Monday, 31 August 2015

Doing it myself

The thing I am loving most lately is making things myself. If you can buy a product from the shops you can pretty much bet you can make it yourself. While it is not always the case that I am making 'everything' myself, I am really making a concerted effort to find a homemade solution to as many things as possible. Whether it be food, a cleaning product or something to use around the house I will do a little research and find out which way and how to make it to best suit my family. Surprisingly there are heaps of different ways of making the same thing out there, so all the more fun for me to keep trying. 

Whole wheat tortilla's.
Yummo chicken and salad to go with my tortilla's.

In just these last few days I made my own tortillas which we had with a homemade tomato salsa, slow cooked chicken and salads. The kidlets love love love these. I potted my own seeds instead of buying seedlings. Then I re-used old bottles to make mini greenhouses for each pot. About half the pots have germinated as of this morning, hopefully they will all be sprouting with glory in the next few days.

Organising my seeds.

My mini greenhouses.

Then I made ABC muffins (apple, banana & chocolate) for the wee ones for lunches tomorrow. I had to taste test.... and wash it down with my homemade turmeric tea, which a drank from our teapot and homemade tea cosy ( which is still waiting for its pom pom!). I can smell my bread baking as I write and I am aching from shoveling dirt into our new garden beds, which hubby has made himself!

ABC Muffins

Turmeric Tea

It absolutely is the most satisfying feeling knowing I can and have made all these things myself. Even if they taste different than the store bought version, don't keep as well.... and take some time to prepare, it just feels so right! DD keeps asking me why I am smiling (for no apparent reason) all the time.... I'm just stoked to be doing it myself!

ABC Muffins (Apple, Banana & Chocolate)


  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 small apple grated
  • 1 small banana chopped finely
  • 80g choc chips


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line muffin tray with cases.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and oats in a bowl.
  3. Stir in combined honey, egg, milk and oil.
  4. Add apple, banana and choc chips and gently combine.
  5. Divide mixture into cases and bake for about 15 minutes.
  6. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Whole wheat tortilla


  • 2½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  1. In a bowl mix the flour, oil and salt until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. 
  2. Gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. I do this by making the dough into a big log shape, then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have about 12 pieces.
  4. Using the palms of your hand roll each piece into a round ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.
  5. Heat a frypan/grill over med-high heat. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.
  6. On a very lightly floured board or counter top, use a rolling pin to turn each ball into a flat circle. Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon or two of flour when rolling out each ball into a tortilla because too much excess flour will burn in the pan.
  7. Grease the pan with a touch of oil and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook until slightly brown, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Homemade Spray cleaner

Today I made a homemade 'spray and wipe' version, toxic free and kind to my family and our environment as well as being cheap and easy to make . I used it to clean the gas stove top which was really grimy and I honestly think it was way better than the store bought chemical yukky stuff!

Home made spray cleaner.

All you need is.....

  • 1.5L of water - 1 cup of very hot water
  • 300mls of white vinegar
  • 60mls dish washing detergent (try for plant based)
  • 25mls eucalyptus oil 
  • 3tbls lectric washing soda powder
Carefully mix the washing soda with 1 cup of very hot water until it is dissolved. Add the reminder of the ingredients into a clean 2L bottle and fill the rest with cold tap water and shake well. Fill a spray bottle - I re-used my old 'spray and wipe' bottle and store the rest out of reach from little ones.

This can be used on kitchen benches, sinks, toilets, laundry stains, washing freshener, tiled and vinyl floors, showers and carpet stains. It also removes stickers and sticky bits. Just spray and leave for a bit then wipe off.

Don't use on timber surfaces as it could damage the finish.

And don't use on mirrors as the oil will leave the mirrors streaky.

Hope you like it xx

Monday, 24 August 2015

A farm at the beach

Whoa, what a busy weekend. Mostly for Hubby. He finished the hardwood edging for the front garden and got started on the chook house out the back.  He just has to secure the stumps for the garden bed and then I can fill with delicious new dirt and compost and get going. This week I will plant seeds and hopefully in a couple of weeks we will start filling the garden. It is raining today so everything else is getting a nice watering. It has been well needed and we're very grateful for it, though our car window is broken at the moment and stuck all the way down. I've had to cover with a garbage bag but that has to come down if I need to drive anywhere - which I did this morning, so I got a little bit wet - didn't hurt though so don't worry.... :)

My sad paw paw's.
Anyone know what I need to do to help them?
So we've definitely decided to get some chookies again. This time we are going to do it right! The last time we let them roam everywhere and anywhere all the time, which is nice and all, but when you are on a 550sqm block, there isn't anywhere you can walk with out stepping in poo! We tried to cordon of sections for them, but in the end when I was pregs with LDD I couldn't stand the smell, and we gave them to a lovely friend to look after. We wont be getting them back, so I am on the lookout for some new ladies. And so this time we are building a lovely big home for them right up the back corner in the most useless space for us but perfect for them. It was just decked, but we have pulled that up. We will let them free range for the afternoons just before bedtime. I think they will have a lovely life there and the kidlets cant wait either.
Before the chook house.

Frame up for the chookies.

Our tiny backyard.

Tiny back yard from the other side.
Talking with the wee ones while all the building is going on around them, DD says "we've got a farm at the beach", so yeah, we really do have the best of both worlds......

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Puddles of fun

I've spent the last few afternoons at the beach with the kidlets. Theres a nice 'puddle' down there that has kept them quite entertained. Plus the sand dunes and what ever they have conned me into taking down for them.We could literally spend hours there. I'm the one that feels the cold first and tends to gather everyone back up to head home for a nice warm shower. LDD loves to eat the sand, which makes nappy changing quite interesting, but it really is the best place to just sit back, take it slow and enjoy what I have in my life. 
The beans have sprouted.
I watched a really interesting show on abc iview (frantic family rescue) last night about slowing down family life. Quite interesting if you are caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all. I have already been making the effort to slow our lives down to enjoy each other more and just spend the time at home living and learning with what we have. It is a never ending journey and one that I am so relieved to have stumbled upon.

Carrot experiment.
 Each day I am trying to achieve something in the garden. Today we saved our carrot tops and popped them in some water in a bowl on the window sill. Apparently they will sprout leaves/shoots which can be used in salads and stews. You cant grow a new carrot, but I am at least interested to see and taste the sprouts. The beans have also germinated nicely on the north window sill. I am hoping they will kinda drape over the pot for a pretty look and easy picking. If they don't I will transplant them into the garden somewhere.
Ginger rhizomes.

Sprouted Choko.
 We were given some gorgeous ginger from a lady that DH works with, I have left them on the window sill too to shoot. Along side them is my delightful choko, lots of sweet little leaves coming to life. It really is amazing to think that enclosed in this single vegetable is everything this plant needs to get started. I have not given it any water or anything for that matter. Just popped it into a cup and let it work its magic. Once we have our garden beds finished outside it should be ready for its new home out in the dirt.
Greenpatch order arrived.
And finally today, my package arrived from Greenpatch seeds. Which means I now have a lot of work ahead of me. 21 seed packets in all, a kilo of seed potato, comfrey, asparagus, sweet potato. I'm so excited to think of all the work I have to do in our garden with the wee ones playing around me and helping where they can. Happy happy days!!!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Exciting beginnings

 It has been an exciting and productive weekend. We went out to the timber mill and picked up 15 x 8ft hardwood timber off-cuts for the edge around our new garden. As you can see we will have it around the perimeter of our yard. All up there will be about 50sqm of garden area. I know that sounds like a lot to maintain, but I will also be intermingling the fruits and veges with flowering plants and natives. We hope that having the space will allow us to give each plant plenty of love without them having to compete with each other. DH managed to get all 15 logs out with another 15 to come next weekend. He will be away with work all week, so I will try and get as much prepped for him by the time he gets back.
The beginnings of our new garden
 After all our hard work through the days, we finished both nights with my favourite quick fix choco treat. I will post the recipe one day if you like. These can be whipped up and enjoyed literally within 5 minutes. I use my home made vanilla essence, which I can post the recipe one day too.....
My Fave quick choc fix
Tuesday mornings are always hectic for me, so I like to get the kids lunches ready the night before. Tonight I made a gluten free slice (recipe anyone???) which they haven't tried before and I hope they like. Can always be a bit tricky trying new things with the wee ones, what I think they would like can completely backfire on me. Sometimes I don't mind because I get that snack all to myself, other times they were right and it was a doozy! (not very often though.)
Kids lunches snack
Yesterday I slow roasted a chook - our absolute favourite way to cook a chicken. Plain chook smothered with emeril's essence and cooked on slow for about 8-10 hours. We all just eat it as is. Yummo. I save all the bones and using all the onion/carrot/celery/garlic bits I have saved since the last one I made go back into the slow cooker and topped with filtered water and left to cook away for 24 hours. It really is best to leave it this long as all the goodness is really pulled from everything and you are left with a glorious broth - or stock if you prefer. This is delicious to drink with a splash of fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning as well as being super nutritious for you. 
Bone broth
DH has been learning the ukulele and he really can play quite well now. Its nice to sit here writing away and listening to him figure out his latest song. Hes working on a very Spanish sounding number at the moment. Just lovely xx

Friday, 14 August 2015

Blissful days

The last couple of days have been bliss. I'm not sure why I have felt such a calm, but it has sure washed all over me and passed onto the wee ones. Admittedly there are still moments of hectic but all in all it has been a serene couple of days. The sun has been shining again (though everyone keeps warning me another cold snap will pass through soon) and I have spent most of the last couple of days playing cars or tiggy with DS on the front lawn. I haven't really managed to get many 'jobs' done, but I really don't care. It has been so nice to just 'be' with the bubs. I keep saying to myself I have this and this to do, but I know that they will always wait to be done, so really there is no hurry. I did manage to save enough citrus peels to start brewing my citrus cleaner. I saved all my peels after I ate or used for cooking and popped them into a glass jar and kept in the fridge. I added vinegar and kept topping both up. I have now left it in the cupboard where it will stay for another couple of weeks to really let the goodness of the citrus peels and vinegar combine and then I will use that as an all purpose spray cleaner - with no nasties! I will continue to save my citrus peels now to keep this in stock.
Citrus vinegar cleaner
 The other very productive day I had this week was on Tuesday, when I managed to get the shade cloth up on the fence. Didn't take me long at all considering 2 kidlets were at preschool and one was asleep. I cable tied it the fence, but I am still not quite sure of how to finish it up. The shade cloth over laps and I wonder whether to leave it or cut it..... Nevertheless, its up and adding a little more protection from the sea spray. This weekend we are going up to the timber mill to get some good hardwood for the garden walls. DH will be putting in the hard work over the next couple of days and then we can start to get the soil ready for planting. I purchased a heap of seeds from a local organic mob (Greenpatch Organic Seeds) the other day and cant wait for it all to begin.

Shade cloth up
This morning I had delicious free range eggs on homemade toast with lots of butter. The eggs come from a lady that DH works with. I love to open the carton and look at the different colours and sizes of the eggs we get from her, there must be at least 7 different mumma's in this carton. We are in the middle of tossing up whether to get our own chooks again or not. They really make a lot of mess and on our 550sqm block it kinda gets everywhere. I'm not sure if I like the idea of them cooped up, but I love my eggs and all the other bonus's like manure, scraps and bug catchers. We'll have to make up our minds very soon, because if we do I want to get little chicks and raise them so they can be pets for the bubs too.
Freshest free range eggs on toast, mmmmm.
 Dinner cooked all day, and every time I came inside I could smell it, so naturally by the time we were all ready to eat I was 'starving'. Lamb, lentil and barley soup using homemade chicken stock, cooked nice and slow in the slow cooker. Glad I had that organised, because we ended up stopping in at the park on the way home from preschool pickup and there was a koala visiting. I noticed he had a sore eye so called the Koala hospital who then came out to rescue him. He put up a 'fight' (no one was hurt) and in the end he found a higher tree to climb, so they didn't manage to get him. They said it looks like he has conjunctivitis so they will keep an eye out in the area for him and hopefully get him so they can help him. The kids thought it was the best thing, but were deeply concerned for him. We'll go back to the park in the morning and check to see if he's still there.

I love my slowcooker
The week was bliss and now its the weekend, love when the family is all together, good times.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Bring on spring!

After a few less than motivating days, I certainly found some in the last couple of days. The weather was absolutely gorgeous on the weekend again and it seemed such a waste not to get out there and get dirty. I managed to re-pot my indoor plants and fertilise them, give everything a bit of a water, plant some new seeds and feel pretty good about it all! The kids played around me wherever I was and even assisted where they could. I love that they are keen to be a part of it all. The last couple of seasons have been tough producing anything substantial, the kids tend to eat it straight of the bush before it even makes it inside. I am hoping this year with a bit of protection we can improve our bounty....
The pots of garlic are coming along just nicely,
harvest time in November.
Just over a week ago in our old wheelbarrow tub
I planted rocquet, english spinach, curly parsley and chives.
Its hard to see, but they have all sprouted, some more than others.
Some new shallot seeds planted in an old broccoli box.
Blueberry bush with lots of flowers,
haven't had any berries of it yet in the last couple of years.
Re-potted my cape gooseberry.
Planted some pansies, peas and beans,
they hang nicely over the railing for easy picking and it looks nice.
 Today started off with a visit to the local fruit and vege shop to check for bargains and we scored a nice little stash. Then it was off to the park and a little bike ride along the creek before swimming lessons. DS fell off into the bushes and was covered in farmers friends which bothered him to no end until he managed to pick all of them off. The sun was shining and we were happily eating strawberries and boiled eggs along the way. A glorious start to the day.

Riding along the creek in our beautiful town.
My $16 bounty from the fruit and veg shop.
This afternoon was spent chopping tomatoes for the slow cooker, prepping for dinner and making my first purple and white cabbage sauerkraut. What a mess I made. Though it was easier than I thought it would be. Once it was done I sat it in the cupboard next to my kombucha. My gut will love me soon!
For my sauerkraut I used 1/2 purple cabbage and 1/4 white cabbage totaling about 1.2kg, 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt. I shredded the cabbage in the food processor then massaged the salt into the cabbage for about 10 minutes until it was nice and wet from its own juices. Then popped it into a 1L jar. Pressed it down quite firmly and topped with liquid. I saved a cabbage leaf to cover the shredded bits and to help keep it under the liquid so it doesn't spoil. Now to wait a week or so to taste and see where to go from there.
Dicing up tomatoes and into the slow cooker for a few hours.
First sauerkraut attempt.....
I have just remembered I need to make the kids lunches for tomorrow, so I better get to it!

Friday, 7 August 2015


The last couple of days have been quite chilly and therefore I am a little less motivated. Though I did find myself out the front yesterday morning defrosting in the sun loving my outlook. My two youngest playing happily on the swing set reminding me just how lucky we are. I love sitting out the front imagining my garden in full bloom with lots of veges and fruit ripe for the picking. DH has dug  1m wide around the front perimeter, in total close to 50m in length. We are going up to the local timber mill this weekend to source some non-treated hardwood for the border. We will spend the weekends for the rest of this month preparing for spring. This will include garden planning as well as bringing in some good soil and mushroom compost from our local rural shop. We have one compost bin ready to go but it wont make much of dint out the front so thinking I will use it on the beds out the back. Obviously I will keep you posted on the progress.

Breakfast looked so pretty this morning I just had to share a pic. I was lucky enough to eat it all on my own without the little vultures stealing it from me. I've really changed my attitude on what a breakfast should consist of and have mostly done away with the usual cereals and stuff. To much packaging, processing and refined sugars for my liking.  I do love my eggs and eat them most days, but otherwise I will just stir-fry a heap of veges or eat leftovers from dinner. Not much goes to waste in our house and I think that is one of our biggest savers. I have heard that the average household will discard about 20% of the food they buy equating to around $1000 each year!!! If it cant be eaten or reused in another meal it will either go into our compost or we are very lucky the local council supplies us with another compost bin for stuff that cant go into our compost bin, like bones (which I only throw out after making a bone broth), seafood and other bits of muck.

This afternoon after a seeming unproductive day I found my second wind. I somehow managed to clear my kitchen bench which had become the landing strip for anything coming into the house....Then I managed to get a loaf of bread on, pastry made and dinner became a dishless pie - just to try something new and the chicken wings were ready to be marinated. Though when DH came home he kindly offered to take over the wings and prep something himself. I was quite happy also to find a ridiculously reduced ($1) bunch of lovely yellow roses after I finished my groceries to brighten up the day too. Dinner was delicious, the kiddlets were tired from a big week so into bed nice and early and now I wish I was sipping on a nice red while tip tapping away, but we will enjoy that one tomorrow night.

I was using positive affirmations not so long ago and think I might need to find some new ones over the weekend - in particular for these less than motivating days. Any ideas? My oldie but a goldie -"Every second wasted can never be replaced".

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Love a bargain

The day started as normal, hectic from the get go. I am really working on slowing myself down so the stresses of trying to organise the day with little ones doesn't get me down. I have worked out a few tasks that help if I prepare them the night before, kids lunches if they have preschool for example. I am also trying to get the kids more involved it helping around the house and feeling like they are contributing to the family. Unstacking the dishwasher in the mornings started out as DD 'job', but this morning DS decided he wanted in too! I'm cool with that, so they both worked together to get it done. They have also checked back several times during the day to see if it needed to be done again. Wish they would pick up their toys too! Instead today I de-cluttered and sent all the toys downstairs. 6 big storage crates full later and its all gone. I wonder how long it will take to make its way back up again. I really should get in and sort it out before that. 

I looked up this morning on my sunny windowsill and noticed my choko has started sprouting. I'll wait till it has a nice tendril before I take it outside and pop into the ground near my banksia trees where I plan to run a line for it to climb over and around. Then hang our hammock underneath. Should be a nice shady retreat when the heat really sets in. I'm also hoping that by then the tiger grass that we planted last summer will have grown thicker and offer a bit more wind protection from the howling southerlies. Beside my choko I have my spring onion sprouts. I keep the bottoms from the ones I buy in the shop and set in water for a few days before transplanting out into the garden too. I only have to buy a couple of bunches and then I have my own ready supply to keep me going for the spring/summer season. I was also given some seeds last year as well which I will plant out when it starts warming up a bit more. I also noticed that I have some little ones still holding on from last season. I don't want to pull them out, but if they don't perform when it starts to warm up I'll have to trade them in I guess.

Now I have this one fork and it has a pretty pattern on the handle and DD loves it. Of course now DS loves it too, so every night the battle begins as to who gets it (the same goes for a sippy cup with Lightning McQueen on it). So it was off to my fave op shop to source another fork! Sure enough there were lots of 'pretty' forks so we grabbed a few (at 10c, who can complain), DD also happened to spot the exact same sort of sippy cup we have at home with a princess design - 50c score. But my favourite pick up had to be the ceramic drink dispenser ($8) and giant pot ($10). The drink dispenser will be perfect for my kombucha to hang out in the fridge in and the pot is big enough for me to fit my jars in for canning. Win and Win. 

 Its all coming together for me and the smiles keep coming. The simple things in life really can make one happy!!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Past Lessons

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” ~Unknown

So on this little journey with my family, I often stumble upon a moment when I think 'if only I started this 10 years ago....' or something like that. Why did I buy that car in my early 20's and not something more practical that cost less, why didn't I buy a house when I was single and earning all that dosh, why didn't I save it, why, why, why! Grrrr, I get so frustrated with myself. So from this day on I am going to look at those 'mistakes' as lessons that I will learn from for the future. I'm so grateful that for whatever reason, I've had and 'aha' moment and am now looking ahead to a brighter healthier and abundant life. And boy do I hope the wee ones, well, appreciate it I guess. I'd love to think they will go on to never have a trouble in the world, but then what lessons would they learn....

Today I called a friend who is a lot deeper into the wellness journey than myself to talk about kombucha. She super kindly offered to 'gift' part of her scoby to me, so I whipped up a fresh batch of my turmeric tea to take around to 'barter' with. This is my third batch of tea. We harvested the turmeric from our garden and were blessed with almost 3kgs worth. I have put it in the deep freeze and pull out about 200g whenever I need to make our tea. I have heard turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory powers, so I started this tea in the hopes it would aid the pains I get in my hands - along with other dietary changes.

After I came home and put bubs to bed, I started the tea concoction for my kombucha. I used 2 liters of our filtered water, 1 cup of sugar, 5 green & 4 black tea bags. After it finally cooled down, I put our new 'pet' into the concoction - now to wait for 7-10 days to enjoy. There is a lot of waiting in this new simple life of mine. You really have to take the time to slow down, enjoying the process of making all these goodies. Everything is taking me longer than expected, but I am sure that as time goes on it will all become second nature.

When I was around at my friends house we talked a lot about fermenting. I have been inspired to try lots of new things. On my wish list is Kefir milk. This is the starter she used. She also had some dill pickles on the go and some sauerkraut which I think is next on my list to make as I have a half cabbage waiting for me in the vege crisper.

 I also bottled up my tomatoes today - 6 jars from 3kg. And dinner was tuna cakes with steamed veges, a large fried mushroom with a dollop of homemade yogurt and fresh crispy radish. Yummo.
I was a bit behind the 8-ball today, having had an impromptu visit with kombucha friend, but I haven't stopped smiling since!

Monday, 3 August 2015

First attempt

Yesterday I tried my first attempt at making soap, following the recipe from Rhonda Hetzel in her lovely book down to earth and scented with some beautiful oils sent to me from a friend in Brisbane. It took longer than expected, though I loved the time and effort I put in. There is something quite joyous about making things yourself and knowing what is in it and that it is completely safe for my growing family. Then this morning I removed the soap from the moulds and cut them up into 16 gloriously imperfect cakes of soap. Now to wait 4-6 weeks to enjoy.

After I gave the wee ones breaky, I whipped up the bread in my bread machine gratefully given to me by my grandparents. There is no bread more tasty than one you make yourself at home. Real ingredients baked up right in front of you, I could eat the whole loaf with a good smear of butter and local raw honey sourced from the farmers markets once a month.

My weekly visit to the local fruit and veg shoppe is on Mondays. They tell me that's the best day to go as they have the most marked down items after the weekend. Some days a luckier than others. I love to use food that others would otherwise think past its best - waste not, want not - my nana and mum used to say. Though hopefully soon I will be able to supply our family with yummy wholesome goods from our own vege garden, which we are in the process of constructing. 
I put 3 kg of tomatoes diced into the slow cooker and then will pop into jars to freeze. One day I will have a go at canning, but at the moment I don't have a pot big enough to cover the jars I have.

Onto dinner, good ol' curried sausages packed with lots of veges. The carrots are a little nibbled at various levels from each bambino, but they still have plenty of goodness left for dinner. I save all the carrot and onion tops and pop them in a container and into the freezer to use when I next make stock after making my fave slow cooked roast chicken or lamb.

Then its onto writing my first blog attempt with a cup of chai tea made by my ever delightful hubby.


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