Tuesday, July 31

winter beach

we went for a walk down the beach this morning.

the wind was cold as cold could be.

it was the first time in what seems like ages that the sun has shone. the colours of the sea, sand and sky were so vivid after all the grey dull days we have had.

the dog is forever waiting for someone to throw the stick for her! always so hopeful.

Monday, July 30

right now

watching the bulbs on my kitchen table grow a little taller each day.

anticipating the sweet flowers that will soon be blooming.

reminding myself that spring will soon be upon us and the warmer days will return, so not to complain about the cold, that is today.

looking out at a garden that has made much progress this winter.

making lists and plans in my head for all the garden jobs that need doing... now!

wondering which one i will tackle in the garden this afternoon.

feeling grateful for all the eggs our chickens have been laying.

cooking a lovely lamb roast for dinner tonight.

thinking about the wonderful gourmet farmer series two that i have been watching over the past week.

enjoying having a man about the house again.

noticing how much happier jess is with her daddy home.

laughing at their antics together trying to round up the chickens recently.

noticing how the days are suddenly getting longer as the sun sets a little later each day.

needing to get back into some sort of exercise routine.

wanting to feel fit.

thinking a lot about food and nutrition.

reading a lot of blogs related to 'real food'.

being calm and content (doesn't come easy to some!)

Sunday, July 29

felted rocks

we did some wet felting in the afternoon sun recently.

i had already needle felted some smooth river pebbles so the wet felting was an easy activity for us to do together.

what toddler wouldn't love playing with soap, bubbles and water.

Friday, July 27

this moment...

this moment inspired by soulemama - a friday ritual. a single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Wednesday, July 25

doodle on the moon

jessica just loves the moon.

there aren't many days that go by without us talking about the moon and it's size (or should i say phase that it is in). most nights we will go out before bed to see if they moon is up and say goodnight to it.

a few days ago i came across this wonderful free printable moon via pinterest. its from the website mr printables. there are three different sizes that can be printed. me, i had to go for the biggest.

while jess was napping i set up a little area just for the 'moon'. i taped the moon to the blackboard and draw a few houses and stars, added some crayons near by for jess to doodle with.

 to the felt board i added some shapes to manipulate, a rocket and the phases of the moon. 

i gathered together some moon books, although i wish we had more. i will have to search the library.

our favourite is papa, please get the moon for me by eric carle. we have read this book so many times.

the classic goodnight moon by margaret wise brown. i found this at the op shop and although i like it and jess likes it i am glad i didn't pay much for it.

i took the moon for a walk by carolyn curtis and alison jay. just adorable. i love any of alison jay's work. i like the informative section in the back of the book about the phases of the moon and night life.

not really a moon book but i thought i would include it for now as it relates a little bit to our theme, on earth by g.brain karas. i find this book delightful as an introduction to the earth and the way it revolves around the sun and how that effects the seasons. jessica hasn't warmed to this book yet as i guess the concept is a little above her years.

Tuesday, July 24

coming home

over the last few days jessica has been asking quite a few times to be lifted up so she can see the world map. i should have it lower for her really.

we have been discussing her daddy's arrival home this week and how he will be travelling... boat... then plane... then another smaller plane... then we will pick him up at the airport and all drive home together. jessica likes to hear all the details.

we can hardly wait for his arrival.

we have also been discussing where friends have gone for their holidays and have added a couple more red strings to the map. jess can now point out england on most world maps. it is the destination where her little play mate has gone for three months and new zealand where our dear friend chris went to for a holiday recently.

i have noticed jess chatting away while she is playing and sometimes the toys 'are off to new zealand' as she puts it.

we love our world map and refer to it often. i recently read a great article here titled why every home needs a map. i totally agree.

Sunday, July 22

coconut slice

we have been enjoying these lovely little morsels lately as a little sugar free snack.

they are so quick and easy to make, don't require baking, are good for you, surprisingly filling and taste great.

i cut them into really small squares as i find you only need a small amount to feel satisfied.

they are a great way to add a little healthy coconut oil into your diet.

here's the recipe

coconut slice

2 cups of crispy* almonds or pecans
1/2 cup dates, raisins or sultanas
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of almond butter/paste
1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
1/2 cup of virgin coconut oil
1 tbspn vanilla extract
2 tbspn of raw cacao powder (optional)

coarsely chop the nuts in a food processor. 
add shredded coconut, dried fruit, salt and vanilla.
pulse to mix thoroughly.
melt coconut oil in a saucepan and then add the almond butter.
mix until they melt in together to form a loose paste.
add other ingredients and mix well.
press into a shallow baking dish lined with baking paper.
refrigerate until it hardens then slice into squares
best kept in the fridge as it will go very soft.

*crispy nuts as part of a traditional diet are prepared by soaking 4 cups of nuts in water with two teaspoons of sea salt for at least 7 hours or overnight. drain, rinse and place on a baking tray in a warm oven (with only the pilot light on) for 12 to 24 hours until completely dry and crisp. i often use the dehydrator for this. store in an air tight container.

small world play

i put out an "invitation to play" this morning after being inspired by some wonderful small world play scenes over at the imagination tree.

i simply filled a tub with water to which i added some blue food colouring and placed a few smooth pebbles in one corner for the land, some beach glass and shells for the diver to explore under the water.

a "toob" of underwater creatures and the diver, a few of duplo sea animals and a little wooden boat completed the scene.

jessica was thrilled to be able to play "daddy the diver" in the dining room.

i also gathered together some sea and beach theme books to place in the basket nearby for inspiration.

manfish by jennifer berne 
 a wonderful children's picture book covering the life of jacques cousteau. i think for us, so far, this book is the best i have found to explain diving to jessica (diving being what her dad does for his work) as well as being a lovely story of jacques' life. 

the rainbow fish by marcus pfister
 this had been a favourite with my older girls and is a lovely story about the importance of sharing and being kind to others.

magic beach by alison lester
another favourite book featuring the children's adventures whilst on holiday at the beach.

not a nibble by elizabeth honey
this is a delightful story about a girl doesn't give up trying to catch a fish, day after day. she doesn't ever catch one but she so graciously tries and in the end she spots a whale out to sea and thinks this is even better than catching a fish because after all "anyone can catch a fish!"

and two non fiction books about sea animals both well worn and loved.

i think we will revisit this kind of play over time as jess gets older and make it more and more complicated adding pipes underwater for daddy to fix and maybe even a decompression chamber for daddy to live in and a bell for him to go deep underwater in to go to work.

Friday, July 20

glitter art

i brought out these neon glitter glue pens for jess to experiment with recently.

she had a little trouble grasping the concept of squeezing the pen to make the glue come out but managed it eventually.

the lids were easy to get on and off though. she went through all six colours over and over again squeezing out tiny bits of glue and then putting the lids back on. 

i think she enjoyed that part more than making the art itself!

this moment...

this moment inspired by soulemama - a friday ritual. a single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Tuesday, July 17

nutrition part two

so... the transition to change to a traditional diet has begun.

 it would be extremely hard to change instantly overnight. there are no doubt people out there that have done it that way but for my family it is a 'transition'. step by step, little by little.

firstly and probably one of the easiest to things change is dairy. i love dairy products and always have but at times i have eaten very little or none at all for long periods of time, believing they were no good for me. i have come to realise that it is the quality of the dairy that is important. i would consume raw dairy if i could find it (very unlikely in my neck of the woods) or if i owned a cow (seriously considering this for the future). the best dairy we can find is at the supermarket and in south australia we have a wonderful company called paris creek bio dynamic farm that produce pasteurised, non-homogenised milk and milk products. although it is still pasteurised it is the best that we have access to. i make my own yogurt from it, then also use the yogurt and separate it to make fresh cream cheese and whey. i am having trouble finding raw cheese too and have started buying swiss and parmesan cheeses. i am unsure if these are raw (probably depends whether they are made using traditional methods). i have read in the past that these are two of the 'healthier' cheeses. need to do a bit more research on that. 

bone broths. i first started making these nutrient rich broths after reading frugavore by arabella forge. i was intrigued by her claim that bone broth (preferably beef) taken with 3 cloves of garlic and two teaspoons of sea salt would cure any cold or flu that you felt was coming on. i wanted to have some ready just in case so i could try her cure. well since i have been having a fortifying cup of broth nearly everyday since  and i can honestly say i have not had a head cold or flu even when others around me are down with them. i try to use stock or broth in as many dishes as i can.

i drink a small amount of whey each day mixed with water to give my gut some healthy flora.

i have begun to make sourdough bread and have started soaking grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. i think at the moment the only grains that i don't soak are those in the cracker style biscuits and i am looking into making these myself very soon. i have porridge for breakfast most mornings and this is easy to soak overnight. i have managed to convince jess that porridge is great and have weaned her off weet - bix. i have been making crispy nuts and seeds from the recipes in nourishing traditions and found the nuts digest so much easier. one thing i need to get in the habit of doing is sprouting legumes and seeds again. i go through phases of doing this. we have been consuming more wholegrains and more legumes all prepared using soaking methods before cooking.

snacks generally consist of muffins made by soaking flour for 24 hours, crispy nuts, cheese, fresh fruit and dried fruit. i have begun using my dehydrator again to dry fruit as i know their will be no nasty additives used in the process.

we eat a lot of eggs (how could you not when you have nine chickens who you know eat only the best food a chicken can have therefore producing the most prefect nourishing eggs possible). custards, omelets, pancakes, fried, poached, boiled, french toast, the ways to use eggs are endless. for many years we have only consumed free range, organic and pasture raised chicken and lamb and we eat very little beef. i try to include fish at least once a week and i am slowly getting my head around eating liver and have found that i actually like chicken liver.

fermented foods. the only fermented foods i had ever heard about was soy sauce, tofu and miso before i read frugavore and nourishing traditions. i really had no idea about them. this is new territory to me. i have since tried beet kvass, a fermented raisin chutney and today i made sauerkraut. i am really enjoying making these and love the taste of them. there are so many more fermented foods i would like to try.

i have eliminated refined flours, sugars and white rice from our diet as much as possible. actually most processed foods have also been eliminated although we still enjoy the occasional pasta dish (made with spelt or kamut pasta) and home made vegetarian pizza (using wholemeal pita bread as the base).

fats. i find the area of fats to be quite complex and i am still a little uneasy about consuming a lot of saturated fats. i think this comes from so many years of of being told that saturated fats are bad fats. i have been consuming more though in the form of butter, cream, olive and coconut oils and have found that i feel fuller for longer and i am sure i have more energy. according to nourishing traditions "fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet and fats as part of a meal slow down nutrient absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry".

nourishing traditions has a section on superfoods which i find very interesting. superfoods being foods that naturally concentrate important nutrients. i have started adding bee pollen and hemp seeds to my diet and would like to add a few more superfoods such as cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil soon.

i think i have made a good start in the transition towards a traditional diet although i feel like i still have a long way to go and much to learn. 

i don't find it takes a lot more time in the kitchen to eat this way you just need to think ahead to what you are going to eat at the next meal or next day. at this time in my life as a stay at home mum its a good use of my time and energy to concentrate on establishing some new eating and cooking habits that i believe are sustainable and will make our family healthier. 

nutrition part one

earlier this year i made a commitment to myself that i would eat a healthier diet.

our diet has always been quite good but i had found that over time more and more sugar and junk food had crept into our lives.

it was time for a change.

i was introduced to the book frugavore by tricia at littleecofootprints. this book by arabella forge is all about eating organic, free-range, local and sustainable and includes some wonderful "forgotten" cooking techniques. it was the push i needed to finally have our own chickens.

about the same time i signed up for the wholefood kitchen workshop for a little online healthy eating inspiration. although i did find the workshop inspiring and well planned, i didn't find that it held much new knowledge for me personally. i certainly tried and liked many of the recipes and am continuing to use them but i was looking for something more. i just didn't know what that 'more' was.

i think it was week six of the workshop that i found that 'something more'. an article by guest contributor rachel wolf. it was about her family's experience with eating a traditional diet. i was intrigued and started searching for more information. 

this lead me to the book nourishing traditions by sally fallon which i have since read and re read and have referred to everyday since it arrived in my home. as the subtitle suggests this book "challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats". 

for many years i have tried all sorts of ways of eating. i have tried the fit for life diet which is all about food combining (very hard to stick to, although i did very well for about a month but really had no life!). i have looked at the eat right for your type diet. couldn't get my head around that one for long. i have never been able to say i was a vegetarian because i always craved some red meat if i went too long without. i been to a few different natropaths over the years and they all had their own ideas on what i should and shouldn't eat. one very extreme detox recommended by a natropath left me feeling worse than i had ever felt. i have gone all gluten free, another time sugar free, another wheat free, dairy free, low fat, low carb, low protein. mmmm, i feel like i have tried it all. not really ever to lose weight just out of a need to feel healthy, to have vitality.

so now, to me, a traditional diet just feels right.

no processed food, no new fangled food, no fortified food, no vitamin and mineral supplements, no artificial this or that, no preservatives... just good, simple, wholesome food made using traditional methods and cooking techniques. 

to summarise, nourishing traditional foods should include

proteins; pastured beef, lamb, poultry, deep sea fish, shell fish in season, fish eggs and fresh eggs.

fats; butter, cream, fats from pastured animals, extra virgin olive oil, unrefined flax seed oil, coconut oil

dairy; raw, whole milk and cultured dairy products such as kefir and yogurt, raw cheeses 

carbohydrates; organic whole grain products which have been soaked, soured or sprouted to remove nutrient binding phytates. soaked and fermented legumes and sprouted and soaked seeds and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables and fermented vegetables.

beverages; filtered water, lacto-fermented drinks, meat stocks and vegetable broths.

condiments; unrefined sea salt, raw vinegar, spices in moderation fresh herbs, naturally fermented soy and fish sauces.*

in part two i will talk about what i have done so far in the transition towards eating in a 'traditional' way.

* taken from nourishing traditions by sally fallon.

Sunday, July 15


i love it when i come across little scenes like the one above.

something very important is obviously going on.

jessica has been involved in some very long and complicated games lately. animals and the dolls house people feature in them and are moved all over the house and set up in groups and in lines.

playgrounds are built with tree blocks and pebbles, everyone is always off to town or the shop. 

our playsilks are having a lot of use at the moment too. covering and wrapping seems to be jess's new thing. 

while jess has happily played the day away, i have spent much of the day pondering and thinking about how the toys are displayed and set up. it is time to make a few changes i think. i always find this helps to re-ignite interest in the toys that have been forgotten. 

i have been looking through my many pins on pinterest for inspiration but i am afraid there is a bit too much inspiration going on there, a bit of overload. do you find that too?

Wednesday, July 11


happy, happy, happy.

my sourdough was a success although not prefect it was good.

i forgot to sift the flour (silly me) and i sent eloise off to the computer to check how much water i needed in the recipe. it didn't say in the ingredient list so i had a guess and added too much resulting in quite a wet dough. 

i think next time i bake this it will be better, a little lighter and maybe i will get a higher rise.

it is delicious  though and we have already eaten half the loaf. such an easy recipe and so little mess, my kind of baking.

i can hardly wait for breakfast to have it with butter and jam.

Tuesday, July 10


it has been ages since jess has asked to do any painting. in fact i think the same piece of artwork had been sitting on the easel 'drying' for well over a month.

time to get into some more creative pursuits i think.

jessica was very happy to have all the colours out today. i try not to make suggestions or interfere while she is painting, rather sit by and quietly repeat back what she is telling me. i like to write down the story behind the painting for future reference. today there was a lot to write, i could hardly keep up.

i do like to take a photo or two but try not to let this interrupt her either. 

jessica "a lion and a tail, a little lion too and a daddy lion, i am making a daddy lion, 
making a sheep down there, making animals and some people, 
i'm making a baby sheep, a little baby sheep goes baaaaa
and a daddy one.
and you making a rabbit, making a blue rabbit, thats its face (pointing)
rabbits need a face and some ears and some eyes.
i'm making a red (realises she is using blue paint) blue fox
a fox needs a body, needs a den
thats his den, a fox needs a tail
i'm making a cat, up there, a cat needs a tail, i'm making a summer cat, a beach cat (laughing at her own silliness)
i'm making buses, cars and trains,
i'm making a painting for daddy
then its all done
i made a bridge for a train."

quite a lot going on there.

it is interesting the use of language, still quite repetitive as children can be at this age but jessica is starting to use "i" and "you" now where as before she would call everyone including herself by name such as "jessica is making..." etc



i am a little excited about this.

my sourdough culture starter arrived late last week and i have religiously been feeding it since.

mmmm.... doesn't look too nice, i know.

i am following the recipe from the nourished kitchen blog and found my starter culture here at the wonderful tasmanian company the lost seed.

it doesn't look quite like it is supposed to today, a little too cold for it in my house perhaps?

it had been bubbling quite nicely until last night. tonight i have it next to the dehydrator which should keep it warm enough overnight.

i am hoping to make my first sourdough loaf in a couple of days and i am going to use the recipe from here. i like that it is no-knead. i quite like kneading but find it messy so this should suit me if i am to regularly bake our own sourdough.

Monday, July 9


we have been having some very nice weather for the last few days. chilly in the mornings but reasonably warm by lunchtime. calm. 

we drove out of town to a nearby beach today for a picnic lunch, the girls and i.

no special reason, just to do something different.

it was lovely.

on the way home we saw this beautiful eagle sitting by the side of the road.