Saturday, October 22, 2011

Guest blog... Kids and the Media by MEGGZ

Meggz is a regular on The Smallest Carbon Footprint with heaps of awesome eco tips! I've learnt a lot from her. This week she posted this on the wall, and I wanted to publish it as a blog because I found it so interesting and thought provoking! Thankyou again Meggz :)

"I wonder if any other parents out there who are environmentally conscious include limiting modern technology to their "green" parenting plan ? My youngest daughter Shorty who is 13 does not watch TV, we moved to an area many years ago that does not get any form of TV reception. I have copped a lot of flack over the years in regards to my hippy lifestyle, but the lack of TV really got some people angry (family). It is my child surely I can choose ?? Shorty does not need to watch the weather channel to know what type of day we are having, she has learnt to watch the animals around us eg: cows and horses under the trees = rain for several days, black cockatoos screeching over our property = rain in the next few days, red sky in the morning means bad weather is coming, red sky at night means good weather, ants coming out of the ground = rain. She does not need to watch the news, not because I want her to become ignorant about world events, more because I do not want her seeing the way the media tends to portray these events as bigger than what they are, promoting an over focus on pain and suffering. She does not need to watch home and away or anyother teen program that teaches our children to lie, cheat, sleep around ect. What she does need to know is facts, without all the over dramatised aspects attached. We read books, encyclopedias, we write stories, in short we learn facts then after we have mastered that we add in emotional responses. I have seen first hand how my daughter can react to any situation with a clear and level head, without becoming tangled in emotions. She learns how to "read" people by spending many hours watching animals, their body language and how you can predict accurately what their actions will be without the use of words or language. I hope all of this will help her to become a better person. I am proud of the gorgeous young lady she has become, others see her as a socially stunted child. Yes if she does not like a discussion in the school yard she will walk away and sit by herself, or if the other kids are misbehaving in any way she will detach herself from them. Still I get told "we are concerned she is spending so much time alone" Shorty enjoys her own company, she is not afraid to be alone, she is comfortable in her own skin and most importantly she is respectful and polite, she knows all people are different and we have no right to force our opinions on others. How many of you have thought about this aspect of parenting? Is it a path you think you would like to take ? Or do you like so many people around me feel as though I am doing the wrong thing ? Would really like some feedback :) Oh as an after thought, Shorty is ranked in the top 4% of her Australian peers intellectually, her grades are above and beyond. External environmental influences do play an important role in your childs behaviour, intelligence and judgement.

My reasons for posting my message isnt for a pat on the back or for Shorty to look like a saint, I just hope it may make ppl think a little deeper. I home schooled my now 17 yr old daughter, I found as she grew (teenage years) she rebelled a lot due to her feeling like she has "missed out" on so many things. Living in harmony with nature but seeing exciting things on TV made it hard for her. It was at this point I decided to approach things differently. Shorty (13) has never seen TV ads showing the toys that mum says are bad come to life and talk and become your best friend. She has never seen happy meals ads that transport you to a magical kiddy place while you are eating them. This made living as naturally as we can a whole lot easier. Sure she now sees some of these ads when we visit other ppl but she is old enough to not be interested in them, the foundations were layed when she was little :) I remember a long time ago at a childs birthday party they had a Dora dvd on, all the kids were yelling & shouting at the TV when asked "what should Dora do" Shorty came out with, Dora should make her own decisions, she shouldnt need or want to know what other ppl want her to do lol yes it got some strange looks off the parents, but I realised what I was doing with her upbringing was having a positive effect on her. She knows she is in control of her life, she makes the decisions, she does not succumb to peer presure. I also should clarify we do have a TV we just dont get TV channels. We do watch documentaries on the weekends and Shortys favourite dvd as a toddler was "Baraka" (google it it is a brilliant movie) Shorty attends a very small selective private school, I choose this path as they respect my way of living and support good manners and morals. She finds it very funny when kids at school go on about twilight movies, we love edward we love jacob ect she always says mum how can they be in love with something thats make believe? Its like being a teenager with an imaginary friend. That will do it for me lol I have typed way way too much on your page as it is :) my only advice would be .... Never underestimate the power the media has to undo all of your "green living attempts" and cause your child to feel like their natural lifestyle is lacking xox Much love, light & laughter to all xox"

Meggzy Moo

Monday, October 17, 2011

Adelle's guide to Hippy Gifting!

This is just for you, my favourite Kate O'Meara...

Usually I forget to link earth friendly gifts until a week before Christmas, when its far too late! This year I'm getting orgumanised!

It is important to think carefully about the gifts you give. I aim for them to be as natural as possible, as earth friendly as possible, and as RAD as possible! There is nothing worse for the environment than giving a gift that someone never uses... or worse, just throws away! You can encourage people to be more earth friendly with carefully thought out gifts like organic personal care, reusable shopping bags or Soapnuts!

Don't forget to check ebay and your local op shop before buying new, you would be surprised at what you might find!

So here are a few ideas for gifts for the whole family.

For the LADIES:
Envirosax pouch! I love these green bags SO much! They look AMAZING and fold down so small. Each pouch comes with 5 Envirosax, and is small enough to carry in your handbag! No more excuses for forgetting your Green Bags!

Neoflam Cookware! Are you aware of the dangers of Teflon? Neoflam provide a non toxic range of non stick cookware, and come in gorgeous colours! Fellow Dalbians, you can get this from Eloquence! Gold Coasters, you want to get your butt into Eco Vida in Burleigh :)

Cheeki stainless steel drink bottle or flask! You can get these from most health food stores. Or for the coffee lover, a reusable coffee cup.

Organic Clothing! Just google it :)

Organic personal care products! With any luck they love them and you won't have to bring your own body wash when visiting yo Mum! Miessence have everything from makeup, shampoo, moisturiser, toothpaste to PERFUME! Also check out their health care section for some awesome products to create health and beauty from within.

A good book! The Anastasia series I've just linked is very hard to find in stores, but Eco Vida stock them :) Its an amazing and mind expanding book! I recieved "Greeniology" by Tanya Ha last year and I adore it! "Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering" by Buckley and anything by Ina May Gaskin are great books for expecting mothers! "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedloff is awesome for all mothers (put it on your own wishlist if you haven't read it yet!)

Microfiber cleaning products such as Enjo or Norwex.

Tupperware or, better yet, Pyrex glass storage containers! Down with cling wrap!

Check out some local markets for handmade or upcycled jewellery or clothing!

For the MEN:
GAD. This is going to be a small section. Men are so hard to buy for!
Most recently I got my Dad a Thermos to take soup to work in.

Miessence products such as Ancient Spice Deodorant or Shaving Gel.

A magnetic energy torch

An eco lunchbox (just discovered a new page,!)

Organic clothing.

Something to DO! Red Balloon is a website where you can buy vouchers for a drive in a rally car or a hot air balloon ride! So many things to choose from. They have spa packages for women, too.

For the BABIES!
Wooden teethers and rattles: no more yucky pastic ones! The Natural Newborn and Eco Toys have a great selection.

BPA free Boon bath ducks

Modern Cloth Nappies! Some companies will even do personalised embroidered nappies! My faves are Itti Bittis, Bonnibuns, B cheeks and Bambooty.

A Rainstick. Seriously though, go to The Natural Newborn and Eco Toys and search by age group, I can't list out ALL the amazing products in one blog!

An amber teething necklace! Homeopathic teething remedy, great for a nephew or neice

A cardboard box and a wooden spoon. For reals!


Organic Doll. The Keptin Jr doll is my favourite! And Butterfly's.

Wooden Workbench

Wooden Kitchen and accessories! Best investment I ever made, Butterfly actually has TWO! Also wash out and store some old spice jars, butter containers etc instead of buying expensive play food!

Makedo! Make toys and cars from the materials around you! You might remember I used some Makedo to make moveable knobs on SB's mud pie kitchen...

Wooden Scooter: we haven't tried these but I want to get Butterfly one for her 3rd birthday

Wind Up Torch!

Play Silks! Encourage your child's creativity and imagination!

Calamity Bolt Hobby Horse! Butterfly is getting one! Giddyup! (You will have to wait until the next stocking, check out the facebook page! They are handmade so there are limited numbers)

Mamamor pregnancy and breastfeeding doll: great for a child who might attend their siblings birth!

Glob botanical paints

Livos natural face paint

A toy cash register! Butterfly plays with this more than anything. Again, save up old cereal boxes etc for your own grocery store!

Green Toys cars, trucks and tea set! Made from recycled plastic and BPA free. We love the recycling truck!

Barbara Lord's Green Cleaner: a small and inexpensive guide to taking care of all household matters the earth friendly way! Not only does green cleaning help the earth, but its very cheap!

The Environmental Toothbrush: comes in adult and childrens sizes, and is compostable once you've finished with it! You can buy them in bulk and use some yourself, and give others as gifts (I find it handy to slip a childrens toothbrush in a present at the last minute)

Trial size bag of Wild Soapnuts! These are the greenest option for washing your clothes available.

Organic Seeds! For the home gardener.

Eco Toys have a great selection of toys under $20... bath ducks, felt play food, puzzles etc!

I could go on and on but this blog has taken me a bajillion years to add links to! The links are to specific products in webstores but have a browse around the rest of the website while you are there. Thankyou to The Natural Newborn, Eco Toys and Eco Vida for being so fracking awesome that I barely had to look beyond these sites! Mwah!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Do you MIND?

I love love LOVE Sarah Napthali's book, "Buddhism for Mothers". Please don't tune out if you are a Christian, or any other faith, I don't actually see this book as religious instruction. It just gives me some practical tools for raising children in a peaceful and loving environment.

The first time I read it, I got the most out of the chapter on mindfulness. I'd heard the term, "be mindful" before but never really grasped what it is all about.

We live such hectic, busy lives, especially as mothers, that we are often multitasking by doing one thing and thinking about another. We think about things that happened in the past. We plan things for the future. We are very rarely mentally IN the present.

This REALLY resonated with me. I remembered a few days earlier when I was making something for a Christmas present, and was using scissors to poke holes in cardboard. I looked down to see red stuff all over my project, and was confused as to what it was. I kept going. Then I realised it was blood. Only then did I pay attention to the fact that my thumb had been stinging for ages, the scissors had cut it open! If I had my mind on the job instead of day dreaming, I would have realised instantly and would have only had 1 slice in my finger instead of 10!

And geez, I am totally one of those people who run into walls (in my own house, you know, the ones that have been in the same place for YEARS) because I'm daydreaming. I am no stranger to looking at a large bruise and not having the foggiest idea of how I got it!

So I knew this is something I should work on. Its not just about keeping myself from injury, either. Its about giving Butterfly a fully present Mummy, who can imagine and laugh and play with her, instead of mindlessly pushing along a car, sitting with her but not paying attention to the game. Sometimes I drift off and realise she's been asking me the same question 5 times and I still haven't answered. Or I'm looking right at her but only realise she is about to insert a screw into the cats nose at the very last second!

Its been slow going. I have to work at it every day. Sometimes I feel myself drifiting off, and pull myself back into the present. It is like someone switches a light on! And I don't mean metaphorically, I mean the room totally gets brighter. It makes me appreciate just how far away my thoughts can get sometimes.

What I have also noticed, that if I have my mind on something aggravating, I often overreact to things Butterfly does. For example, if I dwell on something someone said that was hurtful in the past, and Butterfly sticks her finger up my nose, I crack it big time and stop the feed and she gets very confused and upset. Which is totally unfair to her.

I bought letters from a craft shop, that spelt MINDFUL. I painted them red to stick to my wall as a reminder. Butterfly got to them with some blue paint, which bugged me at first, but then I let go and realised this is just as good a reminder as any to be a relaxed and mindful Mumma :)

How many times do we hear "before you know it they will be teenagers!". And they will. Mindfulness to me, is about enjoying this time while Butterfly is so young and adorable and inquisitive. If I don't pay attention, I will have missed the whole thing!

I highly recommend reading "Buddhism for Mothers", but you can try to be more mindful by keeping your thoughts on your child when you are with them, so they feel valued and you will enjoy them more! Practice mindfulness in your daily tasks. If you are walking, focus on your steps. If you are folding washing, think to yourself "I am folding washing" and focus on the task at hand. Which, lets face it, is friggin boring, but its a form of meditation.

I am blogging... I am blogging... LOL!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mumma Vs WEEDS!

So we are finally settled in our new house! I love it sooo much, the space is so relaxing. We have 1.6 acres which is lovely, but the best part is our back fence hits farmland so it seems like we have much more land! I love sitting on the daybed out the back breastfeeding Butterfly and watching the birds.

When we were looking at the place I did notice the lawn had a lot of clover. I didn't care too much as Butterfly loves traipsing through it! Little did I know that clover becomes EVILLL in spring and forms ouchy prickles! So I started pulling it all out. By hand. Hubby rolled his eyes and said we needed Roundup. NOT ON MY ORGANIC PARADISE THANKYOU!! So he continued to be amused my the sight of me out the back, in the rain (makes the ground soft!), pulling out clover, meter by meter. And you know what? I bloody did it! I pulled 80% of it out by hand, by the roots, without any chemicals at all!

Me pullin' weeds!

Our land also had these beautiful small white wildflowers. I told hubby to mow around them, they made me smile! BUT. Then those little fuckers dropped their petals and sprouted thorns and became prickles 100X ouchier than the clover ones! W.T.F! These ones cannot be pulled out by the roots, they are too small, are rooted in too many places and even gardening gloves can't save you from their razor sharp spikes!

The 3 species of frog we've found in our garden! All jumped out from under the weeds.

Butterfly wastes no time getting hands on!

Again, taunts of Roundup. NO NO NO! I didn't waste hours of my life weeding to give up now! I shouldn't really say waste. Truth be told, I love weeding and would love for hubby to take Butterfly for a day so I could spend the whole day in the rain with only my thoughts!

So I thinks to myself, I thinks "I should ask those savvy Smallest Carbon Footprint fans!" So I does. And one of you comes up with white vinegar!

I bought 20L of the stuff from Coles (if you know of a bulk way to buy vinegar I'd like to know, I got 2L bottles!) and sprayed it all over the evil white flowers. It did a really decent job! It didn't anhilate them, but it did kill the majority of it! I have bought another 20L to get the spots I missed. In the meantime I have been scraping the ground with a shovel to get the damn weeds up, and kicking the white flowers off when I see them (before they turn EVIL!).

I guess the score is currently... Mumma 1, Clover 0!
Mumma 1, White Devil, 2. But I'm working on it!

I'm still open to other suggestions for keeping weeds away! After removing the majority of the weeds I discover we actually don't have much grass, so will plant some grass seeds soon.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Alphabet ROCKS and Secret Special Places!

If you know a child like mine, who LIVES for rocks, why not try this cheap (or FREE) gift idea??

Butterfly adores rocks. We were househunting a while back, and it was difficult to get her IN any of the houses because she'd be in the garden or on the driveway collecting rocks! She has a treasure box full of them. I find them in her pockets. In the washing machine. Under the couch. In the kitchen. You get the idea!

Alls I did, was collect 26 flat rocks, and write on them with permanent marker! Totally free if you already have the markers!

I wrote on one side of the rock the capital letters of the alphabet in black.

On the reverse side, the lower case in red. Yes, I realised later I had written "c" on the back of the "B"!

Viola! I was actually hoping to engrave the rocks somehow but didn't know how!

Another project we have been working on lately is Butterfly's play room. We didn't allocate a bedroom to her in the new house since she sleeps with us anyway, and sunrooms make excellent play spaces!

There is an existing desk in the sunroom, under which I decided to make Butterfly a "Secret Special Place!". I wrapped an old cot mattress in pretty material and slotted it under the bench. Next I added toys and pillows to make it comfortable.

Last night I got under there and stuck a bunch of her favourite photos under there, of family and pets! She adores photos.

Daddy installed an Ikea spice rack ($2.50! Woot!) as a secret shelf for storing special things!

I also added a spice rack near her reading chair to hold her favourite books.

Butterfly loves her Secret Special Place! Its pretty sweet. I would have LOVED something like this when I was a kid! Footprint Fella has even jumped in on the design and is hoping to add a wooden support across the desk to secure some more fabric to make it like a cubby house! I knew I married him for a reason, what a wonderful Daddy! And a spunk :)

Here is a photo Butterfly took of her Mummy and Daddy :)

Peace xx