A life of health and wellness…with kids!


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Holiday Hapennings

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Now that the christmas period is over and we are getting back into the swing of the daily happenings of life I thought that I should come back to giving this space more attention. The garden is overflowing with produce, not completely providing us with everything we need but doing a fine job of supplementing our fresh (organic!) vegetable intake. There is art and craft happening on a daily basis and we are enjoying the outdoors during this not too hot high summer.

I haven’t made any formal resolutions for 2015 but over the past few weeks I have definitely had some goals beginning to formulate in my mind about the direction I want 2015 to take for our family. Rhythm and health need to be the main focus as we have one boy heading into grade one and one boy heading into preschool. Healthy living with less (less than we already do) reliance on processed and packaged foods in our diets. Fortifying our mental health with more crafting and time spent doing introspective artistic pursuits. Reading…novels and more intellectual tomes, and Rhythm, instilling that daily ebb and flow that helps us all to be more calm and get everything done that we need to do.

So in light of that the goals that I have set for myself include the following:

  • Read 12 books in 2015 – one per month
  • Sew (or knit) – 12 garments in 2015 – one per month
  • Try one new whole foods based recipe each week – and share it in this space!
  • Take a weekend getaway – or two – this year (We already have one planned for March!!!)
  • Learn form our work in the garden over the past year and implement these learnings so our organic produce is even better in 2015 – I’ll write about this more over the next week or so.
  • Focus on the sentiment that we have everything we need to live this life – we do not need to spend money on unnecessary wants and desires – just the things we need. (This is a hard one for me but something I need to work on!)

And thats it!! If I achieve all of these things then 2015 will have been an awesome year!

These too are the things that I will be focused on writing about this year, I really hope that anyone who does read my blog continues to do so and that I might even see some new readers hop on bard this year!!

Happy 2015!

xxAndj

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How does my garden grow? October 20th – 26th

Posie from my garden

For the love of an abundance of flowers! I am truly grateful for spring bulbs and their reliability to provide a beautiful, uplifting display well into the spring and summer. Bulbs are something that I knew noting at all about prior to moving to a cooler climate, growing up in Brisbane – they just weren’t all that popular – and possibly not all that easy to grow.

It took me a few years before I noticed that everyone in Canberra had bulbs in their garden – but not us. When we bought our house, the front garden was planted with an easy care garden which we quickly allowed to become overgrown with a jungle of grassy weeds as we fell headfirst into the blur of being parents of small children. Somethings just get let go …you know ūüėČ

But over the next few years I slowly persisted with the weed eradication program and started putting in just a few more bulbs each autumn, and then watching how they grew. Adding a few strategically place plants here and there, and slowly growing the variety of plants that grace our front yard. It is very much a work in progress.

This year I planted some Ranaculus bulbs and I absolutely adore them. The colour and life that they add to the garden is such a delight to come home to each evening. As with any garden that is ‘in progress’ there is still much to do and many plants to be added.

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In the meantime, I enjoy the unfolding of the buds to see what colour that new plant (Columbines, Foxgloves, Hollyhocks) will bring – and hope – oh how I hope – that I get a variety of colours rather than all the same colour.

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Often my little helpers (or hinderers) are out there with me. Demanding that I take their pictures.

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I am thoroughly enjoying exploring the world of seasonal flowers and slowly trying them out in the garden to see if they grow at all in some cases, but more often that not to see the shape that the plant takes as it grows. I have planted a few varieties amidst the veggies and other plants this year to act as both ¬†beneficial insect attraction and to use as cut flowers in the house – Cosmos, Carnations and poppies and hopefully some zinnias in summer. I planted some Dahlia tubers but I am not sure if they will grow – we can only wait and see. That’s half the joy.

Andjxx


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A Day at the Beach

On a gloomy day a couple of weeks ago we planned a day trip to the coast – we set off in the morning and hoped like crazy that there would be sunshine on the other side of the mountain – it wasn’t to be sadly. But the kids didn’t mind one bit!    Gloomy Beach

They happily threw themselves into the freezing water, digging and collecting along the way.

 

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Sand Drawing

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We had fish and chips on the beach for lunch and everyone except the driver had a snooze in the car on the way home.

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To Blog or Not to blog

sculpture garden Canberra

Family

sculpture garden Canberra

Family

It has been quite some time since I have felt like blogging at all….it has all just felt like one extra thing to place a demand on my time. I have had plenty of ideas of things to blog about but actually sitting down to write felt like too much.

 

So I didn’t.

 

Instead I have been spending my time out in the world with the three men in my life and in my garden with my plants and my chickens…being all meditative about life.

The urge to blog has been there and in fact just last week I started to get all reminiscent about how great blogging has been for keeping a timeline of our family life..chronicling where we are at in a certain place and time.

So last night when I came across a few local Canberra region bloggers who blog about Urban Homesteading, Permaculture and living a simple more purposeful life something clicked…That is where I want to be also. My family and my crafts and my garden and the cooking are all the things I love doing and love blogging about.

And so I am back….I can’t promise searing regularity of posting but there will definitely be posts…and pictures…

 

xxAndj


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Who Inspires You?

Bird Soaring

With mothers day coming up this weekend, there seems to be many many posts on parenting, mothers, mothering etc etc flooding the blogging world.

Silly Talented Blogger that I am, I hadn’t even thought about putting up a post about the commercial entity that is mothers day. You see – we don’t celebrate Mothers Day. Sure, I will give my mum a call and see how she is going – but then I do that on most Sundays. I will get jumped all over in bed by my two devilish charming little boys – but that happens every day.

What I want to blog about in the lead up to Mothers day is the person who has made the biggest difference in my life – the person who inspired me to soar.

My Mum.

When I was growing up (and occasionally when I was a grown up) I didn’t have the greatest amounts of confidence in my own abilities. I blame my first born, pedantic, perfectionist tendencies.

I blame the fact that I was achingly aware of the fact that we had very little money as a family, that we were somehow different, we got by but only just.

I didn’t have the new clothes, trendy gadgets and objects that allowed me to blend in with the cool kids. I was also a bit of a nerd. It was not cool to be a nerd in the 80’s (I get the feeling though that the Hipster movement has made it cool to be a little nerdish now though – go hipsters!)

When I was about twelve I realised that I could not change this family that I was born into. However, I looked at my intelligent, motivated and accomplished mother and wondered why she would choose that life. It made me wonder a little about love and why people get married. I knew very little of other people’s home circumstances. Our money situation was all that I knew – and I knew that it wasn’t all that much fun.

Somewhere along that path I also figured out that I was the only person who could move in a direction away from the continuation of the family life that was all I had ever known.

Now you may think – well this story isn’t all that inspiring. And you would be right.

BUT, it was seeing into my mothers life and growing up in the post feminist 80’s, where opportunities for women were beginning to improve and we were told we could do anything, that showed me that I wasn’t limited – that I could soar and fly away into my own life and create my own new family life based on my rules.

I believe that this realization was one of the most important of my life. Who knows what direction I would have gone in had I not had this realization. I know that some of the decisions I have made along the way have not been the best, but I also  know how lucky I was to be brought up by someone who enabled me to go out and do what I needed to do to be better than what I knew growing up.

Even though we had very little money, we didn’t ever want for anything – being a mother now myself¬† and knowing what I know now – I am sure that sacrifices were made to allow me to participate in music lessons, athletics and gymnastics – not to mention every other fleeting extracurricular pursuit I took a fancy to.

I don’t think that as children we could possibly have imagined these small¬† guiding steps that our parents give to us – whether we know it at the time or not.¬† I was encouraged to fulfill my potential at every step of the way. For this I am eternally grateful to my Mum – as she was the driver. She gave me wings to soar.

aaname

Who has been the most influential person in your life to date? Was it one of your parents or someone else?


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Cooking From Scratch

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** This post originally appeared on one of my blogs from well back in the day – this week I am doing a retrospective of some past writing – I hope you enjoy!**

We had a little lunch gathering for a few friends yesterday – not quite like the picture above – but hey I am dreaming of summer and being able to spend serious amounts of time outdoors!

We cooked up a  bit of an Indian feast including a couple of vegetarian curries (Eggplant and Chickpea as well as this Aloo Gobi ). We also made a Goat Madras Рyes you read right РGoat.

Back in our pre-children days we regularly went to a great Indian restaurant in Brisbane called A Night in India (High st, Toowong – I thoroughly recommend!). My husband and his friends regularly ordered a goat dish for the novelty factor – and really it is a novelty. It doesn’t taste all that different to Lamb!

For the first time I went to a specialty spice store and bought a authentic Indian madras spice blend. If you have never been to one of these places they are quite an eye opener – all the things you can buy in bulk! Rice and Spices…. but I digress. I think that doing this made such a big difference to the flavour of the curry – it was perfect!¬† Add rice and poppadums – we were all very happy! If anyone is interested I improvised basing the curry on a combination of this Goat curry recipe and this one.

I found it interesting to hear one of our friends telling the other girl (Who I had only met once before briefly) that I make everything from scratch (she was referring to the pumpkin hummus that I made). Is it that strange to cook from scratch? Is that a reflection of the quick and easy society that we live in?

I cook most things from scratch for a number of reasons:

– so that I know what has gone into the food – no chemicals, additives or preservatives.

– so that my children see cooking and preparing food as a normal part of growing up and that we don’t always just go to the shop when we want something.

– value for money!

So I’ll leave you with the Eggplant and Chickpea curry recipe – but tell me –

Do you prefer to make things from scratch???

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry

Serves 4 as a main

2 medium Eggplant

200g Green Beans

1 onion – diced

1 Tin chickpeas

1 tin Lentils

1.5 tbls Tamarind paste

2 Cups water

1 tbls yellow mustard seeds

2 tbls Garam marsala

200ml Coconut milk

Rogan Josh curry spice blend

2 tbls minced ginger

1 tblsp minced garlic

Method

Chop eggplant into 3 – 4 cm cubes, spray with olive oil spray and cook in a 200 degree celcius (180 fan forced) oven for 20mins.

Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a pan with approx 2 tbls olive oil Рcook gently until the onion starts to  brown. Add the mustard seeds and Garam Marsala and cook until fragrant (about 1 min). Add spice blend and mix through thoroughly. Add tamarind and water and stir through. Allow to cook down and reduce slightly. Add eggplant, lentils, chickpeas and beans and cook for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add coconut milk in the last 5 minutes.

Serve with Basmati rice!

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The week in words:a Recap

 

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This week has been one of highs and lows. I started off the week super motivated but as the week drew on I became tired and the motivation levels slipped dramatically.
Last Sunday we had a lovely BBQ at a friends house- these guys always do lovely food so it was a real treat to have someone else make dinner.
On Monday I planned out my food for the week and went shopping – getting everything I needed for a week of solid 12WBT eating. Tuesday morning I was up at 5am so I went and did RPM at the gym – it was a tough session but I was glad I did it. I was motivated to go to the gym on Wednesday and Thursday and I was organised enough to do well with food on these days too. But by Friday the house was a mess, there was piles of dishes in the sink, I has and unexpected function to attend and it wax all too much. I caved and took the easy, comforting option of maccas for lunch and a Cider with my colleague afterward. It’s Saturday, I’m super tired, and trying to figure out how I am going to tiger through the next 12 weeks.
Tonight I am going to dinner with some ladies who are also in Canberra and doing the 12WBT so I am hoping that meeting some other people will assist me in keeping my commitment

I am nervous about meeting new people and having to interact with them but I think that it will help – I hope!


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For the love of bubbles!

A few weeks ago on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon the kids had a fun bubble session with the aunt on her front lawn.

  It was especially funny watching Baby B putting the wrong end of the bubble pipe in his mouth~! Then he was really blowing bubbles!

Simple fun!

xxAndj


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It’s not September in Canberra without Floriade

I have only managed to make it into the annual Flower extravaganza Floriade once this year (It is a month long show), but I did manage to take a couple of colourful pics….

Floriade Canberra 2012Floriade Canberra 2012

I think one of these my be my new Facebook banner!


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Miss American Pie it’s the 4th of July!

Pumpkin Pie, 4th of July

My first attempt at Pumpkin Pie went quite smoothly. It was sweet without being super sweet and as you can see above, the vultures were eyeing it off well before dinner had commenced. The only problem being that he has to actually eat his dinner to achieve the goal of the Pie.

Although I thoroughly believe he was a Labrador in a past life – as he is entirely food motivated – it makes no difference what the allure of dessert holds – dinner is normally still a fight. After many attempts at excuses and numerous threats of being sent to his bedroom, dinner was consumed and his pie was devoured.

Pie Victory !

The recipe was from this months Super Food Ideas and while I detest making Pastry from scratch, it is worth it. The only thing I would do differently is use a glass Pie dish next time.

Pumpkin Pie

(super food ideas July 2012 p 81)

Pumpkin Pie

Filling

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

1 Tblsp cornflour

2 Eggs

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 1/4 cups cold mashed Kent Pumpkin (about 500g before mashing)

2 tblsp maple syrup

1 tsp mixed spice

icing sugar and whipped cream to serve

Pastry

1 1/2 cups Plain Flour

1/4 cup caster sugar

125g chilled butter

1 egg yolk

1 tblsp iced water

Method

1. To make the Pastry; place flour, sugar and chilled butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and water. Process until dough just comes together. Turn pastry out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins.

2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/180 degrees C fan-forced. Place an oven tray in oven. Grease a 4-cm deep, 20cm (base) round pie dish. Roll out pastry between two sheets of baking paper until large enough to line base and sides of prepared dish (about 30cm). Line dish with pastry. Trim edge. Refrigerate for 15 min. Line pastry case with baking paper, fill with uncooked rice and blind bake for 10 mins. Remove paper with rice and bake for a further 10 mins. Set aside to cool.

3. Reduce over to 180 degree C/160 degrees fan-forced

. Combine brown sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl. Whisk in eggs, evaporated milk, pumpkin, maple syrup and mixed spice. Pour into pastry andbake for 45 – 50 mins or until filling has set. Cool and refrigerate until Chilled.

Dust pie with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream.

xxAndj

Did you do anything special for the 4th of July?