Monday, February 28, 2011

Madly renovating

Well the time has come for us to start fixing up our house and getting it ready to sell. It has been fungicided and treated for the mold. We have had the carpet ripped out and replaced, some walls ripped out and replaced with new plasterboard and I'm told it looks and smells brand new. The mold remediation company we used are confident that it is ready for a new family to buy and make it a home **.

But we still have so much to do to before it goes on the market. Since I'm unable to go into the house, my jobs are outside. I've been...

Painting the fence & the deck

Putting in new beautiful plants & mulching the garden

Creating an oasis of loveliness on our back deck (I love this garden)

I also get the great job (and I use those terms very loosely) of co-ordinating all the tradesmen quoting and coming in to fix the place. Some have been brilliant and some not so brilliant shall we say.

But we have had our lovely real estate agent who sold our old place come through and give us some tips. And can I just say I love her to bits - she is honest, friendly and straight down the line. She just tells it how it is!! And was more than happy to chat to me for 40 minutes at an open house when no other prospective buyers were there, and then came later in the week to advise us on our house, then sent us a card to thank 'us' for using her again. What can I say, she is just totally fab!!

** I'm jealous that it wont be me :-( The photos I've seen look great but as I'm still so sick and with the current long term implications for my health, we just cant take the risk.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for...Wattyl Solagard

Earlier this week we started seriously renovating for sale, so today I'm grateful for..

* Wattyl Solagard - best exterior paint ever...easy to use, great coverage..xx

* the sunshine and warmth - makes it so much easier to get the outside of our house painted

* home-made pizza - you can never have too much home-made pizza after 8 hours of painting :-) and I'm even getting used to it being vegan.

Check out more grateful loveliness at Maxabella loves

Friday, February 25, 2011

{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, February 23, 2011

9 years

Today Mr B & I celebrate our 9th anniversary.

To my dearest husband, the father of my child, my best friend, my lover, my have been there for all the great times, the fun times and the hard times (I'm sure our luck will change one day, my darling).

I have been blessed for the last 9 years and I say bring on the next 9. Let's rock on, my darling man xxx

PS. Yes I did get married in black...what can I say, back in the day we were a little bit goth :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dairy free - Week 1

Picture courtesy of 

Well I'm one week down in being dairy free :-) And so far I'm really enjoying it and have got into the groove of making different choices.

It actually hasnt been that much of a hardship. I love oat milk and have finally found a brand of rice milk that doesnt turn my stomach. I've given up smoothies in favour of porridge with oat milk for breakfast and use the rice milk mainly for cooking or other cereals. Luckily I'm a dab hand with allergy recipes having had to cook that way for so many years for Little B.

The harder thing has been the elimination of other foods. The only fruit I'm allowed to eat is pears (which are soooo boring). And the vegetable range is fairly small too. Thankfully beans are one of them ;-) but luckily everyone else can eat the vegies from the garden or it would be such a waste.

Hilariously, Little B has decided he wants to drink rice milk again...'it's my best kind of milk in the world mummy". We weaned him onto A2 cow's milk about 14 months ago and he didnt look back. We were so chuffed that he'd outgrown part of one allergy (he still has a few issues with other kinds of dairy). So it's quite ironic for him to voluntarily want to go back to dairy free. We're sort of playing it by ear at the moment, but he's drinking both throughout the day.

And how do I feel?? - well not that much different really. I feel better in some areas but that could be the removal of anything really as this elimination diet is so strict. My gripey and swollen tummy has disappeared so that's a bonus. But they say it can take 2 weeks minimum before you feel a difference and in some cases the first week can be full of the symptoms of withdrawal (depending on what your intolerant or allergic to). So here's hoping the 2nd week is so much better!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for...beans

* beans, beans, lovely beans - these have been bursting from the garden this year and I manage to pick a huge bunch almost every day (including today..hello veggie stew for dinner :-)

* ebay - I love how easy it is to sell off what we dont want, and then buy what we do...we are trying to make space at Granny B's for our new bed which is coming early next week

* experimenting in the kitchen - as chief cook in a extended family household, I am now having to turn my hand to trying out gluten free recipes for one family member (I'm super grateful it's not me LOL)

For more grateful loveliness, check out Maxabella loves

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Glory Box

 Back in my late teens before I moved out of home, I spent two years accumulating an updated version of a glory box. I had china, glasses, towels, linen in a wooden blanket box (which then went on to be a coffee table, before it became Little B's toy box). During this time, I also bought a fridge, microwave and second hand lounge suite. So when I moved out I had most of the essentials.

Since we have had to walk away from almost everything in our house due to mold contamination, I've started a new glory box. It's mainly in miniature form at the moment due to space constraints. I've been knitting dishcloths and have bought some towels and tea towels.
I've also started saving for a fridge and next week we finally get a bed (which we will use at Granny B's until we move out). Kind hearted family members have donated a secondhand doona cover, sheets and a doona from their own linen stash (from their own mold free homes).

This way when we do buy a new house, furnishing it will be less of a shock both financially and emotionally. Mr B likes to call me "military precision woman" due to my tendency to think and plan far ahead, and make plans to ensure we make the best use of our resources and squeeze every penny ;-) But I just like to think of myself as organised and prepared...I dont like surprises :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Allergies here we come

I finally had my appointment with an allergist late last week (only took 5 months). With my battle with unwanted weight loss, and one of the side effects of mold exposure being the development of food allergies, the docs wanted to check out if this is contributing to my inability to gain weight. In keeping with that, I of course have developed some *sigh*. Over the last 6 months I kind of knew that nuts seemed to be a growing problem for me - burning and swollen tongue, coughing, hoarse voice.

So after a 2.5 hour appointment, skin prick tests, and general examination where has it left me?

I'm most definitely allergic to brazil nuts, penicillin, peanuts (but with peanuts it's from the aflatoxins - mold again). I already knew and have had it confirmed again, that I am allergic to soy. I'm also allergic to hazlenuts, pecans and sesame seeds. But wait there's more...a free set of steak knives. LOL. Seriously though, they think I might be allergic to dairy.

Yesterday I started the RPAH Strict Elimination Diet to try and see whether dairy is my evil archenemy (or if it's something else). I've always had dairy in my diet (except when breastfeeding Little B because of his allergies). Having said that I've never been able to eat yoghurt and dont eat cheese as it's a mold, so I only really drink about 2 cups of milk a day. These have now been replaced with oat milk (yum) and rice milk (blech - it is such an acquired taste).

The allergist was really interesting to speak to and seemed very knowledgeable (we've been in the allergy medical system for Little B for the last 3 years, so I consider this important, you'd be surprised how many dumb asses there are out there with medical degrees) but he said a few things that made me raise my eyebrows. 

I'm a huge advocate obviously of growing your own food and organics, but he was adamant that the leading allergists/coeliac specialists in Australia (Anne Swain, Sue Shepherd, Mimi Tang) believe that people with allergies should under no circumstances consume organic food. This is because the natural food chemicals in organic food are so high that it impacts dramatically on the body plus new research is showing this can impact on the gut.

But I cant find any research to back up the notion that people with allergies should never have organic, so at the moment I'm reserving judgement and just thinking hmmmmm?!?!?!? I kind of find it hard to believe that pesticides/BPA etc are better for you than whole food?? So we are just putting it in the wait and see basket.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for...real estate agents

Picture courtesy of

Today has actually felt really really loooong!! Too much crammed into the day. But today I am grateful for

* helpful friendly real estate agents - we've started the long road to selling our house, so picking the brains of our trusty real estate agent was very helpful. We're not at selling point just yet but she's more than happy to chat about the market and ways to improve our house

* our Weber Q - it makes food taste so dreamy and its so quick and easy. I love a yummy BBQ on a sunny day (I can pretend its summer LOL).

* my darling husband - he works long and hard at the moment at his new job plus juggling his own business on the side, but still has time to chat about our hopes and dreams whenever I need to talk stuff through.

Head to Maxabella loves for some more gratefulness

Friday, February 11, 2011

{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, February 10, 2011

Meet Betty

After much scrimping and saving, meet my new sewing machine. I've named her Betty after my crafty grandma but also for the luscious ladies in Mad Men :-) These ladies (including my grandmother) were from a different era of sewing, baking, and home making which I love. And after a morning of baking muffins, bread rolls and sewing some birthday bags for Granny B's presents, I'm feeling very 1950's house wife-ish today ;-)

Picture courtesy of

Through much research, deliberation and quizzing people, I decided on a manual machine mainly because it has a greater compatibility with off grid solar panels (a future dream of ours).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Garden Update

Up until Friday, this post was going to be a whole lot different.

Our garden has been doing really well. Our tomatoes have been ripening, the beans abundant and we've been harvesting our zucchinis.

I've really enjoyed basically cooking out of the garden. We've had some great salads and some tasty vegetable stews. Flinging in whatever I pick that day with some garlic, stock and dried beans. Chargrilled eggplant and zucchini have featured very highly as well :-)

My first pumpkin

But the changeable weather has wreaked havoc on my eggplants and pumpkins. The pumpkins grow, then die and drop off the vines. After producing heaps of eggplants, my eggplants are now just flowering like crazy then the blossoms drop off.

Then came Friday night and a WHOLE lot of rain. Granny B's backyard was flooded for about 36 hours (ankle deep due to non stop heavy rain). The rain was heavy and pounding and the raised beds filled to the brim with water, not to mention to water gushing past beside them.

All our baby zucchinis dropped right off the plants and most of our tomato plants are either broken or their roots were torn completely out. Our poor carrots were quite literally washed out of the dirt within the bed. But hey at least they are harvested :-)

But I'm taking this hurdle and completely looking at the positive side. It's been a fairly slow growing season and I've already been planning our autumn planting, so this is just an early start. I can start prepping the beds for March planting - we need new soil for a start!! ;-) I'm already getting excited about all the new things to try my hand at growing.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for...the rain stopping

After a night of crazy rain, flooding backyards / front yards, houses, streets and veggie gardens plus little sleep, today I'm grateful for:
* a snuggly cuddly day at home in the warmth - we read books (Little B is loving The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton), did lots of beading (Little B) and knitting (me)

* a mum who knits so much better than I do - meet Pebbles & Bam Bam our knitted cave people

* belly dance starting again this week - a whole hour of technique a week *drool*

 * home-made baked donuts and roast veggie pie to celebrate Mr B's birthday

Check out Maxabella loves for more grateful goodies....

Friday, February 4, 2011

{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, February 3, 2011


Picture courtesy of

I've come across two examples of massive waste recently that have really stuck in my mind. Just after Christmas, I went to the supermarket and saw someone clearing the shelves of "old" bread to make way for the new. Now this individual was hurling the bread onto the floor and kicking it out of the way. Damaging the bread - pure and simple. When I asked the checkout operator where it went she said that she had no idea.

Now Woolworths at least donate all their leftover fresh food as part of their Fresh Food Rescue program. I'm hoping Coles do the same but the state this bread was in, I'm almost sure they would have binned it :-(

The second example comes from another big corporate. Here the staff are required to wear a uniform which is compulsorily updated with a new uniform every year. Individual staff are prohibited from donating the old (and I use that word loosely) uniforms because they have logos on them. Some senior management staff in the past have donated some uniforms to homeless shelters as this was ok, but it had been done by an individual management member. So does the head office collect these excess uniforms every year and donate them en masse to homeless shelters around Australia? In one word - No.

For some reason, these two examples seem to rattle around in my brain a lot at the moment. Both seem so wasteful and both seem to have fairly straight forward answers to such waste.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
- The Lorax by Dr Suess

So I wrote to both companies asking them what their company policies are in regards to these waste areas and if they feel their response to it will change in the future.

Hopefully I can either jolt just one person to think outside the square, be a blinding flash of the obvious or join in an unknown chorus of complaints / questioning from the public. My aim this year is to speak up more when I see things that could be made more green / sustainable.   

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Holiday Rhythm

As the summer school holidays draw to a close, I dont know about you but we've had a ball for the last 6 weeks. It's been so nice to fall into a more relaxing family rhythm than we experience during term time. My aim this school holidays has been to get Little B outside and more immersed in natural settings.

We've spent a few days at the beach
Collected shells, sea sponges and cuttle fish
Visited adventure playgrounds
Ridden his bike (from Santa) along paths and through parks
We've been to the local pools ALOT!! :-)
Visited some nature playscapes, where we've built rock towers and played in fairy grottos
Planted some colour in the garden
Been absorbed by changing waterflow in some creeks

And who could forget our beloved library...
Paper monsters
Scary mobiles
Slime :-)