Monday, May 31, 2010

Thankyou craft

We had a bit of a rainy weekend so there were lots of indoor activities, cutting, pasting, painting, playdough etc. As a result we have lots of wonderful artworks lying around the house, taking up valuable dining table and kitchen bench space.

I thought we'd get into gear and turn some of these paintings into thankyou cards for all the wonderful gifts Elliot received for his 3rd birthday recently. If I don't do it now I never will!

I cut out postcard rectangles from plain white cardboard and then cut slightly smaller rectangles from the paintings. Elliot then glued the painting pieces onto the postcard pieces and I wrote on the back. I asked him what he would like to say to people and some of the responses are priceless. My favourites were "I had a Toby cake", "My very own whisker!" and "Nan and Pop came up for my birthday lunch". I think he kind of got the gist and I filled in the rest with the usual sentiments.

El was getting creative with the offcuts while I wrote on the cards. This is a giant L, and he later turned it into a road for his cars.

It was a cheap and fun activity and we produced something useful at the end of it too! Love a win-win activity!

So now off to the Post Office we go!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Star Fleet's Newest Cadet

or, as I was going to title this post "Resistance is Futile".

But that was quickly shut down by the resident Star Trek expert because "Resistance is Futile" is the catchphrase of the Borg and this post is about Vulcans. Sigh. So I caved in and re-titled the post even though mine is much more witty and appropriate.

El loves dress-ups at the moment. Most of the time it's just an old hard hat, a pair of op-shopped sunglasses and a pair of my old shoes. Sometimes its a full-on bought outfit like Superman.

Today it was a Vulcan.

Elliot sporting the ever trendy Vulcan ears and Science Officer Uniform

For a bit of background, Matt is a teensy bit of a Star Trek fan. When we first started going out his favourite shirt was one of Captain Kirk saying "Go ahead, make my Millenium". We have Star Trek Monopoly (not allowed to be played mind you). We have every episode of Star Trek EVER on DVD, not just regular DVD either. Special edition fancy boxed sets DVD. So you get my drift. Teensy.

Now normally I don't encourage this lunacy, however a while ago at the shops I spotted a Star Trek character (Spock) dress up complete with phaser and pointy ears. I couldn't help but buy it for Elliot but it was way too big so it's been hiding in the cupboard. Until the biggest child in the house saw it today and asked Elliot if he'd like to put it on. He was almost more excited than Christmas. Elliot was pretty excited too! Ha ha!

Matt and his geek apprentice

It was too big, the pants were literally up to his armpits, but he had a wow of a time dashing around the house with pointy ears and a noisy phaser. Thank goodness Matt didn't try and teach him the whole "Live long and prosper" Vulcan hand gesture thingy.


Too much Star Trek in this house.

Resistance IS futile.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My new new project

I'd love to be crafty, but I just can't be bothered. I don't have the patience for scrapbooking, the knack of sewing, the talent for painting or drawing or pottery. So, I knit.

I started when I was pregnant with Elliot. I knitted a little matinee jacket in lovely pale yellow (we didn't find out the gender of either baby until they were born). And in true 'me' fashion I never finished it. My mum is a good knitter (though she rarely knits, only when babies are about!) and she made a couple of much nicer matching sets of booties, jacket and wee little hat. So he wore them a couple of times and then within a couple of weeks they didn't fit because he'd turned into the Michelin baby!

I started using cloth nappies when he was about 5 months old. I always wanted to use cloth nappies but got talked out of it by everyone (why would I want to make all that extra work for myself?). Once Elliot was born I thought I'd give myself time to get over the c-section before venturing into the wide new world of cloth nappies. I started off with the old school terry flats and pilchers but after a week of horrible plastic pilchers I started looking around on-line for some alternatives for waterproofing. And I found wool! Sounds insane, but it works! I got out the old knitting needles and gave it a go!

Woollen covers only work if they are made from pure wool. A blend of no more than 30% acrylic will still work, but the more wool the better. The woollen pants absorb the wee and evaporate it away. Despite being made from pure wool, soakers, shorties and longies are incredibly easy to use because they only need to be washed and lanolised every 6-8 weeks depending on how much they are used. Obviously if they are dirty ie toddler food messes or those delightful poo-plosions they need to be washed more frequently. It is such a simple process too, and in a week or two I'll take some pics of the process in another post.

Getting started on Archie's brand new, never worn by anyone else longies.

My first couple of pairs were a soaker style, and I quickly realised they were ok, but not what I was after. I wanted something that El could wear out as shorts with a t-shirt, and I quickly found this easy and cute pattern for little shorties. The pattern is basic, so it is so easy to customise with stripes, different cuff and body colours, patterns within the knitting etc. The pattern was also really easy to customise into longies too! Awesome!

I've since found a great pattern for longies that is made by knitting two identical pieces and sewing them up the middle. The only copy I have though I hand wrote from the net somewhere and now I can't find the link! Oops! One should always bookmark anything of interest!

I've been feeling like I've been neglecting Archie a bit lately, he has so few new clothes (Elliot just got an entire wardrobe full of the next size up) and I've not knitted anything just for him. I recently found this pair of longies I made for Elliot but he never wore them because they were too small, so he's been wearing them. But it's not the same, poor wee man.

He's such a happy little man, he obviously loves his hand-me-down longies!

So I'm putting aside my previously posted about shrug for myself and I'm going to concentrate on making him a few pairs of longies to wear over winter, and maybe some matching hats/beanies too!

The Australian Nappy Network has heaps of info on cloth nappies. Can you tell I love cloth nappies?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cows ahead!!!

One of the first things that made me feel really 'comfy' after our move was finding a wonderful family owned and run dairy just outside of town. And really, it's not that far out of town. Less than 10 minutes drive and we can have farm fresh milk, cream and butter. I was so surprised to find a local dairy as the country around here is all about the sugar cane. We get cane trains rattling up and down the streets during harvesting season, kids look out windows and see cane harvesters driving down the roads. It's not known to be good dairy country here, but the dairy is nestled along the scenic Mary River surrounded by cane farms. They sell this particular brand of milk in a few of the smaller shops in town but it is much cheaper and a lot more fun to go for a drive out to the dairy once a week and stock up on really yummy milk. In terms of the almighty dollar, the milk we get from the dairy costs a little more than regular supermarket milk, but I'd rather pay a bit more to farmers within the local area than buy cheap, mass produced milk from who-knows-where. I know that this is a small operation, the cows are well looked after and the people running the show are honest and hard-working.

If you drive out to the dairy you buy the milk with the good old honesty system. A large cold room is left unlocked with a little container that you put your money in. We can get fresh milk any time we need, which is especially handy after returning home on Sunday night after a weekend away visiting family! More often than not there is no one there when we go, but once I've run into the lady that runs the dairy. She is absolutely lovely and we had a good old chat about the boys, her grandkids and family, who helps out around the place, all the important things. It really is such a family affair!

A sign warning drivers to watch out for cows! The dairy grazes the cows on both sides of the road so the cows regularly cross to get to greener pastures!

We choose to get the non-homogenised type so it's had a lot less 'fiddling' than normal supermarket milk and it is so much nicer. Really creamy and it tastes like real milk. It's nice too to see the change in the milk depending on the season and what they are eating. As it is illegal to sell raw milk in Australia it has been pasteurised, but it is the closest we'll get to real milk, unless we get a cow. But that is a whole other post! ;) We also get their cream, which comes in 1litre bottles for only $2, bargain! It makes the yummiest home-made ice cream. I have to limit our ice cream making to 2 litres a week though. Actually, I shouldn't say 'our'. I should say I have to limity 'my' ice cream intake to 2 litres a week. I may be slightly addicted to home-made ice cream! I haven't made butter yet, but it's on my list of things to do.

Some of the lovely cows that give us their milk. It is very much appreciated ladies!

I love knowing where our food has come from. I love that Elliot and Archie can get out of the car and say hello to the cows that give us their milk. I love that we're directly supporting a small, family, local business. I love that we're cutting our food miles and having fun doing it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Planning the week

One of my favourite 'jobs' for the week is planning our menu. I sit down with a couple of cook books (I try to alternate) and my notebook and pen. I generally plan the week on Sunday evening when we're having dinner, or if I'm not so organised, on Monday morning over breakfast. Everyone gets to choose a meal or two (Elliot always suggests sausages or pizza), I choose a couple of things from the books, plus a few things from our regular list that I know the boys will eat. Luckily for me both the boys are big vegetable eaters but this means that we can't have too many meals where the vegies are hidden ie pasta sauce, quiche, soup etc. We've even had a few tantrums and tears because Elliot couldn't see his vegies! Because of this I normally do a few steamed veg to have on the side, just to keep the peace!

I write everything down in a notebook that I then take to the shops. We also have a blackboard in the kitchen that I write the menu on for the week. On the left-hand side of the page I list the days and what meal we'll have, on the right-hand side is the shopping list taking into account what we'll need for all the different meals and general grocery items. I also have an 'extras' section for all the baking, and extra things that need to be done, ice cream, stock, any cheese or yoghurt etc. Below the general grocery list I have two other sections, one for what we'll get from the dairy and one for the butcher. I normally get enough fruit and veg to tide us over until we go to the town markets on Thursday morning.

Elliot helping with the shopping. He loves to hold the list, count out what we need, choose the fruit and veg, help push trolley and pack the bags when we're finished. He's a great helper!

I absolutely feel lost without my menu plan, I get to 4 o'clock and freak out cause there is nothing out for dinner. I also wander aimlessly around the grocery and get a thousand things we don't need and forget the important things like cheese and chocolate!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My new project ...

I don't really have the energy or inclination for a big post tonight, but thought I'd share the project that I want to get onto next! A lovely cabled shrug for myself for next Autumn/Winter. I found some lovely soft creamy/beigey coloured wool that I'm pretty sure would look lovely. I'm aiming for next year because then if I finish it early I'll be ahead of schedule! I'm also very good at starting projects and not finishing them so I'm hoping that by giving myself plenty of time I won't get too over-enthused at the start and then burn out.

I also have a few other knitting projects I want to get done, a couple of new pairs of longies for Archie for winter (I'd really better get cracking!) and finishing off a vest I started last year for Elliot that is still not finished. I'll probably have that one done in time for Archie to be in size 2's!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Third Time is a Risen Charm ...

... sort of.

I've been making our bread for a couple of years now. Every now and then I hand-make it, but 99% of the time it's in the machine. If we're just using the bread for sandwiches I bake it in the machine but if I want to make rolls or a fancy shaped loaf I let the machine to all the hard work then take it out to shape and the final prove. For a while I was using these pre-mixes, just adding water and yeast. The Germain Grain was hands-down our favourite, dark and grainy and really really yummy. After a while I started experimenting with different recipes and finally found a good one and have stuck with it. That was until this weekend and my fiddling hasn't really stood me in very good stead.

Gathering ingredients to begin baking.

The other week I bought myself a book. That's right, something just for me, not the boys, not the house, ME! Well, the title of the book is 150 Recipes for your Bread Machine so everyone benefits, but you know what I mean! It has gotten me very inspired to make different kinds of bread, heaps of different things to do with the machine (English Muffins or Naan anyone?). Feeling inspired I used the recipe in the book to make a basic 100% wholemeal flour bread (Our usual is 100% wholemeal too). It was unequivocally a disaster. Too dry, not mixed properly and completely not risen. Not even a smidge. So it got chopped up and put in the freezer to take to the park to feed the ducks. Who knows if they'll even eat it?

The next day, take 2. I used my old faithful recipe and the same result! This time everything was mixed and cooked properly but completely not risen! All I could think was 'What is going on?' I started troubleshooting. Bad yeast? I tested it, nope perfect. Different ingredients? Nope, same batch of flour (I buy 20kg at a time), same batches of bread improver, salt, sugar, everything! I then remembered that when I took the pan out of the machine it had dripped some black, grease-looking stuff onto the bench. It also made a different 'knocking' sound when it was kneading. I'm hoping it's not our machine. It's at least 15 years old and was my Mum's before mine. It sat in her cupboard unused for years before I 'borrowed' it. It gets used at least three times a week, so from it's point of view, I understand if it's had enough, I probably would be thinking of packing it in too if I were it!

V2.0 Not risen, but properly mixed and cooked. V1.0 was such a disaster it didn't warrant a photo!

This morning I thought I'd give it one last go, and the third time was almost lucky. The bread this morning had risen, but not as much as it normally does. The machine made the funny sound again while kneading and I think it's on it's last legs. The bread is edible and it'll do until I can figure out what is going on.

V2.0 and V3.0 next to each other, there is an obvious difference but V3.0 is still not as risen as usual.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A very quiet weekend ...

This has been the quietest weekend we've had for a long time. Absolutely nothing got done!

After an emotional and lonely day Friday I really needed some down time this weekend. Matt has spent most of the weekend playing with the boys in our newly decluttered rumpus room downstairs so I've had a lot of time to myself! Something which has happened so rarely since Archie's birth that I can probably count on one hand the kid-free time I've had in 14 months.

Yesterday I did nothing, had a shower and got dressed, but that was the extent of it! I read some of my book (fabulous by the way) watched some DVD's (Season 1 of House) and that was it. Oh, actually that's not entirely true. I had to pop out to the grocery and on the way home I decided to stop in at an Antiques shop that I always drive past and want to stop at but the thought of going into a cluttered shop full of breakables with the boys always scares me into driving past without stopping! So yesterday I was by myself and decided to stop! I was actually looking for a wooden trunk to store all our shoes in by the front door but came out with something a lot cheaper and completely useless apart from looking pretty! Once I get them up I'll post about it and put up some pics.

Today was a little more exciting, more book and House, but I also made the boys surprise pikelets for morning tea. They came upstairs to the smell of pikelets cooking and were so excited. I think the biggest boy was more excited than the two children ;). After lunch Matt took Elliot for a big walk while Archie was asleep so more book time, and I folded some of the mountain of washing! It never ends but that is another story! Matt wanted to get the mowing done so while he was doing that Elliot and I made a couple of banana loaves, one to eat this week and the other to go in the freezer sliced up ready to pack for Matt's lunches and our morning teas out and about next week.

And that has been the extent of our weekend. A quiet, boring, lovely weekend with absolutely nothing done, no jobs crossed off lists, no outings. But we did spend lots of time together, the boys spent lots of time playing with Daddy and I got some much needed time out. I'm feeling refreshed and recharged, ready to get into the week ahead full of enthusiasm and energy.

Let's hope the feeling lasts!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cooler Weather, Warmer Lunches and 30 cobs of Corn!

I've been thinking a lot lately about our lunches at home and have come to the conclusion that they could be a lot more exciting! Normally it's just a sandwich on our homemade wholemeal bread. Elliot is going through a ham, cheese, lettuce and avocado phase while Archie is addicted to cheese in any form! With the weather cooling down I'm going to try and be organised enough to have a hot lunch at least a couple of days through the week. Elliot loves helping in the kitchen and as most recipes I cook can freeze well I'm hoping to not have to cook everyday, but maybe just reheat something I've prepared earlier or defrost something from the freezer. I'm hoping as well that Matt will be inspired to take lunch to work instead of buying something everyday. Something that I'm sure our budget will be thankful for!

Right about the corn in the title! When I did our grocery shop this week I picked up a packet of three cobs of corn without really looking at it. We normally get a pack or two a week so I didn't take much notice until El told me that the pack had an extra sticker on it. When I looked I saw that it had been marked down to 59c! So I went back to the fruit and veg section and got all the rest of the marked down packets, 10 in total! I'm sure the checkout boy thought I was a bit crazy!

So what will we do with all this corn? Freeze it of course! I've previously blanched and frozen our home grown corn and it steamed from frozen really well. I'm doing a bit of an experiment and have cut the kernels off a few cobs and frozen them without blanching and will see if there is any difference. If there's no difference in the end product between blanching and not-blanching before freezing I'm sure you can guess which one I'll be doing!

For our lunch today I thought we'd use some of our corn to make some Polenta and Corn Fritters from this great book. I substituted the canned corn for the same weight of fresh (unfortunately it was only one cob, I was hoping to use more!) and also added some homemade ricotta cheese. They turned out really well, the boys ate a few each and there are enough for lunch tomorrow too!

Elliot learning how to grate cheese, he did a really good job apart from eating a fair bit!

I thought Archie was just sitting on El's step while I was at the stove with the fritters but then I turned around and saw this! Cheeky little man reaching for a banana!

Fritters on to cook, I think next time we'll add some grated onion and zucchini for a bit more zing. The polenta added a really crunchy texture, very yummy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Despite my newbie status as a blogger, I am now back from a short break. We are returning to our normal, everyday life after a few days of celebrations. We had Mother's Day on Sunday and then Tuesday was Elliot's 3rd Birthday. My parents came up to celebrate with us for a few days and my brother made the journey up just for the day on Tuesday to celebrate with Elliot. I hadn't told El that Uncle Carl was coming up and he was beside himself with excitement!

Mum and Dad arrived at around lunchtime on Sunday so we had a quiet morning celebrating Mother's Day just the four of us, and then a lovely dinner with my parents. I was woken by the boys thundering down the hallway with some lovely presents, along with lots of kisses and cuddles and proclamations of best Mum ever! On opening the presents I found a cookbook, a DVD, the craft activity Elliot completed at Playgroup earlier in the week and my regular Mother's Day present of my yearly membership to the Australian Breastfeeding Association. We then had a lovely breakfast cooked by Matt and then we eagerly awaited the arrival of Nan and Pop!

Elliot was very excited in the lead up to his birthday and he requested a Toby cake (Toby is a steam tram from Thomas the Tank Engine). After last year's questionable Postman Pat Van cake, I was a bit apprehensive but gave it a go. A couple of bar cakes, a ridiculous amount of butter icing and waaaaay too much black food colouring later, we had a representation of Toby that I'm actually really proud of! It was not as stressful as I was imagining it would be. It actually turned out to be a lovely evening decorating the cake on the eve of Elliot's birthday with my husband, my mum and my dad offering support, suggestions and some laughs too. Mum got into the action too and for a while had black hands from kneading some colouring into the royal icing!

The Birthday Boy with his choice of Make-Your-Own-Pizza lunch

Blowing out the candles on his Toby cake

I love the reminiscing that comes with each birthday of my children. I love to look at the clock and think (and say to those around me) 'this time 3 years ago I was ...' . I absolutely can not believe that it was a whole three years ago that I was cuddling a teeny tiny newborn (he was only 2.8kg) and wondering what our journey together had in store. Those newborn days of feeding and sleeping and feeding and cuddles are so blurry and crystal clear. It seems like yesterday and at the same time it seems like a lifetime ago. There is such a dichotomy of motherhood. It is in one instant the most challenging and rewarding thing a woman will face, one that brings the most pleasure and intense pain and heartache.

I'm sure over the coming years there will be even more ups and downs. I've spoken to mums of older children and they say that the journey doesn't get easier, it just gets different. Newborn wakings are replaced by wilful toddlers, which are replaced by the next stage of challenges. Personally, I can't wait!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Night Games

We are a big board game family but our Games Nights look a bit different than they used to. Gone are the nights of games stretching into the wee hours (Monopoly anyone?), gone are the raucous arguments during Scattergories (this one may be controversial but I put it down anyway ...), gone are the wine and cheese. To be fair, when we're staying with my parents and have a family dinner we do get the games out when the boys have gone to bed. It doesn't happen as much as I'd like it to though.

Thankfully our adult Games Nights have been replaced with something else, not quite the same but lovely none the less.

Elliot is at that stage where he is a big boy and big boys don't have sleeps. After all, he will be three next week! He does however, need a sleep. And to get him to have a sleep we have resorted to all sorts of measures, no sleep = no dessert, no sleep = only one book before bed etc etc. His response is generally 'I don't want dessert' and my favourite 'one book is fine Mummy'. Such a male. The one thing he really misses when he doesn't have a sleep is games! So if he has a sleep he gets to stay up late and play lots of games with Mummy and Daddy once Archie is in bed. So far we don't have an extensive games list. Uno, memory, snap, Alphabet Bus and a hybrid snap/fish game that he has invented.

Elliot counting his pairs at the end of his snap/fish hybrid game.

I love that he is having fun and I love that Matt and I get to spend some time with him doing something that feels so grown up. I also love that he is learning so much without even realising it. He is using his knowledge of number, counting, colour and shape in a practical way. He is reinforcing this knowledge and expanding on it every time we play. He can now play a game of Uno with little intervention or prompting from us and he can now deal out a game of cards properly (shuffling is still interesting though!).

Dealing out a game of Uno

He is also practising important social and life skills. He keeps a track of whose turn it is, which way the game is going, who dealt last time and whose turn it is next. He offers to move someones counter if they can't reach. He is learning to be a gracious winner and a good loser.

I love that we've passed on the board game gene and can't wait to add to our collection of games! I'd love to hear your suggestions of good board/card games for kids!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day Craft

Elliot loves craft, especially cutting. And glitter. Really, what almost-3-year-old boy doesn't love glitter? ;)

I organised a craft activity for Playgroup on Tuesday, but Elliot really wasn't too interested in doing it when we were there. He did it, but I kept prompting him, glue here, stick that there etc etc. Not the sort of craft I'm a fan of. I much prefer to supply the tools and then let the child create whatever they create.

I took home an extra set of supplies as I knew he'd be much more interested in doing it if there weren't heaps of other people around. He is much more of a one-on-one person than a group person.

So this afternoon after our weekly trip to the markets and after he'd had a really big sleep we got stuck in. He cut and cut and cut and cut and was the happiest boy in the world! He's now created two lovely Mother's Day presents, one for me (it's going to be a big surprise on Sunday) and one for Nanna. They look similar, but the one done at home is much more 'Elliot'.

Here are some photos of the man in action, but I have tried to not show too much of the finished product as Nanna may read this post and we don't want to give it away!

Once Sunday is done and dusted I'll post some pics of the completed project. It should come in very handy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Apple a Day ...

Each Wednesday I'll be posting a photo of something from our day, something that has caught my eye. I've been inspired for these posts by my dear friend Helen. Helen has a lovely blog A Little Life in Pictures. She posts one photo each evening of something from her day. I must warn you though, I have nowhere near as much photographic talent as Helen, and significantly less wit and wordplay too!

So I give you my first Wordless Wednesday. Next Wednesday will have less words, perhaps it'll even be wordless! ;)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Calm in the Kitchen

It's probably a fair assumption that not many people find cooking with kids calming, especially two male toddlers under the age of 3! However, after the stressful morning that I had today I couldn't wait to get home and stuck into some cutting, mixing, kneading, baking and then, eating!

Tuesdays are Playgroup days. Most Tuesdays I enjoy Playgroup, but sadly not today. For a start Elliot and I had been up since 4am. That's enough to put anyone on the back burner, but then Archie didn't go down for his morning sleep so I had to get everything ready for Playgroup plus all my other jobs done with both of them following me around. Once we got to Playgroup (oh, we were late too) it was my job to set up the Mother's Day craft activity with two tired and clingy boys. Then there were some fundraising issues (I'm fundraising coordinator). Anyway by the end of it I was just wanting to get home, get the boys into bed and have a sit down. So I did. They both had good sleeps at the same time so I got to have some lunch and a cup of tea in peace while I planned our afternoon in the kitchen.

First on the list was Muesli, then wholemeal bread rolls and Spiced Pumpkin Soup for dinner. It was a whole afternoon affair with Elliot wandering in and out to help as he felt like it and Archie making a mess with the Tupperware drawer and generally getting underfoot, but that is cooking with toddlers and why I like it so much. We're at home, doing the things that make us happy.

Muesli is so good to make at home because you can easily change the ingredients around to suit your tastes. I'm yet to find a packaged muesli that I love as much as homemade because there is always either something missing or something there that I don't like! The base recipe that I use is from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food but I add and change all the ingredients around every time I make it.

Today the recipe would have looked like this:
400g of a mix of organic traditional rolled oats and rolled spelt flakes
a handful of bran straw thingys
300g mixed nuts (macadamia, brazil, hazel, cashew)
100g seeds (I use pepitas and sunflower seeds)
100g dessicated coconut
sprinkle each of mixed spice and ground ginger
150ml macadamia honey
50ml molasses
100ml of oil
300g dried fruit (apricots, mango, sultanas)

Mix all the dry indredients except fruit in a large bowl.

Add combined wet ingredients and stir to coat.

Spread onto an oven tray and cook at 180C for about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes so that it browns evenly.

Return to large bowl and mix through dried fruit. Cool and store in an airtight container.

I make a big batch like this so that it'll last a few weeks with enough spare to give some to my Dad who is a big muesli fan.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Autumn Garden

We spent both yesterday afternoon and this afternoon out in the garden getting beds cleared and seeds sewn for our Autumn plantings. As usual with the garden we're not as organised as we'd like. I've completely forgotten about peas and have no seeds so on Thursday when we go to our local Farmer's Market I'll see what the 'Seed Lady' has got. She sells Eden Seeds at the same price as from the website so we save the postage and get to have a chat at the same time!

The main job yesterday was clearing the old corn stalks out of the bed and in it's place we sewed onions, shallots and two types of carrots. One variety of carrot is called Dragon and it's purple skinned with bright yellow/orange flesh! I can't wait for them to be ready. We're hoping the corn will have opened our clay-ey soil up a bit, the last time we attempted carrots they tasted yummy but looked a bit worse for wear.

Along with the carrots, onions and shallots I also sewed broccoli, cauliflower, kale, ruby chard and pak choy seeds in trays to be planted out in the garden when they're bigger.

The other big job yesterday was getting our seeds potatoes in. We are going to plant two varieties, Coliban and Desiree but only the Desiree had shooted so the Coliban are still on the window sill in the kitchen. Luckily I had the boys to help get things ready!

Also in our Autumn garden this year is some garlic that I planted around a standard rose that is planted in a half barrel out the front. I just broke up a couple of bulbs of organic garlic from the Farmer's Markets in town. A few weeks ago they started to send up the first green shoots!

And lastly we met another one of our neighbours this afternoon and got talking about gardening. She took us out the back and started pulling all sorts of things for us to take as cuttings. She gave us Singapore Spinach which is apparently similar to the Ceylon Spinach we've already got, but with red stems, sweet basil and lime basil plus a lovely looking eggplant which was ripe. I think I may grill the eggplant for our pizzas later in the week.

And now we water and wait. Oh, and pick the cabbage white butterfly caterpillars off the brassicas ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Bit of Background

I have always had an interest in the more ‘homey’ things in life; cooking, reading, knitting, gardening, being at home instead of out and about. While I was on maternity leave after the birth of our first child in 2007 I found more time to indulge in the things that I loved. I started making my own bread, knitting woollen nappy covers for his cloth nappies, reading books that I chose rather than those that I had to read for work.

This was also the time that my husband’s work really started to ramp up. He was working long and tiring hours, finishing jobs off over the weekend, taking phone calls from clients earlier and earlier in the morning and then later and later in the evenings. We started to talk about what we really wanted of our lives. Was this it? Was my husband happy at his job? Was I happy with having to return to work when our baby was only 11 months old? We had so much that was good, a lovely little house we were renovating, supportive and loving family close, an amazing group of friends but something was missing. One day my husband came home from work and said that he’d had an email from a friend letting him know there were positions coming up in his dream job. With some hesitation he applied, knowing that we’d be willing to travel rural but not too far. Within a month or so he’d been offered a position and we knew where we were heading: Maryborough, about 3hrs north of our family and friends in Brisbane. The Government being the Government (his new employer) we waited for the date of our move. We waited and waited. Then I became pregnant with our second child. Still, we waited. Every Obstetrician appointment started with “So, are you living in Maryborough yet?” Our response was always the same “Nope, not yet!” We eventually moved in May 2009 with a toddler that had just turned two (Elliot) and a baby not yet two months (Archie).

So, almost a year on, here I am. We’re still not exactly where we want to be but we’re on the road and getting closer every day. We are renting a house in a noisy part of town. I can’t wait to have our own place again, a place to put down roots and get away from all this traffic noise (I thought living in the country was supposed to be peaceful!). But in the meantime, this is our home, our sanctuary, our place to stage our quiet revolution. Our revolution against a society that places too much emphasis on external goals, our revolution against Mums being asked “but when are you going back to work?”, our revolution against supermarkets whose aisles are getting more and more full of ‘convenience’ foods that seem to have little or no nutritional value.

I hope you enjoy reading about our little revolution and I look forward to reading your comments, ideas, experiences and suggestions.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Number 1 Post!

Welcome to Home Revolutions!

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while now and have finally taken the plunge! I'm very excited about having a place to share my little family's life. So far I've spent an age trying to sort out the "look" of the site but this is the best I can do at this time of night. Not exactly what I'd had in mind, but it will do for now. I'll update it as soon as I can figure it out! ;)

So, why blog?
For me, I want a place to record our family's journey and experiences. I want to share my daily life with my family and friends, all the little things that happen that are hard to express in a phone call or email. All the successes and failures that come with striving to live a simple, meaningful life. All the challenges and rewards that come with parenting two young boys peacefully and thoughtfully.

And that for now, is it. I'm off to bed to read my book as I probably have another early morning tomorrow. Today I've been up since 4:15am. I love my life but a sleep in past 6:30am would be lovely every now and then! :)