Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daisy Jane Duck: A Tutorial

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.  ~ S.D. Gordon

Inspired by the various Easter symbols of New Life including my baby bunnies, bilbies, and ducklings etc.,  I searched for a nice template to make a cute little duckling for my daughters to enhance our Easter celebrations and decorations.  All to no avail.  Thus I set about creating my own.  After many discussions and drawings in our family on Saturday morning we have come up with a template we love which we'd like to share with you to make your own duckling.  I am very excited as this is my very first tutorial to be able to share.  

We were inspired by one of our favourite ducklings in this house - Daisy from the collection of books by Jane Simmons commencing with Come on, Daisy!. Thus, our little duckling is named Daisy Jane in honour of her inspiration.  I am very grateful to my Generous Gentleman who has a very good ability for bringing the image in his head to paper.  Curiously he is also more talented than I am at penning the image in my head as well (hmmm a husband who can read my mind, I wish!) so I give all due credit to him for the body of Daisy Jane.  All else is my very own creation, penned with my own hand.  Can you tell I'm just a teency bit excited to present my first tutorial?!

You will find the template and tutorial here.

If you decide to make your own Daisy Jane Duck please leave a comment here so we can come and visit you to see yours.  You will also find some more of mine on flickr.

Do you need a few more ideas for Kind Deeds to surprise someone special with to participate in my Easter Giveaway: a bouquet of flowers from your garden or the florist, a song written for someone, a few lines of what someone means to you in prose or poetry, a phone call to someone you'd like to be back in touch with.  Please come back to comment about how you surprised someone with something kind.  It will indeed make us smile to see your kindnesses shared.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Preparing for Easter

I think of the garden after the rain;
And hope to my heart comes singing,
At morn the cherry-blooms will be white,
And the Easter bells be ringing!  ~Edna Dean Proctor, "Easter Bells"

A sneak peak of something which took my creative energies and time on the weekend.  A little something which I rather fancy would enjoy a splash in the rain, of which we've had only a smidgen last week when I was busy story writing.

So now I am busy writing some instructions so you can make one of these little friends to help you and your little ones celebrate Easter in a more frugal, more ethical, less fattening kind of way ;).

You should see me back here soon...I hope.

In the meantime be sure you visit my last post for my Easter Giveaway.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Special Kind Deed for Easter Giveaway

The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death - that is not the great thing - but that...we are to, and may, live nobly now because we are to live forever.
~Phillips Brooks

In a couple of weeks from now we will all be celebrating Easter.  So the period of Lent is almost over.  There is still a little time however for you to be involved in doing something special during this unique reflective time of the year.  In her Reception class my daughter has been encouraged to complete good deeds and kind tasks during the period of lent rather than focus on giving something up (like chocolate which so often people seem to do. They then binge on Easter Sunday with choc eggs.  Now tell me what is the point of that!!  You must read here for more info about An Ethical Easter).  I have really enjoyed watching her blossom and grow and perform kind deeds for us here at home.  Yes, sometimes she needs to be reminded but she is still growing and learning about life.

I have also been inspired by this concept and thought it might be nice if a little baby bunny would hop into your door to celebrate the New Life which Easter represents.  In order for you to receive your little bunny you simply need to do something unique and special which will surprise another and cause them to feel loved and appreciated.  When you have completed this task please share with us the surprise your recipient received by leaving a comment here.  On Easter Sunday Ess and I will read through all the kind deeds which have been performed and choose a winner for a precious bunny Easter Giveaway.

If you haven't yet read the story of some of the kind deeds in our home have a look here for Part I, II, III and Finale.

Wishing you a meaningful preparation for Easter time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bunnies for Easter and The Princess and the Garden (Finale)

"Here comes Peter Cottontail right down the bunny trail..." ~ Beatrice Potter 

The bunnies are multiplying.  This morning we found this sweet little bunny outside little Eee's bedroom door awaiting her arrival.  

So they join us to delight a couple of very precious girls as we begin our preparations for Easter.

Easter is only a couple of weeks away now.  I have been inspired to create by Mel and Fiona who are having an Egg-ceptional Egg-xtravaganza for Easter creating.  I absolutely fell in love with Fiona's adorable soft cuddly white bunny trimmed with chocolate and pale blue.

So here is my version of the little Betz White bunny.  I have used some fleecy lined soft pink fabric inside out (I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me).  I wanted that lovely soft feeling of fleece.  It is a very frugal bunny as everything came from my stash which was started many many years ago.  I think I probably wore this fabric as a comfy warm top in my teens!  The felt heart is blanket-stitched onto the bunny's rump and the eyes are simply stitched on with black embroidery floss. I absolutely fell in love with Fiona's stitched-on eyes and decided this would be the best idea for my little bub.  Although she loves the "beepys" (buttons which make this sound when you press them), so one remains on the heart.

I'll conclude today with the final section of the story of The Princess and the Garden which I am presuming (hoping;)) some of you have been reading with your daughters.  So as not to keep them waiting...Early the next morning as the sun rose to shine the dawn’s light softly in her room, the little girl woke and was delighted to see the fairies she’d played with the afternoon before approaching through her window.   “Come quickly”, they called to the little girl, “we have a beautiful place for you to see.  A lovely lady would like to share her garden with you for all your days.”

The little girl moved on with the fairies.  She could not believe the sight she beheld at the gate of the garden.  It was beautiful!  As she walked through the gate she felt a familiar feeling – it felt like home! 

The Gardener gasped in delight to see and then to hold her beautiful princess. 

The Princess revelled in the hug she received, the warm embrace, the hug that held her tightly.  She would always remember that first hug, the very first time her mother held her close and she knew she was loved, with a love like no other.

For me this story has an obvious meaning but there is always something underlying this speaking to me.  Now here is my challenge for you.  Can you find any hidden meaning in this story??  Does it remind you of another story close to heart?  What are your interpretations of this story? I'd love to hear any ideas you have or stories to share.   Now I can hear those cogs turning!

Tomorrow I'll have an easier and beautiful task for you to complete.  See you then.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Creative Process and The Princess and the Garden (Part III)

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942

Let's begin with a sneak peak of something which seemed to hop into Ess's bedroom last night.

It is so good to be creating again, but then again do I ever stop.  I am certainly a creative person and am not satisfied unless I am creating something.  I will put many other things on hold, such as cleaning and tidying up, to ensure that this part of me, the very central core of who I am, is being attended to.  You see I am made in the image of my Creator.  God is the ultimate creator, thus being made in His image means that I must create also.  If I do not, certain frustration ensues.

I have been assigned a little reflective project this week by Our Creative Community.  It is a challenge to write about The Creative Process.

I find that my creativity is ignited by the everyday tasks which I have been assigned to do.  Usually the results of my creativity serve to nourish my family, as this is currently my primary role.  So any and every simple task will be seen in a creative light including the preparation of meals, play with my children and also their education. You have seen the fruits of my creativity in the abundance of healthy recipes which I create in order to meet our families particular dietary needs.  You see this in the writing of stories for my daughters to read and illustrate.  You see this in my sewing and crafting in order to make things for them which need to be used such as The Art Smock (which sadly is no longer, we think it was tossed in the bin at school).  I also create in order to delight and surprise them, to make them feel special and worth spending time and energy on.

You see I am a bit of a rebel at heart and while I am not one to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, I always seem to swim against the flow.  I will not be bound by what others are doing, or what has gone before me.  When I can see other ways to do things which meet my goals in the way I am raising my family I will change everything to creatively meet needs.  I will resist eating takeaway food because I know it is not as healthy for my family or our hip pocket.  This requires me to be creative with the items of food I have stored in my frig and pantry.  I will resist purchasing that toy that everyone else has because I know I will have much more joy in making one for my girls than spending the time, effort and money going out to purchase something that someone else has created.  I know Ess appreciates the things I make for her more than other toys as every morning she wakes and comes out of her room with a collection of her "essentials" which include: the blanket I knitted her, the doll I made her for Christmas (see in my header pic), the muff and one mitten set I am in the middle of completing for her.  The fact I make them for her shows her how much I value her, value creating for her and value teaching her skills about creating which will go with her for life.

I struggle to create when the everyday tasks I need to complete seem insurmountable and tiresome.  Yet when I turn my thoughts to see those same tasks differently my creativity resurfaces and a spark returns.  I find new inspiration from chatting with friends, communing with God, particular inspirational blogs and simple everyday life.

The joy of my creativity is certainly in the giving and watching the recipient receive.  Their gratitude is absolutely enough for me.  It is also a joy when others see what I do and are inspired to do something similar.  It is wonderful when the values I espouse are shared with others and we unite to achieve a common goal.  Blogs are a great way to share.

I consider myself very very fortunate to be living a very creative life.  It is constant, it is always,  it is all around.  I am thankful that this is where God has me at the moment, in a place where I can creatively be me.

I'll finish in the garden with my princess for the next section of the story ~ The Princess and the Garden.  (Firstly read Part I and Part II)...“Let’s busy ourselves with the bees”, the energetic fairies decided. “We’ll find them on the garlic chives and on the basil flowers as well”, the little girl declared.  As they all buzzed and flew around with the bees the girl recognised another familiar sight.  It was a very dainty and delicate sparkly bright fairy in each.  “Oh, I’ve found Grace the Garlic Fairy and Basilica the Basil Fairy.  I know you’d love to play as well.”  They all buzzed and twirled, flew and danced, and enjoyed the afternoon together.

When evening came, the fairies knew they had been in the company of a most sincere Princess - a princess with whom the Gardener would love to share her garden, her blossoms, her herbs and all her plants. They raced to the garden and found the Gardener there.  She sat outside in the cool of the evening under the shade of a Jacaranda tree. She was waiting expectantly and was delighted to see her fairies return.  She rose to greet them and immediately knew that the news they would share would fill her heart with joy.

“We’ve found her!” they exclaimed.  The one to come and join you here is beautiful, she’s bright, she’s kind.  She is fun and she is pretty.  But more than that she loves the garden, she knows the plants therein and she recognised each of us one by one as she drew close to play.  Not a thing passed by unnoticed.  We know she is a true Princess. 

“Oh, please bring her here,” the Gardener cried.  She knew her heart’s longing would be fulfilled...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Princess and the Garden (Part II)

One kind deed begets another.

Just look at what I arrived on my pillow last night!

To understand the full significance of this little posy of petunias you might like to read about The Princess and the Garden which I wrote yesterday.

Excuse the terrible photography (I am yet to figure out how to take great shots with my camera at night time), but I just couldn't miss the opportunity to share the goodness going around our house at the moment.

I am delighted to see my daughter learning to give and doing so of her own accord.

And for those of you who might be reading the story to your little girls here is the next section.

...At last she came!  She was drawn to the bright pink flowers, “Aren’t these beautiful bright pink petunias, “ she exclaimed. “Oh! and look there’s the tiniest sweetest garden fairy.  What’s your name?” the little girl asked.  

“I’m Peta the Petunia Fairy. Come and play with me amongst these pink flowers over here.” 

“They’re the beautiful rose blooms - The Children’s Rose, “ the girl exclaimed.  And they danced and played and smelled the delectable fragrance of the rose.  With her sweet little nose absorbing the fragrance of a bloom so near, the little girl detected a hint of cinnamon and a sparkle of fairy dust.  At once she spotted the rested fairy, “Hello, you must be Rosetta the Rose Fairy.”  “Indeed I am” Rosetta replied.  And the three of them danced and twirled all around the pretty garden...

Please do share any kind deeds that are happening around your home at the moment.  We'd love to read about the smiles you share, they bring a smile to us here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Princess and the Garden

To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.  ~George Kneller

I have found that sites which I am drawn to again and again are those which inspire creativity in me.  They encourage me to see the everyday things I am doing in a new light and urge me to act according to my own creative spirit.  One such site is dear Juliane's Fröken Skicklig.  She is having a giveaway this month which propels you to undertake a very special task which will warm the heart of at least one of those special people around you.

Feeling heartened on an otherwise lethargic day I decided to surprise my eldest princess Ess.  While she watched a movie with Daddy indoors I ventured outside to the garden to pick her a bouquet of flowers.

The bouquet contained petunias and a rose, basil flowers, garlic chive flowers and mint.  Its fragrance was beautiful.

I then placed it on her pillow and proceeded to write her a little story, that was coming to mind, in a tiny homemade book.

It is the story of the Princess and the Garden.  It was to be a short little story for her to read and illustrate.  It turned into quite a long fairytale of nearly 1000 words so I may not publish it here.  Let me know if you'd like to read it however, as I may change my mind.  We'll see!

Later that afternoon Ess ran to me calling out, "Mummy, mummy, you've got to see my bed.  It's amazing!  Who did that?"  (I am certain she was convinced the fairies had been in her room again.  I didn't say anything to the contrary but somehow I think she came to realise who the real life fairy was).  "Let me read the story" she cried.  And so we spent the late afternoon and evening reading the story over a few times so Daddy could enjoy it too.

The story commenced thus...There was once a gardener who longed to find a Princess to enjoy her pretty garden with her.  Only a true princess would know all the flowers and herbs and how to care for them.  So the gardener called on the Fairies of the Garden to find her a princess, a true Princess.

“My dear fairies”, she said longingly, “I long for a sweet princess to share my garden with me, to delight in the blossoms, to dance amongst the plants, to enjoy the fragrance and delicious flavour of all my herbs.  Please find the sweetest, kindest, brightest Princess who would love to share this garden.”

And so the fairies set off.  They had seen many sweet girls in their travels from Fairyland, yet they knew the one who’d meet the Gardener’s desires would be a most particular one.  She would be able to see them, those delicate tiny fairies, as they rested contentedly, yet with eager anticipation, in the flowers by which the girl passed.  The girl who saw the fairies would be immediately recognised as a Princess.

The fairies came to rest in various flowers and waited for the little girl to pass as she came out to play.  Patiently, they waited....

The creativity inspired by Juliane's little set task went further as the following day was filled with lots of drawing in our backyard.  Ess enjoyed illustrating the first couple of pages of the fairytale which I had to print out for her.

Later my darling could be heard saying "Thankyou for my present."

Even later she said, "I love my present. Thankyou so much!"

Her gratitude is absolutely thanks enough for me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Healthy Little Mud Cakes - Healthy? Debatable?

We already know that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables results in an increase of antioxidants in our blood. We believe chocolate consumption may have the same effect. We forget that chocolate is derived from cocoa beans-the fruit of the cacao tree-a fruit that is a rich source of these potentially beneficial substances. - Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

As rain is not falling we have very little opportunity here to make mud pies outside in those luscious splashy puddles which form from a lovely downpour of the wet stuff.  Little Eee gets to splash around outside in the puddles I make when watering our plants.  Interestingly this morning she called it rain.  She loved it so much when we caught a brief glimpse on the weekend and I am sure she longs for more.  I promise, my dear girls, it will be mud pies on the menu next for your outdoor fun.  Next we see rain that is, that could be days or weeks or...?

Another cause for some consternation in our home recently is that my oven element has blown, for the second time in less than twelve months.  I am very glad we are not owners of this home at the moment!  It is taking over a week to have the part ordered and replaced so all my cooking is done on the stove top or under the grill.  I find that fine for meals but my poor dears - all three of them - are longing for some of my nourishing treats we bake regularly.  On the weekend, my Generous Gentleman, whipped up another delicious batch of pikelets, doubling the batch so they have lasted during the week.  He has taken to separating the eggs, putting the yolk into the batter, then whipping up the egg whites to fold through later.  Mmm, how very light and fluffy they are these days.  Someone taught him well, someone else has the patience to do it every time he makes them.

I, however, found another recipe to satisfy our desires.  I have adapted Karen Martini's Little Mud Cakes to my own version:

Healthy Little Mud Cakes

150g pitted prunes
100ml water
150g dark chocolate
80g tahini
2 tablespoons almond spread
2 tablespoons dark cocoa, sifted
50g digestive biscuits
 (I used my husband's Nice and Morning Coffee biscuits)
150-200g cereal such as rice, corn and  kamut puffs

Line an oven tray with baking paper or a silicon mat.
Put prunes and water in a small pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft.
Melt chocolate in a bowl over water.   (I melted mine over the cooking prunes).
Remove from heat and stir in the prune mixture, tahini, almond spread and cocoa.
Stir the cereal and crushed biscuits into the chocolate mixture allowing it to take as much cereal as it can while you are still able to bind the mix into small balls.
Roll into small balls with your children.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Counts the seconds, or minutes if you're lucky, 
until your family starts asking you whether they are ready yet?

I am using this lovely little tea party setting now to enjoy my healthy;) snack of lemon myrtle tea, a banana and of course - a healthy little mud cake.

Yet the question remains in my mind.  Are these truly healthy? Are they nourishing? Are they good for you?  Perhaps I should try leaving out the biscuits, which I raided from my Generous Gentleman's stash.  Yet the quantity of them is small.  Then there is all that chocolate and cocoa.  In my defence, the dark chocolate is fairtrade and is at least 70% cocoa.  My Organic Times dutch-process cocoa powder is described thus: "Our quality organic cocoa is proudly grown and harvested in The Dominican Republic under the Rapunzel Hand-in-Hand Fair Trade program".  The website raves about health.

What do you think?  Do let me know.  In your opinion, in your wisdom, are these little mud cakes to be considered healthy and nutritious or do they still fall into that decadent sweet treat category, to be consumed on occasion only?   Oh, and don't let this last quote, and it's source, sway you at all will you ;) .

Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food. - Michael Levine, nutrition researcher

Finally, thankyou to my precious Ess for collecting the delightful little red gum blossoms on our walk to school this morning.  She purposefully counted out enough for each one in our family and another for her best friend at school.  I am simply sure the fairies came home in them with me this morning to help make this healthy snack so much more pretty for me.  Can you see one in there, resting now, contentedly?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bright Yellow Ribbons for Sports Day

I've watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly!  Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! - not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
~William Wordsworth, "To a Butterfly"

Ess and I had a lovely time on Sunday creating a little brightness to add to her life for her school Sports Day on Friday.   Some bright yellow ribbony hairclips.   We were inspired by some lovely little brooches at Blij als Mij.

I must say, it was very refreshing creating with the lovely bright sunny yellow, the colour of her sports team.  We are both usually not very fond of yellow.  Pink is almost always the first colour of choice.

Ess loves them and wanted to wear them to school today.   She then asked when Sports Day was...again.  Upon realising there was no way she could wear them today or very soon, she asked if little Eee could wear them simply so she could see how cute and pretty they looked in little Eee's hair.  Isn't that just so sweet, just so generous.

And a little more cause for some celebration...we have seen less of the sunny yellow circle in the sky over the last couple of days as showers have fallen from cool grey skies.  Nothing to get too excited or write home about, but there is certainly some moisture in the air.

However, by Sports Day on Friday the temperature will have risen again to some 30ºC, the sun will be shining and everyone will be having a grand time - assuming we are all over our illnesses that is!  Today it is my turn to have a mild case of the lurgies.

I am certain, however, that little Ess will be somewhat reminiscent of that bright and joyful, little yellow butterfly described by William Wordsworth.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Patience Gratitude

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. - Matthew 21:22

Yesterday I spent a bit of time in my garden searching for a little soul restoration. This morning I was there again, yet not before I had noticed a change in my spirit. This morning seemed similar to previous mornings, Ess slept in again, Eee woke with lots of goop in her eyes - better but still not well, and we prepared to head out the door to school again. Yet I was calmer, I was not about to become harried, Ess did not say to me "You are grumpy, aren't you Mum!" (I so hate that.) We got ready and headed out the door pretty much on time yet we were a little later than I'd like walking into the classroom. For some reason today it did not bother me, something in me had moved, had shifted.   I didn't do it, at least I don't recall doing anything except asking God for patience, conscientiously enjoying my girls' company yesterday afternoon despite the fact my Generous Gentleman was going to be home late, and then later enjoying some good conversation with him. I am so grateful for my wonderful husband.

So when one prays for something and one receives it, one must certainly give thanks. I asked for patience and received it. Yet along with that patience I seem to have received situations and circumstances which did not even call for me to rely on and test my patience. A cup full to the brim and overflowing.

Thankyou God, my gratitude is all yours.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"

When one needs a little soul restoration I find there is no place like being out in my garden watching newness form, beauty surround and busy activity occur before often unseeing eyes and unhearing ears.  Little Eee notices it all however and points out the bees to me, the planes flying overhead, sticks her nose into the rose blooms and ensures all the clothes are named (with her sweet little voice) and hung out to dry... "shirt, Daddy's shirt!... Mum-mum's, mum-mum's shirt!... short!...etc. 

There is just no way I can describe the feeling of being a mother with children who are unwell. Little Eee is ill today and I have decided to stay home with her to let her sleep.  I usually wake her to go and enjoy a beloved Kindermusik class with her, we both love it.  But today I couldn't bring myself to do it.  Both my Generous Gentleman and I just feel so much for them when they are unwell.  Eee woke us last night crying and crying and with a dirty nappy.  This is just so rare for her.  We can only assume she had an earache which is what kept dear Ess awake a few nights ago.  I know, I know it is just a virus and it will pass but I feel so for them!  I'm probably a little under the weather as well fighting the virus also.  Yet that is no excuse for the short temper I have displayed when trying to care for a very clingy baby and a very hungry daughter, when trying to get everyone ready to leave the house before 8:30am after they have slept in till at least 7:30am.  I just cannot bear to wake them, especially when they have been unwell and I know they need rest.  I am unhappy with myself as a mother at the moment, desiring more patience.  So I am enjoying time in the garden - or at least I did this morning.  Now I wish this thing was a laptop... I rarely do.

In my garden I am enjoying...

...very lush, delicious basil... enhancing every lunch time salad...

...watching bees busying themselves about my garlic chives...

Aren't the blossoms beautiful! I think they are just so delicate and light.  So unlike the rich pungent flavour of the herb they espouse.

And a culprit caught, lurking about on my capsicum.  Fortunately he prefers the leaves to the capsicums which are still growing and more flowerbuds are transforming into fruit.  Yay!!  No more heatwaves please!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Drinking Water

I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Image found here

I very strongly believe the above statement, yet perhaps it is not quite so if your drinking water becomes contaminated.  Of course the authorities say this will never happen, they are there to reassure us.

Yet with the current pattern of receiving nil to very little rain in our region the risk of heavy metals being leached into our water supply is very real.  The extreme drought is causing our earth to turn into acid sulphate soils from which can leach heavy metals.  The CSIRO is mapping where this is happening in an attempt to manage the acid levels in soils.  You can read a bit more about what is going on in this news story of last April.  That was almost a year ago and the drought is certainly not broken. We have had hardly any rain in that time, despite the fact that other parts of our country are in flood.  So I wonder what is happening currently.

On the weekend we discovered that we have some cadmium, a heavy metal, in our bodies.  Yes, I do, our precious little Eee and Ess do, and my Generous Gentlemen does as well.  We are probably getting this from our water supply although it does come in other means.  It shouldn't be in our water supply, authorities would tell us it is only there is safe levels. How a heavy metal can be safe at all in our systems is simply beyond me.  They impact the way our brain works and deals with every process in our bodies.  They don't simply go away, the body must deal with them appropriately.  As well as this, cadmium shouldn't be in our system as our water is filtered.  Our filter states that it removes traces of heavy metals from our drinking water.  It was only replaced last December and I don't believe it has lasted long enough if cadmium is getting through already.

At the moment I am feeling a little pensive.  My darling daughters are fighting a virus which causes them to have a fever, sleep lots and becoming seeming better only to fall down again soon thereafter.  Twice I have thought Ess was over it, twice she returned to me with earaches and dark eyes and the need to rest.  Those of you who know Ess, know that she "never gets tired" :). Her nature right from when she was a baby!

Some of this might be speculation, but it does concern me.  At the very least be sure you have your drinking water filtered and that your filter is replaced as often as recommended.  If you are uncertain about heavy metals, ask your health practitioner.  On a greater level, I do wonder where we are headed in this big old world.  Have a little look at this graphic to see what the world might be like in 2050 or so when the world might be 4ºC warmer or so.  If we make it that far.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adelaide the Festival City

The healthy being craves an occasional wildness, a jolt from normality, a sharpening of the edge of appetite, his own little festival of the Saturnalia, a brief excursion from his way of life.  ~Robert MacIver

There is no dearth of activities for one to enjoy in Adelaide, the Festival City at the moment.  We just enjoyed a long weekend and had it not been for our darling Ess being unwell on Friday (and then up and down over the weekend) perhaps we might have partaken in many more things.

There were drives in the Adelaide Hills to be enjoyed with stops at "full to the brim and overflowing" antique shops in Woodside.  They beckoned but the hour was late!  We had already stopped at Hahndorf for Pot Belly Pies ("the best in the country") and Strathalbyn to see our health practitioner.

We enjoyed the Fringe Family Weekend with lots of live music, dancing and wonderful performance on the stage under the lovely old trees.  There were drums to bang (see Eee and I above) and flowersticks to twirl (see below).  Ess enjoyed her workshop with Cirkidz.  Kindermusik was workshopping there as well and we said G'day to our lovely educator, Mr Geoff.  We found an amazing dragonfly made in Vietnam which can balance anywhere it seems.  Sadly we missed The Amazing Drumming Monkeys which were loved by all last time.  This is just a great festival.  I love going to see all the creativity there is lurking in the depths of this city and indeed around the world and also to remind myself that I am not the only unconventional person around.  Not the only one who enjoys innovative creativity from a smaller pocket of interesting and unique people.  It actually began as an alternative to the Adelaide Festival.

We chose the Fringe Festival over Womad this year.  Tickets to Womadelaide are very expensive although the line-up of performers there is huge.  It would have been outstanding as it was a couple of years ago when I visited pregnant with my second!  I was puzzled as to why both Womad and Fringe Family Weekend coincided but it didn't seem to matter as the Fringe Family Weekend was extremely busy as was the constant flow of walkers to Womad.  Yet this is Adelaide and we were still able to drive into town and park to get to our festivity.  We walked perhaps 10-15 minutes to get to our car parked (for free) in a sidestreet.  Just one of the reasons I love Adelaide and have no longing to be in Sydney.  Great entertainment abounds at very little cost.

Soon we will have the Clipsal 500 although you won't see us there.  Fortunately for me we have no car lovers in this house.  Yet it brings a big buzz to the city and everyone knows that it's here.  The track is in the centre of the city, for heaven's sake, I am still amazed at the transformation of city streets at the end of March.

There is absolutely no reason to be want of anything to do in Adelaide in March. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pork and Apple Bolognese

Politicians say they're beefing up our economy.  Most don't know beef from pork.  ~Harold Lowman
Image found here

I'd make a great politician this week I think.  Two evenings ago, as I began preparations for tea, which was to be Spaghetti Bolognese for the girls, I removed the meat from my frig and thankfully realised sooner rather than later that I had thawed minced pork rather than minced beef which I usually use for this classic dish.  I know some people do cook bolognese with a combination of pork and veal so I decided I'd just use my cooking nouse and prepare a bolognese sauce with my pork.  Honestly I didn't have the wherewithall to change my plans and cook my usual Sang Choi Bau with pork mince.  So we ended up with a most delicious Pork and Apple Bolognese which I hope you and your family will enjoy as well.  It improves with age.  My Generous Gentleman didn't stop "mmm...ing" during tea last night.  We enjoy this with Basmati rice but you could use ordinary or spelt spaghetti.  Ess enjoyed some little shell shaped wheat free pasta along with her rice.  Little Eee... mmm... let's just say she is being extraordinarily fussy at this stage of the game.  To be expected of an 18 month old, sadly.

Image found here

Pork and Apple Bolognese

Brown 500g pork mince, remove from pan.
Saute onion and bacon in some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, later adding garlic, until golden.
Add 1-2 teaspoons tomato paste.  Cook off.
Add 1 grated carrot, 1 grated zucchini and 1 grated apple.
Return the mince and add 1 can of tomatoes with the little bit of water used to rinse the tin.  Cook, breaking down the mince and tomatoes as needed.
Add dried oregano (which you have hanging in your pantry after pruning your oregano this summer).
Add a good glug of tamari or your own choice of soy sauce.

Simmer for 30 mins to an hour, without letting it stick to the pan, adding some water or stock if necessary.  Some say to simmer gently for up to 3 hours to form a delicious ragu.   But eat it when you and the sauce are ready in my opinion.

Add some fresh mint and parsley.

Serve with rice or noodles and greens.

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