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Slowing Down the Slow Living Essentials way - April 2012

I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a while and in January she set a challenge to record on our blog, monthly, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this for the last three months and really got a lot out of it. This is my April reflection on Slowing Down - the Slow Living Essentials way!

Here's what I did...

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
I have been doing OK with the baking this month. Still just banana loaves and chocolate cake. But they seem to be going down all right with the family! We generally cook from scratch each meal so the nourish segment is part of the daily life of this household already. This challenge has made me have a look at the bits that I could do but don't for some reason. The cakes are replacing muesli bars at the moment and I have been making bigger dinner meals so that the hubby doesn't end up buying takeaways for lunch - if he remembers to pack them that is!

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve.
I am making a batch of Halomi cheese, some Ricotta and a bit of Queso Blanco (an unripe white farmhouse cheese) as I type but its hardly stockpiling as since we all like homemade cheese so much, (especially me!) it has no chance of lasting to the end of the week!! I have a reasonable amount of preserves that we are trying to get down to a reasonable level so that we don't end up throwing them out in years to come, making the exercise pointless and expensive.

REDUCE: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
We are pretty good in this category - we compost, recycle, reject plastic bags, simply don't buy what we don't need and manage to repair rather than replace lots of things. I made a pair of slippers out of an old jumper this month!!! I cant knit or crochet (I don't have the right kind of brain for that!) but I can "construct". They wont last for many reasons - but have paved the way for many things that can be made from old woollen jumpers... stay posted!

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products.
Last month I greened up my skincare routine and can kid myself that I'm a bit like one of those before and after ad's for various skincare products. My skin definitely looks better! (Thanks to Nicole over at it came from a plant) and then I started experimenting with my hair and am attempting the "no 'poo" regime that has been advocated by Genvieve over at Uniquely Normal Mom I was doing ok with minimal washing with my own home made soap (and no one commented- so it must have looked OK) but I found my hair a bit dry and straw like. Then I was looking back through Christine's Blog and found a recipe for Rosemary Hair Rinse and gave it a go - that was all I needed! My hair is easy to brush now and has a great shine! So now I am the proud owner of one green head!!!!

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
We got stuck into what was the vege patch over Easter and cleared it out. We let in more light and took out practically everything growing in there - yes that's right we weeded! I added what compost was ready and got the wire cages that keep the possums out ready for action. I have bought some seeds and have a plan to plant one thing a week and see what happens. My tomatoes in the hanging basket are getting eaten by possums - so once again, my food growing is thwarted. I have a fake owl on top of the beehive that the possums use to climb up there this time so hopefully it will scare 'em off - or fall on their heads when they climb up there...

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
Mothers day cards, slippers from an old jumper, a bit of cheese making, random birthday cards, movie night invitations, ginger beer and rose fizz - I love making things!!! 
I have a book on Green Sewing out from the library at the moment that has some really cool re purposed crafts in it that I am dying to try: a scarf made of woollen leaves all sewn together, skirts made from sheets, couch pillows from felted woollen blankets... The list goes on. So many things to make and only one life to try to make them all!!!


DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
My uni subjects are varied and interesting - and a really good book (that's easy to read) that we were given as a compulsory text is Collapse by Jared Diamond. Its about the decisions that a society makes that lead to its demise. There are his theories as to why civilisations such as the ones on Easter Island, the Maya's and the Vikings disappeared. Easy to read and very relevant to those who want to live lightly on the Earth.   

ENHANCE: community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
This is one that I only do a few things each month in - and they are the same few things each month; Helping run the social basketball team at the local PCYC and helping out at the Blue Light Disco... Hmmmm... See this challenge to continually write about it brings it to the fore and makes me think about it. If I didn't have to write this I probably wouldn't think much of it. I will have to think about what else I can do for/in my community.... 

Hang on - We did attend the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day... Along with 3000 others. That's community!

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family.
Brother in Laws birthday weekend at his place in the NSW hinterland. Planning 50th birthdays for the coming months by email, coffee with good friends who bake the best scones! Craft mornings with the neighbours are still great fun and very productive. The car boot sale at the local church, getting rid of clutter and go to meet up again with other stall holders doing the same thing. Showing our new student around and seeing your own part of the world through new eyes. A movie night with the neighbours was heaps of fun - Red Dog is a great family movie by the way!

Ahhh - life is great!

Thanks for the opportunity to share again Christine!!! 


Fiona said…
Very clever slippers! I am really enjoying reading everyone's posts and I'm sure it will make me more mindful this month, too. I'm thinking of trying the soap and rosemary rinse soon too ...
Natalie said…
I also like the slippers, and great job making your own cheese...I have tried twice (failed miserably once) and plan to try again. Thanks for the inspiration.
Evi said…
Very impressive! Especially all the creative bits and all that cheese!! Yum - I'm with you, the cheese would never last here either!
You make a really good point Kara about this monthly project encouraging you to look at things you don't do but could. I always thought cheese would be really difficult to make, but with your post and a few others that I've read, I think I'm going to have to give it a go!
Kathryn Ray said…
I have a friend that makes cheese and yogurt and when ever I have the opportunity to try it, I think I should give this a shot... but I think it has to stay on the someday list for now.

Your "One Green Head" just about made me spit water all over my computer. :-D

Your slippers are adorable and I would be happy to take some of those banana loaves and chocolate cake off your hands. ;-)
Practical Frog said…
Hey guys! Good to hear from you, thanks for dropping by!

The rosemary rinse is definatly the best! Give it a go. Its easy to make and makes all the difference to me being able to run a brush through mine.

I have some batches of cheese that just dont work. I make soft, white usually non-renneted, non- cultured ones that are able to be eaten instantly. - Riccotta, Queso Blanco, lemon cheese and a few others like that. My brother in law lives near a dairy farmer who lets you buy unpasturised, unhomoginised milk straight from the vat! (for pet consumption only of course...) for a $1 a litre (BYO containers) so when we go to visit - I take along my bottles and then we come home and I make cheese... and we eat it!!

Talk again soon - Kara

PS love the slippers too but need to make themm out of an old WOOLLEN jumper so I can felt them and they wont fall apart... :(
Christine said…
Hi Kara! A great month - thanks for sharing. You went to the dawn service? Wow! That IS community!!

Great idea to felt the slippers - they're so cute - I couldn't bear it if they fell apart. :)
Anonymous said…
Kara linking in from Slow living month...the cheese making looks great :)
Practical Frog said…
Im a Kiwi - we are pretty big on Dawn services over there. Its a really nice service. Quiet and more more serene. Try one!
The jumper I used for the slippers turned out to be acrylic so they wont felt... :( But Im on the lookout for a woollen jumper to felt and turn into slippers!
Nice to see you Jodi! Drop by again soon!
Cheers! - Kara
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