Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Aussie at Last

Yesterday Purple officially became an Australian citizen – we went up to the city for the ceremony, which was kind of funny. Purple got to shake hands with the mayor and receive his certificate.


The first thing Purple said was “Now I can vote him out”. LOL

Since we were all in the city with not much to do, we did some shopping after the ceremony. First we went to an op-shop (charity thrift store) and I scored a bunch of nice green clothes, and Littletree found a telescope!

Not the kind of thing you’d usually expect to find in an op-shop, but there was an old Tasco telescope, still in its box, for $15. She was over the moon!

Her latest saving venture (since the netbook) is to get a telescope. We still haven’t got it properly set up, and there’s a good chance something wont work with it, or it will be too old or crappy, but for now, it’s probably a good starter for her.

Then, just to celebrate Purple becoming an Australian, we bought me a new computer. It’s an Acer TimelineX 4820TG. Which is actually a gift to Purple, since he now no longer needs to sit patiently while I’m tearing my hair out all the time because my old computer wasn’t working. Naturally, a new computer and telescope deserve their own posts – coming soon!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Village Dance

The little village we live in is very old and historic, and there’s still lots of quaint throwbacks to its former glory, like the post office with it’s 1908 sign, and the village dance.

I don’t go out dancing that often, but I do try to get to the village dance party every month (well, yeah, for some people going dancing once a month would  be a lot!)

I got all dressed up and ready to boogie


It’s so nice to see the local youngsters out on the dance floor


This month we grooved to the phat tribal beats of Ganga Giri, drum, bass and digeridoo.

It’s an alcohol-free event, but the local herb shop makes a herbal punch and chai, and there’s always a cake stand with a range of gluten-free organic cakes.

There’s always a few kids running around outside, people hanging about chatting, fire twirling.


Littletree was running about, playing with the other kids; we all had a great time.

It’s so nice to be a part of these old traditional village events ;)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Visiting Faeries

We had friends from New Zealand staying with us last week, which was lovely. My friend, Flower, and her little girl Flowerlet had a great time, exploring the area and playing with the kookaburras on our porch


I actually met Flower about ten years ago; we travelled together in Africa, in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and we lived together on a little eco-village working on establishing a self-sustainable community, building little dwellings from mud and sticks and stones.

It was really great to catch up with her again; she also wears all green and has honey coloured dreadlocks, so we make quite a pair


Flowerlet is very cute, and gets into all kinds of mischief


And Littletree enjoyed having a “little sister” for a week (but I think she’s glad to have her own space back and not have to defend her special things from little fingers LOL )


Thursday, 17 June 2010

Wheelie Fun

This week’s home school group met at the skate park in town for a ‘fun with wheels’ day.


Littletree got out her rollerskates – it was the first time she got a really good go of riding them around in a big space


The kids all had a great time on the jumps


Rollerskates, rollerblades, bikes and scooters


And of course just running around and having a great time

And the best part: having the whole park to ourselves while most children are in school :P


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

I won!

I won a raffle this week! Even better – it was a free raffle, at the organic butchery. When they called me up to tell me I’d gotten the second prize, my reaction was: “but I never win anything”

Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true – I did win a jellybean guess at the school fair when I was about 9 years old. But I think I was the only kid who didn’t just ‘guess’ – I counted the beans visible on the base of the jar, counted the number of beans going up the height of the jar, and multiplied. The irony was that I didn’t like jelly beans!

Anyway, I went in to the butchers – The Southern Cross Organic Butchery in Murwillumbah – to collect my prize. I love the guys there (even before I won the free raffle I thought they were great) – they’re always friendly and happy to cut up beef knucklebones for me to make stock, and since I’ve now healed a bunch of cavities in my teeth from eating stock and following the Weston Price dietary guidelines, I love it even more :)

The butcher handed me a $50 note – I was expecting to get a $50 credit for meat, but he just gave me the money. Of course, I bought meat with it! LOL Yep, it’s not very vegetarian, but I like my teeth better than I liked vegetarianism ;)

So I got a kilo of chuck steak (among other things) and made Beef Bourguignon – it was DELICIOUS!


  1. 1kg cubed beef, marinated all day in 2 cups red wine with a bay leaf, some fresh thyme, parsley and whatever other herbs are fresh in the garden. Drain the beef, put aside the marinade and pat beef dry with paper towel.
  2. Brown the meat in a big frypan (in batches) and add to a big casserole dish (note that the dish should be big enough – mine wasn’t and the casserole bubbled over and burned on the bottom of the oven, filling the house with smoke).
  3. Pour the remaining marinade in with the beef, add 1 cup home made beef stock and a big spoon of flour, mix it up, cover and pop in the oven at 180C for about an hour and a half, stirring every 1/2 hour.
  4. Heat 30g butter and a schluck of olive oil in a heavy pan, cook about half a dozen small onions, peeled and halved for about 10 mins, set aside. Then fry in the pan 200g mushrooms, set aside with onions. Then fry about 250g bacon, in strips until crispy.
  5. Add the onions, mushrooms and bacon to the casserole dish with a cup of water, stir into the meat and back into the oven for another half hour.
  6. Serve over rice or couscous. ENJOY!!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010


One of Littletree’s friends gave her a pair of hand-me-down tap shoes, which Littletree is completely enamoured with.

She doesn’t really know how to tap dance, but she’s been avidly watching YouTube videos and practicing.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Zeke, Ky and the Mountain Stream

I came home from my ‘Midwifery Monday’ (I have all my clients’ prenatal home visits scheduled on Mondays) to find a big envelope in the mail… it was a gift for Littletree: a copy of Zeke, Ky and the Mountain Stream by Gwynneth Beasley.

Gwynneth herself sent us the book, which is really exciting. Littletree was (as always) very excited to get something in the mail, and she loves this book – so far we read it every day, sometimes twice.

Zeke, Ky and the Mountain Stream is about a homeschooling family who learn the power of the mind to shape reality – if you believe in yourself; you can do anything. And it’s set at the same campgrounds we went to with the Liberated Learning Unschooling Camp last year.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Art Workshop

Last week’s home school group met at the regional art gallery for a workshop with local artist and children’s storybook author/illustrator Chrissy Butler. We saw an exhibition of children’s artwork from around the state that is destined to be a permanent collection at a children’s hospital in Sydney.

05 art workshop

Chrissy talked about the artwork, and pointed out a few styles that we were going to try out ourselves. Then we went into a workshop room and set to doing our own drawings.

06 art workshop

The kids had a great time drawing – we started by doing a single line drawing portrait of a partner, without looking at the paper. Then the kids did copies of some art from the gallery

07 art workshop

I even did a few drawings of my own – we all had a great time :)

08 art workshop

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Of Rainbows and Sunsets

Littletree and I went for a little walk in the village in the afternoon, picking flowers and observing interesting bugs and generally hanging out.

Just before dark, we headed back up the hill home, to be greeted by the most spectacular double rainbow ever

14 rainbow

It just got brighter, filling the whole sky

15 rainbow

Looking behind us was an amazing sunset behind the mountain

20 sunset 3 fix

Soon half of our neighbours were out on the street marvelling at the view

19 sunset 2 fix

which got better and better

18 sunset 1 fix

In the end there was such a crowd of friends gathered in the street, all the kids running around playing, watching the sunset, and pretending to be various wild animals

22 kids

And naturally, as it got dark, someone pulled out a guitar, someone else started playing piano in our neighbour’s house, someone grabbed a flute, someone lit a fire, and we had a spontaneous jam and danced the evening away. :)

I love living in this village!

Monday, 7 June 2010

When life gives you bananas - Make Banana Muffins!

The guy at the farm stall up the road had a huge box of "going off" bananas (most of which were perfectly fine and not even the tiniest bit squishy, just a few black spots on the skin) and said I should take as many as I like (that farm stall is always giving boxes of free veg to people with kids).
So when life throws bananas at you... make banana muffins!

*note, this recipe requires the help of a 2.5 year old*

1. Get 2.5 year old to help peel the squishiest bananas into a bowl.
2. Spend a few minutes wiping schmeared banana out of your hair and from down behind the oven. Oh yeah, that reminds me - turn on the oven to heat up.
3. Add a few scoops of whole flour to the bananas - say 3 cups-ish. Just barely save a big handful of banana from going into the flour jar. sweep spilled flour.
4. Add a few teaspoons of baking powder to the flour
5. Pour in the last of the coconut oil; seems like about 1/2 cup, maybe a bit less.
6. Get the 2.5 year old to stir the bowl while you pour in the milk. Forget to measure the milk.
7. Oops, almost forgot; add some sugar. about 2/3 cup of rapadura will do fine.
8. Just barely get the rapadura away before it hits the floor
9. Add a spoonful each of vanilla essence and cinnamon powder
10. realise you left the carton of eggs on top of the oven while it was heating up, and now they're half cooked. decide to save them by hardboiling the lot, and substitute an egg for 1 Tablespoon of vinegar into the muffin mix.
11. meanwhile, realise 2.5 year old has muffin mix all through her hair12. grease a muffin tray and try to spoon blobs of the muffin mix in while the 2.5 year old "helps"
13. Roll around on the floor giggling with 2.5 year old covered in muffin goo and squishy bananas

14. Finally manage to get the tray into the oven for as long as it takes to clean up the kitchen bench, and the 2.5 year old. (roughly 23.815 minutes)
15. Take hot muffins out of the oven, slather with butter, and enjoy!



Sunday, 6 June 2010

Super Science

Littletree has been getting up to all sorts of scientific endeavours lately, with little experiments all over the house.

She has several jars around the kitchen with various scraps saved from the compost soaking, just to see what happens. So far, the carrot top and the beetroot cutting are sprouting and they look lovely – the little leaves on the beetroot are gorgeous


The onion has taken root and might go in the ground soon


And we put a whole egg into a jar of vinegar to see what will happen. First it fizzed and was covered in bubbles, then the outer layer of the brown shell dissolved, and finally the whole shell dissolved, leaving the soft inner lining still intact.


It was very cool. This morning, I guess the egg had been sitting for too long, and it had swollen enough that we couldn’t get it out of the jar anymore, and –POP! it burst. Next we might try dissolving a bone in vinegar…

Friday, 4 June 2010

Parenting – More Patience than the Buddha

A new Natural Parenting article of mine was published this week on Essence of Life, it’s about the art of being patient as a parent, and finding the spiritual journey within parenting.

You can read it HERE

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Friends’ Wedding

Some friends of ours got married last weekend, in true hippie style – it was a three-day camping event, complete with tipis and bonfires and the whole works. It was really like a rainbow gathering with style.

19 focus nicole wedding

We could only make it for the main ceremony and feast; it was great to see all the work that went in to setting it all up, and all our friends dressed for the occasion.

20 focus nicole wedding

Even the dog had a matching tux on

29 focus nicole wedding

The ceremony began with all the guests walking down a flower-petal strewn path and being smudged with purifying smoke

17 focus nicole wedding

The kids watched eagerly, waiting for the bride to appear

21 focus nicole wedding

She finally came out, looking like a goddess

23 focus nicole wedding

The ceremony was beautiful, with a celebrant, and several people making prayers and blessings, some songs played, and speeches, all the while people were blowing bubbles and throwing feathers and flower petals.

It was loads of fun, and great to see so many of our friends :)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Telstra’s Escort Service

We had a problem with our phone bill this month – Telstra had charged us $17 extra, so we called them up to complain.

Anyone who lives in Australia and has ever called Telstra will have encountered their calling system; one of those voice-recognition thingies, where instead of giving you options to “Dial 1 for faults, Dial 2 for billing, etc” it has a computer generated voice that asks you to tell it what you’re calling about, which it then tries to interpret.

It’s hugely frustrating. I can never manage to get this computer to understand me, and this time, after talking to it for a few minutes, I lost my patience and screamed into the phone (knowing that I’m talking to a computer who wont take offence) “I JUST WANT TO SPEAK TO A @#$%ING PERSON %$&#$!!!!”

To my shock, this actually worked, and we were immediately connected!

A woman at the customer service centre took the call, Purple explained the problem to her, and she replied that she needed to put us through to another consultant to handle the problem.

The phone clicked, and rang again, and was answered not by another Telstra representative (I assume) but by a perky woman’s voice on an answering machine, saying:

“Thank you for calling Sydney’s Hottest Escort Service, we are unable to take your call right now, so please leave your name and number and we’ll get right back to you”

Thank you Telstra!