Tag Archives: Frugal living

The Best of TED – 7 Great Talks of Ideas Worth Spreading

The Best of TED

TED carries the catch-phrase ‘ideas worth spreading’ and provides a platform for some of the very best thinkers around the globe to communicate something that they believe will challenge and inspire others.  Twice a year TED hosts two conferences in which TED talks pass on a wealth of knowledge and ideas in no more than 18 minutes.

Some of the talks are inspiring, beautiful, and creative.  Others are informative, full of knowledge or communicate an innovative idea or invention.

I wanted to share some of my most favourites with you.  I hope you find something here that will inspire and move you.

  1. Sir Ken Robinson: Schools Kill Creativity
  2. Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth – visualized
  3. Lisa Bu: How Books can open your mind
  4. Jamie Oliver: Teach Your Child About Food
  5. Jill Bolte Taylor: Stroke of Insight
  6. Dr. Terry Wahls: Minding Your Mitochondria
  7. William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?

Are there any TED talks that you have enjoyed?  Please share!

Healthy Child Summit – FREE Online Conference

healthy child summit collage

The Healthy Child Summit is a FREE online conference, coming in February 2014, for educating, empowering, and inspiring parents to care for their families naturally. I wrote on this last month, when the 5 weeks of giveaways and ‘sneak preview’ began.

There will be over 50 natural health and wellness experts that will speak on a range of topics, designed to help you and I become better equipped for raising our families naturally.  There will be something for those just getting started, or for those a little further along on their journey into natural living and parenting.

I’m really looking forward to this!

Here are just a few things that will be covered:

  • Preparing your body for pregnancy.
  • Preparing for a natural birth.
  • Whole family natural health and wellness.
  • Childhood illnesses, and preparing a natural medicine cabinet.
  • Breastfeeding, weaning, and starting solids.
  • Ridding your home of environmental toxins.
  • Gentle sleep solutions.
  • Supporting your child through specific issues, such as autism, adrenal fatigue, sensory processing disorders, and others.
  • Food choices and hormones through the teenage years.
  • Real food, nutrition, oral health… and so much more

This is your last chance to register for free access to 22 audio recordings, and enter the giveaways for the grand prize and the week 4 giveaways.

Healthy child summit giveaway

See some of you there!

Victoria

Summer natural  background with sun and lens flare.

{This post contains my affiliate link}

Eco Gift Wrapping

Eco-Gift-wrapping-Main-v1-1024x993

I’ve recently written for Heather at Frugal Homeschool Family as part of her series ’25 Frugal Days of Christmas’. 

“The benefits of going paperless in the way we wrap our gifts is not just the money saved from buying wrapping paper, but I believe it is a more responsible way of living where we are considering stewarding our resources with care and consideration.

I love coming up with creative ideas for presenting gifts. It’s amazing what you might have lying around that is unused, or some things to pick up that would otherwise be thrown away.” [read more…]

Visit ‘Frugal Homeschool Family’ and find a list of creative ideas for presenting your gifts without using wrapping paper, or recycling some of the things you probably have lying around the house.

Victoria

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Harvest Your Health – 2 Days To Go And A Giveaway!

harvest post 2

I wanted to remind you about this fantastic opportunity to purchase these resources at 97% – just two days left!  And also to let you know that “Harvest Your Health” is now running a giveaway as well.

Make sure you enter for your chance to win one of 57+ prizes, including 10 $50 Amazon Gift Cards, an Apple i-pad mini, 4 Hamilton Beach personal blenders, other gift cards, and another 12 cookbooks (including one on Paleo eating by Elana’s pantry who is fantastic).

Read through the list of resources that you can purchase for only $37 (97% off the usual value), either on my last post or on the Harvest Your Health website.

Have a great weekend!

“Harvest Your Health” E-book Bundle Sale

Harvest header v1I’m so glad to be able to share this amazing deal with you!

From today until October 14th you can get The Harvest Your Health Bundle which features 72 eBooks, 4 meal plans, 3 online magazine subscriptions and 10+ discount codes… ALL FOR $37!** (usually valued over $1,000).  That’s less than $0.50 a book!

It’s a great time of the year to be re-thinking some of your health goals and considering how you will negotiate the upcoming holiday season with a good health plan for your family.  There’s an absolute treasure trove of resources here to help you on your journey to greater health.

I’ve never come across such a fantastic group of incredible resources and subscriptions at this price!

~ It’s only available for one week – 7th October to 14th October. ~

Please help me spread the word about this and share with your friends, on Pinterest and Facebook, and anywhere you can think to!

Harvest 1 Cooking-and-Preparing-Paleo-Food

Harvest 2 Cooking-and-Preparing-Real-Food

Harvest 5 Personal-and-Home-Care

Harvest 3 Fertility-and-Motherhood

Harvest 8 Inspiration

Harvest 9 Informational

Harvest 4Fitness

Harvest 6 Detoxify

Harvest 7 Intentional-Simple-LivingHarvest Your Health Bundle Sale_600x400

The following is the list of all the e-books, meal plans, online magazine subscriptions and discount codes included in this once in a lifetime offer. Use the links for more detailed information on each specific category or book.

Cooking/Preparing Paleo Food

Cooking/Preparing Real Food

Meal Plans

Personal/Home Care (Skin, Hair, Teeth, Cleaning)

Fertility, Pregnancy, Babies, Children, Motherhood

Inspiration

Fitness

Intentional/Simple Living

Informational

Detoxify

Online Magazine Subscriptions

Discounts

NB. I will receive commission from your purchase that goes towards keeping my site up and running.  Thanks for being part of supporting our family!

{** $37 US is approximately $44 NZ}.

Harvest-Your-Health-Bundle-Sale_Buy-Now1

Our ‘Back to Eden’ Spring Garden

Eden

In February I wrote on how we were transforming our garden using the principles from the film ‘Back to Eden’.

Now more than 6 months later, after having started the transition at the height of summer and now a few weeks into Spring, we are continuing to reap the benefits from this method of gardening.

We found that during the summer, we decreased our watering by about half (as the wood chips hadn’t broken down adequately) and haven’t watered at all since.  We’re hoping that this summer we won’t have to water at all, or at least very little.

Eden post 3 (11) words

Sowing Seed and Raising Seedlings

We now mostly sow seeds straight into the ground, simply by raking back the wood chips, putting some compost in, and the leaving the cover back until the seedlings sprout.

We also have some seeds under cover in seed raising trays.  Our seed raising mix consists of homemade compost, vermaculture (from a worm farm), and some sand to lighten the mix.  This seems to be working well so far.  After three weeks we have seedlings that are already 2-3 inches tall (tomatoes, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, zucchini, pumpkins, and capsicums).

Eden

Our mini green house is made from a piece of glass inside a wood frame and angled towards the sun.  Underneath the glass (about 2cm in) is clear plastic fixed to the inside of the frame which creates a good condensation and diffuses the bright sunlight.

On the ground is concrete so we always had problems with having to put seed trays on a waterproof tray – the dirt would be wet then dry out.  So now we have some old carpet over the concrete and 3 inches of mulch on top of the carpet.  Our seed trays sit on top of the mulch.  This creates a forest floor in our greenhouse and keeps it moist.  We water a little every 2-3 days with a watering can.

Planting

One of the things we’ve enjoyed was when our plants have self-seeded and new plants have sprung up on their own in various places around the garden.  We wondered if this might stop once the garden was covered in wood chips.  But gladly this has continued and they can either grow where they’ve landed or we can move them to a better place.

We recently planted some broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower seeds straight into the garden with a month of winter left, but they still came up and are doing well.

Eden post 3 (8) words

Weeding

As we’d hoped, we haven’t had to pull many weeds at all, and the few that do crop up are easy to pull.

The great thing is that now that it’s time to plant our spring garden, there’s no weeds to pull or soil to till (which would normally have taken about 8 hours) so the motivation to get out in the garden isn’t spoiled.  We have some seedlings on the go and these will be ready to plant at the traditional summer planting time in October.

Eden post 3 (6) words

Composting

We have two composting bins that we alternate and keep them covered with a black rubber mat.   We introduced a bucket of vermaculture from a worm farm, which had a good amount of worms in and have flourished in the compost.  The compost is rich and the system is working well.

Eden post 3 (3) words

Some Things to Plan

Finally, here are some things we have yet to plan.

  • Utilising the space well so as to plant all our seedlings in limited space;
  • Keeping the wood chips on the garden replenished;
  • Finding a local source for more wood chips and a place in the garden to store them;
  • Introducing more herbs into the garden;
  • Being more intentional about companion planting (eg. flowers);
  • Getting a beehive.

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{Linked up at Natural Family Friday}

60 Activities for your Homeschool Group

60 activities for your homeschool group

The next school term is almost upon us, and with our homeschool group planning meeting coming up, I thought I’d brainstorm some ideas for things we can do with our young group for this term and beyond.

  1. Occupation Afternoon – dress up in different occupations. Have a parent speak on what they do
  2. Book Day – dress up as your favourite book character. Share a story with the Group.
  3. Crafts afternoon – either everyone bring something that they’re already working on, or do something all together.
  4. Learn to sew something simple – or a sewing demonstration if the group is large
  5. Bake some healthy food
  6. Winter Scavenger hunt
  7. Visit the Art Gallery
  8. Sugar Cube building
  9. Park or Playground Day
  10. Presentation Day – kids show something they’ve been working on, or a book they like to read
  11. Nature Walk – bring magnifying glasses, sketch pads, camera’s etc, and see what you can find
  12. Visit a nursing home and sing/recite
  13. Go to the airport
  14. Painting afternoon
  15. Up-cycling – bring along some old things, such as scraps of material/paper, and turn them into works of art.
  16. Obstacle course
  17. Orienteering
  18. Rock or shell collecting
  19. Plant seeds or plants
  20. Bless someone in your neighbourhood – do their gardens, wash their car and other odd jobs
  21. Kite flying day
  22. Board games
  23. How-to – learn how to do something new
  24. How things work – pull something to pieces and see how it works
  25. Exercise class
  26. Make and bake bread
  27. Beads
  28. Nature Art
  29. Simple Science (eg. Float/sink, looking at objects under microscope, etc)
  30. Learn and perform simple plays
  31. Team building (set an activity that they have to do in groups)
  32. Treasure Hunt
  33. Solve a Mystery
  34. Write a progressive story
  35. Make a newspaper
  36. Back-to-school picnic
  37. Hobby Day
  38. Ball games
  39. Sports day
  40. Fire Station visit
  41. Museum visit
  42. Library visit
  43. Zoo Visit
  44. Bush walk
  45. Beach walk
  46. Aquarium
  47. Historic houses/churches/monuments and local tours (finish with a picnic)
  48. Plan and perform a historical reenactment
  49. Visit a large local greenhouse
  50. Go bird-watching
  51. Visit a pottery studio
  52. Find a local factory and take a tour
  53. Visit an aviation museum
  54. Go to a bakery and see how bread is made
  55. Blueberry picking or something else at an orchard or farm
  56. Visit the local animal shelter
  57. Family Day – invite Dad’s, grandparents, and other important people in your children’s lives.  Share food together!
  58. Visit the local radio station
  59. Have a talented photographer friend (or one of the Mum’s) take photo’s of all the children in the park or somewhere special.  Take the opportunity to give the kids some tips for great photography.
  60. Visit a construction site and learn about the building process, site safety, and teamwork.

Do you have any activity ideas you’d like to share?

 

Date Nights at Home

date nights at home

If you’re a family like us with young kids, and don’t leave your very little ones with babysitters, then the date night options are a little slim picking aren’t they?  But there are still heaps of fun things you can do at home, even if you’re trying to be careful about your spending.  The main thing is to make it something intentional that you do – carving out that time to be together, even if it means you are left out of the Facebook loop, the following days homeschooling will be a bit ad-lib, and the laundry pile sits there for another day.  🙂

So here’s some ideas from some of the things we’ve been doing together lately, and some we’ve yet to do.  Yes, I have been neglecting my blog a little, but I’m so enjoying being with my husband more.

  1. Watch your favourite movie or series together‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ is a great one, as is ‘Emma‘.  If you like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Downton Abbey’, you’ll love these ones.  And best of all, they’re free on YouTube.
  2. Type in your favourite genre into YouTube and see what you come up with (I just did ‘English period drama’ and came up with some goodies).
  3. Bake a cake together.
  4. Watch your wedding video.
  5. Have a romantic supper at 9pm (or whenever the kids eventually go to sleep). Dress up in your nicest clothes.
  6. Sit and talk on the couch while eating half a dozen different flavours of fair trade chocolate.
  7. Make your husband his favourite dessert, and enough of it that can take some in his lunch the next day.
  8. Lie under the stars in the summer together.
  9. Do something playful, like built a fort and eat dessert inside it.
  10. Play board games.  Let him win.
  11. Massages.  That simple.
  12. Cook a three course meal together.
  13. Have a picnic on the floor in your PJs.
  14. Listen to music that you enjoyed when you first got together.
  15. If you really really have to get some jobs done, then do each job together.  Fold the laundry together.  Do the dishes together.  Tidy up together.  Do the budget together (or skip this last one if it’s not your idea of a fun date night). 🙂
  16. Dance.
  17. Kiss.
  18. Spend the evening writing a list of things you want to do together when the kids are older.  Like cycling, marathons, or tramping.  Or beach walks, attend a concert, or take an evening class of some sort together.  Just dream a bit.
  19. Sit together while you both read books.  Real books like in the olden days, not the digital kind.
  20. Do some fun things in the back yard, like play on the swing, climb the trees, or get in the kids sandpit.  Why not?
  21. Go to bed early.  Sometimes a good night’s sleep is the best thing to do together isn’t it?

Please share your ideas!

Organic Food on a Budget

Organic food on a budget

Why Eat Organic?

Organic food is quite simply more nutritious, more ethical, and safer.  It is higher in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, flavenoids, and organic food is grown in nutrient-dense soil with sustainable practices.  It doesn’t contain harmful pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, flavour enhancers, artificial sweeteners, genetically-engineering, and the like.  It is also fair trade and ethically produced.

One of the things to consider when weighing up the cost of eating organic food, is the actual cost in eating conventional food, as the true cost is measured in terms of every part of the chain – the cultivation, the effects on farmers and local economies, the manufacture, the distribution, and the waste.  We are not only responsible for what we put in our bodies and discard at the end of the day, but also for the additional load we have contributed to the environment via our purchasing.  Something to think about. 🙂

If you have to compromise somewhere, buy the spray-free alternatives or visit the EWG’s list, ‘Clean 15’, for the things you can buy with the lowest pesticide residues (although these still won’t be as nutrient dense as their organic counterparts).

eggs smallAs you are deciding how you can afford to eat organic food, consider that by making this choice you putting the highest quality nutrients into your body and ensuring the best health for you and that of your family.  It may mean making some budget cuts elsewhere, but it is a worthy investment if you can take steps towards greater health.

For our family, we very rarely rent movies or eat out, and have started get better about being more creative with our gift-giving – which has been a little beyond our means at times!  It also means we simply go without things sometimes.  But we have chosen to make organic food part of our family’s quest towards what we believe is responsible stewardship of our bodies and the environment.

Where To Start

First things first – you’ll need to do some research.  Find (preferably) local sources for fresh produce, meat, dairy, and other sources for your pantry goods, many of which can be found online.

It may be stating the obvious a bit, but I’ll say it anyway: you’ll also want to write up a detailed budget worksheet, and see how much you can put towards your groceries each week.  We looked at Dave Ramsay’s helpful resources 10 years ago and still use his suggestions in how we manage our finances.

Turkish market

A beautiful spread of fresh produce at a farmers market

Sourcing Food

  • Find your local farmers markets – turn market day into a fun family day.  Get to know your local growers.  They’re often a super source of wisdom and advice.
  • Find a good fruit and vege box supplier online if you can, which contain seasonable varieties of fruit and/or vegetables. You’ll probably still need to buy the more expensive items that aren’t usually in the boxes.
  • Join a co-op or start one.
  • Start a garden, or at the very least, plant herbs such as parsley, coriander, mint and sage. You could do these in planter box off the window sill.

Buying Tips

  • Buy in bulk (eg. flour, nuts, legumes)
  • Avoid buying processed snacks and simply make your own.  It just takes some creativity.
  • Buy specialty items online (usually for much cheaper) for things such as salt, spices, cacao products, bee products, sea vegetables, etc.
  • Ditch buying the organic versions of processed foods, such as boxed cereals and bars as these are not usually nutritious anyway and can quickly bump up your grocery bill.
  • If you can’t get organic meat, eggs and dairy, always buy grass-fed versions.

Preparing and storing food

  • Make bone broths from chicken frames and beef bones that are left over from your meals.  You could also buy them for next to nothing from your meat supplier.  Freeze tons of the stuff!
  • Buy fresh produce in season, and freeze, ferment, make simple sauces to add to meals and freeze these also.
  • Source simple and nutritious recipes for your meals, print, and store in your recipe folder
  • Create meal plans, so you are only shopping for exactly what you need that week.  If you have some room in the budget, stock up on pantry items.
  • Don’t throw anything out – I use all my leftovers somehow.  Vegetables can be diced and added with eggs and cheese for a frittata; small amounts of meat can be turned into stirfries and rice dishes; ratatouille can be blended and turned into a sauce.  Try putting your ingredients into your search engine and see what you come up with.

You might like to consider making a gradual transition into making the switch to organic food.

One of the things I noticed with us, is that I tried replacing ‘apples for apples’ in the beginning, until eventually (after a few years) our eating habits themselves changed and as a result our overall grocery bill dropped.

Did I miss anything?  Comment below!

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DIY Fort Kit

I was looking for gift ideas for my nephew recently and stumbled upon this neat idea for a homemade fort kit.

I came across heaps of great deals for the contents, including the head lamp which I got for half price.  It pays to shop around a bit!

DIY Fort kitMy version contains:

  • Camouflage tarpaulin (you could use a sheet – I just liked the idea of it being able to use it inside and outside)
  • Kids head lamp
  • Spring pegs (these ones open really wide – or you could use clamps)
  • Rope
  • Glow sticks
  • Favourite snacks
  • A cotton bag (something I hung onto after buying some linen)

This website also has some ideas, as well as a neat label which I used too.

DIY fort kit label

I’m hoping it’s going to be a hit.  What little boy doesn’t like making forts?  At the very least, he’ll have some snacks to eat and a headtorch to play with after lights out. 🙂