Friday, September 30, 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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

potAYtoes, potAHtoes...

I lost all patience this week and dug up our potatoes after what seemed like an eternity of growing (around 15 or 16 weeks). Michelle suggested that when the leaves started to die and go yellow this was a sign they were ready to harvest and since there were a few yellow leaves and not a whole lot of growth going on I made a family decision to dig right in!

We were probably about 3 weeks too early because we dug up a lot of 'baby' potatoes, but overall I was impressed with our first potato crop. Another reason I was so eager to dig is because North was feeling a bit stir crazy after a lot of rainy indoor play this week and there is nothing more soothing on a toddler's nerves than digging in the dirt. He was ecstatic with excitement and spent a good part of the morning digging through the dirt searching for potatoes.

After a while we all went inside and made potato pancakes with homemade labne for lunch. I'd like to make a nice child-friendly potato salad for lunch tomorrow- any recipe suggestions?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

waldorf inspired rhythm for a 3 and 1 year old

I often get questions about our daily rhythm so I thought I'd share our recently tweaked Spring/Summer rhythm with you- this officially begins when school holidays finish in a couple weeks, but right now we adhere to something very similar.

A strong rhythm is so essential for toddlers. When I have a calm, steady, grounded and somewhat predictable rhythm established everything runs more smoothly. I am happier because I know what I need to get done each day and don't set myself up for failure trying to accomplish too much. As a result the children are happier- happy mum, happy kids! 




clean-up, get dressed, hang laundry outside

morning song and oral story

park with friends
morning tea
then home
morning tea
walk- life cycles

morning tea
then home

painting, drawing, gluing, cutting
cleaning the surfaces and bathroom

pack away
pack away



counting, adding, subtracting
alphabet and ironing
cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming

quiet play, dinner prep. sparkle story, bring laundry inside


bath and brush teeth, cut nails, brush hair

pack away toys, 
storybook- 2 each

bed and blessing

The 'chores' are mostly done by me, but North helps when he wants to and he knows the days based on the theme associated with them. Sometimes we meet friends in the morning and our rhythm is thrown a little, but I am trying to keep social outings down to once a week and preferable outdoors. Children really need consistency and from birth to 4 they need to stay home more than we think and expect them to. 

Our oral story changes about once every two weeks and is connected to the changing seasons. I use knit toys, cloth scarves, rocks, sticks etc. as props. Children are so forgiving when it comes to these things. They can honestly see an entire forest in one branch if you give them half the chance.

A few other areas on the chart that might interest you:

'Counting, Adding, Subtracting'- most of this is finger play, rhymes, songs, stringing beads or pasta etc.

'Sparkle Stories'- can be found here. North listens to these amazing oral stories a few times a week- basically our tv-free way of freeing up some time for Mama while she gets dinner on.

'Mandarin'- We go to Mandarin language classes at the local community centre. I intend on keeping the children in Mandarin permanently and believe that to build a strong foundation for a foreign language you must start very young.

'Alphabet'- This is controversial from a Waldorf point of view as they don't teach reading/writing/letters until the first grade, but we use the Montessori sandpaper letters and do one or two letters a week. We're really just learning to recognise the letters and to say the sounds associated with each one. 

'Life Cycles'- Again this isn't very Waldorf, because I might use more words than I should for North's age, but this is very simple and comes naturally with what we've been doing/seeing/exploring that week. We might make butterfly paintings and then talk about caterpillars and how they build cocoons. Perhaps that evening we'd read The Hungry Caterpillar. Keeping it very simple. 

North starts preschool twice a week in the new year and so, as with all rhythms, this will change. Although Indigo doesn't appear to be a part of this rhythm she is very much involved in it. She is beginning to listen to the stories, she has started to draw with crayons and knead saltdough (it only goes in her mouth 30% of the time!), and the rest of the time she follows me around, shadows North or plays with her toys. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

sprouting seeds, nuts, grains and legumes

I've taken up yet another culinary habit- sprouting our seeds, beans, legumes, grains and nuts. So far  we have successfully sprouted mung beans, chick peas, puy lentils, quinoa, sunflower seeds, broccoli seeds, chia seeds and wheat. Most of these are put into salads, soups or sandwiches for added taste, crunch and nutrition. The wheat will be ready tomorrow to bake my first loaf of sprouted bread.

Sprouting is very easy. All you need are the seeds, grains or legumes (it's best if they're organic as they are more likely to sprout if they haven't been treated with anything); a small glass jar; muslin or cheese cloth and a rubber band. Soak large nuts and beans for up to 24 hours. Then simply rinse the seeds in water and then drain immediately 3-5 times a day depending on the size of what you'e sprouting (more often the bigger the seed). Smaller seeds are often ready within 24 hours while larger legumes and nuts can take up to 3 days to sprout.

For a clearer step by step explanation this youtube video is very helpful.

Monday, September 26, 2011

**The Yoga of Birth giveaway winner!**

After assigning numbers to all those entrants who entered the Yoga of Birth giveaway, I then entered the numbers into the Random Number Generator and came out with a winner:

NUMBER 15 :  Evi - It paid to enter more than once! : )

Congratulations! Please contact me at ecomilf[at] with your postal address and I will get the book in the mail for you asap

If you didn't win here remember it's not too late to enter at one of the other lovely blogs hosting the same giveaway- Obaitori, Che and Fidel and This Little Port

Otherwise you can buy the book from here

Thanks to everyone for entering and a huge thank you to Katie Manitsas, author of The Yoga of Birth for giving us a complimentary copy. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2 week menu planning template

I've been going through cookbooks new and old and planning out our menu plan for the next few weeks. I plan according to what fruits and vegetables are in season, what the weather is likely to be and also around activities we have during the week (in other words, simple pasta dinner on days when I know we'll be out of the house most of the day and complex veggie pies when we're home long enough to cook a complex meal).

Some new favourite snacks include millet cakes, quinoa and corn muffins and cranberry and pecan power bars.

I have downloaded my 2-week menu planning template at Scribd for your use. Please download it in an excel (or similar) format so that you can add your own words and use the original format- if you download the pdf it just won't look as pretty.

Enjoy and happy planning!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

{saturday's piqued picks}

A Saturday meme: links to articles, tutorials, recipes and the like that have piqued my interest this week. Enjoy and be sure to share any links you think were noteworthy with us all in the comments section.

Pesticides in Foods Linked to ADHD in Kids

Severn Suzuki, daughter of Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, gives an inspiring speech at the UN Earth Summit in 1992 that is still totally relevant today: The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes.

Studies suggest that girls who eat a lot of meat during childhood tend to get their periods earlier than others. A High Meat Diet linked to early Periods.

Corn Cakes with Avocado and Goat Cheese Salsa from Love and Olive Oil. This blog is gorgeous and the food always looks yum!

Came across these Australian artists this week and fell in love: Boy and Bear. Here they are singing 'Lordy May'.

Friday, September 23, 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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

nature's toys for the backyard

I've had my eye out for cut logs sitting on the side of the road for what seems like an eternity and yesterday Lady Luck was finally with us! Chancing the fact that I looked like a total lunatic heaving these gigantic sawed tree trunks into the boot of our Golf while two children sat staring in their carseats, I loaded up and drove off more excited than North will ever be about these versatile logs. 

They can be chairs, tables, rolled on their sides for benches, balancing beams, toadstools from which to hop to and fro, the beginnings of a house or as in the case this morning- a bustling restaurant kitchen. My little head chef and sous chef cooked up a flowering feast!

This weekend we will continue peeling the bark back and then sand around the tops and edges. I don't think I will wedge them into the ground because I like that North can use some brute strength to roll them onto their sides. Burns off that masculine energy (you know what I'm talking about mothers of boys!).

Thanks (again!) to Tricia for introducing me to this concept months ago.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

giving up coffee without the headaches

I've been doing quite a lot of internal spring cleaning lately: attending yoga classes; having acupuncture done to get my qi flowing and I recently just finished a juice cleanse that rocked my world.

But the most important change I made was cutting coffee out of my daily rhythm. I try to avoid coffee, indulging once a week without getting hooked but over the winter those steamy soy lattes were such a quick, warming and sweet pick me up, I just couldn't resist. And so, my once weekly habit turned into an almost daily habit. It takes me only 4 days of coffee in a row to be physically 'addicted' to caffeine. If  I go a day without it by midday I have a headache and I feel grey and my brain is cloudy. I also believe coffee suppresses my immune system and I know that it inhibits the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

And so I did what I always do when I feel the need to cut coffee out: I replace it with green, white and herbal teas. Green and white teas are high in antioxidants, eliminate free radicals, decrease cholesterol, help to fight bacteria and viruses and actually strengthen the immune system. Dandelion root and marshmallow root teas are caffeine-free but very nutty, full-bodied, dark tasting and have the smooth texture of coffee. You can enjoy them with a bit of honey and milk of your choice and you've got a healthy version of your daily fix.

Here is my basic four day regime to cut the caffeine out.

Day One: 
Cup of white tea in the morning
Cup of green tea in the afternoon
Cup of chamomile or peppermint after dinner

Day Two: 
Cup of white tea in the morning
Cup of herbal caffeine-free tea in the afternoon
Cup of chamomile or peppermint after dinner

Day Three:
Cup of green tea in the morning
Cup of herbal caffeine-free tea in the afternoon
Cup of chamomile or peppermint after dinner

Day Four: 
Cup of herbal caffeine-free tea in the morning
Cup of herbal caffeine in the afternoon
Cup of chamomile or peppermint after dinner

Day Five: 

Cup of green tea in the morning
Cup of herbal caffeine-free tea in the afternoon
Cup of chamomile or peppermint after dinner

Day Six: 
Cup of herbal caffeine-free tea in the morning
Cup of herbal caffeine in the afternoon
Cup of chamomile or peppermint after dinner

And so on... green tea or white tea in the morning every other day, and one caffeine-free day in between.

Once I feel confident I am not addicted to the caffeine I will treat myself to the occasional weekend coffee.

I do think many things are good in moderation, but I just don't enjoy being 'addicted' to something, when it has more control over me than I do over it. 

If you enjoy your daily coffee then good on you, but if you're looking for an escape route give this a try- it works wonders!