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...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Six Months Old Today

Our gorgeous boy is 6 months old today!Wow!Where did that go? It has been too fast!
Today we celebrated by catching up with a friend in town for a coffee ( I had tea), which was lovely. Her 4 year old daughter just loved being with Charlie, cuddling him, showing him toys.
It's been a lovely day, with Charlie much happier. I went to the health food shop and got some Weleda teething powder (it is homeopathic) and it seems to really help, or coincidentally, he is just feeling better.Whatever the case, I am really glad he is happier. It meant I was able to use up the old bananas and make muffins and banana bread, as well as cooking capsicums (peppers) to preserve them in olive oil.I also put on a big roast chicken, to help us celebrate Charlie's half-year mark.
It has been a truly wonderful six months.It has been hard work, but so worthwhile. I know it is a cliche, but I really feel he has brought joy into our lives.
Tomorrow I will phone the pool about starting baby swim classes, I can't wait, and I am planning on taking him to the library story time too.I love being a stay at home mum, it is the hardest, most rewarding occupation!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Terrible Teething

What a week! Charlie is teething and miserable.He sleeps badly at night, then doesn't sleep much during the day. This has meant I have been accumulating tiredness all week! Yesterday evening I reached my lowest point, laying my head on the table and crying!I actually didn't feel sad, mainly exhausted and frustrated.

Poor baby can't help feeling bad,I wish I could help him feel better.I resorted to panadol after the chamomilla homeopathy didn't seem to work, but the panadol seemed not to make any difference either.

It has been a big week for Charlie. Not only is he cutting teeth, he has also mastered sitting up, and his latest thing is slapping his hand against anything in its path. He's a few days off being 6 months old!The time has flown.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feeling Conflicted

Despite doing exactly what I want to do : being a stay at home mum, having five kids,living in our little piece of paradise, I still have times when I feel 'conflicted' about what I am doing.

What am I talking about?Well, I sometimes wonder how my life would be had we stopped at three kids. Our third child is now 12. It would make for a pretty cruisey lifestyle. Financially things would be easier. Mike and I could be planning great trips and travels. Instead, I feel like I am not getting enough sleep to function properly, I am stressing about vaccination,and not sure how we'll keep paying the bills while our block isn't selling!

Having said that,I wouldn't want my life without my children - it is really a momentary lapse of loving the life I am leading.Perfectly normal right?

On to nicer thoughts.....I still believe that somehow, Mike and I will be able to travel overseas and see many wonderful places before we die. We are talking with our friends about hiring or buying a barge in France to travel on the canals for three months. Sounds great doesn't it?I like the idea of the slow pace. Michael and I have long service leave coming up, mine (the first time ever!!) in 2012, his in 2013 (his third time), so that might be when we'll do it. It means we'll have to bring three kids with us. I don't mind bringing them, I just worry about the expense, but I think you could live pretty cheaply on the barge, picking up your supplies at the nearest village, riding your bicycles to the nearest village...bliss.

Here is my list of places to visit before I die:

  • France

  • Italy

  • Greece (particularly the islands)

  • Britain

  • Scotland

  • Ireland

  • Wales

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Norway

  • the Caribbean

  • Alaska

  • The East coast of Canada

  • New Zealand again especially Milford Sound)

  • South America (Chile,Peru,Argentina)

  • Nepal and Tibet

  • And probably many others!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Naughty Chooks!

I love the idea of our cluckers free ranging in the yard, but the dream and the reality are miles apart!

The girls have taken to scratching up any new seedling I have put in, which is bad enough, but the bigger problem is that they have taken to digging in my only established garden, the shady garden near the house.

I love this part of the garden because I have been able to grow ferns and other shade lovers. It has been looking lush and pretty.So I suppose because it is cool and inviting they spend hours finding bugs and worms. It has got to the point that they have exposed roots, leaving hollows every where.

It had to stop! So Michael kindly offered to put a roof on the chook yard. It had one before, but we used fruit tree netting and that got weighed down with fallen leaves, so we took it off.

Guthrie and Mike started putting chicken fencing up for the roof, but arrived back in the house after ten minutes. They couldn't have finished so quickly, surely? Well, it turns out that a carpet python was in the tree that Mike had been chopping limbs off and Guthrie was standing under it! When they discovered the carpet python, they got out of there! Carpet pythons are beautiful snakes, with a lovely white,black and yellow banded pattern, and though not venomous, can still bite.

After that we decided that it was all too much trouble, so the girls got their wings clipped. I never wanted to do it, feeling it was cruel, but it is probably better than me killing them in a fit of rage after discovering more dead plants!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Economic Doom and Gloom

Why did the economic downturn have to happen now? When I am having time away from work, hoping to stay home for years with my baby? I have the comfort of knowing that my job is there for me, but I don't want it just yet!

I hate listening to the news, it really is so gloomy. I suppose we all need to know about it, but it is just depressing. The recession will cause a depression, and I am not talking about the economy. I really feel for Callum's generation.They have never had to worry about unemployment, for the last 5 years it has been a boom time, and they have been told there weren't enough people to fill the vacancies. It is a different story now.I knew it couldn't last, but didn't expect it so soon.

We are lucky that Mike has the kind of job that will always be necessary and he can't be put out of work, it is the same for me, but the way that this downturn affects us,is that we are having trouble selling our only extra asset, a block of land, which is what will pay for most of our mortgage, so that I don't have to hurry back to work.

At one time, the block sale would have financed my time off,paid our mortgage out and then some.Not anymore! Hindsight is a wonderful thing - we should have sold it 3 years ago....

I am not complaining - we are very comfortable, and we are lucky enough to have an asset to sell. I think it will sell eventually, but maybe not as fast as we'd like.I really feel for the families that are losing their income, their homes and lifestyle, it would be so hard.

I guess we have all been living the high life for too long and we'll have to simplify, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What is Happiness?

I have been thinking about happiness a bit lately. Maybe it is because I feel very happy. I am experiencing a "golden" time with my family.
We were talking about it at dinner last night. It came up because we were discussing money - winning Lotto actually- and I think Freya said it would make her very happy. I agreed, but then we started discussing the true meaning of happiness. I asked her what was most important to her, she said her family.Guthrie continued to say that having lots of money would make him happy, but Michael asked him a profound question, which I think we should all answer to understand what makes us most happy:"What would make you most sad?"

We all had the same answer for that question: the death of a loved one. We've experienced it, and along with our discussion we had a little cry about it. When you lose someone dear, it does help put things into perspective. You start to ask, "what is important?"

Another way to think about it, is to imagine, when (if) you are on your "death-bed", and you look back on your life, what will you consider to be your best accomplishments? What do you consider to be success?Because I think if you feel successful, you will feel happy. And I am not talking about success in the conventional way, though many would. Is success defined by what you own, the amount of money you have in the bank, the amount of assets, your net worth? I believe it isn't. When you die, you won't really care about that, having loved and been loved, that is so much more important.

I once read something about being thin. How western society places so much importance on looking slim and youthful. But really, will you look back on your life and say,"I was slim!I lived a good life". I highly doubt it. I know, despite often feeling bad about my size and shape, that I am glad to have the "scars" born of motherhood, The "marshmallow" belly (thanks Freya!), the grey hair, the wrinkles. They are tell the story of my greatest accomplishments - my children, my life with Michael.

Having said that, I do place much value on good health, so I am trying to reduce the marshmallow belly! I'm not in a great rush however, because right now my priority is keeping Charlie happy, and my exercise routine is a little lackadaisical (is that a real word?). Anyway, it isn't as good as it has been in the past, but I don't beat myself up over it, because getting enough sleep, having meals ready and generally keeping the status quo is my priority, I work around that.

Once Charlie is 6 months old, and perhaps has had his first vaccinations (still unsure about that one, that's another future blog!), I will feel more comfortable about putting him in the creche at the gym, and will do a couple of classes every week. That isn't all that far away, he'll be 6 months on the 23rd. It has slipped by so fast.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand : happiness. Enjoying every beautiful day that comes my way, with my gorgeous family and friends: that's happiness.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just another day at the office

It hasn't been an easy one, with the boss (Charlie) giving the Manager (me) a hard time!Poor wee thing isn't too happy, so after a rough night we are having an equally rough day. I am putting it down to teething, as he is feeding all the time and is having a lot of runny nappies.It could be a growth spurt but I reckon the nappies indicates my earlier diagnosis, not to mention the whinging and wanting to be held.

Our day started too early at 5.30a.m, and I lay there whilst Charlie did his morning warbling, thinking about how nice it would be to have a "helper" who could come in, take the baby, let you sleep as long as you like, bring in a cuppa and the newspaper at about 8, get the kids off to school, all the while taking care of Charlie. Then I could get up, have a shower, for as long as I like, without interruption....Ah, dreams are made of this...

I don't for one second regret having Charlie in my life, and I know babies are a labour of love, but I can still fantasise!

Luckily for me, we caught a half hour nap this afternoon, so I feel okay.He is still grumpy, but I know he can't help it. So I'll give him cuddles, and worry about the housework, dinner and laundry later. It will still be there. Including all those yucky nappies! I am using cloth - hoping to save a bit of money, and perhaps not impact on the environment as much as with disposables.

Well, baby Grumpling is calling...