Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Highs And Lows Of Living Simply

It's been a while since I posted here... what a busy time of the year! In the past week I have been camping, had two family functions and been to the U2 concert in Perth. With all the busy-ness, I am finding the festive/holiday season quite challenging as I try to live out of our family values and continue towards a greener, simpler life. I think I actually find it harder when Nath is on holidays, not that this is his fault - he is very committed to this lifestyle - but more because our routine and daily rhythm flies out the window. We seem to be walking the tension between soaking up our days in laziness and running around like headless chickens doing the "Christmas thing". I know why they call it the Silly Season!

I thought, then, that I would document some of our triumphs over the past week, as well as some of our not-so-successful moments. I guess the thing about blogging is that it can be easy to slip into the habit of only writing about the good stuff, and not be so honest about where we go wrong. I am, however, far from perfect, but my mistakes along the way are part of my journey towards living simply and more sustainably.

So here goes.....
The Highs.....
    Our grocery shop this fortnight came to just over $100. I am slowly breaking my reliance on the supermarket and learning to either make do or cook things from scratch myself. Google is a marvellous tool in this endeavour!

    At the last sewing night my mothers' group held, I made a skirt entirely from gifted and upcycled materials, costing me a grand total of $2.50. I didn't use a pattern, going entirely on an ever-changing 'picture' in my head and some words of advice from my fellow sewing buddies. I can confidently say my sewing skills are improving weekly! 

    We were lucky to be gifted four two-week-old Indian Runner ducklings, whom we have successfully integrated into the main chicken run with our Silver Appleyards after a couple of days of them in a hutch getting to know the older ducks through the fence. Tonight is their first night sleeping in the lockup coop with the rest, and so far, so good. Still on poultry updates, today we collected our first bantam egg from our silky bantam hen. Miya was very impressed with the miniature size of the egg, immediately delegating it to Eden's plate!

    We have managed two weeks TV free in our household, aside from twenty minutes of Miya ballerina dancing to an Andre Reiu concert DVD! This has been an interesting experiment for us, highly addicted to the TV as we are, but one that I was determined to try as I read more and more about the effects of TV on children and the benefits of a TV-free childhood. I'm not sure we will continue beyond Nath's holidays, but it has definitely been worthwhile. The girls are rapidly becoming more self-reliant and creatively engaged, and Nath and I are far more productive in the evenings too! I also have noticed that I am getting more sleep, as I am listening more to my body in the evening and going to bed when I am tired, rather than when the show I am watching is finished. 

    On the weekend, we went camping for a colleague (and good friend) and my joint send-off. I was blown away to receive a $150 voucher to spend at Spotlight. Spending it was great fun (although I did go a bit overboard and had to put quite a few items back upon checking out!) but it gave me the opportunity to stock up on things I will need as I continue to learn to sew that I would find it difficult to source secondhand. These items will come in very handy, and I am very grateful.

    ...And The Lows.

    It has been difficult to eat as well as we would like, because we have not been home all that much, which means our normal routines of baking bread, making yoghurt and preparing the days' meals has been thrown. Today we caved completely and bought chips from the local fish and chip shop for lunch. I would love to get to the point where the desire to take the 'easy' option of fast food is no longer there... but sadly, sometimes, it is. Miya was quick to lecture us about chips being a 'sometimes' food, though - one of those warm fuzzy parenting moments! (It didn't stop her ploughing into them, though!)

    The cubbyhouse has hit a hiccup - we need more wood to make it completely stable. This means that while it will be painted and usable on Christmas morning, it won't be completely finished. I think I am more bothered about that than the girls will be!

    I've gone a bit soft and have used the aircon over the past couple of days. It has been quite humid here and I can't stand the humidity! I've tried to minimise the environmental impact by running it at 24-25 degrees and closing all unused rooms, but still.... I think I may need to toughen up!
    I ran out of time to make my material (reusable) Christmas gift wrap - so we have resorted to some paper wrapping. It is recycled, but I still feel a bit bad about that. More time in my weeks is what I need!

    On the whole, though, I am happy that this Christmas we have been a lot more aware about our impact on the world and its people... and am looking forward to celebrating with family and friends. To my readers, have a joy-filled Christmas and stay safe. I'll be taking a break from blogging now until after Christmas.

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