Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Gift

From Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot, p. 31

"....a stage [of life] is a gift.  God may replace it with another gift, but the receivor accepts His gifts with thanksgiving.  This gift for this day.  The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived - not always looked forward to as though the 'real' living were around the corner.  It is today for which we are responsible.  God still owns tomorrow".

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thrifting Loot

DH and I had the best morning thrifting on Saturday.  DH is very indulgent and comes along with me on these creative excursions to look after Ginger while I browse.  I don't think thrifting is actually his thing!  Me, I enjoy the thrill of the chase.

First stop was our church garage sale, then the Salvation Army and Lifeline thrift shops.

At the church garage sale - where lots of local people had stalls - we bought Ginger a beautiful dolls bed.  We had actually already thrifted one previously ($9), but this one ($15) was just so much nicer, being less clunky, and from DH's point of view didn't require hours of paint stripping and revarnishing in order to be ready for her birthday.  We know this one's origin, a local craftsman makes them and they sell new for $50.

We also bought some books.

I had already started reading Something More - the Lonely Planet is DH's.

Not much luck at the Salvation army, I just picked up a educational toy for Ginger.  Different coloured spools for threading ($4).  No picture because it is in her cupboard and she is asleep.

At Lifeline I found some beautiful prints by Cecily Mary Barker (more famous for her faries) and, though they were a bit a pricey because they were being sold as a set of three, I couldn't resist.  As it was, the volunteers dropped the price for me and included my pyrex finds in the price.  DH has hung them for me in the spare room.

So satisfactory.  Though, we didn't find the playpen we were looking for.  I guess we will just have to go again another day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - 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, savor and remember. Inspired by Soule Mama


*The towel is wrapped around a heavy book (a military history I think) to keep the cart sufficiently weighted for safety reasons.

On My Mind: Baking Day

As per last week, I am joining in Rhonda's On My Mind series.

I had a baking day yesterday to restock the freezer.  In retrospect I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew as by mid afternoon I couldn't face going back into the kitchen to make tea and Ginger's patience had definitely run out!  Fortunately, I had some pizza bases I had prepared a few weeks earlier in the freezer so we didn't succumb to the lure of takeaway!  I think this is an important money saving tool - pre-prepared or partially made meals you can whip out at a moment's notice and have dinner on the table even if you can't face cooking.

My baking used up lots of the floaters in our cupboard - Gingercake (recipe here) used up some lurking glace ginger, the fruit cake some currants bought for Christmas (recipe here), lunchtime chapattis (not pictured, but recipe from the Hairy Biker's Cookbook) some wholemeal flour which I wasn't sure whether was plain or self-raising (must label, label, label....) and the custard cookies (recipe here) custard powder I bought 4 years ago!  Most satisfactory!  The white container is yoghurt being made

And, now there can be no further complaints from DH that there is nothing left in the freezer for him to take for morning tea.  He does like a daily sweet treat.  The bread will be put to work for lunch today - I am thinking cheese and tomato toasties.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Establishing Rhythm: Wake Up

To be honest, for the first 6 months of Ginger' life I struggled to find any sort of rhythm in our day.  I was deceived by a popular parenting book into thinking I could set a feeding and sleeping schedule for my baby.  Not so, I was the one with a baby who wasn't very interested in feeding - so that all important, start the day with a feed at 7am clause, caused me untold stress because Ginger never wanted to eat then.  But then, around 9 am she might take a small feed, which of course threw us out for the next scheduled feed at 11 am!  I felt like I was playing constant catch up with feeds and was trapped in the house because of her 'scheduled sleeps'.

Then, late last year, I read You are Your Child's First Teacher by Rhima Baldwin Dancy.  I had a light bulb moment; Ginger and I could find a rhythm for our days without needing to have a schedule.  A rhythm would give her a clue as to what the usual order of things were and would allow me to get the chores done as I needed (without always waiting for her naps!).

Dancy suggests using songs to ease transitions and clue your child as to what is happening.  I have two I am using for Ginger's wake-up - Lyn's Clapping Song and Merrily, Merrily.

Lyn's Clapping Song by June Epstein
Every day is a happy day as soon as Lyn's awake,
She claps her hands and she nod her head and gives it a little shake.
She looks at us with her twinkling eyes and in a little while,
Everybody who looks at her begins to sing and smile.
With a tra-la-la .......... (repeat with tra-la-la)

Merrily, Merrily
Merrily, merrily greet the morn,
Cherrily, cherrily sound the horn,
Hark! the echo, hear it play, O'er hill and dale and far away.

The words and music are from Merrily, Merrily: A Book of Song and Rhymes by the Nursing Mothers' Association of Australia.  I am pretty sure it is out of print now, as my copy was my mother's when I was a young child.  Besides which, there is no longer a Nursing Mothers' Association in Australia, only the Breastfeeding Association.  I have also heard good things too about The Singing Day and hope to get a copy of that later in the year so Ginger and I can work on incorporating more songs into our day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Beauty that Moves Frugal Food Inspiration

Some of you may know that Heather of Beauty the Moves is starting a weekly post on thrifty kitchen ideas.

Inspired by her recent post on the quiche as a frugal food I whipped up a pumpkin quiche for lunch yesterday to clear out a few of the floaters in the fridge.  You know, those ingredients that you bought for one recipe but only needed a small amount of and so float in the fridge for weeks.

The additions  / changes I made to the recipe are as follow:

As per Heather's recipe I softened two cloves of garlic and one chopped onion.
To that I added:
2 cup pumpkin, chopped small and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper and sage leave (from our herb garden) - I did it at 200C for about 40 mins.
a small piece of feta, crumbled

I lined a quiche dish with filo pastry - ours having suffered from a crumbling effect due to long freezer storage, meaning it is useless as normal filo wrapping pastry :)  I just put the flaky bits at the bottem of the quiche dish and add a spray of olive oil.
Placed the pumpkin mix in the quiche dish, covered with custard (as per Beauty that Moves with addition of 1/3 of a packet of sour cream).
I topped that with 1 cup grated cheddar.

Baked at 180C for 40 minutes and served.

Delicious!  Well, to DH and I.  Ginger took one nibble, screwed up her face and threw it on the floor - but then, there was her favourites of cucumber and tomato on offer - and all things are forsaken for those :) 

And, most importantly, my fridge is clear once more.

Friday, February 11, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - 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, savor and remember.
Inspired by Soule Mama

What happens everytime I work in the kitchen these days....

On My Mind: Homemade birthday

Joining in with Rhonda's 'on my mind' blog link-up today.

Making Ginger's homemade birthday presents is on my mind today; we a trying to ensure most of what she will receive from us is homemade.  I want the day to be special, to say "we are so glad you came to join us".  Less than two months to go - I can't believe she is has been with us for ten and half months!

With DH out field this week I have made quite a lot of progress.....most of the bunting is cut out (if not sewn), her doll's quilt is made and so is a steiner baby doll (following instructions from this book).  I have tried to use stash materials as much as possible, but had to buy fabric for her bunting - fortunately Lincraft is having a 50% off fabric sale.  The wool stuffing for the doll I was given by the owner of our local sheepskin product shop.  He gave me offcuts from his chair covers - so kind and I had just enough to fill the doll.

Still in the works are a birthday crown, some hanging decorations, the sheets and pillowcase for her (yet to be) restored $9 thrifted doll's cot - her Daddy is in charge of the cot itself and a Daddy-made play kitchen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Water play

Ginger has an obsession with the dogs water bowl at present.  We spend lots of the day relocating it from place to place in the hope of leaving them with access to it but having it out of the hands of a inquisitive 10 month old.  Then, in struck me on Saturday (after reading this blog over the last few weeks I am full of inspiration) why not get out a bowl for Ginger to do some water play.

That large, inverted object is Mummy's childhood rubber turtle.
2 minutes later Mummy's laundry-powder-dissolving-bowl was commandered, Ginger was stripped down to the essentials and rubber toys were put in the bowl.  She loved it and it was amazing to see the concentration on her face.  She spent a good half hour putting the toys in and out (toys 'in' is a relatively new development) and getting thoroughly soaked.  So, the floor got wet - but it needed a mop anyway!

She had a ball.  Now, I am thinking up variations.  I think a bowl of water with her measuring cups would be another good activity.  Any other suggestions?  [Feel a disclaimer is needed here - Ginger is a very mouthy child so we can only give her large objects:) ]

Monday, February 7, 2011

Making and Doing

We had a lovely weekend just being.  We made a conscious decision not to go out and run errands, so with the exception of a trip to the markets for fresh produce and church we didn't leave the house.  It just felt right.

Fresh, local produce - the pumkin (or part thereof) was transformed into soup.
Sometimes, I think, we just need to take it down a notch.

Just some of our passionfruit haul.
We worked on some projects around the house and I got some cooking and baking in - pumpkin soup, pizza, granola and yoghurt.  DH made passionfruit butter with some of the passionfruits we collected off wild vines that grow around here.  We still can't believe nobody else shows any interest in them - such a waste.  You should have seen the looks we got from the cars going past as we gleaned the fruit.  Well, I should say DH braved the brambles to get at the fruit, Ginger and I just provided support and eagle eyes from the side of the road.

She's watching her daddy show her how to hold the apple and take a bite.
We shared meals together.  Ginger discovered the thrill of biting into a whole apple.

And, I finally made a start on Ginger's birthday presents - the realisation dawning that there is less than 2 months until her birthday and I have lots to do since we want to make most of it handmade.  At least I can say now the doll's quilt is started.

And now, I sit here at 8:30 on Monday night with my re-heated pumpkin soup and homemade bread and feel contented as I look back at the weekend.  DH is out field this week, so it is just Ginger and I here.  I intend to get lots of sewing done in DH's absence - busy hands and all that.  I always find the first exercise of the year the hardest; over the christmas break I get used to DH being around and then the end of January comes and the absences ramp up again. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

On a hobby horse

I went down to Big W (a Walmart equivalent) to pick up photos yesterday and was given the Autumn baby and toddler catalogue on my way out.  When I got home I dug out Ginger's size 1 chest of clothes.  Size 1 being the size I presume she will hit for most of our winter - I may yet be proved wrong, as I have been for summer:) 

I put all the clothes we have collected in that size on our bed, sorted according to type. Some are clothes we have been given, some we have thrifted and some I just bought when they were marked down at the end of last season.  I identified the gaps and started to go through the catalogue to see if there was anything in it that would help fill them.  For instance, she has 8 summer dresses in size 1 (the things that happen if you don't check your box regularly enough), but only 1 winter dress. 

I found a few things in the young baby section which I think look good (in particular, the pointelle tees and floral corduroy dress on p. 24), but then I turned to the baby boys (p. 26-27)  and toddler pages (p. 28-31) and I was horrified.  The clothing there, both for boys and girls, is simply not age appropriate.  Since when have short skirts and hip hugging jumpers been decreed acceptable for an infant or toddler.  Since when, have baby boys needed an ACDC t-shirt.  To my mind, it is just wrong.  A child is a child and should be dressed like one.

So, that is the explanation behind the new button that has appeared on my sidebar.

I will step off my soap-box now:)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From Nella Last's War

I have been reading Nella Last's War : The Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49. Housewife, 49 is a reference to what was written at the top of her first entry, the number representing her age.  The diaries were written as part of the Mass Observation project, set up in 1937, to capture "the voice of the people".  It is such interesting reading. 

Here are a couple of entries that jumped out at me on the 'simple life'.

Saturday 27 January 1940

........Isa Hunter came in - only the next road away - and brought her knitting.  She must be lonely, poor thing, to leave her cosy fireside on a night like this.  One thing I've noticed since the war: what a lot of people - mostly women - seem to have no resources of their own to fall back on.  My generation had no wireless and few pictures, so perhaps we had to find other things - particularly when we lived in the country, as I often did with Gran.  We took the opportunity of being alone to wash our hari (now no girl seems to wash her own), mend a pile of stockings (stockings today do not stand much mending), sew buttons on - but then again, there are few buttons to sew on underwear.  Older women shredded vegetables for the following day's soup, but now its all tinned soup.  They gladly used to read yesterday's newspaper, if they had not had time before.  There were always oddments of embroidery or sewing, or letters to be written, and a few hours alone were a boon and a blessing. We liked to sit down and relax by the fire and think things out - to plan menus and shopping lists.  Of course, living today is in every way more exciting and thrilling; but where today it's as if people snatch a piece of rich Christmas cake and eat it, with creamed coffee, on top of a good dinner, we took our cake and ate it slowly, savouring each mouthful and finding time to think how wonderful it was that the ingredients came from so many different far-off places.

Friday 22 November 1940
I fear I've had my last perm........Ah well!  It's only a matter of thinking, and girls were just as pretty when I was young, although we washed our hair with soft soap once a week, rinsed it with a dash of vinegar in the last rinse if we were dark - or an infusion of a tenth of a pennyworth of camomile flowers if fair - and rubbed the shine off our noses with a scrap of chamois leather when we went dancing!