The Simple Things..

Life is complicated.

Life is hard.

Life is fast, and busy, and passes way too fast.

Life is also good, and wonderful, and very rewarding. 

In order to focus on the good, on the positive, I think I need to narrow down the distractions.

I need to simplify my life.

There are many things that come to my mind when I think of ‘simple’.

I think of less clutter. Less stuff. Being able to find what I’m looking for without a big stress. Things in my home having a place.

I think of food. Good food. Real food. Food with ingredients I can actually say. Food that I know where it has come from.

I think of time. Time to potter, time to think. Time to be with my family.

In these days of rush, worry, and horrible convenience foods, this sort of ‘simple’ life sounds like bliss to me!

I have decided to make a few changes. Nothing massive. Nothing super dramatic. Together though, I’m hoping these changes will bring me closer to the type of simplicity I crave right now.

I am de-cluttering. Getting rid of stuff. Bit by bit, day by day, bag by bag. Years of accumulated crap are leaving my house. Some is still good, just not needed, wanted or used any more. This is being sold, or taken to the op-shop. Some is total junk. Why-did-I-ever-keep-this type of junk. This is going straight into the bin. I have empty bags left in strategic spots around the house so whenever I open a drawer or a cupboard, I can quickly get a few things out that shouldn’t be there. That shouldn’t even be in my house!! So far this approach is working for me. I have done 2 trips to the op-shop, sold a few things, and totally filled the bin. It will be time for a tip run soon! I feel so much better opening a cupboard that I have already done. Being able to see what’s in there. For some reason it makes me feel calmer, more grounded. More in control.

I am changing how I look at food. Going away from convenience foods. Going back to basics. Real food. Hopefully food I have grown myself. So I have started a little veggie patch. Put in some herbs. The herbs I am already using in our meals, and it makes me feel really good to know I grew them. I can’t wait till we can harvest some veggies too. I am also hoping to get some chickens. You just can’t beat fresh eggs! They are amazing for composting food scraps down for use in the garden too. I have to wait for the OK from the real estate first, and I don’t know if they will allow it. I really hope they do. In the mean time I have found someone nearby who has chooks, and I am buying fresh eggs from them. With all this yummy, real food, I am trying to cook proper meals. Meals from scratch. Meals that don’t need a tin, a jar or a packet! So far I am having mixed success, but will keep trying and learning as I go.

As for getting more time, I think it’s a matter of managing it better. I am limiting what I agree to do, and focusing on what I feel is important for me now. I drink my afternoon cuppa in the garden, checking on the vegetables, instead of on the computer. I don’t watch as much television, and instead watch my son more. I have asked for and been given a day off work during the week. This is now MY time. Time I can use to shop, or cook, or plan the weeks menu. Time I can use in the garden, tending the plants. Time I can do nothing with if I choose, and just relax. The best sort of time 🙂

I feel as though I have just opened my eyes. Like I have just awoken to the possibilities. Like in some strange way, I am on the way to finding myself. My new self, my changed self. Because I will never again be who I was. That person has been forever changed by grief. I think my outlook on life has changed, and as I start to come to terms with that, I start to come to terms with the future I will have. The future without Mum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

very inspiring

Well, this feels like a very weird/strange/self-promoting to do, but here goes anyway…!!

The quirky, interesting and hugely entertaining Morgan from over at wandering rush has nominated me for the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger’ award!! Jump over and check her out, she has a great sense of humour, and is a very entertaining read. Heaps of great photos to go along with the posts, which I really like.

 

I find it very humbling that anyone wants to even read what I have to say, let alone likes it enough to class it as ‘inspiring’. So here goes, let’s do this thing!!! 😀

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

OK, 7 random facts about me….ummmm…….WOW, THIS IS HARD!!!!

1. I love gardening, and have certificates in both Horticulture and Land Management…yet still seem to kill more plants than your average plant serial killer 😦

2.  I am getting quite health conscious as I get older, and am (slowly) becoming comfortable in my own skin.

3. I come from a long line of strong, independent women who would go to the wall for their families (and have done), and who have survived and flourished in all types of situations. I am slowly coming to the realization that I too am strong.

4. I am a scardey-cat at heart. I don’t like the dark (especially outside dark, that’s SUPER scary) I jump EVERY time somebody says boo….even if I know they are there!!

5. I am a little bit broken inside. I struggle with losing my Mum, and don’t feel like the same person I was when she was here. Her death has changed me in some indefinable way, deep down in the heart of me.

6.  I suck at house work. I want my house to look warm, inviting, comfortable, stylish….but it doesn’t. I doubt it ever will 😦  So I will settle for kind-of-clean.

7.  I drink far too much tea (love a good, strong cuppa) but I can’t stand the taste of coffee. Not even a little bit!

So that is me. Take me or leave me, I am who I am 🙂

 

OK, so now we’ve heard all about me, let’s concentrate on someone else for a while!!

These are 15 blogs that inspire me, for many different reasons. Some help me focus on my health goals, some give me ideas on what to (try to) cook, some give me great ideas for my home. Some help me cope with my loss and grief, and let me know that I’m not alone. Some are just entertaining and real 🙂 I encourage you to go and have a look at each, you never know, one might just hit a chord with you too!

So, in no particular order;

Dinosaurs In The Bathtub

Organized Clutter 

Quirky Cooking

Paleoish Princesses

White House Black Shutters

12 Months of Creativity

Wholeness and Health

The Space Between 

Big Family Little Income

Sweat and Oranges

Practical Paleo

Wholefood Simply

Can’t Clean Must Cook

TrustLoveMomma

Home Is What You Make It

So there you have it, I hope you enjoy some of the great blogs I’ve suggested. You may even discover one that inspires YOU!

What a night :(

Well, I am fairly certain that last night I had the worst sleep in the history of the world…ever. That is saying a lot, considering I have had problems sleeping since a was a little girl. I can honestly say I have never experienced this before though 😦

Everything was normal when I went to bed, normal time, tired, no surprises there. I dropped off OK, but sometime in the dead of night I woke up..and here’s the weird part. I woke up halfway through a crying jag! I must have been dreaming of Mum, as she was definitely what was on my mind when I woke. I woke with tears streaming down my face, nose running, head aching, full-scale crying, and just couldn’t stop. It took ages for me to calm down and go back to sleep. Then a little while later, it happened again. Only this time it was worse 😦  Needless to say, after that there was no way I was falling back to sleep.

I’ve never had this happen before. It’s a horrible feeling. I felt so helpless, and out of control. I didn’t have any emotional resources to calm myself, as my brain was still sleeping, and it felt like I was in shock.

I can only assume that things are playing on my mind, as Mum’s estate is nearing finalization. Things are slowly wrapping up. I have been feeling very settled while awake though, and coping really well. I guess my subconscious has other ideas 😦

I don’t want to go to work today..at all. I wonder if I can get away with declaring a ‘mental health day’?

 

 

Cinnamon Nut Bars. Paleo goodness :)

So after the last weeks fairly poor eating effort, I figured out that what really lets me down are snacks.

Yes, I am a snacker. Just can’t help myself 🙂

I decided the only thing to do was make some healthy, paleo snacks. So with this in mind a cooked up these little bite-sized nut bars. (inspired by recipe at http://www.ourpaleolife.com/2013/09/honey-nut-bars/OMG they are good!! The hard bit is going to be not eating them all, RIGHT NOW!!!

Cinnamon Nut Bars

So you too can share the nutty goodness I thought I’d share the recipe 🙂

Here goes

Cinnamon Nut Bars

2 cups assorted nuts (any nuts will do. I used 1/2 cup each of cashews, walnuts, almonds and pecans)

1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract (not essence)

Pinch of sea salt

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon (I used 1tsp, I really like cinnamon)

Just over 1/2 cup of honey

 

Preheat your oven to 180C

Line a square 20cm baking tin with baking paper. Make sure you leave flaps hanging over on all sides.

Roughly chop the nuts. This can be done by hand or in a processor.

Add all ingredients except for honey in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

Add the honey and mix until ingredients are evenly coated.

Put mixture into your baking tin. Press down firmly to pack it in, making sure to get it even and into all the corners. It helps to oil your hands for this step

Bake in your oven for 20 minutes

Place entire tin on a wire rack to cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch without burning yourself, use the baking paper overhang to firmly press down the bars and compact them.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Lift bars out of tray using paper overhangs, and flip onto another sheet of baking paper. Firm down again.

Allow to cool completely, then cut into bite-size squares.

Individually wrap in baking paper, and store in an airtight container.

Eat within 1 week …or 1 day, I won’t judge!

 

Hope you like them. They are super moreish 🙂

A ‘Not-So-Paleo’ Week

This week I really haven’t done too well at keeping within the ‘Paleo Guidelines’ with my food.

A lot of it is lack of organization. I get hungry, there’s nothing appealing that fits the bill, so I eat something not-so-good.

A lot is the constant stream of chocolate the 18 year old keeps bringing home.

And lets be honest, a lot is a dip in will power!

 

But do you know what, that’s OK. I’m not going to stress about it. Because I have still been making better choices, taking healthier steps. I have just eaten a little choc, not a big heap. I have been eating Chia pudding for breakfast, and if I’m not organized enough to prepare that, then I’ll just grab a carrot.

Tonight the rest of the family had KFC. I’ll be honest, I did too. The difference is I only ate 2 pieces of chicken, and had a heap of leftover salad with it. No chips! This is a big achievement for me.

I know I could be doing better, and I will. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I have been eating WAY more veggie’s than I used to. I snack on fruit, nuts and eggs. I haven’t eaten bread or pasta at all, and rice only once. In over 3 weeks.

I think that is something to be proud of. Something I can build upon.

The key will be getting organized.

So tomorrow I am shopping. Then cooking. I will be baking yummy treats, making seed & nut bars. Cooking meals to put in the freezer. I am also going to prep a heap of veggie’s to make cooking next weeks fresh meals easier. And my big hurdle, I will try to menu plan!!! Menu planning always seems to defeat me. This time I am determined I will win! 😀

Wish me luck everyone, I think I am going to need it!

 

The yummiest breakfast ever! Layers of Chocolate Chia pudding and Strawberry-banana Chia pudding, topped with fresh strawberries and chopped nuts! So decadent it felt wrong, but so good :)

The yummiest breakfast ever! Layers of Chocolate Chia pudding and Strawberry-banana Chia pudding, topped with fresh strawberries and chopped nuts! So decadent it felt wrong, but so good 🙂

 

 

The evolution of “Mum’s Garden”

Mum’s Memory Garden

Mum's Memory Garden

Mum’s Memory Garden

Tomorrow will be 6 months since I lost Mum. It seems like only yesterday, and also like an eternity. Grief and sorrow are very strange things.

Something I have been doing to help me is pottering in the garden. In a particular garden.

One my sons and I are planting for Mum.

It sounds weird I know, but Memory Gardens hold a strong place in our hearts. We helped Mum plant one in her yard after her Mum (my Gran) passed. She kept working on it for years, including things that reminded her of Gran, and also of her two Dad’s.

Mum loved to potter in her garden, and I loved to join her there. I don’t think I ever visited Mum without getting my hands dirty helping in her garden somehow! I have wonderful memories of plant shopping, browsing nurseries, visiting beautiful gardens, and digging in the dirt with her. It was something that brought us both great joy, and my youngest son was always keen to help.

So it seems like the most natural thing in the world to carry this wonderful thought on, and honor Mum.

The yard in our house is very strange. It has 2 distinct halves, one on each side of the house. They are only joined by a tiny walkway along the back of the house itself. The larger side has the patio, and is the entertaining and main yard area.

The other side is smaller. It comes off the laundry, and has the washing line. Nobody ever goes there, and it is ugly and barren. The junk side.

Perfect!  🙂

Time to start planning. There was one fairly large Cottonwood tree in the corner. It was overgrown, and it’s branches touched the ground like a giant shrub. So the first thing we did was prune off all the lower branches to give us a nice ‘tree’ shape. It gave us so much more room, and a beautiful shady canopy!

 

Pretty tree, ugly space

Pretty tree, ugly space

 

It was so bare though. Being on a budget, I decided to ask around to see if anyone had anything we could use to help this space along. We were given enough wooden garden edging to do the entire space. Also a smaller amount of cute plastic fencing that looks like iron. I love it!

We slowly collected some plants. Most were given to us, or grown from cuttings.

The large water feature from Mum’s place (we helped her choose it long ago) was placed in the corner. It gives the space a lovely feel. I had a small table and chairs hanging around (they were used in my wedding years ago) so that gives us somewhere to sit. Very important for relaxing with a cuppa!

You can't garden without a cuppa!!

You can’t garden without a cuppa!!

I moved the bird cage around from the other side of the house. 3 of the budgies were Mum’s. She loved just watching them and listening to their chirping, and so do I.

We also placed some ornaments around the plants. Many belonged to Mum, some we just like. Others just feel like they fit.

The kids made some mosaic stepping stones. We will do some more at some point so we can make a little path with them.

the home made stepping stones

the home made stepping stones

It is a work in progress, and always will be. So many of the things in here hold meaning and memories for us. It is already a lovely quiet spot to sit and have a cuppa, or just to think. No one really comes out here, so I can have space to feel whatever I am feeling, and just potter about.

This little patch of garden makes me smile, and brings back memories of wonderful days spent with my Mum.

This garden makes me happy. That what gardens are meant to do 🙂

My happy place

My happy place