Good Days

Some days you realise that everything just went well. Sure the kids had their moments, and so did you, but overall, things just worked. We had one of those this week.

The autumn sun was bright, the kids were happy, and we got things done. Spending most of the day outside, we walked to the library, and did the craft activities. It was also memorable because I had won a ‘who borrowed most’ prize for their February/Valentines/Book Love extravaganza.

We played at the park on our way home, and befriended some random kids who were also having fun playing.

We made pici pasta from a Jamie Oliver recipe for lunch. The kids loved it, and it was an extra fun way to sneak in leafy greens to their diet. Parenting win!

We weeded the garden and mowed the lawn. I love my push reel mower. Everybody else thinks I’m crazy, but it’s great exercise, he lawn gets mown and I’ve expended nothing but time and elbow grease.

And after an adventure-some day, the kids slept like tiny exhausted logs. Granted, child one was having a farm day and it was just me with numbers two and three, but we managed a lot of things I’d been trying to make time for, and had a bunch of fun.

It wasn’t until the next day that I realised how good it had been. In the moment I was just trying to keep the kids occupied while getting the jobs done. In reality, we’d had an entire day of quality time, doing healthy, worthwhile activities, with minimal arguing and no tantrums.

Total shocker: an entire day with no one chucking a hissy fit, or stamping feet demanding this, that or the other.

I think this will be my model for home days now. Sure, working days, or kinder days, or after school activity days will look different, but home days are going to be outside days, chasing days, walking days, adventure days. Days where I can look back and say: Today was a good day.

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Winter Preparation

Winter is here, so I’ve thinking about heating. Staying warm. Managing not to freeze in a house whose draughts I haven’t worked out yet. And yes, I should have done this in May, but things can get crazy busy around here.

I have two major issues that need looking, and a small list of others that need to get done because we’ve been inundated with rain and wind.

And this isn’t just a matter of staying warm, it’s a frugal necessity. Electricity prices have increased so much that running the electrics for our household is enough to make me cringe. So in order to lower our heating bill, I need to fix some things.

A large hole in my bedroom wall. It was patched at some point, but the patch has fallen off and is currently sitting on my mantle piece. It not only lets in cold air, but the cat keeps watching the hole as if he’s expecting a mouse. Not cool.

There is also a big louvre window next to the back door. It doesn’t shut all the way and in order to keep any warmth in the house we have to keep the kitchen door closed at all times. Not possible with three kids going in and out.

And these are only the big things. When it comes down to really hunting out the issues, I’ve found at least three other ways that my house is losing heat that I will have to pay for. So while wearing layers and using extra blankets is fine, I want to make sure that the money I will be spending on heating doesn’t just float out the window or under the door.

So start the list. Check under and around doors, windows, cupboards housing plumbing and ceilings for draughts. Check for water leaks next time it rains, is it leaking in through the window? Do you need to replace the seals? Are the gutters running well? If you’ve noticed any mould in bathrooms or under sinks, clean it now, no one needs to get sick.

It sounds a little petty, but all these little things can cost you money, and it does add up. And when paying for winter utilities, every dollar saved is important.

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?