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Slowing Down, the Slow Living Essentials Way - Septemer 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 eight months and really got a lot out of it. This is my September reflection on Slowing Down - the Slow Living Essentials way!
This update is sooooo over due - but I would still like to participate. I'm going with the "better late than never" theory for this check in. My plan was to use the long weekend to make a leisurely post, then register on Christine's site and spend part of the day in the hammock with a cuppa and the laptop visiting all my bloggy mates and generally spending the Queens Jubilee holiday on my backside. As it turns out - I did spend all of the Queens Jubilee holiday on my backside, but at the hospital! Our latest student got a huge festering abscess in a sensitive place and I simply couldn't abandon her to the bureaucracy of Queensland Health - the Health Professionals, absolutely (they were more than wonderful) but the forms, the questions, the paperwork, the change of shift, all the different departments and the sheer volume of ink needed to get a young international visitor through the bureaucracy - Never!!! We were there for two solid days... But she is fit healthy and smiling again now the pain has gone!

Then I had to work my four jobs, have a birthday, have a small gathering to celebrate, run a wedding reception, clean the house, do a grocery shop, update my First Aid certificate, look after my chookies and - well you get the idea, blogging ended up being the thing that didn't get done until today!

Anyway - Here's what I did over the last month...

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
This is always fun in our house. Our student made us Spaghetti carbonara, a Baked Salt Pie, Pizza and Calzone (no points for guessing what country she is from!) all from scratch and under instruction direct from Italy via skype!
We will reciprocate with Crocodile and Kangaroo later this month!

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve.
Not a lot in this category this month. Although I was at the supermarket at the right time and managed to get a fair bit of meat for just under 1/2 price...!?!

REDUCE: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
We are pretty good at this category these days. Doing this check in reminds me that we do a lot of this stuff automatically, its a chosen lifestyle that just happens now without a lot of thought.

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products.
Hardly any commercial products left in the cupboard under the sink - which I guess is the objective of the exercise!

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
Now, this category I can actually report something positive for a change! I have finally managed to grow something and get it all the way to the plate!!!

Ok, so its only a lettuce and some spring onions, but its a lettuce and spring onions that I grew all by myself!!! I am super pleased as we have huge "green thing eating critter" problems and I have spent more on fortifying my garden than anything else in recent months. So much for a frugal homegrown, environmentally friendly meal - my husband calculated that my chicken Cesar salad lettuce cost me some where in the vicinity of $100 in wire, about 3 hours of labour to build, 20 tons of greenhouse gas getting the wire in about 5 car trips, 4 or 5 temper tantrums and about 250 litres of tank water...
Hopefully, I'll get a few more lettuces out of the same plot to reduce my cost per lettuce...

Oh and I sold my first dozen eggs to the neighbour too! I have an idea that I cant sell her eggs, so I have sold her a fancy egg carton and gave her some of my eggs for free! (may this goes under "Create"..?)

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
I made a rag quilt at the beginning of the month for my new nephew! Ummmm....
Does making up checklist for new staff at work count? It was a beautifully laid out document! Conversely, doing this update also shows what I don't always get around to doing...

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
Am loving my latest Uni subject - the anthropology of healing and illness. Its about the difference between disease (the pathogens) and illness (the experience) and how different cultures view these two states. We were given a book to read called "The spirit catches you and then you fall down" (Anne Fadiman). Its about a Hmong family living in the states after fleeing from Laos and their epileptic young daughter - or more to the point, what happens when a Strong shamanistic culture come up against the American Health system. Absolutely fascinating - Excellent story, even if you aren't studying a uni subject. I got my copy from the local library.

ENHANCE: community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
For a few days this month, I got to join in with the local medical community. I wouldn't say I "enjoyed" my time with them but it was very comforting to experience lots of real compassion, sensitivity and professionalism from all the staff involved in the couple of days I spent at a bedside at the local hospital.
I'm still attending Yoga (work permitting) and really enjoying a new group of like minded people!

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family.
This has been a great month for celebrating! We've had a couple of babies born into the family (Welcome Oliver and Eli!) Picked up the baby Barnevelder Chickens, been to a friend child's bowling birthday party, Caught up with some old friends over coffee, celebrated our wedding anniversary and had a birthday as well! Great fun!

With my Uncle at my Birthday BBQ
IMPROVE: Change or create a habit, work on an aspect of mind, body and soul that needs a wee tweak.

Hmmm, I haven't given this months 'Improve" much thought as yet - I have done fairly well with the chocolate. Ive bought maybe 3 things in the last month since my first challenge - much better than every time I got petrol or groceries! I am conscious about drinking water and managed to get at least my litre a day - much, much easier than I thought it would be. More often than not, I was well over the litre I had set myself - this is a good habit to get into as its getting very hot here in Brisbane already...

So back to this month... As its getting lighter earlier, I tend to get up as the sun rises. So that means I have been waking at 5.30am in recent times. So this months challenge is to go to bed at 9pm each night that I am actually at home to do so! I have two jobs that have me out till all hours of the night once or twice a week, but the rest of the time, I shall endeavour to stop what I'm doing and go to bed at 9pm so I get enough sleep.

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 (whats left of the) month everyone! - Kara xx


Anonymous said…
Definitely better late than never. And I am jealous of your student who cooks - that would be fun! Though we have some friends who have had less than fun experiences with exchange students on occasion. I enjoyed reading through your month.
Anonymous said…
I'm late posting for September as well. I've made a start but have been a bit engrossed in the Blogtoberfest. I think it's better we post, even if it is a bit late. :)
You've had a busy month.
Anonymous said…
What a busy month you had. I'm sorry to hear you spent the weekend in the hospital, but glad she's okay.

I would love a student who cooks Italian for me as it's my favorite type of food. Not sure if I would enjoy the crocodile or kangaroo, guess it's what you get used to.

We had plenty of problems in our garden too, but seem to have gotten a handle on it by mid summer.

I love the egg box, it's almost too pretty to use for eggs. And your quilt, it's gorgeous. Quilting is one thing I tried and had to admit I'm no good at. I just don't have the patience to enjoy the process.
Practical Frog said…
Hi Ladies! Thanks for dropping by! Im glad my efforts are appreciated! It was a busy month and a fun month. The quilt is the first one I have ever made so Im am even more pleased! I am thrilled after all the time and expense to get something out of the garden as well! Its a big deal for me! Now Im not sure that she can good without instruction from the pizza chef boyfriend online supervising... But the results have been great and also very entertaining! We have had a couple of 'dud' students - but most of them are great and certainly make up for the few who you hope will go home early! - Kara xx
Kathryn Ray said…
I'm glad your student is ok now.

I have to laugh about your price per lettuce. I'm sure now that the fortifying is "done" the unit price will go down.

Happy October!
Practical Frog said…
My husband is like that - he reckons its cheaper to buy eggs from the shops too. But then what would I do for fun if we spent a whole 10 minutes buying eggs each week?? Im sure id spend even more money! - K xx
Anonymous said…
Good for you! I'm new to this lifestyle, but getting "greener" by the minute! I love finding more like-minded people like yourself! We grew almost all our veggies last year with more this year (we just finished the garden last month), we just started composting, recycling, reusing, etc as much as we can. Not that we didn't do any of it before, but now we're totally serious about it all and getting better all the time.

You did great on the rag quilt - those are my favorite to make, one reason being that I can use just about any fabric in the middle and not only does it save money, it's greener and rag quilts get better with each washing, they're so soft! I know what you mean about the small amount of eggs, onions, etc. It doesn't matter, does it? It's because YOU did it, it's wonderful!!!

I just started a blog to discuss all the changes we're making in our lives (and our house!). You have a great blog! I was here reading last week and you can be sure I'll be hanging out a lot!
Practical Frog said…
Hi MG Girl! Yes - its a work in progress becoming green! From small beginnings and all that sort of thing! I'll pop over and have a look at your blog! - K xx
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