Monday, August 16, 2010


Well this year in our Garden we are doing Tomatoes Galore! We have over twenty different variety's to try. So we are preparing our soil, and have started some of our seeds in the green houses. Must admit that I am most excited to see the heaps of them have popped there heads out of the soil to say Hello!

The children Love watching seedlings grow, as do I! It makes eating the end product so much more rewarding. Putting that food on the table and knowing that I am giving my family the best that I can. Also knowing how packed with flavour and goodness, makes me smile inside and out.

The blossoms are starting on the trees to show that winter is nearly over, and there is work to be done. Our garden walls still need finishing and bed's need organising, where are we going go to grow all this food?, and how? is the questions that we are working out now. Our aim is to grow as much of our own food as we can. So the Raspberry canes are in and starting to sprout, Strawberry are settling in to their new home near the front gate. Blueberries, pineapple Guava, Mulberry tree, Apple trees, Pear, Peach, Lemon, Lime, if only we have apricots....are still a few years away from reaping the fruits of those harvests. So looking forward to it!

How are things working out at your place?

Have you started your seeds or still waiting for a few more weeks?

Spring is nearly here and I can't wait!

Happy Growing!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What we are ordering from Digger's This Winter.

This year is hopefully going to a a big/Good year in our garden so here is a list of some of things that we are hoping to grow in our Garden. All available to use in Tasmania from the Diggers Club.

Pumpkin Heirloom Mix.
Pumpkin Anna Swartz
Butter Nut Pumpkin

Pennsylvania Dutch Crook neck

Fat Bastard Asparagus


3 colour Bean Mix
-Blue Lake
- Rattle Snake
-Purple King

Cooks Dried Bean Mix
-Red Kidney
- Cherokee Wax
- Borlotti
- Red Yin Yang
- French Flagolot

Romanesco Broccoli
Waltham Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts Ruby

Carrot Heirloom mix
-Red, white,Purple, and yellow Carrots.

-Honey and Cream, F1
White Corn F1

-Japanese Climbing

Tuscan Kale

Lettuce and Leaf Vegies
- Australian Yellow Leaf
- Mesclum mix
- Crispmint
- Great Lakes
- Edive Natacha

Rock melons
- Ananas
- French Charentais

Water Melon
- Black mountain
- Sweet Siberia
- Golden Midget

Green Feast Peas

Five Colour Mix Beets.
Bloomsdale Spinach
Red Malabar Spinach

Black Krim Tomato
Black Russian Tomato
Riesentraube Tomato

Zucchini Three colour Mix
Zucchini Tromboncino

So this is just the Beginning. We still need to decide on All the Tomato Varieties, Capsicum varieties, Eggplant varieties, and a few other bits and pieces for this years garden that we can't get from Diggers. Which is where Lost seeds comes into it. Can't wait to get started.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What are Treats?

When I was a child if you asked me this question the answer would have been fairly simple, Lollies, Cakes, Ice cream,Take Away, Chocolate...pretty much everything that is sweet and unhealthy. You got treats for being Good, behaving yourself or because someone loved you.

So growing up with this mind set, when I did well on an exam, or Achieved something I would "Treat" myself. When things were not going so great in life and feeling down, I would "Treat" myself, as a pick me up.

Our Ideas of Treats is fashioned in many ways by many people. Advertising, "You deserve....", Parents, "If you behave ...."

Now being a Parent myself my Idea of a "Treat" has changed a lot. When you really think about things and look at them for what they are, is it really rewarding and nice to give someone you love a food that there bodies are going to have to recover from... Very few treat foods that one can buy from the supermarket, are made with Health in mind. Most are full of processed sugars, poisons, chemicals, and things that you wouldn't dream of eating if you really knew what it was.

SO that being said does that mean that I can't treat me family...Of course you can. But wouldn't the best treats be ones that give your family health, that makes them actually feel good after eating it? My mind set has started to change from that of giving food that will cause damage, to one of "Packing in as much nutrition in as I can". For example, Apricot ice cream made with real food, not chemicals. Blueberry Kefir or Yoghurt Cake. Blueberries are full of antioxidants. Yes while the cooking process kills some nutrients, it makes others available. Just a few of the many suggestions out there. Plus food that is made with real food, like butter, and Rapadura or Raw sugar, and don't forget Fruit! A real favourite on our house in fruit salad and yoghurt.

Treat food doesn't have to be boring and when they are made at home and you have put the effort into making them you feel this pleasure and joy of giving something that you know will benefit you family. Plus the added bonus is that you will probably eat less of it than the something you picked up at the store, because it takes long to prepare and your family can appreciate your efforts. :)

So here's my recipe for the Day.

Blueberry Kefir Cake
125g Butter
1 Cup Caster Sugar
2 Cups plain flour - you can use white or wholemeal, we like the wholemeal version Better.
3 Tsp. Baking powder
3/4 Cup of Kefir or yoghurt
1 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen.

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Grease a round spring form Cake tin.
2. Using an electric mixer, or whisk, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating to combine.
4. Add half the flour mix (flour and baking powder, and half the kefir, stir to combine.
5. Add the remainder of flour mix and kefir and stir until combined. Be careful not to over work the batter, just until combined.
6. Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with blueberries. Press blueberries in slightly.
7. bake for 50 mins,or until a skewer comes out clean. If the top of the cake seems to be getting too dark, cover with foil.
8. Let cool and sprinkle with Icing Sugar.

Eat and Enjoy! The better the Ingredients the better more nutrients.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Warm Winter Meal

So winter is the time for Hearty, warm casserole meals, so here is one that has lasted us for 4 meals.

Beef and Beans Casserole
3 cans of Tomatoes, or 15 frozen tomatoes.
5 tb Worcestershire sauce, we use organic
One piece of Beef casserole steak, diced
1 can or equivalent of Kidney Beans, Or any beans that you have on hand
3 cloves garlic, crushed or diced
1 onion diced
Mixed vegies, I had carrots, corn, green beans, peas, I also a large Swede, which I diced, you could also add potatoes, or any other vegies that you have available.
Herbs, I used dried Basil, Oregano, parsley, Marjoram.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

A few years ago, I realised that by buying a boxes of tomatoes, was a lot cheaper than buy per kg, and then I also had the thought of freezing them in lots of 5 that would be equal that same 1 Can of crushed, or whole tomatoes, with the added bonus of no preservatives. As we go on with our journey of grow our own, I hope to actually use all our own organic tomatoes for this. Another extra bonus is that they taste great, better than any canned tomato that I have tasted. Plus the saving is heaps. 10kg of Tomatoes cost between $5-10, so on average 1 packet of tomatoes cost around 20cents. You can't buy canned tomatoes that cheap.

So in saying that they first step in the recipe for me was to put my three packs of frozen tomatoes into the slow cooker to defrost.

After they have melted down a little, you can easily pull the skins off if you wish.

The next is very easy, you simple add all of your ingredients to the slow cooker,(add enough water to just cover the ingredients), except the salt and pepper, and let it cook for 5 or more hours. Before serving taste and add your salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with mashed Potato, Rice, Pasta, or simply crusty Bread.

I served mine with Fettuccine Pasta, and Fresh baked bread.

Giving Left Overs New Life
For us there was plenty left over and I added more than we would need so that it could become another meal. So the children and I had some for Lunch the next day, and still plenty left for another meal.

SO I then added another batch of tomatoes, and bit more water, Lentils, chick peas, and more beans, which then turned this casserole into another meal, of mostly beans, which the family enjoyed with rice and a sprinkle of cheese. Could also have served it as buritos, in wraps with cheese, or taco mix, or again mashed potatoes. Really Anything that your family likes.

And again there was still enough for Lunch for the children and myself.

Something I am realising is that when you respect food, and not waste the ingredient that you have one meal can actually do many meals. So what was intended for one meals actually did 4 meals.

Enjoy your winter meals!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Children Zest for Life!

I have been thinking recently and over the years, how amazing children are! Having five, we have several different stages of development in our house. One thing that I love about watching children grow, is their amazing love for life. Most days I hear at least one child say,"watch me!", "See what I can do now!". They are excited about learning, excited by pushing there bodies to find out what they can do with them. Always trying out new things.

So what happens then when we become adults?

For many of us the thought of running a marathon sounds like a lot of work. Doing the dishes is work, hanging out washing is work. But for children, they think it is fun! They love playing Mummy and Daddy, pretending to do the things that we see as work.

For me as a home educating Mum, I wait to try my best to keep this natural love of learning alive. Help my children continue in that passion of discovery of how things work, why things are so, how far their bodies can go, how fast they can run....etc the list is endless, and hopefully in the process, I will also get somewhat back to that place of simple joy, and exploration.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The Food Stable of the Table

Two more months of winter to go... I'm itching to getting the garden ready for this years harvest! Last week we received our Diggers club seed Catalogue. Which got me thinking about what we want to grow in the coming season. Last year, we were a bit slow getting started and some of the seeds that we purchased arrived mid spring and didn't seed until summer, buy which time it was a little late to get a big harvest for our tomatoes and Caps, and eggplants, they really need the whole spring and summer for produce a good harvest. So having learnt my lesson from last year, I want to be on the ball this year.

So while flicking through the Catalogue I can across potatoes. For us it's a staple at our family table, not every night but at least once a week, and can be used in so many ways, mashed (of course), Baked, soups, Quiches, Casserole and many, many, more ways. SO that got me thinking, how many potatoes do we need for the whole year!

Well after some simple calculations we worked out that we will probably go through about 120kg of Potatoes, that's 10kg month. So the next questions was, can we grow that much?, and how many seed potatoes do we for that?

The Diggers Club, some years ago did a trail to see on average how many potatoes are harvested for 8 Tubers (seed potatoes) of 8 different varieties.
There Findings:
King Edward 11.86kg
Dutch Cream 14.14kg
Desiree 10.8kg
Spunta 13.2kg
Kipfler 5.81kg
Bintje 8.93kg
Pink Eye 11.6kg
Nicola 5.9kg

So each different variety has it's different benefits, some of good for salads, others for baking, and others more for mashing, and some a mix of all. Also they each have a slightly different nutrients available for the eater.

so on average each variety listed would give us the 10kg for a month that we want from 8 seeds. Do we have that much space? Well yes! but I don't really want to take up the whole garden bed growing potatoes.

However potatoes are the perfect veg's to grow in containers! So here's what I have figured. I can Grow 12 different varieties or more if we like in Large containers, which the children can paint and place the pots around the garden as decorations. Making our garden interesting to look at and at the same time, growing what we need, and not taking up the garden space.

So what varieties are we going to grow? Well while I got the idea from Diggers, being in Tasmania, with all the quarantine laws, can't actually buy seed potatoes from them. But The Lost Seed company can sell to us,

So Have really enjoyed looking through all the different variety's that I can choose from. Plus I really like the unusual, and have this sense of adventure about trying new things, so we are planning to try all 19 different varieties that they have to offer. For me I see it as an investment, because we get the chance to see what grows well for us, and what we enjoy eating, plus, if we collect our own seed potatoes from them we don't need to buy them again, in the years to come.

Why Bother?
You might say "Why bother?", "That seems like a lot of effort for Potatoes, that don't cost me that much anyway?"

Very True potatoes can be brought, just about anywhere very Cheaply. However Commercially grown Potatoes are drenched in chemicals. While they are growing, and then again when they are harvested. Potatoes like onions and Garlic, after a while will sprout ready to grow and reproduce itself, to stop this happening and getting as much longevity out of there product they are sprayed with Growth retardant. Now those of us with children, babies, including anyone we love, don't want to be feeding them chemicals that retard there growth. Yes some of that comes off when you peel the potato, but just think how long has the potato been sitting with it on it's skin? and just how long the has it been sitting in storage before it has gotten to you? You don't know because it's nature sights of showing it's old have been "Retarded".

So for me I See growing me own, the best that "I" can provide for my family. Now that maybe not be something that you can do for your family, so what then. Well the next best thing is to buy from someone you know, Or a small producer that sell at farmers markets, where you can ask the questions about what they have use to grow them and the like.

Growing Your Own. How Too!

Potatoes are really very easy to grow. Last year we used the no dig method of laying newspaper down, over the weeds and Grass, watering it down, and then a thin layer of straw, then simply placing our seed potatoes on top, then covering them with compost/soil mix. Then as they grow, "Hill" them up, which simple means adding more soil around the plant, the more you do the more potatoes you can grow. Water regularly and harvest when the flowers have died.

So this year we are growing in Containers. Several ways you can go, with the container. So far the cheapest that we can find to buy are at Bunnings, 13.00 for each pot, same pots I'm using for my fruit trees. Other wise you can use pretty much any container, just make sure that it has enough drainage. Potatoes are not fussy about soil types but really like good drainage.

So once you have your pot, and your seed Potatoes (you want to buy good quality seeds to start with), You ready to begin. Simply put some dirt/compost in the bottom of your container, only about a finger deep, then place you seed potatoes on top, cover with more soil, water and wait for them to grow. Once the sprouts start coming up add more soil, you need to leave some of the top leaves above the soil. As they grow keep adding until you fill the whole container with soil. Then Continue to water regularly, and enjoy the flowers! (they show that the plants are working on growing big potatoes) Once the flowers have died down you are ready for a treasure hunt! This is the fun part, our children really love getting in the dirt and seeing what they can find and discovering what you have grown! Treasure Hunt!

Some special Notes: While potatoes are not fussy about there soil, they will grow bigger, if you use good quality compost in your soil mix. Also when growing in pots it can be good idea to add a few worms to your pot, to help with aeration of the soil. Crop rotation is important with potatoes, you shouldn't grow them in the same soil for three years.

So on a positive note I will leave you with a recipe that we enjoy!
Jacket Potatoes!

Table of Prayer!

"The family that Prays together, Stays together"

We have always wanted to have a close family, and have tried a few things in the past, but have let things go, mainly because the children where a bit too little to participate.

My how children surprise you!

The other night we where all sitting around the dinner table, when the children were being really loud and not settling, out of the blue I had the idea to get them to pray. So I asked them all to think of someone that they would like to pray for. We all (include My husband and I) took turns praying for our friends and family members. It was great! Our children always have enjoyed praying, we pray for the before they sleep, and now they are a bit bigger they like to pray at bed time for people as well. But this was the first time we had done it all as a family at the dinner table.

Praise God for my Children
...and there persistent spirit!

The next night we sat down to eat, totally forgetting about the impromptu prayer meeting the night before, to have dinner. Then Sophie ran to get the children's bible which we read to them most nights at the table, after there daily reading, they then asked if we could pray?, I was totally shocked at how excited they where to do this again. So we did! Then the next night Daddy was not feeling so well, so each of the children Prayed for Him to feel better, and then another need arose so we prayed.

Now we Pray together most nights! How amazing...they are so open to God, and have this simple faith. There is no "if" God exists for them, they just know he does! And they are eager to learn more about Him, who created them for a purpose!

Hallelujah, Glory be to God!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grow your own!

So spring last year, we became increasingly aware of how additives and pesticides have an impact on our bodies. So how do we prevent this? Well the answer is to buy certified organic, (unless you know the grower then just organic is fine) and making as much of our own food as possible that include baked good, bread, canned food.

So for us being on a low income we can't afford to buy only organic food, so the warrior in me said "right we can't buy it, but I have dirt, I have hands, and the ability to learn!", "I can grow my own!" So that's our goal.

Last year was the first time we had a real vegy garden, we had dabbled a few times in the past, but this year we where making a real effort to see what we can do. Like any new and old gardener we had some successes and some failures. We had great Tomatoes, I rarely brought tomatoes from the store last year, and the ones I did, where not great, so gave up on that idea. Which was better for our health anyway. Carrots on the other hand where over taken with weeds and we ended up loosing most of them. One of the things I love about gardening is that everything is a learning experience, if something doesn't work this year, it teaches you about what to try next year.

The other things that is really great is the ability to put food in front of my family to eat and know that I am giving them the best that I can. It also really make we what to honour the work and effort that was put into growing that food, so when it comes to the kitchen I don't want to waste it. Everything get used or it goes into the compost to make more soil and nutritional compost for the garden, ready for next year.

So my goal is a long range goal, I'm not silly enough to think that I can do it all in the first year. I aim to grow as much of our family food supply as we can, so each year adding more and more. SO in saying that, we live in a suburban rental property, Our land lord is letting us have a vegy patch which is about all up 8x8 metres maybe more here and there. But that garden bed is not the only thing we are using to grow food, I'm trying to use up every available space. Last year we grew Zucchini plants in the flower beds, worked well and you don't have to have many plants to get a good crop. This year, I am aiming at seeing how many strawberry plants we need for our family of 7 so far, to have enough strawberries to eat, jam and freeze, or can. So I'm use strawberry plants as edible ground covers, putting the under trees, and around other plants.

Container gardening is a big thing for me. Because we rent we don't know how long we will be at this house. So we want to be able to take at least some of our crop with us when we leave. Hence container Gardening. Last year I grew 4 different variety's in containers on my balcony, as well as cut and come again lettuces variety's and spinach, raspberry plants in old draws from a fridge, and plenty of herbs, chocolate mint, sage, chives, rosemary, thyme, etc. This year we are adding more to our container garden including fruit trees, I have recently purchased two dwarf apple trees, and a dwarf cherry tree, a dwarf lime, and our lemon tree, which all can be grown happily in pots.

We don't have money but we do have time. That's my moto at the moment, I don't feel comfortable for example paying $100.00 for a already fruiting lemon tree, but I do feel fine about buying a small lemon tree for 15.00 and waiting 2 years for it to grow. I can be patient, until the tree grows I am happy get lemons from those that have a tree and and happy to share.

Also I realise that we will never be able to have everything, we can't grow our own meat, (yet, I have my think cap on about that one) but we can't grow wheat, or enough to feed us anyway, currently we don't have a goat to milk, or chickens for eggs, but we will get there and we have to live within the confines of our rental. But what I am finding is that the more of our fruit and vegy that we can grow, save us money that we can then spend of good quality flour, and grass fed meat, and free range eggs. It's one step at a time.

Go Organic!

Monday, June 28, 2010

providing Health for my family.

Over the Last 6 years, I have become increasingly aware of the way our medicating society has causes more problems than it has really solved. General main stream culture has taught us when we are sick or ill, to go to the doctor and He/She will find the problem, give us a drug, or tell us what to do to get better. The Doctor has the authority and has spent years are University learning medicine, so he knows far more about my body than me. So we just go along with what we are told, and don't really spend a lot of time researching for ourselves of seeking advice from other health care professionals, like the chemist, the Chiropractor, the Nutritional Therapist.

So for me the journey of discovering some of the truths about health, started 6 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first Child. During that pregnancy I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. At the time as well the Doctor that I had told me that I would probably need to inject myself daily with Insulin, if my blood sugar levels where not controlled. For me this was devastating news at the time. I was extremely ill with Morning sickness, that didn't last for the morning but for the whole day and the whole pregnancy. So was depressed to start with, then to get this news, it was like my body was failing me, and my unborn child.

After attending the Diabetes education class and seeing the Dietician, I had to being testing my blood 4 times a day. so after two weeks of doing everything that the medical professionals told me, my sugars didn't stay under the magic number 7.0 and was dreading the day that I would have to go back to the doctor and report that I had failed to control my blood sugar with diet and exercise. Both of which were not easy when vomiting a lot! (hadn't yet learnt to line my hand bag with a plastic shopping bag).

Now having the personally that I do, I was first defeated, but then went into battle mode. Right this is a war and diabetes your not winning! I thought the best battle plan would then be to start researching,get to know the enemy, really looking into the disease, what causes it, how does the body produce insulin and so on, so began the journey of understand how my body works. The more I learnt about how the body works, or doesn't work in regards to diabetes, the more I learnt that there are some natural ways to help support your body deal with the problem, and start to heal itself. None of which was taught to me at the Diabetes class that I HAD to attend. In class I learnt that food was the enemy, if it tasted good it was a bigger enemy. Where what I was learning (on my own) was that food is your friend (if used right) and it taste good too.

Thus began my journey of not trusting what the medical profession was telling me, I'm not saying I am against Doctors, If we had a broken bone or where in an emergency situation we would go to the doctor. However we are ultimately responsible for our own health, not the doctor, and they are called medical Practises for a reason, they are practising on us, Yes they do know a lot, but no they don't know everything. And we should not be afraid to get a second opinion, as well as look at different ways of treating the same problem, and make sure it is the problem that is being treated not just the symptom.

I also want to say that I don't believe that Doctors intend to get the wrong information, or only prescribe drugs,(however some do only prescribe drugs) no I think that most people who go into these professions do so wanting to help people, and that's what they believe they are doing. And Yes they are helping some people. But they are not the be all in health care. Even doctors will say that prevention is better than cure.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I wanted to add to my previous blog about family Size. Often when I talk about it or it is discussed by someone, there are some people that feel like those that choose this method are judging those that don't. Will I guess for some people they are... But for me that's not it! For me I believe that it is a decision that every husband and wife needs to make together. What is God asking them to do... I don't want people to feel judge or condemned for what we do in our lives, we each have to do what we believe to be right. For me that mean doing what is right in the Lord's eyes as well as our own. If your decision is to have two children and stop. Then stand in that decision. Take from my blog what is useful to you and leave what is not. I am not a completed work, by that I mean, I am like you, and far from perfect, we all have our good and bad, and hopefully each day is a step forward more good less bad, but we all stubble too and need to start at the start again. Bless you!

Letting God plan our Family Size

For me, making the decision to allow God to plan our family size was a big decision and not one entered into lightly. Much Thought and Prayer went into the decision, But for me the bottom line was that we knew it was what the Lord was asking of us! So we had to say yes! When we first entered into this decision we had one baby and another or the way, and not a lot of Money. When asked the question as a girl how many children I wanted to have my answer was probably pretty standard "a boy and a girl". We never set out to have a lot of children but as the Lord warmed our heart to letting Him decide, after all He know far more than us, and knows what is to come in the future,the idea of having a lot doesn't worry me now. I was challenged by the thought that I could possible have 20 children, I mean I'm not a rocket scientist but I can count, and do simple maths. The next step for me was then changing my attitude to that possible 20 children, I mean really why was the thought of having that many children a problem? Of course there are lots of challenges facing large families but the same can be true of small families... Was Have a large family the problem or was it my thinking... after searching the scriptures and my heart I knew the answer was my thinking... and then set forth to make a covenant with my future children, I didn't want any of my children to come into this world without me being joyful of there arrival. After all the world is a cruel enough place as it is, they needed me on there side. That then being said the issue wasn't any more about how many children I might have, but learning to be the best mother I can be to any number of children that I might have, and the Lord may bring into our lives. Learning skills to manage my household, feed my family, nourish there bodies, minds, spirits and souls. This is where I am today...Learning, learning, Learning. Some days I get it right other far from it but each day is a journey of learning.