper Chains

 Today's advent calendar goodie was a little note, "Today we will be building christmas paper chains to decorate Granny B's house". It was so gorgeous watching Little B do a happy dance when we read it out :-)

So this morning we crafted! Granny B's work gets hand me down magazines for their waiting room and in the last lot there was a series of magazines that had different kind of double sided decorated paper for craft. She saved them all and brought them home for us.
We cut them up this morning (which Little B loves to do) and glued our chains all together. We also made a few paper lanterns. I then finger knitted some cords to hang the lanterns. This was from thrifted wool from the op shop (I love that you can often find wool in baby colours like white, pale pink and pale blue). I then used some thrifted ribbon to make little handles for them.

And then we got to decorate the house.....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Garden Update

Our veggie garden went beserk while we were away. I found the growth in 8 days almost mind blowing. Our tomatoes doubled in size, as did our beans and broccoli.

I’d had my doubts about our spinach before we went away but the heat and sun made them flourish. Perfect as baby spinach for salads and sandwiches.

I spent most of Sunday re-staking everything, stringing our bean frames and snipping back our regular garden which was overhanging the beans in a big way. I think everything loved a week of warmth and sun.

The only thing not growing super fast are our cucurbits (zucchini, pumpkin and Lebanese cucumbers). But these are in a veggie bed we’ve had our doubts about in the past. Despite great sun and good soil, it always has “issues” growing things well.

I’m wondering if it is a drainage issue (given our abundance of rain this spring)? It’s a raised bed but I cant think what else could be wrong. Other than the possibility of bad bugs in the soil…hmmm… will have to keep experimenting and see what happens.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Organics Bin

I was impressed when I found this organics bin at our holiday house. It's a service provided by the Alexandrina council as part of their Zero Waste Strategy. Basically it replaces your compost bin and it certainly made me happy not to have to bin food scraps while we were away.

Whilst I'm personally happy with our compost bins at home, I know their are some people who view it with an ick factor. So I think this would be a really great alternative for councils to offer. All the standard conditions apply like no meat or dairy.

Alexandrina Council also offer separate bays at their tips (waste depots) for compostable green organics. This is separate from trees and prunings from gardens. Interestingly they also discount depot fees if you already have your rubbish pre-sorted for recycling.

It's lovely to see some councils going to extra mile to encourage people to be more sustainable.

Hmm phone anyone??

Well we were greeted with a storm on Saturday afternoon, after we arrived home. And said storm knocked over a tree, which in turn took out our phone line. So we've had no phone or internet until lunchtime today!

Now I can live without the internet but have found it incredibly frustrating to live without the phone. We have terrible mobile reception where we are so cant rely on mobiles. So it's been very silent and my to do list has grown to immense proportions.

We are having Little B's birthday party soon and I still have a few things I'd like to organise. And yay now I can :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Road Trip

Well we had a wonderful trip to Adelaide. The days ranged between 29 and 35 degrees, we spent most mornings and evenings at the beach, we saw the sights, we chilled out and relaxed at our holiday abode and most importantly had a fantastic time catching up with my extended family.

Little B especially loved spending time with his great grandparents. They in turn enjoyed chatting and spending time with him. My grandfather is a well known painter in the area and really enjoyed painting and drawing time with Little B. My grandma just loved sneaking kisses and cuddles with him.

It was quite poignant for me as it will probably be the last time that I see them. Our final day involved a lunch with all the relatives and the two gorgeous great grand kiddies with their Great Grammy & Great Grampy centre stage.

As much as I love having a break, coming home has been lovely too. Not least because I got to see my gorgeous husband!! We’ve moseyed our way through this afternoon chatting, playing, unpacking and baking – bread, a lovely veggie stew for dinner and a Mr B’s favourite pudding as he has been super looking forward to some home cooked loveliness.