Monday, October 31, 2011

The Moon Inside You Giveaway Winner!!

After assigning numbers to all those entrants who entered the Moon Inside You Giveaway, I then entered the numbers into the Random Number Generator and came out with a winner:

NUMBER 14 :  Cath from Walking Zig

Congratulations! Please contact me at ecomilf[at]gmail.com with your postal address and I will have Shekhina send you the DVD as soon as she can.


Thanks to everyone for entering and a huge thank you to Shekhina from Moon Diary Products for providing the DVD. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

{piqued picks}

Piqued picks- a Saturday meme. Links to articles, tutorials, recipes, videos, music... that have piqued my interest this week and made my heart go pitter patter. Feel free to share anything you found inspiring or noteworthy this week in the comments section or link to your own blog's piqued picks.
***

From the New York Times, an article about high-tech parents who work for the likes of Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewitt-Packard, but who believe that computers (and TVs) have no place in schools. A Silicone Valley School That Doesn't Compute.

A very interesting video from "The Doctors Show". Doctors debating meat-eating versus vegan diets and what is healthier in their opinion. (taken down because it was playing automatically- link is here: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/watch-vegans-vs-meat-eaters-on-the-doctors-show/


A girl can dream: beautiful cruelty-free handbags from Jill Milan. Excessive in price. Not really a want, just a good oggle.

Just attended a 3-hour Kids Natural First Aid course at the Red Tent Health Centre in Sydney. It was filled with a wealth of information and I came home with a plethora of homeopathic and Chinese herbal remedies for coughs, colds, flus, fevers, ear infections, aches and pains. Highly recommended to anyone with kids in the Sydney area.

Loving these Chickpea Nibbles from The Love of Food.

Friday, October 28, 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.-
Goggles at the table.... hmmmm... learning to choose my battles...

Wishing you a blessed weekend with those you love.

Go gently.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

it was one of those days

A wet, indoor kind of day.
We stumbled through our rhythm.
Breathe in: keep calm.
Breathe out: carry on.
Two green teas were in order.
Pyjamas were worn to playgroup.
"Will I be a man when I'm seven? [No, not for a long time] Good, because I don't want hair on my bum".
I was given the evil eye on more than one occasion.





















Someone discovered that high pitched shrieks are an easy way to get people to stand to attention.





















Someone else decided that just-folded laundry makes an excellent patchwork tent.

Something needed to be done immediately to remedy they grumpy clouds circling over my head:

Smoothies and kale chips for dinner.
Elizabeth Mitchell's Keep on the Sunny Side.
Bubble bath at 4pm.
Cuddles, kisses, milk and a few chapters from A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh
6:30pm bedtime.
A little yoga, a cup of chamomile, a bit of crafting.
9:00pm bedtime.

Oh, and did I mention a little dip into the chocolate stash?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

raw chocolate cupcakes

Inspired by For the Love of Food, I whipped up my own version of some raw chocolate cupcakes the other day. These are the most decadent and rich 'healthy' cupcakes you will ever consume. They melt in your mouth and are so full of flavour it's hard to stop at just one.

Ingredients
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs maple syrup
6 pitted dates
pinch of salt
sesame and chia seeds

icing-
1 avocado
2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs maple syrup

Directions
Grind the nuts in a food processor until they resemble crumbs
Add dates, cocoa powder, salt and maple syrup and process some more until they mixture resembles a thick doughy batter
Line mini muffin pan with sesame seeds and chia seeds (this helps them to come out easily) and then press the batter into each mould.
Push the cupcakes back out again

icing-
Puree all three ingredients to combine into a creamy icing. If you can whip them a bit after pureeing. Dollop on top of cupcakes.

Another satisfied customer.

Monday, October 24, 2011

**The Moon Inside You DVD giveaway!!**

When I came across this wonderful and inspiring DVD I knew I just had to share it with all of you.


The Moon Inside You, directed by Diana Fabianova, is a fresh look at a taboo that defines the political and social reality of both men and women in a more profound way that society maybe willing to admit.


Synopsis: "Like so many other women, Diana, a young Slovak in her thirties, has painful periods. Is she in good health? Do those cramps have deeper roots, perhaps family, social, cultural or even political roots? Starting from an intimate perspective, the director proposes an amusing and iconoclastic yet also profound and serious approach to menstruation – a subject still widely maintained in secret and the object of many prejudices. Although a promise of fecundity, menstruation has also been associated for centuries in all parts of the world with negative connotations: impurity, volatile emotions, inefficiency at work, numerous superstitions and in many cases serious physical and psychological discomfort. A curse? A chauvinistic plot? Feminist solidarity?...

From Bratislava (where she was born) to Brazil via Spain, Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom, Diana hunts down interesting ideas and possible solutions. In the course of her innovative research she interviews doctors and experts in different fields and with different views (anthropologists, sociologists, psychoanalysts, etc). She gives an 11-year-old girl a camera with which to capture her fears before her first period, and organizes meetings and experiments with women who also have painful periods. An easygoing and humourous film, it combines children’s drawings full of symbolism with animated plasticine figures, 3D and old advertisements involving menstruation.

The film does not aim to provide answers but rather to open windows and points of view in order to bring about emancipation simply through voicing, knowing, exchanging."



The Prize: Shekhinah, from Moon Diary Products has graciously offered a DVD to the lucky winner of this giveaway. 


To Enter: Simple leave a comment below- you may enter maximum three times but be sure to leave a comment for each entry. 


The winner will be drawn and announced on Monday, October 31st.


If you don't happen to be drawn as the lucky winner next week you can find the DVD and a variety of other products that help us reconnect with our bodies and their natural cycles at Moon Diary Products


Good Luck to all entrants!


xo m.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

bread recipes from the past

I thought I'd take the time today to return to some homemade bread recipes I've posted over the past couple years. If you had told me 2 1/2 years ago that I'd be baking bread for all of our family meals I would have laughed at you. I remember a colleuge at work once told me his family made their daily bread in a bread machine and I thought that was radical at the time! 

 I admit since the Thermomix has blessed our lives I really only hand-knead once or twice a week, the rest of the time I let the machine do the hard work for me. But even so, making your own bread is really much simpler than you could imagine even if you're doing the kneading yourself. You can also try the no-fail Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day style, which doesn't require any kneading at all. 
 When you make your own bread you are saving a lot of money, cutting out preservatives, thickeners and other additives, and controlling the ingredients entirely (as you may note, we use spelt flour instead of white flour in almost all of our recipes).

ecoMILF Bread Recipes from the Archives:













and last but not least, for comparison:




Saturday, October 22, 2011

{piqued picks}

Piqued picks- a Saturday meme. Links to articles, tutorials, recipes, videos, music... that have piqued my interest this week and made my heart go pitter patter. Feel free to share anything you found inspiring or noteworthy this week in the comments section or link to your own blog's piqued picks.
***

Without getting into the politics too deeply, I do believe that vaccination to a certain extent is our family's social responsibilty. That said, after Indigo's recent anaphylactic scare and some other food/chemical sensitivity issues, I revisited a really helpful and informative book by Dr. Sears called The Vaccine Book before going for a consult with our holistic family doctor. The book has a wealth of information about each early childhood vaccine's ingredients, possible reactions, and the diseases and illnesses they protect against while also giving sound advice about delaying, separating and avoiding vaccines. It is not at all an anti-vaccine book, but a tool parents can use to empower themselves with the facts so that the choices they make for their children are conscious and educated.

 Now that I am feeling 'sew' adventurous- these boys cargo shorts look easy enough and very cute.

I am loving watching this challenge from afar. It's a bit more than what I've got our basic grocery budget down to. We're a family of 4 who eat about 70-80% organic/biodynamic. The two biggest keys to keeping our grocery bill down - making everything from scratch (bread, yoghurt, snacks etc.) and beans as your main protein source. Have you been following Heather's $400 grocery challenge?

Yes, I admit, I read GOOP. And I am loving this newsletter, "Spring Allergy and Detox Remedies- Chinese Medicine Style". Exactly the advice I've been looking for.

Loving the crunch, flavour and veggies in this vegan Greek Nachos recipe.

One of the many people that have inspired me - Pearl Jam on PBS- hopefully we'll get to see the whole video in Australia soon.


Love and light to you all this weekend.

xo m.
Watch Pearl Jam Twenty on PBS. See more from American Masters.

Friday, October 21, 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, October 20, 2011

a little dress

Indigo's great-grandmother gifted her a beautiful little dress for her first birthday. There was just one catch- the dress came in the form of fabric and one very cute pattern. Oh my!

Although I first sat down in front of a sewing machine two years ago, I haven't had much practice since then, and I have certainly never used a pattern (unless you count T-shirt pants). So this was a big deal and just a wee bit scary. One naptime and a very late night later and this little dress finally became a reality.

Just don't look too closely. It looks much more professional from afar.

Next on the list: the matching bloomers... and matching hat... and a whole lot of Christmas presents...

For lots of creative sewing, crafting, knitting and more visit Our Creative Spaces for a list of today's players. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

miracles in the everyday


For a lot of stay-at-home mamas with young children life can often seem like Groundhog Day:

Wake up
Change nappy(ies), dress children
Take a load of laundry out
Put a load of laundry on
Make breakfast
Feed the children breakfast
Wash the dishes, wipe the counters, sweep the floor
Re-dress children, change another nappy
Make snacks, clean up snacks, give children a different snack from the one you just made
Hang the two laundry loads
Get out of the house
Come home, change children, change nappy
Make lunch
Feed the children lunch
Wash the dishes, wipe the counters, sweep the floor
Put children down for a nap
Take the laundry down
Fold the laundry
Prepare dinner
Clean up the kitchen
Tidy toys and house from a messy morning
Go to children who have now woken up
Get out of the house
Come home, change children, change nappy
Make dinner
Feed the children dinner
Wash the dishes, wipe the counters, sweep the floor
Run the bath
Bathe the children
Moisturise, massage, brush hair and teeth, trim nails
Read books
Put children down for bed
Tidy toys, sweep, vacuum, tidy house
Sleep
Start again
These are the bare bones of my day. There are rituals and rhythms that help with the flow and I didn't even include cleaning, ironing, playing, breastfeeding, errands, shopping and all the other chores that seem to seep into every waking moment of the day.

Sometimes it feels like I've really accomplished something if I blow-dry my hair or put a bit of make-up on or wear a pair of shoes that are not my Birkenstocks. Sometimes the simplest things with two kids in tow (like taking the bus to the zoo for the morning) feel emotionally and physically equivalent to running a marathon. Sometimes I wonder whether there will ever be a day when there's not porridge stuck in my hair, breastmilk stains on my t-shirt and hummus crusted onto my jeans. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever sleep through the night again, or even more earth-shattering: sleep- in past 6:15am!

But most of the time I try to remind myself of just how lucky I am to have this daily rhythm which is so deeply rooted in a place that we can call home. Amongst the dirt and the dishes and the nappies there are miracles abound: clean, fresh and hot water; abundant, organic and delicious food; heaters, blankets, soft beds and pillows; soaps, oils, fresh flowers and herbs; an endless supply of inspiring music, tea and chocolate; electronic tools in every room to make our lives clean, comfortable, fun and entertaining.

Instead of being overwhelmed and frustrated by the amount of 'stuff' I have to do, I try to focus on how lucky we are to have that 'stuff' to do something with, in the first place.
In between the lines of that dry to-do list there is blessed beauty that cannot be quantified or qualified. There is laughter and joy; tears and sadness; there is learning, experiencing and growing; freedom; health; peace; space and above all else there is endless love. Love that knows no boundaries. I am so, so very grateful I am able to stay at home with my little ones, that the very foundation of their first three years is made up of motherly love. So soon they will grow up, spread their wings and fly away. But how lucky we are to have started together in this miraculous nest we have created and call home. These are the blessings I remind myself of when I get all tangled up in the monotony and then any negativity seems to transform into overwhelming gratitude.

I bow my head in wonder and give thanks for my 'everyday'.

Monday, October 17, 2011

soft and sweet ginger cookies


Ingredients
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp bi-carb
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup organic butter room temperature
1 cup rapadura or brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses or agave nectar or maple syrup

Directions
Cream the butter and sugar together
In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients together
Mix both bowls together and add agave nectar, stir until you've made a consistent dough

Roll into balls and flatten with a spoon, fork or thumb

Bake at 175 for 8-10 minutes until just golden
Let them cool before serving



Sunday, October 16, 2011

goal setting

I fell in love with goal setting and writing when I briefly worked for lululemon years ago. lululemon does an excellent job of supporting their staff with setting goals and staying motivated.

I don't goal set as regularly as I'd like to but I write up, imagine, dream and tweak my goals at least twice a year and stick them up somewhere where I can see them to keep myself accountable.

The beauty of goal setting is that it really, truly grounds your dreams in reality. You start with your wildest of dreams, your 'perfect' life and goal set to manifest those values and ideals into your life.

I usually start with writing by hand in a stream-of-consciouness style describing what I envision my life to look like in ten years: my ideal home, my family values, relationship, activities, the kids education lifestyle, travel job etc. etc. etc.

Then I split this into a few categories: physical, spiritual, career, personal and write down specific ten year goals for each category.

Then I move on to my five year goals, and then the goals I'd like to accomplish in one year.
Finally I ask myself, how are the goals I set to accomplish in one year from now going to get me that much closer to the goals I set for myself in five years? Is there any disconnect? Do they flow into one another?

The goals must be in present-tense and quantifiable and specific.

For example,
I will run a road race.
I run the Sydney City to Surf in under one hour on August 12th, 2012.

Even though I don't put as much energy into my goals as I would like to it is shocking to look back at a lot of the goals I wrote down five, four, three years ago and how much I have accomplished on my goal list! Things like- using all eco-friendly cleaning supplies, baking my own bread, gaining a livlihood from writing... these really did seem out of reach and far fetched at one point in time for me.

What about you? Do you goal set? Is it conscious or more unconscious?

If you're interested in giving it a go lululemon has a basic goal setting template that is a good starting base.

Dream the impossible dream!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

{piqued picks}

Piqued picks- a Saturday meme. Links to articles, tutorials, recipes, videos, music... that have piqued my interest this week and made my heart go pitter patter. Feel free to share anything you found inspiring or noteworthy this week in the comments section or link to your own blog's piqued picks. 

***

Strawberry, Black Pepper and Cordial from my darling lemon thyme. Seriously, this drink tastes as good as it sounds.


Cannot get enough of Torontonian artist, Ian Kamau's new album 'One Day Soon'. Here is a beautiful video and example of his breathtaking voice. You can download his album online at iankamau.com and trust me, it will not disappoint.


You can watch this documentary in its entirety online- Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. Interesting and sobering. 


There is also a screening of Yoga Woman in Sydney at the end of October. If I can get someone to hold the fort I might try to make it. It looks right up my alley.


Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 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, October 13, 2011

This Whole Family FAQ

I get quite a few comments and emails each week asking all sorts of questions ranging from what I eat to what I wear to how I parent... the list goes on. Thank you all for taking such an interest in little old me and for considering my advice to be valuable. I am truly flattered and honoured to share this space with you.


Here are This Whole Family's most Frequently Asked Questions for old and new readers alike:

Can I link to your blog, join or use 'memes' that you use and/or use your photos?
You are most certainly welcome to link to the blog (thanks!), but please ask my permission before you use any images.

How can I create a green cleaning kit?
I have a whole bunch of green cleaning basic recipes here, as well as a guide to creating your own green cleaning kit here.

Where can I buy Borax? I buy mine at Woolworths along with Washing Soda and Bi-carb, although I have heard from some people you have to search for it.

-What kind of soap do you use to make your own laundry detergent? As much as we can we use Dr Bronners (in peppermint and lavender). If we're trying to keep a tight budget that month I'll use half Dr Bronners and half regular soap flakes.

Can you tell me more about your experience with Waldorf education?
I have posted about our own experiences here. I was originally drawn to Waldorf education because is so inline with many of our other family values- being connected with nature, attachment parenting, listening to your instincts, the importance of a media-free childhood, having faith in something bigger than yourself etc. Remember my children are only 3 and 1so our direct experience is minimal. I think every city, school and carer is unique and interprets this style of education very differently. I value so much that a Waldorf education has to offer, but I don't necessarily agree with everything. We are certainly not Waldorf purists.

Do you co-sleep?
Yes and no. When the children were newborns we co-slept with a bassinet beside out bed that we'd put the baby in from time to time. Indigo has been much more of a co-sleeper than North was because I trust my motherly instincts so much more. Now, at the age of 14 months old, she still wakes 2-3 times a night for a 'feed' which is really more of a comfort suck and a cuddle than nourishment. She comes into our bed at this time and sometimes stays with us in between but generally she goes to sleep in her own cot and wakes up in her own cot. The children share a room.

How do you recommend starting your baby on solids?
Although I have written a few posts in the past about making baby purees and weaning, it was actually  my dear readers who introduced me to baby-led weaning. As soon as I read a few articles on it I knew it was for us. So much of it I had already instinctively done with North- I gave up giving him purees by 7 1/2 months. Indigo has eaten exactly what we as a family eat since she was around 8 months old.   I think purees do have a place at the beginning, especially when they are recommending you wean babies at 4 months now, but I think we should also give babies more credit. Their strong gums are a force to be reckoned with.

Where do you get your organic produce box from?
We currently get deliveries from Lettuce Deliver and are very satisfied with the quality of the produce we get.

Where do you buy things in bulk?
Honest to Goodness. Which is really honestly great! We are saving so much money, packaging and time by buying a lot of our items in bulk. We regularly stock up on lentils, dhal, mung beans, pitted dates, raisins, spelt flour, wholewheat flour, rye flour, pumpkin seeds, almonds, brown rice, quinoa and many other staples.

We as a family want to start eating less meat, but we're not sure where or how to start. Do you have any tips and recipes you can share?
Start slow and set an intention- choose a day or a few each week where you will go meat-free. Observe how you feel about this, and how each family member reacts. Discuss as a family why you want to go meat-free is it for animal rights, the environment or health? Limit 'fake meats' that are quite tasteless and void of nutrition and instead focus on combining legumes and grains to create complete proteins. Here are the links to my Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter recipes. All the recipes on ecoMILF are vegetarian and a good number of them are vegan.

How do you make the buttons and banner on your page?
I use a free program called Picnik. I love it!

What kind of camera do you use?
A Nikon SLR D3000. I am still learning how to use it and have only recently started taking photos without the 'automatic' setting on. So much better.

Those are all the questions I can think of at the moment. If you can any more please ask away- here's your chance. I'll reply to each and every one in the comment section as best I can. Let me also just take a moment to write a mini disclaimer (although I know you know): I am not a trained health professional or educator. The advice I give is based solely on my personal experience, opinions and beliefs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

homemade eco-friendly all-purpose countertop spray

Another added bonus about using eco-friendly cleaning products is that they are very safe (as long as you use common sense) for children to use with you. I was trying to set up a green cleaning 'shot' and as soon as North saw the spray bottle he wanted to shine the whole house. 


Ingredients
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbs bi-carb soda (baking soda)
2 cups water
10-12 drops of essential oil

Directions
Put all ingredients in a spray bottle and store in a cool place.
Shake gently before use.
Spray and wipe to your heart's content.
Choose whatever essential you like- pine, rosemary and cloves are a few of my winter favourites, while citrusy scents are great for the warmer seasons.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the secret to perfectly cooked quinoa and other grains

**changes in bold thanks to Gaby and Catherine for making me re-check what I wrote. A late night error that I'll blame on a foggy brain. xx m.**

I have made more than my fair share of gluggy brown rice, soggy cous cous and mushy quinoa, but I can now proudly exclaim from the depths of my kitchen, "I can cook the perfect pot of quinoa!!!"

And you know what?

It's so simple, I'm embarrassed to say I ever tried it any other way.
Ingredients
2 cups quinoa (or brown rice or cous cous)
3 3/4 + 1/8 cups of water (7/8ths) (just under 4) (are you following?)
1 tbs olive oil or butter or coconut butter
desired spices

Directions
Put the quinoa and water into a pot and bring to a boil
Let it boil uncovered until water is just covering the grain - reduced
Turn the heat off completely
Cover, add oil of your choice and spices and let sit for 15 - 20 minutes
Remove lid and fluff.

Quinoa, brown rice and cous cous are all perfect for the freezer. Simply remove and let it defrost on the counter or dump it back into a saucepan or pot, add a bit of water, defrost and serve. Great for a last minute easy meal. For more delicious quinoa recipes try these quinoa burgers or this greek quinoa salad or some quinoa breakfast porridge.

Monday, October 10, 2011

putting a spell on 'the witching hour'

The reactions I get from people when they find out our children are tv-free range from utter horror to mild curiosity to slight embarrassment (for either party). Like so many of the choices I've made through my parenting journey, this is not exactly the norm. Regardless of the type of reactions I get, the number one question I get from all mothers is, "How on earth do you get dinner on?"

Although there are many Mums who don't like relying on the TV to soothe, distract or baby-sit it's hard not to turn it on at 5pm when children are hungry and tired, babies are clingy and the dinner needs to be made. And I hear you! As a general rule, between 5 and 630pm is not exactly the most calm and peaceful time around here. This is usually when Indigo hurts herself in some way or another; and (not coincidentally) the time that North becomes rowdy and unfocused; and the time everyone is hungry and thirsty and terribly whiney. It's the time when things get spilled, when my ankles are being clung to and when afternoon naps have officially worn off.

Here are a few things I do so that I feel prepared for when all hell breaks loose at the witching hour. They take the edge off and quite often bring us back to centre.

Pre-prep dinner. I just have to. When the children are down for their nap at midday I almost always pre-prep if not totally prep dinner. I slice veggies and put them into containers in the fridge, ready to throw into whatever dish we're having; I make pizza or bread dough, cook rice and put it aside, make sauces or dressings... I do whatever it is that needs to be done in order to make dinner really, really simple to make.

As long as you have dinner very well prepared- get outside. Go to the park, play in the backyard, go for a quick walk in the rain. Burn off their energy and when you arrive home throw the dinner on and serve immediately.

Time snacks well. I am not like my husband. Bread and jam at 4:45pm is not an option. Snacks are eaten at the very latest 3pm so that the children are truly hungry for their dinner. Avoid sugar as this definitely leads to emotional meltdowns in our home.

Rely on a good old-fashioned book. The more your children are used to picking up a book and perusing it at their leisure, the more they'll enjoy it... they'll learn to enjoy it and they'll soon learn that they don't always need you to be there either.

If you can't go outside set the children up with something active to do: can they jump on a designated bed? can you put the couch cushions all over the floors and let them romp around on them? can they race in the hallways? build blanket forts?

Let them help. There is always something children can help with in the kitchen- grating cheese or veggies, rolling bread, stirring sauces or dressings, picking herbs from the garden, setting the table, picking flowers for the table, making name-cards for the table... sometimes it's harder to come up with a task than others and quite often when they help it means there will be more mess. But my philosophy is the more mess the merrier. Or at least that's there philosophy and I just go with it.

 Stick the baby on your back. Many of us carry our babies around outside but don't take advantage of today's baby carriers when we're in our own homes. Older babies love watching you cook dinner from the safety of your back. Pass a few taste samples back there while you're at it.

Bathtime!! On particularly rotten days I've declared a 4pm bathtime! I mean who doesn't chill out after a nice, warm bath. Then it's dinner in our PJs, stories and bed.

Create kid-friendly cupboards in the kitchen. Cupboards or drawers designated to children's things. Ideally these shouldn't be toys, but kitchen items that they are allowed to explore and play with. They want to imitate you and do what you're doing. Small pots, wooden spoons, tupperware containers and measuring cups are all great even for a little baby.

Play music. Music is soothing and uplifting for you and them. Working together to the beat of the music  lightens the load and heaviness of the afternoon. Make a playlist you know you and your children will enjoy. Here's one of our favourites.

Listen to stories on tape, CD, mp3. We're huge fans of Sparkle Stories in this house.

Stop. Acknowledge. Listen. Engage. Return. So often our little ones aren't askin for much, they just want to be heard and understood for brief moments. Too many, "Mmmhmms" and "in a minutes" or "I'm busy"'s cause tension and frustration in our little ones. Episodes or meltdowns can often be avoided and prevented if we simply put down what we're doing, engage in our child's play for a few moments and then sneak away when they time is right. Try to resist the urge to rush, rush, rush and stay grounded in the moment.

***
Perhaps next time you feel the urge to turn the TV on in order to get a bit of peace and quiet you could try a few of these suggestions first. I promise, it's really not that hard. It just takes a little getting used to.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

it's been a bit grey everywhere...

So, we were in need of some colour-therapy.


And what a perfect way to use up all those tiny baby potatoes.



Potato stamps are pretty self-explanatory, but if you need a bit of a refresher, see here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

{piqued picks}

Piqued picks- a Saturday meme. Links to articles, tutorials, recipes, videos, music... that have piqued my interest this week and made my heart go pitter patter. Feel free to share anything you found inspiring or noteworthy this week in the comments section or link to your own blog's piqued picks. 


***

I just love this music sound generator. Go and have a play.


Take a look at Tricia's first audio slideshow for ABC Open. I love this medium and am inspired to look into it further for myself. A beautiful story and a wonderful job by her- Lifeblood of the Ellerston District


This is a cool little story from Grist- Teenager builds tiny home to avoid mortgage trap.


Finally got around to making these. I'd post a photo but we ate them too quickly to take a snap! Oh, so good! Raw Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting.


Stumbled across Bari Tessler Linden's 'Conscious Bookkeeping Method' on the internet. Right now she is offering a free 4 part video course on 'Financial Transformation'. She is really inspiring and looks at finances, budgeting and your 'money life' on a really holistic level. Her goal is to provide tools that enable you to reach your financial goals from and on a physical, spiritual, mental and emotional level. You can still sign up but they videos will only be available for a short period of time.


Enjoy your weekend! 


xo m.

Friday, October 7, 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, October 6, 2011

the vegetarian family and the challenge of getting our Omega-3s


I have mentioned here before that although I am vegetarian, my children are technically pescatarian- and for those that aren't familiar with that word- they eat seafood from time to time. That is, they did. Until about 4 weeks ago when Indigo had a severe allergic reaction to fish and we ended up in the hospital for the night. Although she has eaten a bit of tuna, salmon and white fish fortnightly since she was 6 months old, she never quite took to it like her big brother and something seemed off with her whenever it was on her plate.

On North's 3rd birthday I made the children homemade fish fingers and within 2 minutes of Indigo touching, barely eating the fish, her entire face went red and blotchy and then blew up like a balloon so much so that she couldn't even see through her swollen eyes. Two hours, steroids and anti-histamines later we sat in the hospital with a referral to see an allergist. Since then we've been to many appointments and the conclusion is that Indigo is allergic to fish. So allergic that we must carry an epi pen with us at all times. So allergic that even the fumes from cooking it could cause her to go into anaphylactic shock.

I am more and more of the belief that eating fish as often as we do and in as much variety as we do is very unsustainable** and that fishing practices are often unethical. However, the biggest reason I wanted Indigo and North to have seafood in their diets was so that they were able to get a bountiful supply of Omega-3 long chain fatty acids which are very, very difficult for our bodies to get and convert from plant-based foods. Omega-3s are vital for healthy brain development and reduce the risk of heart disease, ADHD, depression and arthritis.

After a chat with the hospital's dietitian I acquired a list of vegetarian foods that are high in ALA*** and which our bodies can use to convert into EPAs and then DHAs (see the Wikipedia article under the heading- Interconversion for more detailed information). She didn't seem to think anything else was necessary and that Indi is getting more than enough of what she needs based on our vegetarian diets.

But after reading a few other articles, including an article from Vegan Health,  I have decided to put the whole family on a vegan DHA drop supplement that is derived from algae. Although it is written from a vegetarian perspective the article is quite honest in it's findings and concludes that DHA supplements are very important for vegetarians to consider taking because ALAs are too difficult for our bodies to convert into EPAs and DHAs.

I've learned even more about vegetarian nutrition this month than ever before but am always looking for tips and advice from others, so if you're vegan or vegetarian please share with us in the comments section- how do you make sure you get enough iron, b12, and omega-3s? We'd love to hear your advice!

**Tricia from Little Eco Footprints recently wrote a really informative post about eating sustainable seafood for any of you fish-lovers who are interested.


***List of high Omega-3 plant-based sources the Dietitian provided

chia seeds
flax (linseed)
flax oil
walnuts
walnut oils
eggs (vegetarian, but not plant-based)

*photo from weheartit.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the spring garden

After planting out some of our homegrown seedlings a few weeks ago, our Spring garden is looking healthy and vibrant, despite the very cool weather we've been experiencing here in Sydney.

So, let me show you around this little urban garden and as always feel free to send any advice and tips this way. I learn so much every year, unfortunately mostly because of my mistakes!

In the garden this Spring we have:

Cos Lettuce

Rainbow Chard

Baby Tomatoes (Tommy Toe)

Truss Tomatoes


Golden and black zucchini

Button Squash

Capsicum

Broad Beans

Purple Beans

Yellow Beans


Strawberries 

Blueberries

Pumpkin

and 

Watermelon

 What's in your garden in the moment? We have a tiny bit of space left after digging up the potatoes... any suggestions?