Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Developing A Food Culture In A Changing World

I am currently reading a book, Honeycomb Kids, that pretty much sums up all my thoughts on our childrens' future and what we, as parents, should be doing to ensure our children are able to face a changing world. It is well worth reading as I feel that our children will be more scared facing a future they feel they are unprepared to confront. Many people tell me that it is being depressing and gloomy to talk about such topics but I feel it is the exact opposite. If we feel prepared, we can face the future with confidence.

Food is an important part of the planning and preparing puzzle, if not the most important. So I have been reading lots of books on real foods, wholefoods, etc. But many of these books rely on foods that simply will not be available to us in a locally produced food system. Such as coconut oil, which most healthy recipe books use substantially in recipes.

So one of my plans for 2017 is to begin a recipe collection in which all the recipes use produce that I can grow myself or is currently locally available.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts and any recipe/substitution ideas.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

No Dig Garden Method

This is a very interesting article from Morag Gamble at Our Permaculture Life.
Interesting as the newspaper is the next to last layer to be used, rather than the first or bottom layer as in most no dig methods.
I have always placed the newspaper on the very bottom so I will try this method next time I build a garden bed and see the difference.

These are the three garden beds I made earlier in the year, using the 'traditional' method of newspaper on the bottom. The compost on the top has dried out and needs topping up already, whereas the newspaper on top method sounds like it might 'protect' the new soil more.

I would recommend checking out the Our Permaculture Life blog. So much information!
A great place to start would be this post - the best posts for 2016.

There has been a lovely gentle rain falling all day today, which is just what the garden needed. I am looking forward to sitting down in the next few days and making some garden/homestead plans for 2017.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a New Year filled with joy and happiness.

 Thank you for sticking with me this year through my computer glitches, less than wonderful times and disappearances from this blog. I love 'meeting' you all here in blog land and look forward to many more chats in 2017.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

New Direction For Me

While I have been on my little blogging 'holiday', I have started studying for my Master Aromatherapists Diploma. I am really loving it and am finding it so empowering to be able to take care of my own and my family's wellness naturally.

I have always been interested in this area and have been using it for a while, but thought I would like to spend some of my free time(!) studying in a more official capacity.
So interesting - I could talk for hours about it. I am such a science geek that I love all the analysis of the various essential oils, but I won't bore you with that.

I am looking forward to 2017 being a very productive and special year.

I know, I'm a bit early to be talking about this, but 2017 is an open road stretching ahead of us - let's make it a fantastic journey!

What are you hoping for in 2017?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A Peachy Post

Our read aloud this week has been James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
It must be the fourth or fifth time that I have read this one aloud and it is always so enjoyable. Roald Dahl is a master. I remember loving The Twits when I was younger and of course, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

And soon our peaches will be ripening, unless those pesky parrots get to them first. There are normally enough for both of us to enjoy!

So I thought I'd share a peachy recipe today!

Cinnamon Peach Smoothie

1 cup Plain Greek Yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
3/4 cup Frozen Peaches
1-2 drops of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
1/2 tsp maple syrup (if you feel it needs a bit of sweetness)
A few drops of vanilla (optional)

1.Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Do you or your kids have a favourite Roald Dahl book?

Monday, 12 December 2016

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Are you saying 'woo hoo, I love Christmas' or are you just trying to keep calm and not think about how much needs to be organised before then?

I have been thinking handmade Christmas gifts. And then, guess what?! I left it too late, as usual. I know there are so many wonderful people who have been posting a handmade gift a week on their blogs and have it all under control. That is not me! I keep hoping that one year it will be me, but so far, no go! I'll give 2017 a try.

Luckily, we don't do millions of gifts, just a small something for adults, mainly it is for the children. But I am trying to make it my tradition to gift handmade or recycled/secondhand (which as we all know, doesn't have to mean a rubbishy gift!) and to do this, I think you need a plan in place. Otherwise, you get stuck doing the last minute rush to the shops to just buy anything.

I am making this elephant for quilt for my granddaughter. Her room is decorated with elephants and owls, so I was happy to find this cute fabric.

And not much else! I am just terrible!

I would love to hear what you are planning (or already made) for Christmas gifts.

You're Terrible, Muriel!!

We use these quote all the time around here, from one of my favourite movies ever.

And I am so terrible!
Have you heard me say before that I am back and I will be 'good' this time and not get distracted and forget to keep my blog up to date? Pretty sure I have heard that more than once!
But once again, life got in the way and I have been neglecting this space. We have had a not so great couple of months and are just getting back into the swing now.

I hope you have all been well and happy and I PROMISE I will try much harder from now on.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Meal Planning This Week

Joining this week with I'm An Organising Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

First, I'd like to share a recipe that I tried this week, that I tweaked a bit into this version.

Lemon Coconut Pudding

3 1/2 tbsp gelatin powder bloomed in a cup of water
400ml coconut milk
2 small lemons, juiced
4 drops lemon oil
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat all except lemon oil and gelatin in a pot till almost boiling, remove from heat and add lemon oil, stir in the bloomed gelatin till dissolved.
Pour into glass container and leave overnight till set, tip out, cut up and enjoy.

I served this with mixed berries, but if I had them, I would have used either mango or lychees.

I use doTerra essential oils as they are CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade). Please do not use any essential oil for cooking or other internal use that you are not 100% sure of the origin. There are many cheaper oils that are not pure, that contain synthetic substances that can be harmful.

And some more recipes I have made this week.
Lemon Cashew Bliss Balls, Nut-Free Minty Bliss Balls and Jaffa Bliss Balls, using Lemon and Wild Orange oils. Oh my, these were delicious and even better, the kids would eat them! I think these will end up on the weekly roster.
I especially liked the nut free recipe. It is always good to find a healthy, kid-friendly, nut-free recipe to take for school events. But, I don't know about the US, but nuts here are super expensive. It costs quite a bit to make some of these recipes on a regular basis.
Please let me know if you decide to try any of these or if you have some yummy recipes that you use.

Pork chops, Roasted Sweet Potato, Spinach and Avocado Salad, steamed rice
Peach and blueberry yoghurt

Chicken tacos with all the fixings
Apple and rhubarb crumble

Smoked salmon fettucine
Peanut Butter Dessert Bars

The smoked salmon fettucine recipe is my favourite quick recipe. And as I have the school community planning session tonight, I need quick!

This is all I do. Cook fettucine. While this is cooking, in a large bowl place a slug of olive oil, salt, pepper, capers, toasted pine nuts, smoked salmon (I use the cooking pieces one - cheaper!), spinach, chopped herbs as you like (I use whatever is in the garden - chives, parsley, mint, etc), lemon zest and juice of one lemon (or to taste). Toss fettucine through when cooked. Simple!

Lemon roast chicken pieces, grilled zucchini, sweet corn, tomato salad
Chocolate mousse

Homemade pizza
Banana ice cream, probably with nuts and chocolate sauce

Beef stew (or beef salad, if it suddenly becomes warmer!)
Peach pie

Roast lamb, roasted root veggies, steamed greens
Fruit salad

Choc chip cookies
Larabar - Larabars must be a US product. I've never heard of them but thought I'd try this out.
Hedgehog slice
Chocolate chip cookie dough bliss balls, plus the other bliss balls from above. So far, the lemon cashew has been the favourite.
Coconut macaroons - these look like they could taste like Bounty, and then I would be in heaven!

Pizza bases
Lemon butter
Choc chip cookies
Lemon tea cake

Have a lovely week!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Recipes Using Essential Oils

I talked last week about my experiment making liquid castile soap. It worked! I am so pleased as this will save me heaps of money on postage. No point paying postage on water!

I don't know if you can see in the photo, but even after leaving it for a week, it still had lumps. So I tipped it into a saucepan and heated it up.

It turned from the gel into this clear liquid and I was a bit worried I had ruined it.
But when it cooled back down, it was back to a slimy gel, but super smooth, ready to use.

Using my liquid castile soap, I made the Gardener's Scrub.

It smells divine and works a treat. This quantity only makes about half a jar so I will probably double it in future.

Do you love my new measuring spoons and cups?

And who knew that there were actual designated measurements for these terms?!
I also made a Lemon Coconut Pudding, and various Bliss Balls - the recipes will be in my Monday Meal Planning post next week.

As noted there, please do not use any essential oils that you are not 100% sure are certified for internal use.

So why use essential oils in cooking at all? The concentrated taste is unbelievable. Just a few drops give incredible flavour. It takes a lot of lemons to make lemon oil!

Using the liquid castile soap, I also made laundry soap. I have tried this before over the years, with hubby never being quite happy with the results. Fingers crossed this will be a success over time!

Image from

I really wanted to store mine in a pretty glass jar like this.  But I have an outdoor laundry with a concrete floor and I just know it would get knocked over and smashed. So just a plastic bucket with a lid for me.

My daughter spends a small fortune on 'healthy' skin products. Some of these are crazy expensive! And they aren't even healthy, if you read the long list of synthetic ingredients. So I have been looking for some recipes for her to try.

I have also been using this Coconut Salt Scrub. I love that this recipe only has three ingredients and the blog post contains about 20 different essential oil blends to try. And leaves your skin super tingling and refreshed.
My favourites are the ones with citrus and spearmint, like Mojito, Sea Breeze and Chill Out. Just smell divine! And these are in a pretty jar!

Please do let me know if you try any of these recipes, as I would love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Very Sad Day - Book Destash - And Some Knitting

It is a sad day when it is time for a book destash! But even I will admit that just maybe, the books are taking over a teeny bit.

Normally this would so be me! No such thing as too many books. But I really do have literally 1000s and as we are no longer homeschooling, quite a few can go. I am also clearing out DVDs and sob, sob, my china collection.

If you happen to be in Australia, you can join this Facebook group, Homeschool Buy, Swap, Sell - Australia, to see what I have for sale.

So while I am stash busting my books, I am currently reading The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport.

I was halfway through before I noticed this is actually the second book of a series. But it is perfectly fine as a stand-alone novel. I am really enjoying it - a quick and interesting read as I love historical fiction.

I haven't cast anything on for a while, except for this garden gnome. And I have done so little - two boots and about a quarter of the jacket.
But this is what he will look like, eventually!

I also purchased two gorgeous new patterns from Georgie at Tikki.

This is Vexillum.

And this is Oolong.

Photos from Tikki Knits on Ravelry

It is spring here (not that you would know!) but I am still looking at shawl patterns. My favourite thing to knit.
What is your favourite thing to knit?

Linking today with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Have a lovely knitting and reading week!

Blending With Essential Oils

I have been making some gorgeous essential oil blends for roller bottles with my essential oils.

This wonderful blending board just arrived in the mail this morning - love it! Now little ones, hopefully, will not knock over any bottles.

The blends I made are:

True Self
Helps bring out inner truth and self expression
4 drops lavender
3 drops wild or sweet orange
3 drops frankincense
Add the above to a 10ml roller bottle and top up with FCO (fractionated coconut oil)

Anti-Itch Stick
Soothes irritated skin
3 drops lavender
3 drops peppermint
2 drops frankincense
2 drops tea tree (melaleuca)
2 drops lemon
Add the above to a 10ml roller bottle and top up with FCO

Ditch The Witch
Calms and reduces irritability
2 drops sweet or wild orange
2 drops lavender
2 drops Lavender Peace
2 drops Balance
2 drops Citrus Bliss
Add the above to a 10ml roller bottle and top up with FCO

The above blends all contain citrus essential oils which are phototoxic. Do not use on skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 12 hours. So apply under clothing or apply on a garment you will be wearing.

These blends, and many other recipes, can be found at One Essential Community. They are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. Use at your own discretion.

That being said, essential oils, used correctly, are so effective and so gentle on your system that, once you use them, you will never turn back.

Also loving my new diffuser. I already had one, but this one is very lovely. Diffusing a citrus/lavender blend that is so gorgeous.

Do you use essential oils? What do you find to be their most effective use?

Monday, 17 October 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday

Joining in today with Happy Homemaker Monday at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom. And this will be my 300th post!


On The Weather Front

And what a surprise - it is raining again! We did have two days where spring managed to sneak in and I actually hung the washing outside on the line for the first time this season. But all gone now! Spring has gone back into hiding.


I have just started reading In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom. The book is about her life before WWII, before the events of The Hiding Place. I have only read two chapters but just wonderful so far, particularly her love of children and of helping them place Jesus in their hearts.


I am really loving watching a new free to air channel, 9Life. It is a lifestyle channel, so last night there was a Tiny House special, four episodes in a row.

I would have to declutter big time to fit in a tiny house. But I just love the idea - whether it would translate to reality, well that is another matter!
There was a couple planning on downsizing from a 4000 sq ft house to a 200 sq ft tiny home. Maybe a bit drastic?!

I'm Hoping

To get the garden water tanks installed BEFORE the rains stop. I'm frustrated that as soon as hubby gets to doing the tanks, the rains will stop for the year. Murphy's Law says it will though!

I'm Learning

I have been reading up this week on successional planting for large scale flower and food production. It takes so much planning! I have been fairly haphazard to date but now realise I have to spend a lot more time in the planning stages, rather than just jumping in.

Jean-Martin's book is my favourite, I think because he advocates the use of hand tools.


Christmas gift planning this week, after some one scared me this week when they posted how many (or few!) days there are to Christmas. I will be doing a post later in the week with more of my Christmas plans.
I have placed lots of Tone Finnager's books on hold from the library to look for some lovely ideas.

I especially like the look of this book.

How are your Christmas gift plans going? Are you planning handmade gifts?

Grateful For

The wonderful opportunities we have in our lucky country, that we so often take for granted.
I have been writing letters to Compassion children this week and they have so little, yet are so happy and grateful for the little they do have. Their thanks and prayers to their sponsors are so genuine and heartfelt. I remember one boy wrote a letter thanking us for his Christmas gift as he was able, for the first time at the age of 17, to buy some new clothes. He chose a suit so that he could wear it to church and look special for God. He sent a photo of him in the suit and his smile was ear to ear gorgeous (barefoot though as he couldn't afford shoes as well).

Dreaming Of

Spring coming! I planted 144 sunflower seeds in the greenhouse and will be doing succession planting every week as Whirlwind has been dreaming of growing fields of sunflowers and selling his flowers since we read this post. His favourite paintings are Van Gogh's sunflower ones!

Maybe like this!

Favourite Photo

A trip down memory lane with this photo. My computer died recently and I had to rescue all the old photos from it. This is Whirlwind, who is now 8. Why do all children love making that screwed up face for photos?! Too cute - makes me a bit sad that they are growing up. My littlest is now 5, and acting oh so cool as he will be heading to school with the big boys soon. Gotta let them grow up, I guess, but I just want to squeeze them forever.

Devotionals, Scripture, Key Verses

One of the sponsor children sent me this verse in his letter.

Wishing you all a lovely week.