Saturday, December 18, 2010

Piff-a-thon Tally

So far before today - ZERO

and today....

5 Books to mum
5 Books to the library
41 Items into the 'leave the house but not sure how' box
-jewellery doll
-2 candle thingys
-a dvd
-a jacket
-2 pairs of baby booties (what is it with these?!?!)
-2 evening purses
-28 books
-3 cookie cutters
-1 headband
51 Items so far.... wow, only 99 to go... I might need to go over the planned 150 items to find sanity in this house!? Will see what it looks like over the next couple of weeks and then decide :o) There is a LOT coming into the house at this time of year, for sure!

Marked 'to go' but not ready to go, are a king sized doona and 2 European pillows.... that's some serious bulk but not a high number count... must get them ready to go in the next few days and then they can be counted.

Our lounge room at the moment as we're gathering everything from around the house that is in the wrong place or is not yet unpacked.... some serious hours of work to be done here!!

oh - and today, hubby cleaned out the art & craft cupboard!! Nothing has been removed from this cupboard but before he began, it looked like not another thing could be squeezed in here - clever man is he!

Should have taken a 'before' picture but we rarely remember to do that LOL


Friday, December 17, 2010

Random Thoughts

Much is going on.
These last couple of weeks have been sooo busy
I'm LOVING the vegie patch
I'm a little overwhelmed with all the fruit in the back yard that will be good for picking over the next couple of months
My kids are just being painful while they fold the washing right now as I type
Hubby has 2.5 weeks off work starting tonight
Fish n chips for dinner - was going to be in a park but now it's pouring so it'll be here at the table
I am soo looking forward to 2.5weeks that fit a bit better with my preferred hours - usually we need to be in bed at 9pm to be able to get up at 5am!! Wake up time of somewhere between 6 & 7am will be so much nicer
We have so much to get done over the next couple of weeks but want to balance it out with family fun. Must keep that in mind.
Lots of fun was had at my sisters place last weekend when we did (my side) family Christmas there
There are so many nutrimetics orders coming in at the moment, which is great - must continue to track and write them down so I don't forget anything
I have received a whole bunch of curriculum stuff in the last week and a bit but have yet to sit down and go through them. I am REALLY looking forward to making & taking time to do this.
I love the sound of rain on the roof
I'm wondering if Pete got to the train dry or got caught in the rain.
There is nothing in the diary for tomorrow = bliss
Pete just called ~ he's wet... I no longer need to wonder
I wish weeding didn't make my hands so dirty
I have so many blog posts I want to finish writing.... and a whole bunch of blogs I need to go back and comment on from when I've only had a few minutes to read
I need long gardening gloves, the zucchini plants give my arms a rash
I need to publish this so I can get Pete from the train!


Monday, December 6, 2010

150 Things To Go

That's my goal.... 150 individual items must leave this house between now and when Pete goes back to work on about Jan 6th. I can't count normal things I'd throw away in day to day life. They have to be things that moved with us to this house back in July.
I'm not sure how many I'll get to this week as I've figured it to be our busiest week of the year, but I'll post as I go, over the next few weeks. Life slows down again next week :o)

Anyone want to join me on a month of decluttering - even if it's not 150 things?


Saturday, December 4, 2010

My FIRST Sewing Success!

I've started a couple of other projects but so far they are both incomplete. Well today, I have gone from start to finish on a skirt for Melinda... made so it should last her for a couple of summers at least.

She's thrilled with the result, as am I

Ta Da!!

A closer look at the fabric

I chose this fabric because of it's 'busy-ness' and thus it's ability to hide any errors.
Thankfully there were as good as none. I need to figure out the top part of the skirt a bit better for next time. It tapers in the whole way up - including into the waist band area.... need to look at some other skirts to see how best to finish them off. A blessing is, it can't be seen on this skirt!


Friday, December 3, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #5

Tip #5
Maximise your energy

Being organised is soooo HARD when you're low on energy and focus. Lack of organisation will just make you more tired and stressed... and attempting to 'sleep it off', won't necessarily re-energise you... it just shuts off the stress for a few hours and delays the inevitable.

Here's a small bunch of things I've figured out / discovered through hours of research, that affect energy/focus levels

1. WATER - Drink lots of it. Mild dehydration is a big cause of fatigue
2. SUGAR - is evil! It destroys energy among other things. It gives you false highs and very real lows. It's said to be more addictive than cocaine. If you need more energy, avoid sugar like you would the plague. It's in EVERYTHING. Cut it out for a month and then have something sugary. Notice how ill your body feels - this is how you will have always felt... you've just grown accustomed to it. Like the frog in a pot of water analogy.
In the 1700's we ate less than 2kg of sugar a year. By the 1900's we are consuming over 45kgs of sugar a year!! A glass of fruit juice has about as much sugar as the often quoted glass of Coke. 25g. Just one glass a day is over 9kg of sugar a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tomato sauce is 25% sugar/weight, most Jams 50%. There's a teaspoon-ish of sugar in every McDonald's burger... that's before you count the overall carb content which your body treats as sugar anyway! If you didn't change your diet and just added up all the processed sugar in a week you would FREAK OUT - I dare you, do it!!
Even avoiding all the obvious sugars, you're still consuming heaps and heaps... more than enough
3. Avoid ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. Aside from the chemical toxicity, they wreak havoc with your adrenal system. Research your adrenal system and how it works. You don't want to mess with this. Your body assumes an artificial sweetener is the REAL THING... it releases insulin, which drops your blood sugar when it shouldn't, leaving you then craving more and the cycle goes on. Over use of the adrenal system ruins it. Stops it working effectively.Makes you a whole lot more tired among other 'not so good' things.
4. Exercise. Lack of it makes you feel blah. If doing it makes you feel blah then start and build up slowly. You don't need endurance. You need bunches of little intense bursts. This will increase your sense of well being, focus and energy.
5. Low Vitamin D... will lead to fatigue and make you susceptible to all sorts of illness and disease. I deliberately get, as often as possible, daily sun through the year. I recently tested and came back with a low Vitamin D result.... so if I'm deliberate in getting sun, how low are others?? Get yourself tested and do something about it!!

In short - quit whinging about low energy unless you are on top of these 5 things. I have NO pity on someone who doesn't pay good attention to these things yet complains about lack of focus, energy, fatigue or anything else related.

Get your energy on track - even a 5% improvement if you're really ill with something, will still help you get on top of life and be more organised!! Chances are you'll improve a whole lot more than that.

Next I'm investigating CoQ10... anyone use this? Know anything about it? 


No Longer A 'Mystery Vine Thingy'

A lovely neighbour came over to introduce herself last week and told me of 3 fruit 'trees' we have that I didn't know about.... one being the 'Mystery Vine Thingy' out the back....


And it's growing LOADS of these cute little Kiwi... all around an inch long at the moment!

How cool is that!?!?!

Now... just one QUESTION... if we're going to have buckets of Kiwi fruit, what else can one do with them other than eat them fresh or put them on a Pav?


Sunday, November 28, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #4

Tip #4
Make more margins.
Stop tail gating... you know when you see that crazy car on the road and you give it a whole lot more space.... well life is like that crazy car - out of control... so accept it, get over it and make some space!

  • Put the clocks in the house forward a permanent 6 minutes - and don't tell anyone, if you can get away with it!
  • When going somewhere, work out how long you need to get ready so you can work out your departure time... and add in an extra 20%ish for life that will get in the way - a nappy that needs changing, misplacing your keys, looking up the address or whatever it may be. It can almost be guaranteed THERE WILL BE SOMETHING.
  • Do first things first... make your list for the day and note the things that are MUST DO's on that day, and start with them. Do the optional items later - because they are the ones that don't matter so much if not done!
  • Budget every dollar, including about 10% 'oops'... BEFORE the money arrives. Then don't spend it any other way until the next time around.
  • Work out dinner the night before so that a) anything needed is defrosted and b) you're not gazing in the fridge at 5pm wondering what to cook or having a takeaway AGAIN!!
  • Have a complete back up meal or two in the house - even if it's just a bag of pasta and a jar of pasta sauce.

That's the first bunch of ideas that come to mind, to help us have more 'margin' in life... I'd love to hear what you do to create 'margin' in your life and thus avoid what I call 'headless chook syndrome'.
(and for non-Aussies, a chook is a hen)


Friday, November 26, 2010

Look What I Won!!

Okay, so I won it a couple of weeks ago now... but have been good and not opened it till now. In fact as I type, it's still wrapped up... so this is about as live a blog post as you can get from me!

All wrapped up

60 seconds later - Cute hey?

I won this from Cassie at Cassie's Cuddles - I love seeing what her and her family are up to and it is Cassie that has inspired me to start sewing... I have a LONG way to go but thanks to Cassie and now this book - I have lots of inspiration

After a quick flick, I think this is the project I will work on first - I need one!

Thanks Cassie!! xxx

PS... not too many posts to go till my giveaway... I'd better get to them as I want to give these currently mystery goodies away before Christmas! And in case you're wondering... it is international... so it doesn't matter where you live, you still have a chance :o)


Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #3

Tip #3
Have a back up plan - before you have the main plan

I'll explain Tip #3 in a minute.... but before I go there I have to say... Tip #3 is a PRACTICAL tip.
Unlike Tip #1 and Tip #2, this one is practical.

If you've read the first two tips and are saying 'At last! Practical is what I need! I was wondering if we'd ever get to the practical!'... or anything else that sounds even remotely like that... then my educated guess is that YOU need to go back and immerse yourself in both tips one and two. Pray that God will open your heart and eyes to anything that you can learn from them.

Without having a handle on both the first tips, then you will go jumping from one practical tip to the next, from a variety of sources... and nothing will ever come together. I know. I've been there, done that and bought the T-shirt (well, the organising books actually!)

So - back to Tip #3
Have a back up plan - before you have the main plan

or as I call it 'My Out of Routine Recovery Plan'

I use it every time that life is upside down. Be it returning from an emergency trip interstate, or at the end of a week like last week when there was too much to do in too little time or just when I've had a backwards day or two and I don't know which way is up. Maybe it's after coming back from a family holiday or camping trip... I use it at the point where once I might instead start searching (probably online) for some 'new' organising help, information and ideas.

Step 1 - Get the children occupied... be it sleeping, TV, outside - whatever... at this point it doesn't matter. Just get them out of your head for an hour or two. If this is not possible and they'll be clinging on... then I just say 'Tough, get over it and make it work'... if you use that as your excuse, you haven't done your homework on Tip's #1 & 2 and you don't have my sympathy! If you work better with some cheerful music or essential oil burning - now is the time to get that happening now. I like Andre Rieu if I have the headspace for the extra noise and as for essential oils, something citrus is always nice and energising. Now is not the time for vanilla! Down a glass of water and move on to step #2

Step 2 - Figure out the next couple of meals. Yes, even if it's 7pm and the next meal is breakfast... ot it's 8am and lunch is hours away... get the next 2-3 meals SORTED. Again at this point, don't worry about health so much as full tummies. This is not about your usual standards and the ideal way you would like to live. It's about finding short term sanity so you can start to move forward to that ideal. 2 min noodles with tuna, a bowl of wheat biscuits and milk, baked beans on toast, a bag of frozen potato gems... WHATEVER... just know what the next few meals are and write them down. (one day, down the track, not to far away from now - you will actually have a spare casserole or two in the freezer for days like this.... so keep the faith but just don't aim for it now unless you already have something like that in the freezer okay?). If the next meal happens to be NOW or when you are working through this list, that's fine - make it happen when it needs to and be thankful you're now on top of it... and then just move onto the next step.

Step 3 - Spend no more than 30min and get the 3 wet areas looking/working better. Note: looking better... not 'up to scratch'. Put the dishwasher on or run a sink of dishwater and load it with dirty dishes - or both.... put a load of washing in the washing machine and turn it on - for me, this used to be a rewash of the load I had left in there and had now gone smelly (oops!) (to fix this, add your usual detergent (again!), make it a warm wash and add a teaspoon or cap full of eucalyptus oil... this should get rid of any musty smell from the wash).... now get back to those soaking dishes if you have any and wash a few, dump another load of crusty dishes into the sink.... now to the 3rd wet area... the bathroom basin(s). Quickly put things away off the surface (no, don't straighten the cupboard now, just get the bench surface clear(er) ) and use a wet cloth to give the basin and bench a decent wipe over and then the dry cloth in your other hand to dry both. 2 minutes TOPS at the basin, okay?
Now, of the suggested '30min tops' I suggest for these 3 wet areas, you are probably only halfway through that... so finish up the dishes if you can... if there's no time left, no worry... you'll get faster as you practice this. Half the hassle of being organised is knowing what to do next!

Step 4 - Spend a couple of minutes clearing what you can off your dining table and give it a quick wipe down and dry. However much you do, it's going to look better than it did right - don't aim for perfect, just improve it!

Step 5 - Set the timer for 10minutes and GO! Spend the time doing a 'quick pick up' of your main living areas... the lounge/kitchen/dining table floors... as much in the bin as possible... as much in the right place as possible... the rest, just move it off the floor.

 Step 6 - Vacuum the middles of the areas you just cleared. Again, just make it better - not perfect

Step 7 - If you were feeling 'sticky' as you were moving around doing all these, grap the mop and mop the middles - 2 minutes okay?!

Step 8 - Grab a glass of water (dehydration is one of the top causes of lack of energy!!) and sit down. Breathe.  Take a moment and look at what you HAVE done... not what is still to do. Feel good about it!

and in about an hour, the house is starting to come together, though sometimes it's crazy enough that I work through half the list again right away. Either way, a lot of stress has been reduced and I can focus again on long term things.

The important thing is to make a list like this that is yours - one that works for you. Also, make sure you don't get hung up on what's on the list. It's designed to cover 'all possibilities'... so if you're working through it and 'hey presto' there's no washing to put on.... then it's just 'Yippee' and you move on to the next thing... or maybe the table doesn't need clearing, or whatever... as time passes, the portion of the list that doesn't need working on grows - go with the flow, skip over it and pat yourself on the back instead. Still don't shorten the list though... because the day will come when it ALL needs doing, for one reason or another and it's great to not have to think about it.

PS: A lot of disorganised people I've met or know online will procrastinate by convincing themselves (all too easy to do) that they first need to sit and relax before tackling the house. I promise you it doesn't work. Jumping in on a list like this will  have you feeling so much better, so much sooner than half an hour or so on the computer or watching TV ever could... stop fooling yourself and just DO IT!!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Week in Review

 The days go by so fast - but this week especially so! It's not usual or even desirable, for us to be this busy on a regular basis but it all just fell into this week for a variety of reasons.

We started off with the 'perfect' day of schooling on Monday... (that should have given me a clue about the end of the week LOL) and in the afternoon we went visiting and spent a delightful couple of hours with some dear friends who live about 45min away... coming home in time to pick up Pete from work and then to drop Melinda at Girl's Brigade.

Tuesday another busy day - we didn't get through as much bookwork as I would have liked... everyone needed a nap which does tend to get in the way of productivity. We need to learn to manage this a bit better. Again in the afternoon we spent a couple of hours at a friend's home - this one lives only about 15min away... and I had a lovely cuddle of their 10 week old baby - a boy after 2 girls and a baby that was soooo longed for. God is good!

Wednesday the children and I went to my sisters house for 2/3 of the day and looked after her boys... we did our bible session together which is a start, but no other work than that.

See, very social this week!!!

THURSDAY... a few errands in the morning (I'm thinking I should have deferred this??) and then my sister arrived with her boys... Pete had today off work, so he looked after all 5 children while I took my sister out for a long leisurely lunch at the Pancake Parlour for her birthday. We've both voted it to be an annual event from now on. An absolutely WONDERFUL day!
Schooling on Thursday - Ha!!

Friday started at 2am with gastro... ugh. Thankfully Pete dealt with most of it... Nj first, me by 5am and then Pete by the end of Friday. So far Melinda and Timothy seem to have escaped it. I pray it stays so!

So this made Friday a waste of a day... as Nj said to me 'Mum, you've been on the couch ALL DAY!!'. Pete did take the car to get the air conditioning fixed and re-gassed, so that is one thing that was good.
Schooling on Friday? Ha!

So sad to say, with the arrival of gastro... we needed to cancel our big 'almost summer BBQ' that was to be happening this afternoon from 3pm.... I certainly couldn't be here blogging if it was happening. We had about 24 adults and 46 children of all ages coming and God even gave us perfect weather for it! Much fun was planned - bubbles, slippery mat, face painting, paper planes and more... oh yes - a 5 metre long ice cream sundae!! Yes, we will be rescheduling in the new year!!!!!!!!!!

2010 will be remembered as 'the year my life was cancelled' for sure!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #2

Tip #2
Quit cursing yourself.
Change your words - remember that there is life and death in the tongue!!

Take a moment to sit in a chair and think about your second most dreaded task.... save the worst for the next exercise okay?
Think about it... how big it is, how awful it is, how it never goes away, how tired you are, how you just don't have the focus for it, can't be bothered, unappreciated by others when you do do it.

Do you feel like doing it now?

Now sit and ponder the WORST one you came up with before. For me, that's probably the ironing.
Close your eyes and think again... choose to think to yourself how good it feels when finally done, how great it is to not have it hanging on the to do list anymore, how energised you feel, imagine yourself getting up and getting stuck into it, admiring the finished task and feeling the weight lift off as you see the final result.

I bet you feel a lot more like doing this task now than the first one you thought of right?

If you now need/want to go and get it done NOW - then GO!
You can always come back to read the rest later, right?

**So, remember to choose your thoughts, and choose good ones**

What about how you sound when talking to other people?
"I'm too disorganised for that"
"It's never ending"
"Kids make it so much harder"
"I'm too tired"
"I'm too sick"
"He's the messy one"
"If only the kids didn't make so much mess"

Your brain is lazy... when you say or think these things, it hears them as an instruction; as a truth and struggles to operate in any other way.

Change your words and help yourself
"I love a tidy loungeroom"
"It feels so good to declutter"
"I'm working with the children to teach them to tidy up their own things"
"It'll only take a few minutes, I'll do it now"

Go on, go do it now ~ we're at the end of Tip #2.... it'll only take a few minutes


Monday, November 15, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #1

No, I am not a BO 'born organised' but I'm working on becoming more organised. Some do mistake the progress I've made, and am making, as me actually being a BO... but trust me - I'm not!

Tip #1
Have a purpose.
Know why you want to be more organised.
God wired us to work with a purpose.
It's much easier to walk 30min to catch a train daily than it is to just get out and go for a 30min walk every day.
So know your WHY... the 'why you want to be more organised'

For me...

it was coming to a better understanding of God Himself.
I serve a God of order and excellence. One doesn't need to spend much time reading God's word to understand that. We are made in His image, a likeness of Him. We operate better when organised, even if we struggle with learning to be organised.
By knowing this, and the way children and husbands operate... I know my family does better when we're organised.

Titus 2: 4-5 tells us that when we are not 'keepers of the home' that we blaspheme the Word of God.
Yet another very good reason to manage my home well!

Also, what does my home say about me and my God?
Do I want to encourage the world to think that 'homeschoolers are messy/dirty/disorganised/too busy'?
Do I want to encourage the world to think that 'families with 3 or more children are messy/dirty/disorganised/too busy'?
Do I want to encourage the world to think that 'Christians are messy/dirty/disorganised/too busy'?

More reasons to work on being more organised and make it a natural part of life, don't you think!

Motivate yourself by writing out the Titus 2 verse above, or something like Proverbs 10v4 and put them where you can easily see them throughout the day - I have them next to my kitchen sink... a biblical kick in the pants if you will :o)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Easy Smoked Salmon & Pea Risotto - and almost healthy!

 Rice isn't great for you, but if you must have it (and I must, from time to time) then here's a recipe I made up and used today for our family lunch. It served a family of 5 (2 Adults, 2 children and a toddler).
I wouldn't like to serve this for a dinner, even on a carb night as the carb content is a little high for our health preferences - but it would do in a pinch if I had to!

3tbsp Healthy Fat - I used 50/50 Coconut Oil and Butter. You could also use Cold-pressed Sesame Oil or Lard.
1c Diced Onion
1c Arborio Rice
1/2 c White Wine
1 Massel Chicken Stock Cube
1lt Hot Homemade Long-cooked Chicken Bone Broth
200g Smoked Salmon, diced
1c Frozen Peas
1/3c Shredded Parmesan Cheese
For seasoning: Celtic Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Extra Parmesan Cheese

1. Heat the oil
2. Gently fry the onion till translucent
3. Add the rice and heat while stirring, till translucent. From here on, you just keep on stirring most of the time, okay!
4. Add the wine and sizzle it off
5. Add a cup of broth and the stock cube (yes, stir!)
6. As it thickens, add some more stock - say 200ml at a time. Keep doing this till rice is cooked but still has a firmness to it.
7. After the 3rd addition of stock, add the frozen peas
8. Once the rice is cooked, add in the diced salmon and stir in for a minute to allow it to cook
9. Stir in the Parmesan cheese
10. Season with salt and pepper
11. Allow to sit a couple of minutes before serving
12. Serve with a little more Parmesan cheese on top


'Cooking Salmon' is the cheapest smoked salmon to buy. It's a bunch of end and side pieces and about $10/kg less than the neat slices. Just dice in on the display card and scrape it straight into the risotto

Monday, November 8, 2010

I've joked about having an ironing fairy

and the Lord has given me an ironing angel!! 

At the end of Sunday's service (Pete's baptism and Timothy's dedication), many people approached us and one lovely lady gave me a note with her phone number, saying she would like to help us with house cleaning &/or ironing!! Pete had mentioned my MS diagnosis in his testimony and this lady tells me she does house cleaning and ironing, free of charge, for those that might need a hand.
I jokingly asked her if she'd seen my ironing pile!! (it's more of a mountain at the moment, than a pile)

So today, I am going to phone her and graciously accept her offer and the Lord's provision.

With MS, I struggle mostly with fatigue and 'head space'... heaps worse than the usual lack of head space one might complain about. The children can ask me something and I need to repeat it back to them a time or two just to process it and figure out what they're asking! Sometimes I sit doing nothing, because I can't even get thought's straight enough to think about what to do next!!! Of all the things I need to manage, ironing is always at the end of the list even though I have a huge awareness that it needs doing. The person at most disadvantage because of this is Pete, so as much as this will be a blessing to me, it will also be to Pete.

God is good!

ETA a PS: I've noticed my 150th post ever, is coming up soon and I've been toying with having a give away as many of my blog friends have done... so keep an eye out... it will be in the 150th post... it's something I love to use daily and is related to cooking, gardening and babies!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

A new way of cooking

After much much reading from researchers who do not have an 'invested interest' other then truth and genuine good health, we are pressing forward with the changes to our diet that we began a year ago.

A few things we've already done
-removed over processed salt from cooking. It's now for playdough only! We now use Celtic Sea Salt. It has 75+ minerals versus the 2 that are left in standard salt. 'Sea salt' sold at the supermarket is just dodgy marketing and is still nutrient deficient.
-We've been drinking raw milk. Milk that has not been pasteurised. Milk from healthy cows. Organic cows. Milk that has not been homogenised. Cows that don't get injected with antibiotics etc. If the milk from the supermarket was unpasteurised you'd still never get me to drink you know they strain it to remove puss that is in the milk from sick cows with mastitis? Why are the cows sick? because they're not cared for and kept healthy... they're pushed to create heaps more milk than a cow was ever meant to produce in a day. Raw milk is an entirely different product. It's the milk God intended us to drink and when you know about raw milk, 'a land flowing with milk and honey' being a good thing makes so much more sense. It helps you avoid tooth decay, it helps keep the stomach bacteria balanced. It prevents crohn's disease and can even heal it.
-Honey, we use raw honey. Honey that has not been heated - supermarket honey has been. Raw honey is healthy.... processed honey has had all the good enzymes killed off. So it's just a sugar, not a health product.
-We use rapadura, not sugar. Rapadura is still a sugar. It's just barely processed. It's dehydrated sugar cane juice and again, retains the vitamins etc that the over processing removes. If you must use sugar in something, this is the best way to go.
-We soak our porridge overnight for 12 hours before cooking it. This releases nutrients and stops nutrients being removed from our body by the eating of grains that have not been prepared properly.
-We make our own bread.... yeast, celtic sea salt, rapadura, wholemeal flour, water.
-We eat much more fat. Yep - the healthy stuff. Butter, lard, coconut oil etc. A good book on this is Eat Fat, Lose Fat - amazing info in there that you'll never hear from any vegetable oil or margarine company. Basically those foods (veg oil, marge etc) are a huge part of the cause of rising heart disease and a whole pile of other health issues. In the last year I've changed fats in the house to the REAL healthy ones and more than doubled fat intake. I've not put on weight... I've lost 2kgs.
-Bone broth added to as many meals as possible. This aids digestion and helps you absorb more nutrients.

So, what now?
Having learned that the so called 'healthy diet pyramid' is actually the 'dodgy diet pyramid' and is the cause of my excess weight, we are now making more changes.
Carbs at dinner 2 x a week... Tuesday and Friday's are carb nights... potatoes or rice is the preference, especially until I can make properly prepared home made pasta - by properly prepared, I mean from soaked grain.
Protein and fat at every meal, especially breakfast.
The majority of our diet is now meat, fat, vegetables.
I'm even being good and not touching the fresh baked bread as it comes out of the oven - so delish with melted butter - unless it's baked in the morning and can be had with a decent serve of protein as well.
We are ordering bulk organic grains and will soak, dehydrate and mill our own flour (from this I could make a healthy pasta)
Breakfast now might look like:
-small serve of soaked porridge with currants in it along with a couple of slices of roast beef retaining all the fat
-Egg, sausage and toast
-Beans on buttered toast
-Home made full fat yoghurt, egg, fried potatoes
and other combination's of that sort of thing.
Lunches are pretty similar to what they have been, I'm just making a much more conscious effort to include good sized servings of meat, cheese etc.
Dinner is interesting!
I've looked at the recipes I usually use and have modified them to increase meat and remove pasta, rice and potatoes. So Kye See Mein has no noodles or rice but increased cabbage and minced beef. Busy day casserole we tried for the first time this week with no pasta... instead I increased the meat and added in a bunch of fried diced pumpkin - very popular even with our most fussy eater.

It is sooo good to eat and feel full so much earlier, so much less food! It is great to have no desire to snack in the evenings. The extra energy is WONDERFUL!

Yes, it's more time in the kitchen for both cooking and dishes. Yes, it's a smidge more expensive.
but so what. It's health. That makes it very cheap!!

We can see the extra energy and health.... and health is a multi-generational thing... in the Western world, it's getting worse with each generation. Our babies start of with the deteriorated health we have and then it gets worse being on the western diet and then their babies start with an even more deteriorated health... and so on.
It's time to stop this.

Further reading on sugar....

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.

  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.

  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year. 

  • on  raw milk

  • on much of the above
    and for the easiest reading on oh so much of this... the book Nourishing Traditions is a must.... borrow one from a library for just a week and you'll want your own.


    Thursday, November 4, 2010


    After 2.5 years and multiple attempts, Timothy will be dedicated at church on Sunday. Without family and friends joining us. Pete is also finally being baptised as an adult. Without family and friends joining us.
    Yes, a bit of an ouch.
    And in this, I must learn to be content.

    A reminder to myself as I move past this...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

    That's what I need to fill my day with.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

    After waiting months and  months to see this film, it is finally in Australia and we have a copy
    I highly recommend you getting one too!

    What I liked most
    It was heartwarming and drew you in... expect to shed a few tears
    The wonderful examples of forgiveness
    The encouragement to share the gospel
    The healthy relationship portrayed between young and old
    The promotion of living God's way being great and something we all really do want versus being restrictive
    ...and last but not least,
    The inspiration it has given my children - I won't tell you what about, as that gives away too much... you might be able to guess after you see the movie :o)

    What I liked least
    Initially I was quite uncomfortable with the emphasis on 'liking a girl' and 'dating' as I hold quite strong convictions about a more deliberate 'courting' way of finding one's marriage partner.
    I love how it was dealt with in the end... but if I told you how that was, it'd give away such a good part of the movie, so I'll just say it was directed back to who God wants us to marry, not so much how we 'feel' about someone in a moment of life.
    All up I think it can be used well and lead to some good discussions with our children about not looking for a marriage partner till one is mature enough to be married, seeking God's will in relationships and honouring God above all else.

    To see the movie trailer click here
    To buy it in Australia, try 
    (I'd add a link but it's seems to be having rare loading issues at the moment)
    Word does not yet have it in stock

    NB: I have not been asked to review this, nor have I been given any goods or cash to do so. It is a personal review of my choosing.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Little helpers

    We had such a fun time Saturday night / Sunday morning when my favourite nephews stayed over. Mr4yo and Mralmost2yo.. ooh, he's two this next week!
    Anyway, back to our fun....
    The boys arrived at 3.30pm, just as the downpour arrived in our part of Melbourne (65mm in 24 hours here)
    so Mr4 went outside with Melinda and Nathaniel to dance in the rain and get completely SOAKED... so it was into dry pyjamas by 4pm.
    A little bit of indoor play (Timothy and Mr2 had been playing trains while the others got wet) and then it was DVD time on the bed in our room which they thought a wonderful idea... and a bonus when the home made pizza arrived up there for dinner!
    Clever hubby laid out large blankets first to catch the crumbs :o)

    the little ones aren't quite as enthralled by the movie!
     Into bed once that was over and they all went to sleep right away and didn't wake till just after 7... the most civilised rising we've had with 5 blessings in the house at one time!

    A tasty breakfast of eggs and hash browns, big glasses of milk and then it was clean up time.
    I asked Melinda to gather the plates for me so I could get the dishes underway and a little 4yo voice says to me 'can I help too Aunty Relle?'  Loved it - so sweet! So he, with much joy, gathered all the empty milk glasses and brought them to the kitchen for washing.

    I was reminded of this later in the afternoon (The nephews headed home shortly after 9am) when I was clearing the dry dishes and Timothy comes into the kitchen with an "I help mummy" as he starts to put the glasses away that I'd stacked onto the table for the older ones to put away. He was rewarded with much praise from both Pete and I.

    Such joy when they offer to help, vs being asked.

    Such joy in the home when we do ALL work together! I'm a believer in jobs from as early on in life as possible.

    At the moment home making jobs looks a little something like this

    Timothy (2.5)
    Feeds the cat
    Picks up his own toys
    Takes out the recycling with Nj (has been doing this for about 12mo)
    Brings his dishes to the sink (occasionally I cringe but no breakages from this yet)
    Puts his own socks and undies away
    Does lots of 'gofer-ing'... "Timothy, can you please get X for mummy?"

    Nj (7)
    Folds clothes and puts them away
    hangs wet clothes on  the drying rack
    Peels vegies
    Makes his own bed
    Strips sheets off beds for washing day
    Brings the bins in on rubbish day
    Takes out the rubbish bags
    Keeps the toilet paper shelf from running out
    Puts dishes away
    Removes chairs for floor mopping and then puts them back
    Unloads the car after grocery shopping
    Changes dirty nappies!!
    Sets the table
    Working on: learning to vacuum

    Melinda (8)
    Removes the dish drainers and cleans the draining board
    Folds clothes and puts them away
    Can make simple lunches like pizza toasts and sandwiches
    Peels and chops vegies
    Strips sheets off beds for washing day
    Puts a load in the dryer and turns it on, empties, folds and puts away once dry
    Removes chairs for floor mopping and then puts them back
    Unloads the car after grocery shopping
    Sweeps and washes the bathroom floor
    Sets the table
    Working on: washing dishes

    There won't be a any rude shocks when these children have their own homes to care for!

    What about your children - do they get to help keep the house going too?

    (*gasps* as I realise I need to check we have a gift organised for Mralmost2 nephew!)


    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Mystery 'vine thingy' - can anyone help?

    I have no idea what yet another plant/tree/vine is in my yard... if you've read along for a while you'd know we're renting in a new place since July and are making a whole bunch of new discoveries, mostly of the fruit kind.

     We thought it dead when we moved in because it was just a bunch of old looking vines with no leaves at all... since then it has loaded itself with leaves and just recently it's produced a whole bunch of berry looking things... so are they flowers or some sort of fruit? There's clusters of them all over... hundreds...

    Does anyone know what it is?

    In response to Ganeida's comment, I'm adding this picture of a full leaf by itself :o)

    all the leaves are pretty big - I don't have small hands at all LOL

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Baking fun

    A very productive morning here!

    While the children were deep into their own bookwork... I got some serious baking happening. We had some fruit that needed using up. So first, I made a banana loaf... with a bit of this and a bit of that... making up the recipe as I went! 3 eggs, about that much better, 2 bananas, 1c SRF and a few other things

    ta da!!
     Then I made some apple muffins - soooo yummy (I can't say yummy about the banana loaf yet as we're yet to try it!)

    It was about now that Timothy discovered the sink and began his happy hour of playing with water 

    He's more and more keen to turn and pose for a photo these days
    And finally, a loaf of bread was ready to go in the oven to be baked

    Oh, that's right - and all the while I had creamy rice cooking in the crock pot. Why? Just because I'd never done it before!

    The only down side of such fun is the dishes

    All done now though :o)


    a quick update on yesterday's art (because yesterday's post was about last weeks!!)
    It became a 'play and make what you will' session just for Melinda. Nathaniel who is covered in chicken pox at the moment REQUESTED a nap and slept for 3 hours!!!

    For a few days Melinda has had idea of building some sort of boat... she was rather pleased to finally be able to 'get around to it'


    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Tuesday Art

    Only now getting around to posting last week's art! Last week got a little too nutty... more about that once I figure out how to download photo's off my mobile :o)

    We talked about shapes... positive shapes and negative shapes and then made these posters to illustrate the positive and negative of each shape created. I had already done mine as an illustration of the sort of thing they were aiming for. It was really interesting seeing them choosing a shape and then trying to get it to show up with the piece of paper folded in half. They done plenty of cutting with paper folded... 'snow flakes' and the like... but not too fussed about the particular shape at the end. There were some good thinking skills at work here too - good practice!

    Left, me ~ Middle Nj (7) ~ Right Melinda (8)

    Also... more recently - like yesterday... I finally got around to making the cover for MY home ed binder... I kept losing it with other 'look alike' binders... not anymore

    The middle section is what I call my 'home ed gripe' and I've had it on my kitchen wall for quite a while now. It's a good reminder for me and also has kept others a little more quiet on 'testing' the kids at every opportunity - bliss!

    ...and now I need to get organised for this afternoon's art!!


    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Sunday at Home ~ Making the most of today

    Having returned from a quick, last minute road trip to Sydney to 2 boys covered in chicken pox, I'll be staying home this morning instead of heading off to church with hubby & Melinda.

    I'm very ready to focus on it being a Sunday at Home... time to bring calm and peace back into our world.

    We came home to a tidy house just before 6pm last night but that has soon changed as we unloaded the hastily packed car. A tad chaotic here now - okay, more than that... VERY chaotic.

    My plan is to potter around getting everything straightened and put away. We have beautiful worship music playing and I'll light my favourite scented candles shortly.
    This afternoon we'll have family worship time together... hopefully some time out in the garden (need the sunshine to hang around for this) and prepare a lamb roast together for dinner. Lunch is already made - thank you mum :o) and maybe some time for reading...

    A calm, joy-filled, peaceful day.

    'Full steam ahead' can kick in after dinner as it usually does on a Sunday evening... there is much to be done... but until then.... a restful day.

    Thank you Lord for Sundays


    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Once A Month Cooking ~ Spaghetti Bolognese

    While I may not do all of my cooking 'once a month'... doing some of it 'once a month' is pretty close to magic.

    This is my favourite spaghetti bolognese recipe.... I love dishing it up into family serves and popping them into the freezer. So easy as a last minute meal solution to pop one in a pot with a lid on and by the time the pasta is cooked - the sauce is ready too.

    Got last minute guests for a meal? ... grab 2 or 3 bags from the freezer and dinner is good to go for all. We keep plenty of frozen garlic bread on hand for this purpose too but if for some reason I am low, I'll whip up my cheesy garlic pull apart - 5 minutes to mix and about 15 to bake (stay tuned for that recipe one day soon)
    Faster than take away!!

    NOTE: I do this recipe in bulk, usually doing a triple batch, which is what I've photographed. It fed the family dinner, gave me 3 more family size serves for the freezer, another serve for 2 adults and another serve for 1 child.

    Loads of vegies

    Spaghetti Bolognese ~ serves 6

    60g   Butter
    1       Onion, large, finely chopped
    2tsp  Fresh crushed garlic
    2       Celery sticks, finely chopped
    2       Carrots, finely diced
    600g Lean beef mince
    1tsp   Dried Oregano
    1c     Red wine - A GOOD one! I like a nice merlot for cooking or a shiraz/merlot... I don't drink wine but it's great for adding an awesome flavour in cooking!
    1      Beef stock cube - we use 'Massel' brand without all the additives that you don't need
    2      400g tins diced or pureed tomatoes (I use a 700ml jar of the Aldi tomato cooking sauce... well, 3 of them because I make a triple batch)
    4tb   Tomato Paste
    400g Dried Spaghetti – then cook in a large pot of lightly salted water
    3tb   Grated, fresh parmesan cheese

    take time to simmer for a couple of hours

    til it's nice and thick
    1.    Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until starts to soften
    2.   Add the garlic, celery and carrot, and cook, stirring over low heat for 5 minutes
    3.   Increase the heat to high and add beef and oregano. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned
    4.   Pour in the wine, reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until wine is absorbed
    5.   Add the tomatoes and stock cubes, stir well and allow to simmer till thickens
    6.   Add tomato paste and any additional seasoning, heat through and serve on bed of pasta, topped with the Parmesan cheese
    Put a bag in the container first then load it with the sauce you want to freeze... tie it off and pop it in the freezer

    Then Voila! In the morning you have a brick of bolognese sauce and no messy container

    PS: Another good reason for doing a bulk batch is the mess! Simmering it down will always cause some tomato splatter... this way I have the splatter to clean up once but it feeds us 4+ times!


    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Last week FLEW by

    Life shouldn't be able to go from a Monday to the next Monday so fast... but it would seem there's no stopping it!

    Monday was the first day of our new education routine - GREAT day... first days usually are though so I wasn't holding my breath. The week  followed was just as good though - so good that we took Friday off bookwork so I think this new plan is going to work!

    Monday we started our new geography unit... South Africa
    One of the 4 things we did on SA... a missionary story, globe location and colouring it in on a map of Africa were the others
    Tuesday we... followed the program... had a pretty regular day? Got a birthday card for Nj in the post so he called Grandma to thank her....just one of those days... ooh - maybe it was the day my new book arrived? A Family Guide to The Biblical Holidays... it's hard to get it for less than $45, so if you're interested now is a good time to buy... I've waited 6mo for it to get below $40

    Wednesday was Nathaniel's 7th birthday so we had rather a slow start to the day... pancakes for breakfast, french toast for lunch and fish & chips for dinner - his meal selection. A carb boy LOL
    Melinda started MathUSee on Wednesday... I've started her on their first book, Primer which is prep-ish and we went through 2/3 of it orally to make sure nothing was skipped... so far only one thing she wasn't familiar with so we spent a few minutes on that. On Monday I'll finish off Primer with her, and start going through Alpha with her, again just orally... I'm expecting that she'll know most of it again, but a few things will need work. Then in a couple of week's she'll start on Beta, doing most of it by herself.. I'm expecting she'll know some of it but that maybe 2/3 will be either needed because not already touched on or needed to consolidate what has only been touched on. By the time she starts this, I'll start over with Nj, going through Primer, orally... and so on.

    Thursday I got so carried away in our garden here that I missed the monthly home ed meeting!!!!!!!!!!
    I got my first lettuce and zucchini planted though - am now expecting our first zucchini in 3 weeks if it grows as fast as our January ones did.... $4-8/kg in the shops is crazy for something that grows so easily!!

    Friday was no bookwork and instead we had a super busy morning doing the MONTHLY grocery shop at both Aldi, Coles and Woolworths... we also do meat from a butcher, nuts to make crispy nuts from a nut shop, raw honey from the raw honey man and raw milk from the raw milk dairy. By the time we got home it was lunch time so we found some food, got Timothy into bed and unpacked as much as we could. There was loads of rain on Friday though, so I left the front seat of the car full of toilet paper, nappies and other things like that till after dinner when the rain had slowed down.

    Nj got a hold of the camera at the garden so we have a bunch of 'interesting' photo's
    Saturday Pete took the children to our plot at the community garden and pulled out the last of our carrots... and took some photo's so I could remember what else is there and plan accordingly. He also bought me some flowers! Gorgeous man :o) My wedding bouquet was hot pink and yellow gerberas.
    While they were out, I started on some sewing.... still a couple of things to do to get it finished... hopefully Monday afternoon we will get to Spotlight to pick up the ribbon I want. Will post more details once I am finished the project :o)

    Saturday night laying in bed, I felt bubs move for the first time.... lots earlier than the other 3 but it has been earlier with each one. It was like a whole bunch of bubbles moving around - very exciting!!

    ooh goody! Cauliflower on it's way... tiny, but on it's way!
     I also cleaned the house on Saturday while Pete was off getting new tyres on the car.... sink, vacuum floors, bathroom cleaned, loungeroom decluttered (that last one was the biggie!)

    Sunday, afternoon I baked bread... not much of the finished loaf left now

    and late afternoon, Pete and I got stuck into more unpacking... 4 tea chest boxes done with 25% leaving the house... pretty happy about that. Is getting easier to walk around in some areas of the house! Still much to do... but happy we got this done :o)


    Tuesday, October 12, 2010


    The garden is looking better... a lot of this green has happened by itself but Pete is responsible for the digging over of the vegie patch - yes, it was there in the first pic, just totally over grown!! He's also working his way around the front and back yards doing the edging on all the paths so the bricked borders can be seen again... looks much nicer this way :o) The grass & weeds are growing about 10-15cm a week at the moment, so it usually takes a double mow to get it low enough to survive to the next mow. Hopefully in a month or so, the growth will slow down again and we'll see Pete inside on the weekends or outside actually enjoying the yard!

    Before: Start of August

    After: Today and yes, the trampoline still needs putting up - maybe this next weekend? The wet bit on the vegie patch is where we've planted two lots of butternut pumpkin seeds today... we have other seedlings on the way and will get them planted once big enough, in a few more weeks

    Before: Start of August

    After - Today
    See all that green on the two trees! The one in the centre is a magnolia... the one on the right I have NO IDEA about... it seems to be growing some sort of fruit or flower now... will keep an eye on it now we know it's alive!

    A lovely surprise this week was to discover that just near the clothes line we have a fig tree, covered in figs at the moment! I'll have to learn a few ways to use them up as I've never even eaten one before :o)

    Not sure what this is but after spending much time looking at blossom pictures - it's looking like some sort of cherry... I'm hoping it's a sweet one!