Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Years Resolutions!!

New Years Eve. I've never been one to partake in this yearly ritual. I usually have vague ideas about setting some sort of resolution. Before I remember that the statistics say that 92% of those who make a New Years Resolution are not able to see it out to the following year. But I like the idea of defying the here are my 2012 Resolutions.

Anti-Consumerism Challenge:
I've seen this challenge take many forms. The thing that most interests me about this challenge is that I can create my own rules. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. So my aim is to avoid unnecessary spending. No impulse buys, no take-away ice-chocolates, no buying something just because I'm bored. If I do need to purchase something I will think about quality and look for second hand over new. My mantra will be "Buy once, Buy well, or Go without!"

Less Screen Time:
This is a big one for me. I've found myself slightly disconnected from the kids in the last few months of 2011. There is too much technology and not enough human interaction going on in this house at the moment. So as of tomorrow we will be seriously limiting our screen time. I foresee some protest in the first few days from the male members of the household (Boo who is 3 1/2 and Hubby) but I am hoping that everyone will see and feel the benefit after a few days.

Food and Exercise:
This resloution is for both my health, our bank balance, and the environmental impact. The first part of this is exercise. I plan to get out of the house EVERYDAY!  For either a walk or a run in the park with the kids. The second part is food. Our organic delivery has been wonderful, but I want to step it up a level and get more wholefoods into our diet. The details of this resolution include menu planning, a better veggie garden, less food wastage, making Hubby's lunches (instead of him buying them) and avoiding fast food/take-away's.

So these are my 2012 New Years Resolutions. I am hoping to check back to this post and track how well my will power is holding up every 3 months until 2013! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Going Organic!

We had a rather exciting event in our household this week. We received our first Organic Fruit and Vegetable delivery! To be honest, I was probably the most excited of all (although Boo would come a close second. He was rather impressed with a big box of food being delivered right to our door!) Eating organic food has always been “on the list”. The ever growing list of things that I need to do, that I want to do, that I’ll get around to doing “one day!”. I figured it was time to make that ‘one day’, TODAY! So I bit the bullet and ordered organic…and so far, I couldn’t be more pleased. I’ve heard before that there is a taste difference between supermarket food and organic food, but to be honest I was skeptical…not anymore! Everything we’ve eaten so far has been sweeter, juicier and fresher. We’ve also found ourselves trying things that we wouldn’t have bought before, such as fresh beetroot. I wasn’t a fan of tinned beetroot, but fresh roasted beetroot, well, that’s another thing altogether! I am so pleased I took the risk and ordered organic…we’re one small step closer to the dream!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Feeling Creative

Lately I’ve been feeling my creative side emerge. Unfortunately I don’t have the endless hours I had previously to indulge in this creative urge. I have managed to sneak in some time and I’m really enjoying learning a new skill: sewing!

Bunting for Boo's 3rd Birthday Party

Breast Pads for my Beautiful Sister who is about to have a baby

A bib for my soon to be Nephew!

Little Mouse in her mumma made bib!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Blog's I Love : Play and Create!

These are some great blogs about kids, play and creating that I've felt particularly inspired by lately. I love having a list of new ideas to refer to when my 3 yr old gets bored with our usual fun!

Let the Children Play!

The Imagination Tree

Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Childhood 101

The Artful Parent

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Gardening Middle

This is the next chapter in our gardening adventures…

Surprisingly, many of the plants in our little raised garden bed have been growing rather nicely. Although I’m sure this has more to do with good soil then my green thumbs. We did encounter some problems with wilt disease on our tomatoes and have been having a vicious war with invading slugs!

This is our slightly overgrown garden bed with mountains of Parsley and Basil, a delicious Silverbeet (Rainbow Chard) and a gigantic Chilli bush!

We were a little over zealous with our parsley planting, and ended up with 8 huge bushes!

The Rosemary bush is growing nicely, and has been well used for Lamb Roasts and Rosemary Chicken Drumsticks!

The Zucchini plant has been flowering beautifully.

We've been having great success with our Strawberries...

And they've become Boo's favourite thing to pick and eat straight from the garden :)

Our newest garden helper!...Mouse at 2 months

Hopefully our gardening success continues and we can try out some more challenging plants!

Friday, 3 June 2011

my apologies...

I have to apologise for the lack of posting lately. We are currently on holidays in beautiful Tropical North Queensland! We're back home in a week, so I should have lots of new posts for you after that. Until then I thought I would share with you a little picture of Boo enjoying a ride on his first big train! It was a very important life moment for this train mad child of mine! 

And this is my little mouse. Falling asleep on Nanna's lap after a busy day...

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Homemade Pizza!

Not much beats the smell of hot pizza fresh from the oven, and there's nothing as fresh as homemade. There is just something calming about kneading your own dough and picking the basil straight from your organic garden. Little Boo just LOVES to make the Pizza dough.

Our Pizza Dough Recipe is from The Australian Women's Weekly book "Cook".

Basic Pizza Dough:
2 Teaspoos dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (375g) plain flour
1 cup (250ml) warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine yeast, salt and sifted flour in large bowl. Gradually stir in the water and oil. Turn dough onto floured surface; knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in large greased bowl, cover; stand in warm place about 30 mins or until dough has doubled in size. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead. Halve the dough and roll out into two pizza circles.

  Little Boo helping with the kneading

                                                          Sneaking some uncooked dough!

For a quick and easy base sauce we use Leggo's Tomato Paste (the jars have no preservatives!), Garlic and finely chopped basil.

                                                   Mixing the sauce is a serious business ;)

                                              Add your favourite toppings and away you go!

The finished product, straight from the oven! Yum!

Guilt Free Easter!

Easter is almost here! In many houses across Australia the Easter Bunny will be leaving sweet chocolate treats while everyone's asleep. But have you ever thought about where your chocolate comes from? Much of the worlds Cocoa is harvested using Child labor or Slave labor. Only 3% of the worlds Chocolate sales come from ethical fair trade producers.
But, don't dispair! There is good news out there. In the last 2 years there has been a 1500% increase in the sales of ethically sourced Chocolate. This year you can buy Fair Trade certified Chocolate and Easter Eggs at your local supermarket. Chocolate tastes a little bit sweeter when its guilt free ;)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Garden Beginings

The ultimate dream has always been to have a beautiful organic veggie garden that is able to supply us with food all year round. The reality is a rented house on a small suburban block with some grass for the kids and landscaped edges. So there was only one thing we could do...turn some of our 'landscaped edges' into veggie producing raised garden beds!

So out came the bark chips, hard dirt and builders rubble, and in went the beautiful organic loam from a local landscape suppler.

It was slow beginnings with some flat leaf parsley and a slowly dying tomato plant we were desperate to save. We later discovered that the tomato plant had wilt disease, but not before it spread to all our other tomatoes!

We added a rosemary bush and a little owl to watch over our plants.

We also had some potted plants of mint, curled parsley, basil and garlic chives. And little Boo to help with the watering!

This was the beginning of our journey to a sustainable food source. We are most definitely in the category of amateur gardeners but with this, as with any part of the journey, it is all about the process. We learn along the way. Hopefully, one day, our dream of growing all our vegetables will become a reality.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Ten Tips for a more Eco-friendly Life

  1. Un-plug! – Turn your lights off when you’re not in the room, unplug appliances from the wall, watch less television, don’t leave your phone charger plugged in all night!

  1. Compost! – Buy or make a composting system to use up those food scraps, or check if your local council has a green waste system!

  1. Build a Veggie garden! – This saves money and the environment, not to mention is better for your health! Heirloom or organic seeds can be brought from places like Diggers or Eden seeds.

  1. Use Natural cleaning products! – swapping your chemical cleaners for vinegar and bi-carb, or plant based brands like eco-store, will ensure no nasty chemicals are leaching into our waterways.

  1. Op-shop! – Need something new? Check to see if you can find it in your local opportunity shops first! Reusing or Repurposing is a great way to save money and reduce waste.

  1. Eco-bottles! – Buy a stainless steel water bottle and refill it instead of buying plastic water bottles that just end up in landfill or our oceans.

  1. Buy Local! – Where ever possible, buy products that were made or grown within your local area. Transporting goods creates tonnes of unnecessary greenhouse gas.

  1. Grey water! – Use your (chemical free) grey water from the washing machine to water your garden.

  1. Cloth it up! – Change all your personal care items to cloth! Cloth menstrual pads, cloth breast pads and cloth nappies are easy to use, chemical free and won’t sit in landfill for a few thousand years!

  1. Leave the Car at home! – When ever possible, forget the car and walk, ride or use public transport! You’ll be reducing pollution and getting fit too!

These are the ten top things we are trying our hand at. All of these ten tips we either do, have or are trying to incorporate into our household. Start small, Aim big!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Everyday Learning...

We’re pretty new to this whole Natural Learning business. At first I wondered how a child could possibly learn everything they need to know from just experiencing the world around them. Then just a few days ago I had an “Ah-ha!” moment. A moment in which I finally understood the beauty and simplicity of letting a child learn naturally.
I was putting a load of clothes in the washing machine when Boo came over and asked if he could help. He dragged his little step over so he could see what was going on, and the learning started. Boo mentioned how heavy the clothes were, so we talked about weight. We got the powder out and counted two tablespoons. We turned the washing machine on and talked about why we put it on the ‘Eco’ setting. Then we lifted the lid and had a look at the water flowing in. “Where does the water go Mum?” asked Boo. So a conversation about drains, water ways, pollution and the ocean followed.
In just a few minutes of doing an everyday task, my child had had a Maths, English, and Environment Lesson. Not to mention a boost in his self esteem from helping Mum. I think I’m going to like this Natural Learning thing :)    

Friday, 4 March 2011

What is a Gentle Life?

I thought it might be appropriate to start my blog with what I mean by a 'Gentle Life'.
For me personally, it means taking care of my self, so that I am able to care for those around me. Nourishig myself physicaly, mentally and spiritally. Taking time to grow and explore the person I am and the person I am becoming.
For my family it means Attachment Parenting and Natural Learning. Exploring ways to help my children grow and reach their potential, without stifiling their unique creativity and personalities.
For our environment it means eco awareness, responsible living and sustainability. Learning to be gentle to this planet we live on and perhaps even leaving it in a better state then we found it.

The most important thing I am trying to remember is that this is a journey. I am learning to do these things slowly. Yes i will make mistakes. But the beauty of mistakes is that you can learn from them.

So welcome to my journey!