Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Canoe Trip to Herring Island

On the weekend, as part of Little B’s advent calendar we took a canoe trip down the Yarra River to Herring Island.

There were so many things and people to see as we canoed along. I loved looking at all the old boat houses, and cactus walls. Little B loved all the baby ducklings and saying hello to everyone we “met”.

Sometimes, you need to just lie down for a little rest (hmmm mainly I would think only if you actually did the paddling rather than socialising LOL).

Originally created with silt dredged from the river, Herring Island passed through many hands (including the Scouts) until it became part of Parks Victoria in 1994, and is now an Environmental Sculpture Park. It’s also the home of a Summer Arts festival from January to April each year.

After a picnic lunch from our trusty esky, we did a walk around the island and checked out all the sculptures. Little B loved the “giant pinecone” and a falling fence to nowhere :-)

We’ve found a good travelling picnic lunch for canoeing is tombolas for Mr B and Little B and a sandwich for me, some fruit and a nutrient dense home-made slice or biscuit. Mr B’s current fave is bring along some home-made ginger beer (since he’s the muscles in our paddling).

On a side note, Mr B and I could not get over how dirty the Yarra River was. We canoed it a looong time ago (about 7 years ago) and it was dirty then but the level of pollution in it and the smell was disgusting. It dismayed us both over how much rubbish was floating in there. We always pick up rubbish from wherever we canoe following the Take 3 Clean Beach Principle (though in our case it is generally lakes and rivers). Little B does it naturally now though he is still saddened and doesnt understand why people leave it there in the first place.

Neither do I love, neither do I. All we can do is make the best difference we can. I wish more people did it though.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent Calendar 2012

Two years ago, with Granny B’s help I made a fabric advent calendar for Little B. Mainly to help him track the time until Christmas (and his birthday which is not long after) and not only was it fun to make but an absolute hit with Little B. It’s always been part home-made, part craft, part cooking and part experiences.

And it's these things the he remembers and talks about when thinking about Christmas. Inadvertently these have now become family traditions :-)

But this year I’ve taken a leaf (excuse the pun) out of Tricia’s book over at Little Eco Footprints and made a leaf advent calendar. For three reasons, 1) it takes up minimal space, 2) I like the notion of using things we have in the yard and 3) Little B was very attracted to the novelty of the whole thing. Our normal advent calendar has just stayed packed away and we will probably use it again next year.

But as with all traditions, my little boy has gotten bigger and some activities have lost their gloss.

So this our list for this year (taking into account one very science-y, outdoor, active type of boy – read less cooking):

1. His Christmas Book (we started this from his 1st year)
2. Decorate the tree
3. Paint with Feathers
6. Draw on the trampoline
8. A canoe trip up the Yarra River
9. See the Myer Christmas Windows
10. Put a gift under our local charity tree
11. Make your own bath paints
12. Make a snowglobe (for presents)
14. Paint with Mud
15. Climb a tree
16. Camp overnight in the backyard (in our trampoline tent)
17. Paint rock monsters and setting some free
20. Make some seed bombs
21. Make a gingerbread house
22. Go for bike-ride along part of the Warburton Rail Trail
24. Sprinkle reindeer food and put out milk for Santa

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Slow Living Diary November 2012

Once again, I am joining in with Christine from Slow Living Essentials for a monthly reflection of slow living…

NOURISH: I spent a weekend cooking all the snacks that Little B would need for kindy until the end of the year and froze them. Now I just get out what we need the night before and it’s defrosted in time for his lunch. I’ve also bulk cooked a few meals, so that on really busy or hot nights we can grab something and heat it up in the microwave.

PREPARE: I finished off as much of our Christmas presents as possible. I made a batch of strawberry jam to give as gifts to give to teachers, Little B’s physiotherapist and OT, and some neighbours.

Those I didn’t make, I bought from Etsy and MadeIt. I’ve also been adding to our stockpile so I don’t have to go to the shops as much during the Christmas period (I hate crowds!!).

REDUCE: Repurposed a whole bunch of star pickets and old bamboo to support my tomato plants. The one benefit I guess of a buying a house with a crazy wild backyard (it was FULL of star pickets just stuck in the ground in any old place). Used up all Granny B’s old stocking socks on tying up said tomato plants as well.
GREEN: Nothing new to report here, just moseying along with all our current green living choices.

GROW: It’s all going on in the garden at the moment – lots and lots of zucchinis, the almond tree is full and our apples look beautiful. Our tomato plants have baby tomatoes, the bean seedlings are shooting up, our potatoes are flowering and our pumpkins are trying to take over the world :-)

CREATE:  This month I made another teepee as a gift (pics to come), bunting for Christmas and a scarf for family overseas. I also made our Christmas wreath out of sticks in the backyard and crocheted a few Christmas decorations for our tree.

DISCOVER:   I’ve jumped back into reading again this month. I enjoyed Whole Larder Love by Rohan Anderson for it’s preserving section. I’m looking forward to making semi dried tomatoes (we are growing one kind of tomato specifically for this), hot zucchini relish and blood plum jam. I’ve also read In the Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I originally read an abridged copy of this but it was good to read it all in total.

For fun, I read Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (it brought tears to my eyes), and roared through The Twelve by Juston Cronin (fantastic reading – I literally almost couldn’t put it down and probably wouldnt have, if I didnt have to do annoying things like cook, sleep, look after my family ;-).

ENHANCE: Aah its coming to end of the kinder year – I’ve helped at AGM’s, and strategy meetings. Mr B and I put up signs at the kinder to help get rid of some unsavoury people boozing away the evenings in a preschool’s car park – noice!!.

ENJOY: This month we enjoyed a holiday break at Phillip Island. It was great to take some time out and away and just switch off from it all – no phones, no computers – just sun, sand and exploration before Mr B had to go away overseas for work for a week or so.