Sunday, September 1, 2013

Slow Living Diary August 2013

Slow Living 2013 - Month by Month 

I’m once again joining in with Christine from Slow Living Essentials for a monthly reflection of slow living.

NOURISH: I’ve been enjoying trying out new recipes…loved these little quiches using mountain bread (great for lunchboxes or picnics). Also these roast vegie tarlets which are great for after school. I’ve also been making lots of different soups (Roast Carrot & Parsnip, Potato & Cauliflower). But I’m also glad the warmer weather is here because I’m starting to feel all souped out :-)

I am so in love with Rooibos tea at the moment. I drink it by the bucket loads and it has made me feel much more awake in the mornings (my massage therapist who is treating my hip says that I am majorly dehydrated when she sees me and suggested this).

PREPARE: Now that I’m working I spend a lot more time on this category to save me time. I’m buying more in bulk and am always 1 up on all our key items in the pantry. Once a month I cook all Little B’s snacks for school and freeze them: muffins, biscuits, slices. This actually often lasts longer than a month. Every fortnight, I cook enough bread rolls to get him through that fortnight. I also slow cook something yummy on the weekend for my lunches during the week, so I don’t have to think twice in the morning.I just grab a soup, some fruit and I’m packed.
REDUCE: I’m making a concerted effort not to fall into buying things just because I’m working. Instead I’m trying to put in processes to make my life easier, rather than things!!

GREEN: I’ve started making my own deodorant after having a horrible reaction to a natural one (not unlike a chemical burn though it had no chemicals..the mind boggles). This recipe by Easy Peasy Organic is fabulous!! Work can be inconsistent heat wise (sometimes hot and sometimes cold), and this works a treat….no stinky armpits LOL.

I've added rooibos tea to it to be antibacterial and antifungal as I cant use essential oils due to Little B's allergies and it still works brilliantly.

GROW: Over the last two weekends, we’ve been weeding all the vegie beds at Granny B’s and mine are about to be ripped out completely. I’ve realised I cant overcome what the previous owners did to them, so we are ripping them out and starting from scratch again this year…also means I can put in more vegie beds *happy dance*

CREATE: Not much going on here at the moment.

DISCOVER: Going back to work has been challenging because there’s very few people who are green or sustainable. So I’ve been nourishing myself with lots of sustainable books and magazines from the library to feel grounded.

Lots of back copies of Grass Roots magazines, I re-read Tanya Ha’s updated copy of Greeniology and I’m currently reading a book called Sustainable Home.

But my absolute favourite book this month has been The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr Norman Doidge. It is mind blowing in its explanation of how the brain has plasticity and can be changed and adapted right into old age. With a child with additional needs, this has kept me riveted and inspired me to adapt things for Little B.

ENHANCE: Lots of baking for cake sales, and helping out at the working bee for school.


~ Canoeing, canoeing, canoeing
~ Mr B taught Little B to fish (ahem, mummy sat on the banks and read a book :-)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice

We celebrated winter solstice by walking in our local lantern parade. The night was clear, the stars were out, the moon full, air crisp and so many people turned out to celebrate. I love our local community xx Little B made the lantern above which he carried, and we donated our coat hangers too :-)

Happy Winter Solstice xx

I Heart...Celery

One of the greatest things about eating seasonally, is that when something comes into season again it tastes brilliant. One of those things for me is celery. Celery is one of those dirt dozen vegies that I refuse to eat it if its not organic. So there is a great flux with its supply. It's also underrated I think for its ability to add flavour to recipes and as a snack (says the biased mum with an allergy child who can eat celery :-)

So we are glutting on celery at the moment. In soups, casseroles, winter salads and as a snack for school. One of my favourite recipes is Chunky Celery Soup by Heidi Swanson. It's great at the moment with the cold weather and really warms me up at lunchtime at work!!

But how cute are these tasty bugs?? We already do celery with cashew nut butter as an after school school snack, but I love the use of apple and carrot here...I forsee an allergy friendly pair coming up soon for Little B.

And I love to take these along as snacks for works (hmmm there's not enough olives in the world - though I normally use black olives).

And finally my favourite winter salad - hmm did I mention I love olives ;-) I use lots of different lettuce or spinach but the arugula makes it especially yummy.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

6 week checkup

I've been incommunicado for the last little while but I've just finished the first 6 weeks in my new job. It's been a colourful few weeks.....we've weathered scarlet fever (Little B), a horrible cold (me), working out the best hours for me to work (who knew it would be early starts and early finishes??), hiccups at school and Mr B travelling overseas for work for 3 of those 6 weeks. But we've soldiered through and made our way through the puzzles.

I have to say that I love my new job. I'm lucky enough to work with a dedicated bunch of people who are passionate about what they this case working with prenatal, postnatal, paediatric and youth mental health. I work as a PA and the work has been interesting and flowed beautifully. So far the biggest juggle has been my home life and I have an even greater respect for my mum who raised my brother and I while working full time. She was a great role model and hilariously I find myself turning to her tricks of managing a household 25 years later. And I only work part time (30 hours per week)!!

But getting back out into the "real world" of work has also been a total eye opener (which I hope to post in the next few weeks).....things to do with food, waste, community....things that have challenged me personally and made me think about carbon footprints and being the change you want to see in the world.

I still find the home juggle tiring...fingers crossed though that I can get back to blogging!! I have to say I admire working mummy do you find the energy at the end of the day??? :-)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Slow Living Diary March 2013

I’m once again joining in with Christine from Slow Living Essentials for a monthly reflection of slow living.

NOURISH: I’ve started making vegie burgers and freezing them in bulk lots. They make for an easy meal if we are caught out late. I made allergy friendly hot cross buns for Easter which were seriously yum. I’ve also started experimenting with carob syrup in savoury dishes as an alternative to soy sauce (sounds weird I know LOL) but very helpful to branch out for Little B.

PREPARE: Freezing vegie burgers, school snacks and I’m also trying to do a day of bread by staggering times (we currently make 2 loaves at a time, this means I can make 4 loaves within roughly the same time period – 1 extra hour).

REDUCE: Nothing to report here that I can think of.

GREEN: Mr B and I have been researching a wood heater for our fireplace. The good news is we can have one, and now we just have to work out which efficient one we like. We would really like to stop relying on town gas for our heating.

GROW: We harvested the last of our beans and zucchini then ripped the plants out. Our jalapeno chillies are still going strong and we are just about to finish the last of our apples (3 left). We will leave the garden to rest over winter as we hope to revitalise or move the beds during this time.

CREATE:  I finished my hot water bottle finally…yay!! :-) I sewed 48 handwriting grips for Little B’s prep (FYOS) class. They looked a bit like this. And for Easter with so few leaves around due to our delayed autumn, I sewed an autumn leave bunting (following atutorial by Twig & Toadstool).

DISCOVER:   I’ve been reading crochet granny square books to get ideas for my next couple of projects – a lap blanket for Little B and a beanie for me.

I also read The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult and really disliked it!! I normally quite like her writing, having read all her books from the start but then again perhaps I should applaud her writing as it was not the nicest of subjects and perhaps that encouraged my dislike??

ENHANCE: I sewed the handwriting grips for school (they don’t have enough funding to buy them).

~ Thanks to Granny B, we went and saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Her Majesty’s Theatre – it was well worth the trip – the flying car illusion is amazing.

~ Little B lost another tooth and the tooth fairy came again bringing a beautiful pink agate stone (we give stones a la Sparkle Stories martin & Sylvia).

~ We started sailing our “new” 2nd hand boat and found that Little B loves it as much as the canoe.

~ Little B graduated to a blue belt at Karate and I applied for and accepted a new part time job :-o

~ And last but not least, we survived Little B’s first term of school with a few tears, lots of laughter and a whole bunch of new and old friends (both he and I).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spinning Around

As part of a yucky bug, I've been suffering from the worst vertigo this week. It's been a bit like living with a permanent case of travel sickness or having a major hangover without any of the fun bits beforehand :-(

So with as little movement in my day as possible, I've been...

~ reading The Storyteller~ listening to quiet, quiet, quiet music
~ making easter goodies to go on Little B's easter tableau
~ watching the boys renovate our "new" secondhand boat after work and school. It's been quite the DIY project.
~ crocheting a new hot water bottle cover for when the cold nights start to bite

Now I'm just hoping to be up and able for the Easter weekend :-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We heart Banjo the Carob Bear xx

Little B is allergic to so many things that often he either has to miss out (a big no no when you are six) or magic mama has to try and re-create things as best she can. And I have to say this generally involves food and I work hard at making things from scratch (I make a mean fake freckle for a tea cup biscuit LOL).

But after only one term at school, this need to fit in has made itself even more apparent. Our school has no formal policies on birthdays and in an open prep classroom there are 48 birthdays to be had this year. Thankfully we really only have to experience 24 of them!! And experience them we have - they primarily revolved around a bag of chocolate frogs, chocolate biscuits and birthday cakes.

At kinder and now school, we have always had home-made cupcakes in the freezer at the office, so Little B gets to celebrate when things are brought in. But we have since discovered (sadly in retrospect) that this is too hard for the teachers to follow through with.

My next try was to present them with a jar for Little B containing small containers of bubbles, individual shortbread biscuits and plain white marshmallows (so he could pick one thing). Which was novel and exciting and seemed to be working.

But you can imagine delight when we recently discovered Banjo the Carob Bear. He is a little carob teddy bear (not unlike a branded chocolate frog). He tastes divine, is oh so very cute and Little B loves that he looks like he is eating the same thing as everyone else.

These have made their way into Little B's treaty jar at school and now he doesnt spend birthday time, sitting with nothing while the rest of the kids munch on. Plus I love that they are made by a small South Australian family business in Port Elliot (where my grandparents live).

** Disclaimer: I am in no way sponsored or affiliated with The Carob Kitchen. Just one very happy customer :-)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Slow Living Diary February 2013

I’m excited to once again be joining in with Christine from Slow Living Essentials for a monthly reflection of slow living. I really enjoyed last year looking back at what I had done and achieved. I also like the accountability and vainly hope it might inspire me to blog more often :-)

NOURISH: I’ve been bulk cooking snacks for school (jam oat cookies, amaranth pikelets, museli bars) with great success. I also make a batch of egg custard at the start of the week so Little B can take some as well in his lunchbox. I’m currently still trialling some kind of savoury scroll/scone – I’m nearly there with the recipe.

And I have to say the days when what's on our plate is either grown by us (vegies), made by us (bread) or from somewhere local (tiny local butcher using local meat) just gives me a total buzz.

PREPARE: I’ve been using the last of our zucchinis to make Hot Zucchini Relish (recipe courtesy of Rohan Anderon’s Whole Larder Love) as well as blanching and freezing any green beans that don’t make their way straight into dinner. I’ve also been making, using and freezing copious amounts of chicken stock. With Little B at school and prone to picking up every bug that goes around, I’m trying to keep his immune system fighting fit and healthy by adding stock to all our soups and casseroles.

REDUCE: I’ve been doing lots of decluttering a la Flylady's focus of the month (swapping clothes Little B has grown out off with friends, getting rid of any old toys or things we don’t need). I managed to swap Little B's old car seat for a fantastic maslin pan for jam making (I was so very proud of this LOL).
GREEN: I’ve had great success with this conditioning treatment from Maria at Econest:

'Blend 1/2 ripe avocado, 1tsp avocado oil and 1 egg yolk until smooth, then spread throughout hair and leave for a few minutes before rinsing. Excellent for fine or dry hair'

As I grow my henna out and embrace the greys, I’m finding my hair that bit more dry. As challenging as it is socially more than physically, I’m intent on going back to my natural grey even though I’m only 35!!

GROW: So far this summer, I’ve kept us in potatoes, zucchini, squash and beans. I pick beans every day so far (one of the few vegies Little B isn’t allergic too). We also harvested and ate the last of the blackberries and have just eaten our first few apples off our apple tree. But the vegie garden itself looks sad and needs some tender loving care after this hot hot summer.

CREATE:  Not much going on creatively. I keep plodding along with my hot water bottle covers. I've only got one square left of this one, then I can sew it all together. I’m hoping they’ll all be finished for winter.

DISCOVER:   I’ve really enjoyed The Little Vegie Co’s Guide to Backyard Farming – I love to read about gardening and I’m happy if I only learn one new tip. In this book, I learnt three :-) I succumbed and read Sweet Poison: Why Sugar is making us fat by David Gillespie. I’ve avoided this book for ages and I thought I didn’t want yet another thing or bandwagon to “worry” about, but it was a great eye-opening read. The irony is Mr B read it cover to cover and has totally taken it on board (suffice to say he’s not a health foodie kind of guy).

And for fun I’ve been re-reading my way back through the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood. Gotta love Phyrne xx

ENHANCE: I’ve been using my excess zucchinis and squash for good and not evil LOL. Granny B’s work set up an impromptu foodswap and I’ve bartered our excess for cucumbers, eggs, tomatoes and strawberries. It was such a great thing to be part of and I hope it happens next year as well. We’ve been trying to walk to school as much as possible as well.

ENJOY: Little B started school this month for the first time. Quite a momentous occasion for us!! And it’s been going well so far – though he has been super tired!! But February is also the month of birthdays for our family so there’s been BBQ’s, home-made ice-cream cakes, canoeing, picnics, and our 11th anniversary!! Full of love and laughter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do possums eat pumpkins??

Picture from here 
I've never had much luck with growing pumpkins. Probably because the last 2 houses we've lived at just havent had enough sun. So I was absolutely gleeful when my pumpkins started fruiting this year. I've watched them carefully as they've grown on the vine, made Mr B mow far away from them as they took over the lawn and imagined all the lovely things I could cook when they were ready.

So you can imagine my surprise earlier this week, when I went down to the vegie garden to water one hot morning and discovered the whole lot had vanished. Into thin air :-o The vines were still there but alas not a pumpkin to be seen. And no evidence of what made away with them - no skins, no seeds - zip, nada, nothing!!

So my question is - do possums eat pumpkins?? If they dont, I have to say I'm out of ideas...hungry aliens maybe LOL??

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Simple Summer Holidays

As the summer school holidays are drawing to a close it’s been fun to look back and see what we’ve done with ourselves.  Mr B took all of January off work because Little B starts school this year. We then detached ourselves electronically, turned off our mobile phones and placed them in a drawer and let the summer take us where it would. It’s been great family time and we’ve had a whole lot of fun :-)

:: We’ve explored our local surrounds and found new places we didn’t know existed (like waterfalls)

:: Been blackberry picking in our own backyard LOL (we get a bowl like this every 2nd day) and found wild strawberries

:: We’ve spent a lot of time canoeing, bushwalking and exploring local lakes (yay for the warm weather)

:: Spent time at our local library weekly and enjoyed their school holiday activities like making carrot cars and croaking frogs

:: Read our way through the entire Flat Stanley series; then Babe the Sheep Pig, and re-read Stuart Little

:: Visited family and old friends, discovered new beaches and a new favourite – climbing trees.

The greatest thing I think has been how much time we’ve managed to spend outside and out in nature.  But with school just around the corner, we’ve spent the last couple of days readapting to the “real” world. Not long now and my faithful side kick will take his first big steps out into his new world.