Tuesday, August 31, 2010

my birthday boy

Happy second birthday to my darling 'big boy'!


It's hard to believe it's only been two years since you came and flipped my world upside down. I hope your day was as wonderful as you dreamed it would be, filled with every request you made: ice cream, wobbly jelly (vegetarian, of course), friends, a kite and [
sneaky] cupcakes with candles.
xx mama.

Oh, and for everyone else- don't forget to enter the OrganicFood.com.au giveaway below for your chance to win a gift certificate to use at their delicious online store!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

ingredients for a new table runner

1 thrifted pillowcase
1 thrifted bedsheet
thrifted thread
1 grandma to take care of a very active toddler
1 hour of peace with the sewing machine
patience with the fact that I'm not a pro at sewing straight edges... yet


Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Thank you again and again for all the love and support. I hope to get into the blogosphere at some point this week with a big cup of tea to see what some of my friends have been up to the past couple weeks...

Stay tuned for an amazing giveaway tomorrow.

xo

Saturday, August 28, 2010

these special days

Thanks to those who donated their gorgeous guest posts, we are relishing in moments like these. Loving the process of getting to know one another and finding a new family rhythm and dynamic more special than we could ever have imagined.




xo

Friday, August 27, 2010

indigo violet rose

Hello! A quick greeting while I poke my head out from the foggy calm, peace and love we have been experiencing. These first few days have been magical, Indi is truly divine and we are all enjoying these special first moments with her. My mama arrived yesterday much to North's adoration and she has already showered us with gifts of love and support. Brad's parents have also been supportive- we've been eating like vegetarian kings and queens without having had to lift a finger. We are in the most blissful dreamworld right now, this new and happy family, and I have been reminded once more, of how blessed we are.

I hope you are enjoying the guest posts, thank you to everyone who contributed something. There are lots more exciting ones to come, so stay tuned!

When I find a moment of inspiration, I will share our birth story, but let me just say it somehow miraculously went according to plan!! I couldn't be happier and look forward to sharing it soon.

Back to my bundle of heaven. Thank you to everyone who has shared their congratulations.

xo

Thursday, August 26, 2010

[baby gifts]:: 10 reasons to shop at the local farmer's market


I am try
ing to take a few days off a week to spend purely with family while we get acquainted to our newest addition to the family, Indigo. I have been showered with guest posts from lovely and inspiring bloggers in order to keep this space fresh, creative and insightful. A feel truly blessed to be given such a special present from these talented writers. If you have time, please take a moment to wander through their spaces and say hello.

***
10 reasons to shop at the local farmer's market
with love from Emma at Violets in May


1. The food bought at the Farmer's Market is nourishing for our bodies, it provides essential
nutrients and protects us from illness. There is no mass produced junk food to be seen here.
2. Because the food is grown and produced locally, it's fresher since it has not had to sit in a
truck for hours to be transported to a Supermarket. This means that the nutrient content will be
higher and less fuel is needed to transport the food, making it better for the environment.
3. Most Farmer's markets sell affordable produce because there is no middle man
(supermarket) taking a cut of the profit. This means you can often buy organic produce for the
same price, if not cheaper than the non-organic produce available in the shops.
4. Because Farmer's Market produce is both locally grown and seasonal, it teaches me to
eat in tune with nature. What the earth has produced during the current season is the best
nourishment for my body.
5. The Stallholders give the best gardening tips out there!
6. The Stallholders and generally vibrant happy people because they have a satisfying job that
contributes to society and brings them joy. They are a pleasure to deal with and it feels good to
be supporting their business.
7. It's a nice atmosphere to shop in, generally nobody is rushing and at some markets there will
be buskers and a few tables to sit down and have a coffee or something to eat from one of the
stalls.
8. There is less plastic. There is just something about using brown paper bags, or a shopping
basket that is much more satisfying.
9. It's not just produce on offer. I have also bought locally made honey, soap and shampoo,
peanut butter, jam, bread, cheese, eggs, flowers, olive oil, vegetable seedlings, coffee and dried
herbs

10. Shopping at the Farmer's Market is a simple pleasure that I look forward to each week.



***
Thanks so much Emma for this inspiring and informative list of reasons to get out there and make our food experiences more ethical, personal green. To find a farmer's market near you search the list here (Australia).

xo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

[baby gifts]:: potato pancakes with roasted tomato relish


I am try
ing to take a few days off a week to spend purely with family while we get acquainted to our newest addition to the family, Indigo. I have been showered with guest posts from lovely and inspiring bloggers in order to keep this space fresh, creative and insightful. I feel truly blessed to be given such a special present from these talented writers. If you have time, please take a moment to wander through their spaces and say hello.
***

Potato Pancakes with Roasted Tomato Relish

with love from Vicki at Home Revolutions

This is a great, easy recipe that my boys love to eat and help make. I believe that having children work along side you in the kitchen is an amazing gift for you and them, one that provides so many life and learning experiences. Whenever I am in the kitchen I make sure there is a child-friendly job and they're not too hard to find! Measuring, pouring, counting, grating, stirring, flipping, kneading, and pressing cutters into dough are some of the cooking skills my 3 year old has mastered. I'm not quite brave enough to let him near my knives yet though! This dish makes a yummy lunch or light dinner, perfect for the warm days that are ahead of us. I like to make a double batch and then have plenty to spare in the fridge for lunches and snacks.


For the pancakes:

1 onion
1 large potato
2 zucchini
1 carrot
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fresh coriander
1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Grate all the vegetables and place in the centre of a clean tea towel. Squeeze out excess moisture.
Place grated, squeezed vegetables in a large bowl. Stir through garlic and coriander, then flour.
Mix in eggs until combined and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a little oil in frypan and drop spoonfuls of mixture onto pan. Spread out a little so pancake are even and flat. Cook until golden and crisp and then turn over. Cook on other side until done. Serve with sour cream and roasted tomato salsa. They're also yummy with a fresh salad from the garden, except our boys aren't big salad fans so we have them with steamed vegies.


For the roasted tomato salsa

500g tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 onion, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbls brown sugar
2 tbls red wine vinegar (you could substitute white wine or balsamic vinegar)

Place tomatoes and onion on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in 200C oven for 30 minutes or until soft and caramelised.
In saucepan mix together roasted tomatoes and onions and all remaining ingredients. Place of low heat and simmer until mixture comes together and thickens. Allow to cool and store in the fridge or serve warm with potato pancakes.

***
Thank you Vicki! I had never made potato pancake before, although it had been on my to do list. These are absolutely scrumptious and I love how it's a delicious wayt o sneak veggies onto any picky toddler's plate.

xo

Monday, August 23, 2010

[baby gifts]:: babymoon gift ideas

I am trying to take a few days off a week to spend purely with family while we get acquainted to our newest addition to the family. I have been showered with guest posts from lovely and inspiring bloggers in order to keep this space fresh, creative and insightful. I feel truly blessed to be given such a special present from these talented writers. If you have time, please take a moment to wander through their spaces and say hello.

***
Babymoon Gift ideas
with love from Brydie at City Hippy Farm Girl

Babymoon period for me, is a sweet precious time that new parents get to bond with their new baby. A time when couples turn into families and families get bigger with their new additions. That time spent together after the birth is so special and anything that helps in facilitate that process, for me is greatly excepted and appreciated. Generally people love giving gifts and especially so when a new life has been brought in to the world. An innocent little munchkin is now about to set forth in the world. Bringing all its sweet smelling innocence with it. So what does a new baby need? What to give the new parents as a lovely present? If it's a first baby it's a little easier, as generally the parents are starting off without anything. However the second time round and subsequent siblings, newborn clothing has been bought/made/handed down. Baby toys are already in a box and ready to go and really all that little one needs is what the parents can provide. Love, milk, and sleep. So what to give?
Food.
To some people its going to sound very uninspiring but to a new mother that container of pumpkin soup may be the difference between sanity and chaos. Those toddler friendly banana muffins, a life saver when hunger sets in and all they need is a muffin to calm them down for half an hour before Dad gets home and can help out with dinner. A block of Fairtrade chocolate is the crucial night time get through, when your newborn is going through a growth spurt on Day 7, all the little one wants is for you to pace the hallway patting its bottom at 2am and everyone else is asleep and those stitches are feeling mighty uncomfortable.
Some ideas for a Babymoon Package.
Easily put in a cut down vegetable box, lined with a teatowel or a second hand basket, not a lot of money needs to be spent, but what you are giving is time. Time for the family to spend with its brand new addition and time to give that baby all the love and attention that they can in those first few weeks. (So much more thoughtful than another plastic toy requiring batteries.)
Fill it with:
* Freshly made bread (Family friendly)
* Pumpkin Soup -packed up in something easy to freeze in and used when needed. (Family friendly)
* Pasta Sauce and fancy Pasta- handmade looks and tastes wonderful, sauce easy to freeze and use when needed. (Family friendly)
* Mini Banana Muffins- easy snack. (Toddler friendly)
* Honey Biscuits- easy access snack for mama or toddler (Family friendly)
* Block of Fair Trade Chocolate (Mama friendly, eyes off Dad.)
* Punnet of Strawberries or other fruit- again easy snack. Breastfeeding mamas get hungry! As do toddlers. (Toddler, Mama friendly)
* Bottle of local Beer (Dad friendly)
* Pencil case full of cut out pictures from magazines, a glue stick, and a writing book (Toddler friendly)
Putting something similar like this together doesn't take a lot of time, and it really does help out new parents, while they are getting to spend precious first moments together with their newborn. To me this present is love in a box.
***
Thanks so much to Brydie. She is a city dwelling mama with two young boys (The Monkeys) and a husband (Mr Chocolate), trying to experience and explore the greener lifestyle options that are available to her in the here and now, while living in the big city. Her blog explores the possibility of living as sustainably, organically, locally and ethically as possible. You can currently find her baking sourdoughs, drinking fairtrade coffee, making jams, pasta, desserts, building worm farms, riding public transport, walking, and writing about her interest in all things birth and baby related. Check out her blog City Hippy Farm Girl for more!
xo

Saturday, August 21, 2010

gingersnaps


These are a huge hit and a very frugal alternative to the overpriced gingerbread mamas so often succumb to buying at the local cafe. I often store a few in my purse in a snackbag for emergency treats. Best of all they are loaded with molasses which are naturally high in iron- perfect for my little vegetarian, who has deemed them "cookie mans".

Ingredients
3/4 cup butter
1 cup cane sugar
1 free range egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups spelt flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bi carb
extra flour

Directions
Preheat oven to 170˚ C
Cream the butter and sugar together
Add the egg and molasses and continue to beat
Mix flour, spices, salt and bi carb together and then add this mixture to wet ingredients
Once you have a firm dough shape into a ball and flatten with your hands, cover and let it cool in the fridge for 20-30 minutes
Remove from fridge, roll onto well floured surface, adding flour if the dough gets too sticky
Cut or mould into desired shape
Bake in batches at 170˚C for 10-12 minutes

xo

Friday, August 20, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A {single} photo - no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -soulemama

xo

Thursday, August 19, 2010

my creative space- no baby, but I have gnomes...

Well, first of all for all those checking up on me- our little girl is, as North would say, "Stuck inna tummy!" (unless I went into labour late last night/early this morning because I drafted this post yesterday). I am starting to think she's determined to be a Virgo like her big brother because she is quickly running out of Leo days. The hospital is giving me until Monday to let my body work it out naturally, then I'll have to go in to "discuss" other alternatives. Because this pregnancy wasn't exactly planned we were very unsure of our dates, so our due date is based purely on a dating scan done in week 8... which means she could just be doing her thing the way nature intended.

Children just love teaching you to emanate the important mama quality- patience. So, I am trying as best I can to relax and let her do her thing.

As for my creative space... I was waiting for my Mum to get here next week in order to help fashion some more of these little guys, but she has now delayed her flight by a few days so I might be on my own. North has loads of wooden animals, cars, trucks and finger puppets but he doesn't really have any play people. I am going to start off by making a family of 4- a mama, dada and a little boy and girl. He'll get them on his birthday with a gorgeous stacking house from here. I am using Tania's gorgeous tutorial as a guideline. I also got all the information about ordering these dolls from the same post.



Happy creative Thursday and of course, as usual head to Kirsty's for some more inspiration.

xo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

homemade dishwashing liquid

To complete my homemade cleaning kit I decided to make the easiest version possible of liquid dishsoap. If you are well practiced at making soap and you have the supplies and time to make it from scratch, I am sure it would end up more cost effective (I suggest visiting Down to Earth for more on making liquid soap from scratch), however here is a simple recipe to get you started, cut costs and stay green. By using fairtrade liquid castille you can also be sure that your soap was made as ethically as possible without harming humans or animals in the process.


Ingredients
2 cups liquid castille
1/2 cup warm water
4-5 drops essential lemon oil

Directions
Pour ingredients together into a squeeze bottle and shake.

Smells fresh and works a treat!

xo

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the green party



One of my first posts was about making birthday parties more green and as North's birthday is rapidly approaching I thought I'd revisit the theme. Let's face it, parties are potential excuses to create small landfills in your own home. But if you make a few conscious changes to the conventional party you are teaching the children and guests to be kind to the earth they tread on. Here are some suggestions to keep things green and clean:

Invites
Make your own invites out of old wrapping paper, magazine cuttings, newspaper and craft supplies. Even better- use www.evite.com and invite friends by personalized email. You can choose from a range of graphics and playlists to go with the invite, view and edit the rsvp list and even create a sign-up list if you are requesting that people bring different items (for example a pot-luck). Best of all it doesn’t cost a thing!
Presents
On your invite ask that presents come unwrapped or wrapped in newspaper, old magazines or old children's paintings that are going to be trashed soon anyway.
I know it's not the "done thing" but be specific about what kind of presents are acceptable in your home. This year I made it clear in the invites that presents are not necessary but if guests insist books, wooden toys or art supplies are preferred. I even went as far as writing "No plastic toys please."
Venue
Choose the local park or community centre for your event- something that is close by and easily accessible by everyone. If you want to be more adventurous than that make sure the party is outdoors and somewhere the children can explore their natural environment. Animal sanctuaries are a great way to teach children about animals and how we should always treat them with compassion, respect and dignity.
Decorations
Make your own decorations- use old magazines and newspapers to make your own wall decor to suit your theme.
Instead of using plastic balloons (renowned for their negative impact on the environment), make your own origami balloons with large pieces of old wrapping paper. See here for a visual/verbal step-by-step instructions.
Cutlery, Plates, Glasses and Food
Buy cloth napkins and table cloths (or kid-themed sheet or towel sets that you can transform into table cloths) at your neighbourhood op shop.
Borrow plates, forks and glasses if you don’t have enough. Paper or plastic plates and cutlery are a huge waste of natural resources. If you really feel like you can’t go without- buy the biodegradable kind in advance.
To lessen you carbon footprint and your chances of a heart attack make the celebration a vegetarian one. Make your own healthy snacks and cakes- veggie plates with homemade hummus or yogurt dip and fruit kebabs. For the grand finale make a killer banana or carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting. Parents will be relieved to pick their children up without the usual birthday party sugar-high.
Party/Loot bags
For party bags give out vegetable or native plant seeds in tiny paper bags for the children to plant in their garden at home. Alternatively, you could donate to oxfamunwrapped and buy a family of farm animals in honour of all the children at your party. Give each child a little print out describing what they gave to a family in need, with a picture of a farm animal for them to colour in.

When all else fails, recycle recycle recycle!!! You will inevitably end up with some garbage at the end of the day. Do your best to recycle everything you can. Save wrapping paper, ribbons and decorations for future use. Your event will never be garbage-free (and if it is congratulations and share the wisdom below!) but every little effort makes a big difference.

With every green party you throw you will see where the waste came from and be able to make improvements to the next green bash.

North's Birthday is quickly approaching and I will be sure to share some of the exciting events that occur when we celebrate his 2nd year!


xo