Saturday, January 30, 2010

baby steps- urban garden update

Well, since the past garden upheaval and replant, my little snap peas are coming to fruition, the baby tomatoes are popping up like crazy (yay- I finally ate some homegrown tomatoes) and the zucchini and cucumber plants are beginning to flower.



But, the most exciting discovery was along our front path on the fence- a huge patch of passionfruit vines! I've already had 3 freshly picked passionfruits and they are delicious! Between the neighbour's lemon tree (he kindly brings bags of them over) and this newfound passionfruit we are living like gardening royalty. Hope you have a lovely weekend and enjoy some time outside in this beautiful weather.



xo

Thursday, January 28, 2010

changing the rules



I received a lovely treat from Faerwillow at Serendipity - my very first blog award. I am flattered that she has passed the love on to me and even more delighted to check out the other lovely ladies she nominated. Of course, with the award came rules... and if you ask my husband, I have never ever been very good at following rules. So, at the risk of offending, I will tweak a few of them to better suit me. Hope you don't mind!

The original rules and my changes...

1. Thank the person giving the award - Oh, I would never change this one- Thank you so much!

2. Copy the award to your blog- Alternatively, I have included a pretty leaf.

3. Place a link to the award-giver's blog- Done.

4. Name seven things people don't know about you- I'm really not that interesting. How about seven easy ways to go from earth-murdering consumerist family (sorry, that sounds harsh) to green mean fighting machines


5. Nominate seven other bloggers who you admire- Well, this was the hardest part. Seven just isn't my number of choice- and this is not to say I don't enjoy seven bloggers- because I presently email subscribe to 33 blogs that I read daily, but I felt I just couldn't name seven and not the other 26. I also don't want anyone who I nominated to feel obligated to accept the award, follow the original rules or mine etc. So, please see my right sidebar for a list of lovely and inspirational blogs I peruse on a daily basis.

6. Place a link to these bloggers- Yes, the links are there.

7. Leave a comment on their blog notifying them of the award- Not really applicable.

So sorry if I have offended anyone by not playing by the rules. But of course, I have always believed rules were made to be broken.

xo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

happy couple meditation

I haven't spoken in yoga for a while so I thought I'd teach you a little meditation technique to keep the peace, love and harmony flowing between you and your significant other. I first came across this meditation from Gurmukh's book 'Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful". You don't have to have prior meditation experience, just good intentions, belief in the practice and patience to follow through with it from start to finish. The meditation creates a sense of peace and understanding between the two of you, and if perfect after a long day's work when you each come home to each other having been out in the world on your own. Couples with young families often find it difficult to relate to each other at the end of the day- one often being the primary caregiver and the other going out into the workforce, it sometimes seems as if you live worlds apart. Taking the time to be with each other and making a concerted effort to tune into each other on a subtle and energetic level is a wonderful thing to do to reconnect.

Start sitting on the floor back to back in a cross-legged position. (If you or your partner is too stiff to sit comfortably with crossed legs, you can kneel or even sit in chairs back to back- although feeling your spines against each other is ideal).

Deeply inhale and exhale and then chant together "Sa-Ta-Na-Ma" for 11 minutes.

Begin by chanting outloud for several minutes, then decrease the volume of the chants to a whisper, and then chant silently to yourselves, and for the final minute or so return to a loud chant to finish.

photo from "Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful", Gurmukh

Sa-Ta-Na-Ma represents birth, life, death and rebirth, not just literally but metaphorically in your life in the present moment. Chanting about the cycle of life together reaffirms your commitment to live hand in hand through the miracles, the laughter, the sadness and changes in your lives together.

xo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

happy australia day!

Well, today started off like most other holidays- Big B headed to work after a quick brekky and L'il B and I wandered the streets, hit the park and did some shopping. But, this time we stocked up on egg whites, sugar, kiwis, strawberries and blueberries- you guessed it, we made Pavlova!

Of course, all master plans go hand in hand with their unforeseeable setbacks: L'il B took a tumble right into the dreaded coffee table corner. Has there ever been a coffee table in the history of the universe that hasn't left a 1 to 5 year-old bleeding from the face? But, really?

He calmed down fairly quickly with the help of some of mama's milk, but after I had wiped most of the blood away, I realized to my horror that he had bit right through his lip!! A tiny bloody tooth mark lay just under his lip and you don't want to know what it looked like from the inside. So, we called Dada up, and said, "Dada, get home now!!", and we all drove to the emergency clinic to make sure stitches weren't in order. At this point, L'il B had completely forgotten about his spill and was much more interested in the hospital playroom and all the new toys he could get his grubby little hands on. Two hours later... the Doctor told us stitches weren't necessary and L'il B would probably just be left with a little scar under his lip. Thank goodness, lucky stars! I definitely had a very parental moment in that waiting room, as if this was the test that has made me a real, tried and tested Mama.


can you believe it? from one side of his lip to the other...


So after that little hiccup, we headed home and I threw the pavlova in the oven just in time for our little Australia Day dinner.



Hope everyone had a lovely and restful day, and that you were able to take the time to be grateful for the little things that make this country great. We are certainly very lucky that when our little ones hurt themselves even to a minor degree like today, they have access to a clean, modern, and efficient health care system.

xo

Monday, January 25, 2010

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah


This breakfast is really fast and easy to make, is absolutely delicious and jam packed with everything that makes you tick- protein, carbs, fiber, vitamin C and calcium. What more could you ask for from a breakfast?

Quinoa (pronounced key-no-ah)is an Andean seed crop that is used as a grain in many south american dishes. Unlike other grains like wheat or rice, quinoa contains a number of essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein on it's own (you don't have to combine it with beans to complete the protein chain). For 1 cup cooked (I think I ate a whole cup cooked this morning, but most people might only have 1/2 or 3/4 of a cup) there are 222 calories, 4 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. What a super food!

You can use quinoa as you would cous cous or rice- making vegetable pilafs of different varieties, or you can make this delicious porridge like breakfast:

Ingredients
2 cups quinoa
2 1/4 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon

berries
plain whole yogurt
sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
maple syrup or honey

Directions
Rinse off quinoa in a fine sieve
Put quinoa, water, cinnamon and tumeric in a pot and bring to a boil
Once boiling turn to low and let simmer with the lid on, occasionally stirring for about 12-15 minutes, then remove from heat and fluff one last time.

Serve hot with above toppings and syrup.

The turmeric soothes you stomach and aids digestion, almonds are high in calcium and the other seeds and nuts are high in protein and fiber.

xo

PS. Also a huge hit with the kids and keeps them focused, energized and full longer!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

serene sundays...

Sundays are a time for sleeping in, having late, long and wholesome breakfasts, sipping tea, reading the paper, planning the meals for the week, trips to the market, mending, cleaning, reorganizing, recharging, spending time with family and friends, reading books, playing in parks, taking naps in the sun, baking bread or any of the above in combination.
In light of this, I will categorize my Sunday entries as “serene sundays” and put up photos that describe my mood, thoughts, ideas, inspiration or general weekend goings-on, instead of writing an entire entry.

The work:

Well, it's been just over a week since I asked to be held accountable. So, here is what I've been up to tonight. No sewing, but all the finicky stuff- tracing, cutting and pinning. Hopefully these hot pads will be in business by the end of the week.



The reward:

No Sunday seems complete without oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I used carob chips for this batch. Mmmm.



Hope you all had a restful and relaxing weekend and for those who are taking the long weekend off- enjoy!

xo

Saturday, January 23, 2010

why marriage?



We've been to a beautiful wedding this afternoon. Here is one of the readings that really struck a chord with me. I got the goosebumps.

Why Marriage?
By Mari Nichols-Haining

Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body...

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won't hold them against me,
Who loves me when I'm unlikeable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential in me...

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold...

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship...

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole...

I take half of the responsibility for my marriage

But together we create our marriage...

-------------------------------------------------------------------

We're off to the reception now. Looking forward to it- just hope the little one stays asleep like he did last night, for the sake of his grandparents and the sake of a nice night out.

xo

Friday, January 22, 2010

extended breastfeeding- nightfeeds be GONE!


UPDATE: *** the morning after: Well, classic, classic classic. Not a peep. he woke at 9:45 pm and complained for about 4-5 minutes (seemed like aneternity for me) but I was determinded to let him work it out himself so he was aware he could put himself back to sleep without me. He did. And then nothing until 7:15 am! Of course I woke up at 4:30am and sat up worried something had happened and eventually poked my head in to make sure everything was OK. Ahhh, mamahood. Thank you all for your kind words and support. I am still going to be strict about no milk at night, but this whole situation was just another example of how when you're really at your wits end they change their ways and go back to their regular old selves. xx m.

Preface: for those who have not been following my extended breastfeeding updates, my little one is almost 17 months now and I am still feeding.

Well, after three nights of what seems like newborn behaviour (waking every hour, screaming, tantrums until being given milk, etc.) I have had it. Of course, I am going to continue breastfeeding during the day - his regular 3 feeds- morning, before the afternoon nap, and before bed, but I am seriously pulling the plug on any nightfeeds E-V-E-R. We seem to have gotten into a vicious cycle where L'il B truly expects to be comforted by my boob and nothing else will do, and to say the least: it is not working for me, my sanity or my body. He self-settles for his sleeps, fully awake in his cot, takes about 10 minutes to nod off and most of the time sleeps through the night. But when he does wake up, he insists on a breastfeed. The past three nights he has thrown the whole routine in the garbage and has decided that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he can't get back to sleep on his own and calls out for me. This is fine, I can see that he might be going through some separation anxiety and needs a little more comfort and cuddles than usual (I have taken him to the doctor to chack for an ear infection or other ailment and he has been given the all clear). But when my breasts (which is well and truly empty in the wee hours) are being used as a never-ending pacifier, I have to draw the line.

Please let me know what you think of this resolution, and if you have any tips, or if you totally disagree with me and think I should continue to feed him while he goes through this stage. I am all ears.

In the meantime, here I go. Night one. I am expecting at least 5-7 wake ups (as has been the past 3 nights) and this time, Mummy is not giving in. No matter how much rocking, singing and patting my husband and I have to do.

As I told, L'il B tonight, "Say Night Night to Milk, see you in the morning Milk". It's going to be a long night...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

giveaway winner!




Thanks everyone for entering the one skein giveaway. The winner is
Kitty!!
Congratulations and happy knitting! I'll throw in a few skeins from my op shop collection to get your started just send me your mailing address (ecomilf@mac.com). And don't forget to drop by in February for a chance to win the Handmade Home.



xo

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

budgeting capsules

As one of my new years resolutions, I vowed to tighten the cash reigns a little bit. I have reworked my budget based on most expenses (minus a few that B covers himself). As a single income family, he puts some of his pay into my account each month and I am in charge of running the household, paying some bills, medical expenses and basically all daily spending. I keep a certain amount in my account for things like doctor's appointments, health insurance and phone, put aside a certain amount for our monthly savings and then take the rest of the cash out and split it up into different capsules to dip into every week/month. I have used this kind of envelope system before and it seems to work well, as long as you remember to keep all of your receipts, put your change back into the right envelope and remember to bring the envelopes with you when you need them.

Here are the capsules I created: EATS (groceries etc.), DIGS (entertainment/meals out), SPLURGE (toys/clothing/gardening, crafting, home decor), HOT MAMA (waxing, hair, makeup etc.), BE CLEAN (supplies/monthly cleaner). On the back of each I have the amount allocated per week and month and the list of things associated with the category.



If there is any money left over from the month, I keep it in the capsule instead of putting it in the savings account. This is because for example, I only have my hair highlighted once every 4-5 months so I will have to put aside a little each month to have enough for my treatment in 5.


Budgeting is tough, but the more you do it and work on it the easier it becomes. It also helps that I have vowed to go my 365 days of nothing new, which means even when I am "SPLURGE"-ing the items are second hand and a lot cheaper than if I had bought them at full price.

How do you budget your money, and more importantly save? I am a true Cancerian- I love a good little nest egg to rely on when you need it.

xo

ps. the capsules were part of my reversegarbage delivery a while back... was wondering what I'd do with them all.

Monday, January 18, 2010

summer snap mondays- sandy, sand sand sand.

I turned around for one minute and this is what appeared.


Boys!

For some more summer snaps head here for a list of players.

xo

Sunday, January 17, 2010

sunday prayer


photo from weheartit.com

I am not religious in the sense that I go to Church or believe in a God of any name or by any book, but I do believe in something very big and very real. And what I believe is at the core of this being, that keeps the universe pumping, and pulsating and vibrating is love, compassion and the universal desire for peace and happiness.


I haven’t written about the tragic happenings in Haiti this week because I was so unsure of what to say, or how to begin. I’ve definitely held my little one closer, and whispered words of thanks for the random luck I have received in this life.


My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this disaster. It is unfathomable to me, that a population that already lives, breathes and endures daily hardships most of us could never imagine, should have to experience another tragedy of this scale.


I have dedicated some time today to researching how I can help in my small way. Some useful and reliable sites are here, here and here, if you also feel so inclined. Every dollar counts right now, and in the future every donation of any kind will be of great value.


Never underestimate the power of quiet prayer, contemplation and positive thought. It is important not to become numb too quickly. It is all too easy to live with an“out of sight, out of mind” mentality.


If anyone else, knows of any other charities that are worth taking a look at please leave a comment below. It’s often very overwhelming choosing an organization that you are confident in and that you know will really make a difference.


Peace, love and prayers to all of those in Haiti.


May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

And the rains fall soft upon your fields


Until we meet again my friend.


- traditional gaelic prayer


xo