Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slow Living 2012 - April

This month I'm linking up with Christine's Slow Living 2012 at Slow Living Essentials.  I've been enjoying reading her monthly adventures and those of others.  Feel free to join in too!

{Nourish} Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, overprocessed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.
After 8 months, I'm still on a gluten-free, dairy-free, moderate salicylate and low amine diet.  Which means that I have to make most things for myself from scratch anyway.  But with a cupboard full of gluten-free snacks and crackers taking up space in my kitchen, I'm aiming over the next few months to learn to make more of them myself.  This month I tried a gluten-free loaf which is delicious with soups, and baked cakes for two church functions last week.  In the last week I made yoghurt in the Easiyo (using a packet this time), and bread in the bread machine.  I'm also planning to make more of the girls' lunches from scratch in an effort to save money and provide more healthy lunches.

{Prepare}Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season.

This week more than ever I am realising the value of "leftovers", and this post inspired me to do even better.  Without leftover dinner, lunchtime can be pretty miserable on my diet!!  On Sunday night we had a delicious sweet potato/potato/lentil pie, (which included leftover baked potato) and I enjoyed the leftover pie yesterday for lunch.

{Reduce} Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.
Laura needed a winter skirt for high school, so we forked out $50.00 for an ill-fitting, poorly-designed, stiff-feeling skirt.  The last one in the shop.Then I remembered that I had an old tunic that someone had handed down to us (the old uniform style).  So I gathered up courage to do what I didn't dare do two years ago, knowing that I had the bought skirt as backup. 

I cut the tunic in half, 

joined pieces together to make a waistband, put in some elastic, 

and voila, a free school skirt!!  Woohoo!!  

I kept the new bought one for the first day of term, to make sure she was really happy with it at school, although I felt a bit funny knowing that there were no size 8 skirts left in the shop, and I had one not being used here.  Well, it turned out that Laura was happy with her new skirt, and her best friend had stayed home from school that first day because they couldn't source a size 8 skirt!! So ... after a quick transaction both girls are set up now for winter and it didn't cost us a thing! (in fact I think I made a little money!)

{Green} Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.
This month I finally saved up enough milk bottles and made Rhonda's laundry liquid.  For a few years I've been using a dry mixture of lux flakes and washing soda, but now with the liquid washing is quicker and easier, and I'm hoping to eliminate some white marks which sometimes appear on dark clothes after washing.  I'll let you know how the liquid performs after a few weeks.

{Grow} plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints.
With my limited vegetable and flavour options, I'm always thankful for the shallots growing in our garden, adding flavour to so many meals. This month we cleared up the herb bed, which had been taken over by self-seeding tomatoes and zucchinis. I planted some parsley and am hoping to plant some garlic and leeks sometime soon.

Loving having my craft supplies accessible and pretty

{Create} To fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.
With the chilly weather I'm turning back to knitting, starting small with some coathangers, one in moss stitch and one in stocking stitch (for those times I want more mindless knitting) ... I've also been enjoying getting back into stamping now that I have my very own craft room set up!

Card for a friend recovering from a burn.

{Discover} Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.
This month I've been reading through the Down to Earth archives, mostly posts I've read before, but so good to read them again and to be inspired in many areas.  I've also been reading about alkaline diets, introverts/extroverts, and for bedtime reading I'm reading some Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford, and now Cousin Phillis.

{Enhance} Community: Possibilities include supporting local growers & producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group.
Bible study, scrapbooking, Irish music sessions have all started back for me in April.  With a little more time on my hands (now that renovations are complete) I'm enjoying these more more and hope to put more preparation time into them all during the next month.

{Enjoy}  Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.
On Friday night I attended a lovely piano recital with a friend, with free tickets kindly given by a neighbour.  Easter and my father's birthday were celebrated with a picnic in my parents' backyard, in the sunshine before the weather turned cool!  We traveled to Armidale for a niece's wedding and enjoyed time with Steve's family; the girls and I had a few precious laidback holiday days; and Steve and I enjoyed some child-free time at the end of the holidays while the girls stayed with my parents.  We are working at including some physical, outdoor time for the family each weekend, even if it's just throwing a ball around the front yard for half an hour.  All good fun.

Quiet moments with a cup of "tea" are sometimes the most enjoyable of all ...

So ... it's been a strange month with very busy school holidays in the middle and a busier than expected start to term, but all the while my mind is simmering with things to do to make life better for us all.  I'm looking forward to making more positive changes in May, and achieving a bit more order and balance in life!


africanaussie said...

I found you through the simple living link, I just love that get well card - it would really make anyone feel better just looking at it! You are so talented.

Wendy said...

Well done on repurposing the tunic!

Natalie said...

It's my first time out to the slow living link up...I am finding loads of inspiration on all of your links. Love the tunic re-do.

Hill upon Hill said...

Oh this looks good. I love what you have achieved already. I now want to see the recipes, will go back and have a look.
Isn't the weather good?

Kathryn Ray said...

I love leftovers for lunch!

The skirt re-do is great and so fantastic that her friend can use the other.

Louba said...

Hi, I found your blog through the Slow Living Link up. The skirt looks great and being able to help a friend with the unused skirt is a great outcome!

Christine said...

Fabulous re-use of the school skirt, Fiona! You clever cookie. It sounds like you've had a great month - nice to have you joining in. :)

Jodi said...

What an inspiring month, the photo of the pie looks so yummy :)