I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a while and in January she set a challenge to record on our blog, monthly, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this for the last eight months and really got a lot out of it. This is my October reflection on Slowing Down - the Slow Living Essentials way!
NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
At the beginning of this challenge, this is something I wasn't doing regularly. These days its the "norm" to be cooking something for dinner. We have our "take away night" on a Thursday when after we have been to the library, we pop into the shopping centre and buy a $5 late night meal deal meal and get out takeaway fix then. It feels special but is still a great bargain, even more so when we bring our own water or drink from home!
PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve.
I have started making sauces for presents for Christmas this month starting with a base of Aldi crushed tomato's. At $3 for a can that was 2.9kg of skinned, cored, diced and pureed tomato's - I couldn't see why I would buy tomato's at $8 a kilo and still have to "process" them! I saw the tip for making sauce from these Aldi cans on Rhonda's website - Down to Earth - always worth a look!
REDUCE: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
Repaired the curtains in the lounge this month - well over due and not as hard or as bad as I thought it was going to be! Also repaired the scuff marks on a pair of shoes, so am doing ok in the repairing stake this month!
GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products.
I had a quick look under the sink and other than the caustic soda that I use for soap making and the detergent that the husband wont give up (he does do 99% of the dishes in the house so I guess he gets to choose what he washes them with) There is nothing else that is a commercial product anymore!
GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
Its so good to be able to report something in this section after months and months of trials and no results! Still got lettuces coming out our ears - we can just about have lettuce salad every night at the moment. Time will tell if I have staggered the planting well enough to give us lettuces for another few months anyway!
I'm probably not going to get any kale or Broccoli this month as the white cabbage butterfly's have found the plants, despite being planted all over the place and not in one 'easy to find block'. But the chickens think its great and come running over when I go into the garden and hang around the caged lacy kale while I lean in and pick of big fat juicy caterpillars for them. I'm getting great eggs from the greedy ones at the moment!!!
CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
Not enough of this happening this month. I started another rag quilt for the other baby but its no where near as good as the first one. Brighter and bolder but seems to have a few holes and various other "technical" issues... not sure weather to persevere or to start over at this point...
DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
Uni readings, uni readings and a book called "Visit Sunny Chernobyl - and other polluted places" Its an amazing read about a journalist who goes to Chernobyl, India, China and even out to the Pacific garbage patch and tells us what its really like to live in these places. I found it fascinating - and learnt a fair bit too!
ENHANCE: community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
Too much work and not enough community outside the work place again this month dammit...
I'm guessing that with the Festive season rapidly approaching that this will be a feature of my life until Christmas Eve. And then it will do an abrupt back flip and become all play and no work (and no money) time for me - Ah well, its better to make hay while the sun shines than to wait for the rain and lament the lost opportunities! Roll on the long hot lazy days of January!
ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family.
We have had a couple of family and friends events this month - starting with our decision last year not to "do" Halloween. We grew up in NZ and the UK and neither of us "celebrated" Halloween. We read about it in American books but never saw anything of it in our own childhoods. As October is the beginning of the BBQ season, we started having BBQ's that had a Halloween flavor. Each year they got bigger and bigger and we decided that enough was enough and this year chose to do something that was a bit more meaningful from our own heritages. So this October we had a Hangi (Maori earth oven) and invited 30 of our friend, family and neighbours over to help us eat it! Next year in Autumn we will have a mid winter medieval type feast for the Englishman to preside over!
Now, I'm doing really well with the chocolate - or should I say with the not buying chocolate - so I'm pleased about that. I manage to drink way more than the litre that I set myself in the second challenge - so that's worked well for me too.
As for the 9pm challenge for last month, that's been really hard to do. I am simply not home so many nights of the week at 9pm. Until I did this wee challenge, I would have thought I was home at least 1/2 of my week...But I'm not.
However, with one or two quite notable exceptions (both involving just getting to the end of the chapter, or the end of the next chapter or until he gets out of India or until he gets to China... or I get to the end of the book - which ever comes last...) I have been fairly good, when I have been home. The alarm on the house phone goes (my husband can do amazing things with a phone system - sometimes I even use it to call people on!!!) and I look up at the clock and reluctantly start putting things away and generally am in bed and asleep by 9.30 - 9.45pm. I am still waking up at 5.30am so at least I am getting enough sleep - on the night that I am home!
This month I think I will try to go to yoga at least twice a week and if I cant for some reason (which is likely to be work related) then I will do a 20 minute guided imagery meditation thingy that I have recorded on my mp3 player so at least I get some down time that is relaxing and centring in such a hectic or long day!
Thanks for the opportunity to share again Christine!!! Have a great month everyone! - Kara xx
9pm beeper just went - will pop the pictures and links up tomorrow! ok so it was nearly a week later - but I got there in the end! - K xx