Monday, February 28, 2011

from house to home

We've spent the entire weekend packing and unpacking and slowly finding places for each and every little thing. There is still much to be done and I am sure the rearranging will be going on for weeks. There is not one ounce of storage space in the place so we bought a few pieces from the local thrifty furniture store (junktique- highly recommended for good value pieces if you're willing to put some elbow grease into them). The kitchen is by far the most dated in the home. No dishwasher. Separate hot and cold water taps. Little cupboards that don't shut properly. I am still not sure what to do with the cutlery because the kitchen drawers are too small for dividers.
But for having moved in on Saturday, it really is already starting to feel more like a home than our previous rental. I even baked some muffins today- a sure sign that our rhythm is slowly creeping back.

Hope you all had a beautiful start to the week.





xo m.

Friday, February 25, 2011

{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


Tomorrow is moving day and I am glad someone around here is enjoying the process, because I am decidedly
not. Will likely be away from this space tomorrow, but hope to be back by Sunday. Wishing you a lovely weekend.

xo m.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

oral story-telling- goldilocks and the three bears

Last week I wrote a post about the benefits of oral story telling if you'e interested.

You can also find the following stories for your own personal use in the archives:




And without further ado, I give you:

Goldilocks and the Three Bears


Once upon a time there were three bears. Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear. They all lived together in a big wooden cabin in the woods. One morning, Mama bear cooked up some porridge for breakfast, but because it was too hot they decided to go for a walk in the woods until their porridge cooled down. While they were gone, a little girl named Goldilocks, who had lost her way, came to the cabin and knocked on the door.


"Hello?!", she called. But there was no answer. She slowly opened the door and called out again, "Hello? Is anybody home?". But there was still no answer. So, she wandered into the house and discovered the kitchen with three bowls on the table. She was feeling a little bit hungry so she decided to have just a little bite. First she tried the great big bowl but it was too hot. Then she tried a mouthful from the medium bowl but it was too cold. Finally, she tried a bite from the smallest bowl... and it was just right. So, she ate it all up (ahyumyumuumyumyum sound).

She decided to explore the house further, so she walked into the living room and saw three chairs that all looked very inviting. She sat down in the big chair, but it was too soft, she sat down in the medium chair, but it was too hard, finally, she sat down in the littlest chair and it was just right. All of a sudden- CRASH BANG BOOM THUMP! The chair broke to pieces and Goldilocks fell to the floor. She she stood up, brushed herself off and decided to go upstairs for a proper rest in a bed.


When she got upstairs she lay down in the biggest bed, but it was too soft. So she lay down in the medium bed, but it was too hard. Finally she lay down in the littlest bed and it was just right. She was so comfortable that she feel asleep and had a nap.

Well, the three bears were quite hungry by now, so they went home to eat their porridge. But when they arrived Papa bear looked at his bowl and exclaimed, "Someone's been eating my porridge!". Then the mama bear exclaimed, "Someone's been eating my porridge!" and then the baby bear squeaked, "Someone's been eating my porridge and it's all gone!".

So, they walked into the living room to see what else had gone amiss. Papa bear took one look at his chair and said, "Someone's been sitting in my chair!", and Mama bear said, "Yes, someone's been sitting in my chair!" and the baby bear squealed, "Someone's been sitting in my chair, and they broke it!! Oh No!".

So they marched on right up the stairs to solve the mystery. And very quickly Papa bear discovered, "Someone's been sleeping in my bed!" and Mama bear said, "Yes, someone's been sleeping in my bed!" and then baby bear whispered, "Mama, Papa! Come look! Someone's been sleeping in my bed and she's still here!". Well, Goldilocks had heard the voices in the bedroom and she woke up, looked about her, saw the three bears, screamed and jumped out of bed, ran down the stairs and out of the cabin into the forest, never to be seen again!

xo m.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the vegetarian child


I have been receiving a lot of emails with questions about how to cook vegetarian meals for the whole family; transitioning from meat-eating to vegetarianism and how my meat-eating husband fits into all of this. I have been planning to write a post about my husband's eating ethics in contrast to mine and how we deal with this in our day-to-day lives, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. But it is on my mind and in the making. I would also like to note that the children eat fish once every 10 days or so. This was a decision I made based on a few things which I go into in the first article- values and ethics. I just wanted to spell this out clearly because many 'real' vegetarians may be offended by my use of the word. The children are officially pescatarian, although North is starting to realise where his fish comes from and he has mentioned that he doesn't want to eat a fishy... so we'll see where that road takes us.

But, for now, I wrote three posts about the vegetarian child when I first started this blog and it has occurred to me that many of you will not have read them. Please start with these and then I will leave the comments section open to any other questions or requests you have. I promise to write back to each and every one of you (in the comments section for everyone to read) as soon as I can, as I realise I am not always great at this.

Vegetarian Family Resources from ecoMILF

values and ethics

what to think about, who to talk to and how to explain to others

recipes for babies and toddlers

a list of vegetarian blogs, websites, books and cookbooks that I love

a post I wrote on just that

Also, all of the recipes on this blog are vegetarian, so you can have a look through them for inspiration:





I hope this is a good start!

xo m.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

for the love of breastfeeding


The other day I had a little grumble about Indigo's nightly all-you-can-eat-buffet behaviour. And although sometimes I think I'd really like to have a night to myself without my nipple acting as a pacifier, I also know I would never trade this intimate relationship for the world.

So for the love of breastfeeding, here are some of the many reasons why I enjoy it so much and why I am so utterly grateful to have been given this gift of plenty:

:: I love the way she looks at me so adoringly all nuzzled up on my breast

:: I love the way I look at her, with faith in the world and humanity and with unconditional love

:: I love to stroke her fine hair and velvet cheeks, to kiss her forehead and to whisper sweetly into her ear

:: I love the way everything else in the entire world stops when I am breastfeeding (except for North {smile}) and it is only she and I together sharing a quiet moment

:: I love the way my breasts are like a magical bandaid that sooth every kind of bump and hurt- emotional and physical

:: I love the way I can simply roll over at night, pull her closer to me to attach and feed, and then go straight back to sleep

:: I love that my milk is designed specifically for her, filled with nutritional goodness and antibodies

:: I love that she is still a part of me and I am still a part of her- the natural continuation from womb to the world

:: I love the way I can let her have a little suckle and she is instantly revived, alert, happy and content

:: I love that I don't have to worry about carrying food or snacks with me because I am one

:: I love that Mother Nature has taught me about self-sacrifice- to share and give and to continue giving even when you're tired and worn right out

Thank you to our Source for giving me this honour and privilege. I know this time will pass all too quickly and in many years I will back and think of all those sleepless nights with a tender heart and I will miss this blessing oh so very much.

xo m.

Monday, February 21, 2011

lentils, thyme and oregano


Ingredients
2 cups cooked lentils
1 red onion, finely diced
handful of thyme and oregano from the garden
olive oil
dash of balsamic vinegar

Directions
Fry the onions in the pan until soft, add the lentils and then spices and fry everything together for a few minutes until warm and soft.


This can be served as a side dish or a main. It is delicious accompanied with foccacia or pita, tzatziki, hummus and a greek salad. The very simple flavours are what makes it so delicious. Hope you all have a splendid week.

xo m.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ecoMILF's pinterest and a mini announcement


Announcements first- we're moving again! In six days we'll be moving about 3 km away from our current abode in Sydney to a smaller (read between the lines: cheaper) but homier little place. The house is one storey (as opposed to the confused three stories we live in now) with woodfloors and new carpets, an antique fireplace and a big old yard that needs a whole lot of love. Renting is really starting to do my head in- with two little ones I so badly want to make a place my home. But I hope, although we will probably only be in Sydney for another two years, that this really will be a short-term home (as opposed to house). I am making it my goal to really outfit the place right and to use all of the thrifting and etsy purchasing power possible to create a place that is filled with life, love, beauty and inspiration.


For about a month now I have been "pinning" inspirational images I find on the web at pinterest. The idea is similar to bookmarking your favourite sites, only it's all a visual reference. You can create your own 'boards' (ie/ kitchen, living room etc.) and when you go to a website simply click the "pin it" icon on your bookmarks bar to insert it onto your boards. Check out mine and join if you're interested. I have no affiliation with pinterest- just a free application I am really enjoying at the moment. Happy pinning!



xo m.

PS. The photos above are all from my various pinterest boards. See the account for details. xx

Saturday, February 19, 2011

seven real things about me

I was recently given a blogging award by the lovely Catherine, from A Time to Create. She has a gorgeous blog, a crafty hand, a beautiful family and the biggest heart in the world so please do go and see her if you haven't already. To accept the award you must list 7 things about yourself and then nominate a few of your favourite blogs to pass the love on.

I thought I'd give this a bit of a twist. How about seven real things about me? I often hear readers of this blog and others say that sometimes the blogging world can feel disheartening because they can be made to feel like inadequate mothers, homemakers or crafters when comparing themselves and their lives to one of their favourite bloggers. I think this is so unfortunate, because for me, this blog is about showing the highlights of my day, showing the calm before a potential storm and showing brief moments of grace and beauty in what is mostly a regular stay-at-home mums daily existence just trying to do her best until bedtime.

So, I have decided to share seven not so rosy-coloured things about myself today in order to shed a little light on a part of myself perhaps you thought was missing from these pages:


ONE: I THINK I HAVE A BLACK THUMB: I planted two tomato plants this Spring. I picked 6 off of one and we enjoyed them immensely. Then I forgot to water it and it died in the heat wave. There were another 3 big juicy tomatoes on the other plant, and when I went to water it last week I found that a possum had eaten them to smithereens. I also planted the zucchini in a pot that was too small and it died after we had plucked only about 5 zucchinis from it.
TWO: I’M NOT ALWAYS AS GREEN AS I’D LIKE TO BE: When we are traveling/on vacation we use disposable nappies. I try to find the ‘biodegradable’ ones, but sometimes we end up having to buy regular ones. I use plastic wrap on avocados and cheese. We buy take away sushi once every 3 weeks or so and I often forget to bring our own containers to the shop.

THREE: I AM NOT ALWAYS A MASTER CHEF: Because I experiment with vegetarian recipes all the time and I have a tendency to rush when cooking them (by 5:30 if there is not food on the table tummy grumbles turn to grumbling little ones very quickly) about once every 6-8 weeks I make a dinner that my husband flat out refuses to eat because something went amuck.

FOUR: ALTHOUGH I TRY, I CAN’T ALWAYS ZEN OUT AND BE AT PEACE WITH MY THOUGHTS: I often feel like I am 28 going on 38. So much of my lifestyle just doesn’t seem to be in tune with most people in their late twenties. I often feel like a garbage disposal. Scraps that North discards often end up in my mouth because there is no bin around. I often feel like an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Indigo has been waking up every 2 hours all night long for.... a long time. And it’s not really bugging me yet, but it sure seems to bother other people who gasp in horror when I tell them this. They give me a look as if to say, where are you going wrong? And that bugs me.

FIVE: THERE’S ONLY SO MUCH TIME FOR ME IN A DAY: I don’t floss nearly as much as I should, I never style my hair and I only wear makeup twice a week... But I do get a brazilian and my eyebrows waxed religiously. That counts for something, right?

SIX: I AM NOT A VERY GOOD AUSTRALIAN: I am terrified of spiders, sharks and jellyfish and I have no intention of ‘confronting my fears’. Everytime I open the door to the dark downstairs toilet I scan the room for spiders before going in. And the ocean? Still haven’t been in past my ankles since I moved here 5 years ago.

SEVEN: I OCCASIONALLY PIG OUT AND THEN FEEL GUILTY: Those chocolate covered digestive biscuits (McVites in Australia) are banned from our home. Because on the rare occasion that we do buy them, I kid you not, I will eat about 6 of them a day for 3 days, until they are all gone. I have no will power whatsoever when it comes to those melt-in-your-mouth cookies!

As for some of my favourite blogs at the moment:


Don't feel obligated to join in if I've mentioned you.

Hope you'll all come back tomorrow after seeing a bit of my dark side.

xo m.

Friday, February 18, 2011

{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 m.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

oral storytelling- the three billy goats gruff



I thought I'd share with you some of the benefits of oral storytelling:

* it centers young children and brings them into a moment of quiet calm
* it fosters imagination and fantasy
* it communicates values, principles and life challenges and difficulties
* it introduces new vocabulary, especially a range of adjectives that young children aren't often exposed to
* it presents heroes ad heroines, protagonists and antagonists to a child that they can emulate and mimic
* it develops creative thinking and exemplifies empathy, compassion, initiative, and taking action
* it the story’s images and characters a child holds in their mind are transformable and mutable and able to develop and change over time with the child (as opposed to tv and movie images where every detail is set in stone and there is no room for interpretation)
* it is different than reading because the storyteller brings a part of his/her own personal interpretation into it when it is memorised

Last week I shared the story of Chicken Licken. This week I told, The Three Billy Goats Gruff which has a few simple lessons: work together to solve problems and reap rewards and bullies never win. I made the characters with modelling beeswax combined with leftover beeswax from candles around the house. Enjoy!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff


Once upon a time there were three billy goats gruff. Big Billy Goat Gruff, Middle Billy Goat Gruff and Little Billy Goat Gruff. They all lived on a big mountain top. One day the goats looked over the mountain and across the river and saw a green pasture filled with lovely grass. They thought they might like to eat that grass, but to get across the river they had to go over a bridge. And do you know who lived under that bridge? A great big, mean, hairy TROLL! And do you know what trolls eat? Billy goats!


So, the goats put their heads together and came up with a plan. The next morning, the Littlest Billy Goat Gruff set off towards the bridge. Trip trop, trip trop trip trop. As he trotted onto the bridge the troll jumped up from underneath, and growled,"Who's that crossing my bridge? I'm going to eat you up!".
But Little Billy Goat said, "Oh, don't eat me! I'm so small and bony. My brother will be coming by here soon and he is much bigger and fatter than I am. Wait until he comes by and eat him instead."
The troll thought for a minute and then agreed. "But hurry up before I change my mind!" he scowled. So the Little Billy Goat Gruff crossed the bridge safely and went to eat the lush green grass in the pasture.

Next it was the Middle Billy Goat Gruff's turn. He set off towards the bridge. Trip trop, trip trop trip trop. As he trotted onto the bridge the troll jumped up from underneath, and growled, "Who's that crossing my bridge? I'm going to eat you up!".
But the Middle Billy Goat Gruff replied, "Oh, don't eat me! I'm really not that big a billy goat. My brother will be passing by here soon and he is much bigger and fatter than I am. Wait until he comes by, he'll be a much more satisfying meal."
The troll thought for a minute and then agreed. "But hurry up before I change my mind!" he scowled. So, Middle Billy Goat Gruff trotted off the bridge and joined his brother to eat the green grass.


Next it was the Biggest Billy Goat Gruff's turn. He set off towards the bridge. Trip trop, trip trop trip trop. As he trotted onto the bridge the troll jumped up from underneath, and growled "Who's that crossing my bridge? I'm going to...." But before the troll could finish what he was saying, the Biggest Billy Goat Gruff lowered his head and horns and galloped towards the troll. He knocked the troll into the river and the troll floated away and was never seen again! Then the Biggest Billy Goat Gruff trotted off the bridge and happily joined his brothers and they all ate lots and lots of delicious green grass.

xo m.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30 day vegan wholefood workshop


My husband will sigh and roll his eyes when I tell him I have signed up for another 'crazy', 'hippy' online monthly commitment. I only just finished my vow to wear
sixitemsorless for one month (which if you're interested in an update: I failed miserably. 6 items became 8 items- 2 extra t-shirts because halfway through the day I realised am always covered in baby food and breastmilk and needed to change more often than I could do laundry).

BUT, when I saw this totally affordable course with lots of new inspiring recipes, a menu plan and nutritional advice, I knew I just had to join in. I have been an on again off again vegan for years. I can make any vegetarian meal into a vegan one, but dairy and eggs have been on the increase in our daily lives since North started solids. At the moment, I think dairy and eggs are an easy addition to our wholesome meals on occasion, but I am looking to cut a lot more of them out and to replace them with plant-based and nutrient dense foods (ie. broccoli, kale or almonds for calcium). My naturopath just recently told me to cut dairy completely out of my diet in order to give my immune system the boost it needs.

This online workshop is being run by one of my favourite bloggers- Heather from Beauty that Moves. Anyone is welcome to join in. It includes (as stated on her blog):
  • Access to a private, very alive feeling blog - which will serve as our classroom/mission control.
  • Threaded comments within the blog for questions, sharing and community.
  • Access to me - your wellness coach and go-to-girl for questions, comments, etc. - private emails answered within 24 hours.
  • Twice daily postings on blog (including weekends) - yes, twice!
  • First daily post - this will be the heart of it - topical articles, exercises, prompts - the daily lesson so to speak.
  • Second daily post - a dose of inspiration to brighten your late afternoon.
  • Recipes recipes recipes - you will be abundantly supplied with simple to prepare, whole food vegan recipes.
  • Printable handouts and resources that will rock your world.
  • Pre-cleanse access to the blog (opening March 1st) with information and tips to help prepare you (and your supportive family) for the amazing month ahead.
  • One printable art coloring page at the beginning of the workshop (my artwork, never seen before!).
  • One printable full color, inspirational art illustration, as we complete the experience (my artwork, also never seen!).
  • And more!
I may have to tweak a few of the recipes in order to keep them more seasonal, as she is writing from North America, but I'll see how I go. I cannot wait to get started, to be inspired and perhaps not to have to think quite as hard about what we're going to have for dinner! Please see Heather's post all about the workshop here and join us if you feel so inclined.

xo m.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the rhythm of our home



monday
tuesday
wednesday
thursday
friday
(6:15) power yoga
tea and meditate
(6:15) power yoga
tea and meditate
go for a walk
indi milk, dressed, warm breakfast
indi milk, dressed, warm breakfast
indi milk, dressed, warm breakfast
milk, dressed, warm breakfast
indi milk, dressed, warm breakfast
morning chores
morning chores
morning chores
morning chores
morning chores
walk
walk
walk
walk
walk
Indi milk, nap in pram and walk to playgroup

Indi milk, nap/
North- oral story and play
Indi milk nap/
North- oral story and play
Indi milk, nap in car
Indi milk, nap/
North- oral story and play
Steiner playgroup
930-11:30
Montessori Playgroup 9:30-11:30
walk to park (or sometimes a playdate)
snack, write letters, file, pay bills
bus to library or museum with snack
outdoor play
North painting
bus home
lunch
lunch
lunch
packed lunch and head home
lunch
North and Indi (milk)nap
North and Indi (milk)nap
North and Indi (milk)nap
North and Indi (milk)nap
North and Indi (milk)nap -
vacuum, mop floors
little park
Indi milk
vacuum and mop floors/
family baking/
Indi milk
big park/
Indi milk
dust and wipe surfaces/
north playdough/
Indi milk
little park/
Indi milk
play/dinner prep
play/dinner prep
play/dinner prep
play/dinner prep
play/dinner prep
dinner
dinner
dinner
dinner
dinner
bath
bath
bath
bath
bath
story, milk
story, milk
story, milk
story, milk
story, milk
bedtime
bedtime
bedtime
bedtime
bedtime


good morning!

I have been working on and tweaking our daily rhythm chart in order to create smoother transitions and a calmer home. North is definitely in the 2 1/2 year-old rigidity phase in which everything has to be 'just so' or a major meltdown will occur. The predictability of this daily rhythm creates a secure, comforting and controlled environment for littlies who have no sense of adult time and who are subject to our every whim.

Now, let me first tell you not all of this happens everyday! Especially the yoga/meditation- I just can't find the will to drag myself out of bed this often. But when I occasionally do, I feel so much better for it. I am hoping when Indi begins to sleep a little more soundly (read: please when will she wake up less than 4-5 times/night) I will have more energy for this.

The daily 'walk' only takes about 20-30 minutes and I really make a concerted effort to get out and do this every single day. This is a time for North to wander to his heart's delight, burn off some energy and gain some focus for the day. I carry Indigo in the Ergo knapsack and I let North take as much time as he wants to exploring the world around him. I try to find the most natural setting possible (a park, a garden), but quite often it's just a walk around the block. The only rule is that he must walk (no bikes/prams/toys). This is a time for all of us to connect with nature and to observe the subtle changes in temperature and season while collecting little treasures along the way.

'Morning Chores' are things like putting laundry on or hanging it to dry, sweeping the floors, cleaning up after breakfast, making the beds, putting clothes away etc.

You might also notice I don't have any time slotted in for shopping. This is because I just don't want to deal with that stress while the kids are at these ages. I think a huge part of avoiding conflict and tantrums is to avoid things that would set this kind of behaviour off and right now supermarkets are definitely too overwhelming/tempting/stimulating for North. So, I do the big shop either online or on a Sunday while Brad stays with the kids and we also have our usual organic produce delivery once a week. If I need little things then we sometimes pop down to the local fruit shop or health food store in the afternoon.

the little park

For those interested in numbers, we generally all rise around 6:30. Ideally I would rise 45 minutes before this to get some precious 'me' time, have a shower, dress in peace and to enjoy a cup of tea before the excitement ensues. But this only happens once or twice a week at the moment. The children are bathed by 6:15pm. Most of the time I tuck North in and put a book beside his bed and tell him I will be back to read him a story after I feed Indigo and put her down. I go to my room, feed the baby and then return and read a book in bed with North. Lights are all out by 7pm (Although I often don't get to bed until 11pm). Meals and snacks are as follows- 7am brekkie, 10am snack, 12pm lunch, 3:30pm light snack, 5:30pm dinner (6 if we are having a big family dinner). I try to have the two of them sleep at the same time in the afternoons, so their afternoon nap starts anywhere between 12 and 2 and would end between 2 and 4 respectively. This really depends on how long Indi slept in the morning and when she is tired again.


lunchtime

As you can see, we've joined a Montessori and Steiner playgroup. I really wanted to experience and observe both styles of education and to see North immersed in each. I'll have a lot more to discuss about this as the weeks go on, but so far I am still much more comfortable with a lot of the Waldorf methods. That said, I think a huge part of this judgement has to do with the individual teachers and the facilities as opposed to just the philosophies themselves.

I just love to have this kind of a plan written out beautifully in front of me. It keeps me motivated and helps me to stay organised in a home that often feels quite chaotic. It also gently pulls me towards some of our family values- being outdoors, telling stories, connecting through nature, eating healthy home cooked meals and taking time out when needed.

Are you as crazy about rhythm and routine as I am or do you just go with the flow? Is there anything you would add to this chart or take away?

xo m.