Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is almost here!

It seems to have crept up on me. It is almost here...Freya is very excited, the other children are pretty cool about it, Charlie has no idea, and I had my annual Christmas meltdown yesterday!

In my attempt to stay focused and organised, writing lists, checking them twice...I suddenly start to feel overwhelmed, become stressed and wish Christmas didn't exist. It's awful, because Christmas is all about joy, celebrating the birth of Christ, remember those we love, being thankful for all we have, and being generous. That's why I hate the way I get so stressed and become cranky and certainly not generous! Luckily for me I have Michael, who understands me so well, recognises what is going on and talks me down...Thank goodness for him!

So, now I have a renewed view of it all.I will not get stressed about cleaning the house. I will not get stressed about having lots of perfect food. I will not stress about each child having exactly the same amount and types of presents.

Instead, I will put my feet up when I start to feel stressed, take a breath, have a cup of tea, watch a movie, play with my naughty, beautiful,amazing toddler.
I will make simple,fresh food with love for the family and in-laws;
I will be thankful for all the excitement that surrounds Christmas, and ignore the hype (that's gonna be hard!);

I find it so hard to believe that 2009 and is almost gone. It has flown for me. When you have a baby, time seems to become more obvious - it drags when we are having a tough day, but it flies when you realise all the milestones he has reached. The difference in one year is unbelievable. My smiling,gurgling baby is now a walking,running,expressive,screaming,shouting, talking toddler. He has just started clearly saying"no","more","mum","don't".

"So this is Christmas and what have we done?"(Thankyou, John Lennon) Quite a lot actually, been very busy. Beans are 5 foot high, tomatoes colouring up (skinks stealing them again), zuchinni plants just coming up, lettuces beautiful and ready for Christmas lunch, crunchy carrots ready to eat, Michael's potatoes looking good, and strawberries colouring up, ready for the birds to steal.

On top of that, we managed to have a couple of lovely holidays - to Broome and Darwin, then to Rottnest in October.

I'm looking forward to the summer break at home, to enjoy our glorious beach and our wonderful family!

Friday, October 30, 2009

More Time in the Garden

The weather has been so lovely lately that I just have to go outside with Charlie.He loves to play with the hose, and gets very wet, but it doesn't matter when the sun is shining.It also means I get a few minutes here and there to tackle the weeds.

I manages to plant some lettuce and tomato seedlings (thanks Katelyn) in the vege patch, weeded around the fruit trees (still a lot more to do there), also dug some clay in around the fruit trees.It is so dry and sandy already. I will have to get a load of sheep or pig manure for them.

I also planted bean and carrot seed, from Kerry's garden - she lets some of her produce go to seed to keep for the next year.I will try that too this year.I do buy many seeds and they aren't always successful.I suppose if you have a proven seed, it is worth saving.

I am hoping to get more time out there again today. I have a "Jane McGrath" rose to plant out, and I think I'll go to the nursery and see what is there.I have a few gaps that could be filled. It is always such a pleasure to visit the nursery, even if it is just to browse the plants. We have a gorgeous local nursery "Lush"(if they had a website I'd post the address, but they don't). The name is appropriate as the plants are all healthy and gorgeous, but one of the best things is the beautiful exotic home wears and garden ornaments etc.My girls love the place as much as I do, and the ladies there always remember the girls and are so kind.They give them little punnets of pansies and veges to plant. I love the place! I am not sure about taking Charlie there though! He might get into mischief!

Charlie and I have also been heading to the beach.Mostly walking, not swimming, as although the weather is lovely, the water is still cold. I am looking forward to the Luewin current which will warm it up a bit, so we won't have to have those nasty "ice cream headaches". Ouch!

I love this time of year!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spring has Sprung

Spring is here and the garden is blooming.It is lovely to see all the flanders poppies waving their little red heads around. Charlie and I are spending many hours outside, enjoying the sunshine and a chance to pull up the multiplying weeds. They are trying to take over the vegetable patch, but I am fighting back! There's still more to do, but I am more than happy to spend time outside, especially now that Charlie is into typical toddler mode.

Charlie is toddling and running everywhere.Not only that, he is an adventurous little soul, who loves nothing better than to scale any piece of furniture that might bring him closer to the item he most desires. This is usually a computer,sewing machine,telephone, or the piece de resistance: the television remote. I think if anyone in this family is going to take up mountain climbing, it will be Charlie.He is very canny and quite skilled.It is worrying! So, whenever I can, I take him outside to explore the great outdoors: so far, not too much climbing happening out there....give him time...

Who can believe the year is drawing to a close? I can't believe how it has flown, but then again, to see how much Charlie has grown makes it all the more obvious.Although he is still very small and cute, he is no longer a baby. I realise now how easy babyhood was! Toddlerhood is proving to be quite a challenge. Apart from sleeping, there's not a lot of "stillness".Luckily for me I have willing helpers, so I do sometimes get a little break.I quite like to have a little nanna nap some afternoons.It makes for a less stressful evening.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Charlie is one!Life is busy!

It has been so long since my last post.Everything conspires against me and it just gets too hard to post on my blog.

On Sunday Charlie turned 1.On Saturday, as I drove home from town (one of the only places I get to think without interruption),I felt quite tearful,looking back on the past year.It has been wonderful.Charlie has brought so much love and joy into our family,and that first year is so full of wonder.He has changed and grown so much, I think we all have!

Part of my reflection has involved thinking about what it means to have a "large" family of five children. Yes, it is busy, but not hysterically so.I know many many people comment on how it must be "mad" and "exhausting", but really, it isn't. Some days are a bit crazy, but isn't that sometimes the way with one or two children?

I suppose it helps that my children are spread out, the older ones are a great help, but they all have their issues,needs and desires. I suppose I try not to do too much, try hard to balance things so that the priorities are things like health and happiness: e.g, it is a priority to make sure we have a healthy balanced meal almost every day. I can't remember the last time we had take-away food. Wait, actually, we did when we were on holiday in Broome(which by the way, was a wonderful holiday). My next priority is usually to make our main living/dining space as clutter free as possible,tidy and clean (though the floor could use a wash).I also try to rest every afternoon while Charlie sleeps.

That's about all I can do to be organised whilst everything else is going on around me.I also fit in the laundry, try to take a daily walk with Charlie, get out into the garden when the weather is fine and talk to each of the kids about their day.

It's true I don't have much time for myself.I hardly ever get to yoga class any more, wish I could knit without Charlie tangling up my wool, have forgotten what the sewing machine looks like, but I am really happy.

Sometimes it can all be a bit overwhelming, things can and do get on top of me, but I don't find family life too demanding,nor "mad". One thing I have learned over the years of parenthood is that it is easier and more peaceful to just let things go, relax, enjoy, because there will always be another opportunity to wash the floor, but Charlie will never be this little again.

Having a large family does involve sacrifice, having a small family does too, but in the scheme of things, when I look back on my life, if I make to the "twilight years", I will never regret having children, how could I? Travel to exotic locales is wonderful, but I'd not trade it for any one of my children! And the same goes for material things.They are nice, but you can't take them with you can you.

Enough philosophising...

Something new for me : I have a part time job.I tutor for 4 hours a week, in two sessions of 2 hours, after school hours, so Mike can have Charlie. It is great .I really enjoy it and although it means I need to be quite organised, it is a nice way to do a bit of work without impacting on the family too much.

Charlie is calling...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm Still Here

Well, it has been a tough month, so I haven't been around much.To top it off,Charlie knocked my laptop off the coffee table, and it is now dead! More fool me for leaving it where my baby could knock it!
It seems my hard drive is knackered and I'll be lucky to retrieve anything! It is a blow that I will lose all my photos - wish I had "backed them up", but I didn't really expect to break the laptop!

So now I am using Michael's apple mac, which I don't fully understand, so I haven't a clue how to post pictures.This is something I will have to master before too long. I'd like to get back into the blogging, so will need to do that.

This past month I have been so busy, mostly with Charlie and the family.We haven't been doing anything special, but have had most of us suffering from a cold here and there, but mostly I have been tending to Charlie's needs.

He's also had a cold, which followed an infection which required anti-biotics, which in turn gave him diarrhea, and he still hasn't cut his first tooth, despite much drooling and clamping his gums on anything (including my nipples during breastfeeding!).

So, Charlie has been irritable and very needy. I am his number one comfort, so it has meant many hours attached to each other. It has also meant I haven't much wanted to venture out.Poor Freya has been extremely tolerant and very helpful, but my lack of attention for her may have lead her to decide to go back to school next term. She assures me it isn't the case, but, naturally I feel guilty. Freya insists it is because she misses her friends and is feeling much better.

It is true that her anxiety issues have improved a great deal since homeschooling and seeing a counsellor. We will continue with the counseling - I think it really helps her to talk to someone other than family about her anxieties, and to be given some practical strategies to try.
So I'll go and see her school principal in the next couple of weeks to discuss her options. I feel a little bit sad about her going back to school, but I want what is best for her, and for her to be happy. With Charlie being so demanding lately, it is probably better for her to be at school. Freya reassures me that she gets a whole lot more attention at home than at school, even when Charlie demands my attention, but I worry that it is too easy to have Freya help me with baby, rather than doing school work. I have been reassured by other homeschooling mums that it would be fine for her to do no "schoolwork" for a time, but I feel better if she is doing something "schoolish" (that's the teacher in me talking!)

We are only two weeks away from going on holiday! It is exciting and terrifying at the same time! It will be lovely to get away, to go where it is summer (it is very cold here - 12 degrees today-very cold for us), to enjoy the company of friends, but at the same time, the worrier in me can't help but think about the amount of time spent in the car and plane with a 10 month old - argh! Who knows, perhaps he'll suddenly enjoy being strapped into his car-seat for 5 hours straight!Ha ha, I doubt it. We'll have Freya and Lily with us, so they'll earn their keep entertaining their baby brother.

I also worry about how he'll go with his sleeping.I know I shouldn't worry, that it is pointless, and that it might all be a breeze, but, unfortunately, I wasn't built that way, and have to think of all the scenarios in order to relax! It is a paradox of sorts.

Before then, we'll have a week of swimming lessons in town.If that doesn't wear me out, nothing will. Hopefully it won't be too hard on Charlie and his sleeping patterns - he tends to nod off in the car, then wakes up when we arrive home, then won't sleep in his cot and ends up overtired...but what can we do, I'd really like Freya to have the benefit of the swimming lessons, especially before we go to warmer climes where she'll enjoy swimming everyday.

On a brighter note - I have started knitting a new cardigan, a lovely Jo Sharp pattern. I haven't gotten all that far yet (just knitted one cuff!!), but already I love it!The colours are great and I love the texture too. I will try to post a photo of it when I sort out how to do it.

Here's to getting back into blogging- I hope my faithful followers are still out there in cyber space!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One step forward....

Two steps back...bloody chooks! Looks like they need their wings clipped again. I planted red cabbage on Sunday only to find they had disappeared this morning, and the chooks were licking their lips (err...beaks)!

What is the point in keeping chickens when they don't even lay eggs!

Anyway, not all bad news.I am very happy to say I have finally, after a year or so, got my plants back into the garden. The photos show the little bit of progress I am making.
It feels really good to get the plants into the ground, as they were lifted out last April so that we could kill off the kikuya which had immigrated from the lawn, and pretty well taken over. And it isn't the kind of weed you can just pull out.Oh no, this stuff gets in deep(sometimes a metre deep) and strangles the root system of everything in its path, and nothing will kill it, apart from a good dose of round-up, three times! Blimey,it is tough stuff. So much for being totally organic. You just can't beat it without help from glysophate.

So my plants have been waiting patiently, and I did lose a few.But that's okay, because I have changed the design a bit, and made different choices of plants and different ways to plant them.I am hoping the garden will be a bit less "cottagey" and a bit more designed, but that remains to be seen.

I have put in a couple of dwarf nectarines and a "doughnut" peach, as well as three Chilean guavas, which have edible fruit. I like the idea of having some edible plants in the border.

This photo was taken before I started replanting:
This one is after planting, though it doesn't show alot of difference, it will look much improved in spring. Note the gorgeous colour of the Triton Maple.

And finally, something I have been hoping to do since Charlie's birth - to plant his tree, the Gingko Biloba, over the placenta which sustained him for 9 months,growing him into a strong and healthy baby.Now it can do the same for his tree.(In case you're wondering, it was in the freezer all that time!)
The Buddha statue now sits under the tree. The tree itself doesn't look that great, but it is losing its leaves for Autumn, and I am sure it will look beautiful in the future. I also planted perennial irises around the tree and Buddha.I am not sure what kind of irises they are, but they are delicate and pretty, and I think suitable for a special spot.

It feels good to be gardening regularly, to look forward to what the plants will bring : perhaps food, beauty, flowers to bring inside, a lovely place to wander, to sit in, and a chance to get my hands dirty and to connect with the earth...Ahhh, bliss!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saturday Sewing an Mum's Day

On Saturday I was able to get some sewing done.Yay! I had received a new book on Friday,The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule (you'll see her blog on my reading list,and you can purchase the book from her), and she was saying how important (to her) it was to have some creativity everyday. Well, I realise it is pretty important to me too, because if I can't do something creative,I do feel frustrated, and when you add that to no enough sleep, I can feel unhappy.

So,I decided to try harder to fit in some creative time, and did manage it. You'll see Charlie wearing a little grey vest - I have been trying to make this one for some time - I felted an old vest of Michael's, and it worked out so well.It will certainly keep Charlie warm.
I also got to play with some of the beautiful fabrics I bought from Fabricworm,on the website Etsy (which sells hand crafted wares as well as supplies).It is such a pleasure to sew beautiful fabrics. I made a skirt for Freya using the Anna Maria Horner fabrics, and a headband for Lily.

I also made this "holdall" and plastic bag holder, for the side of the change table.It is great,it keeps everything close,just where I can easily reach.The lovely fabric is another Anna Maria Horner fabric, so pretty.
I must say I felt really satisfied after the sewing session. Which led onto a wonderful Mother's day on Sunday. Just briefly, this is what contributed to a wonderful day:
  • A sleep in
  • Breakfast in bed courtesy of Freya
  • Three new Pandora beads for my bracelet (Oooh!)
  • No chores ALL day
  • A session in the garden,planting out
  • Lunch at the beautiful peaceful farm with Michael's parents
  • Michael cooked a yummy stir fry dinner

It was just lovely having the day with my children and husband.I am blessed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Birthday

Happy days...Charlie is loving this crawling caper,getting stuck under chairs,pulling on and chewing electrical cords,finding long lost bits of fluff to gag on! We are all enjoying his blossoming and changing.Many people comment that he is less like a baby and more like a boy now, and it does feel that way.He already wants to walk around the furniture and displaying some risk-taking behaviour! It keeps me on my toes,and I am loving every minute.
Freya seems to be enjoying homeschooling so far.The tempo is certainly cruisey, but she tells me she is doing much more than she was at school. Is this true?I don't know, but I do know that time is wasted at school. I love that she can pursue something that interests her and run with it.For example after walking on the beach and finding bluebottles,her curiosity was whetted, and when we got home she found out everything she wanted to know about them, and will write a report about them.
I also love that she can wear her fairy outfit to school and not worry about anyone teasing her about it.One of the best things about being home schooled is that Freya can be herself,she doesn't have to keep up with the rest of the pack (and,yes,some of those girls act like wolves),she doesn't have to worry about the dynamics of friendships,and it was getting very complicated - who was allowed to play with whom,when they were allowed etc.I found her tales of friendship perimeters quite disturbing.

Having said that,she is still able to maintain her important friendships, and was really chuffed to have her friend Ashlyn visit on her birthday.Freya had a lovely time,enjoying her presents and the company of friends and family. She loved her chocolate cloud cake (thank you Rosie and Nigella for the recipe) served with cream and fresh raspberries and strawberries. It is a great cake,no gluten (which is good for me), and simple to make.Let me know if you want the recipe.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


A busy couple of weeks...As you can see, there's a new path in the garden.Michael did it over the school holidays. Any progress in the garden is a wonderful thing. I am very excited that I have finally been able to start replanting in the bed in front of the house (pics of that in a blog to come). I am hoping I'll get some time out there soon.
Freya stated homeschooling this week.So far,so good.She is a very fast worker and so eager, ready to tackle the next task as soon as she has finished the first.This means I have to keep on my toes! Sometimes Charlie makes it difficult, as he believes his needs are always to be met straight away!

We set up this corner with a desk for Freya's homeschooling. It meant taking the kitchenette out and finding a new home for all the crockery.It was a good opportunity to cull what we really don't need.The rest found a place in the pantry, which also underwent serious culling. It always feels good to cull (so why do I still have compulsions to buy more!Incurable!).

Charlie is now crawling everywhere at a great speed.He is very cute.He hit the 8 month mark on the 23rd.He still hasn't cut any teeth, but judging by his ferocious grip whilst breastfeeding (sets my teeth at edge) he isn't far off.He has also been dribbling great wet fountains this week.
His crawling style is very interesting.He tends to do all the work with his left leg while keeping the right leg bent, but not really doing any of the work.It works, he's able to get stuck under chairs and tables ALL the time!

Another milestone met this past weekend...Callum turned 18! Wow! It is amazing having a boy-adult under our roof.He's legal for drinking and other things, but it isn't really all that different to when he was 17! He is very independent - we hardly see him - he works long hours, then hangs out with friends.We really only catch up in the mornings for a few minutes.It feels a bit strange, but at least we see him more than when he was living away.
So that is why I have been really busy. It is so hard to get any time for myself,particularly with Charlie's sleeping habits, which require my nice warm body! If I get him to sleep and put him in his cot he almost ALWAYS wakes up. I honestly don't know how to deal with this problem.I don't want to leave him to cry, I just won't go there, but I worry that he'll never sleep in his cot, or that I'll never get a little break(I'd really like a little bit of time in the afternoons to sew or garden).Anyway, he's still little and I know what I signed up for, so I'll just make the best of it...
We are off to swimming lessons tomorrow(for Charlie), how exciting.I hope he enjoys it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Lovely Easter Day

I think I like Easter much more than Christmas. Maybe it is the time of year, perhaps it is that there is less hype, less expense,less expectation. I don't know, but it feels more cruisey and we had a really nice day.

We started with the egg hunt.Always enjoyed by all, especially when it is time to divvy up the goods!After that Freya and I went on another hunt, to find some bits and pieces to make an Easter tree.She really enjoyed decorating it, and it looked so lovely on our dining table.

We made a special lunch, a roast lamb, which was delicious, and especially so with the accompaniment of our home grown roast spuds (ooh, so yummy), and a big green salad full of our lettuce, spinach and herbs, along with tiny tomatoes from Joan's(Granny's) garden. We followed that with Heather's meringue,cream,raspberry,passion fruit curd dessert.Mmm!

With our belly's full to bursting it was a good job we felt like strolling on the beach.We took a really long stroll, the girl's were chuffed to walk all the way to the end, called Mistaken Island (which is really attached to the beach but appears to be an island). Charlie was very good,considering how long the walk was, but felt he had to have a cuddle and a nap on the way back!

Heather took the lovely pictures.Unfortunately, she isn't in any of them!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Baking, Sewing and Gardening

These are the spuds I dug up this afternoon. It doesn't look much - certainly not enough to keep us fed over the winter, but that is okay, it will give us a few feeds, and there's nothing quite like fresh spuds. I think if I left them longer we would have got more, as there were lots of little ones on the roots. However, the plants were yellowing, and I'd like to use the space for new crops.It was quite a sandy bed, so maybe carrots? But then again, should I plant more root crops in that bed, or put something different in?
This picture is of Charlie enjoying the potato soup I made for lunch(not with my new potatoes).He loves to eat with us.

Yesterday I was able to get onto the sewing machine and make some cushion covers.The photo doesn't really do them justice (colourwise). They are a pretty blue and made with the softest hemp fabric. I bought this fabric years ago when one of the fabric shops in town closed down.I could never decide what to sew with it, so I finally decided the colour matched the other cushions perfectly. I was also able to finish off Charlie's little pants. Again, the colour has come out quite right, but they are lovely soft green baby cord. And the little pocket and cuffs are made from the darling fabric I bought online from "Duckcloth"( It has baby boars on it! How cute.It is a lovely Japanese fabric.They do it well. As I was saying, I had bought fabric from a closing down sale years ago.We used to have three fabric shops in town, all small businesses, which I loved to visit.I have always loved textiles. It is so sad that they couldn't get enough business, and then the big chain store came to town, and that was the end of them. Sadly the chain store doesn't go for the better quality fabrics. It is all pretty cheap, and that's okay, but I'd rather sew nice fabric if I am going to go to the effort. There's been a resurgence of sewing and crafts due to the recession, I believe, so there are lots of choices on the net. I'd prefer to be able to handle the fabric before choosing, but I shall just have to take the chance. Ideally I'd be in a position to start my own wonderful fabric shop, but that isn't going to happen!

Check out the goodies we baked today:We made hot cross buns, without the crosses,both with and without gluten.You can tell which is which: mine are the little ones.They were still tasty, just not as light and fluffy as the other ones!

The girls also made gingerbread Easter cookies.We didn't photograph them after they were baked, because they ended up too well browned(read "burnt!")The girls ate them anyway!If nothing else it is lovely to have the scent of spices and dried fruit in the kitchen, yummy!

So, all in all, a couple of fruitful days. Speaking of fruit, I picked rhubarb today, and have a box of apples from mum and dad, so I am off to the kitchen to make a crumble.Yum,yum!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cool Cat Pants and Homeschooling

They aren't the best pictures, but you get a glimpse of Charlie's little pyjama pants I made yesterday afternoon. They are "Cool Cat" pants because they have cats in the print.They are very cute on him.And nice and warm now that the temperature is dropping.
I have noticed that he often has a dummy in his mouth in photos, it makes it look like he always has one, but that isn't the case.He was pretty grumpy, he is still cutting those first teeth, and he has a cold.He woke Mike and me at 4.30 am because he wanted to suck on his dummy but his blocked nose meant he couldn't breathe! So there was much crying!Michael got up to console him, but I could still hear him and wasn't able to sleep. We were both zombies yesterday!
As for the title today, Freya has decided to take up my offer of homeschooling her.I am really pleased she wants to give it a go, but also a little scared - I want to give her the best education, and just hope I do a decent job. We have already started planning some of the projects we'll do together. One is a science project - raising seeds for the vegetable patch. I recently bought a heated propagation tray, so we'll see how the germination rates go compared to unheated. Not only interesting, but practical too, I'll have a willing helper in the garden.
We are also going to do some sewing and knitting.It will be fun.
My little one is calling, better run!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Motivation to write

I haven't had much of it(motivation) lately! I have been busy with Charlie and the family as usual, but I have also been reading other blogs, which have so many comments after their posts, and I don't get any, so I am wondering whether it is worth continuing.That sounds so silly when I read it back.I shouldn't be writing it for anyone else, it is really about keeping a record of life at home with Charlie, and the other children, though they are at school all day. But, it is so nice reading other blogs which have feedback, I think it'd be nice to get some from time to time.
Also, I haven't really had much to write about. Charlie was a bit sick last week, and that meant many hours spent cuddling him.I don't mind one little bit, that is what I am here for, but it does tend to stop me from doing anything else.

We did manage some time in the garden.Charlie loved it, exploring the bits of grass and dirt, but we had to pack it in quickly due to the very annoying midges which bite and make baby cry!

I also feel more motivated to get the sewing machine out(especially after reading the Soule Mama Blog -it is so inspirational).So I went to textile traders on the weekend and got some fabric to sew pyjama pants for Charlie.As yet I haven't had a chance. I know my time will come, so I am not fretting about it.

When the big kids are at home on the weekend I get more of a chance, because they can take Charlie if I am in the middle of something.

I have also been frequenting the op-shops, finding bits and pieces for Charlie.I have to go into town today, so might check out another oppie I haven't yet been to.It is always such fun.

Charlie is in the jolly jumper, getting a little frustrated, and there are nappies to hang up, so again, my time is up!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting back into handicrafts

Last weekend Freya and I spent some time together sewing. She was chuffed to have time with me and said"it is so nice having quality time with you mum".Makes it all worthwhile! She made this little bed with a mattress,pillows and quilt (note the co-sleeping mum and bub bears!). I made some covers for the big European pillows we use in the living room. I had this lovely brown and blue cotton that I had bought to make a maternity smock, which I never got around to, and it has made gorgeous covers.The blue matches the blue walls perfectly.
I also managed to make a little quilt for Charlie. Overall, we had a fruitful day, something I haven't had in a long time.

With the cooler weather I feel very inspired to knit. I bought this gorgeous green wool from The Wool Shack ( in Asparagus. I am making the cutest little vest for Charlie from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms( also from the Wool Shack.It has been super quick to knit, I have nearly finished the back. I am feeling so inspired, I can't wait to make myself a jumper, and some little hats for Charlie.

More resourcefulness and stuff

It has been a mixed week, good and bad, a bit of worry thrown in and a bit of illness. But that's all over now.

On Tuesday my sister and I visited the nearby town of Denmark.It is such a pretty little place and it was fun to stroll around the shops and buy different things.I especially love their specialty food store "The Source" which sells little luxury items and organic food. I bought vanilla pods, 3 in a pack for $3.95. So cheap!!So I got 2 packs.We also took a little walk at William Bay(picture left).However it was a bit greyer and wetter than in this photo!

I also bought, with a lot of encouragement from my sister, an antique coffee grinder.Mike has wanted one for ages, so I got it for him and it seems to work very well.The real treat is that it is a "Puegeot", just like our car!

Charlie was a delight, so well behaved, slept all the way there and all the way home.What an angel.

Unfortunately I had a virus (pretty sure that is what it was) the following day. Luckily Guthrie was at home (he'd sprained his ankle the day before) to give me a hand with Charlie. Michael came home at lunch time, so I was able to go back to bed.Thank goodness for family carer's leave!

Lily stayed home the following day to give me a hand, then I had Freya home with me yesterday. I felt much better so we were able to go to town and have a bit of fun.We did a couple of "Op-shops"(thrift,2nd-hand stores), and for a total of $25 we got about 25 items! Some of them are very nice, and a couple I will resell on Ebay and hopefully make a little extra. Freya really enjoyed the shopping and I think it helps her appreciate the expense of buying things brand new, particularly clothing, which is so much cheaper at the "Oppy", and the condition can be almost new.The picture shows a few of the bits I got for Charlie.

Some of the bad news is that the Albany council turned down our application to change the boundary of our block, so that we can make the one we are selling a bit smaller and cheaper, hoping we could sell more quickly and keep the integrity of the bush by keeping the back part of the block, nearest our house.

Luckily that does not mean we cannot do what we want to do, the DPI has the last say, and Mike and Graig (our guy writing the submission) met with the planning people at DPI who have said there's still a chance if we get a study of the soil done, in terms of supporting the effluent waste. Honestly, it makes absolutely no difference if the block is smaller, but the council planted that seed of doubt which means we have to have an official study done, which will cost us another $1500-$2000! Crikey! We have already spent $4000 on this application! But we are not giving up, it will be worth the expense. Which leads to the next bit of negative news this week....

The bank...not so keen to help us out until we sell the block. We have equity, but without my income, we don't have a great capacity to make repayments. Of course that all changes once the block is sold...Alas, no nibbles there.

I'm glad we finished the week off with our little shopping spree(ironic after my conversation with the bank!) at the Op Shops, it felt good to buy a whole lot of stuff that we didn't really need, for not very much! Maybe that isn't really resourceful! But we did get clothes for Charlie, and it seems we never have enough of those.

Friday, March 13, 2009

On Being Resourceful

It has taken three days, but I have finally finished listing a whole lot of unwanted stuff on Ebay. The shoe at left is one of Charlie's which never fit his chubby "block" shaped feet! I actually got them in a bundle of clothing from ebay, so now someone else can have them.
I went through my wardrobe and found many pieces of clothing that I really don't wear very often, or I wore whilst pregnant, but don't want to anymore.
I realised during this culling that I buy too many clothes, and generally don't like them that much when I get them home. Deep down I know that the reason I buy too much is due to a deep seated dissatisfaction with my body. I would have thought I might have got my head together over that one by the age of 42. But, alas, I haven't, and wonder if I ever will. I know I am destined to be short and curvy, but in my head I still want to be tall and slim! It is stupid....I probably need counselling or shock treatment.In the mean time, I am culling! And it feels really good. I want to simplify, have less, and be happy.
I could just take everything to the thrift shop, help out a charity, but right now I am feeling acutely aware of the economic downturn, and if I can make a few dollars, if it means an extra week staying at home with Charlie, then it is worthwhile.
I'd like very much to get back into craft too, it has been a while. I had hoped to knit my way through my pregnancy, make cute little cardigans and beanies for Charlie, but my carpel tunnel syndrome put paid to that idea. Fortunately, since having the baby, the carpel town has gone! Yay! Now, if we could get Charlie to sleep in his cot in the evenings, instead of on me, I could do a bit of knitting. As the weather gets cooler, I start getting itchy fingers, looking forward to knitting and purling.
I want to make a grey scarf (I think I'll be wearing a lot of grey and black this winter, with bright coloured accents), but first I'd like to knit a couple of beanies for Charlie, he doesn't have any winter hats that fit.
Well, hopefully the ebay items will sell, otherwise I'll have to think about what I can do with them - cushions,patchwork,beanie?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Whole Hour or Two in the Garden

I Just had almost 2 hours in the garden! Almost unheard of since Charlie was born, so a real treat for me. I managed to get a new bed ready to plant out the Broccoletti seedlings I bought from the nursery on Thursday. I don't know much about them, so will google "broccoletti"( later and find out more. I also planted some red oak leaf lettuce, which look so pretty. Hopefully these ones won't be decimated by the chickens, now that they are confined to their yard. I did let them out on Friday afternoon, but it didn't last long as they were into the flower bed in a jiffy, and I just can't let them ruin it again. The tomato plants you can see in the photo are extremely lush and healthy.Since that picture was taken they have taken over the rest of the bed and the path! So I trimmed them back.They have been disappointing despite their lush growth because we just haven't had any fruit to eat.Before the tomatoes get a chance to colour up either the birds or king skinks eat the fruit! I have no idea what to do about it.Perhaps I could net the plants, at least that would stop the birds,and I don't think the skinks would be able to get the fruit that is higher up.Worth a try - I'd like to taste the fruit of my labour!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another gorgeous day at the beach

I have just taken Charlie for a walk on the beach. I am still amazed, after 9 years, that I can walk on the most perfect beach, on a warm day and only encounter two swimmers and one cyclist. It is incredible, and wonderful for me!

Charlie fell asleep, so it was a lovely walk in peace and quiet, with a sweet breeze and the sun shining. I considered swimming, but didn't have my bathers, should have anyway because there was no one around!

The vegetarian moussaka was a success. It was full of veges, but the kids liked it! Yay. Usually eggplant (aubergine) is greeted with "Yuck!" from the kids.

Although it was yummy, it seemed to take ages to complete. Most of the time is spent frying the eggplant, zucchini and potato which has been sliced about 5mm thick. I used 6 small eggplant, sliced, salted and left for half an hour, then washed and dried before frying in olive oil. I used a medium sized zucchini and 4 medium potatoes. In future I will spray them with oil and bake them, and see how it works. It was just too time consuming standing at the fry-pan with Charlie having to be jiggled about by various family members, all the while crying because he only wants mama...very frustrating!

So, once you've fried up the vege, you make a tomato sauce: saute a chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic and some thyme (about two Tblspn), then add a large (800gms) tin of tomatoes and a small tin(400gms) of rinsed haricot beans (lentils or other beans would be fine), let it simmer til it is thick. Layer up the veges, put some crumbled fetta cheese on top of that, then the sauce and finish with a Bechemel sauce. I make mine with two Tbsp of butter, melted, then add two Tbsp of flour ( I use gluten free and it works just fine), let that cook a little then gradually add the milk, about 2 cups (add more later if the sauce is too thick). Once it has thickened up, I'll grate in some nutmeg and add some parmesan cheese.If the bechemel is lumpy, I just use the whisk which seems to sort it out. Then I baked it in the oven for around40 mins ( a moderate oven) until it is starting to brown.

So, it was yummy. Today is another non-meat day( I am trying to eat vegetarian every second day for economy and health), so I'll have to find a recipe to make, something with ricotta cheese in it, or maybe pizza, as I have some bocconcini I'd like to use.We'll see how it goes today.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rosehip Syrup

I just found a recipe for Rosehip Syrup (it is from, so if I get a chance I'll try it later on.I am not sure if I have enough hips, might have to go and harvest a few more. I love the fact that they have so much vitamin C. Sounds like just the tonic for my kids.
I also notices some cute little red crab apples on my little tree out the front of the house.It is probably not enough to make a whole batch of jelly. Could I combine the two? I wonder how that would turn out. Would it be worth the trouble?
I have a bag of eggplant from my mum, so tomorrow I will make a vegetarian moussaka. I shall let you know how it turns out.

Voluntary Simplicity

I have been reading about "voluntary simplicity", the idea being that you live more simply, with less, and experience a great deal of freedom. I really like the sound of it,it is very appealing. However, it is much like many things: in theory it sounds marvellous, but in practice, it is a different story.
I am not saying that in practice it wouldn't be good, just that practicing it might be really hard! I love the idea of living a simpler life, of throwing off the shackles of owning "stuff". But, I like a lot of stuff. I wish I didn't, but over the years I have come to enjoy shopping and "having". I love going to Ricarda's and buying cute, different, stylish stuff. I have always been partial to the earrings. Mainly because most of the other stuff is too expensive in that particular shop.I suppose I like things that are designed well, that are aesthetically pleasing and useful. Who was it said you shouldn't have anything unless it is beautiful or practical? I can't remember, but I like that idea.
So, what about the voluntary simplicity thing? My whole adult life, I have yearned to live a more "hippy" lifestyle, to be more "earth-mother", to lean towards self-sufficiency.I value that kind of life-style, so why is it that I find it so incredibly difficult to throw off the desire to own,covet,have the trappings of western,consumerist,capitalist society?
How can I gel the "theory" and the "actual" to make a life?
Well, it has to start somewhere. I suppose I am trying, I just need to nurture the desire to live simply, so that it is more desirable than the desire for "stuff". I shall meditate on this some more...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Things One Hopes to Achieve, and things one DOES Achieve!

Every day I start with a list in my head of the things I'd like to achieve during the day. It feels purposeful to have goals. Sometimes I even jot them down.

Today's list was as follows:
  • Make zucchini slice
  • Make dermatologist appointment
  • Take a walk
  • Organise E bay items I sold
  • Wash and hang up nappies
  • Wash breakfast dishes
  • Tidy up my bedroom and put away laundry
  • Read the Gardening Australia magazine I bought on Monday
  • Yoga practice
  • Have a shower(!)
  • Bottle the baked capsicums I made days ago
  • Order seeds from Diggers

This is what I got done:

  • Had a lovely walk with Charlie to the post box and along the beach
  • Washed and hang out the nappies
  • Made the dermatologist appointment
  • Got half the breakfast dishes washed
  • Drank four cups of tea
  • Played with Charlie
  • Made compost
  • Cuddled Charlie
  • Breastfed Charlie
  • Changed several nappies
  • Looked around at the complete and utter chaos and decided it is too hard to start anything with a 6 month old who will not sleep unless you cuddle him!!

So there you have it. I don't know why I bother with the list, whether written or in my head. I suppose I can at least be pleased that I might have achieved one or two things. Most importantly, Charlie is getting the attention he needs, and that is surely more important than the mess and dishes.

Alas, it just means that when I do eventually getting around to making that zucchini slice for dinner, the kitchen is in such a mess, it takes all the joy out of cooking.

There's a song by Neil Young : A Man Needs A Maid. Well, it isn't just a man who needs a maid, this woman needs one too! How nice would it be to have a home help, so you could just enjoy mothering your baby without all the other "stuff" to distract you...

Despite that sinking feeling when it comes to the state of our living space, it was very lovely to walk in the fresh air with Charlie this morning.It was a warm and sunny day, perfect for strolling. And I looked at him and thought about how much I ached to have him in my life, how lucky I have been to have him here with us,and I know that he is better(much ,much,better!) than a clean house, meals cooked, phone calls made.

Tomorrow is a new day...