Monday, September 30, 2013

Slow Living 2013 - September

Join me as I reflect over the past month and various achievements I have made along the way as I strive to lead a more conscious, slower life.  As always, you are very welcome to join in - just leave a link to your own blog post at the bottom of this page and enjoy sharing your reflections with like minded people. Have a great October out there, everyone!

(For a detailed description of each category and this blog link up, see here)

I felt very satisfied this month because instead of fantasizing about a freezer full of woodfired oven food, I actually got off my behind and accomplished it! Having netball season come to an end helps no end in that my Saturdays are free once again.

Favourite foods for the wood oven include: spinach and feta pie, beef rouladen, organic roast lamb, curries, muffins for lunchboxes, flatbreads and biscuits. Pizza is a given for dinner on the day the oven is on. It's a great feeling to pull out a meal from the freezer on a busy day and know that we're still eating well. Elsewhere, the teen has been trying out pretzel recipes...and we are not complaining one little bit!

Oh, sheesh, I suppose stocking the freezer from the above category counts? Yes, yes, of course it does. I'll share a pic of the said pretzels too..because they were just soo good!
Pretzels made by the 13yo

This month I extended the life of a pair of jeans by mending a tear in them along with a woolen jumper that had a hole in it. I have come to the realisation that I detest buying new clothes, so will do anything I possibly can to extend the life of what I already have.

{Green} Vinegar, eucalyptus oil and bicarb. Does it get any better than this? I know I've said it before but I'll (continue to) say it again!


{Grow} A great achievement took place here this month - I harvested a decent sized cauliflower! If you know how much trouble I have at growing them you will completely understand my excitement. The harvest took place in the hugelkultur bed, which reinforces my belief that this type of growing has excellent results. Time to start plotting the summer crops now.  Around the garden I have also been harvesting perennial leeks, occasional asparagus, rocket, beetroot leaves, silverbeet, parsley, bok choy, broccoli, garlic leaves and eggs. Lots of eggs!

{Create} Things are pretty quiet on the creative front for me lately, although I have been trying to use up woolly oddments by turning them into colourful hexies, courtesy of attic24. I'm loving the bright colours of each hexagon, they bring cheer to any day! I also found myself on the receiving end of some creativity this month..see below.

{Discover} When I'm not immersed in study, I am finding myself reading. This month I finally got to a couple of books that were recommended to me a ridiculously long time ago, both written by Gary Zukav - 'The Seat of the Soul' and 'Spiritual Partnership'. Not for everyone I will admit, but my mind is currently in this zone, and I found them both interesting reads.

{Enhance} I found myself on the receiving end of some knitted love this month. The 11yo (soon to be 12) went to Sydney for a birthday treat with my mum and returned home with a gorgeous vest knitted by a dear relative for me. It was a complete surprise and knowing how much work goes into such projects I appreciate it more than words can say. She knows me well this knitter even though we haven't seen each other in far too long. It fits perfectly, is just the right length and has gorgeous colouring throughout. It's true that wearing hand knits is just like wearing a giant hug! (She ponders as she types the words while wearing The Vest. ;))

{Enjoy} A trip to the beachy/river/rocky/bushland loveliness that is Wilsons Prom takes the cake for this category for the month. Listening to friends' tales of annual visits to 'The Prom' and never seeming to make it there ourselves, it felt wonderful to finally change this and we had a beautiful time. The only downside being that the 11yo was in Sydney with my mum at the time, so there was a feeling of emptyness at her not being there. All worked out in the end though, everyone enjoyed their trips and it was nice to regroup at the end of them!

We hired a caravan which we picked up along the way and stayed in an unpowered site close to the huts that our friends were occupying. With six families coming and going through the week, it was very social and coming together each night for dinner was one of my favourite parts. Having friends from home to take a walk with or sit and chat with was a really nice addition to a family getaway! Other kids for our kids to play with was an extra treat!

 So, do tell me, how was your month? 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Postcards from the South

Spectacular coastline, abundant wildlife, a calming river, beautiful wildflowers, unlimited walks, great friends, communal dinners, unplugged (and happy!) kids, 'squeaky' sand,  a nibble on the knee by a wombat, a hired caravan, sand sculptures, nocturnal crabs and a spot of fishing!
Wonderful memories made.

Wilsons Promontory - (southernmost tip of Australia's mainland). 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Primary School Show Day 2013

 It's that time of year again! Our primary school's annual 'show day'. I really love documenting these days as they are so nice to look back on. It's hard to believe that we only have two more left in our family...I don't know where the time is going!

Join me as I take a stroll through this year's Grand Pet Parade and crafty displays. The theme for this year being 'All the fun of the fair'...

My, this pooch looks awfully familiar! ;)
Who says goldfish can't join in the fun? 
Lovely to see a sweet, young goat! 

Lots of noisy, doggy mayhem happening. A morning nap time for all four legged tail waggers? You bet! 

The ever popular baking category. This year the prize went to the tasty looking hamburger in the top left corner made by a grade five student..yum! (mental note: clever children chose to use pinenuts for giant sesame seeds. Most realistic!). 

Well done to the 11yo for her origami fairground display...her efforts were awarded with a third from the official CWA judge and a 1st in the student choice!

Previous show days can be visited here:
Primary School Show Day 2012
Primary School Show Day 2011
Primary School Show Day 2010

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Slow Living 2013 - July/August

Hello! It seems to be that time once again to update on all manner of things slow. I must apologise for my absence here last month - I'm so very sorry...will you forgive me?

On the plus side however, we can join our months together and share double the news! If you happened to be more organised than me, please do share your link here from last month so others can enjoy visiting your space...

To read more about this blog link-up and for further insight into each category, please see here. New readers are most welcome to join in, too!

Alrighty then!

July/August 2013

{nourish} Lets see, what has been in our kitchen of late? Probably more things that shouldn't be than should, if I were to be completely honest. I am trying really hard to remove most of the sugar from my diet, but those girls of mine on the other hand seem to be addicted to it. No matter how many savoury delights I try to throw their way, they still sneak into the kitchen and create shockingly good treats. What to do..what to do? Any advice beside the obvious of refusing to buy any sugar at all?

Not to appear completely wicked, we have been loving our curries lately and that pressure cooker of ours is still worth it's weight in gold. With a change around of routines in the house, I have also been relying on the old standby favourites to satisfy the hungry mob each evening. All the better if it is cooked in one pot/wok!

{prepare}With little produce coming from the garden to preserve/stockpile I have been looking at this category in reverse. Anticipating the summer garden offerings to come, I've been emptying out the cupboard by using up preserved fruit, jam and the odd jar of relish. Suddenly I have my jars back again and a blank canvas to start planning the coming season's preserves! In doing so,  I've discovered that I am the only person in the family that enjoys bottled apricots. How can this be??

{green} The biggest achievement for me to list here has been that we have been through our first winter in this house in  6 years without turning the floor heating on. It uses up an enormous amount of energy (at an enormous cost!) and I feel really proud that we have proved to ourselves that we can live without it. A second fire did help see us through the coldest parts of winter, but overall it was just one fireplace that steadily cranked away. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather too so we can finally hang our clothes outside to dry again. Hanging them inside is friendly on the environment but not so good to maneuver around on a regular basis!

{grow} In the garden I am harvesting rocket, kale, broccoli (the florets after removing the central head), the odd cauliflower, parsley and perennial leeks. During winter my turn for hosting veggie group came around again and we were treated to a rare sunny day for the group to pull weeds and mulch garlic. These jobs are always so much more enjoyable when done in good company. ;)
Eggs are still steadily coming inside and the time is coming to plan summer crops..

{reduce} Old jeans were given a new lease on life after a wardrobe clear out. What a great feeling it is not having to buy a pair of those poor excuses that are sold as jeans in shops. Whatever happened to real denim? Ahh, yes, that's right, it's lurking at the back of our wardrobes!

I also treated myself this winter to a yarn swift that I've been absolutely longing for. Choosing to wait until a suitable used one came my way I was over the moon when a spinning friend offered me one of hers that she no longer used for an unbelievably reasonable price!! (Photo soon). There is really something to be said for patience here..and not settling for second best. Often, used is so much better in quality!! Amazing but true.

{create} I can feel things winding down on the knitting front. I have an exciting project to share soon - a cabled vest that I've been wearing just about everywhere! What's more, the yarn was re-purposed from another top that I had made but just wasn't happy with...if you are contemplating such a project my only advice is to DO IT! Wearing this newly knitted piece from an unravelled project brings forth a great feeling of satisfaction and joy when wearing it.  I have also had the briefest of moments to squeeze in a little baby knitting for someone I know. It's quite sneaky and fun to share the gift making with another person too..but shhh, more details on that later, when the gift has been gifted!

{enhance} What I loved most recently was taking some time to repair a friend's jumper/sweater that had enormous sentimental value to her. I was so pleased to be able to help her in this way and her appreciation touched me deeply as it was completely unexpected. Very humbling.

If I were to add something else under this category, I could perhaps note the big decision I made recently to return to study. I always knew there was something lacking in this category of my monthly updates and choosing to study aged care has me certain that I am on the right path. :)
Thus far, the study goes well.

{discover} Stepping away from this space for a time allowed me to discover much about myself. Connecting with myself, my values and my goals has been completely wonderful! There is still so much more to discover, but I am comforted to have a solid feeling of who I am, my purpose in life and the direction I'm heading in.

If you'd like to talk books, I have been guided by pre-teen girl recommendations of late! I recently read The Hunger Games trilogy and Animal Farm (Animal Farm is being read in their classroom). Burial Rights, The Awakening and The Notebook were some others that I was pleased to read recently.

{enjoy} I loved taking time out to enjoy life this month. I learned that when I work hard, I play hard and it's so much more fun than merely waiting for life's enjoyments to come my way. The message? Go out there and squeeze life for all it's worth!

How was your month/s? 

(A Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there and a special acknowledgment to those who are no longer with us. xx)