Skip to main content

Slowing Down - The Slow Living Essentials Way. July 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 six months and really got a lot out of it. This is my July 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've been a bit better with cooking, especally with the slow cooker, this month. Actually, its less that the slow cooker is wonderful and more that we have another student and I feel more obliged to cook for her after a long day at work than I do for my husband and the teenager! Even when I don't "cook" we still have toasted sandwiches, eggs on toast and things like that. We don't tend towards takeaways these days!

Purple carrots for dinner. Yum!

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve.
This one I'm never too good at. I have had a couple of pantry clean ups that have gone along with our year of decluttering and the object of the exercise has been to rid the house of excess not to stockpile. Although we do have reasonable amounts of things that we will use - its trying to determine what we will use and what we might use and what we think we can't part with that causes the tension. As I'm typing I am aware that I have made 3kg of soap in the last few weeks... That's definitely stockpiling!

Two different hand made soaps ready to use!

REDUCE: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
With my work in hospitality, I have been trying to cut down on their food waste! In both jobs I try to bring home perfectly good food that we can eat that would otherwise go in the bin (this is what I call pre-dumpster diving!) and also the scraps for the chookies, worms and compost.
This wont be a revelation to many of you - but if you don't bring it into the house in the first place - you don't have to get rid of it at some point. Not buying 'stuff' is where we started on to cut back on clutter, waste and to be able to have the money to spend on things we really want.

Sunset Chookie eyeing off the camera!

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products.
I had to go and clean up after some people moved out of a house and I'm proud to say that ALL the cleaners I used (ok - all except the gumption) were homemade ones! It did as good a job as any of the commercial and you know what? It smelt better! The house seemed fresher and less chemically and was just as clean!

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
Another few weeks and I may get some bits and pieces out of my heavily fortified garden! I have some celery with only the tops possum attacked where they poke out of their cage, some shallots and probably another handful or two of beans! For anyone following my blog you will know that despite all my green efforts - vege gardening has not proved to be very successful thus far!

Celery outgrowing its cage

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
I have been making soap this month! I got at least 10kg of lamb fat from work after a huge roast up, and rather than throw it in the skip, I got on the Internet and researched making soap from fat rather then olive oil as I usually do. So far so good! The neighbour and some friends are coming over next week to have a go at making their own soap batches next week. (Soap making is a big post but I will finish it soon!)
I have also been making a "star card" for a friends birthday which has taken a lot of time but has been a lot of fun. I'm notorious for only making things I can finish in a day as I often don't have enough patience to see big projects all the way to the end... So I'm quite proud of this one!

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
I have always been a reader. As a kid it was Enid Blyton, then Nancy Drew and the Three Investigators, later came Virgina Andrews and Gerald Durrell followed by Stephen King and Patricia Cornwell. These days its mostly "How To" books (and I have 20 of them out from the local library right now) with the odd novel thrown in for good measure. I'm really bad when I get hold of a novel for doing NOTHING but read and go to work. I can finish most of them in less than two days and I don't get any sleep or cook or do house work until its read! So I try to choose times like holidays or long weekends to read novels these days!
I have started to keep a book list of some of the books I read to share with you all. The tab is at the the top of the page or you can link to it here.

ENHANCE: community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
I'm due to give blood today as I do every three months. I'm still doing basketball, helping out at the PCYC Blue Light disco, checking in with my blogging friends, showing our new student around the city, patronising local markets and carboot sales and minding gardens and kids for friends while they are away. I love my special wee community!
ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family.
Had a ball in Canberra for our friends 50th Birthday despite the freezing temperatures and am looking forward to a 40th in coming weeks! One of my jobs involves a lot of weddings and I feel like I'm celebrating practically every weekend at the moment!
Lots of birthdays this month: Aunties, old family friends, new friends which all have to be celebrated with a card, present or party.
And my most fun-nest enjoyable-ist, amazing-ist thing that I have done this month (which I would love to be able to do every month not every two years) was go to Cirque du Soleil!!! Talk about having fun! I love Cirque and am happy to re-mortgage the house or sell one of the kids on e-bay to pay for the ticket! If you haven't seen it or have only You-Tubed it - give it a go live and get the full experience! Its mindblowing!

No -that isn't one of the characters - That's the Teenager!
 IMPROVE: Change or create a habit, work on an aspect of mind, body and soul that needs a wee tweak.
This is a category that I have just added to Christine's original nine. I sometimes see the need to jump on a habit that is not enhancing my life and thought if I had the added pressure incentive to report back each month here, it might help me change quicker.

Years ago I stopped buying chocolate (a big weakness of mine) at petrol stations - a place I find myself far too often these days. Then it crept back into my pattern. I read Micheal Pollen's book Food Rules: An eaters guide, with its rule to "never fuel your body from a place that you fuel your car" and managed to get back on the band waggon. I have found myself slipping back off again. So this month, my "Improve" shall be: To only eat chocolate that I haven't bought!  Lets see how I go!

I love this check-in at the end of the month! I love cruising over to other blogs and catching up on whats been happening for others and enjoying reading about every ones exploits, thoughts and ideas. I do always leave comments but have noticed that sometimes they don't come up on the comments page or I can't get past some of the 'security' devices ("type in these letters" thingys). So, even if you can't see my comment - know that I have been visiting!

Thanks for the opportunity to share again Christine!!! Have a great month everyone! - Kara xx


Kathryn Ray said…
Cirque du Soleil is great fun. I went to a show in San Francisco a couple of years ago.

You are so right about first keeping the stuff out of the house.
Practical Frog said…
Its fabulous fun isn't it! My hands were so sore from clapping and my jaw ached from it hanging open for two hours! - K xx
Kathryn Ray said…
Cria is pronounced Kree-ah.

Who won? ;-)
Lois said…
I'm just like you with a novel. Give me a Stephen King book and I will do nothing (including sleep) until I finish it.

We had major problems with wildlife eating our plants as well. Finally we bought wildlife netting and used a few tall sticks to hold it up off the plants. This has kept all but the bees off the plants. Well, that and lime for the worms.

Let me know how the chocolate experiment works. If I had a craving I would probably find someone who would bring it to me just to keep my promise to myself :-)
Anonymous said…
I like that you added the 'improve' category. I am part way though typing my July Slowing Down. If you don't mind I think I'll add that one in as well. I understand your love of chocolate.
Anonymous said…
I forgot that food rule of Pollans, but I think I came to that conclusion recently by myself when I started to eat a chocolate bar that actually tasted like gas fumes.

I love Cirque too! They put on such wonderful shows.
africanaussie said…
I haven't done the wrap up this month, but certainly enjoy reading about everyone else. I am growing purple carrots and hope mine look like yours when I do eventually harvest them - they take forever.
Practical Frog said…
Hey AA - Those carrots were bought from the markets. My brownish thumbs have stunted any carrot growth so far this season- no matter what colour!

Thanks for that Kathryn - I win!

So far so good with the chocolate Lois,. Its not that I want to stop eating it entirly - just cut back to treat level not sustainance level! So dessert is fine, gifts are fine but snacking is not!

Add away, Gladys and I'll pop over and see how you go - Next month I think I'll go for an exercise them for my improve!

Thanks for dropping by ladies! Good to see you again! - K xx
I love the idea of only eating chocolate that you haven't bought yourself - I might have to borrow that one! I'd forgotten about Gerald Durrell. I remember laughing until it hurt when I first read 'My family...'. I might have to hunt it out for a reread.
Practical Frog said…
So far so good Claire! I was in Wooloies looking for a bit of Kangaroo for our Chinese student to try when I found myself trying to justify the purchase of chocolate for myself. I didnt (yay) but is was tough and thats only the first week - hopefully it will be a habit not to buy chocolate for my self soon! - K xx
Christine said…
Wow, great month, Kara! I'm really intrigued by the soap you've been making from the lamb fat...fantastic!

Thanks so much for being a great linker-upper-er each month, you make it a lot of fun! :)
Linda said…
I love your soap! On my list of things to do. And good on you for you 'pre-dumpster diving'. Waste not, wnt not. Good luck with the choccy challenge!
Practical Frog said…
Hii Christine - Im making a post for soap making. Its not hard, I had the the neighbours over for a try a few days ago and we had a lot of fun and each batch was succesful! I love the link up - your post are always great, I really enjoy them!

Thanks Linda. We always end up with the dessert part of the buffets as no one can eat anymore by the time they get to it! Thats not helping my choccy consumption!!
- K xx
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

Killing cockroaches with boric acid v borax!

We live in Queensland. We have cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches! Why the NSW rugby team is called the Cockroaches is a mystery to me - surely ours are not only bigger but more plentiful??? At any rate, I don't like living with them (and I'm quite sure they  are not so fond of me at the moment!!) and I have been going through the usual gauntlet of sprays, solutions and bombs to get rid of them...

But I'm not so keen on the chemical aspect of all this spraying and bombing. I hate the smell and can almost feel disease and cancer growing in me every time I spray. I'm OK with the resident cockies getting a lungful of chemicals and then keeling over but I feel its impolite (and probably illegal) if my guests and family members do the same thing!!!

We went through a faze of killing them by hand (and flyswatter and rolled up newspaper and underfoot) but its hard and frustrating work and it probably was only culling the dumb and slow ones - leaving the smart fast ones to breed!!!

What to do when your cat attacks a bird... and doesn't kill it.

We have an eight year old cat who we got as a stray about six years ago. The vet reckoned she was about two when we got her and we did all the right things and got her spayed and vaccinated and all that stuff. She loves people and no matter where you are in the house or garden, she will not be far away. She really good with kids and will put up with the squishiest cuddles and a far bit of toddler tail fascination before bolting out the door to escape. She is well fed (despite the look she is giving me and the empty bowl below...) but not fat - but still the  urge to hunt and subsequently kill still seems to be quite strong.

Last weekend, she pounced out of nowhere on a rainbow lorrikeet - thankfully my husband and a band of teenage boys were also there and managed to grab the bird before the cat had done more than pounce. Now we have a slightly mangled still alive but obviously unwell bird on our hands - what do you do?

Here's what we did...

We found a box - popped an old towel in t…

Refilling old candle holders with new home made candles!

I had a number of nice wee candles that had burnt down to the bottom of their containers. They were too nice to throw away and I decided that I might be able to refill them with some more wax that I had lying around and use them again. Jumping straight in as I am apt to do.... I learnt a bit about candle making the hard way!

Here's what I did...

First I gathered up all my old wax. I scooped the wax out of old candles by either melting it for popping the whole container in the freezer for 10 minutes or so - most of the wax just popped out of its container after that!
I bought a length of candle wick from my local handcraft store. This was 6 meters and cost me $4.
I used the double boiler method of melting all my wax together. I used an old tuna can as I was only planning on filling four small candles. Don't let any water boil over into your wax. It will make your candles go funny...
I gently stirred the wax as it melted.
I measured the depth of the candle holders and then doub…