Friday, July 30, 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, July 29, 2010

Think twice

Cheeki Water bottle

For every 1 litre bottle of water that you buy, it is estimated that 200ml of oil is used in the production, packaging, transport and refrigeration of that single bottle of water (The Department of Environment and Climate Change, 2010).

Another way to look at buying bottled water, is that “the cost of buying water instead of drawing it from a tap is comparable to driving a car (1.5 megajoules of energy vs 4 megajoules of energy” (Tim Grant, “Message in a Bottle”, Alive Magazine 2010).

I don’t know about you but I am so glad that we have been using stainless steel bottles for taking water with us for the last 4 years. But very occasionally, we get caught without water for Little B when out and about. I have solved this by having a set of Ecococoon cups in the car.

Mainly because I cant wipe the thought that if I am buying a bottle of water, then I am using a cup of oil. Mr B gave this to me as a visual once and I cant move past it now. Sometimes pictures speak louder than words!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making lollipops

I thought I’d post how we made lollipops to take along to a birthday party last weekend. Little B cant eat normal lollipops as they have salicylates if they are fairly natural or soy lecithin if they are not.

I followed the method of Leela at She Simmers, combined with a recipe from Sue Dengate’s Fed Up with Food Additives book.

1 cup organic raw sugar
2/3 cup water
½ tsp citric acid
Dash of pureed pears for flavour

I didn’t use a candy thermometer (not something I have stashed in the kitchen) and will admit they I burned the sugar in my first batch and they tasted awful (Little B having never had a lollipop thought they were brilliant). Second batch I knew more or less what I was doing and had greater success. I also think induction stovetops are awful and hard to cook on so this contributes to successes and failures in the kitchen at the House of B.

We made them as flat lollipops on a greased metal tray using 1 tsp of mixture to create the circles. First using cut down paddlepop sticks to practice. Then proper lollipop sticks for our second batch. I wish I'd taken photos but time was of the essence (after the first batch tanked) and we had to get to the party :-)

But if it all looks too hard and you want to buy some pre-made the Little Lolly Shop makes failsafe lollipops here (no nasties).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison

- Lolly pops
- Pear Jam
- Tuna Spelt Spaghetti with goats cheese and scrummy fresh veggies

- Anais Nin: A biography by Deirdre Bair

- a really hilarious and fun 3 year olds birthday party. Great fun was had by all and Little B had so been looking forward to seeing his “best girl” on her birthday LOL.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I want to love me just as I am

I’m really taken by this challenge uniting mama bloggers over at Shakti Mama, Childhood Magic and Twig and Toadstool. It’s also come at a time when I’ve been thinking quite inwardly about these issues.

I quite simply hate photos of myself, more so since Little B was born. I’ve battled with so many health issues since his birth (both his and mine) that I feel all photos of me are just a documentary journey of how tired and worn out one can look. And with my massive unwanted weight loss this year – now when I see a photo I think “hmm skeletal lollipop”…sorry check that “really really tired skeletal lollipop”.

But I love this idea of taking real unaltered photos and our acceptance of self – at all ages, stages, on our journey through life.

Like others, my husband is my #1 fan and makes me feel beautiful no matter what I look like or what I’m wearing. My son is #2 and tells me I’m “so cute” all the time and that he loves me. And last but not least, my mum is my #3 fan and loves me in all my stages – thanks mum J And you know that should be good enough for me.

I love my inner self so now I need to work harder at loving my outside self. I don’t mind aging, and am getting used to grey hair when it shows since I stopped dyeing my hair (that’s when I know it’s time to reapply the henna LOL).

So this is me:

Does putting up this photo make me uncomfortable? You betcha – on so many levels…because I have to look at it, because I don’t feel beautiful, because I’m scared the outside world will judge my appearance…..but as ShaktiMama has said

I want to be bold for the camera.  I want to think I am worth this photograph.  I want to love me just as I am”.

So join in the challenge from Twig & Toadstool:

“here's the challenge...let's see the real YOU!!!   Mamas let's unite in radical self blog, one photo at a time!   If it scares you, then do it anyways...and let's start a discussion on why it's so scary in the first place.  I urge you to look at that woman in the mirror, with her heart so full and ask yourself, "is she really so bad"? - Maureen

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blogger meet up with Belinda

Picture courtesy of

Today I went to my first IRL meet up with fellow blogger Belinda, from Belinda’s Place. I'm sure you've read her blog by now, and are aware of how knowledgeable she is about all things gardening, bread and being green.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous to meet her. I'm pretty shy until you get to know me, and I can come off as awkward. Well, this meet up was not at all awkward, because no meet up with someone this lovely and nice could possibly be less than great! We met up for some fair trade organic hot chocolate (Yumm!!) and we got to talking about the ins and outs, ups and downs of gardening up where we live. I can't tell you how nice it was to be able to talk to someone about this.

I felt a great connection with Belinda, and I just know we'll get to see each other again soon. Make sure to head over to Belinda's blog to see more of her fab Spelt recipes. It sure inspires me to have a go at making some sourdough bread.

{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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Calling all breadmakers

I've been making my own bread for nearly 2 years now, but in the last week all my loaves look like this:

Mind you, this would have to be the worst of the lot. But I'm not actually sure why. I thought it could be either the water ratio or the yeast. So I borrowed some scales that weigh water and had another go (and the result is in the pic).

So I'm assuming it's a yeast issue. Does anyone know if you can get a bad batch of yeast? I've always used Simply No Knead and never had a problem. Things got a bit hairer when I moved to a Biodynamic bread flour but came good again.

My next step is to replace the yeast, then try it in the oven and not the breadmaker. It's also encouraged to get a move on with trying sourdough bread.

Looks like it was a water issue. I reduced the water by about 40ml and had much better success with my loaves. I also increased the flour after Belinda's suggestion which helped a lot as well. I'd say I have a bad batch of flour more than anything.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison

- Rustica Pizza

- Immune boosting chicken soup for Mr B (go shiitake mushrooms!!)

- The Quiet Earth by Elizabeth Harris

- still knitting away at my jumper :-)

- Granny B has been teaching me how to crochet. I’m really keen to have a go at making some crocheted beanies.
- We’ve also been doing a touch of sewing on some kitchen goodies (but that's for a future post as we have a few more to do).

Friday, July 16, 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

I'm sorry to say...

We attended an orientation / trial session this morning at the only kindergarten that could offer us a place mid-year, and I’m sorry to say that it was a complete disaster.

While the teacher was very nice, she had trouble dealing with the concept of multiple chemical sensitivities. She wasn’t prepared to not wear perfume, nor stop any sensory activities that involved strong smelling substances, like shaving cream.

So I’m now home with a little boy who is covered in eczema, scratching his ears until they bleed, who is hyper, and has lost his language for the afternoon – just from our short time there today.

Oh well, onwards and upwards – we are just going to hope that the paint smell evaporates before the end of term at our old kindy and that we get some time to attend there. Until then it will just be playgroups, play dates with his kindy mates and lots of fun at home.

You win some, you lose some :-)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tissue Paper Lanterns

I found this idea at Childhood Magic and it looked like such good gloopy fun, that I introduced it on a rainy afternoon to entertain Little B. With some tissue paper, balloons and home-made paste (basically flour and glue), we both had good fun putting these together.

After they dried, we put in some fake tea-lights and had some supper via “candle” light.

I’ve even contemplated it as a good party exercise. So this might make a reappearance during this summer for Little B’s fourth birthday :-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I am so annoyed....

I am so annoyed this evening. After picking Little B's kindy because of it's eco-credentials they have gone and done something really dumb. Over the school holidays they painted the entire inside of the toxic high VOC paint.

Luckily, both the kindy teacher and assistant called me yesterday and today to warn me. As did another mother who had gone in yesterday to do some fundraising work. I went down this afternoon to check it out (read smell) for myself.

The smell knocks you over before you even walk through the door. Now with a child with multiple chemical sensitivities, this means that Little B will be unable to attend kindy for pretty much all of Term 3 :-(

So this afternoon has been a mad scramble to see if he can get in anywhere else for the term (no mean feat). We are off to view one kindy tomorrow in the vain hope it will be suitable. Otherwise, we will just join another playgroup, do some fun classes and play.

But tonight I feel victimised, frustrated and angry. You wouldn't catch people painting walls with peanuts or eggs, but chemical sensitivities are viewed as fish slapping escapades.

My Trusty Notebook

About 12 months ago, I started using an A5 notebook to note down thoughts, things to do, things to remember and the like. Basically things that I wanted to remember or to use as prompts. On moving house, this process kind of fell to the wayside.

But reading this post at Visionary Mom, has prompted me to start using it again. Reading over my notebook, reminded me why I liked it so much in the first place. I have lists, the odd recipe idea & now of course I can jot down ideas for blog posts :-) My lists are for things like clothes for Little B. As we buy secondhand from opshops and markets etc, I keep a detailed list of what we need up to 2 sizes ahead, so that I never buy too much and have a complete idea of what his future wardrobes are missing. For example, we need trackpants for Size 4, and jumpers for Size 5.

Another key list is for the projects we need to do around the house as well as the garden. If I didn’t write it down, it would be so easy to be overwhelmed or just plain forget our vision for this house.

I can also really appreciate her concept of a brain dump. There are times my brain is buzzing with ideas for home, work, play for Little B and it’s nice to get it down in one place, so that I can pick and choose what to implement or what to develop.

So I will keep “writing until my brain is dry”. It makes me calmer, makes me “feel” more organized and frees up my time, so that I can spend more time enjoying the day-to-day then getting caught up in the stresses & messes of normal everyday living.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison
- Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

- instead of a throw, I’ve embarked on a jumper. As a novice knitter, I want to learn more types of stitches.

- Coming home to eat: Wholefood for the family by Jude Blereau

- Renovation Rescue J Fixing the ceiling in our master bedroom after the March storms - think lots of plaster, dust and mess.
- Draft proofing Little B’s room around the architraves and ceiling with gap filler, and by plastering over the old air vents in the walls.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

School Holidays Part Deux

We visited our faithful library again and:

Made a newspaper fish collage

Saw Carp Productions “Funny Fairytales”

Indulged our love of telling time at the local op shop
Did a spot of digging, sorry gardening ;-)

Had a scooter at the playground to see the ducks

Made some banana spelt muffins and iced them with labne & sprinkles

Friday, July 9, 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, July 8, 2010

Garden Update

Our garden is looking a little sad at the moment. Or should I say empty. I didn’t plan enough in planting for winter, so we have harvested all of our pak choy.

Our brussel sprouts are still growing well as are the beetroot, broad beans and leeks. We are working our way through the lettuce (though there is an end in sight there too).

Next year I’ll be much more organised I think. This was our first serious attempt at a winter garden, but it has been successful with what we planted. I just need to plant lots more of it.

A job for the weekend

I also hit a snag with our fruit trees. As this is our first winter in the new House of B, we have discovered that parts of our backyard become a quagmire with lots of rain. Unfortunately those parts were where we intended to plant our fruit trees. So back to the drawing board - we need to sort out drainage first before planting so will wait until next year.

But our new summer veggie beds should go in soon. We’ve worked out where they are going, and next step is to purchase the eco-wood sleepers so Mr B can build them. I’m very excited!! I’ve already started planning what we want to plant and when. Hopefully we should have 5 veggie beds going this spring / summer!!

Watch this space…. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shrinking the bills

Pic courtesy of

I had an absolute heart attack this week when I received our electricity bill:

  • Electricity usage - 12.55kwh per day 
Mr B has been working from home a lot more in the last 6 weeks. But basically 3 small things created this bill: leaving the modem on all day, leaving a laptop computer charging all day and a small light he started using in the shed in the afternoons. To give you perspective on the difference these things made – they added $100 to our quarterly bill. This is normally our second smallest electricity bill of the year – not this year!

  • Water usage - 55 Litres per person per day
Water is still on track. We aren’t using any more water (which you would expect during winter).

  • Gas usage - $6 per day (gasp, scream, faint)

Well if I thought I had a heart attack about the electricity bill, it in no way prepared me for the gas bill. Lets just say we have got off our collective bums and started to organize for the hot water service to be replaced!! Solar hot water here we come :-)

We’ve also decided to use our wood heater to offset the cost of gas. I know prices went up but we keep our ducted heating low (no more than 20 degrees during the evening and 18 degrees during the day). This bill is just plain ridiculous compared to the last house ($200 difference between this bill and the same bill for last year). Goes to show what a massive difference that insulation can make.

Monday, July 5, 2010

School Holidays so far...

We've been to craft at the library and made:

Pipe-cleaner bugs

We've investigated new parks & playgrounds

Been to Collingwood Children's Farm to milk a cow

Fed some sheep

How I wish my backyard looked :-)

And now onto Week 2.......

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison

- Pak choy

- Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
- Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Lamb shank & Lentil Soup

- Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

- so what does one do on a cold, wet, wintery weekend?

Lights a warm fire

She creates

She bakes

She snuggles

She cuddles

She is so thankful for such a lovely home and family to spend her time with!!