Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 days and counting....

Well it's 5 days to settlement and we are sooo counting down!! :-) And with it has come all the usual hectic things that come with changing house.

So this week in amongst the chaos of final walk throughs, postal redirections, taking minutes for kindy committees and the like, I've been trying to take some downtime for me.

* I've been loving oat pikelets with home-made jam, so creamy and moorish...mmmmm

* Wrapping up warm in the super chilly weather and reading some trashy fantasy fiction which requires not much thought

* Using Little B's kindy time to immerse myself in the kitchen and played about with new concoctions for meals and snacks.

* I've also started my beloved belly dancing classes again last week. We are learning how to use zills (much to Little B's delight). Nothing better than zilling to the dominant beat.

* And so I've also been listening to lots of music :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Great Disruption

"It's time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. Instead we need to brace for impact, because global crisis is no longer avoidable. The Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological change like the melting polar icecap. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version  1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our plant's ecosystems and resources." 
- from The Great Disruption: How the climate will transform the global economy by Paul Gilding

I've read this book twice recently, with Mr B and Granny B in quick succession. It is quite simply a fantastic book that is eye opening, scary, and strangely enough uplifting all at the same time. So much more positive than Requiem for a Species by Clive Hamilton.

I'd seen Paul Gilding quoted in some G Magazines and in a few articles by Thomas Friendman, so was eager to borrow this book from the library. Paul Gilding wrote this book to tell us how to fight, and win what he calls 'the One Degree War'. And I have to say all 3 of us found it very inspiring but also drawing comfort in the sustainable simple lifestyle path that we have chosen to follow and believe in.

And after reading it, you suddenly start to see even more of what he is talking about in the world around us. I read the newspapers online or open a magazine at the library and their are articles prominent in mainstream media about The Great Disruption (like the latest Time article on food shortages). This isnt some idea about some far off future, it's about now.

And like Nick at MakeBelieve, you cant help when reading but think about what this kind of scenario means to me and my family. Not only in the obvious personal sense (re being prepared) but also in an activism sense (being part of the change we need to see in the world). Not only will Mr B and I see this in our lifetime (hey we are seeing it now) but it will have a huge impact on Little B and just enforces our belief that the life education we are giving him is of massive importance (think how to grow food, fix things, be resilient in all sense of the word).

One of the best quotes out of this book is "we are their children's children", a term which has been in use since the 1960's & 1970's. 

I heartily recommend that you read this book!! 6 thumbs up :-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friends in a heartbeat

 Picture courtesy of

Little B is learning to swim again. He adores the water but is very anxious so we've been spending some lazy afternoons at the local indoor pool. One of the fun things along with swimming has been meeting other children. Dont you love the way that kids can make new friends in a heart beat?? We met a lovely family yesterday on holiday from England.

The two boys just seemed to make a beeline to each other from the beginning (despite a years age gap) and played for 2 hours together. I spent the time swimming and chatting to the boys as well as meeting and talking with his family. It was great to hear about their English village life and their community. But it made me think about how simple it is at that age to reach out and throw yourself wholeheartedly into connecting with new people.

Little B is highly social and just loves people of all ages. He talks quite seriously to everybody and anybody. I've always been the friendly sort but since having him and since he could talk, I've found myself talking and connecting with so many more people in our local community.

We know all the staff at our local biodynamic grocer, the local library staff know and watch out for Little B, the supermarket checkout ladies we see each week gave him a present for Easter and for Christmas, I know our neighbours up and down the street from daily walks and chats - you get the picture.

I envy Little B is ability to be fearless and to attempt to engage and connect with all and sundry. Plus he's so easy going that he just takes rejection on the chin and doesnt take it personally. "They mustnt be feeling friendly today" he tells me. Imagine how connected communities and people could be if they were open to so many new friendship experiences?? I know I feel great and more adventurous in getting to know people by following his spirit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I heart...

I am so loving this little Kids Konserve thermos right now.

Little B takes his lunch to preschool twice per week and sandwiches just dont always cut it in this cold weather. So he's been taking along some hearty stews with rice, vegetarian pasta or home-made mini gozlemes or calzones to eat. 

Growing up a thermos was always part of lunch for my brother and I when we went to school. Granny B made noodles or soup, and it was so nice to eat when we were freezing our butts off at school. Plus I have to say with low gi protein in Little B's lunches, he comes home a happy boy (compared to the crazy grumpy monkey if he doesnt eat his sandwich). Bonus!! :-)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

School Holidays Adieu

This school holidays we've been...






and painting

Digging for dinosaur bones

Making mud lagoons

Not to mention seeing Paul Jamieson live (aka The Music Man) as well as copious playdates (I've got a mini social butterfly on my hands).

This last weekend of sunshine has been much appreciated and spent almost totally outside in the garden. I dont work school holidays so its been a fun break for me too :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for love

 Picture courtesy of

What a gorgeous sunny day here in Melbourne (even if I did wake to a iced over windscreen this morning LOL). So this Saturday I'm grateful for:

* love - Mr B's BFF has gotten engaged and we are off for a lazy afternoon tea engagement party to celebrate his meeting his lovely wife to be and cheer them on for the future

* hope - I love engagement parties due to all the hope in the air - hope for the couple, lovely fuzzies about your own relationships

* friendship - all our friends are coming from far and wide to help celebrate and make this lovely lady feel welcome. The same thing happened for me & Mr B and you couldnt meet a more fabbo group of people.

Check out Maxabella loves for more grateful lovelies...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

No Food Waste

With the world looking decidedly like it has the potential to go to hell in a hand basket financially, now seems like no better time to reflect on minimising food waste as part of frugal cooking. With food becoming so expensive and costs only expected to rise, it simply seems a shame to waste anything.

The most obvious thing to do is to grow anything you can (even as simple as herbs or lettuce - if that's what you eat). For us this winter it's only been garlic and snow peas - but I planted a years worth of garlic!! I'm using our snowpeas in at least 3 dinners per week (for only 5 plants). We also have oranges growing on our orange tree. But not everyone either wants to grow their own food or has the space to grow things.

So the other key thing is to not waste the food that you do buy. Make sure you use everything up. Old vegies can be used in soups / stews / or grated into old muffins. Old fruit can be frozen for smoothies or used up in desserts or muffins. Aim to use the whole item - if you have a pumpkin, use the flesh but also toast the seeds and make pepitas (a really nutritious snack).

Cook from scratch. It seems so obvious but can also be so simple. You cut out the costs of processed food and it's easier to use things up when you have whole food on hand.

Meat free days - we have 4 meat free days per week and when we do use meat, I cut the amount of meat in half and pad out with lentils or beans. For example, 250g lamb would feed Granny B, Mr B, leave a spare adult meal and two mini meals for Little B. The rest of the dish (generally a stew) includes green lentils, lots of vegies and is served with rice.

We focus a lot on low GI as it keeps tummies feeling fuller longer. Quinoa porridge (pre soaked) with a little fruit makes a powerhouse protein breakfast for Mr B before a long physical work day or for Little B before a long preschool session. Look at old filling favourites...oats become porridge for breakfast, bring down the GI in muffins and can be used for desserts. Sago pudding is a big fav here for desserts because it is filling, gluten free and easy to make. I make desserts these days to fill up Mr B and Little B but ensure they are nourishing and nutritious.

As for time, presoaking grains makes them cook quicker. I soak our porridge oats / rice / quinoa overnight which means they cook on the stove within 5 mins in the morning. A slow cooker means I can come home or wake up to dinner cooked, and I just need to add rice or pasta. 

I find slow cooker stews and soups the key in using up vegies. But making your own dip works well too - I steam up vegies then puree them with beans or nuts and add whatever spices or flavours we like. This is great as an afternoon snack or as a spread on toast / bread / rolls. Mr B loves sweet potato and cashew nut dip. Little B loves a vegie bean dip that is made from brussel sprouts (which you cant taste or see).

Leftover casserole or soup can be pureed up and made into sausage rolls or calzones. Nice hot pocket lunches with no chemical nasties!! :-) A fab side benefit is your family will eat more vegies than they know LOL.

Whether it's minimising your food waste or focussing more on frugal cooking because you want to cut down your shopping dollars, I think every bit of effort in your kitchen and at home can really count both financially and nutritionally.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Detoxing your hotel room

Picture courtesy of
Our two recent stays in a self contained apartment motel really opened my eyes to the issues of fragrance / deodoriser, asthma and toxic chemical cleaners. The apartment motel deodorised the hallway carpets every second morning by pouring on a thick powder (that stank) and then slowly vacuumed it up. They also used deodoriser when servicing the rooms.

Both Little B and I suffered nose bleeds the whole time we stayed. And the smell was overwhelming even to the friends who visited us.

So what to do if you have asthma / allergies / or just are chemically sensitive? Create a mini detox kit of course!!

* First and foremost, try and call the hotel / motel etc beforehand and ask them if its possible not to clean your room with chemicals (always worth a try if you ask me) and tell them that you prefer no fragrances or deodorisers to be used in the room.

* Take along a vinegar / water spray or buy some vinegar when you reach your destination. This can be used on carpets or surfaces as a) a cleaner and b) a deodoriser

* Again take along or buy some bicarb soda. This can be sprinkled onto the carpet with no ill effect (and is easily vacuumed up again by housekeeping). It is a great deodoriser.

* We refused housekeeping daily and instead requested it every 2nd day and then only to empty the bins and vacuum the floor without deodoriser.

* We also took along some brown paper bags with coffee granules in them. An old boss recommended this me as a way of removing scent from cars and it works really well in a confined hotel environment. We used these in the bedroom.

* Lastly open windows and doors when you can to get fresh air in (unless fresh air sets off your allergies / sensitivities)

For our last stay, I sprinkled bicarb on the carpet and brushed lightly with a small broom, had a cup of vinegar in each room and used the coffee. We also requested a room with an opening window and left it open when we were there. Both Little B and I had a much better experience this time around - zero nose bleeds, little asthma and the smell did not knock our friends out when they visited.

I'm impressed that in the US some hotels have a certain number of rooms set aside as allergy free rooms, that have air filters, are cleaned with fragrance free non toxic cleaners and dont use any air fresheners / deoderisers. I think this is a much more green and sustainable option for staying away from home and I can only hope that more hotels / motels in Australia follow suit.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The only way is up...

Well 3 months into this anti-inflammatory diet, I have to say that I’m charging along. I’ve put on 3 kilos (though am still underweight). I feel much better and have lost the numbness in my left arm which has plagued me for a year.  Who would have thought that cutting out so much food, and eating no fat would help me gain weight??

Anyway yesterday was D Day. I got my results from my lumbar puncture. The fantabulous news is that I do not have a progressive nor deteriorating disease!! The damage to my body has stopped progressing and the inflammation is slowly but surely reducing. Even better news if you ask me.

The bad news is the nerve damage to my hands and feet is permanent. I now need to care my feet as if they are diamonds as the blood supply is severely compromised due to the nerve damage. Not exactly what every dancer wants to hear – but since dancing is so important to me, I have put this high on my self care agenda.

They feel though that my leg damage may be able to be improved. Or if not that I can build up all my other muscles to compensate for their limited use. It also helps that we are in a mold free environment which is giving my body a greater chance of detoxing.

But I feel so happy and positive!! I went home from this appointment on cloud nine, because a) it’s so nice for my body to be co-operating for a change and b) that there is light at the end of this mold saga.

{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



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Other People's Gardens

I love looking at other people's gardens. It's so interesting to see what they do, how they do it and even why they do it. It encourages me to keep on with our own garden, inspires me with new ideas and helps me to learn.

My current fav is Josh Byrnes WA urban backyard (in the July / August 2011 issue of Organic Gardener). Every piece of space has been made useful with vegies/ fruit/ herbs/ chickens/ composting/ grey water and interesting living spaces.

I especially like his use of different pots and different heights. Granny B's garden is long and big but dominated by a massive gum and a mid sized elm tree. We've used the sunny spaces available for vegie patches and the rest for new fruit trees.

I'm now looking at big pots for lettuces to sit on the brick stumps of an old redundant bench seat (read: no seat). Some moveable trugs to use around a disused brick BBQ (great heat bank), and some different containers for herbs to line around the decking space where we cook and eat during summer.

I love the concept of useful fruitful space!! :-) But I'm also curious to see how other gardens manage to combine spaces like Tricia's nature playscape with food gardens as well.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for toilets :-)

Yay the school holidays have begun and we've got some fun and jam packed weeks ahead of us. So this Saturday I'm grateful for...

* toilets - We've stayed at a motel again this week while Granny B's bathroom has been ripped out for renovation (the pesky floor issues stretched into the bathroom). Home yesterday the bathroom is still not finished (sigh) but we have a toilet!!!
* mums -  I love and adore my mum and she is an endless shoulder to turn to and friendly ear to talk off. Living with her has deepened her relationship with Little B but also deepened our relationship - as a mother and daughter, as two mums, as two friends...

* jumping - after a few hiccups at preschool, we've discovered Little B has some mobility issues relating to his hip dysplasia at birth. So we were sent off with orders to obtain a trampoline. Ordered Wed, arrived Friday and has been a source of great amusement since yesterday afternoon (to everyone LOL).

Check out Maxabella loves for more grateful goodness...

Friday, July 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