The Humble One Acre Dream

A Change of Pace

Superfood packed ‘Powerballs’!

As they say in Gold Lotto…. “One ball could change it all” Well let me tell you that these balls did just that for me! These are super duper delicious and packed with a number of superfoods including:

Hemp Seeds – A great source of protein and is known to have immune boosting and anti-fatigue benefits.

Chia Seeds – A good sources of protein, fibre and Omega-3 fatty acids and is known to have positive health effects such as boosting energy, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and lowering cholesterol.

Medjool Dates – Also a great source of fibre and they contain high levels of potassium; a nutrient proven to reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They also pack a punch with vitamin B6 and other nutrients. Its these little beauties that give these balls their natural sweetness so they can be refined sugar free.

Almond Meal – Almonds are an excellent source of good fats, manganese and vitamin E.

Walnuts – A nearly perfect package of protein, healthy fats, fibre, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals.

Raw Cocoa – Who doesn’t love chocolate, right?! Raw cocoa is known to lower insulin resistance, boost your mood (yes please!), reduces your blood pressure and risk of stroke or heart disease and slows down the ageing process.

So what’s not to love about these little beauties!!!! And guess what…. I’m even going to share the recipe of this power packed snack with you.

1 1/2 cups Almond meal
3/4 cups Walnuts
12 Medjool dates
2 Tbs Chia Seeds
1/4 cup Hemp Seeds (Could use more, I only had this much left)
3 Tbs Raw Cocoa
Shredded or Desicated Coconut (for rolling – optional)
Water (to adjust consistency if required)

1.) Cut the dates in half and take the pit/seed out of the middle (This is probably a step that you don’t want to miss – haha!)

2.) Place the dates in a food processor with a tablespoon of water and whiz until its a chunky paste.

3.) Add the Almond meal, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and raw cocoa and also blend. Add a little water if needed to make it a really thick paste. If you need to add water only add a tiny bit at a time (and I’m talking a teaspoon) so that the mixture doesn’t become too runny.

Here is what mine looked like:
Powerball consistency

4.) Use a teaspoon to take small amounts of the mixture and roll it in your hands to form a small ball. This is where you can roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty! Roll in coconut if desired (I made some both ways and they taste just as amazing either way!)

5.) Place finished balls in an air tight container and place in fridge for a few hours before enjoying so they are harden up a little (if you can wait that long, as its hard to resist… trust me 🙂 )

I am actually thinking of making these as a healthier alternative to rum balls at Christmas time. Heck, you could probably even splash out and add a little rum instead of water as a festive version of these. Hmmm….. maybe I might just have to try and make those too.

Tell me what you think of these delicious powerballs and if you make any alterations that are super yummy let me know too. Enjoy! 🙂


How spending money on a stranger gave me an energy boost!

“Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see” ~ Mark Twain

When was the last time that we stopped and thought about someone else? I don’t just mean our immediate family and friends…. I mean truly thought about how we can make someone else’s day, someone that we’ve never even met through the kindness of our actions?

Its so easy to get sucked into the realm of busyness of everyday life and become narrow focused and insular that sometimes we don’t give a second thought to those around us. How familiar is the sight of people waiting to catch a bus or train at the station and you look around and just about everyone has ear phones in their ears, gaze averted downwards and walk on to the bus or train like a pack of zombies in a trance. No eye contact and certainly no interaction with each other, not even a simple smile or “hello”. Sometimes it just makes me sit back and take a deep breathe and think ‘How on earth did we get here?’.

So here’s my story and what I did today:
It was a usual Friday morning, the end of the week slump, tired from a busy week and wrangling children and pulled in for a coffee at my local coffee drive through on my way home after doing the morning drop offs. It was the usual for me… tall mocha with one shot of coffee, no sugar and no whipped cream. I pulled up to the window and the young girl looked like she was having a rough day, she had a broken finger and greeted me with a flat and almost robotic “how are you today?”. On a whim I explained that I would like to pay for my coffee and also pay for the order of the car behind me. At first she just stared at me, probably in disbelief but then as the penny drop her face lit up…. “Oh wow, that’s really nice” she said to me. It was like at this moment, I had given her permission to connect. She came alive, she smiled and started chatting comically to me about her broken finger. As I drove forward to collect my coffee I told her to tell the next customer “Happy Friday, Enjoy the coffee”. I reflected on my way home and thought “Whoa, what just happened?” Did I know who the person was?…. No! Did I know how much their coffee order was going to be?…. Nope! Did I care that their order was almost 3 times the cost of mine?…. Not really! Did I hang around for acknowledgement or a thank you from the recipient?…. Not a chance! AND WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED TO THE YOUNG GIRL TO MAKE HER SO CHATTY ALL OF A SUDDEN!!!

During this one small act, it hit me like a steam train….. an act of kindness can reach so much further than I originally thought. It’s easy to think that kindness or altruistic acts only benefit the receiver but this certainly has been proven to not be the case. Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist calls the feeling experience in doing kind acts to others ‘elation’ and describes it as a “warm feeling in the chest, a sensation of expansion in [the] heart, an increased desire to help, and increased sense of connection with others.” It is, in his words, “a manifestation of humanity’s ‘higher’ or ‘better’ nature.” I will never know the impact that I made on the person in the car behind me today, maybe they will in turn do a kind thing for someone else, maybe they won’t but even if I’ve just planted a seed to have them think,….. or the other people they will be sharing the coffee’s with think,….. or the people at work or home that they told the story about “this crazy thing happened to me this morning” think that it was a nice enough thing to do to inspire them to perhaps give it a go one day and do something for a complete stranger than it was worth the money and more!

I experienced first hand how this act not only benefited the recipient with free coffee, but I got the hugest high (sometimes known as the ‘helpers high’) and I saw the same ‘elation’ in the young girl taking the orders who was witness to the act. Imagine the ripple effect…. The young barista, myself and the other car driver go and share with others what happened, and then those people could share with other people and before you know it many others are thinking about kindness and the impact on others. How fantastic would the world be if so many more people would stop and do kind things for others. There would be waves, not ripples of happiness everywhere!!!! Studies have shown that generosity is contagious and that ‘goodness’ creates more…. yep you guessed it…. ‘goodness’

Steve Taylor from Psychology Today describes that “altruism transcends the separateness we often experience as human beings. It connects us to one another – and in fact, pure altruism is only possible because, at the deepest level, all human beings are part of the same network of consciousness. The person who performs the altruistic act experiences this, and perhaps the recipient of the act of kindness too. And when we witness the act, we become part of the network too”.

Maybe kindness creates so much happiness in others as it restores faith in humanity, in that sometimes amidst all the chaos, conflict and hard stuff that happens each day, there are glimpses of things that make us stop and think “Wow that was really nice!”. Scientific studies have also shown that random acts of kindness also have strong links with overall good health, including stress reduction, inner peace and happiness. Lauren Miller states that “When you are grateful and practicing random acts of kindness in your life, you end up feeling safe and connected to that which is good and true in this world and the result is inner calm, clarity of thinking and a heart full of love.”

According to these studies, some of the physiological benefits of this experience include:
– Increased immune system
– Improved Cognitive Performance
– Increase in energy
– Lower heart rate
– Balanced cortisol levels which result in less internal stress
– More likely to live a longer and more satisfied life
– Laughter and inner joy resulting in decreased stress hormones; lower blood pressure; diminished pain

10 small things you can do to start the ripples kindness:
1.) Think of those in your past who you have not seen or heard from for a long time but who have made a difference to your life in some way. Send them a letter/card outlining what they did that makes you hold them in a special place in your heart.
2.) Bake your favourite treat for your work colleagues, not on a planned ‘bring a plate’ morning tea day but a ‘just because you can’ day.
3.) Leave an anonymous note for someone telling them what you appreciate about them. It may be their smile, it may be their sense of humour. Tell them and make their day!
4.) If you happen to walk by a car with an expired parking ticket, renew their ticket and place it under the windscreen wiper blade with a kind message E.g “Have a nice day”.
5.) Cook a meal or do a load of laundry for a friend who just had a baby or who is going through a difficult time. This small gesture would mean the world to them.
6.) Leave your magazine you purchased (and finished reading) behind at the coffee shop or on an airplane with a nice message.
7.) When heading to the shops, ask your neighbour if there is anything that you can get for them while you are there.
8.) Donate or Volunteer! Donate some old items or volunteer your skills to help out someone / an organisation in need.
9.) I have always wanted to put sticky notes with positive slogans on the mirrors in public restrooms for unsuspecting patrons.
10.) Leave some coins in the vending machine in the halls of your local hospital. People who use them are either stressed because someone that they care about is ill or the person has worked too many long hard hours trying to save lives and could use a pick me up themselves.

What random act of kindness would you do? Or Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness yourself? What was it and what did you notice? I’d love to hear all of your good stories!

In the words of Aesop: “No act of Kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”
Happy Friday Everyone!

A Day with the Tribe – Exploring the Paleo Way

I had an awesome opportunity this past weekend to attend a talk on ‘The Paleo Way’ by Pete Evans, Nora Gedgaudus, Luke Hine and Wes Carr. It completely turned what I thought I knew about food on its head and has provided me with lots of food for thought for the future. Here is some of what I learnt (my chicken scratch notes converted into something readable and hopefully understandable.) I’m not a paleo or diet expert and the information that I learnt was simply a taster and has left me hungry to learn more and do my own research. I recommend that you also do this if you are interested:

caveman diet3

The food we consume can be seen as medicine that strengthens our bodies or it can be poison that will weaken our body and what we eat is a ‘choice’ that we make. Where it isn’t a choice is for children who rely on their parents to provide the nourishment of meals for them. But, did you know that we will consume something like 90.000 meals in our lifetime based on the average life expectancy? My gosh! That’s certainly alot of meals to accumulate toxins in our bodies! It was the ‘no dairy’ aspect of the paleo diet given my daughter’s allergies that drew me in further to take a closer look. Did you know that we are the ONLY mammal that after we finish nourishing our young with our own milk that we turn them to another mammal’s milk? I’ve never thought about it like that before.

The Paleo diet is based on the premise that physiologically we have the same make up as our ancestors in the Paleolithic period. It’s not a ‘fad’, ‘new’ or ‘extreme’ diet and if it is then it’s the oldest diet around as its been around for over 3,000,000 years. It essentially means avoid eating the things that we were never designed to eat as a species in the first place. Its about honoring the nutrients that are required by our body.

But do we really know what our ancestors ate that far back? Well I can tell you it certainly wasn’t highly processed foods, vegetable oils or refined sugars or starch laden foods. Samples of bones and research have shown that we were a higher level carnivore than was previously thought and more carnivorous than animals such as foxes. Meat and dare I say it…. animal fat to our physiology meant survival! Lots of tribes from around the globe still value animal fat as a precious commodity but why is that the Western world we aim to cut it out of our diet?

The brain is a fatty organ and the changes in diet in our Western world and the consumption of less fat is starving our brains of ‘brain growing nutrients’. It is said that during the last 10,000 years the human brain has decreased in size by 10%. I don’t know about you but sometimes I wish I had an extra 10% of brain tissue 🙂
Our brains consumes approximately 20 – 30% of our total daily energy, so why wouldn’t we want to fuel it properly.

Most fat in the Western diet comes from highly processed soya bean or vegetable oils. That’s not fat… they call that “frankenfat”. All large mammals were designed to obtain a majority of their caloric intake from fat and we were born to rely on fats as our primary source of fuel. Not just any fat / frankenfats but animal fats and natural oils. Ketones in animal fat is our ‘superfood’ and provides more energy to our body than glucose or fatty acids. (Not what we are used to being told, right?!) A ketogenic state actually results in a 39% increase in blood flow to the brain. That’s HUGE!!! The myth that glucose is required for energy is actually false and ketones from animal fats are a better source of energy for us. Using this energy source eliminates blood sugar levels from the mood equation. I for one would certainly be happy with that as I’m known to get cranky when my blood sugar levels drop and my husband does nothing more than make me something to eat rather than get sucked into an argument.

The presence of high fat in a high carbohydrate diet is VERY different to a high fat diet in the absence of carbohydrates. When eating sugar and starch (carbohydrates) all the fat burning in your body comes to a stand still until the sugar and carbohydrates have been burnt off. This can actually take up to a couple of days so your body would be perpetually burning carbohydrates, not fat. So its not actually saturated fat that we should be worried about, its carbs and sugar! Carbohydrate based diets actually makes us hungrier and they are cheaper to produce.

It was stated that in the 1800’s the average person consumed 1 1/4 teaspoons of sugar a day. Today this has risen to a whopping 40-45 teaspoons of sugar a day for the average person! This was an OMG! moment for me as I’m not a real lover of sweet foods but know how much sugar they put in processed foods, even savoury ones so you are consuming it without realizing. Also, at one time there was no such thing as cancer, auto-immune disorders or obesity and now over 30% of Australians suffer (knowingly) from one or more chronic diseases (that are preventable through diet).

So if fat is good for the brain, is it good for the heart? We are told that its not and this again surprised me! Research has reportedly shown that there is NO saturated fat found in aortic plaques. The build up that occurs in arteries is comprised of gunky stuff found in processed vegetable fats. So bottom line is: Good fat is where its at!

So how is it exactly that we got from there to here with the so called “healthy food pyramid” and “healthy food guidelines” telling us to consume the biggest portion of our diet as carbohydrates. Well apparently its simple… politics and economics! High carb foods are the cheapest to make while experts have reportedly quietly recognized that the Paleo diet is fantastic and if we can then we should but then they turn around to promote the “5 food groups” due to funding. There is also reportedly a gap between modern medicine and our real genetic makeup because it sells more medicines. Some researchers have reportedly struggled to get their research published because it supports the Paleo way of living and goes against the status quo which ultimately goes against what’s being funded. I don’t know about you, but I feel just a little bit cheated to know that information is being kept from us to benefit large multinational companies who have no interest in health and are only interested in the money that they put in their back pocket. At the presentation it was summed up nicely by saying:

“People are fed by the food industry that pays no attention to health and are treated by the health industry that pays no attention to food”

'The New 5 Food Groups'

‘The New 5 Food Groups’

The food industry has been profiting and cashing in on the “low fat” mantra for centuries. New “food like” substances are being created everyday and our body and immune systems take time to catch up and adapt to be able to break down these new substances within our bodies. This is believed to where autoimmune diseases have come from. There has reportedly been a 400% increase in celiac disease in the last 50 years and the consumption of gluten has also been linked to a large number of physical and mental health conditions. Gluten creates inflammation across all parts of they body and it opens barriers in the gut to allow whatever is in the digestive system to enter the blood stream where these barriers would normally be quite strict. Not only is the paleo diet good physically for our brains and bodies, but the link between physical health and mental health is so undeniably strong! Having worked in the mental health field for the last 10 years this was not ground breaking news to me but there were also claims that changing to the paleo diet could help eliminate depression, anxiety, psychotic and other mental health problems. While I wholeheartedly support the healthy body, healthy mind philosophy and that eating healthier and feeling healthier would in turn improve your mental health to a certain degree it felt like claims were being made that the paleo diet was the be all and end all of all your problems. My jury is still our on this but I would love to be proven wrong!

In addition to the physiological impacts the change in diet has had, agriculture as its practiced today has also had massive environmental impacts. Soya bean farming is the number one cause of deforestation in the Amazon today. Planet wide desertification is occurring and 2/3 of our land mass is becoming not suitable for agriculture. Allan Savory did a fascinating TED Talk in 2013 on “How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change”
Watch Allan’s talk here His talk outlines how to manage the land with grazing animals.

We live in a time that is extremely different to our ancestors. We know that a food may not be good for us but we still go for it. Why do we do this? This reflects a dialogue about who we think we are and is impacted by a whole plethora of things including our emotions and our eating habits from childhood. We need to better understand where we have come from so that we can understand who we are. We are always told “everything in moderation” but is this really something to live by? How is it measured? and do we really only want good health in “moderation”? In addition to this when others are indulging in ‘crappy’ food they tell us “Go on, Live a little” as if this food is a treat and valuable and really what it means to live.

They tell us that the journey to good health and exploring the Paleo way will not be easy, that we should prepare ourselves for the resistance that we will face from others, the weird looks and eye rolls and even the comments that we are “crazy”. What are their fears about you changing? People fear change and it can often bring up their own weaknesses.

We are being told that we are being “extreme” when its the large money hungry companies that are going to the “extreme” to create more and more “food-like products” Are we living in a more hazardous world than our ancestors?

Recommendations provided on where to start:
– Get tested for food sensitivities – Everyone is different in regards to this and food sensitivities will impact of blood sugar levels and insulin levels even in low gluten/sugar diets. This was said to be a possible reason for resistance weight loss in some people.
– Listen to your own body and seek advice on what foods are beneficial for your body
– Eat grass fed meat where possible as its the most similar to what our ancestors ate. 80% of cattle in Australia is grain fed and grain fed beef dramatically deplets the omega 3’s and carotene in the meat which is most beneficial to us.
– Eat as much natural fat as you need
– Consuming less than 50-60mg of carbohydrates per day (Its impossible to eat absolutely 0mg)
– Have moderate protein – aim for 25g or less per meal.
– Go organic if you can as it means that its free from chemicals and other contaminates however beware of companies using words like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ to improve their chances of higher sales. When purchasing food ask yourself:
1) Who has grown it?
2) Why have they grown it this way?
3) Am I prepared to spend my money to support them?
– Spice it up – use herbs and spices to enhance your meals, they don’t have to be boring meat and vege.
– Achieve balance between diet and movement but also find harmony in other areas of your life like relationships and work.


10 Strange Side Effects of Moving to the Country

For a long time people have had an ongoing romantic fascination with country living. Maybe you’re one of those people who sits in traffic and daydreams of someday trading the city rush hour for open greener pastures. While others possibly couldn’t think of anything worse and would become annoyed at the sound of a crowing rooster in the morning. I guess for these people the side effects of country living would not be as favourable. The side effects I experienced however are some of what I dreamed of while others were completely unexpected.

1.) Drink more tea
Before moving out of town I would kick start my day like most people…. with coffee. However I have discovered that since moving I much prefer to have a cup of tea, be it black tea, chai tea, flavoured tea; anything goes. My husband can vouch for this side effect as it has also happened to him. I often catch myself in the afternoons saying “it must be time for a cup of tea and smoko” which makes me feel old as I remember my parents and relatives saying this when I was growing up.

I embarked on a pampering retreat to Bali a few years ago, it was here that I learnt the art of ‘mindful tea drinking’ with a lovely group of ladies whom I traveled with. With the experience came a lovely quote that we were told and its one that I will never forget:
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.
This is exactly now I try and drink my tea each and every day. Since then my husband had a beautiful wooden tea chest made with the some beautiful words and the picture of a lotus flower carved into it as a special gift for me and oh boy does it see some use now 🙂

There is something about the country that makes me want to connect over a “cuppa” and stop and smell the roses more often. In fact, I feel like one now so please excuse me for a minute while I make myself a cup of tea (white with 2 sugars!). Why don’t you grab one too 🙂

2.) The longing to stay at home more
I’ve always liked the idea of staying at home but the truth is I couldn’t sit still and would leave the house at every chance I got and it would feel like the world was ending when we had one car and my husband would take it for the day because it would feel like I was trapped or stranded. However since living in the country I feel at peace at home. Those that know me know that I’ve always said “Home is my sanctuary” and its my place to escape the challenges of the world. I get quite excited (not bored) by the prospect of having an ENTIRE day at home without having to go anywhere or do anything in particular… just me and the washing. Weird I know!

3.) More Organized
Getting in the car and running down to the shops was never something that ever bothered me and would do it at the drop of a hat to mix things up and get out of the house much to my husbands dislike haha. However so that I can have more chunks of peaceful time at home something had to give. I have started accumulating errands together before heading into town. Now when I say “into town” it sounds like I live so far out in the bush….. I’m not, I’m actually only 20 minutes from a regional city. But running to and from home like I used to when I lived in town just didn’t make sense anymore so it would mean I’d have to plan my trips with multiple errands and plot out the smoothest route across the city.

I’ve also learnt to organize myself better for trips and laying out everything I need to take with me as a 40-50 minute round trip because a lunch box wasn’t packed into a Kindergarten school bag is never a good way to start the day. Doing the grocery shopping also requires an extra level of planning and organizing to ensure that we had what we needed as a ‘quick’ trip to the supermarket took at least an hour. And just wait until I post about my family command centre when I finally get to making it to bring organization to the whole family (I think that my husband is secretly scared haha!)

4.) A general slowing down
I must say….. I like this side effect….. alot!! It’s not to say that I don’t still have busy days but I find that there is ‘space’ to think, to breathe and just well, be. I’m more choosy about my commitments and spend my time more wisely. There is less of a sense of urgency and more of feeling life at a steady pace. Ok, so I’m not as oblivious to the clock as those on some tropical islands who say they run on “island time” however the sense of plodding along calmly is really invigorating and certainly not something that I”m used to!

5.) Wanting to be more social
Its a bit of a paradox really, moving out of town away from people but feeling like being more social. Its not that I don’t normally have contact with people and am craving contact because I do (psst… however I am known to be a slightly anxious and at times socially awkward person… haha). The desire to make new and different friends and expanding my friendship circle has just been stronger and I guess I’m feeling less socially anxious.

I have been very fortunate to move to an acreage with a sense of community, something I never experienced in town where you live much closer together and with alot more people around you…. funny isn’t it! The true meaning of “love thy neighbour” has certainly developed since moving to the country and I enjoy sharing fresh produce, homemade treats and the odd barbecued sausage and glass of wine with my neighbours. Being more social with my neighbours has also inspired me to explore other interests to meet new people that I’ve been too scared to try before like check out the local area’s circuit class or look at joining a book club.

6.) Getting excited when the plants grow a few inches
Now maybe you are thinking “Gee this woman really needs to get a life. Growing plants… really?”. But there is something inherently special and beautiful in nurturing and watching something grow and bloom and know that the effort you put in will reward you later with wonderful shade, fresh fruit and vegetables or beautiful flowers. I’ve never been much of a green thumb so this one really surprised me. My husband always joked that if I was going to look after our children like I look after our plants that we were never having children as I would forget to water them and they would die. Thankfully my parenting skills were better than my gardening skills back then as I never forgot to feed them haha! This excitement also reminds me of the need to celebrate successes no matter how small and to remain in the present moment instead of looking too far ahead and “wishing they were bigger now” which would be easy to do since our patch is still very bare after the house was built and the acre has no trees or bushes on it apart from the few that were already there.

7.) Wanting to cook and bake more
I’m afraid I wasn’t much of a cook either before we moved to the country and if I did it was all about following a recipe exactly! and I mean EXACTLY!… My husband would often roll his eyes at me as I would leave for the shops because we didn’t have the exact amount of a particular ingredient. So my husband did most, if not all of the cooking and my friends were constantly jealous about finding a man who could cook well. I now find myself being inspired to cook and try different recipes and to experiment with different ingredients. Having a daughter with food allergies initially frightened me into not knowing what to cook and I resorted again to buying allergy friendly recipe books and flicked through them thinking “how do they come up with this stuff?” “How do they know what to put together to make an amazing cake without eggs or dairy?”. I used to admire them and want to be like them but now I realise…. I AM like them and I AM doing it every day! While sometimes I think that my lovely new large kitchen is part of the reason for wanting to cook more as its just such a lovely place to be, I also find it a fantastic place for learning (what ingredients go together, science behind cooking/baking) and creativity. I now know that so much fun could be had in the kitchen if I just let go of the reins a bit and play.

8.) Desire for more simple living / more Eco-friendly
Anyone who knew me growing up would probably say that I always wanted modern, new whiz bangs things. Maybe its getting more wisdom as I get older or maybe its moving to the country to live more simply that possessions are just that…things, objects, ‘stuff’. I would notice in our old house that more ‘things’ meant more clutter which to me gave me more of a sense of chaos. The culling of possessions doesn’t make me want to throw everything out and resort to living in survival mode with just the bare essentials however it has made me become more choosy about what possessions I want in my life and in my space. If I don’t absolutely love it or it doesn’t have a practical use then generally its days are numbered. The idea of “up-cycling” to recycle old things and have fun creating pieces that I love has entered my sphere. Before I would have considered them to be pieces of junk and just thrown them out. The words rustic, shabby chic, recycled industrial were just not even words in my vocabulary. What’s old can be truly new again.

The thought at attempting to make my own cleaning products for the home is also something that has also popped up saying ‘pick me’, ‘pick me’. Our new life with a septic system means we need to be careful about chemicals we use around the home and what goes down our sinks and drains. This forced mind shift was not something I really wanted to deal with just yet as it felt too hard and since having no other option meant reducing the chemicals or face the consequences of having someone come out and troll through poop to clean out the system kind of wasn’t all that appealing. Talk about a crappy job! (no pun intended haha!).

My husband often jokes about how ‘hippy’ I’ve become since we’ve moved and even thinks my new pair of colourful loose fitting paisley pants are the beginning of the end in my hippy wardrobe haha. He often stands back and just looks at me with a look that says “who the hell are you” when I get on my soapbox and start sprouting about how we should recycle, and not waste water and investigating ways to be more energy efficient and complain that big companies should focus less on making money and more on reducing pollution to help maintain a future for our children and future generations. I’ve always known that this stuff is good for our environment but for some reason it all just makes sense now.

9.) The time it takes to calm down is significantly reduced
When life does get me frazzled… yep it happens to me too, I used to come home and brood and be irritable for hours, possibly days and want to shut myself off. The longer drive on the open road to now get home helps to get all my brooding out and I make a pact with myself that once I turn onto our road that I am to leave it all behind. This technique works for most days. On the days when I’m feeling even more frazzled and feeling like I can’t shake it, 10-15 minutes on the back deck taking in the beautiful mountain views is enough to make me forget the chaos and remember what’s really important. If you have somewhere that you feel is truly your sanctuary, then this is the place to go when the world gets too much and has the greatest impact on soothing and containing those wild emotions.

10.) Noticing beauty at every turn.
The act of mindfulness is about being present in the moment and noticing. It is the very act of ‘noticing’ that would pass me by each day while living a busy, chaotic life in the city. So much beauty exists our there if we only just stop and notice it. Taking the time to watch, to listen, to hear, to feel, taste and smell; using all of our senses to interact with the world around us has opened up a new world of beauty that I was oblivious to before. This of course has flow on effects and impacts my ability to calm down quicker, and slowing down and feeling less stressed. Of course I have days where the world whips on by too quickly and I have to remind myself to notice, but when I do, its magnificent!

I know that moving and living in the country will have different effects on everyone and this is just my list. What amazed me about this list is the complete mind shift and lifestyle change that came with our move to the country. What strange side effects did moving to the country have on you? Have you stepped back to recognize the differences between city and country living? Let me know, I’d love to hear about them!

“Easy Silence”

Now I am by no means a country music fan however this song by the Dixie Chicks has become one of my favourite songs at the moment. I feel it speaks to me exactly where I am at the moment and how I feel about moving out of town and being with my family.

To listen to the song, click here: Dixie Chicks – Easy Silence

The world at times can feel like such a depressing place; the pain, the suffering, senseless war, disadvantaged children and youth, crime, and acts of terrorism and violence. Whatever it may be, its the reason that I often don’t watch the evening news because all that is broadcasted is someone else’s pain and suffering. I figure that if its really important and I need to know, someone will tell me or I will find out through other means such as social media. Somedays I even question why I wanted to have children to bring them into such a world and hope that I can bring and show them enough heart felt experiences that would out weigh the negative.

Looking around each day its not hard to find anger in people: angry venting via graffiti; people getting angry at each other over needing to wait too long, queue jumping, or stolen car parks; gossiping and spreading unkind thoughts about other people; accusing others before having all the facts; angry at lost love; finding someone else to take the blame; hate for others and/or ourselves; or road rage. I often daydream about how different the world would be if we were to spread a little kindness instead of anger and hate.

Sometimes when the world becomes too much, (which it does from time to time, let be honest when alot of these things build up) its nice to have that little piece of sanctuary to escape from it all, get some perspective, containment and re-organize yourself before being sent back out into the world’s cruel clutches again. This is what my humble acreage and family create for me. It wraps around me like a nice big warm hug…. ahhhhh…. and it feels safe and secure.

What do you think of this song? What is your little piece of sanctuary that keeps you grounded and keeps the world at bay for you?

When the calls and conversations
Accidents and accusations
Messages and misperceptions
Paralyze my mind

Buses, cars, and airplanes leaving
Burning fumes of gasoline
And everyone is running
And I come to find a refuge in the

Easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

Monkeys on the barricades
Are warning us to back away
They form commissions trying to find
The next one they can crucify

And anger plays on every station
Answers only make more questions
I need something to believe in
Breathe in sanctuary in the


Children lose their youth too soon
Watching war made us immune
And I’ve got all the world to lose
But I just want to hold on to the


The easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

Light & Fresh Chicken Salad

I found this recipe on Pintrest (as you do!) and I was saving it up for a lovely warm day to have as a lovely fresh lunchtime treat. However I got impatient and really wanted to try this even though today is a cold, misty wet day. (At the moment its hard to believe that this place actually gets blistering hot in the summer).

I find mayonnaise quite sweet and I found other recipes that have greek yoghurt in it so I have come up with a greek yoghurt substitute using tofu and lemon juice and combined it with mayonnaise so its not so sweet.

– 2 skinless chicken breasts
– 3 cups of Chicken Stock
– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
– 1/2 cup of quartered seedless red grapes
– 3 spring onions finely sliced
– 1/3 cup tofu
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 1/3 cup of dairy-free, egg-free mayonnaise
– Salt & Pepper

1.) Bring chicken stock to the boil and add soy sauce. Poach the chicken breasts for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly.
2.) In a bowl, add chopped celery
3.) Chop red grapes and add to the bowl.
4.) Slice spring onions finely and add to the bowl.
5.) Using 2 forks shred the chicken breasts finely and add to the bowl.
6.) In a separate bowl place the tofu and lemon juice and using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Add the tofu mixture to the bowl.
7.) Add the dairy-free, egg-free mayonnaise to the bowl and season with salt and pepper.
8.) Mix until well combined.


I have one word for this little delight….. A-MAZE-ING!!!! Other additions you could try may include slithered almonds, or chopped parsley or your favourite herbs or….. crunchy fried noodles. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Sustainability Center Open Day – Lots to think about

We headed on down to the local Sustainability Center Open Day today and apart from swapping one of our old sprinklers for a new low pressure water efficient sprinkler and picking up some free native trees to plant in the garden there was also heaps to think about in terms of other ways we could be more sustainable and environmentally friendly at home.

When we built our new home we opted for a white roof, a decision that we didn’t think to much at the time other than that “it looks good” but turns out that it was a great decision. Dark roofs create a hotter house, meaning higher air conditioning bills, and higher carbon dioxide emissions as a result. It was amazing touch the different coloured roofing sample sheets to get an idea of how hot your roof actually gets and the white roofing sheets where remarkably cooler. I thought that iron was iron and it all gets hot but it turns out you really do need to feel it to believe it.

One of the things that caught my husband’s eye was the aquaponics set up. He wanted to do this in our last house but we neither had the space or the resources at the time. Aquaponics is the combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics. Individually they both have some down sides; hydroponics requires expensive nutrients to feed the plants, and also requires periodic flushing of the system whereas re-circulating aquaculture needs to have excess nutrients removed from the system, generally on a daily basis. When we combine the two, these negative aspects are turned into positives and one helps the other so its a win-win situation. So finally we have the space so my husband will get to make and tinker with an aquaponics system to help grown our fruit and vegetables. Will post more when this little project gets off the ground.


Another interesting thing we discovered was that there is grass and then there is grass. The grass variety Zoysia is reportedly very much suited to the warmer climates of Australia, is very weed resistant, slow growing and easy to maintain. The Sustainability Centre conducted a local study on the amount of lawn clippings different varieties of grass produced. The Zoysia produced just 3kg of lawn clippings in a 2 week period compared to Buffalo 41kg and Couch 29kg. This means less mowing, less weeding, less water, drought tolerant and has excellent recovery from drought! A winner in my books.


Now that’s a huge difference! So why haven’t I heard of this before and why isn’t Zoysia one of the most popular lawns available to Australians? Thought is that because of its slow growing nature it will be harder for companies to produce it in sod form in larger quantities and that faster growing varieties like buffalo and couch get more attention because companies can sell and supply more of it thereby making more money as well as making it more readily available for more instant lawns. So…. because we still have alot of dirt surrounding our newly finished house we are thinking of giving Zoysia a go. I will keep you posted as to what we think as we get some lawn and its well established. So tell me about your grass… what type is it, what do you/don’t you like about? What handy hints do you have for keeping it looking great all year round?

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Jam Drop Biscuits

The Humble Jam Drop Biscuit; an oldie but a goodie. These are my quick and easy, go to biscuits if I have visitors or a morning tea at short notice. They are certainly a favourite in our household.

INGREDIENTS:Vanilla Bean Paste
1/2 cup caster sugar
125g dairy-free butter, softened (I use Nuttelex)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon of egg replacer powder with 2 tablespoons of water (I use Orgran brand)
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
Plain flour, to dust
1/3 cup of Jam of your choice

1.) Preheat oven to 180°C and line 2 oven/baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
2.) Use an electric beater to beat/cream the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste until pale and creamy. (I prefer vanilla bean paste to vanilla essence because I feel its stronger and has a more authentic flavour but you can use vanilla essence, if you do add 1 teaspoon as its weaker than vanilla bean paste)
3.) Add the egg replacer mix and beat until combined.
4.) Sift in flour and stir until combined. The mixture shouldn’t be runny but more like a thick paste like this:
5.) Lightly flour your hands and roll about a teaspoon of mixture into balls. Place on the prepared trays, about 5cm apart.
6.) Use your finger to make an indentation in the centre of each ball. IMG_20140523_144857

7.) Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the centre of each biscuit. (I used strawberry jam but you could experiment with different flavoured jams).

8.) These little beauties only need to bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes, (do one tray at a time or swap the trays halfway through cooking) or until the biscuits are cooked through and light golden. Remove biscuits from the oven. Set aside on trays for 30 minutes to cool completely. (If using your oven on fan forced roughly half the cooking time – approximately 8 minutes)

Its hard waiting the short time for these treats to finish baking!

This size make about 36. You could roll out bigger size dough balls to make bigger biscuits. Remember to leave space between them as they do spread. We made a double batch today and we are giving some away to our lovely neighbours as a special treat.
IMG_20140523_185719 IMG_20140523_185909

Super Easy Banana and Hemp Seed Loaf

What do you think of when I say “hemp”? I think of marijuana and hippies! Hemp seeds are a super food that is high is protein and have a long list of health benefits. You can check these out here:

You can also purchase as hemp milk or hemp oil. I purchased these hemp seeds from our local health food shop to create this yummy banana loaf.

Hemp Seeds

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 2/3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1/4 cup apple puree/sauce
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons of egg replacer powder mixed with 4 tablespoons of water (I use Orgran brand)
1/4 of organic hemp seeds

Preheat oven to 180°C Fan Forced. Grease a 10.5 x 21cm (base) loaf pan.
Combine mashed bananas, apple puree, sugar and egg replacer mixture in a large bowl and mix well.
Stir in flour and mix gently to combine.
Add the hemp seeds until combined
Spoon into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and is golden on top.

Enjoy slices with butter or your favourite spread!

The Colourful Hall of Frame

“Art is the colors and textures of your imagination”

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination”
~ Henry David Thoreau

There is something magical about watching children create, they have no boundaries on their imagination. Miss R loves to draw, paint, cut, stitch and do anything arty. She shows me each page of a mass of squiggles and lines with such pride and pleasure. Our home is full of pages and pages and PAGES of creations that she has done at home, at Kindergarten and at grandma’s house. I couldn’t bring myself to throw out so many beautiful colourful pictures, pictures that she put her heart and soul into.

While my husband was away for work, we had some mummy and daughter time and went through all of her pictures and together we chose pictures that we would hand on ‘Colourful Hall of Fame’ down the hallway between the 2 girls bedrooms. Miss R personally held each framed picture up to look at it and gave it her seal of approval before I was allowed to hang it on the wall: “Yep mumma this one looks good”.

What I’m also excited about with this art feature is that we can change the artwork within the frames as Miss R gets older and can add artwork from Miss F when she is old enough to start creating.


What you need:
– NYTTJA Frames from IKEA in a range of different sizes (We used the colourful ones)
– Small nail in picture hooks
– A range of beautiful artwork
– A spare patch of wall

1.) Position the artwork within the frames and securing the backing.
2.) Start with one picture and secure the picture hook to the wall. I didn’t measure between frames as I wanted a really eclectic playful look (and it possibly would have taken me a week to do) but you could make them more ordered if you wanted to.
3.) Take the next picture and position it on the wall near the first frame. Determine where the picture hook needs to be and secure it to the wall.
4.) Keep going until all the pictures have been hung.

« Older posts