Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slow Living Diary - February 2012

After some serious blog envy, I decided to join in with Christine's online journal: the Slow Living Diary 2012 :-) So here's my February small list...

SLOW LIVING - February 2012
With the preschool year starting, I experimented with a variety of allergy friendly muesli bar recipes until we hit gold. Lots of muffins, rolls, dips - all easy to grab and eat as we hit the final swing of getting the house ready. And this week, had to create a mini pizza that Little B could put together at kindy "like the other kids" - yumm for sweet potato sauce, roast vegies and a tiny bit of cheese. I've also been eating lots of organic popcorn and sweet potato roasted in coconut oil....yummmmm

: Made a batch of pear jam, and froze extra meals to get us through the first few days after moving to the new house. Stockpiled groceries for the new pantry by buying a few extra things each week to reduce the sting of starting over in the pantry department.

Re-used old doors found in the shed for our laundry. Repurposed an old laundry sink into my new garden sink (mind you, Little B has eyes on it as a mud pie kitchen). Bought secondhand drawers for both bedrooms on Ebay. Clearing out Little B's crafting supplies and outputs as we moved - he could really craft anyone under the table.

Continuing as we already live. Experimenting with green cleaners for mirrors and windows. It's been a bit hit and miss - any suggestions??

Eaten up the last of the beans and the zucchinis - then ripped them out of the garden. Still enjoying cherry and roma tomatoes but not as many. Saved and re-potted the mint that was growing out of control in a small garden bed at the new house.

Made curtains for all the rooms in the house. Hmm not something I really want to repeat anytime soon but not as hard as you would think. Very grateful for the books I borrowed from the library so I bought the right amount of fabric. The hardest bit was pattern matching Little B's curtain fabric (total nightmare).

Been reading books on curtains, decorating and organic green cleaning from the local library. Also old back copies of Green magazine, for ideas on non toxic finished for secondhand finds. I'm really enjoying The Free Range Cook cookbook for ideas to alter and work into allergy friendly concoctions. I love that you can borrow anything you like and there's no pressure to like it.

: I've joined the preschool committee as the communications member. I'm responsible for the newsletter and as of today, have stepped in to fill the hole left by the resigning secretary. We're making a concerted effort to buy locally from growers.

lots of birthdays, my SIL visiting for 3 weeks from Paris, celebrating 10 years with my lovely husband, watching my little boy absolutely thrive at his new preschool this year with a new teacher. His joy and happiness brings a tear to my eye (tears of joy of course LOL).

It's been a good month and I love the idea of focussing and embracing the positive - our life in review xx

Design of a Decade

"When the day shall come, that we two shall part,' he said softly, and turned to look at me, 'if my last words are not "I love you" - ye'll ken it was because I didn't have time.' - Jamie to Claire, The Fiery Cross

This weekend past, Mr B and I celebrated our 10th anniversary by moving into our new house. It's not quite ready but totally liveable (read I dont have a laundry yet LOL).

It felt eminently appropriate that we should celebrate what we felt was a significant milestone, by beginning the next part of our lives after the mold saga in our next house. Our hopefully very permanent house for the next decade :-) 

So as my tribute to the lovely man in my life, I thought I would show Mr B's piece de resistance of the new house. In all our prior reno's, we have never attempted a bathroom. So Mr B had quite the steep learning curve and he has done an amazing job. And this is it from start to finish...

And so you meet my lovely lovely new bathroom!! The loveliest I've every had!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Curtain Call

Well we are in the last few weeks now before we move into the new house. It's been a long haul but we are so ready to be there. After finishing the last of the painting yesterday (I never want to look at a skirting board or architrave again), it's on to making curtains.

Because of concern about rising utility prices, the fact the new house has a smart meter and that we live somewhere that can get quite cold in winter, we've opted for curtains rather than blinds to make the house as insulated as possible. I've also chosen to make the curtains myself with some help from Granny B. 

Why you ask? Mainly because I really dislike the coatings on blockout curtains that you buy ready made from places like Spotlight. They are full of all kinds of toxic nasties that off gass (predominantly fire retardants and PVC) and if the sun hits them, the smell is ten times worse. Plus since you spend so many hours sleeping, then you breathe this toxic cocktail while I feel your body is at its most vulnerable.

So we have bought some fabrics for Little B's room and then onto the rest of the household. After many discussions we will double layer the fabric in the living rooms and bedrooms to get the best insulative effect. We have also chosen fabrics that can be washed and dried by us to avoid dust build up. I've made simple curtains before but these will be a tad more complex, but armed with my trusty library books and Granny B's extensive sewing experience, this weekend the curtain making begins in earnest.

If you are into roller blinds, then the best option I found was Trevira CS fabrics - these are low VOC and meet ecospecifier GreenTag guidelines (which means they are non toxic and environmentally responsible). These are also no more pricey than having curtains made for your windows (something I wish we could afford but alas not today :-)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fast Food Dilemma

The title says it all really. This week on his return to preschool, Little B was invited to a birthday party at local fast food restaurant and I have to say that this threw up a bit of a conundrum for me. Little B wouldnt have a clue what McD's is (no brand recognition here)...he's never been to one so it's never really been an issue for us. First and foremost, McD's food is full of rubbish so we dont contemplate it as a food source, but more importantly it is also chock full of soy (or contaminated with soy by cooking process). So it's never going to be high on our list of places to visit.

Secondly we've just finished participating in our local communities fight to stop said fast food restaurant being built in our local area. We live in an area known for its national parks and gardens and many of us objected to this application.

Anyways back to the problem at hand. How to handle the birthday invite? In the past my first inclination would have been to politely decline and skip the event all together. But nowadays Mr B and I really dont want to impinge on Little B's social life by prohibiting certain places or lifestyles. After all everyone's different and lives life differently...and if we hadnt lived with multiple food allergies for the last 5 years, who knows where we would be now?? (Mind you after seeing Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock in 2004 I can pretty much assure you it wouldnt be at Maccas).

Mainly I really dont want his life to be defined or confined shall we say by his allergies. More importantly it's the first birthday party he's been invited to through preschool and outside our family group of friends.  We really feel that so much of his life is confined by his food choices and even more recently defined by his dcd (we now know that his shyness has been a result of his dcd). So what to do??

To cut a long story short, I spoke to the McD's franchise in question who assured me that there is nothing Little B can eat. And no we cant take anything onto the premises that we have made even though its only for 1 child. There flexibility knows no bounds - non? We explained this as best as we could to Little B who has chosen to attend the party to play with the kids and have his face painted. We will then have a cupcake on the way home in the car. Problem sorted, crisis averted.....for now.

So what would you do? Have you ever had a birthday invite that made you think twice?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In Our Garden

This is the daily haul from our sorely neglected garden at the moment. Normally I have more beans than zucchinis but overall I'm happy with the output. Happy in the sense that we are getting a goodly enough amount out to reduce my needs at our fruit & vegie grocers. Now if we wanted to put anything away (ie canning etc) I guess I'd be disappointed. But considering how time poor I am at the moment, I really wouldnt want more produce from the garden.

Our corn is growing really well and has formed husks or what have you. I havent grown corn since I was a kid so it's been quite exciting for us. Our eggplants produced nothing :-( and our capsicum plants havent even grown any bigger than when they were planted (no idea why). Our cucumber after many starts has finally fruited in abundance. It's not in the best position in the garden.

This is the first year I've experienced fruit fly in our tomatoes. I ripped out two plants the moment I realised what was happening and we havent had a problem since. I guess we were lucky that I was using bush tomatoes in pots this year, so they are spread out amongst the garden rather than localised in one spot. Otherwise I guess I would have lost them all???

We harvested all our potatoes. Our Nicola potatoes were amazing. I couldnt believe how many potatoes we had and they were so yum!! But our sebago potatoes were sadly lacking - only a handful really. I now know after reading Gavin's post that it was probably a sunshine thing. The Sebago got overcrowded by a blueberry plant and our eggplants, so just didnt get enough sun. But using the growing bags was a great success overall - we didnt suffer the rot problems we've had in the past when we've put them in the ground.
I have great plans for next year at the new house because the new vegie beds get sun all day around. Granny B's garden suffers from a lack of sun - some things grow great and others not. So we will plant accordingly and share the produce :-) That way we can cover off more food in the garden!!