Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I need it. We live in a small house. A lovely house, but small nevertheless. Today I have been wracking my brain trying to work out how to give myself a bit of room. Not storage space (although I desperately need that too), but space for me.

The children have their own rooms which they have made 'their own' with shelves full of toys, books and knick-knacks, and walls covered in artwork. My husband and I have a room 'in progress'. It will be 'in progress' for some time, I think! Wardrobe space is at a premium, and one side of the room is taken up with a filing cabinet, drawers and a desk. Perfect for computer time and blogging, but not conducive to crafting. And especially not suitable for an altar!

So with a bit of tweaking and re-arranging, I think I have a solution. Today would have been the perfect time to get it all sorted out, but with a kitchen hutch, a chest of drawers and a desk to move, it is going to have to wait until my muscle bound husband returns home! I am going to create a crafting nook in the unused dining room (we eat outdoors, so the dining table is now on ebay!), and I will set up my long awaited altar on my side of the bedroom.

Why is all this space important? Well, the crafting nook speaks for itself. With my handmade pledge for 2010, I am going to need it!! I don't fancy having to take the sewing machine out of the cupboard everytime I feel the need to stitch. A trip to Ikea will be on the cards for some fancy storage boxes too.

As for the altar, well, that's entirely for me. A place to return to when I need inspiration. A place where I can reconnect with the divine. A place for meditation. A place to hold items that are sacred to me - pictures of loved ones, candles, crystals and my totems.

Space for me. Boy, am I looking forward to it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas at our place...

I hope you all had a wonderful day! We certainly did. A big morning at home opening presents from Santa, followed by an equally big afternoon at Nanny Kidd's house with more present opening! We took the obligatory family generational pictures (which I will post in another blog entry), feasted on absolutely divine food (thanks, Nanny Kidd!), and finally settled into the lounge room with the karaoke machine. As crazy as they all are, I love my family to bits and always look forward to Christmas day with them.

Here are some shots of Christmas eve and Christmas day, followed by a couple taken in the rain this morning.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Slow down

I had a realisation today that hit me like a tonne of bricks.

I will know my children for far more years as adults, than I will know them as kids.

I don't know why I've only just realised this, nor why it hit me so hard. It's had a profound effect on my thinking and on my actions too. I'm slowing down. Not just in what I do, but in how I speak and in my interactions with my kids. I need to listen to them more. I need to be with them more. And I need to expect less.

You always hear people say, 'they are kids for such a short time', but have you ever really just stopped and thought about what that means? These experiences we have with them are but fleeting. The way they look, the way they react, their emotional vulnerabilities now, will be gone in a few short years. They will grow up, and find their own lives. It is our responsibility as parents to nurture them now. Love them now and be with them now. Giving them material things, or overloading their days with structured activities, is not, in my humble opinion, the best type of parenting. It feels good to give them what they think they need, but what will they remember about you when they grow up? How many toys you gave them, or how much time you spent playing with them, and enjoying them?

Slow down.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'll let you in on a little secret...

I've found a wonderful product! Soap in a Nutshell!

Actually I found them a while ago but they were packed in some obscure box when we moved into our rental property 8 months ago, and were only unpacked recently!! So what are they? Well, to put it in a nutshell (hee, hee...) they are a washing detergent that literally grows on trees. They are found in India and contain saponin which when immersed in water releases a natural soapy substance. They are fragrance free which is great for those of us with allergies. However, if you like your washing to smell fresh and pretty, you can add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil to the wash. I like to use eucalyptus and lavender. They are also amazingly economical! You use approximately 4-5 nuts per wash and these same nuts can be used for up to 3 or 4 washes!

My only criticism is that they don't work particularly well on stains that have been left too long on clothes. But then again, most chemical laden soap powders struggle with that too sometimes!

Enough of my prattle though. If you are interested in knowing more about them, click on the link above. The website is great and should answer all your questions.

Happy washing, girls!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Muesli Cookies

I found this recipe the other day and thought it looked simple and yummy. I was right! The kids and I just made a batch and they are delicious. And not to mention, pretty healthy too.

3 cups homemade toasted muesli (I didn't have any homemade, so I used a good quality bought one that had heaps of dried fruit and seeds in it)
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
100g butter, melted, cooled
1/3 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Combine muesli and flour in a bowl. Whisk butter, honey and egg together. Add butter mixture to oats and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes. Actually, in this weather, put it in the fridge to harden a little! Roll spoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on trays, 3cm apart. Bake for 10 mins. Swap trays halfway through. Cool for 10 mins transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It was written in the stars

I get the picture that most people think of me as outspoken, confident and a bit of a rabble rouser. I think they are probably correct for the most part. I do love to get the cauldron bubbling! I do however, feel a little misunderstood a lot of the time. I think some people may be confused by my motives and I'm sure a few of my dejecters are probably of the belief that I place myself on a pedestal in search for fame and glory. Well, the Leo in me is mighty proud of that assumption and shouts out 'hoorah' to those souls brave enough to challenge the king of the jungle! These days though my lion is sleepy, and has handed the reins over to the water bearer and the archer. You see, I have Aquarius rising and my moon is in Sagittarius. These two aspects make for a pretty interesting existence, let me tell you!

Without going into the nitty gritty of astrology (believe me, I could go on, and on and on....), let me at least fill you in on three of the most important parts - the sun, the moon and the ascendant. Your sun sign is where the sun was located at the time of your birth, and is the common 'star sign' that is regularly referred to. Your sun sign controls the ego and it's self expression, and is, in short, how we express our individuality. Our moon sign is all about our emotions, and in my opinion, is of far more importance than our sun sign. It gives us an indication of our inner selves, and controls our instincts. The ascendant or rising sign is the sign that appeared on the eastern horizon at your time of birth. In a nutshell, our ascendant describes how we appear to the world. Here is a great description.

So from these three aspects we can gauge how we see ourselves, how the world sees us and how we handle life emotionally. I've been through my Leo phase, and whilst my ego is still a little wrapped up in the Leonine show-offi-ness, it's not who I am anymore. My ego is there, but its not going to control me. Maybe I've grown up, or maybe I've just learned that my exterior doesn't define me.

Emotionally, I am the warrior maiden, full of voice and vision. I have completely embraced her, and the emotional journey we are embarking on together is exciting. I'm not afraid to teach what I've learned, and sharing my philosophies and beliefs is of the utmost importance to me.

As for how I appear to the world, well, let's just say that it doesn't surprise me if some find me a little odd, maybe a bit eccentric, slightly controversial, somewhat left of centre and maybe a bit of a loner. That's ok with me. It was written in the stars 36 years ago. I've only just begun to learn how to live with it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Watching our pennies

....seems to be the topic of the month in my household. Due to my husband's recent job loss, and subsequent new found employment, we have lost approximately one third of our income. Thankfully we have no debt other than a mortgage, as we own both our cars (albeit, old and crappy), and our credit cards are paid off. This makes things far more manageable. The challenge for me is to manage the finances as they are, without impinging on our lifestyle.

So with this in mind, I am looking to 2010 with new eyes and new ideas. You'll all be aware of the secondhand/handmade challenge I am undertaking, and this should help balance the books somewhat. I'm also big on budgeting and I have a spreadsheet with each of our outgoings listed. We also have several bank accounts - an 'everyday account' for daily spending such as groceries and petrol; a 'monthly account' for monthly bills such as kindy fees, phone bills, mortgage payments etc; a 'longterm account' for bills such as rates, electricity, car services, rego etc. Each payday, I have a scheduled transfer from our main account into each of these accounts. It's an easy way to keep control of the money and it also helps me keep track of where we might be over-spending, or over-budgeting. We do have a savings account too, and I aim to deposit something into it each payday, even if its only $5! We find the best way to save is to pay extra onto our mortgage each fortnight. This way we reduce our interest payments and if need be, for a small fee, we can redraw this money.

As of today, I am also attempting to do my grocery shopping fortnightly. The aim of this is to decrease what I spend on food, and to keep an eye on what we eat! I hope to do a lot more baking and home cooking, and therefore reduce the amount of 'extras' I purchase each week. Hopefully by buying in bulk, I will be able to reduce costs too. I'll keep you posted with this one!

As an ex-travel agent, I find it hard to go without a holiday of some sort each year. We have always travelled, even before children. Next year we are off to Malaysia thanks to the cheap airfares of Air Asia. $1100 total for the 5 of us!! So now my challenge is to find cheap accommodation. You know - champagne taste on a beer budget, and all! I have a few months to sort this out. Who knows, maybe we'll rough it and hang out with the orangutans in Borneo!?!?

For me, being penny wise is about not compromising on the big things. I'd rather slave away in the kitchen and buy my kids secondhand clothing than miss out on the wonderful things like travelling and eating at lovely restaurants every now and then. How do you save money? And what is important to your family? Do you like holidays, or would you prefer to save for something else? Do you save at all? Or do you only just make ends meet? I'm curious. We've always had enough money for what we've wanted and needed. It's tougher for us now (a great thing, from my point of view - nothing like suffering a little for personal growth), and I'd really love to know how you all manage.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to make felted pebbles

Such a great activity to keep little hands busy, and make wonderful little toys once they are completed. They make a gorgeous fairy ring, mountains for pixie folk to climb, treasures for treasure chests, and great counting and colour recognition tools for the really little ones.

Here is a step by step guide.

1. Prepare your materials. You will need some clean, smooth pebbles (we found ours in the garden), some warm soapy water (I use washing-up detergent), some pure wool fleece and a felting needle (this is not compulsory but it helps to keep the fleece in place at the beginning). Note the six little hands, waiting patiently...

2. Using a small portion of fleece, wrap it around the pebble ensuring that it is all covered. You may need to use two pieces. Secure it with the needle, if you are using one.

3. Saturate the fleece with the warm soapy water. At first just gently agitate by rolling it in your palms to ensure the fleece starts to knit together. Once it has started to felt, you can be a little rougher. Continue with the rolling and agitating until you are happy that it has felted together nicely and has good coverage. As the fleece begins to felt it will shrink to the shape of the pebble. It should fit nice and tight.

4. Rinse the pebbles thoroughly under cold water to remove all traces of the soap. This is Master C's favourite part!

5. Put them in the sun to dry, and then play!

My not-so-everyday life...

These next couple of weeks are going to be hectic, to say the least! Busy, busy before Christmas!

This is what is on my calendar -

Tonight - crafting at a friend's house
Tomorrow night - the last of the Mama Moontime Craft club
Thursday - must fit in a gym session
Friday night - Caleb's kindy graduation
Saturday - Moondew Christmas festival
Sunday - our street Christmas party
Monday - Caleb's kindy craft night/Women's circle (still trying to work out how to be in two places at once! Maybe it can be a Daddy craft night??)
Tuesday - Moondew family day
Wednesday - Mama Moontime Craft club night out
Thursday - another scheduled gym session
Friday - attempt to wrap ALL Christmas presents while children are at kindy
Saturday - Keith Urban concert

...and I am sure there will be plenty more that sneaks up on me! Phew, I'm exhausted even typing it all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A challenge - Part II

Ok, so I am going to do it! Starting January 1, I am going to attempt to only make, or purchase handmade goods, or secondhand items for one year. I've been contemplating this challenge for a while and with good advice from friends have decided that I can achieve this. I'm not going to put myself under any pressure, and I won't feel guilty if I have to purchase brand new. If a new purchase is required, then I aim to make sure, to the best of my ability, that what I do buy is ecologically sound, or has been made using Fair Trade practises.

As some of my commentors mentioned on the last post, the challenge is about awareness. Awareness of where my pennies are spent, awareness of need vs want, awareness of environment and awareness of quality. I will enjoy spending my money knowing that love has gone into the making of an item, or knowing that someone has decided to recycle something rather than throw it into landfill. I'm also looking forward to perfecting my skills and hope that my own creations will play a part in what my family uses over the year.

I'm going to keep a record of purchases and creations, and will update you all throughout the year with how things are running. It's an exciting ambition, and I'm really looking forward to it with the utmost anticipation!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A challenge

Do you think you could spend one year only buying or making handmade, or secondhand goods for yourself, your friends and family? Tough one, hey? This is a challenge I am seriously thinking about undertaking. Dottie Angel is doing it, and so are a couple of my friends.

It would be a wonderfully economical way to get through a year, and gift giving would be a beautifully personal thing. I could make use of my new crafty skills and I would get to spend more time on websites like Etsy and MadeIt. My kids would have unique toys to play with and gorgeous handmade clothes. I would be helping the planet and I would be helping my hip pocket!

There are some anomalies though. There are some things that just need to be brand new! I guess I need to ruminate on the idea for a while. Maybe I just need to set myself an amended challenge. One that is achievable for me. I don't want to be stressing myself out now, do I??

So how would you tackle this? Would you even consider attempting a challenge such as this? Why is it a good/bad idea? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Simple Celebration

I love Christmas. I really do. What I don't like though, is the assault to my senses that I encounter everywhere! I'm all for getting into the 'spirit', but must we have tinsel, lights, Christmas trees, fake presents, baubles, horrible tinny sounding Christmas carols, and the feeling that we need to buy, buy, buy...drummed into us at every waking moment!?!?!? It's just all a bit much for me. The part that saddens me the most though, is that the meaning of Christmas has really and truly been lost on the majority of people.

For Christians, the celebration of Christmas is a time to remember the birth of their saviour, Jesus Christ, and a time to honor the gifts of salvation he bestowed on those who follow his Way. However, long before Christ, Yule was celebrated by most of Northern Europe, and this is where the majority of our Christmas traditions began. The Yule tree (now known as the Christmas tree) was decorated, the ceremonial yule log was burned and allowed to smoulder for 12 days (perhaps the origins of 'The 12 Days of Christmas' carol?), holly was hung on the doors of homes to snag or ward off evil spirits, and even kissing under the mistletoe has it's Pagan origins. Yule is the Winter Solstice, or the time when the dark half of the year surrenders to the light half, and the warmer weather, and her gifts, are welcomed. It was a time when people gave thanks to the gods and goddesses for their part in the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth. Ultimately, it was another excuse for feasting and being surrounded by loved ones!

So for me, Christmas has so much more meaning than just the hype and rabble we see on TV and in the shopping centres. I intend this year to keep it simple and unadulterated. We will have a Christmas tree, but this year it will be a native tree in a pot. The decorations chosen will be special, preferably made by my children, and as natural as possible. We have a beautiful knitted Nativity set that will have pride of place on our entry table, and each day we will remember the story of the birth of baby Jesus, as we enter our home. A couple of years ago I made a felted advent calendar that we will use to count down the days, and I will teach the children about the Four Kingdoms of Life that I recently learned about. Thank you Mama Moontime! My children are still young, and Santa is a big part of Christmas for them, so of course they will get presents, but only a few well chosen, top quality gifts will be under the tree. Living in the Southern Hemisphere means that for us Christmas time falls around the Summer Solstice, so with my burgeoning knowledge of the sabats, we will also try to understand and celebrate this the best way we can.

It is my wish that my children will grow up with a deeper understanding of the blessings of the season, and so for this reason Christmas for us will be a time of reflection, of thanks and gratitude, of peace, and of love.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My favourite photos...

I've been going through all my photos so far for 2009, with the intention of creating a photo book for the year. I have so many photos! What on earth did we do before digital photography?! Here are just a few of my favourites...

Mummy and Isla ready for a big walk!

Fireman Caleb!

Caleb aka Harry Potter!

This is possibly my favourite! His big brother is always the protector.

Simon and the boys watching the massive waves at Burleigh.

Isla dressed up and ready to go out for a Chinese New Year feast.

If this isn't a look of utter joy, then I don't know what is. Caleb on his 5th birthday.

Brother and sister bonding over Yakult.

Jai demonstrating the Falun Dafa exercises at Queensland's 150th birthday celebrations.

My little Joey Scout on induction night.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Springtime lamb..

This is what we ate for dinner last night. EVERYONE loved it, including fussy Little Miss! It's not your usual roast lamb. The recipe comes from my favourite recipe book, Falling Cloudberries, and it has a distinct Greek flavour. It was honestly one of the most flavoursome dishes I have ever cooked. Simple and easy too.

Leg of Lamb with Oregano and Lemon

Serves 5-6
1.5kg leg of lamb (on the bone)
Juice of two lemons (if you don't like things overly lemon, I would use one lemon and some stock)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
50g butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 large potatoes

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Rinse and trim the lamb of any excess fat and put it in a large baking dish. Rub the lamb all over with the lemon juice, season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the oregano, crushing it between your fingers to cover the meat. Dot the butter over the top. Pour 250ml water around the lamb and drizzle the olive oil around it as well. Bake for about 15 minutes on each side, until it is browned all over.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into bite sized pieces. Scatter them in the baking dish around the browned lamb, add some salt and turn them over with a wooden spoon to coat them in the juice. Add a little more water if it has evaporated. Cover the baking tray with foil, lower the heat to about 160 degrees and bake for another 2 hours or so, turning the lamb over at least once during this time and shufflling the potatoes.

Serve on a huge platter with a salad or some simply cooked greens. This is also nice with some tzatziki on the side.

NB. This lamb will be well cooked and tender (not pink like some people prefer). If you prefer it to be less cooked, just reduce the cooking time. I served fresh green beans with ours and they were a perfect accompaniment. I also took Tessa's advice and served tzatziki with it. The lamb is crispy and crunchy on the outside with a tender inside, and the lemon juice caramelises the potatoes to perfection. It was scrumptious!

(Picture was scanned from Falling Cloudberries - A world of family recipes, by Tessa Kiros)

Friday, October 30, 2009

My daughter

We didn't plan on three children. Our two boys were all we wanted and we had no desire to procreate again. I have to admit though, that when our second son was born I did feel (for just the smallest moment) a little disappointed that he wasn't a girl. I got over those feelings pretty quickly though when I gazed into his deep, dark eyes. They told many a tale, and he completed our family perfectly. So, that was it,no more babies for us.

The universe, being what it is, had other plans for us and it seems that I was much more fertile than I had thought. It took a few weeks for my third pregnancy to sink in, and there were many days when I wondered how on earth I was going to cope with three small children. I wondered what it was going to be like having another little boy in our home - because that is what I was convinced this little one would be! Of course she wasn't, and we were so very happy to welcome her little spirit earthside.

I am convinced that becoming the mother of a girl child has been one of the catalysts to my own new journey. Learning about the divine and sacred feminine has opened me up to the incredible beauty and power we as women hold within us. The power to transform, to create, to nurture, to heal, and to love. I want my daughter to grow up understanding these qualities. I want to make sure she understands that she has the power to make a difference - to her life and to the life of those around her. I want her to understand that her body is a temple that needs to be honoured. I want her to make the right choices - choices of the heart and not the head. I want her to be a strong young woman, and devoted mother and a loving wife. I want her to know herself.

It has only been in the last six months or so, that I have really understood the enormity of having a daughter. I have so much to prepare her for, and I have so much to teach her. Luckily time, and the biggest support system I have ever encountered, is on my side.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kookaburra Dreaming

Flying in on the breath of dawn
The chatter of my children pricks his ears
He sits and he watches
Intently, directly
His proud dark eyes bringing wisdom, strength
Healing and laughter
His sacred sound echos and delves
Deep into my heart and my home
His message delivered
He turns to look at the sun
And he has gone.

Thank you, dear friend.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


....seems to be the topic today, so I thought it was appropriate to share one of my favourite songs with you.

Rhiannon - Fleetwood Mac

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn't you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight
And who will be her lover

All your life you've never seen
A woman, taken by the wind
Where you stay if she promised you heaven
Will you ever win

She is like a cat in the dark
And then she is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark
And when the sky is starless

All your life you've never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven
Will you ever win
Will you ever win

Rhiannon, Rhiannon
Rhiannon, Rhiannon

She rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn't you love to love her?
She moves alive like a butterfly
And who will be her lover

All your life you've never seen
A woman, taken by the wind
Will you stay if she promised you heaven
Will you ever win
Will you ever win

Rhiannon, Rhiannon
Rhiannon, Rhiannon

Taken by, taken by the sky
Taken by, taken by the sky
Taken by, taken by the sky

Dreams unwind, love's a state of mind
Dreams unwind, love's a state of mind

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Thursday, October 22, 2009


According to the online dictionary, the definition of reverence is -

1. a feeling or attitude of profound respect, usually reserved for the sacred or divine.

I used to believe that reverence was something that was confined to church meetings and the teachings of Jesus. Or that it was a word used to describe our feelings toward our elders. While both of these are certainly true, lately I've been discovering the word's meaning at a more grass roots level. I've been bringing it into my day to day life and making it my mantra.

To treat everything with reverence is to turn mundane tasks into tasks full of love and beauty. Washing dishes, hanging out clothes, bathing the children, cooking dinner, gardening, mopping, cleaning the bathroom, buying groceries, decorating our home, helping with homework... The list is endless. If we think about what we are trying to achieve with each task - usually organisation, domestic harmony, cleanliness and beauty etc - we can see that the outcome should be positive. By thinking reverently and putting love into our actions, our happy outcomes are certainly guaranteed.

In our little home, we show reverence at dinner time by lighting a candle and giving thanks for our food. We end our meal by blowing out the candle and giving thanks for our fire light. Just a small gesture, but it is teaching the children that dinner time is not just another hour of the day, but a time to reflect and to honour the food we have been graciously given.

On a larger scale, we honour and revere our bodies by being thoughtful of what we consume. I make clear and conscious choices about what food I purchase for my family - where it is from, how it was made, how close to nature it is etc. In a similar way, we show reverence to Mother Earth by keeping our carbon footprint as small as possible. These two examples show reverence in it's most raw form - respecting the sacred and divine. And what could be more sacred or divine than our bodies and Mother Earth?

It takes a small change of thought, and a desire to want to live a life of beauty before true reverence takes hold. For many, this kind of thinking might be akin to looking at the world through rose coloured glasses. For me, it is my way of creating the harmony, the balance, the love and the respect I need to make my life, one of complete beauty.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The weight has lifted from my shoulders
And from my heart
Clarity and beauty have found their place
Calmness, as a veil, encases me
I surrender

The peace has replaced the questioning
My mind is still
I accept her wonderous gifts and love
I humbly serve
And I surrender

- Rebecca 2009

Picture originally uploaded by www.evbeat.com.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family days

We've been lucky enough to have had quite a lot of family days lately, given our home situation! Today was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, but aren't they always the best? We had planned to go down to the Crystal Castle in Mullumbimby - one of my favourite places - but decided to spend loads of money we don't have, and go to Seaworld instead! We bought one of the Q150 passes which gives us access to Seaworld, Movieworld and Wet n Wild until the end of June next year. Cool! Well, that's what the kids reckon...

We only stayed for a couple of hours as that is all little Miss can handle before she needs her nap. That said, we still managed to go on most of the rides at Sesame Street Beach, watched the Big Bird and Elmo live show, patted some sting rays, starfish and sea cucumbers, watched the sharks and attempted some of the scarier rides (well, one or two of us did!). A great start to the next 8 months of theme parking and I do feel, a worthy investment for the up and coming Christmas holidays!

Tonight we are off to a Chinese feast to celebrate Yeh Yeh's 72nd birthday. More precious family time, and time for me to get back to gym. My zippers are groaning just thinking about the food tonight....

Friday, October 16, 2009

The lilac giants

Oh, how I love the sight of a jacaranda in full bloom. Their lilac flowers are as beautiful carpeted on the ground as they are when still hanging from their branches. The majesty of a mature tree in all it's glory is just one more reason to be thankful for the seasons. We may not see all of the seasons all the time, but I like to think that the jacaranda is Mother Nature's little reminder of spring. A splash of vibrant purple to our dreary brown landscape!

I'd love to capture that colour and use it somewhere in my daughter's room, but somehow I just don't think I'd be able to do it justice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My new favourite

I discovered this blessing poem today. I've read it several times since finding it, and each time has been just as special as the first time. I find it extremely comforting and incredibly beautiful. Something that I would like to be able to say to someone one day, have them really understand it.

The poet is John O'Donohue. I wasn't familiar with him before today, and it turns out that he was incredibly well known is his homeland of Ireland. He sadly passed away early last year aged only 52.

So here it is. Isn't it just lovely?

BEANNACHT (Blessing)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the gray window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colors,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue
come to awaken in you,
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the curach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

- John O'Donohue

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fish for dinner...

Cover of "Falling Cloudberries: A World o...Cover via Amazon

Moving is always such a thankless task. However, I love the excitement that comes with opening boxes that have been closed for a long period of time. I've been missing my recipe books, but this week we were re-acquainted. Recipe books and I have a wonderful relationship. I especially love the big hard cover books that are almost a novel and often a work of art. I love to look at the pictures, read the recipes and dream of creating a gastronomical feast for my family. Of course, more reading and less cooking is often the case. Today however, I am attempting a recipe from my all time favourite recipe book, Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. Even the name conjures up delicious thoughts, don't you think?

Tonight's meal is Oven Baked Fish with Tomato and Parsley.

1kg firm white fish fillets (any kind - I'm using flake as it was the freshest and cheapest. Please don't use basa - but that's another post...) cut into 6cm pieces
400g tin tomatoes with juice (or very ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
2 celery stalks, chopped with some leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the fish in an oven dish where they will fit in a single layer. Mix together the tomatoes, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, celery, sugar and olive oil and taste for seasoning. Pour over the fish to cover all the pieces, shaking the dish from side to side. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove the aluminium foil, increase the heat to 200 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened and the top of the fish is golden in a couple of places. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices, and with either a salad or steamed vegies.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm on fire!

... well, not literally! But I do feel the spark of my smouldering creative flame. It's getting warmer and warmer, and will soon be ready to burst into a raging inferno! Hee, hee....

Tonight, thanks to my friend Amber (aka Mama Moontime), I started on another journey - a creative one this time. Tonight was the first night of the Mama Moontime Craft club and I loved it! I'm so looking forward to next week when we will felt the cover of our journal. Felting is one of my favourite things to do. It's so easy, and the end result is always so beautiful.

If anyone else is interested in exploring their creative abilities (and yes, you DO have them - we all do...), check out Amber's blog. There are still places available in the Mama Moontime Club too, so come along and join us.


The Sabbath of Women

I've just discovered a beautiful story written by a very wise woman, Lara Owen. It took me a while to get through it, but in between finding snacks for my children, breaking up fights, and attending to tradesman, I managed to finish it and I am so thankful that I did. I want to share it with you, because it is empowering and inspiring, and I will be interested to hear your thoughts.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

What weekend's are made of...

The long awaited Wizard's Express has come and gone - right along with a little of my sanity! I don't do long road trips particularly well. Especially not with three kidlets sitting behind me. To give them credit though, they were very well behaved. There is however, only so much time you can expect them to sit quietly and enjoy the scenery!

We stopped off at the Ettamoggah Pub for a leg stretch and some home-made sandwiches on the way up. The kids spent ages trying to work out how they got the pub into the shape it's in. We couldn't resist the temptation of the Fudge Shop (well, maybe I couldn't resist it) so we bought some for the road.

The Wizard's Express was great, although possibly a little too long for youngsters like mine. They loved the hype of the dress-up, and enjoyed having to 'jump' through the wall onto Platform 9 and 3/4.

The Sorting Hat placed us in the Moaning Myrtle carriage with our friends, Lena, Peter, Lily and Emily, and while the train was in motion we enjoyed visits from Hagrid (who plied the kids with lollies), Professor Grumblebum, a face-painter who stamped us with spiders, and a rat not unlike Ron Weasley's pet, Scabbers. Jai was lucky enough to win first prize for the best dressed boy. He was the only Ron Weasley amongst countless Harry Potters. Something to be said there for individuality! A magic show in the Great Hall was waiting for us back at the station, and the evening ended with supper on the platform. Lots and lots of fun!

We stopped off in Noosa on the way home on Sunday, and enjoyed a yummy breakfast at a cafe on the river in Noosaville. Boy, has that place changed since we were last there! So many cute little boutiques (yes, I got myself a bargain!) and heaps of groovy cafes.

We are home now, tired and a little grumpy, but all with hearts and minds full of memories that will last us a lifetime. Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Theme cake virgin

So I decided to try a theme cake for Caleb's birthday. I'm still getting used to my new 'old' oven, and burnt the first one! Thankfully I have a husband who knew how important it was to me to get this right, so off he went to Coles to fetch another cake mix. No, I wasn't going to make one from scratch this time. It was stressful enough trying to put it together! Here are some pictures of the Treasure Chest. What do you think?

I'm pretty proud of myself.

From this -

To this -

Hope it tastes as good as it looks!!

Our sweet boy...

Five years ago today, our sweet baby boy joined us earthside. Those deep, dark eyes told so many tales, and they hypnotise us to this day. Full of love, innocence and unbounded curiosity, our little prince has brought us so much joy. His big brother is his favourite teacher, and his baby sister, his own student. Another chapter will soon unfurl in his still small world, and we are so blessed to be a part of it.

Life has big plans for this little man, and we know he has the strength of character and the determination to take those plans and run with them!

Happy 5th birthday darling!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's warming up...

... and the flies are starting to appear! Before you pull out the Mortein though, try this old fashioned deterrent that I just discovered in a magazine. It's cheap and good for the environment too.

Mix one cup of boiling water with half a cup of sugar and a half a cup of vinegar, pour into bottles and hang up in doorways to deter flies.

The same article also has this great tip which I am certainly going to try.

Make your own fabric spray - put water in which rice has boiled into a spray bottle and use when you iron. Adding a drop or two of your favourite essential oil will make you clothes smell sweet.

Cheap and green!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kahlil Gibran on friendship...

"And a youth said, Speak to us of Friendship.
And he answered, saying:
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay".
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know the flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

Friday, September 18, 2009

To buy or not to buy?

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago. It is still true today, if not more true, than it was then. Those of you who watched Today Tonight's story last night on where our food comes from, will see the importance in these words. As the old saying goes, 'from little things, big things grow' - start small and enjoy the adventure!

The Importance of Eating Locally

Do you know where your food comes from and how far it has travelled to reach your plate? Why is this important? These two questions should be in the forefront of our minds at all times, particularly for those of us that believe our planet’s survival is of the utmost importance.

The further your food has travelled, the greater your carbon footprint. This means that if your food has had to travel by plane or a long distance by train or truck, the more greenhouse gas emissions will have been created to get it to you. This is particularly the case for imported foods and drinks. For those of us that want to reduce our impact on our wonderful planet, eating locally is something we should strive to do. Not only is it better for the environment, it is also better for our health as it means eating much fresher, tastier, often organic and in-season foods.

Often it’s not easy to find locally sourced foods, particularly if you are a city dweller. This may mean that if you really want to challenge yourself to eating locally that you may need to reduce or stop your intake of things that are not produced nearby. Did you know that most of the food that the average American eats has travelled almost 2500kms to reach their dinner table? It is probably the same here in Australia given our distance from the rest of the world, and each other in some cases! This is quite a horrific statistic, particularly in this time of global warming awareness.

There are many websites and organisations dedicated to the process of eating locally and they are a fantastic resource for finding out where to start. The 100 Mile Diet (www.100milediet.org) is a movement in the USA and Canada who are devoted to only eating food sourced within a 100 mile radius of their homes. It’s certainly not an easy task, and one that requires great dedication. For those of us not quite so dutiful, why not at least make the first step and try to only consume food made and grown in Australia? Just check your labels at the supermarket and use farmers markets where possible. Pretty soon, you’ll be addicted...

Thanks to the folks at the 100 Mile Diet website, here are 13 great reasons to eat locally. The list was put together by an American couple who followed the 100 Mile Diet for 12 months. Be aware though, that many of the foods mentioned below are from North America, but you’ll get the picture – let them inspire you...

1. Taste the difference. At a farmers’ market, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours. It comes to you ripe, fresh, and with its full flavor, unlike supermarket food that may have been picked weeks or months before. Close-to-home foods can also be bred for taste, rather than withstanding the abuse of shipping or industrial harvesting. Many of the foods we ate on the 100-Mile Diet were the best we’d ever had.

2. Know what you’re eating. Buying food today is complicated. What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was that chicken free range or did it grow up in a box? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers. Many build relationships with farmers whom they trust. And when in doubt, they can drive out to the farms and see for themselves.

3. Meet your neighbours. Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets have 10 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Join a community garden and you’ll actually meet the people you pass on the street. Sign up with the 100-Mile Diet Society; we’ll be working to connect people in your area who care about the same things you do.

4. Get in touch with the seasons. When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember that cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and pancakes just make sense–a lot more sense than flavourless cherries from the other side of the world.

5. Discover new flavours. Ever tried sun chokes? How about purslane, quail eggs, yerba mora, or tayberries? These are just a few of the new (to us) flavours we sampled over a year of local eating. Our local spot prawns, we learned, are tastier than popular tiger prawns. Even familiar foods were more interesting. Count the types of pear on offer at your supermarket. Maybe three? Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties–while more than 2,000 more have been lost in our rush to sameness .

6. Explore your home. Visiting local farms is a way to be a tourist on your own home turf, with plenty of stops for snacks.

7. Save the world. A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country. The ingredients for a typical British meal, sourced locally, travelled 66 times fewer “food miles.” Or we can just keep burning those fossil fuels and learn to live with global climate change, the fiercest hurricane seasons in history, wars over resources…

8. Support small farms. We discovered that many people from all walks of life dream of working the land–maybe you do too. In areas with strong local markets, the family farm is reviving. That’s a whole lot better than the jobs at Wal-Mart and fast-food outlets that the globalized economy offers in North American towns.

9. Give back to the local economy. A British study tracked how much of the money spent at a local food business stayed in the local economy, and how many times it was reinvested. The total value was almost twice the contribution of a dollar spent at a supermarket chain.

10. Be healthy. Everyone wants to know whether the 100-Mile Diet worked as a weight-loss program. Well, yes, we lost a few pounds apiece. More importantly, though, we felt better than ever. We ate more vegetables and fewer processed products, sampled a wider variety of foods, and ate more fresh food at its nutritional peak. Eating from farmers’ markets and cooking from scratch, we never felt a need to count calories.

11. Create memories. A friend of ours has a theory that a night spent making jam–or in his case, perogies–with friends will always be better a time than the latest Hollywood blockbuster. We’re convinced. Cooking with children is also a fantastic - educational, fun and great family time.

12. Have more fun while travelling. Once you’re addicted to local eating, you’ll want to explore it wherever you go. On a recent trip to Mexico, earth-baked corn and hot-spiced sour oranges led us away from the resorts and into the small towns. Somewhere along the line, a mute magician gave us a free show over bowls of lime soup in a little cantina.

13. And always remember: Everything about food and cooking is a metaphor for sex!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


My mind is on renovation and creation. I've been reading magazines, watching home improvement shows and scanning some really cool blogs. One of my favourite interior designers is Shannon Fricke. I love the way she manages to put things together that you normally wouldn't think of, and I love her eclecticism. Here are some pictures I have borrowed from her blog (not sure of their original homes though - sorry to whoever created them!). These are the pictures that are inspiring me to create a beautiful home from my humble little abode.