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Our journey to live more simply is beginning to manifest itself in a bundle of small (exciting) ways in this happy home.  Little deliberate changes to our routines and lifestyle.  Some we are finding more challenging than others and some seem so logical we wonder why it has taken us so long to make the transition.

On the very top of the list right now is the way we shop, eat and plan our meals each week.

We’ve moved from weekly shops to fortnight in the hope of (slowly) eliminating the supermarket from our lives as much as we can.  The man and I have set each other the challenge to steer clear of the supermarket other than our once a fortnight shop.  (We’ve gone as far as stalking each others bank transactions to see who caves first.  Fiercely competitive we are!)

This has meant that we have had to be diligent about our two-week menu plan and the necessary ingredients.  It has also meant that by the Monday of the final fortnight we need to be super creative with our non essentials and essentials.  Our non shopping challenge took itself to a whole new level last week when I found myself making my own soap.  I’m learning to stockpile items we use a lot of.  (I have a crazy mountain of toilet roles in the laundry right now)

We are cooking all our meals from scratch and using a stack of ingredients grown from our own garden or from the gardens of family and friends.  I’m dreaming of expanding our vegetable garden and mapping out ways to make better use of our small block of land.

The other change we’ve made is buying our weekly produce from local growers.  This has been the most exciting change so far.  Thankfully there is a fabulous local farmers market that sells organic fresh produce.  Here we wander through and select our fruit and vegetables for the week.  The girls have spent the past few weeks, bucket in hand, picking their own berries and for the first time developing a real understanding of where our food comes from.

I’ve also discovered that simple living is well, not so simple.  So much of it is more time-consuming, requires a stack of planning and a lot of creativity.  I know it’s still early days here and that these changes may seem minimal to some but there is something about this early shift that seems to fit this happy home of ours.  We are loving the journey, the rhythm and the change in our thinking.

Anyone else on a similar journey?  Care to share some hints and tips?

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 Home 375: Local – Tuckerberry Farm

And our Eco friendly giveaway sponsored by 4MyEarth: Congrats Marelle Jackman, Angela and Suzy Lenne you are all winners of a $25 4MyEarth voucher. Contact me for details on how to claim your prize.

Chores

There is lots of excitement and giggles in this little home right now.  Featuring this evening on ‘Today Tonight’ is a story about involving children with household chores and the three little ladies in this happy home were more than happy to show off their expertise in this area.  They had the most wonderful day when this was filmed and were even more excited to see themselves on the TV.
You can view the feature from Today Tonight here.
Research shows that children learn a better work ethic, have a more involved sense of family and higher self esteem when they help around home.  Contributing to the day to day running of a household ultimately reduces family stress.  With both the spunky man and I working we find a happier home is one where we all contribute.

 

Here are fives ways we get our girls involved;
1. Put some structure around the chores.  Little Bloss knows she is responsible for feeding the chooks and collecting the eggs every morning before kinder.  This means I get to ‘nag’ less and they have an understanding of what jobs we do at certain times of the day.
2.  Include choice and work together as a family to outline who does what.  At the beginning of each month we sit together over the dinner table and outline a list of jobs.  This is where the girls have choice in what they do and ownership with each set task.  We then write them up on the black board so they remain visible for the month.
3.  We find a reward system in our little home works best.  (There is some debate over this) We don’t give out pocket money for chores but treat the girls to an ‘experience’.  At the end of the month if they have done their chores they can select an experience of choice for us all to participate in.  Some of these have included a weekend of camping, a bike ride down the beach or their favourite ice cream at the beach.
4. Make it fun with lots of encouragement!  Parents are the best role models.  Everyone needs to be involved!  The girls work together most of the time and as cheesy as it sounds even have their own chant they sing.
5. Set times for cleaning. This allows them to keep in mind the chore has a beginning and end time.  15 minutes at this stage of the girls development is enough to keep them motivated and long enough before I have to begin nagging.

Do your little ones help with household chores and what chores do they do?  Do you find this makes for a happier home?

 

We have happy home Chores to release tomorrow.  Pop back to see where we leave it.  I wonder who will find it?I’m off to watch our big heads on the TV again and have a giggle. xoxo

NAIDOC

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Celebrating NAIDOC Week - Six fun ways to celebrate Indigenous Australians with our children.

For the past few years a large part of my work has been focused on Indigenous Education, I work closely with many inspiring and passionate Aboriginal Elders, community members and students.  This week is NAIDOC week, a week where we celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.  It’s an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians across Australia.

We have an obligation to our little people to ensure they understand, value and celebrate our Indigenous culture and the most powerful way to do this is to immerse them in it.  Take a moment this week to celebrate our Indigenous culture with your little one/s.

The spirit of Indigenous culture comes alive through the celebration, understanding and recognition of its people. 

Here are six ways we are celebrating Indigenous Australians this week in our happy home:  (One activity for each day of the week)

1. Read a dreamtime or Indigenous themed story with your little one.  Some of our favourites 
    include;  
    
    From Little Things Big Things Grow
    Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo
    A is for Aunty
    Tiddalik the Frog
    My Island Home

 2. Play with paint and create your own Aboriginal dot art.  You don’t need a canvas to do this, use
bark, wood, rocks, paper or everyday utensils.  We do this each year and our little ladies love it!

 3. Celebrate Indigenous music.  Make and paint your own clap sticks.  Use sticks from outside,
 or pieces from an old broom handle.  Make an Aboriginal shaker using an empty lunch wrap
 roll.  Paint it in Indigenous colours.  Listen to the Didgeridoo being played. (Be respectful of
 Aboriginal traditions and customs.  Did you know that only men are allowed to touch and play the
Didgeridoo?)

4. Is there an Aboriginal flag flying near your home?  Take a photograph of it.  Talk about what the
    colours on the flag represent.  Why do we fly both flags in Australia?  What does this flag mean to
 Aboriginal Australians?  Draw the flag, paint it, read about it.  Make a flag collage using coloured
bits of paper.

5.  Bake your own ‘Johnny cakes’ (Damper). Bake it in your oven or even yummier over some hot
 coals.

6.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women spend hours gathering materials from nature and the
 bush.  Using a tray or bowl collect seeds, flowers, nuts, shells.  Sort the items or make jewellery.

We plan to do one activity a day for the week in our little home starting tomorrow. You can see what we get up to this week on our Facebook page, feel free to join us and share a picture of your little one at play on our  page.   We would love to see your little ones engaged in NAIDOC week activities. 

Most of all have fun!  Happy NAIDOC week everyone.

  
Find out more about NAIDOC week. http://www.naidoc.org.au/

(We plan to release little home NAIDOC tomorrow)

Bula

Part of jumping on a plane and entering a new country is experiencing a different culture and way of living.  The problem with spending time in a resort on a tropical island means that you are somewhat sheltered from this.  We took some time, on our holiday, to visit a district school.

Nearly two hours off the mainland of Fiji on a remote little Island in the Pacific Ocean is Malolo district School.  

We take the boat ride out and meet Master Filipo (Principal of the school).  He spends time with us talking about the village, the students and their programs.  We are welcomed into classrooms, meet teachers and are embraced by these vibrant, excited school children.  They sing for us and shout Bula (Hello) in unison.

Three little ladies give resources to the teachers and children, our way of saying thankyou.  We are overwhelmed by how very little these children have and how vibrant their smiles are. 

Leaving the school gate we wander back through the tiny village with huts made from corrugated iron, a central cooking area for the entire village and little in the way of running water.  We notice very few toys, bikes and all the things that clutter our home back in Australia.

I watch my three little ladies make their way down the beach where we spend some time with some local village women and I wonder what this experience means to each of my girls? 

We get home from our break and look around our house and are reminded of how much ‘stuff’ we have and how very little we really need. 

The Fijians, adults and children alike, are by far the happiest community of people we have ever encountered. 

Thank you to all the children at Malolo.

xox

We gave little home Bula to Master Filipo, what a wonderfully kind man he was.

Home 325: Bula - Fiji (Malolo District School)

10 Tips for a Happier Home…….

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I’m laid up on the couch tonight, head full of cold and thankful bed is not far away. 
Pop over and visit me at Childhood 101 where our little blog is featured today. 
Share with us your tips for cultivating a happy home and send Christie some new Mama love.
She has just given birth to a beautiful little babe.
Thanks Christie, your blog has always been one of my favourites. 
xox

Back tomorrow with a happy home to release.