Thursday, October 29, 2009

We've been making bath bombs!

As part of our little Spring Halloween festival, Aria and I have been making some bath bombs to give to the family. I thought everyone could do with a bit of pampering - how soothing to take in the relaxing aromas of spring at the end of a long day.

Aria had heaps of fun squirting the bicarb/citric acid mix with water and seeing it all fizz up so energetically before her eyes! Here's how we made them

Start with 1 1/2 cups of bicarb soda and 1/2 cup of citric acid. Mix really well and squash out all the lumps.

Next you can add some drops of your favourite essential oils - let your nose judge how much. (We used Jasmine and a dash of lemongrass) Then grab some Coco butter for a bit of milky moisturising...

With a potato peeler, peel away at a small chunk and add that to half of the bicarb/acid mix. Mix well.

The next part is a bit tricky - spray a few squirts of water onto the mix while stiring with the other hand. Be careful not to spray too much, otherwise the mix will start to fizz up and grow! (This is what happened to our first lot!) Fun to watch, but a bath bomb it does not make! You just need enough moisture so that the mix sticks together - a bit like slightly damp sand.

Aria and I had been picking up all the spring rose petals around the place that had fallen - so I thought we'd add some of these to help create an extra luxurious batheing experience (hehe). We put a few in the bottom of this mold...

On top of the petals - firmly squash down a spoonful at a time of your mix until each mold is full.

Carefuly turn the whole thing upside down and you should have some lovely, hard fragrant bath bombs!

Later on I also rolled some beeswax candles to include in everyone's spring harvest gift baskets. I loved doing these! The smell and texture was divine.

I love learning how to do new things!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Roald Dahl's 'Television'

I hope you’ll enjoy Roald Dahl’s “Television” - described as only he could!

The most important thing we’ve learned, So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let Them near your television set –
Or better still, just don’t install The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink –
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE! HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES! ‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know? We’ll say it very loud and slow:
They’d READ and READ, AND READ and READ, and then proceed To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks! One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be? Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland, And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump, And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you That,
in about a week or two Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy That fills their hearts.
They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Perfectionism, the internal ‘itty bitty shitty committee’ and cracked pots

Well, here I am again at the middle of my week with head in hands and a neck throbbing with glands that aren’t happy. All the while, I’ve had this internal monologue going on. My own ‘itty bitty shitty committee’ has unequivocally decided that despite being ill with ‘the (glandular) fever’ – I’m just not good enough. When I’m running on automatic pilot, I tend to tell myself that I’m doing the wrong thing, asking the wrong questions, wording things the wrong way, that I appear stupid, am hopeless, bla bla bla – you get the picture! O - the energy it takes to be positive baffles me sometimes! 

The reason I’m writing all of this here, is that in my short experience as a Mumma, I’ve come to learn that so many of us feel this way far too often! Questioning, judging and scrutinising our every single move, while all the while doing our absolute best and tying ourselves in knots trying to do better. It’s exhausting just thinking about it - no wonder the light can’t get in! I’m referring here to a great quote I found recently –

'Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in.' - Leonard Cohen

I know I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was feeling the need to spend some time going inward and reflecting on the perfect, whole and complete nature of all things – well I haven’t really, truly, been able to devote as much time to that as I’d like (did you guess!), and I guess this is the result. Everything in me is screaming “balance”!! It’s so easy to focus all of my energy on bub, then ignore my inner voice and have things go a little pear shaped. In turn, out comes that little ‘committee’ I mentioned before and boy are they ready to party!

A friend sent me this little bit of footage and it really touched me – completely spoke to where I’m at right now. I love Chinese proverbs! So, this is for all you Mummas out there with the same unattainable definition of ‘perfection’ that I seem to be grappling with at the moment. Take a deep, deep breath, feel that divine light inside that connects us all, and enjoy...

With love.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's finished!

Well, last week I didn't really know how to use a sewing machine, and this week we have a new blanket under which to snuggle. I can hardly believe it worked out! I'm truly loving learning all these new skills at the moment - things I thought I could never do - things I just dismissed as "not my thing". There's nothing quite like home made and I'm enjoying every single minute of it. 

Snuggle buddies - having a feed al fresco. She loves grabbing my mouth and playing with my hair.

We've been collecting rose petals to dry for our Christmas Bath fizz.

Halloween preparations are under way!

I’ve recently become very excited about the possibility of creating some celebratory traditions for my little family. I have been reading about the importance of festivals in family life and of acknowledging the in-and-out-breath rhythms of the seasons. I think celbration and ritual is such a valubale and important part of family life which encourages unity, warmth and joy. The first family festival that I am looking at is Halloween.

It has been so inspiring looking through what others have done and deciding what to do here in Australia where Halloween happens in springitime. Here are a couple of places from which I’ve drawn some inspiration:, There is also heaps of food for thought in 'Heaven on Earth' by Sharifa Oppenheimer.

So far what I’ve figured out is that we will have my family over to share in the celebrations with us. An idea that I read about somewhere recently was to have each family member bring a dish made by a relative who has lived before us. This sounded to me like a fantastic way of remembering passed ancestors (I know this relates more to all souls day, but I thought to begin with, we could incorporate it as part of our Halloween festival). I’m really excited to see what the others bring and to hear the history behind each dish. It should be quite multicultural too. In my family we have, Greek, Malaysian, Irish, Scottish and English Heritage.
We’ll have a magical theme focused on the elementals (faeries etc), growth, new life and warm, light, vibrant colours. I am very keen to steer away from the darker ghosts/spirits and ‘evil’ theme which is so popular in the more commercial Halloween festivities.

I am going to include a lot of homemade beeswax candles as part of the decorating. I thought this would tie in really well with spring and the bees that go with it. The light from the candles will also signify the increasing light as we head towards the summer months. I’m also in the process of making a table cloth in a spring green colour with a faint butterfly print and a table runner in fresh spring colours. Aria and I will also have a great time collecting flowers/leaves/seeds/twigs from the nature surrounding our house to use as decoration for the table. She loves collecting things for our table each night (there are so many rose petals and lavender buds around at the moment!), so I’m sure this is something she’ll really enjoy.
We’re starting to include a few songs about springtime, sun, spring animals and light into our daily activities. Here is an example of a song that I have found ties in really well (with a couple of slight alterations)-

I’m really looking forward to our first lantern walk and I think Aria will love it. What a magical form of celebration for a little child! We are starting to make our paper mache lanterns , which is turning out to be really messy, but a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

I have recently finished our spring blanket, (photos to come), so if it’s a cold or windy night, Aria and I will wrap ourselves up in the bright lively colours as we walk along with the family. I have also started telling stories about the spring Faeries and all the gifts that they are leaving for us at the moment. Story time takes place each afternoon after Aria’s sleep, usually outside and under the blanket.

This is just the beginning of what I hope will become a much treasured family tradition, and as Aria gets older (and more children arrive in the family), we’ll add more bit and pieces to the whole thing. I like the idea of a Halloween hunt – a search for what the faeries have left us and creating more involved costumes with a spring faery/goblin/elementals type theme. (This year we’ll just add some magical faerie touches to our clothes – but not a ‘full’ costume. I have had a very long meeting with glandular fever all winter, so my energy levels are very low and I have to prioritise. I love dressing up – so this will be something I’ll look forward to for next year.)

Many loving and festive wishes to you all!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Going within

With all the activity of daily life and the constant stream of thoughts going on inside my head, sometimes I forget that everything truly is perfect. On a soul level, everything is in it's right place for that moment in time. It is often so easy for me to get caught up in overthinking, perfectionism, grief and dissapointment. This is why I've decided to place extra emphasis this week on taking the time to go within. My spirit is calling for some peace and a renewed love centred perspective. Here's to a beautiful week ahead.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First little whiff of Christmastime

We've all been noticing that the lavender plants surrounding our house have prolificaly sprouted over the past few months. I thought this would be a great opportunity to make some lavender pouches to include in our Christmas hampers this year. Aria loved picking them all with me and putting them in our basket. She let out a scrumptious giggle with each new addition to our pile. What a lovely, scented way to spend a glorious blue-skied day! Now that we've picked it all comes the trickier task of teaching myself how to sew some little cotton pouches. So many things to learn...

Spring Blanket

Recently Aria and I have been having a singing, bouncing and story telling time every afternoon when she wakes up. As we have been doing all of this outdoors in the cool spring breeze, I thought it would be a good idea to make a spring blanket as a friend had suggested. The plan is to snuggle underneath the beautiful lively colours of spring during our special cosy time together. I've chosen some fabrics and have ordered some more which should arrive early next week. Here is what I have so far.

First Painting

This is Aria's very first painting. The clear blue spring sky has come out to greet us on a number of occassions recently, so I thought it a good opportunity to let loose with the blue watercolour paint I had stashed away. I forgot to wet the paper before hand, but we had fun all the same. This is such a great activity to do outside in the warmer weather. Aria got right in to water play as well after discovering how tricky it is to balance jars of water and paint. We were both saturated and sore from laughter by the end of the morning.