One Pot Meals

I am all about quick and easy meals at the moment. With a five month old things need to be fast so I can spend my time with her and meeting her needs. So for me the best kind of cooking is the one pot meal. Less dishes, less mess, and so delicious!

A couple of examples. The stir fry – what an amazing meal – jam packed with heaps of vegetables and protein and lots of flavour. And the best thing about it is you can change it up so easily depending on the meat you use or the veggies. Add udon noodles for something different (or use another pot -I know so bad of me to make rice). And the sauce options – well it’s endless, teriyaki, pad thai, peanut sauce, sweet and sour the list goes on and on. One of my favourite things to do as well is add nuts to give it a bit of crunch and different texture.

Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry with broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum and corn
Easiest way to make a good stir fry, is to get a good pan, and heat it up so it’s nice and hot add a tablespoon of whichever oil you are choosing to use (I like to use Olive Oil or Avocado oil) and brown off your meat. Once you have sealed your meat, add the vegetables to cook in the juices, and they can start to soak up some of the flavour from your meat. Once everything is mostly cooked add your sauce choice and let the meal simmer for a bit on the stove so everything blends nicely together. Finally add your noddles and once they are cooked (which doesn’t take long -maybe five minutes) you are ready to serve up and eat. Delicious!

Another one pot meal I love is a ‘Broccoli, Bacon, and Kumara Salad’. So delicious. Take one kumara and cute it up into cubes. Put this in a pan with the tiniest bit of olive oil and into the oven for 10 minutes (at 180). While this is started to cook, chop up your broccoli and pull out some bacon (5-6 rashers depending on how many you are cooking for and how much you love bacon!) Once the kumara has been in for about 10 minutes pull out the pan and add your broccoli and then cover with the bacon rashers. Back into the oven for 15-20 minutes until everything is roasted up. I like to throw it on grill at the end to crisp up the bacon a bit more. Serve with fresh tomatoes and feta. No need for a dressing it is chock full of flavour already! You can vary this recipe by using different vegetables try it with some roasted capsicum or add spinach for a more leafy green experience. Roasted kale is also a great addition. Stick with what’s in season if you can and even better if you can pull it from your garden. NYFG0055Enjoy your meals and see if you can come up with any other one pot meals that are quick and easy and chock full of flavour that the whole family will love!


Feeling Guilty

Where do I begin…I guess there is lots to feel guilty about as a mother and always wondering if you are doing the best for your child. And please know that you are. You are their mum and you know what is best for them. Never doubt this.

But in this case I am feeling guilty for a very different and hard reason. Being a Canadian now living in New Zealand, I am feeling very guilty about my family and all of the things they will not get to experience with my children (I say children as I know we will be having at least one more). It eats away at me somedays and it can be really hard. Sure Skype is great and at least they get to see my little bubs grow up a bit, but its the moments that they will miss out on and so will Little Miss A. No Sunday dinners at Grandma and Grandpas, they won’t be able to come out on a Saturday morning and watch her play rugby or netball or whatever she chooses to do. No sleepovers at their cousin’s and growing up with each other. This is what makes me sad and feel guilty. I loved all of these things growing up as a kid, and to know that my daughter and future children only have one side of their family in the country makes it really hard.

We are lucky enough to be travelling there in September, but it is 24hrs+ trip just to get there, and with a 7 month old it will be a rather interesting trip. I am excited to see everyone and visit, but again it will not be the same as if we were living only an hour apart. But this was a choice I made when I decided to move over to New Zealand and I have to live with it. My grandparents left Europe to move to Canada at a time when the Internet and telephones were not mainstream. My Grandmother told me she left Holland thinking she would never see her parents again. That is a hard thing to fathom. I left Canada for New Zealand knowing I would be able to skype with my family whenever I wanted and travel back and forth (perhaps not as often as I’d like, but still doable).

After Little Miss A was born, my parents and grandparents made the trip over to see us and stayed for a month. It was great to be able to share our new baby with them and our home. We had moved to the farm and no one had been over yet – so they didn’t really understand all of the things I was talking about and where we were living. But now that they have been here I feel a bit more connected to them and know they feel the same as well.

They will watch Little Miss A grow up through emails and pictures and videos and skype. It is not quite the same as being there hands on and being able to be a part of the things she does, but at least I know I can share some of the magical moments with my family and friends back home. And I will cherish the visits from them and know that the majority of our family holidays will not be exploring exotic new places, rather travelling back to my roots and letting my children learn a bit about their other heritage and family. This is important to me that they know were they come from and that they are loved on both sides of the world.

30 Day Photo Challenge

I am embarking on a 30 Day Photo Challenge with a few others in a farming group I am a part of. The original idea is not mine (ie. the list) and is from another blogger and farming mum, Just A Farmers Wife (#jafwphotochallenge). But I also wanted to share my photos with my readers, so here it is…


Day 1: self-portrait. Who am I kidding I love selfies. But how to come up with one that was a wee bit artistic and showing who I am today. Well. I’m a mum first and foremost. It’s amazing how quickly one can settle into that role. But I do enjoy taking a small time out when my wee button is sleeping and enjoying the life I have created. This mornings sunrise and hard frost was gorgeous, made even more amazing by a delicious coffee and knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Life is good and I am happy and nothing beats looking over the paddocks knowing that you worked hard to get here with your partner and that everything is as perfect as it can be. #jafwphotochallenge

Day 2: something new So I decided my new ‘project’ would be learning to crochet. I saw some patterns I thought were so cute so now I have to learn to do it!

Day 3: something cold. Well fairly easy to get a good shot this morning, a minus 6 start and a hard frost. Out breaking the ice off the water troughs for the cows and lambs. You know they were thirsty when they all go running for it. Brrrr need to add that to the morning routine now #jafwphotochallenge

Day 4: food A midweek roast at our house tonight #jafwphotochallenge

Day 5: symmetry. I love these windows in my house. Give it so much character and they will be something I will miss when we eventually build our new home. But single pane windows are cold in the winter. Brrrr #jafwphotochallenge

Day 6: water. It’s a rainy old morning here in Springvale. Definitely will not be hanging out the washing today #jafwphotochallenge

Day 7: shadows. #jafwphotochallenge

Day 8: something orange. Took this yesterday when out for lunch with my sister and her beautiful twins had a great day #jafwphotochallenge #somethingorange #orange #flower

Day 9: animal. My first fur baby. ‘Look I’m sitting so where’s my treat?!?’ #jafwphotochallenge

Day 10: scenery- The Hawkduns. This was taken a few weeks ago when I went to visit some friends. We used to live out this way and had these beautiful mountains as our view everyday. Now I can just see the tops of them from our new place #jafwphotochallenge #scenery

Day 11: something old. This is an old family milk churn. Love that it has been passed down and has original tags. #jafwphotochallenge #milkchurn

Day 12: animal again. This is our working dog Ra. Tough when he needs to be but such a big suck. Loves sleeping on the porch in the sun and playing. #jafwphotochallenge #animal

Day 13: flower. The last rose left in my mother in laws garden. Winter has set in here #jafwphotochallenge #rose

Day 14: what you wore today. This seems to be my go to outfit lately. Super comfy and easy to breastfeed. Can dress it up or down with the right boots. But when we are just mucking around the farm gum boots and wooly hat are the way to go. And my best accessory of course is Little Miss A! #jafwphotochallenge

Day 15: love. Sunday snuggles in bed with my beautiful family #jafwphotochallenge #love

Day 16: black + white. The mailboxes On Keddell Rd. #jafwphotochallenge

Day 17: it makes me happy. It makes me happy to be able to enjoy time with loved ones and friends over a cup of coffee in the winter snuggled up by the fire. There is so much that makes me happy it’s hard to choose just one thing. And I cannot wait to catch up with family and friends back home in September. #jafwphotochallenge

Day 18: what’s happening at 4? Sorting out end of year financials with this wee button helping me #jafwphotochallenge

Day 19: nature

Day 20: art. One of my favourite art pieces I own. A painting by Matt Durant (2009) a Toronto artist. He used reclaimed timber to paint this one. I like the message it portrays about what we as society are doing to the environment. The crane removing the last tree from the city. Should be a wake up call to all of us. I loved it so much it was shipped across seas from Canada when I moved to New Zealand. #jafwphotochallenge #mattdurantstudio

Day 21: begins with ‘t’. Tides. Low tide at Moreaki Boulders. Away for the weekend and loving being by the ocean #jafwphotochallenge

Day 22: lines. Feeling very uninspired today unfortunately. Took this photo a while back in Dunedin. #jafwphotochallenge

Day 23: i spy. #jafwphotochallenge

Day 24: bag. My ‘I can’t leave home without it bag’. Always packed and ready to go. Change of clothes for bubs and a top for me (just in case) extra nappies, toys, spew clothes, hand cream, hats mitts and booties, wallet, lip balm, Plunket book, and probably everything else in between. #jafwphotochallenge #bag #lovethisbag

Day 25: winter. I was secretly hoping to wake up this morning to gorgeous snowfall so I could post a winter picture. But alas that did not happen. So I thought I would post pictures of the stereotypical Canadian winter. I spent Christmas in the Yukon Territory one year dog sledding. Here are some of my favourite shots from that trip. I do miss the snow! #jafwphotochallenge #dogsledding #winter
Day 26: movement. Took this timelapse yesterday when shifting the calves feed break with bubs. Movement of the break and us moving. #jafwphotochallenge. See this link for video

Day 27: body. This little growing body continues to amaze me every single day. Can’t wait to watch her grow into an amazing girl #jafwphotochallenge

So this is Motherhood

So as you anxiously await the arrive of your first child, you drift off into a daydream of what life will be like once your little bundle of joy has arrived. And I can honestly say that nothing can prepare you for how your life is about to change. Your life is going to change in the most amazing way possible, and you will quickly take on the role of ‘mummy’ in no time, and it will seem that this little mini person of you has been there all along. Now I am not saying it is all fairy dust and roses, because it certainly is not, but the journey is incredible and I keep learning every single day.

However in saying all of this, your life is going to change in ways you never thought, or you might be thinking to yourself ‘I’m not going to be the mum who discusses her child’s bodily fluids in public or I will always have time for a shower and to put myself together’. I’m here to tell you sister – this is not going to happen. You be talking poos, pees, barfs and spews within hours of that baby being born and guess what it’s ok – because it’s completely normal!

I’ve come up with a list of 10 ways your life is going to change…

1. Sleep -you will only have a distant memory of sleep and what it means to have a full nights rest. This will become a dream for you. I think that’s why in the last month of pregnancy your body wakes you every couple of hours to use the toilet – it’s preparation! And don’t let those first couple of weeks fool you into thinking this is not that bad. Bubs is ‘playing tricks’ on you during those first weeks. Not really, but they are sleeping pretty good – I would to after a traumatic event like being born, but after a week, it hits you and bubs is up for a feed and waking every couple of hours. You will feel like a walking zombie and not know what day or time it is sometimes…but I will let you in on a secret – you will get through. It’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts to running on little sleep. And I know everyone says it, but I will say it again. Sleep when baby does! I mean it. Dishes can wait, washing can wait, cleaning the house can wait. SLEEP!

2. Poo, poo and more poo – before you know it you will be talking poos, pees and spews like it’s nobody’s business and comparing with other mums just make sure your kid is ‘normal’ and doing what they should be doing. And guess what…it’s perfectly fine. Sure the random lady at the supermarket probably does not want to hear about it, but talking with your other mummy friends, it just comes along with the territory. And you will probably be sporting the new look of the ‘baby badge’ which leads into conversations of wind and gassy babies anyways…And it won’t just be babies bodily fluids being discussed either – if you’re breastfeeding, your own body will also come up in conversation quite a lot! Again perfectly ok, as long as it does not mean talking to the checkout lady about it.

3. Babies don’t know what a schedule is – so don’t even bother – at least for the first bit. Get to know your baby and get to know your new role as mummy. Forget reading all the things about how to make your baby to sleep through the night, and when to feed etc etc. All well-intentioned I’m sure, but honestly let your baby be your baby. Everyone is different and every baby is different. It does not mean you are a good or bad mother if your baby won’t sleep – it’s just them adjusting to the world outside. For the first 9 weeks my little one was up from 6pm-11pm. Talk about a tiring 5 hours. Not only that daddy couldn’t console her because all she wanted was to feed and lie in my arms. It was tough, but we got through and eventually she started going to bed at a more reasonable hour. So even though I wanted bubs to be asleep she had her own ideas about things.

4. You will learn to eat fast – and probably not even realise you are doing it. All of the sudden there is something else in your life that requires your undivided attention and if you are lucky they may nap over dinner tie, but chances are they will be screaming their head off and you will be shoveling food into your mouth faster than you ever though possible. Because let’s face it – you’re hungry too and if you’re breastfeeding you’re starving! My partner and I only realised how quickly we were eating our tea when we went out for our first ‘Mother’s Day’ dinner to the local pub. Dinner, dessert and some chat and we were back home within an hour…oops so much for getting out for the night.

5. You will be late…sure you will try to time it right to get to where you need to be on time, but it is almost impossible to get to anywhere you need to be on time anymore. And you can bet that if it’s important bubs is going to have a big poo blow-out just as you walk out the door, causing at least a 10minute delay cleaning, changing and getting bubs sorted again. But don’t worry most people understand.

6. Coinciding with the last point…everything takes longer. Not only because are you now getting two of you ready to head out the door, but once you are out and about people will stop you to have a chat and talk about how gorgeous your wee little button is and if they are sleeping through the night yet (I hate this question, babies need to get up to feed and for their neurological development, they shouldn’t be sleeping through the night right away, so don’t make me feel like a bad mother because my child wakes to be fed and cuddled). That quick trip to the grocery store is no longer quick, you will be stopped by random strangers to discuss your gorgeous wee bundle and they will coo and caw over them. (If you don’t have time for this, might I suggest wearing your baby – makes it harder for people to get in their and have a look at bubs who is ‘sleeping’ nicely cuddled up to mum).

7. People want to help you – all of the sudden you are not just a woman doing the groceries, you are a mum and for the most part people will go out of their way for you. I once even had a lady pay for my groceries. Yup you read that right – I was as shocked as you when it happened. Bubs was only a few weeks old and the lady in line behind me asked if she could pay for my groceries especially the nappies because she knows how expensive things are. Now this probably will not every time (and it doesn’t) but people are all the sudden very helpful when they see a mum with bubs in tow trying to get things done. I have had the people at the grocery store offer to get me sacks of potatoes because they are heavy and I’m wearing baby, they open doors, help with the pram and are just generally more considerate. Now that’s mostly about strangers, but remember your family and friends want to help to, and as weird as it may be to sit down and relax when people are over -do it! and let them make the cuppas and do the dishes. It’s ok, and a good time for you to rest.

8. You will learn to do almost everything one handed. Make a coffee (notice how this one is first), making dinner, cleaning up, brushing your teeth, doing the washing, all these jobs will seem difficult at first with bubs in your arms, but then all of the sudden you will be doing these things no problem with your one free hand, and maybe even breastfeeding and talking on the phone at the same time. It’s amazing how you will adapt.

9. Hanging out with friends is no longer at the pub on a Friday night. It’s Friday mornings at the music and movement class or Tuesday for lunch or at the swimming pool while you give your bubs some much needed tummy time and different experiences. Your friends without babies may not understand this change, but your friends with babies will be right there beside you taking it all in. As much as you may mourn the loss of your Friday night sessions, recall that you have already had 9 months of not drinking and probably not partying like a wild child and that your new wing man is a cute little bundle of cuddles.

10. One is never enough…if you feel anything like I do, bubs is only 4.5 months old and we are already planning number 2, and maybe even number 3. I can’t wait to make my wee button a big sister and grow our little family. There is something about this time that is so magical with a little one and as much as I may be tired and still trying to navigate motherhood, I can’t wait to have more babies.

Welcome to the sisterhood of Motherhood, it’s messy and trying, but it is one amazing journey. xx


My random thoughts about breastmilk…

Breastmilk. I use that $&@! On everything!

So before having children I never thought I would become so fascinated with breasts. Well maybe not breasts, but in particular breastmilk and the amazing things it does. Honestly that stuff is liquid gold. It’s a super power all women develop after having a baby. To say the least I am pro breastfeeding, but I will not judge anyone who does not (unless of course you never tried but that’s a different story). Happy mum, happy baby, I say. As long as bubs is being fed that’s the main thing.

So back to breastmilk and it’s amazing super powers. Did you know your breastmilk changes with the gender of your child! Yup different milk for boys and girls. And while your baby is suckling away its creating a suction and your breasts can actually determine through your babies saliva what your baby needs. So your liquid gold is constantly changing based on the needs of your baby. If bubs is sick than it will produce antibodies to help them get better. It’s incredible stuff really. I breastfeed and pump for the freezer to use after bubs is weaned and it’s incredible when you see the colour change of your milk because baby is sick. My little one just had a nasty cold and my milk changed from an off white to almost yellow. Helping bubs to fight off her infection. Good thing I had it first as my body already knew what antibodies she needed. So that’s the first thing I find so amazing about breastmilk.

Next it’s the cure all liquid. Honestly I don’t know what I will do when I stop breastfeeding. That $&@! fixes everything. Babies belly button isn’t healing. Throw some breastmilk on it. Healed up in two days!!! (After six weeks of oozing). Baby has gunk in her eyes because of being sick. Squirt some breastmilk in there. In less than 24 hours her eye was cleared up and never got the other one infected. Baby has cradle cap. You guessed it! Breastmilk that stuff away. Ear infection. Boom. A few drops of breastmilk at the opening of the ear should do the trick. So you can be classy and pump some and use a syringe or eye dropper to apply it (I would if using in the ear) or you can be like me and just squirt some on wherever needed. Knowing that aiming is not so easy. It doesn’t come out one hole in a nice straight line does it ladies? Haha. Who knew your nipples were like a sponge and breastmilk can just spray in every which direction. Look out!

But honestly I could go on and on about the benefits of breastmilk and feeding. Not only that but the bond formed and closeness I have with bubs is incredible. I love feeding my little girl and love knowing that she is getting the best start I can give her right now. I am even pumping for the freezer so she can continue on breastmilk after she has weaned.IMG_1755IMG_1756
Good luck to all of you mamas out there and remember if there is ever an ailment with bubs I bet that breastmilk is the cure. xx

The unexpected lunch guest

I love having people come by for a couple of reasons, a) I’m a really social person and looooove to talk, and b) being a stay at home mum it’s really nice to have some adult company once in awhile and have a conversation that isn’t just jibberish (I love baby gagas but I still need to talk). So I’m posing this question to you my readers – what do you make for your unexpected or late-notice lunch guests?

I was lucky enough to know last night when our stock agent invited himself over for lunch today. I still had enough time to think of something easy but delicious to make which included crumbed chicken, a green salad, and a sweet chili rice salad with roasted cashews. But even then I didn’t have all the ingredients and sent the other half out to the grocery store this morning to grab a few things (a luxury at the moment because he has the week off of work -but that will not always be the case). It was delicious and everyone loved it, even Pop enjoyed his lunch and he is a pretty simple eater.

So that got me thinking – I need to have some go to meals that are quick and easy on hand for the unexpected lunch guest. Rice salads are always easy – we always have rice in the house and even just a little bit of sweet chili sauce will spice things up quite nicely. Bacon and egg pie is also usually a big hit around here – although I need to make sure my eggs are stocked up and running down to the neighbours to get some from her chooks does not always work out. May need to invest in some of my own chooks in the near future. But I am honestly at a loss of some quick, easy and delicious lunches? Help me out people -hit me with what you would serve up at your country kitchen…


Well it’s winter time again…

Yes it’s true – winter has finally hit. It’s cold and frosty and the condensation is dripping down the windows (I hate single pane windows), at least on the plus I have a diesel fire and I don’t need to be carrying wood inside everyday!

But that being said, winter does bring on a whole new set of chores to stay on top of. One of the most important things is getting out early in the morning when it’s still frosty to break the ice off of the water troughs for the animals. Although this does not sounds too bad when you have  4 month old in tow it makes a bit more interesting. A once 10 min job, turns into almost a 45 minute affair, once you get little miss bundled and myself bundled (although usually I’ll admit it I’m still in my pj’s) and off to the various paddocks where the stock are to break the ice with my trusted old wooden broom handle. Sometimes I’m lucky and can do this when she naps, but not so easy at the moment with our motorbike out of commission. It definitely wakes you up in the morning though!

Feeding out is also something you forget about in the summer – the stock happily grazing along and not a care in the world. And wham winter hits and all the sudden there is not enough feed so your feeding out hay and bailage, along with break feeding the paddocks to ensure you will get through the winter. We were lucky this year and had a bit of a late start of winter, but now that it has arrived we are in the full swing of things.

Don’t get me wrong – I love all of this – but winter does bring another dynamic to the farm and we just need to stay on top of things. I am usually able to do a walk of the paddocks in the afternoon and check on all of the stock and make sure everything is running smoothly. At least then if there are any major problems we can get it sorted before dark. The longest day is coming up soon and after that things just seem to get a bit brighter…no pun intended 😛

So a random post about chores I know, but it was just what was on my mind today.


Where did the last 4 months go?

Well I started this blog before bubs was born and had all of these great intentions on contributing my stories and experiences on life as it happens and sharing what is going on, on the farm… really I did! And then bam! Bubs was born and my world was turned upside down and all around in the most amazing way possible. But it has meant that I have not been writing. Sorry.

My beautiful wee girl was born at the end of January just before the hottest heat wave we have had in a while. It made for a very interesting start trying to keep her cool but comfortable and talk about some sweaty feeding sessions! But we managed and as overwhelming as the first baby can be -we managed. I think everyone always does. Sure we had some rough nights and I know there will be more to come (had one last night), but that doesn’t matter. Love makes up for it in the end and the smiles you get out of her – aaaaaa-dorable!

They say the first six weeks are the hardest and once you get past that things get easier. And I would say it’s true, but you don’t realise how hard it was until you are actually out them. You just do what you have to do to get on in those weeks and don’t really notice the tiredness and messy house etc…and then all the sudden it’s like you figured it out. I’ve mastered this mummy-thing. Sorta. I keep learning everyday  and cannot wait to see what my little girl has to teach me next.

So anyways I guess this is more of an ‘I’m sorry I’ve been away post’ and ‘I promise to try harder’ post and ooops the baby is up now so I have to go but will write again soon I swear! Duty calls!


Coffee or Tea? Both, in the Garden Please

I love coffee! Let’s just get that out of the way – I love that morning hit and pick me up…and to make things even better my lovely partner bought me an espresso machine for Christmas! Yay! Now I can make an amazing latte, for breakfast! No better way to start the morning. IMG_8899.JPGBUT, the environmentalist in me cringes a bit every time I make one. I think of all of those little capsules, not being recycled and ending up straight into the landfills. Not good at all for anyone. But I have figured a few things out, and make my morning habit a little less harmful. First of all, the machine I have is a Nespresso. Amazing coffee and company for a number of reasons. By 2020, Nespresso will sustainably source 100% of its permanent Grand Cru range (the range I use), so you know your coffee is coming from a healthy and well looked after source and work force. It’s important to know that it is sustainably managed right from the beginning. Secondly, Nespresso also recycles their capsules, making them into new capsules again, thereby reducing the impact of continually producing aluminum. You just simply have to drop them off at the closest center. In other words, the company is making steps forward to make a difference for the environment.

However, talking about the company is not the reason for my post. Shocking I know. Rather I want to share how amazing coffee grounds and tea leaves are for your garden and how you can start making small changes at home to help out with your garden. Composting with coffee and tea is a great way to make use of something that would otherwise fill up landfills. Coffee and tea add nitrogen to your compost pile. There are a number of ways you can use it, one by adding to your pile, or it can be added directly to soil as fertilizer for your plants. Coffee grounds add organic material to your soil, which improves drainage, water retention and aeration in the soil, just add it in around your plants.  I like to add it to the compost pile as I find it helps to break down the other organic materials and the worms love it! Moist tea leaves added to the compost bin increase the speed with which your pile decomposes as well. Most tea bags are compostable, but 20-30% may be made of polyproplene, which will not decompose. These will feel slippery to the touch and have a heated sealed edge. Still fine to use in the compost bin, just know that you will be pulling out tea bags later on.

So what does this have to do with the espresso capsules. Well it’s actually quite easy to get the grounds out of the capsules and make use of them in your own garden. I maybe spend 10 minutes a week on this and provide my garden and compost heap with the extra boost it needs. Simply cut the top open in a cross with a knife and scrape out the grounds into a bowl or your bin. And then of course store your emptied capsules until you are able to drop them off at a recycling center which accepts them. Easy peesy and you’ll probably feel pretty good about lessening your ecological footprint as well. And obviously espresso capsules are not the only coffee people drink – so any grounds are great to be used in the garden or compost bin. Your plants will love it!

Coffee grounds can also be used for:

  • Mulch for plants
  • Keep slugs and snails away
  • Some say it is a cat repellent (I use lemon balm herb for this planted among the vegetables)
  • Worm food for vermicomposting

Just remember that if we all do these little things, it will make a huge difference in the end. So enjoy your morning coffee or tea without the guilt, and keep your garden ticking away happily.

A little kitchen DIY

So to be honest…I HATE my kitchen. I know hate is a strong word, but I have never liked it since we bought the house, but there is not much we can do about it short of spending thousands of dollars to renovate, and considering we would like to re-build one day, it just does not make sense. So until we win the lottery I am stuck with my very small gully kitchen. I mean it does the job, it’s just small, narrow and is difficult with more than one person in it. But enough about me venting about my kitchen…here’s what I did to give it a bit more character and make me like it a little bit more.

Before we shifted in

The kitchen is grey – everything is grey, cupboards and shelves…it was just very blah.  So I decided to paint out three of our cupboards using chalkboard paint. This stuff is awesome. Turn any surface into a chalkboard, not only very cool, but practical in a kitchen for recipes, lists, inspiration, reminders…it goes on and on. And I know the kids will love it one day.

So easy to use and for less than $30NZD I gave my kitchen the face lift it needed, for now. Be sure when you are using chalkboard paint to follow all instructions and paint in a well-ventilated area. I chose to be outside due to the gorgeous weather and had no problems with smell or fumes. Make sure the surface you are painting is clean and free from dirt – it is best to use a primer, especially if the material is a porous type. As the cupboard doors were already painted I did not need to prime and just ensured they were clean from kitchen grease and grime. FullSizeRender-5FullSizeRender-4



I grabbed a small roller and tray and covered the surface evenly with the paint. It will need two coats, but allow at least 2 hours of drying time in between. IMG_8876This makes sure you have a nice clean surface in the end. The actual painting took me no time at all, 15 minutes maybe. Super easy. It’s the drying time that takes forever, or so it seems. The paint goes on really smoothly and did not leave sticky air bubbles as some other paint sometimes does. Be sure to use a roller though so you do not get brush marks on your finished product. Once the doors were painted with two coats, I left them over night to cure and be completely dry before putting them back up. The final step is prepping them as chalkboards. You need to wait 48 hours for this step to ensure the paint is completely cured. When ready to use take a piece of chalk and completely cover the boards with it – just use the flat side and shade it on. Then take a damp cloth and wipe to remove. This will help to ensure that your first chalk writings do not stay permanently on the paint – a very important step! Now you are good to go and make use of your amazing creation.

A much needed make over gives the whole kitchen a lift with chalkboard paint.

This paint is water based and safe for kids to use as well, so get your crafty thinking caps on and think of some amazing DIY projects you can do with the kids at home. Have fun!