Saturday, April 30, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for sailing boats

We have had the best weather in Melbourne this week. Gorgeous sunny mild days :-) So this Saturday I'm grateful for:

* sailing boats - boys and their toys on a beautiful sunny afternoon

* not living next door - a HUGE tree limb fell into their front yard with an almighty crash - freaky!!

* great books - You need to read The Other Life by Ellen Meister - I couldnt put it down. If you like The Time Traveller's Wife, this is sort of like it but more about mothers and daughters. I loved it!!

Check out Maxabella loves for some cheerfulness to end your day :-)

Friday, April 29, 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, April 27, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

Well now that we have seen the back of the current House of B (well almost), Mr B and I have set our sights on the future. We are extremely keen to regroup in a new house and move onwards from the last 14 month challenge . So we have been keeping our finger on the local market and checking out houses along the way.

Now comes the dilemma.....our ultimate aim for quite a few years has been to slowly upgrade to an acreage (finances permitting). The luxury of where we live is that you can still be sort of urban but feel like you are living out amongst nature without the acreage. Currently there is nothing (read zero) that appeals and those that have appealed to us have turned out to have serious mold problems (or landslip issues...eek!!) :-(

But we have found one gorgeous little 1920's cottage that has been renovated some time in the past ( not period). It is big enough for us (so small to most of the general population) and has the obligatory garage fr Mr B and some fab areas for Little B to play and me to to garden. Drawback - it would have to be in the most suburban area of the Hills. Very very 'burban' as we would say. But you cant see the neighbour's too much and the roof is perfect for solar (couldnt be more perfecter).

It is also a fairly flat block, a house with no stairs, and I can park very very close to the house - why is this important?? Because we still dont know how extensive my arm and leg damage is, whether it will continue or whether it will get better. I had my first fall recently due the weakness in my legs (all I can say is ouch!!) so this is at the forefront of my mind as we search.

So the question is do we settle?? I know I'm answering my own questions here but after our quest to buy acreage it feels a bit weird to look at something so suburban when we have spent the last 6 years moving heavily away from that. I know deep down the answer is yes...we can obviously only work with what we can find within the parameters of our life at this moment.

I draw inspiration from blogs such as Bec and her Urban Homesteading, from cittyhippyfarmgirl and her adventures as well as Amanda from Soulemama who was more 'burban' and has now realised her dream of a farm. This sweet little house we are looking at obviously has like minded owners as it already has a decent size veggie patch, water tanks, and 4 fruit trees. They also used to have chickens.

It's early days yet but maybe this will our next house LOL.

Monday, April 25, 2011

this weekend i'm grateful for family

It's been a lovely long Easter weekend and this weekend I'm grateful fo:

* family - it's been a lovely weekend of family traditions, get togethers, and all round loveliness

* the vegan anti-inflammatory Easter Bunny - since chocolate is out, what is an Easter Bunny to do? Bring me all my favourite ingredients for a dairy free chocolate banana smoothie - yummm!!!

* Snugtime blanket sleepers - I cannot keep Little B under a doona, so short of velcroing him to the bed, I've resorted to a Snugtime blanket sleeper. With great success!! So you can imagine my joy when I found out that you can now buy real lined Snugtime blanket sleepers in Size 5, 6 and 7 :-)

Friday, April 22, 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, April 20, 2011

Garden Update

Well with ill health, I’ve kind of abandoned our autumn garden (hey who am I kidding, I totally abandoned it to the snail gods for a few weeks LOL). So I’ve made peace with the fact that we only have planted what we have planted.

So our autumn garden consists of:

Peas and snow peas (I cant remember what I planted where)

Plus a bed of Russian purple garlic

I also joined in the Burke’s Backyard winter tomato challenge back in late January. The pic above is of the three seedlings that survived my neglect in the green house (I started off with 7). I’m trying to grow them on a warm concrete bench (in the vain hope that it might be a sort of micro climate during the cooler weather). So far so good – they are growing really well but probably not as advanced as they should be (hmm I was a bit slow moving them out into the sun).

These are more of an experiment since we didn’t have the best tomato growing season in Spring / Summer this year.

But we still have strawberries fruiting all over the place - they seem to positively thrive on neglect :-).

Now I just need to dig over two of our spring / summer beds with compost and manure and then let them rest for Spring. Hopefully an Easter break job but with the weather might be more of a “in a few weeks” job.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Traditions

And so Easter is nearly upon us again (and isnt the Autumn weather at the moment just gorgeous!!).

Today Little B and I set up our Easter Tableau. We have our little creature shapes and also lots of autumn leaves to celebrate the changing of the seasons. You can also see his little bucket where the Easter Bunny leaves his hat and egg.

I've said in previous years that the focus in our household is not chocolate at Easter (originally because of allergy, and now because we prefer it). For Easter, Little B gets one chocolate egg (home-made), a knitted beanie for winter and a book about Easter. From one set of grandparents, he gets new gumboots for the winter ahead and the other have chosen a series of books, whereby he gets one to add to his collection each year.

Last year's beanie
I love Meagan's recent post about growing grass for the Easter Bunny. I hope implement something like this next year. But for now we will leave him a carrot :-)

We also spend Easter doing other things – lots of family and outdoors time, Little B and Granny B blow and paint real or paper mache eggs and we like to reinforce the change of seasons by playing with him outside in natural settings or working in the veggie garden.
This year we hope to set up his own story / fairy / nature circle with some of the wood left over from the tree that fell down. The leftover wood lends itself to being great natural seats in the garden and Little B is super keen to set one up at Granny B's but we are also putting aside some wood for our new house wherever it may be :-)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for sold signs

We came, we bought, we reno'd...sayonara baby...our house sold late yesterday - woo hoo!!! So this Saturday I'm grateful for:

* sold signs - champagne anyone?? :-)

* new opportunities - the new opportunities and potential that selling opens for our future abode

* local community festivals - I love the community spirit, meeting like minded people and bumping into people we know

Check out Maxabella loves for more grateful goodness...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Backyard Ovens

Hmm we are still without an oven (long complicated story involving retail stores) but I'm still enjoying the experimentation that it brings. Rather than putting off cooking things as I was, I'm attempting them in the Weber.

We've made muffins, cakes and even tried out our first batch of gluten free bread (still a work in progress). It takes forethought to get the coals going early and getting them nice and hot but well worth the effort.

I read an article in Country Living recently about a family with a wood fired oven and they said "we have no mains power, we chop our wood and I have to start thinking about dinner at 5pm so the stove is hot for cooking and there will also be enough hot water...for baths" (p36, Issue March 2011).

Now I have no intention of solely relying on a wood fired oven as my main cooking source (yet ;-) but love the idea of it as another option in my repertoire.

So I've been eyeing off these books

Drooling at these pictures

and with a new house on our horizon, Mr B and I are contemplating putting in an outside wood fired oven sooner rather than later :-)

Monday, April 11, 2011


We've been working on a series of collages at the moment. Little B is fascinated by layering, pasting and sticking to create pictures.

 He loves to use sticks, leaves and petals that are constantly falling off our Camellia trees at the moment. But we also picked up some old magazines from my MIL and he has been using them to make pictures of fireworks, people and scenes from Paddington Bear LOL.

At preschool, they made paper mache easter baskets out of patty pans and tissue paper towards the end of term. And Little B loved that it was so similar to how we made paper lanterns last year for Winter Solstice. He also doesnt contain his love of craft to the provided art supplies provided at preschool he's out in their garden using branches, leaves and rocks to create.

Over at Soulemama today, she is showcasing Amelia Critchlow's experimental art course. And I just love the idea of experimental art with young children. It's so exciting for them to explore the world through different products, mediums and items. It's also a way to bring nature and the seasons into the house.

Little B started today collaging but after a trip to the fruit & veg shop, we found autumn leaves on the ground, and then progressed to painting with the autumn leaves all afternoon. He is right into experimenting at the moment especially with his "craft" as he calls it - and I hope this love of art doesnt fade with age.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for the sun & the wind

 End of Term 1, it's nearly Easter and school holidays have begun. So this Saturday I'm grateful for:

* the sun & the wind - drying my flannelette sheets for the colder weather this week

* girly chitchats & play dates - nothing better than having a girly chit chat with friends as the kids play together

* little local cinemas - this week I snuck off to the movies while Little B was at preschool. We have a tiny cute independent cinema in the main street and it's a great place to visit :-)

Visit Maxabella loves for more weekend gratefulness...


Friday, April 8, 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, April 6, 2011

Elimination Diet Update

Well the last month has brought more surprises than most. I abandoned my elimination diet with my allergists approval when my weight bottomed out at 45kg (the lightest I've ever been during this illness). I am however still dairy free as I can really feel the benefits.

But my mold battle took a turn for the worse so my neurologist has put me onto an anti-inflammation diet. Quite simply, I am now basically vegan with a certain amount of fish each week. The key thing is to avoid all dairy, meat, saturated fats and eat lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish and most of all omega 3's. I'm taking lots of flax seed oil as well as the fish as omega 3's reduce the inflammation response in your body.

I have to count my saturated fat intake each day and cannot exceed 10g. This is surprisingly easy once you take out dairy and meat. Having been vegetarian before Little B was born, it's not such a stretch to return to this way of eating and I've already been off dairy for 6 weeks so that's only annoying in the sense that I need to adapt recipes. I'm only sad that all my gorgeous vegetarian cookbooks had to be thrown out because of the house. Yay for the internet and family have said I can have a veggie cookbook birthday LOL.

Now here's the irony. Though it's early days, I'm gaining weight consistently day to day. Which could just be an anomaly or because my weight was so low. I'm keeping positive and think it might on the up and up. Only time will tell if this helps all my other problems but I have all my fingers and toes crossed :-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time for dinner

 Good morning hot lunches

Tricia at Little Eco Footprints wrote a post yesterday which really resonated with me. How do you make as much of your own food from scratch but not a) fall in a heap, b) get resentful & give up or c) resort to a paper plate mentality LOL.

There are times I feel like I spend half my life in the kitchen cooking. Probably because I do :-) Do I have days where I resent this? Actually no....tired - yes, resentful - no. The 2 key reasons are I like cooking and secondly because I'm really committed to our food choices and lifestyle. I prefer to view this positively, because I could just as easily say I have no choice. As the parent of a multiple food allergy child, I cant go out and buy many things off the shelf anyways, so why make it into a forced negative idea??

So what do I do to make life easier? I cook in bulk if I can for some things. For example, I use the slow cooker overnight to cook 4-5 days of hot lunches. I also use the slow cooker twice a week for dinners. That means come dinner time, I just need to add some rice.

If I cook soup, I make enough for dinner but also for a lunch or as the base for veggie sausage rolls. When I make said sausage rolls, it makes enough for Little B for about 6 weeks. Make two batches of muffins at once and freeze half. Always make sure your dinner makes 1 more meal and freeze.

Try to get a repertoire of tasty quick meals. Nothing too fiddly or time consuming during the week - I find this makes me cranky. We do a lot of vegetarian meals but also some meat. Things like stirfries, pumpkin & chickpea patties, lamb stews etc. My main priorities in a meal is it must be nourishing, tasty and chockful of veggies / beans / legumes.

Future sausage rolls

Make cooking fun - listen to your favourite music, involve the family. Little B loves to do playdough or colour at the table and sing along with me while I cook or do the dishes. We also use this time to listen to children's audiobooks (current faves are The Magic Faraway Tree & More of Paddington Bear). I leave weekends to try out recipes, make more fiddly meals and stock up our pantry by making jam.

One night a week is leftover / freezer / premade meal night. For us it is Wednesday. I love Wednesday as its the middle of the week and it breaks up the cooking. Mr B & I have leftovers and Little B has lentil sausage rolls or veggie bean pattie burgers. All meals on this night are home-made.

Also I cant say enough - meal plan. I have a 2 week rotation of meals. I just follow these 14 days straight but you could have the 14 and pick from them willy nilly. I prefer more structure as it means I dont have to think about dinner too much and it makes food shopping and stockpiling easier. Plus it means the rhythm of the kitchen and cooking just flows for me.

I change the meal plan around a bit according to the season, the weather and food availability. But cooking a lot of vegetarian meals makes this really easy.

Now I'm currently a SAHM but I'm also studying on campus at night, spending the other half of my life at doctors and hospitals, juggling a 4 year old and helping out in Mr B's business. Up until last year, I worked outside of the home in a stressful job and still did this much cooking. I believe it can be done by just need to find the groove or pattern that works for you and your family.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for inspiration

 What can I say...I love Peppermint Magazine. It appeals to me in so many ways - being eco-conscious, being crafty, being inspired. So today I am grateful for

* the Autumn volume of Peppermint Magazine - so many ideas, so fun to read

* gorgeous new fabrics that inspire me - check out if you'd like to checkout some alternative out there fabrics

* new blog suggestions - I love checking out new blogs and getting all excited about new ideas, new things, new places, new people....lots of things to cheer me up

Scoot on over to Maxabella loves for more inspiration :-)

Friday, April 1, 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