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Slowing down the Slow Living Essentials way - January 2013

I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a while and last year she started a monthly round up to record on our blog, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this for the last year and really got a lot out of it. This is my January reflection on Slowing Down - the Slow Living Essentials way! (Sorry its a bit late - Massive Blogger problems due to uninstalling "Google Chrome" because I wasn't enjoying using it but it turns out that I cant get Blogger to run properly with out it - Google and Microsoft are fighting it out to see who will rule the world methinks!)

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 back at the library getting out various cookbooks again. Since we have a house full of students again, I have to cook proper meals and am having fun exploring Jamie Oliver books (a recent discovery for me) and also Heidi Swanson's cookbook. Heidi is a foodie blogger I have followed for a long time but this is the first time I have seen her book. So offerings this month have been a lot of one pot help yourself affairs courtesy of Heidi and Jamie.

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve.
We went for a wander out to a friends property to check on our dogs grave and on the way back stopped at some road side stalls and I managed to pick up a huge box of "cooking tomato's" for $5. So I made some more sauce, pureed some into a tomato concentrate and simply chopped and froze the rest. It was a lovely day with a tasty end!

REDUCE: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
I repaired my dirty clothes basket this month! Not the most elegant solution but it used up waste that would've ended up in landfill and kept the basket going for another round.
 I didnt want to try to find another basket - that one is just the right size and shape for the awkward size hole at the end of the bathroom bench. I'd be hard pressed to find another the right size and shape It has an cloth insert and when thats in, you cant see the repairs at all - so I'm a happy little Vegemite!

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products.
I have been playing with "no poo-ing" my hair for about 8 or 9 months now and last week I came up with a variation on Christine's rosemary hair rinse. I popped in a bit of vinegar to neutralise the alkaline in the baking soda I isuse to wash it and then added a few drops of eucalyptus oil and a dash of tea tree oil. It smell great and makes my hair all soft and shiny and bouncy, just like a Pantene ad but without the chemicals!

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
The week we were away celebrating my husbands big birthday was one of the hottest we have had here in Sunny Queensland for a while (hence the tropical cyclone that followed) so EVERYTHING except my chilli bushes died. The chillies were touch and go for a while there and there is a chance my rhubarb will come back - but everything else curled up its toes and turned to dust. I have just replanted a bunch of seedlings... Lets see what happens next. I was doing so well there for a while...

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
I have been attending a quilting class at a local sewing machine shop and its been lots of fun. I have made a successful small quilt for a great nephew that I am very pleased with (and would appreciate his grandmother not looking to closely at any of it with her vastly superior sewing abilities!)
I'm also back crafting with the neighbour - it so good for the soul to sit and companionably make things together!

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
I have been reading "Waistland" by Deirdre Barrett. Its an interesting look at what we eat and why and what we can do about it. Its quite a fun read too as she has a wicked sense of humour that I really enjoyed. She fits in with philosophy's like Micheal Pollan (In Defence of Food) and Gary Taubes (Why we get fat and what you can do about it) so if you got a lot out of these two, have a look at Waistland and see what you think.

ENHANCE: community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
Does supporting a local handmade fair count??? Hope so! - it was a great day to chat, see and be amazed at what people can make with their own two hands!
I also volunteered at the LifeLine Bookfest again where we managed to break our target of $1.1 million dollars in second hand book sales!!! *dances with joy*

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with family and friends!
Had a number of wonderful outings and meals with our three students this month! I did an Australian taste tester menu for our latest students starting with pineapple and macadamia nuts and moving onto Vegemite on toast. This was followed by fresh prawns (including a how to peel them lesson) and then moving onto the kangaroo steak and crocodile bake! We finish up with a cup of Australian grown tea, a tim-tam and a lammington. Great fun for all involved and some great pictures for their facebook pages!

IMPROVE: Change or create a habit, work on an aspect of mind, body and soul that needs a wee tweak.
Last month I wanted to get back into getting some exercise and it was hard to do. I'm not so good in my middle age of motivating myself - hence the basketball games. Its much easier to do a group activity for me as I don't want to let people down. So basketball is finally starting back up this week and I found an aquarobics class just down the road in the local school pool! So that takes care of two of my three activities - now I have to find one more to get my three times a week...

So I think for this month, I will stay with the exercise one as I'd like to get into a routine before I move onto the next tweak!

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


africanaussie said…
Oh I love to read everyone's catch up at the end of the month. I did it a few times last year, but somehow don't have the motivation this year. I looked for that book at the library but couldn't find it is it new? I love aqua aerobics.
Practical Frog said…
No, not so recent. I just checked. It was published in 2007. I look on my library's online catalog from home to see if they have a book - often they are never in because they have a big number of reserves and people waiting in a queue for them! Nice to hear from you - How did you go after the cyclone? - K xx
Anonymous said…
The quilt looks great! I've made a couple in the past - I should get back into it again. I enjoyed working on them.

Im going to have a look for that Waistland book at the library too.
Kathryn Ray said…
I love the Australian Food Tour. :-)

You are so right about "companionably making things together." I go to Knit Night almost every week. It's so much fun to get together with everyone.
What great preparation for your overseas students to get in Aussie food! There is a French student working in my family's vineyard at the moment. I managed to find a cute little necklace for her for Christmas with a tiny jar of vegemite as the pendant. A lamington on a necklace would be brilliant!
Practical Frog said…
Hi guys!
The quilt finally got finished and posted (cost more to post to NZ than it cost to make???) I'm enjoying making them. I've decided to make recycled ones only - so pillow cases from the second hand shops and scraps from other projects are my new targets for the cloth!
Just sitting with like minded people while we do our own projects is one of the nicest things I do. I love the name knit nite!
A lammington charm - if you find one, you have to post it! - K xx
Wendy Meijer said…
Lovely to see what you have been up to too!
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