Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year In Review

A year in review... That's what my hubby Pete likes best about New Years Eve... the flashbacks to the year gone by.

I reckon it can be good to look back at our own year, not for long, but just long enough to appreciate all that has been achieved in the last 365 days.

I can sometimes feel like another year has passed and not much in life has changed or improved. Focus may have been in the wrong place or lots of other, more important things have cropped up.

2009 for our family began quite memorably with Pete saying 'can we leave this conversation for another day, it's almost 4am!!' Now that was a fun night. The year continued with my confirmation of MS and starting on the recommended medication. We've moved house almost twice staying at friends for the 24 hours we had no house, children went with Pete to home ed camp, we had a term of choir, 2 lots of swimming sprints in school holidays, long drawn out settlement finally settled 3 months late losing thousands of dollars, my fathers estate finally sorted, I joined and participated in the local monthly home ed group, Pete and I attended a 2 day home ed seminar in September, Timothy has learned to walk, graduated to a single bed, Melinda can now read and is reading well, we ran and participated in home ed art and craft classes for 6 weeks, went camping for the first time in 6 years, I made half a dozen or more new and wonderful friends, our children have made friends with their children, we changed churches, Melinda has been at Girl's Brigade for 3 terms and Nathaniel at Boys Brigade for the same 3 terms, I had a slipped disc twice (not aiming for that next year!!), We've been researching traditional God given foods and are now drinking raw milk instead of powdered - a massive price difference but worth the benefits, have upped our egg and fat consumption massively and a whole lot more, have started market trips at least fortnightly, 'bought in' to the local community garden and started seedlings for it, experienced a trip to emergency when Melinda came off the scooter and greeted the concrete with her forehead, got a back-log of paperwork done, paid thousands off debt, washed dishes for 10 weeks while we waited for the dishwasher to become installed, started a blog, walked with friends by the local section of Dandenong creek for hours, travelled to Queensland by car for a 2 week family holiday/business conference. Pete and I have enjoyed what may well be our best year of marriage thus far. Friends have had babies, some you wouldn't think could survive but with Gods blessing are thriving, We've cooked meals for families through various house moves, illnesses and busy lives and made dear friends in the process with one family in particular. God is Good!
These are just the things that come to mind as I type, so I'm sure there's a whole bunch more!

When I read this list, instead of wondering where the year went, I am amazed we survived. Oh what a year. I can only imagine what God has in store for us in 2010 and trust that He will continue to provide the strength needed to travel this moment in time that is life on earth.

PS... (Jan 2) There's also been 2 family weddings, Melinda a flower girl at my mothers, a formal girls only dinner party for 10 and reconnecting with many friends from years gone by courtesy of facebook!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's called Christmas with a capital 'C'

Christmas comes and goes in such a flash! Once the 25th of December has passed, Christmas is gone for the year... so unless we 'get into it' earlier, it's always going to disappear this fast!

Christmas is one of those things I find quite interesting among Christian friends... do we, don't we, it's not when Christ was born, it's a pagan festival and so on. As much as Santa and presents have centre stage though, it is the time of year when most around us have some awareness of Christ. Regardless that it's all wrapped in Santa, that still has to be a good thing. So for me this year the summary of my thoughts are:

Nup, it's not the real day that HE was born... but the point is HE was born! Being sure of eternal life, in heaven, is the best gift I didn't have to ask for. Even better though, it's a gift everyone can choose to accept. He was born for you too. Where are you spending eternity?

That aside... Christmas this year may be our best yet. As the children are getting older, traditions are becoming stronger and have more of an impact.
Something that we have done every year since Melinda was 1yo, is to do a 'Pyjama Ride' at Christmas. Usually Christmas Eve... load the kids in the car in their Pyjamas, once it's dark... and go and look at Christmas lights. It's a lot of fun... we look at some we know and seek out other ones in small neighbourhoods. It's fun for all - Even Timothy at almost 20mo loves it... even last year at 8mo he expressed delight at the light displays. This year we'd also done a little Christmas baking and dropped that off to a few friends as we went. Pete had the job of door knocking and surprising people. He really didn't like it till he was done - and then enjoyed the laughter he had brought people. A good experience for 'Mr Scrooge' ;o)

We got together with my extended family the Saturday before Christmas, and Pete takes the children to visit his parents early January (and I get to use that time for home ed planning! - Yay!!)

Christmas day was lovely - the children waking before 7am, excited about their small Christmas stockings and then after our traditional breakfast of pancake wrapped sausages we were off to church, a really lovely service. Back home for a sleep, family lunch and then presents. Just a lovely day really.

And in 2010, I'd just like to start the 'doing' of Christmas at the start of December... we will see!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yoghurt made today!

It's the 4th time I've made yoghurt if I can count! Once a couple of years ago and twice before today from raw milk - today's is from raw milk too.

I'm pretty happy as today's 'set' in just 3 hours - it's usually taken 3-4 times that long! I changed the way I kept it warm and also made sure it was warm right to the top. It obviously makes a good difference which is a relief.

It's in the fridge now and I'll be making another jar...hmm, maybe while camping? That could be a bit too much fussing - so I think it will either be the day before or once we're back.

I'm making yoghurt in a similar way to the recipe below. I'm only making about 500ml and I'm making it thick by adding 2tb of powdered full cream milk to the other milk as it's heated. So not as pure as it could be, but sure works for me and costs about $1.75 for half a kilo and a bit extra if I want it flavoured. That's 1/2 the price of what I'd pay for good yoghurt from the supermarket.

Speaking of flavoured; that's the interesting bit...
The first of the recent batches, I made plain and then stirred in honey once done. Tasted great for those that like honey. The second one I mixed pureed raspberries into it before it was set. Again, it tasted good but the problem was that all the seeds fell to the bottom and the last centimetre was thick with seeds - not so fun! So... this time, I am going to pour pureed fruit ON TOP of the yoghurt now that it's set, with the idea being that each time you serve some yoghurt that you're also getting some of the fruit for flavour!

Best go and do that now and then maybe I'll have some pictures to show.

Yoghurt Recipe

By Joanne Hay

You need:

  • 1 litre (2-1/4 pints) of full-fat milk (raw is best)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons yogurt (room temperature) mixed with a few tablespoons of milk
  • thermometer

Bring milk to just under boiling point and then pour the milk into a glass or earthenware dish. Let the milk cool to about 42°C/104°F. Pour the yogurt/milk mixture into the milk carefully without disturbing the skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk. Cover with a cloth, place in a warm, draft-free place for 8 to 12 hours or overnight, and do not disturb it until the yoghurt thickens. Drain any excess liquid and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

To make a “thick” yoghurt, remove the skin on the surface of the yoghurt just made and pour the yoghurt into a muslin bag. Hang the bag over a bowl and let drain for about 2 hours or until the desired thickness is obtained

Planning 2010

Our calendar is full and I feel like 2009 is pretty much over. We're going to be taking some time over our 'break' to plan the new year. The 'what we want it to look like', knowing full well that much deviation will occur.

I need to plan the children's education; academic, physical, spiritual and life skills
I need to make financial plans
Business plans
Spiritual growth and fellowship plans
Home management plans
Health management - physical and food
and plans for time structure

Okay, that's some good brainstorming... that list gives me something to work with

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interesting food changes

Over recent years I've looked at food/diet from time to time and more recently God has led me to some strongly convicted people who eat very differently from mainstream society. I've watched, I've asked questions, I've read and I've sought what God wants me to learn from each of them.

Bit by bit I am piecing it all together. I'll never be able to explain it all here - you're best to do some googling and reading of some detailed books.

We're far from done in changing our diet but here's what we're doing after research shows how powerful these things are

  • We've switched to raw milk - wow... what amazing health advantages God gave us with raw organic cow milk. From stronger immune systems to reduced tooth decay and more
  • We're eating more fat. Lots of it. Real fat, animal fat, virgin coconut oil. Unprocessed fats.
  • We're eating loads more eggs
  • Significant protein at every meal
  • Very reduced grain intake
  • Back to white breads and pasta as a short term measure before we head to soaking and grinding Spelt grains to make our own flour for bread, baking etc
So what, hey? Well in short, I have noticed immediate benefits. In 3 weeks I have lost 5kg and I am soooo not hungry. Short and simple yet HUGE results.

We'll keep investigating and keep making changes. It's all about going back to the food God gave us, and preparing it the way it was a couple of thousand years ago.

Google & read: Nourishing Traditions, Eat Fat Lose Fat; Real Milk, Weston A Price Foundation

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Paper Update!

Well, the paper thing never happened as planned... and I've not 'been here' in almost a month... so as you can imagine... the paper is still piled.

The good news, however is that we've done some major work on it. I mean MAJOR work on it. A long overdue tax return has been completed. It only took 2 nights till 4am to complete it but hey, it's DONE.
That is some serious paperwork pressure GONE!

So while not all is perfect, we're on our way to excellence and that has got to be good!