Friday, 1 June 2012

Slow Living Month 5

Time for the monthly audit of how things have been tracking along at Monarch Place.  I must say I'm not too confident this month as there has been a brief blogging break while I holiday'd with my Mum and Aunty but here goes....

My 50th Birthday Cake made by a work Colleague
This month I started a new feature on the blog about reducing the cost of feeding our families.  Every Monday I am going to list a recipe that will cost approximately $10 to feed four adults.  Obviously the price will vary according to where you live but overall they will be inexpensive meals that are easy to prepare at home.

The lovely cake in the photo above was made for my birthday by a work colleague who is also a chef.  It is a beautiful Chocolate and Lavender cake.

I find that as a full time worker outside of the home, I can cope with what needs to be done inside the home and garden by keeping things in a routine.  However unexpected things that pop up are what can unhinge me, things that are not routine.  Being as prepared as possible for birthdays, weddings, babies and the like helps and so I have them written on the calendar, cards pre-made and a selection of gifts and wrapping paper on hand.

I am reducing the paper wastage around the house.  I try to buy things that have less packaging, take my own bags when shop, read books on an e-reader and don't print my knitting patterns out but read them on an iPad.  Paper, cardboard and other packaging that can be recycled is always put into the recycling bin for collection by the council.

I'm not sure whether the post on a Kitty Litter alternative really fits under this heading but I would like to discuss it a little more here.  I am now using Bentonite Clay bought from my local farm produce store.  There is some discussion about strip mining to produce this clay which is concerning but when weighing the options I have to wonder what effect the silicone one that has become so popular is having on the environment.  Ultimately recycling newspapers by making a paper mache, drying it and crumbling it to a consistency for kitty litter would be a far greener option but being time poor I can't see me taking up that option, at least for the time being.
Some of the boys from the Wototo Children Choir - orphaned African children making a difference
I didn't post about the Wototo Children's Choir on the blog but this month our church hosted this wonderful choir as they do every year.  Again they put on an amazing show and I donated money to this worthy cause and also supported them by purchasing some of their African made jewelry which I then promptly gifted to my daughters much to their delight.

The veggie garden was still producing copious amounts of cucumbers.  I gave up on trying to use them all and eventually pulled the withering vines out.  While my mum and aunty were here we ate as much as possible from the garden.  Lettuce, cucumbers, parsley, basil, shallots, tat soy and wombok were all eaten freshly picked.  There is something very satisfying about growing your own food.  Now I have tomatoes growing beautifully and I'm looking forward to picking and bottling some of those soon.  I have also prepared the second garden bed in readiness for the next crops.

I can't take credit for 2 of the creative posts in this months line up.  My daughter created a delightful piece of artwork for her baby's nursery walls.  It looks impressive, is bright and eye-catching and best of all she made it herself and she is also the photographer that did the lovely photo shoots for newborn babies.  My creativity this month has been limited to knitting but with the weather cooling off quickly I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing at the moment.

While I was playing tourist with my visitors we discovered a number of new places as well as enjoyed a lot of old favourites.  My mum is a regular visitor here each year so she has been to most attractions around the Sunshine Coast but this was the first time in Queensland for my aunty.  One of the sad things we discovered was that a lot of the smaller craft stores have closed down.  I guess this is in part due to the failing economy but I also think that small local businesses cannot compete with the large franchises.  I try to support small local business as much as possible, I hope you do too.
Ettamogah Pub, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
This one is easy.  I enjoyed having my mum and aunty here and spending lovely weekends with them exploring our local area, discussing family history, crafting together (well mostly watching them craft), having coffee's and lunches out at little hideaway places and generally just catching up.  One of the things I really enjoyed though was coming home from work to a lovely home cooked meal that I didn't have to cook myself.  It is so nice to be taken care of rather than be the carer sometimes.....Sigh.
The photo above is the Ettamogah Pub about a 10 minute drive from where I live.  It was a regular feature in the comic strips in the 'Post' magazine and the walls inside this working bar are lined with the old comics.

Well that wasn't so hard to do after all.  It's amazing how just living your life and trying to live simpler everyday can just creep up on you and before you know it you are doing just what you hoped. Of course there is always room for improvement but I'm just taking it one step at a time.


  1. It really is amazing how just being aware of a few things can really translate into big differences.

    I enjoyed your post... and really love when people come for a visit who haven't been here before... it's always fun to see your locale thru the eyes of a visitor. :-)

  2. Hi Chez.. a great month for you with your mum and aunty visiting. It's so sad that many smaller craft shops aren't around anymore..we have lost our local sewing shop so now there is nowhere to go for sewing machine services. I guess there is also too much competition online, shopfronts can't compete with the cost of their overheads.

    Not sure if this will interest you or not but a year or so ago I switched from a betonite cat litter product to the Coprice one..Max's from Petstock. It comes in a huge bag, is great for absorbing smells and is made from natural organic/biodegradable materials. See:

    Loving that pic of the Ettamogah Pub..such a classic piece of the Aussie landscape! Have a great month! :)

    1. Thanks for the tip on the kitty litter. After a week I'm not entirely sure I like just using the Betonite because it doesn't disguise the smell so I will look into the Coprice.

  3. How lovely to have visitors, your life sounds very full. Unfortunately am having trouble with the format of you blog on my iPad ...
    Have a lovely June.

  4. Hi Fiona, I had a look at the blog on my iPad and I see what you mean. I've found I can read the cover page okay, tap on the top story and then scroll the new window when it opens but it I try to go into past posts the underneath screen scrolls and not the post so you can't read it.
    The only way I can see that it works to read other posts is to open the current day's post then after reading that tap the arrows on the top left to go to the next post and the next etc. Hope that helps but I must see if I can fix the bug somehow. It is a new layout so I'm wondering if it is just something with that. Thanks for your feedback it helps.

  5. Oh I feel ripped off now - we visited the Ettamogah Pub somewhere in southern NSW (I think) and I thought it was the real deal...... but you've got one too!! Is it a franchise or are there just a lot of clever people jumping on the bandwagon?

    You have had a busy month and I am really interested in your small paper consumption. I love books and would have a hard time using an ipad instead..... but the knitting pattern idea I could try. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Evi it looks like you visited the original and there are quite a few around Australia now if you can believe Wikipedia.

  6. A lovely entry for the Slow Living theme. That cake looks divine! It sounds like you have a lovely time playing host and tourist with your visitors - and enjoying some home cooked meals you didn't have to cook. I love my Mum visiting for that reason too.

    Thankfully I have a cat that will only 'go' outside, but we used to keep a litter tray for him. I used to buy litter made of recycled paper just from the supermarket or pet shop.

  7. So wonderful to read about your month.


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