Monday, April 30, 2012

Slow Living Month 4: April 2012

April is over...

 Time to reflect on little accomplishments again, even if they are just baby steps
 toward a slower, greener and simpler life.

 Thank you Christine for the opportunity to share and link up at Slow Living Essentials

(Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over-packaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.)

As the days are cooler, I am finding we are wanting to eat "comfort food", steering away from cold meals and salads, so here are some of the dishes we have enjoyed over the month of April:

*Vegetarian lasagna loaded with veg from farm that my sister brought on her last visit.
*Lamb that my older sister blessed us with on her last visit, made into a tasty curry with spinach and kale from the garden.
*Tasty home made chicken soup with frozen corn from the farm and herbs from the garden. I also like to add some fresh ginger and some frozen cubes of chili- great tasting soup!
*Nutritious cottage pie loaded with veg and a potato with added butternut for the topping as there were not enough potatoes at the time.
* Meatballs and spaghetti in home made tomato sauce with added herbs from the garden.
* Fish stir fried in pesto from the freezer with onions and beautiful green peppers from the garden.
 *Apricot squares baked by my daughter as well as apricot muffins (treats that are wholesome and suitable for hubby's low Gi diet, rather than convenient treats)

 ( Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.)

*I bought a kilo of dried apricots from a wholesale dried fruit shop at a good price and we have been enjoying them in our baking:
*I found mushrooms at a reduced price per kg and made some mushroom sauce for the freezer. This is delicious when added to a pasta dish or used in an omelet.

*For my eldest, I made chili and tomato chutney, using chili from the garden and tomatoes given to me by my neighbour. He loves to eat this with everything!
*A double batch of tomato sauce made for a veg lasagna...there was enough to freeze and later add to two other meals.
*Blanching and freezing beans from the garden, just small amounts at a time as there are few left, but when added up, enough to add to a couple of meals.

(Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.)

*My clever hubby has used old wooden palettes to make a sturdy new garden gate as the old one was falling apart. 
*We continue to bake healthy treats to be enjoyed by the family if the oven is on for dinner, saving electricity.
* On that note, I am trying to get my family to be more aware of electricity consumption, reminding them to switch of unnecessary lights in the evenings.
* My daughter and I have been re-purposing old books ( that she rescued from the dump) and scraps of paper to  create cards for the up coming teddy bear fair.

(Up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.)

*My neighbour has a new coffee machine and she regularly brings me the used coffee pods. Coffee grounds are placed around the plants to control aphids, rather than harmful pesticides.

( plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!)

Growing :
* Cabbage and broccoli seedlings are doing well.
* Leeks  and garlic are coming along and gooseberry bushes are shooting up all over the place! 
*Peas are getting their first fruits and I am hoping it is not too late to plant some more. 
*Aubergines are putting out flowers but I think I may have planted them too late as the flowers seem to be dropping off.

Our harvest: 
* beans, chillies, spinach, kale,lettuce, basil, spring onions, celery, mustard greens, green peppers

( to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.) 

Lots of knitting:
*Completed the fingerless mittens on order, as well as a black pair.
 They are great for keeping hands warm but freeing the fingers so one can still work well.

*A cowl for my daughter- the colours are just lovely on her with her blond hair and blue eyes

*At last I finished off the jersey I started making for my one year old nephew before he was born!

*My daughter made cute felt elephants for a cultural exchange and she is busy with teddy bears for the upcoming teddy bear festival.

* She has also made a beautiful Alice band with a fabric flower and done some fabric painting.

( Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month. )

*Too many new websites: gardening, schooling and parenting and them but need to be disciplined!

( community: Possibilities include supporting local growers & producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or food swap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.)

* Our monthly nature club outing, taking in autumn's offerings.
*Car pooling continues, giving ourselves and other parents a break from all making the same trips when we can share the load.
*I have loved babysitting my busy nephew a few times over the month so his mum could get a few things done.
*My daughter has enjoyed her weekly craft group, learning new skills.
* She also held another Krafty Kow workshop, teaching the  younger girls how to make sand shaker cards, embellished with beads and flowers, and some pretty mothers day gifts - rose hearts.

We have done some bartering too: 
*My daughter has been babysitting three little ones in exchange for sewing lessons from their mum. 
*Black fingerless mitts that I made were bartered with a young girl in exchange for fun nail painting as gift to my sons girlfriend. 

(Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.)

Some highlights in April:
*The Passover Meal we celebrated was timed perfectly with my mums visit.
* Easter weekend shared with family and friends was just wonderful.
*The changing season, causing us to take note of the trees in their glorious array of colours
* Enjoyable read aloud times with the children, that are now more frequent that the holidays are over.
* Celebrating our sweet cousin/nephew's first birthday!


  1. Now I really wish I knew how to knit! Beautiful items there.

  2. Thank You Southern Gal...I still consider myself a novice knitter!

  3. You have done well Wendy and Keren. X

  4. Oh gosh you have been busy! I love this final end of the month tallying up.

  5. Seems you have had a wonderful April! That cowl has made my fingers itch for my needles! Thanks!

  6. Thanks for stopping by ladies. It is always fun to look back and see what we did. It was a busy creative month :)

  7. This is my first time out to this great link up...your list of nourishing foods is stunning.

  8. I didn't realize coffee grounds were good for controlling aphids. Thanks!

    Your mitts look cozy, your daughter's elephants are adorable. I love all of the bartering and the flag nails are fun!

  9. Thanks Kathryn, enjoyed popping over to your post too :)

  10. Such a lot of goodness happening in your home! I've just popped over from SLE to peek at your slow living month....and there's lots!!
    Love those funky nails.....;o)

  11. Thanks Evi...loved visiting you too!

  12. Wow, I loved reading about your month, Wendy! Old wooden pallets must be everywhere at the moment - what a great idea to use them for a gate. The teddy cards are sooooo cute and your knitting is beautiful!

  13. Thanks Christine, love your whole concept of looking back and recording, thank you!

  14. What a creative month you have had Wendy..they look great...


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