Saturday, April 30, 2011

to you

Brad has been away all week including today. It wasn't the longest he has ever been away, but it sure felt like it. It bucketed with rain all week and although I tried to slow down, let go of messes and allow myself to serve baked beans on toast one night for dinner, I have just found the last 5 days absolutely gruelling.

Maybe it's the fact that I haven't slept for more than 4 hours straight in 8 months.

Maybe it's the fact that I haven't slept for more than 6 hours straight in 2 years and 8 months.

Maybe it's the fact that I have a two-year-old who insists on taking his shoes and socks off everytime we arrive at the park and everytime we get in the car. But forgets to take his mudcovered boots off as he clambers across the hall carpet.

Maybe it's the fact that I have an 8-month-old who thinks she can stand by herself, takes a step and then topples over and bashes her head.

Maybe it's the fact that I have an 8-month-old who thinks toilet paper is absolutely delicious, and a 2-year-old who thinks that feeding the 8 -month-old toilet paper is absolutely hilarious.

Maybe it's the fact that when I served spaghetti last night, both children decided (while I ducked into the bathroom) that spaghetti is really fun to throw and makes excellent fingerpaint for the floors, walls and every piece of furniture in the kitchen.

Maybe it's the fact that the 2-year-old took said spaghetti out of the fridge this morning while I was still in bed and placed it on the bedside table unbeknownst to me. Then the 8-month-old got hold of said spaghetti (again, unbeknownst to me) and smeared it all over my white pillowcases, sheets and d00na.
(Brightside: this was all on hubby's side of the bed, which he will discover later on tonight).

Luckily, these little tomato-sauce-fingered rugrats also have their angelic moments. Moments like these when they are full or pure joy and they fill me with light and love:


And so, relieved to have a little help tomorrow, (I've declared a strike from all household duties, while insisting that the house will be returned to the exact state it is in this evening at the same time tomorrow- good luck Mister!) I will take a big breath tonight, enjoy an ice cold gin and tonic with extra lime, and raise a toast to all of the Mothers out there with smirks on their faces who know exactly what I am ranting about.

To Mothers. Perhaps your husband doesn't quite get it, as much as he tries, but please believe me when I say: I truly and honestly appreciate the number of times you have been on your hands and knees wiping the kitchen floor this week!!

xo m.

Friday, April 29, 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, April 28, 2011

her peaceful mobile




I am sorry to admit poor little Indigo has been without a mobile for the past 8 months of her life. When we moved house our old mobile became impossibly tangled and after hours upon hours of trying, I gave up and cut it to pieces. It has yet to be put back together. Instead, I finally got around to sewing a simple and very peaceful mobile featuring a dove, an olive leaf, a raincloud and the Father Sun. They are made of handsewn wool felt and hang from a fallen branch found in the yard.


Indigo is absolutely smitten with it and enjoys cooing and da-da-da-ing to it while she settles down for her naps. I only wish I'd gotten my act together sooner.

xo m.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

our winter garden

We've just planted our little winter urban garden.


There's a little blueberry plant.

In the garden box there is lettuce, kale, baby beetroot and baby radishes.

In the herb garden there is sage, rosemary, mint, chives, parsley, thyme and oregano.

I am thinking about trying my luck at potatoes again. Last time I tried I failed miserably. But I don't think I waited long enough before I tried to dig them up. I'm going to let a couple of the potatoes in this week's organic delivery start sprouting and take it from there... Tips?

What's in your garden right now?

xo m.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the biodegradable potty

Much to my husband's horror, we bought our potty at a goodwill shop (Puh-lease- it was cleaned! It's plastic!) but we still only used it for a few months before my son graduated to the toilet. We're saving it for Indigo to use too but after that unless I have a friend who wants it, it will most likely go back to goodwill and I have heard others aren't quite so relaxed about buying such a personal item second-hand. As a result, 17 million potties per year end up in landfills worldwide.

Enter the BecoPotty- a totally biodegradable potty. Don't believe me? You can actually plant it in your garden and it will degrade over time, none of that wondering whether it really did biodegrade or not.

So, if you're in the market for a potty consider this and the environment. I just love it!

xo m.

Monday, April 25, 2011

anzac day

In honour of Anzac Day and what I believe it represents: the hope and belief that we should never take for granted our lives and freedom and that above all else, peace is not only possible but real, if only we could all stand up together and believe.


xo m.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy easter!

To all of you and your loved ones- hoping your day was as loved-filled as ours.




xx m.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

reading...



Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten

From the back cover:

Why has Christianity chosen to ignore its connections with the religions of the East, and to dismiss repeatedly the numerous claims that Jesus spent a large part of his life in INdia? This compelling book presents irrefutable evidence that Jesus did indeed live in India, dying there in old age. The result of many years of investigative research. Jesus Lived in India takes the reader to all the historical sites connected with Jesus in Israel, the Middle East, Afghanistan and India. As well as revealing age-old links between the Israelites and the EAst, the evidence found by theologian Holger Kerten points to the following startling conclusions:

In his youth Jesus followed the ancient Silk Route to India. While there he studied Buddhism, adopting its tenants and becoming a spiritual master.

Jesus survived the crucifixion.

After the resurrection Jesus returned to India to die of old age.

Jesus was buried in Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, where he continues to be revered as a saintly man.

The tomb of Jesus still exists in Kashmir.

...........

Very, very interesting stuff.

xo m.

Friday, April 22, 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, April 21, 2011

homemade easter candles

Came across this idea here at The Magic Onions. I love them. They were so quick and simple to make and look very festive and beautiful. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday with those you love.


xo m.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

change of season tonics and remedies


Hands down, every time the seasons change and the weather turns, I get sick. Symptoms usually include any combination of the following: runny nose, sore throat, sinus headaches, fatigue, cough, red and dry eyes, indigestion, dry hands and blotchy skin.

When our immune systems are down I first and foremost visit the naturopath to see what insight and advice she can offer. But I also prepare a few home remedies myself and eliminate a few other things from our environment and diet:

for a general immunity boost:
wash and clean sheets, vacuum floors and dust surfaces- infusing laundry and soaps with a touch of essential clove oil
cut out all sugar including my daily piece of dark chocolate, soy milk, baked goods and other sweets
cut out all coffee and replace with one green tea/day
drink more water infused with lemon juice
cut out all dairy (if I've been consuming any)
try and get more sleep (sigh-I'm not very good at this one)
eat hearty, warm and wet foods like soups, stews and casseroles filled with lots of fresh vegetables
take a zinc and vitamin C supplement at the very least (talk to your Doctor or naturopath about what supplements are appropriate for you and your children)

for a sore throat, sinus problems and cough:
lemon, ginger and manuka honey in hot water 3-4 times a day
2 tbs apple cider vinegar with 1 tsp manuka honey 2 times/day
use neti pot with warm water and sea salt 2 times/day
use humidifiers in bedrooms at night infused with eucalyptus or peppermint oils
make your own vapour rub with almond oil and eucalyptus oil


We're all fighting an autumn cold at the moment so operation get well soon is in full effect. Last year I wrote the post Ten Natural and Homemade Recipes to Fight the Common Cold. Check it out if you're interested.

What else do you do to keep your family going while battling a cold?

Has anyone heard of seeing an acupuncturist quarterly, before the change of each season? I've heard of this and am very curious about it. Please enlighten me if you know anything about it!

xo m.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

getting outside when it's wet


About a year ago I wrote a post about
getting outside with your toddler despite the cold weather.

Now that we have moved to Sydney, I have noticed it's not quite as cold, but much wetter than Melbourne was. And so, I have been putting together a rain plan of action to make sure North still gets lots of time outdoors despite the downpour. Here are a few suggestions to help you and yours get out next time it clouds over:

* invest in a children's rainsuit- pants, jacket with hood and gumboots. This is something not enough children have. Children LOVE to play outdoors whether it's freezing cold and snowing, sweltering hot or pouring with rain. Help them to stay dry while they explore the wonders of a sopping wet backyard (or neighbourhood). (Also, a waterproof pram cover is important if you have a baby with you as well. They'll enjoy watching the raindrops drip down the cover while you play with your older one.)

* teach your children to enjoy being dirty. Many children are so accustomed to their parents constantly harping on them about staying clean, not playing with the mud, taking their shoes off, that they are really quite dirt-shy. I have had to physically get outside with North and teach him how to make mudpies, dig in the dirt and make earthy moats for sticks to float in. When he gets a bit uneasy about being all damp and dirty I simply remind him that we'll go inside and wash off together later and not to worry about it.

* some other wet and wild activities include puddle jumping, searching for worms, digging in the wet sandpit or going for a rainwalk

* have some hot soup in a pot on the stove ready to warm up when you get back inside.

* if your little one is still a little cold run a warm bath and enjoy a midday bubble retreat.

Hope you are enjoying the April showers no matter which hemisphere you are from!

xo m.

Monday, April 18, 2011

cut and paste decorated easter eggs


North and I have been busy little bunnies preparing together for Easter. We've grown Easter grass, we've baked
hot cross buns and we've also blown and decorated our very own Easter eggs.

I am so pleased with how beautifully these turned out. It was a such an easy and clean(!) activity for us to do together while Indi was having her morning nap.

Supplies
Thin and decorated paper (like tissue paper, old wrapping paper or origami paper)
Scizzors
Glossy glue that dries clear (like Mod Podge)
a brush or fingers if you don't mind them getting sticky

Directions
Empty the eggs by using a pin to prick a small hole in both of the pointy ends of the egg, cover one hole with your mouth and blow out the egg yolk and white into a bowl (for more details see hallow eggs)
Cut the paper into small strips about 1 inch long at varying thicknesses and in varying shapes and sizes
Cover the egg with a layer of glue
Place a piece of paper on top, cover again with glue and repeat until you have covered as much of the egg as you like

Create your own nest with wool, yarn and twigs to hold them in or hang them with thread or string in a window or on a fallen branch in a vase

xo m.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

promises

Although not outwardly political, this blog obviously has a lot of political themes throughout including many posts about the environment, animal rights, and human rights.

Reading the news this past week or so reminded me of my all-time favourite documentaries- Promises. It follows the diverse lives of 7 Arab and Jewish children living in Jerusalem. Although they all live within 20 kilometers from each other their world's could not be further apart. The trailer alone brings tears to my eyes.

All politics aside, this movie is a beautifully touching example of how pure, innocent and good all children are regardless of their religion, race and nationality. It reminds me to embrace the peace that lives so naturally within children's hearts, and to try my best not to pass on any jaded negativity to my children and to always be a believer in peace on earth.


xo m.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

forever.


We were in Melbourne yesterday celebrating the marriage of two of our closest friends. It was a breathtakingly beautiful ceremony and an honour to be a part of.

We wish them a lifetime of peace, happiness, honour, devotion, cooperation, understanding, grace and above all else, Love.

Congratulations to Matthew and Elizabeth.

images from weheartit.com (we were having too much fun to take any!)

xo m.

Friday, April 15, 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, April 14, 2011

autumn pants


Last year I decided that one of our Easter traditions would be to sew a pair of 'autumn pants' for the children to go in their Easter basket each year. You can see the pair I sewed for North last year here.


It took me a long time to get organised, make a pattern for each of them and just get into it, but I finally sat down and cut them out.

I am using thrifted fabric for North's and some fabric I bought from RetroMummy over a year ago for Indigo's. They will each have a simple elastic waist, cuffed bottoms and a pocket on the bottom.

I haven't used the sewing machine since Indigo was born so I can't wait to buckle down and start her up.

But when, oh when? I have just over a week before Easter!

For many more creations of the Easter kind visit the Queen of creativity, Kirsty.

xo m.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

simple spaghetti with tomato, zucchini, lemon and garlic


We received about 8 zucchinis with our organic food delivery this week so I had to figure out what to do with all of them quickly. After a batch of sneaky vegetable muffins, the Italian in me came out and I went to work creating this delicious and simple spaghetti recipe.


Served 2 adults, 1 toddler and a baby with a few leftovers that disappeared before they could be taken to work the next day...

Ingredients
1 package spaghetti
olive oil
3 small zucchinis, grated
4 small tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed or diced
1/4 cup white wine
3 tbs capers
handful of fresh oregano and/or basil and/or sage, chopped
juice and zest from 1 large lemon
(vegetarian rennet) grated parmesan or vegan parmesan
salt and pepper

Directions
Boil the spaghetti until al dente
Once the pasta is boiling, heat a generous amount of oil in a large pan
Add tomato and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft
Add garlic and zucchini and white wine and reduce for a further 5-10 minutes
Remove from heat and put aside

Drain pasta, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper
Add the sauce you've created, stir
Add the fresh chopped herbs and lemon juice and zest and stir to combine
Top with parmesan

xo m.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

growing grass for the Easter Bunny


Another wonderful suggestion at the Autumn workshop I attended (led by a teacher at our local Steiner school) was to plant some seeds and grow some grass for the Easter Bunny to munch on as he passes through your home. We were each given a little bag of wheat grass seeds and told to plant them in a shallow bowl or container with some earth about 10 days before Easter.

North absolutely delighted in spreading the seeds out and covering them with dirt. Then we watered them well and covered the earth with a wet paper towel for the first couple days until the seeds germinated. Within 3 days we had the beginnings of grass and within 5 days we had a whole green grassy patch! The beauty of the wheat grass seeds is that they are quite large so North was able to pull one out and see the roots growing out of the bottom of the seed and a grass shoot coming out of the top of the seed- observing the whole green organism at work.

Directions
Fill a shallow bowl with earth
Cover with wheatgrass seeds
Cover seeds with a thin layer of earth
Water
Cover with wet paper towel until germinated
Put in sun
Water often
Watch grow!


We'll leave this bowl out for the Bunny on the Saturday before Easter Sunday along with a little note and decorations. When North wakes up on Easter morning I am sure there will be some big sections missing from the grass where the Bunny has had a nibble.

Do you have any Easter traditions or creative ideas you'd like to share?

xo m.

Monday, April 11, 2011

beeswax polish


Our house is filled with wood: tables, chairs, bookcases, cupboards and toys, toys, toys. To keep the wood in beautiful condition without using harsh chemicals and oils we have started using beeswax to polish everything.

I believe you can make your own using a combination of beeswax, linseed oil and turpentine (preferably gum turpentine from the plant, not the petro-chemical) but we purchase ours from the same place where we get all of our lovely candles and beeswax blocks (for making our own candles) Queenb.

One of the lovely parts about using beeswax is that young children can help to polish and clean their toys. This instills in them a natural sense of respect and care for their things at an early age and is a wonderful sensory activity for a rainy day.


Directions:
Apply a small dab of beeswax to a rag or soft cloth
Rub the wax in a circular motion into and all over the toy or piece of furniture
Repeat until entire piece is covered
Let is sit for 5-7 minutes
Buff over with a dry, clean cloth

Your home will smell like honey after polishing a few things.

xo m.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

{wholegrain sundays}


After completing the 30 days vegan workshop, I have still been eating a mainly plant-based foods. I don' want to make it an official announcement yet. But I am still really into this clean and green diet.

Here is a delicious vegan cake I made the other day:

vegan maple berry cake
Ingredients
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp bi carb soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup coconut (or sunflower) oil
1/4 cup soy or almond milk
2/3 cup maple syrup
3 mashed overripe bananas

1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tbs poppy seeds
3/4 cup berries

Directions
Combine dry ingredients
Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl
Mix both together*** (if the batter seems too dry add a bit more almond or soy milk or if too wet add a touch more flour- sorry I made this up on the day and I am guesstimating how much of each I put in)
Add nuts, seeds and berries at the end

Pour batter into a greased or lined bread pan (or muffin tray for muffins) and bake at 190˚C for 25-35 minutes until golden on the top and you can stick a toothpick through it and it comes out clean.

xo m.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

breastmilk.

I have a confession. I quite often sneak expressed breastmilk into North's 'babycinos', cereal and porridge. Although the immunological benefits of milk given to toddlers are still mostly unknown, it is at the very least an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and in my opinion, a much healthier alternative to cow's milk. I have mostly kept this to myself, as when it has come out in conversation most people usually gasp in disgust and horror.

But what disgusts and horrifies me is that those same people quite happily drink and eat cow's milk and dairy products. Milk from a totally different species. Milk, that is meant to sustain and develop baby cows. You know, four-legged, hairy beasts that are meant to grow to 1000 pounds and more. Milk, that is most often laden with pesticides, hormones, pus and antibiotics. Milk, that 75% of human beings worldwide have an intolerance to, often inducing and further irritating symptoms of asthma and bronchial infection.

For more about the harmful effects of cow's milk and dairy on humans please see this video below. Let's stop the stigmatisation of (extended) breastfeeding and begin to question why we think our own specie's milk is so revolting while we non-chalantly guzzle anothers.




Food for thought.

xo m.

Friday, April 8, 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, April 7, 2011

my creative space- felt easter bunny

It's probably been a year since I last joined 'my creative space'. I promise, I have been creating... I just haven't really been taking photos of it all. But I worked so very hard on this darling Easter Bunny. I made it on a rainy Sunday afternoon at an 'Autumn Workshop" run by one of the teachers from our local Steiner school. She provided the pattern and beautiful felt and wool and the mothers in the group sewed gnomes and bunnies without any children pitter pattering around. Just tea, good company and some rare and blessed quiet. It was exactly what I needed at the time.


This is definitely one of my top five favourite creations since I started sewing, knitting and crafting (about a year and a half ago). I made sure to present it to North in a really deliberate and magical way so that he was sure to treasure it and treat it with the respect it deserves.


Hop on over to Kirsty's to see the list of talented artists this week.

xo m.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

dairy-free, egg-free hot cross buns

In keeping with the food theme this week, I have written a guest post for the Modern Little Munchkins blog today- a delicious egg-free, dairy-free (vegan) hot cross buns recipe. These are delicious and a great activity for the whole family to participate in on a cold or rainy day. Head over there for details.

xo m.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

what to do with all those apples...

Jodi wanted to know what I was going to do with all the apples we picked this weekend...

We've already made it through half of these recipes and going strong!

xo m.

Monday, April 4, 2011

homemade babyfood


Wednesday is babyfood making day in our home because that is the day our weekly organic food box is delivered. I generally make about 3-4 veggie combos and 1-2 breakfast combos and then divvy them up into jars and freeze them for the week's meals. Then each night I transfer one veggie and one fruit combo into the fridge for the following day and add whatever proteins or additions the day of depending on what's at hand and what the rest of us are eating.


Despite the fact that she hasn't a single tooth yet, Indigo is eating a lot of what we eat not only because she wants to, but because her big brother keeps giving her his food when I'm not looking. It's surprising how much babies can eat without teeth. Any soft fruit, vegetable or grain is fair game for her.


breakfast purees:
apple, pear, cinnamon and a touch of kale
apple, cinnamon, oats, currants and a touch of maple syrup
banana and milk (breast, soy, formula, organic cow's...)
stewed apricot and tofu

for a well-rounded meal:
add cooked egg yolk
add wholegrain bread cut into fingers with tahini
add sneaky mini muffins

lunch and dinner purees:
roast pumpkin and zucchini
roast beetroot, potato and sweet potato
roast carrots, kale and a touch of orange juice
leek, pea, potato and mint
avocado and peas

for a well-rounded meal:
add steamed fish and mash or blend
add cooked rice
add cooked quinoa
add a tbs of cooked lentils
add toast fingers with butter or tahini or hummus or avocado spread on top

finger foods for babies with few teeth but an interest in chewing:
crackers (low-salt), rusks, corn/rice cakes
toast fingers with avocado, tahini or butter
muffins
boiled carrot sticks
soft, skinned cucumber
mango cut into slices
papaya cut into slices
banana cut into slices
melon cut into slices
boiled potato, carrots, zucchini from family soups
dry cereal (like low-sugar cheerios, rice puffs etc.)


The last time I posted about gourmet babyfood there were some delicious recipes in the comments section from all of you- thank you! Please feel free to write some more suggestions here too!

xo m.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the apple tree

The most beautiful autumn day!




Shake, shake the apple tree
red an rosy apples
Shake, shake the apple tree
red an rosy apples
One for you, one for me
Shake, shake the apples tree!

xo m.