Friday, December 21, 2012

merry christmas

Sol and I have enjoyed fresh mango followed by a golden toasted slice of panettone for breakfast over the past few mornings. Panettone is a sweet bread, rich with butter and eggs and studded with sultanas and candied citrus peel. Originating in Milan it is traditionally prepared to celebrate Christmas. My earliest memory of panettone is as a child at my nana's house.

My nan worked as a dressmaker all her life and in the factory where she worked throughout my childhood, many of the women she worked with were Italian or Greek. My brother and I enjoyed going with my nan on some weekends to visit her work friends where we were treated to warm and generous European hospitality (ie. much fussing over because my nan's friends loved children and many treats of home made biscuits and cakes). At Christmas time my nana would bring home gifts from these women of traditional Christmas foods such as panettone.

Having a young family of my own, I am keen to create some of our own Christmas traditions. Our cut + paste tree is shaping up to be one, as is making panforte. What traditions do you enjoy with your family? Or perhaps there are some from other cultures that you admire, I'd love to hear. Creating and honouring tradition makes life richer, brings deeper meaning to our celebrations and acknowledges history and ancestry.

Speaking of my young family, River had his last day of Prep today. I was as emotional as I was on his first day, completely unprepared for the heart swelling farewell to his beautiful teacher and the acknowledgment of all the wonderful ways he has grown this year in mind and heart.

In place of a list today, I have one special link...

My friend and mentor Samantha Gowing, who is a therapeutic chef with a flair for delicious food as medicine, launched her first ebook today. Filled with recipes, remedies and wonderful stories from Sam's life and kitchen, 'The Healing Feeling' represents 12 years of her experience and knowledge. It is a wonderful resource whether you are just starting out making better food choices or whether you are well underway on the real food journey.

The title of Sam's book speaks to me because from where I sit we could all do with some healing in one form or another, and if there's one need that is a growing one for many people it is nutritional healing. So, a big congratulations Sam on putting your heart, soul and wisdom into this beautiful book I know it will be valuable and life changing for many people.

Life is different when we are well nourished. We have more energy, more mental clarity, emotional balance and connection with the earth and the people we love.

On that note, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you back here in 2013. I've decided to make this my last post for 2012 and savour each moment of the days between now and the New Year giving my full attention to my real life family and friends. Thank you my online friends for reading my blog this year, for your comments and friendship and being part of the wholefood movement. Here's to more people joining us on the wholefood path next year.

Peace and Joy to all.

Nikki xx

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

paper rock sea - an exhibition by Peter McConchie

I can't take the credit for these beautiful images, I will though give myself credit for marrying Peter McConchie my talented, nature loving photographer husband who took these photos.

Long before Pete and I were married, when we had only just been introduced I somewhat nervously asked him if I could work as his photographic assistant. Nervous not because I had my sights set on marrying him, but because I was genuinely in awe of his photographic work and shy about my artistic desires. It's true I promise.

The work as a photographic assistant never eventuated but the day I found myself carrying a tripod up the beach in the heat of summer while Pete ran ahead to catch the glimpses of afternoon light falling across the water I smiled to myself and thought be careful what you wish for. 


A retrospective collection of ocean images taken on the Mornington Peninsula 
by Peter McConchie 
are being exhibited and are for sale at The Flinders Village Cafe in Flinders 
(next to the Flinders Post Office).

The exhibition is on now and will go through Summer or until sold out.

So, if you are in Flinders over summer stop in at the cafe and take a look. The coffee is good too :)

heart and hope

Yesterday I surrendered to the tears I'd been holding for a few days. It was as if by holding the tears I could pretend it wasn't really true, that it hadn't really happened. Yesterday I sat and read the newspaper and let the tears flow, for those beautiful children and teachers and their families, and the whole Connecticut community.

The ensuing discussion about gun law reform in America has taken me back to the brief time I lived in Houston Texas. During the few months there I volunteered at a grief and loss agency set up to specifically support children in times of grief. I had been doing this sort of work in Melbourne before I moved to Texas and felt so grateful to have the opportunity to volunteer at this specialised agency and to learn more about American people and their society. Through this work and in my day to day conversations with people, I quickly learnt about the warmth and generosity of Southern hospitality and the deep religious faith that threaded the community together. I also learnt about the deeply embedded gun culture, particularly through the grief and loss work where gun related causes of death were commonplace rather than a rarity as they had been at the agency I worked with in Melbourne.

I am tremendously grateful gun ownership is not commonplace in Australia and is not part of our social mindset. I am thankful that the Howard government took action with the gun buy back following the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania.

I wish President Obama a clear path to take action on gun law reform and in turn reduce gun related violence and death for American people.

Last night, I searched around other blogs to see what others were expressing at this incomprehensible time and was heartened by Amanda and Jodi's posts.

May peace and gentleness pervail xxx

Monday, December 17, 2012

marinated tofu, spinach and sesame seed salad

As promised, something delicious for you to start your week with. A quick lunch I pulled together using what I had in the garden and in the fridge. I was so happy with the result I thought it worthy of sharing with you :) The key ingredient that, to me makes it extra delicious is toasted sesame seeds.

Marinated tofu, spinach and sesame seed salad

a handful of spinach
a handful of rocket
10 or so fresh basil leaves
a generous handful of sprouts of your choice (mine were alfalfa and fenugreek because that's what we sprout on our benchtop)
1 small carrot, grated
1/2 small beetroot, grated
2 tbsp sesame seeds toasted in a pan
50-100g marinated tofu cooked in a pan with a splash of oil of your choice til golden and cut into small cubes (this cheat's version was made using store bought Japanese marinated tofu, I used the Soyco brand)

To make:

Wash and 'shred' (chop with a sharp knife into 'shreds') spinach, rocket and basil
Place all ingredients into a salad bowl
Dress with a mix of olive oil and apple cider vinegar or if you have it a touch of sesame oil could be nice in place of the olive oil.


Friday, December 14, 2012

friday ho ho ho

(G.Cova Panettone c/o Raw Materials. More about tradition and deliciousness next week...)

This week the crafting continued, partly because I am enjoying it but also because River spent the first few days of the week home with a cold. Catching a cold in summer is no fun but the weather here has been such extremes of hot and cold its not surprising.

Around the web this week:

If you are searching for some meaning in the hurried days before Christmas, slow down with soulemama and read her post 'making merry'. True to form, Amanda's words and photos touched my spirit and her message to honor simplicity rang loud and true.

Christmas is a time of giving, so if you can, here are a few charities to consider on your giving list:
Buy lunch for someone who can't afford it via The Salvation Army Give A Lunch for Christmas
Support Unicef's Enough Stuff appeal
Sponsor a child through World Vision

Now for a list within a list. I am so thrilled to be included in this list of whole food / healthy living blogs over at The Veggie Mama. Check out the list, it is a great resource, and admire Stacey's snazzy new blog design. Thanks Stacey!

Prepare yourself to be delighted by Steph's post at this brown wren, photos and recipes featuring beautiful bounty of the summer season. Nectarines you are my favorite. And clams with angel hair pasta I am happy to sit at any table with you.

2012 and is winding up. If your thoughts are skipping ahead to what shape you would like your life to take in 2013, I suggest buying yourself this Christmas present created by Leonie Dawson. I bought both the life and business books and am excited about working through them and creating some new and powerful work/life habits next year. (I don't know Leonie and am not paid in any way to mention this. In case anyone was wondering).

As much as I would love to sit here all day writing to you lovely readers and drinking coffee at Daisy's in Sorrento where there's WiFi for me and toys for Sol I must venture back out into the rain and face my day. Face my day, gosh that makes it sound like a task which its not but y'know whiling away the hours in a cafe is a sweet luxury.

Happy weekending xx

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

gone fishing

Thirty six degrees here today and as it happened conditions on the bay were good for Pete to take River for his second fishing trip in the boat. Sol talked his way onto the boat for a putt around before the big guys headed out further.

After school Pete, River and Sol did whatever they do to get ready for fishing, sorting rods and reels, threading hooks onto lines, organising bait, Sol tangling ropes and lines believing he is helping, and while this happened I took the opportunity to make phonecalls for work that are best made when children are not about to ask you for a snack or announce they need to do a poo. Tricky to sound professional at those moments. Anyhow, phonecalls made, fishing gear sorted we headed to the beach.

Sol isn't ready to join Pete and River fishing from the boat just yet, a couple more summers and some swimming lessons before that happens, so he and I spent our time beach combing while Pete and River went off on their boating adventure.

We watched pelicans take flight and squished our way through beds of seaweed walking from sandbar to sandbar, stopping to marvel at a starfish Sol announced that the starfish was hungry, "What do you think it eats?" I asked him. After thinking for a moment he told me with great confidence, "Pesto". Of course. Seaweed pesto, he could be on to something.

Pete and River were gone an hour as planned and returned having caught a squid that they decided to release. We've lived on this coastline long enough for Pete to know the fishing tides and grounds well, so it is rare he returns home with less than one meal to add to our wholefood table. These trips that are spent getting River used to being in the boat are about more than catching fish.

I am so grateful for our beach life, for the clean air, the saltwater, the sand between our toes, the opportunity to breathe beautiful natural surrounds in. Every. Single. Day. Oh and the fresh fish x

Monday, December 10, 2012

the art and craft of Christmas

Like most things in life, Christmas is what you make of it. It needn't be about mindless consumption, - be that of food or gifts. Each year the feeling around Christmas is different based on how the year has panned out, the people in your life, or those missing from your life. Christmas for me is a time of reflection, sharing, nurturing, remembering and celebrating being together.

On Sunday, River, Sol and I spent a good part of the day making our Christmas tree. Last year Sol slept while River and I created our cut + paste tree. This year he was old enough and interested enough to do some cutting and pasting of his own. Last year our tree was a collage tree. This year I pondered what we could do differently and I came up with the idea to create a Christmas family tree. So we went through a pile of photos that were already printed and picked out what would become our framed 'ornaments' to stick on the tree. In these times of digital photography, most of us take more photos than we'll ever know what to do with (or how to organise!) so having photos on the tree is a great way to actually enjoy the photos each time I walk past.
For me, crafting with small children is a great meditation on patience, surrender and delight. Ok, there's a pinch or two of frustration or exasperation at times. Patience while small fingers grapple with scissors and glue, surrender to their creative ideas as they burst over my own grand vision, and delight when we all become lost in the making and then stand back to admire the finished piece.

This weekend we also made very simple Christmas cards from white, green and red card cut with a guillotine (which was the exciting part for the boys) and decorated with trees and stars cut from foil. This year River was able to write the messages in the cards. Seeing his almost-in-grade-one handwriting will bring as much joy to the family and friends receiving the cards as it did to me as I watched him carefully form each letter and ask me how to spell certain words along the way.

I know for some craft and baking are not their 'thing'. Creativity though is core to the human spirit. Whatever way you spend creative time with your children, family or friends I hope that you are finding time to do so in these pre Christmas days, for me it feels so nurturing to step away from the daily demands and do a little making.

What are you making? Or not making. Do you love or loathe Christmas? How is it for you this year?

Linking up with Em at The BeetleShack

Friday, December 07, 2012

friday in december

Seventeen days until Christmas Day...I plan to start making and posting cards today. I'm dreaming of spending tomorrow morning out and about by myself to ponder and purchase a few books and clothes for River and Sol. Making panforte is on my looking-forward-to-list next week.

How are your pre-Christmas days looking?

A linky list...

Herbal remedies made simple. The family who run this business look SO healthy. More nettle tea for me. Great information, love the look of the herbal remedy home starter kit. I wonder if there is an Australian equivalent to this site?

Strawberry, coconut and almond smoothie? yes please!

Here's a recipe for sugar free chocolate coconut bars

For traditional Christmas baking recipes visit Local is Lovely 12 Days of Baking series. The second recipe from the series Adelaide's Panpepato caught my eye because it is a variation on panforte which I love. The recipe also caught my eye because almost ten years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Adelaide on a work trip. With a group of other food writers we traveled to Canada to witness a cranberry harvest. Business class travel, super fancy restaurants, boutique hotel, fun memories; very happy though to be a wholefood mama now.

If you want to do some non-traditional Christmas baking, try this superfood chocolate Christmas cake I found it on Natural New Age Mum a blog that is packed with info and recipes that I think will be right along your wholefood path.

Congratulations to Kerry Santillo who won the unexpected guest breakfast giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered.

The highlight of my weekend will be seeing River perform in his first dance concert tonight. I admire how he is so unfazed about being the only boy in his class and how at the dress rehearsal he took to the stage like it was the most natural thing in the world. For his tap dance performance he dances alongside 7 girls in the role of Cupid. The whole thing is totally adorable, especially his red feathered wings. The highlight for River is that he is dancing on the same stage that we saw Justine Clarke perform on a couple of years ago.

Happy weekending xx

Thursday, December 06, 2012

kangaroo and spinach salad

I am back to the stone age way of eating this week. In doing so I've realised even though I love cooking and eat well, I'm often on auto pilot when it comes to day-to-day meal planning and preparation, cooking dishes that are familiar and quick.

Coming up with meals that don't include grains is a creative challenge for my auto pilot. This recipe came together for dinner last night and I was so happy with it I thought you might like it too.

I've written about eating kangaroo meat here before, the subject can surprise or divide people so in advance it is not my intention to offend! 

Kangaroo and spinach salad
Serves 2

150 grams of kangaroo fillet
1 medium onion, chopped into fine wedges
1 handful rocket leaves, chopped
1 handful spinach leaves, chopped
1/2 an avocado chopped
As much fresh coriander and flat leaf parsley chopped as you desire
1 cup of sprouts (ours are a mix of alfalfa and fenugreek that we sprout ourselves)
1 small carrot cut into fine bite size sticks
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a knob of butter
Bragg's all purpose seasoning

1 tbsp your favorite olive oil
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or a bit more to your liking)
1/2-1 tsp grain or dijon mustard

To make:

In a frypan melt the knob of butter and cook the ground spices and onion until the onion is soft. You may need to add a touch more butter or some olive oil, or a splash of water if the pan dries out before the onions are soft.

In a salad bowl place spinach, rocket, fresh herbs, avocado, carrot, sprouts.

Once the onion is cooked and slightly cooled add to salad bowl.

In the same pan that you cooked the onion and spices, add a splash of olive oil and bring to a high heat. Sear each side of the kangaroo fillet (about 45 seconds to 1 minute each side). Remove the fillet from the pan, set the pan aside and going with the grain of the meat thinly slice the fillet. Lower the heat to medium, return the pan to the heat and make sure it is hot before returning the meat to the pan with the garlic and cook quickly until brown, just as it is about done add a squirt of Bragg's all purpose seasoning to the pan toss the meat through it and then remove meat to a plate and cool slightly.

Add meat to the salad bowl and sprinkle with the oregano.

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a cup or jar and pour over salad.

Toss all together and dinner is served.

**Last chance today to enter the unexpected guest delicious breakfast giveaway. Good luck!**

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

cherry ripe

They're here! Those completely delightful plump, crimson stone fruit that herald Christmas here in Australia.

Cherry season is short - November to January - I'm happy to eat them everyday they're available. And so it seems are River and Sol. For the past few mornings we have eaten them for breakfast, the boys have hunted through the bowl looking for cherries joined by the stem to hang over their ears, some childhood pleasures are timeless.

There are over 1000 cherry varieties and while the crimson varieties are the most widely available, there are varieties that merge into deep purply black colours and yellow skinned varieties too. Sweet cherries are the ones we love to eat fresh, the sour varieties are best for cooking.

Cherries are a good source of vitamin C and are rich in health giving antioxidants making them perfect for breakfast, lunchboxes, snacks or dessert. Anytime really!

Living on the Mornington Peninsula I am lucky to live near cherry orchards where visitors can pick their own. This is the first year River and Sol have been old enough to join me on a cherry harvest. If the weather is friendly this weekend we will head to Red Hill Cherry Farm and pick cherries straight from the source.

How about you?  Are cherries a favorite? Do you eat them fresh or cook with them?  

Monday, December 03, 2012

monday musings: birth

After my blog on post last Monday and this Monday being inspired to write about birth, I think Monday could become my non food blogging day.

Pete and I had a rare date afternoon out at party on the weekend. I met a woman there, pregnant with her first child and due to give birth in a few months. She was hungry. Not for party food, for information about how she could birth her babe without ending up having a caesarean. Sigh. What a shame the dominant culture of pregnancy and birth in Australia is so fear based. Right from the confirmation of pregnancy the testing and monitoring begins, the possibility of induction and caesarean looming.

I am not a midwife or doctor or expert in pregnancy and birth. This post is based on my own experience of giving birth to my two sons without drugs or medical intervention of any kind - no epidural, no gas, no episiotomy, no stitching. I count myself as blessed for having two beautiful very straight forward birth experiences. Also, I acknowledge that medical intervention is at times necessary and I do not discount in any way that there are times when delivery by caesarean is a life saving procedure.

What I want to share today is a list of things I did to prepare for birth that I found tremendously helpful and to share some links and references that may be of interest to women preparing for birth.

I believe in preparing for birth - physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

The points below are things that have worked for me. I would love you to add things that have worked for you in the comments section and your thoughts on giving birth, how to handle medicos, birth teams and preparation. Given that we live in times where some women have not even held a baby until they have one of their own, I think sharing stories about birth is vitally important.

Birth can be blissful and exhilarating.

I wrote this list for a friend who I am close to but only see a few times a year and we move in different friendship circles, she explained to me that her friends are 'all for epidurals', and like the woman I met at the party they both said "the main thing I don't want is a caesarean". 

My friend who I sent this list to replied with "thanks for the vote of confidence that I can do it". While I don't think it is the total intention of the medical profession, I do think there is a lot of undermining women's confidence to birth naturally that happens.

Take or leave what resonates or doesn't for you on this list. And if making a comment please remember this is my personal experience.

Face your fears - write down or talk with a trusted friend, relative or midwife. Someone who will really hear you not brush you off. Another friend who had her first baby by emergency caesarean, when she was pregnant with her second baby which was also to be born by caesarean she told her obstetrician she was scared about the caesarean and the doctor's response was a curt "everybody's scared". Not good enough! I really believe it is so important to be heard. If you are really scared about something your body holds the fear. Birth is about letting go. Practice letting go while you are pregnant. Before Sol's birth I had a counseling session with a highly regarded and experienced midwife and counselor, Rhea Dempsey. I found it really helpful talking through with her in a very open way who I wanted to be at the birth. I let go of the fear about who would or wouldn't be there. The more we can let go of fear and move into trust the better.

Affirmations - hold a clear vision in your heart and mind daily that you believe in your body and in your baby to work together and have a beautiful birth. The birth is not all up to you, babies know how to be born trust your baby and talk to him/her.

Get to know your body - my biggest fear when I was pregnant with River was tearing and stitches! I now know a woman's body has an incredible ability to stretch well beyond what the mind can conceive, especially if we are relaxed enough. Perenial massage is recommended by a lot of midwives in the last couple of months of pregnancy to help soften and stretch the area for baby to come out. Some women find this confronting but again it is about facing fears and having the courage to do what needs to be done. Birth calls us to trust and go beyond the limitations of the conscious mind. Yoga and swimming were great for me, walking too all helped with good positioning for baby, with breathing, with relaxation and energy.

I also found chiropractic care during both of my pregnancies was fantastic for helping the baby position well and for taking care of my posture.

Hypnobirthing - mental preparation and relaxation. I listened to a hypnobirthing CD daily for about the last month of both my pregnancy's and I also had a hypnotherapy session during each pregnancy.

Spiritual preparation - this can take the form of meditation or journaling, prayers or letter writing. Taking time to connect with that which is greater than all of us, whatever that means to you.

Be brutally honest with yourself about who you want to support you during labour - this is really important because you have to feel completely safe, confident and inspired by the people with you that they believe in you and know what you want and are prepared to help you achieve it. 

It's so important that you can be uninhibited with whoever you are with, that goes for feeling uninhibited about nudity and noise. Sound is a very important part of giving birth, particularly in the final stage while pushing. After two hours of pushing during River's birth, it wasn't until the midwife directed me to make deep guturral sounds from low down in my body did he begin to emerge.

I was so blessed to have my sister-in-law at River's birth. Davini gave birth to her four children, including twins, at home in water. I was also blessed to have my dear friend Mette, and my friend Renee who I have been friends since we were thirteen. Mette also had three wonderful natural births experiences with her daughters. I felt so inspired by Davini and Mette, between them they had birthed 7 children, if they could do it so could I! And I felt very supported and comforted by Renee's gentle and nurturing presence. 

There is a saying that the baby chooses who will be there. For Sol's birth I was struggling to come up with my birth team, it wasn't as simple as choosing the same team again. The thought even crossed my mind that I would just do it myself! (Which is a typical thought of my independent nature). As it happened, I laboured for an hour on my own at home and then we headed to my friend Luci's to drop off River on the way to the hospital and Sol arrived rapidly in Luci's bathroom with Pete on the phone to 000 and Luci delivering the baby. My aunt was in the house with River, Luci's son Jack and our other dear friend Anthea and her son Tiarnach were there too. In my heart of hearts I wanted Luci and Pete to be at the birth and I wanted my aunt nearby but not actually in with me, so I had the birth team I truly wanted and having Anthea and all the children near was a joyful bonus. Trust and remain open.

Drugs and labour - both my labours were drug free - that is synthetic drug free. I was fascinated to learn when I was pregnant with River, that when you are in labor and you are truly in the zone your body releases its own 'drugs' that support you through the labor and at the other side of it you will be completely naturally high.

Rethinking pain - a friend who has had 3 straight forward natural births told me to think of contractions as 'pressure not pain'. It is the pressure of your baby's head on your cervix that brings on the contractions. I found this helpful.

Overdue? - if you are overdue and your doc is talking induction there are plenty of natural induction methods to try before booking in to be induced. I used acupuncture and with River who was 14 days 'overdue' the old school midwife gave me a dose of caster oil at lunchtime and I was in labour by midnight. With Sol I used acupuncture and homeopathy. Its my understanding that when women are medically induced the contractions come harder and faster than if you go into labor naturally and it makes it harder to handle. 

And you may do all this and have a caesarean for whatever reason, I always remained open to the fact that it was a possibility that may end up out of my hands, all the while focusing strongly on natural birth and believing I could do it.

The natural way to better birth and bonding - by Francesca Naish & Jeanette Roberts (these women are naturopaths and mothers and have written a whole series of excellent books, The Natural way to Better Breastfeeding is the only book you need about breastfeeding in my humble opinion!)

Other Links
Calmbirth workshops - are birth preparation classes that focus on providing skills and knowledge to have an empowering birth. My friend Lael Stone is a calmbirth instructor based in Melbourne. I did not do the calmbirth workshop but I have a number of friends who have and found them to be a very positive experience.

International College of Spiritual Midwifery - my beautiful sister-in-law Davini Malcolm is a Director of this organisation that is dedicated to providing information and programs to empower women in the birth process.

To all the pregnant mamas I wish you many many blessings on birthing your babes. Happy, healthy mamas and babies are the of course the outcome we want for every birth. Each baby and mother unique, as is each birth. X

(the photo is of our sweet baby Sol two hours in the world)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

friday for Sol

Three years ago on the 30th of November our little Sol was born (at great speed in my friend's bathroom. I'll write that story another day). Sol's name means sun in Spanish and he sure lives up to it bringing a whole lot of light and warmth to many people, he is a joy!

Yesterday we celebrated Sol. A breakfast of his favorite berries and mango, a birthday flag and photo album which he loved and wasn't expecting another gift. We then presented him with a beach ball, some clothes and a dvd. He slept with the beach ball last night. After we took River to school, Sol and I headed to Stringer's cafe where he had a cino and I a coffee before going home to bake his spiderman cake.

When I pulled the chocolate cake from the oven he looked disappointed "There's no face on it mummy". This of course made me smile. We iced it red, cut the eyes from paper and spun a licorice web. Cake done we picked River up early from school so we would have time for a celebration before we drove 50 minutes each way to River's dance class dress rehearsal before the big concert next Friday night. (River is cast as cupid, he is the only boy in a class with seven girls. Cupid. Too much! Look out for the photo below, red wings back stage waiting for his call).

Initially when I found out the rehearsal was scheduled on Sol's birthday I quietly clenched my teeth because it felt like a 'disruption' to celebrating Sol but as it happened it was all perfect. Picking River up early from school meant we had time with friends to sing and eat cake. Then Sol slept in the car on the way to the rehearsal. Ahhh. Quiet driving time. The rehearsal was fun and then we decided to do something we rarely do and go out for dinner. Or in Sol's words, "a party dinner".

And the best gift of all? Sol slept through night. Big deal you may be thinking. I'll add this - first time ever in his whole life. After 1095 nights of broken sleep, this is big news. Oh please may this be the new normal.

So. Apologies for disappearing with my list yesterday. I was soaking up all these precious moments.

Here is a Friday list on Saturday...happy weekend. Thanks for reading xx

If you are in Melbourne you can support STREAT a fantastic social justice initiative designed to Stop Homelessness the Delicious Way. The mission is to provide hospitality training and work experience to homeless young people.

Always great to find other bloggers who are sharing their knowledge and ideas for healthy family food, stop by Little People Nutrition for recipes and more.

Thanks to Michelle from Norfolk Exposure for directing me to her grain free brownie recipe - they sound incredible can't wait to make them. Love the header on your blog by the way Michelle.

Catherine's homemade lip balm has me inspired to make some for gifts.

The vanilla banana coconut cake on Catherine's blog is tempting too.

Craft and wholefoods come together with Jay's gorgeous embroideries of vegetables

If you haven't yet entered my delicious muesli giveaway courtesy of the unexpected guest please do it is a scrumptious prize.

And my thoughts are definitely turning to decorations and homemade kitchen gifts...more soon.
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