Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Which school?

I've been doing the whole school tour thing over the last few days. Where we live you need to have picked your primary school by the end of first term and be ready to enrol at the start of the next term.

We had already picked the school we wanted to send Little B to in our minds. It's linked in with his current preschool, it uses the Walker Learning Curriculum from Prep to Grade 2, it's small (only 240 students), has a hugely involved parent and local community and fairly close to wherever we end up buying a home. But knowing in your mind and seeing in real life are two different things.

Plus I wanted to scope out a couple of other options, should our first choice turn out to be a complete dud :-)

Originally I thought we would keep him back until he was 6 but I have been duly informed by his 3 year old and 4 year old preschool teachers that it will be crazy to do so, and he will be extremely bored. Something I'd already guessed since he's starting to read already off his own bat.

But back to school tours. The first one was dismal - they ignored me at the office, then the principal was late, the tour was rushed and he felt no urge to answer my questions. I wasnt allowed to see any of the classes. Luckily this school was not on our choice list really, I just was checking out the options in the area.

Then came our favoured school. My experience couldnt have been more different!! The school tour was unhurried, I saw all classes of all ages (without asking), the prep teachers stopped to tell me about their classes, I saw the Walker Learning method in action (love it, love it, love it). The whole school was small, child centred, community minded, and passionate about what they are doing.

At least that's one decision down, and now Little B can attend the transition program when it starts in May. But it's been a bit of learning curve - I guess each age brings new experiences and challenges for both parent and child.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quiet Potter

After the last hectic month, today was one for quiet pottering. Little B and I have just taken a day to ourselves to hang out, play games, paint and be merry.

Little B has been painting pictures of our future house (aren't I lucky - not only do I get a new house but it will have two suns!!LOL).

And a gorgeous giant lady bird has been following me around the garden as I put in climbing frames for our peas and snow peas. Apparently she's super friendly and only eats rotten weeds and snails (yes please - she can live in my garden any time!)

I've needed this down time with Little B as we seem to be caught in the joys of preschool and it's endless array of germies. So chilling out in the sunshine with my faithful side kick, a paint brush in one hand and my garden trowel in the other, makes for a really great day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for for sale signs!!

This week has been hectic but today I'm grateful for:

* for sale signs - our house is officially on the market and we had our first open today *happy dance*

* a moratorium on house renovations - we've renovated 2 houses in 3 years - enough already I say LOL

* relaxing with a good book - you can never have too much relaxing and reading if you ask me

Check out Maxabella loves for more gratefulness...

Friday, March 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, March 23, 2011

Gluten free books

I am loving these two books at the moment. Granny B has been diagnosed with coeliac disease and has gone gluten free. Which means that I have been on a learning curve with regards to cooking and baking. So the first thing I did was reserve what felt like every book at the library about gluten free cooking :-)

I knew some of the basics but even then with issues of cross contamination in the house it's still been a bit of an eye opener. Anyways, I have found these two the most helpful with ideas, suggestions and recipes. Especially the low GI guide to gluten-free cooking by Prof Jennie Brand-Miller. It has some great guidelines for getting heaps of nutrition and variety and its recipes are really tasty.

Gluten-free recipes for the conscious cook by Leslie Cerier has also been great. We like vegetarian meals so anything new to try is brilliant plus I love experimenting with new grains and foods. My only complaint would be it focuses a little too much on gluten free oats which we are avoiding at the moment. But there are some delicious stew, smoothie and porridge recipes to make...yumm.

But in the last 5 weeks, Granny B can breathe properly for the first time in 10 years, has lost 4 kgs without dieting, and her thyroid has gone down. She is no longer tired all the time, her joints dont hurt and she says her brain feels clearer than it's been in years. And that's worth learning to cook for!!

Food Dilemmas

Picture courtesy of

I've been having a few food dilemmas lately. I think it's probably a side result of coping with so much else (house on the market, doctors appts, sick bubbas) that my mind finds other things to worry about.

With food changes / shortages as they are, I'm finding that I have to make different food choices for our family that challenge me. I prefer to buy organic first and foremost, followed by local food. But last week, on our trip to our local organic fruit & veg grocer, I found that I couldnt buy what we needed. Nor did our local produce store have what we needed.

With Little B's allergies, I have a small-ish repertoire of fruits and vegetable choices available to me. Case in point - celery. I couldnt buy local or organic and ended up at one of the big two supermarkets and bought some there. AND it stuck in my craw. I dont want to have to buy old fruit & veg from a conglomerate - I want to support local businesses and have better access to fresh food.

How does one live seasonally if you cant eat what's in season? Deep down I know it's more important for me to feed Little B all the vegetables he can eat and I dont have the luxury of making a moral stand about where to buy his food from (though I flat out refuse to buy imported fruit & veg). Organic food is great when you're worried about toxic chemicals and being chemical free but lack of access is no reason to starve. I also completely understand that it is a luxury to worry in this way when they are people who have little or no access to fresh food full stop. 

Another thing is I like to be (read need to be) frugal, so I cant spend a trillion dollars on our food budget. Thankfully pears are cheap at the moment as the only other fruit Little B can eat is bananas (and 4 of those cost me $10 the other day).

How do you balance out your hard held beliefs with your living reality? How does an allergy family survive in such a massively changing food market / world? Obviously growing as much of our own veggies is the key but if have a bad growing season, then what?

Local is great but what if they suffer from the same poor growing season or natural disasters, then what? Too much to stretch my poor head around at the moment. But an interesting area to ponder, investigate and prepare for in our future methinks.

PS Can anyone tell I watched "The Future of Food" recently? :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

No Oven

We've had no oven for the last week. Granny B's just up a died and then we found out you couldnt get parts for it anymore. So now we await the new oven which is on order.

So we've been experimenting with different ways to get our cooking done. I've fallen back on the breadmaker to make bread, and we've been trying out different things in the Weber Q (like roasts, grilling vegies).

Its at times like these it's really handy to have back up options and I think back up options that dont necessarily run on mains power. Obviously my breadmaker is one of these things but having different methods for a power outage situation is a great idea. We have a Weber (works on hot rocks/charcoal), and Weber Q (gas bottle) but we also have a camp oven to work over a fire (and have practiced cooking basic things like meat, damper, casseroles when we have camped).

But having no oven makes you think a tiny a bit outside the box. I've changed our desserts to fit around the methods we have to cook. And also some of our meals. But it still takes me unawares how much we rely on the oven, especially since we cook so much from scratch.

I'd love a Solar Oven like Bec & Tricia have recently posted about using. But what I'd really lurve is a wood fired oven that's is freestanding. Yes my friends that is my idea of absolute heaven. Maybe at the next house.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for retro lego

 * gorgeous gifts of retro Lego - we are now the proud owners of a circus train and train track 80's style

* free form icing escapades with a 4 year old - teddy bears picnic anyone??

* hot water bottles - having one on my chest is the only thing that helps with this horrible cough I have at the moment

Check out Maxabella loves for more gratefulness...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nature is good, nature is good

Hmmm there are days I'm just not cut out to be a little boy's mum!! I'm all for nature play but this new obsession is testing my nerve LOL

Monday, March 14, 2011

A knitting we will go..

I was inspired by this post by Rhonda to dig back out my knitting. Though it feels like I have been knitting this jumper forever (because I have been), I still am hopeful to have it ready to wear by winter. So when Little B became sick late last week, and what with spending half a day or two with a little monkey asleep in my lap, it's enforced some downtime.

It's been nice actually. Our house renovations have taken over our life and I havent spent any of Little B's preschool time crafting, knitting as I hoped as yet. So this time out has been not only relaxing but as Rhonda says almost a meditation and sort of soul invigorating (I'm not destined to be Bob the Builder and all this house painting etc has been wearing us down bit by bit).

So I'm excited about knitting again and fingers crossed I finish this soon. I did have a cardigan lined up as my next knitting project (I have the most gorgeous indigo wool) but think I might aim for something smaller like a wrap or shrug to keep my momentum going LOL.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for tree loppers

With our grey gum losing a massive limb and smooshing the fence, today I'm grateful for:

* speedy tree loppers - branch down yesterday, cut up today and some friends coming to pick up the wood tomorrow. The tree loppers were fab - fast, friendly and helpful!!

* anzac biscuits - power food as we soldier through the house reno's (this is the last weekend - hooray :-)

* sparkly artwork - Little B is loving preschool and is bringing home lots of sparkly, colourful artwork each week and I love the stories that explain said artwork.

Check out more grateful goodies at Maxabella Loves...

Friday, March 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



Goodbye fence

Thursday, March 10, 2011

For the ladies

A really interesting discovery from being dairy free is that I no longer have period pain. Now for me normally that time of the month is associated with main lining Panadeine, drinking copious amounts of raspberry leaf tea and being surgically attached to my heat pad. It is not unknown for me to vomit or faint (or both) from the pain and I have to say it’s been like that for me since my teens.

While having a baby got rid of my PMS forever (see you later moody b*tch), it did nothing for pain and if anything I feel it got worse. Remove dairy and bam the pain is history.

After doing a bit of research, I’ve found that this actually isn’t that unusual. While women need calcium to have a menstrual period, dairy products contains arachidonic acid which increases the prostaglandins in your body which are responsible for uterine contractions. They also cause an inflammatory response in the body. More dairy = more pain in some cases.

Melinda at One Green Generation has commented on a similar response during a 3 week cleanse. Anyways, I have to say the longer I’m dairy free the more I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to it.  I do miss milk as a drink and am a bit bored of drinking water LOL – but am experimenting with different things to try and get a new smoothie happening (it’s a good filler for me). So far rice milk is gross in a smoothie no matter what yummies I put into it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Garden Update

I had great fun yesterday out digging in the garden in the one day of sun expected for this week. I ripped out the last of my tomato plants - they were all looking a bit sad and blighty. I'd already said goodbye to half my green beans as the snails appeared in a short two day period and decimated them, then I found a few more had succumbed to mold / powdery mildew with all the weird weather. So I only have a couple left which have lots of beans to still pick and come.

I have been so excited at finally getting pumpkins on my pumpkin plants but there is no way they are going to grow and set in time before winter. I've left a few in just for my enjoyment but am in no way deluded about their future LOL.

The zucchini plants are on their last legs too. Like the beans they have a serious case of powdery mildew. We can really see the move into autumn with the changing sun patterns in Granny B's garden, so the zucchini plants have suffered from too much shade.

But I've been planning my autumn garden for a few weeks or so. We have one whole bed dedicated to garlic, one for carrots and parsnips, another for peas and snowpeas and my final one will be a variety of brassicas (red cabbage, chinese greens and I may even try my hand at brussel sprouts again). Not much variety in what we are planting. I figure until we know what I'm allergic to plus Little B already being allergic to so much, no point in getting carried away :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for picnics

This week has been a hospitals and doctors week and thus it has been crappy. More tests and more probable damage caused by my mold exposure. So this Saturday I'm grateful for...

* picnics at the park in the sunshine - good food, good rays, good company..what more could a girl want??

* new jazzy playgrounds - which make up for days spent inside when it's raining and hanging around in specialist's waiting rooms

* finding a helpful handyman - to pull up the slack of renovating house, since I am now out of the game

Find more grateful loveliness at Maxabella loves

Friday, March 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



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dairy Free - Week 2

Picture courtesy of

And onto Week 2...I've now been joined in going dairy free by Granny B & Little B. A few tastes of rice milk and Little B refused all cow milk and hopped on the rice milk train. With some surprising results - nearly all his extraneous tummy pain has gone (for now), and his mood has improved ten fold. The tummy pain thing is interesting as he has suffered from this his whole life but in hindsight it has probably been worse in the last 12 months.

But in regards to mood - we thought we had a wee bit of a challenging child recently because he started 4 year old preschool. He has been quite anxious, moody and very prone to pushing the boundaries. Removing dairy and he is none of these things. He is literally thriving at preschool and has become very confident with other children (he has always had a tendency to be scared or unsure of other kids in recent years). At a playdate last week, he went and played football down the back of the yard with another boy. Now to put this in perspective, I seriously felt like taking a photo to show Mr B as Little B would never do this without one of us present.

As for me, I actually prefer being dairy free (who'd of thought). I have way less bloating and gripey tummy. Though I'm still not convinced that is from the removal of dairy. I will start doing mini food challenges in about a week's time so it will be interesting to see what that shows up.

But one drawback to this elimination diet is I'm losing weight again (grrrr, aaarrggh!!). So in consultation with my allergist we are trying very hard to get me through the next week without resorting back to other foods not on the diet (read: dairy).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reading List 2011

After reading Sonia's 2010 review and current booklist, I've decided to join the "Book List" challenge being run by Megan at somewhere along a winding path. Basically the premise is we are counting how many books we read in a 12 month period.

Now in my life reading is pretty much akin to breathing. If I dont have a book to read, I really feel at a loss...naked you might say. In those cases, I often re-read books I already own (or currently working my way back and forth through Granny B's bookcase - though I've read everything there 2-3 times before anyways LOL).

Now I dont read nearly as much as I did before Little B was born. But my passion for reading was something inherited from both parents (who are both big readers) and have passed on (Little B is hugely into books - written and audio). I've read to Little B since he was a tiny baby and we visit the library once a week . The only drawback I find now is I've read everything my favourite authors have written and am on the constant look out for new authors (so I can then exhaust their repertoire ;-)

So I'm now listing the books I have read thus far and will continue to add the new ones, on the left hand side of my blog under labels as we make our way through 2011. At first I was intimidated by writing down what I read as the type of books I read are wide and varied, across multiple genres. But then I thought "hey lets keep it real" :-) 

I dont have any lofty goals of how many books I want to read,  I'm just super curious about how many I do read in 12 months.