Weekend Bounty

Today was a hard slog, after spending the weekend in beautiful South Gippy. I ran a squillion errands, did the food shop, bought vata-reducing tea (!), dropped kids here there and everywhere, drove around so the baby could have a sleep (seeing as she refuses to sleep anywhere else in the day time anymore), went to Spotlight (that is a story in itself), washed dishes, put a load of clothes in the wash, put my pyjamas on at 3.45pm and closed all the curtains in case someone walked past, then got dressed again at 4pm because I felt slovenly. Then I started on dinner (think I’ve finally nailed a veggie bolognese sauce with sweet potato and lentils).

We brought back mountains of homegrown food: broadbeans, lemons (lots), broccoli, cabbage and various herbs. This week I have to decide what to do with it all. We ate all the broadbeans and broccoli last night, lightly blanched with roasted sweet potato, hommus, avocado and a jasmine rice/quinoa blend. The perfect throw together meal. The cabbage and herbs will get thrown in amongst other veg and eaten over the next couple of days.

My main challenge now is the lemons. I’ll make lemon bliss balls (always with oats instead of cashews due to no nut policies at school), lemon cake (maybe this one). I’ll have lemons every day in hot water, lemon juice on untraditional dahl, lemon in our hommus, and I’ll still have so many left over – if you know me and want some, please let me know! One of the things I love most about eating seasonally is discovering new recipes and planning out what to do with a glut of various things. Yesterday before we came home Mum cooked up a huge bowlful of artichokes, freshly picked from the garden an hour prior. They. Were. Delicious. We had to google how to prepare them, and now I know for next time!

Today I was feeling good while I moved through the morning tasks, but this afternoon my mood dipped a bit. I already miss the hills from the weekend. The quiet, the space. The familiar holiday come down, even though we were only gone five days. I opened our backdoor and tried to emulate the feeling, the flowing movement from in to out and out to in as the girls donned their gumboots and traipsed around the garden and came and went as they pleased. I know people say you can live a life connected to nature in the suburbs, and I believe to an extent this is absolutely true, but it is definitely not the same as life outside the city where you have to work with nature in order to survive. Here, if we ignore nature, nothing really happens that is drastic enough to impact our day to day life. There, the garden would swallow you in an instant if left untended.

Do you know what I mean?

the flowers and so on

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Spring has officially arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the past year we have done a little bit of work here and there in our garden and although there is a lot more to be done (and we generally have no idea what we are doing) I was amazed at the variety of flowers that bloomed to announce the beginning of the new season. I love Winter, but the last few weeks always seem to drag a little. Everyone seems to have a sunnier disposition all of a sudden now there is some colour in our days.

It always takes me a while to shake off the darkness of Winter. I thrash through my wardrobe wondering what to wear when the sun comes out and warms the air. I keep putting nourishing yet heavy stews on the meal plan, unsure of what to do with those fresh leafy greens that arrive in my veggie box. (While we adjust our favourite go-to meal is currently a tray of roast vegetables, raw greens, a handful of seeds and a blob of hommus. It has enough possibilities to suit the whole family in one form or another.)

At the start of each season I always spend some time consulting this book. It grounds me in the here and now and no matter what is going on in my life, it always has something to say to me. I love the recipes and find that with a quick refresh of the suggested seasonal pantry items the kitchen is in business again. I’ve had about five minutes to peruse it this season, but I have kept it out on the kitchen table so it is within grabbing distance at opportune moments. I was also given this book for my birthday back in May which I absolutely love and am happy to say Peach has finally allowed me the chance to test out some of the recipes, many of which are perfect for the warmer weather headed our way.

Speaking of warmer weather (or lack of it) for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are bundling up and slowly retreating into Autumn, I am very excited to be featured in the Autumn issue of Tend Magazine, talking about creating a sense of place for our children in our homes and local landscapes. Pop over here to check it out.

I think that’s all for now, my head is a little foggy with less sleep than I would generally like, and the end of the school term in sight. I’m looking forward to KB being on long service leave and I can think of little else. FIST PUMP! Ciao.

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sewing: little cloth books

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IMG_4587IMG_4581First things first, a confession: I have developed a Big Brother addiction. Now we are nearing the end I have begun crying when housemates are evicted each week. You may find the word “tully” in my internet browser search history. Gah.

In other news, I am in a flurry of first birthdays and when not watching Big Brother I have been spending many an hour in front of my sewing machine. It’s been oh so lovely to be sewing again. I can’t remember the last thing I made… but in the fresh spring air my creativity seems to have been given a little boost.

I have made two of these little cloth books for friend’s babies, and have four more to make by the end of the year. They take a long time but are awfully fun. It’s been the first thing I have made it a while that I have actually had to use my imagination for, instead of just cutting a pattern and tweaking here and there. I have so enjoyed the process. I have also loved using bits and bobs from my ridiculously fat scraps bag.

Would you like to make one for your baby? I used this tutorial. I know it is more than straightforward but I am not very good at the practicalities of sewing when you have to flip things around and do this side then that bit to match that side and so on… bias binding – kill me. I just can’t get my head around it. So I found it great to have a visual. You can also find lots of pictures on pinterest which helped give me some ideas for the content. The book above is an “L” themed book for a little L bub. I’ve since done an “S” themed book and have two more “S”‘s, a “T” and an “O” to go!

In amongst this Big Brother and cloth book frenzy I have also been sewing a wiksten tank dress for myself. If it works out I will post some pics next week.

What are you sewing, making, cooking, creating this spring/autumn?

 

time for rejuvenation

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Spring is in the air, and it has not gone unnoticed here.

In an effort to live more in tune with the seasons, I have paid attention to the Spring twitch, to the Spring itch, that has quietly begun nudging me to step things up a notch this week.

Until I noticed this feeling, I didn’t realise how much I had slowed down – for better or worse – over Winter. We have been in a flurry of illness, one after the other, for the last couple of months. During this time there have been many blessings – one of which is the Pixie’s sudden ability to sleep longer than 45 minutes at a time. HALLELUJAH KID. Better late than never. There have also been downfalls, sickness, lethargy and coffee – lots of coffee. Lots. Did I mention there has been lots of coffee?

There was a point during the depths of winter that I reflected on all the little things I used to do and prepare and think about in order to help us to live a healthy and happy life, that I haven’t really felt able to do since the Pixie’s arrival (uh, nearly one year ago). There have been moments of motivation and feelings of I’ve-Got-It-Together, but if I’m being honest, they have been few and far between. I’ve enjoyed the winter, as I always do, but I’ve mainly been feeling like a bit of an under-achiever. I haven’t wanted to blog much and have felt that when I have, my posts have been silly and on the surface like. None of the real stuff, the in depth thoughts, the confusion, the clarity. I haven’t really had the words. I’m not sure if I do now. Maybe I never have.

Suddenly though, with the eruption of Spring sunshine and blooming flowers, I am making almond milk. I am scribbling seasonal meals onto our meal planner in silver pen. Yes, silver. I am cutting back on the coffee and drinking ginger tea in the afternoons. I am feeling that nesting urge (minus the pregnant bit) to clean things up and throw things out. I’m feeling invigorated and motivated.

Things accumulate. Stuff, feelings, thoughts. Spring is the opportunity to shake off, cleanse, tidy, refresh. Spring is the opportunity to reset.

So that is what I’m doing.

Firstly, I took the plunge and signed up for two yoga classes a week. Two SIX AM yoga classes. I can only hope that my Spring energy shows me the money.

Secondly, I’m back in action in the kitchen. When I’m feeling crappy, I eat crappy. If I eat crappy, we all eat crappy because I am the crappy crap cook. Then I feel crappy because I’m being crappy and eating crappy and the girls feel crappy because I’m feeding them crappy crap and then Prince Charming gets crappy because I’m crappy in his direction and it’s all just a big cycle of crap. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Thirdly, I’m cleaning out. I’ve cleaned out our study/sewing room and our lounge. Next on the list is the kitchen and living area and then onto our bedroom. The back deck after that. I get so overwhelmed sorting through stuff but my method is simple – three bags/boxes. One labelled OP SHOP, one labelled SHIT (or rubbish if you prefer), one labelled KEEP. My only downfall with this method is that the KEEP box ends up full of stuff that then sits there for ages and accumulates more stuff and the cycle has to then begin again, so my one tip is to sort the KEEP box ASAP.

Fourthly, ok I’m not sure if there is a fourthly but the moral of the story is: Spring is good.

Are you feeling the Spring love? Maybe it’s Autumn where you are and the leaves are starting to colour?

hello, spring

Where did you come from, you sneaky old thing?

And what joys and pleasures do you plan to bring?

Well welcome, hello, hello to you Spring. 

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Within the week, Spring has appeared from no where.

I stood on my back deck yesterday folding washing in shorts, a singlet and bare feet, thinking back to just last week when I stood in the same position in a thick wool cardigan, long pants and uggs.

I feel as though I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Winter. To my woollen blankets, steaming cups of tea, evenings curled up on the couch and mornings spent wrapping thick scarves around our bare necks.

So goodbye Winter! I love you, I’ll miss you, but I’m also looking forward to feeling the sun on our backs and the earth on our feet.

a snowy interlude

Over the last few weeks I’ve been writing about my emergence from winter, spring salads, sunshine and the new season.

Then I found myself here:

Quite a shock, really, as when we were packing to head up the mountain for four days we knew the ski season had closed and were just hoping for some patches of snow to show Baby and play around in. As we were winding our way up and the snow began to fall, we were very relieved that we had borrowed my Aunty’s 4WD at the last minute, instead of taking our little VW. Phew!

And here we are. Four days of lying around by the fire, walks in the snow, looking out the window, reading books and watching movies. Not quite sure of how to get the car out of here but I’m sure we’ll figure it out, perhaps with some help from the neighbours.

This morning we went for a walk. I had to be peeled from the couch by Prince Charming, and he was subjected to a lot of moaning and groaning about how much he was pestering me and how it was meant to be a relaxing weekend, etc. Then I got my grump off and stepped out into the crisp air. (Thanks PC, my love, you’re mostly always right… I should remember that.) We borrowed a little snow suit from a friend which worked a treat. (For Baby, not for me.) It tucked away little hands and feet and was apparently just bought from ALDI. Who knew.

Straight back to the couch for lunch and a coffee. Started watching Julia and Julia but then it jammed and I couldn’t be bothered moving my chocolate and wine laden derrière from my present position to try to fix it. So, here I am.

My time spent on the couch has been more than productive, let me tell you.

:: I’ve been reading some tips for transitioning to a healthier diet from the writer of a fantastic blog – For the Love of Food.

:: Looking at food ideas (aimed at kids) to avoid the afternoon slump.

:: Getting inspired and/or intimidated by wonderful crochet and more wonderful crochet.

:: Thinking about getting fit for summer (note the emphasis on thinking.)

:: Starting to plan what to make for Christmas presents for this year, after my first attempt at a Buy Nothing New Christmas last year.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekends, wherever you are! Where are you and what are you doing? I’d love to know!

 

and out from hibernation emerges…

… a bright-Spring-coloured, chitter-chattery, do-things, cook-and-clean, tidy-your-hair, act-now type lady – ME!

For the last 6-8 weeks I have been running on autopilot without even realising it. I was staying up really late, eating all the wrong foods, not feeling motivated at all, letting the washing pile up (and up and up). I wasn’t interested in cooking (odd for me) and instead of having my neat menu plan and shopping list I was waiting until 5pm each day to run around flipping this way and that thinking what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-make-for-dinner, inevitably ending in a rather large puddle of ‘something’ which no one particularly wanted to eat, least of all me. I was spending way too much time on the internet, knowing I should be doing other things.

I love Winter, but in retrospect I can see now that I was ready for it to end.

Something about the Spring air has rumbled in the deep and I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to get back in control.

I’ve spent my time…

:: Borrowing a ridiculous number of books from the library in my new bout of enthusiasm… The Healthy Skin DietBreath,Handmade HomeBeyond the Rainbow BridgeCalm and Compassionate Children… to name but a few.

:: Making the beginnings of a little mooshy belly bunny for Baby.

:: Going to bed early, and I mean EARLY — eg. I am in bed… right now… typing this… at 8.30pm.

:: Paying the bills – ON TIME!

:: Celebrating family birthdays.

:: Spending our first night away from Baby for our wedding anniversary… more on that next time.

:: Taking Baby to a local good old fashioned pub to see her first ever band, Rudely Interrupted. I thought it would be too noisy, but she loved it!

:: Getting outside for fresh air and opening up all the doors and windows.

:: Turning off the computer!

What has the Spring sunshine brought into your home? Or perhaps Autumn is inviting you slow down after a long Summer?

ah, sun.

Doesn’t sunshine just make everything better? Melbourne has really pulled through this week with glorious sun, mild air, blossoms blooming. Spring.

So many people have said this week, in answer to the general “how are you?” question – “Good, this week. The SUN is out.” So true, so true. What is it, about the sun? I love Winter: the cosiness, the slow pace. But I’m ready to shake off the cool shades blue and welcome Spring.

What have you been doing in the sunshine this week?

P.S. I spent some time getting lost in the blog Luna Pacifica the other day. There is a very seasonal theme over there and I was enchanted by the way in which the author Jessie lives her life in very close relationship with the earth. Worth a read if you’re in the mood!

 

Spring Rhythms

I remember a while ago writing about the golden leaves of the liquid amber, only to look outside this morning and see tiny green buds appearing on her long thin branches. I realised it was high time to shake off the last remnants of winter and step out into the sunshine.

We lay together on a picnic rug.

I always think I have to take Baby somewhere special to see nature, that our suburban backyard is not enough. For a few years now I have been pining for the countryside, for a little cottage amongst the trees, for chooks, for green. I thought it would make me happy, to be amongst nature. I thought it was the only way to give Baby a quiet, natural life. As I lay in the sun this morning, I looked around, I saw what she saw. New life everywhere. New sounds, new colours, new foliage, new green.

This is what we found, right here at home…

Just another reminder to live in this moment, here, today, and now.