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Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link Up - February 2014!

I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a couple of years now! In 2012 she started a monthly round up to record on our blog, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this since she started it at the beginning and really get a lot out of it. 

Here is what I have been up to this month!

Click on the link to go to the link up and visit other linked up blogs!

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button!

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.  
Bread rolls cooked in the BBQ along with the pizza's - super yummy!

We always cook from scratch and are now enjoying Eat, Bake Grow, a fortnightly farmers market that opened up a 10 minute WALK from our house!!! This month's real food has also included making birthday cakes from scratch along with some home made biscuits for a birthday present!   
PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. 
After reading about "dashboard drying" at Little Eco Footprints, and having no idea what that was, I looked it up on the internet and discovered that I have quite an expensive solar dryer sitting in my driveway!!!! So I put it to good use this morning... and its rained ever since, but boy, does my car smell good!
See it was a glorious sunny day when I started!
The weather forecast was for a 60% chance of 2-3mm of rain. I started this after we got 7mm of rain and the sun came out - but its rained off an on all day, so I will have to go to work tomorrow with all my tomatoes, apples and passionfruit, park in the sun and hope it doesn't rain all day again!!!
REDUCECut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. 
I could never find the garlic in the bottom of the "in the dark" storage box, until I used a cut down 3 litre milk bottle to keep it in one place! (Its simple things that make all the difference when you are cooking dinner!)
GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products. 

I made another batch of household cleaning chemicals this morning! Other than the watered down bleach ( I can grow awesome crops of mould in the shower even if I cant grow zucchini in the garden) the rest are different proportions of vinegar, detergent and water with the spray and wipe having a dollop of tea tree oil as well! The small purple bottle is the air freshener made from vanilla essential oil, water and a single drop of detergent to emulsify the oil and water. 

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
I didn't grow these but I certainly harvested them! While we were driving home after visiting friends I spotted what looked suspiciously like a Bunya Nut sitting on the grass at the side of the road. We pulled over and had a closer look and it was!!! I found three of them and even though I think there was more, the Husband isn't as enthusiastic about foraging as I am and put the brakes on my collection spree. (Darn it all...)

My haul was two whole and one shattered bunya nut. The smallest one weighed 4.7kg - the others maxed out my scales. Gotta borrow some human ones off the neighbours to weigh the other ones!
We pulled the shattered one to pieces to the amazement and delight of our international students who had never seen such a thing in their life before! We got just over a hundred nuts out of that bunya cone and roasted a tray full in the BBQ along with the pizza's last night. The Bunya Nut feasting has begun!

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. 
Really enjoyed making a card for an awesome friend and a handful of heart shaped cookies to go with it. That's not breaking the "no present" rule, is it?

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.

Can't believe that I have never heard of Michael Mobbs before!!! He has a unit in Sydney that he has disconnected entirely from the city's infrastructure (water, power, sewerage) and then built a sustainable suburb around himself - with the help of the locals! Inspiring stuff! 
ENHANCE: Community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

One of our international students competed in a local Tri-Athlon. We had never seen one and decided to go and watch him compete. It was great fun (to watch) and even though we may never attend another one, I spent the day talking to people coming into work about it. Many of them were in the area for the event - there were 1700 competitors and with their entourage - and it was great to be able to compare notes or simply have a clue what they were talking about. It was a real community event and I'm glad I was a (very) small part of it. Oh - Nathan got second in his category! He was very, very pleased!

ENJOYLife! Embrace moments with family and friends!
My very first attempt at a sponge cake!!! I made it for my Mother in Law with a recipe given to me by my mother - I thought that was kinda cool! 
Birthday night dining in the great outdoors.
Good food, a bottle of wine or two and a reason to gather - a perfect way to spend a Monday night!
IMPROVEChange or create a habit, work on an aspect of mind, body or soul that needs a wee tweak.

 This one is my addition to the 9. I have been setting myself wee challenges that improve my life over the month. I have gone carless one day a week, stopped buying anything but petrol from a petrol station, been a guest at Christmas, and tried to exercise more.
For February I had challenged myself to pay off my credit card before the end of the month... I thought it would be touch and go but I did a Cheapskates no spend month and not only paid off my credit card in just over a fortnight but managed to put another $600 into savings by the end of the month... Talk about an eye opener. I really have to much closer look at what I am spending my money on...
For March I want to get my breakfast under control. I'm not good at eating breakfast. A typical morning involves a couple of cups of tea and I think I'm good to go... until I get to work and then I'm so hungry that I'll eat anything. Its a classic bad eating habit and I need to break it...
I find these bitsy blog challenges to be really motivating. Because I know I have to report back here, I tend to stay honest and it stays in my consciousness - or is it because I write it down... Either way its a good way to make some changes for me!

As always I enjoy popping over to see what other slow livers are up to. Sometimes I can't get past the security things (You know, put in the letters or numbers thingos)  but even if you cant see my comment, know I have been and enjoyed!

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


Christine said…
Hi Kara, so great to share in your month! I really love your improve category and congratulations on your credit card achievement! Small steps win the race. Good to see your dehydrating, too. I caught a pic of Tricia's dashboard dehydrating and am inspired too. If only we had some ripe tomatoes to dry!! Have a lovely month. :)
Practical Frog said…
Hi Christine, I just needed to focus on it and the No Spend month was perfect timing! Got my tomatoes from the new Farmers Market up the road on Sunday so I thought it was all serendipitous and meant to be - until lunch time when I realised the rain wasn't going to stop! Oh well, the car smells great anyway!! - K xx
Anonymous said…
The dashboard dehydrating is a great idea. I'm not sure if it would work with my humid, buggy summers, but I will look into it this summer, And that nut is interesting - I've never seen anything like it before.
EMMA said…
Did you really drive with tomatoes drying on your dashboard? - that's pretty funny!
I've never seen a Bunya Nut before, what a find!
Sounds like you've had a great full filling february.
Wendy Meijer said…
Love the drying on the dashboard!
Sharon said…
Those bunya nuts are amazing. Dashboard drying, what a great idea!! With our really hot dry summers it would probably work a treat :)Looking forward to seeing what you do in March.
Linda said…
Hi Kara, I'm going to have a go at your air freshner. Thanks for the idea! And bunya nuts! They take years to grow and I've never actually seen one. Good find!
Practical Frog said…
The dashboard drying was a reasonable success considering we had 15mm of (long awaited) rain in the last 2 days! The apple is dry and in a jar, the tomatoes are almost there. And yes, I did drive around with them in the car - on the back parcel shelf though. Much more stable than the dashboard. I have never deliberately parked the car in the sun before this experiment!!

The Bunya nut was a lucky find. Its the first whole one I've ever seen too! The Husband has to go back that way next week and has been mentioning that he might go back and have a look for some more... (yay!)

The air freshener is easy and as its an essential oil, it seems to hang around longer, especially around soft furnishings.

Have fun! See you again soon! - K xx
sustainablemum said…
Dashboard drying now that is so cool! We don't have much sun here but maybe enough to do that, and if it makes your car smell good sounds even better!
Kathy said…
Bunya nut - another thing for me to look up! How cool looking. I also like the idea of dashboard drying, I will have to make sure hubby knows as he sort of thinks I leave things in the car that ought to be in the garbage!! What fun to read your month!
Cath said…
I enjoyed reading your about your month. Your week of lunches was a great post too.
Practical Frog said…
My tomatoes didn't dry quick enough as they had more moisture than the apple and went mouldy on day 4 before they were fully dry... :( so check the forecast before you start this project!
Bunya nuts are fun! I will do a proper post on them soon! -Kxx
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