Blank Space

Today I have pirates running around my garden.

This is wonderful, seeing as the smallest pirate puked all over herself last night. It’s also brilliant because vomit leads to cancelled swimming lesson which leads to blank space in the schedule.

Blank space in a schedule can be filled. Filled with chores, with errands, with small tasks that seem to build up. Or it can be left blank.

Today I chose to do nothing in our blank space. The kids asked for a DVD, which held their attention for about half an hour. But while I was doing the dishes, the noises changed. Footsteps rushed off to the bedroom, and then came back wearing costumes. So now, there’s treasure, bad guys and ‘aaarrr me hearties’.

Blank space in the schedule can be great thing for kids and adults. We can choose to fill it, or leave it blank and let the whims take us where they will.

Letting my kids choose, and choosing not to drive to the supermarket, go to the park or mow the lawn has given us a little freedom in our day. If we’d gone to town, or even if I’d planned a craft activity or story time, I wouldn’t have happy little pirates running around in the garden. Opening the space to allow creative and imaginative play for the kids, and some time to sit in the sun with a book for me, has been good all around. No cranky, no complaints, and a little relaxation. Blank space is good for the brain, for the body, and for my ability to cope with life in general.

Eat the pantry

I’m trying to save money. With birthdays coming up, saving for Christmas, saving for a home and hopefully taking my kids on a short holiday, I’m trying so darn hard to save what I can.

I’ve been eating the pantry and shopping the freezer. Sometimes, until you look, you have no idea what little gems can be found. Some unmarked freezer bags with savoury mince, tuna pasta sauce, and cans of five bean mix hiding in the back of the cupboard.

I managed five meals from one cook with the dubious art of ‘use what you’ve got’. One slow cooked beef mince stew gave me the base to make five different meals for my family. Some extra cooking required on the day, but with the base complete, it only amounted to boiling pasta or spuds, or making a dough and throwing it in the oven.

And all from stuff I had on hand. No visit to the supermarket, no rushing out for take away (which we don’t have here, anyway) and no stress about what to cook, with five meals done (I put two in the freezer for another time).

A little thought, and a lot of hope, made my day. I’ve saved money, used up some of the odds and ends, fed the kids healthy meals (sneaky veg included) and I’ve realised that I’m getting better at this frugal stuff. Yay for me, yay for my savings plans.

Todays’ Treat

My kids are like any others, they love a treat, but I’m a frugal crunchy mum at heart, so I try to make treats I feel good about giving them.

Tonight we had a pizza picnic party sitting in the lounge watching Family Feud. And my kids loved it! For them, homemade pizza is fun and tasty. Yes they still request Maccas on occasion, but it’s neither in the budget or locality.

I’m still working on getting the refined sugar and processed foods out of our diet, and I don’t know that I’ll ever give up my caffeine or chocolate entirely. But that’s OK with me. My kids deserve a treat sometimes, and heck, so do I.

Food, partially crunchy

I can bake. It’s something I’ve always had an affinity for. I love doing it, and I love seeing people enjoy the results. But I’m still learning how to cook.

I’m not awesome at meals, but I’ve found a few that are simple, tasty and my family are big fans. It makes me feel better about my cooking, but I know I still have a long way to go.

One of the dishes that everyone is always happy about is Sweet Potato Soup. It’s simple, filling and really good with a crusty roll.

Ingredients:

Sweet potato – sliced (any number is fine 2-8 depending on how big your pot is and how many people you’re feeding)

one brown onion – sliced

water enough to cover your veggies

powdered chicken stock – estimate based on your amount of water and packet directions (if you have homemade stock or broth, use half water/half stock)

Method:

Bring to boil and allow to simmer without a lid until reduced to approx 3/4 volume

Allow to cool slightly and then blend to a puree ( use stick blender or freestanding – you may need to do batches in the freestanding blender)

 

And that’s it. Not difficult, and you can use the same recipe for pumpkin soup, or pumpkin, carrot and potato. You can switch out the stock for veggie if you want a vegetarian option. It freezes well, and it eats well.

Enjoy!

Natural Crunchy – Bi-Carb

In some ways crunchy works well for me. And in others, it just doesn’t. So I mix and match what works for my family.

My biggest crunch is also pretty old school, but thankfully becoming more common. It really comes down to bi-carb. Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is a staple in my house. I buy it in bulk because I use it so often.

  • I use it to wash my hair
  • I use it to clean the bath
  • I use it for baking
  • I use it in homemade laundry detergent
  • I’ve even used it my homemade deodorant experiments (more on that later)

 

You can use bicarb in many different ways around the home, and it’s a cleaner, greener and more frugal alternative to a lot of commercial products. Yes, it actually requires a little elbow grease, but a little cleaning cardio isn’t a bad thing.

My biggest change has been using bi-carb to wash my hair. I tried going ‘no poo’ but it didn’t work for me. Then I tried bi-carb in place of shampoo and I haven’t looked back. I save on shampoo and I don’t need to use conditioner at all, so I save there too. My dandruff situation has improved and I haven’t had to use my straighteners at all.

The oddest thing I noticed was with hair fall. Usually I’d condition my hair and lose a lot in the shower. Now it’s a matter of losing hair when I brush it.

 

The process I use is as follows:

  • Wet hair thoroughly in the shower
  • Use 2-3 tablespoons of bi-carb and make a paste with some water
  • Spread it through hair and massage it into scalp and hair
  • Leave it in hair until it turns from gritty to slimy
  • Rinse thoroughly

 

And that’s it. You can follow it with an apple cider vinegar rinse, but I find it isn’t necessary for my hair. For me, this works well, but other people may find that it differs. I wash my hair once a week, and it feels fantastic, and I can style it the same ways I did when I was using shampoo.

 

So. Bi-carb soda works for me in many different ways. What other uses have you found for bi-carb?

Holy Crunch, Batman!

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I’ve read some of the hippie, crunchy, earth mother websites and blogs available. Some of them, I can get behind, others, I just can’t.

This is for various reasons, one being that there seems to be a lot of people out there who are anti-vaccination. Personally I’m all for vaccination. My kids have been vaccinated, I’ve been vaccinated, and due to working in hospitals I’ve had regular boosters and yearly flu shots.

I absolutely agree that people who are immunosuppressed or allergic shouldn’t get vaccinated, there’s no point making yourself deathly ill. But I also believe that we should not only protect ourselves, but we should protect others where we can, from preventable communicable disease. Herd immunity is a thing. There are studies, backed by science and years of research.

So while I advocate for vaccination, I won’t go on about it (too much). I just don’t think we should push our views and thought processes onto others. So if something I say here isn’t to your taste, that’s fine. You can choose not to visit the site again, or just ignore the posts you don’t like or don’t apply to you. All I’m going to do is offer what has worked for me. I’m not going to tell you that I’m right and you’re wrong, because life isn’t that way. You need to choose what works for you, and that’s the important thing about sharing, we all have brains and you can research, or try things to see if they work for you or not. None of us are doing this life thing wrong (unless there’s been charges) and it’s great to have other options to explore. So feel free to show me your options, your ideas and feedback. As long as we’re all civil, and kind, I’m good with it.

So maybe this isn’t going to be your typical crunchy earth mama site. It might be more of a middle ground between crunchy and conventional, and I’m okay with that. Here’s hoping you are too.

Love, hugs, etc, Deb