HealthyKids Happymama

Crafting a healthy, happy family life... one step at a time

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And so she spins

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This little beauty just came home to live with me! She is an Ashford Traditional Single drive – which I have absolutely no idea how to use. But that is what you tube is for right?

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She is pre-loved but in excellent condition and I am excited to get to know her a little better.

I’m going to call her Sylvie.

Wish me luck!

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Thanks so much for popping by to visit my blog. Please email or contact me on Ravelry if I have forgotten to mention anything that I talked about on the podcast – I will try my best to put all the links in!

Wonderwolle Projects

On the needles right now I have the following projects:

Thunderstorm MKAL by Alicia Plummer which I am knitting in Morris & Sons Estate 4 ply (100% Wool)

Jeck socks by Regina Satter in TooMuc Valley Yarns Sock Base in Sunshine and Lollipops (80% Superwash merino, 20% Nylon)

Vanilla Socks using the Most Basic Kids Socks pattern by Evelyn Skae as a guide; knit in Moda Vera Not Just Socks in the Natural colourway

Quaker Ridge Shawlette by Susan B. Anderson in Manos Del Uruguay Fino in the Amethyst Earring Colourway (70% Merino, 30% Silk)

Finished projects I shared included:

Milo Vest by Georgie Hallam (Tikkiknits) knit in Naturally Loyal DK and Magic Wool Delux by My Yarns and Things (Same as Kuka Yarns) in the Green-Chartreuse colourway (both 100% wool)

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Kitten Mittens using the Mittens in a Blink pattern by Mary Ann Stephens in the Magic Wool Delux Purple Lilac Fuschia Colourway

Yowza Weight it Shawl by Susan B. Anderson knit in Miss Babs Yowza in the Perfectly Wreckless Colourway (100% Superwash Merino)

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Freshwool

I shared the shade card that I received from Bendigo Woollen Mills about their new Milky Way yarn (16% Milk Fibre, 84% Wool).

I also shared my recent purchase from TooMuc Valley Yarns on Etsy. I am planning to use this beautiful skein to knit along in the Sunrays KAL from the Knitting Expat Podcast. So much sparkle prettyness!!

Adventures in the Capital

The kids and I visit the National Arboretum to check out the playground and the Warm Trees yarn bombing.

Wondering Wolle?

In the Wondering wolle? Segment I will answer any questions, pose some questions and my thoughts, learnings and ponderings of the past couple of weeks.

Do you have any questions for me? Suggestions of what you would like to see?          You can find me on the following social media platforms:

Ravelry: AndeeJ

Instagram: HealthykidsHappymama

You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCidi269Qq1VvLkxy6VPdosQ

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Craft yourself Happy!

Andjxx

A freshen up for the Blog!

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Yes it has been quite some time since I posted anything at all, my excuse is that I decided to move over to a self hosted blog and I had some technical difficulties in getting it all looking just perfect. But finally I got around to figuring it all out and here it is – all shiny and new!

The last few months have been incredibly busy with my paid and my volunteer work both transition to new structures. Winter doesn’t help in feeling inspired and I must admit that I have not been all that inspired to do much cooking of late. It has all been very simple and comforting.

I have, however been doing lots of knitting and am about to embark on a bit of a sewing jaunt – good warming indoor activities.

For those of you who might be reading and wonder about the background to the Healthy Kids Happy Mama blog – this is a space where I share stories about how I keep my family healthy and my mind sane! The sanity part is mostly helped along by crafting and much of my free time is spend conjuring up what my next project will be. I like to share what I am making as well as what I am cooking (occasionally) in this space.

I really hope to reinvigorate this space over the next few months – I’d really love for you to say hi and make some new friends along the way!

I am on

Instagram:  HealthykidsHappymama

Twitter: @Healthy2Happy

and Ravelry: AndeeJ

Please feel free to add me as a friend and get in touch via any of these social media platforms!

Craft yourself Happy!

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AndeeJ 

Projects in progress

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I have started a few bits and pieces of knitting this past week – mainly because we have had a week of unseasonably cold weather in Canberra and going outdoors is just plain unpleasant. Also I have been feeling like getting on with making some winter woolens now so that when the weather really does turn cold I am well on the way to being ready. The kids have outgrown their hats and gloves and I like to have a new hat and scarf for the winter.

The above pic is a second pair of Wabi mitts that I started while watching season 4 of Downton Abbey last weekend. I am using the Amuiri Possum Merino again but this time the second yarn is King Cole Mirage in the Helsinki colourway. It has created a really pretty effect. These ones will most likely be a gift.
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These are some socks that I have had the yarn sitting there gathering dust for a few years (It is Moda vera Sock yarn from Spotlight) – somehow socks always just seemed to be in the too hard basket – the yarn is so fine and there was always the mysterious talk of ‘turning the heel’. Now I haven’t gotten up to the heel turning part yet but I am quite enjoying the process so far. There was the small problem of the 3 year old pulling out a needle when I was about 3 inches in and I tried to salvage it but just couldn’t. So I pulled it out and started over. I find the sock  just so easy – there is no pattern so it is basically just knit knit knit  – so when I don’t want to think – this is the knitting I pick up.

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This is the beginning of a Yowza Weigh it Shawl 2 – I decided to join the Susan B Anderson shawl knit-a-long and this yarn has been sitting around my house for ever. It is Cleckheaton California 8 Ply in the ocean colourway- although it is a very thick 8 ply. I have to say that i’m not loving it – I think it is mostly the way that the colour development in the yarn is working with this pattern. I’m a bit dissapointed about that because I thought that this would be the project for this particular yarn. This is the second time I have tried to knit it up into something when it hasn’t really worked.- so perhaps I need to give up on this yarn!

What are you working on at the moment?

Andjxx

Project 333: A long time coming

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I have been thinking a lot the past few months about simplifying my life so that I have more time for me, more time to be with my family and more time to get everything done. One of the things that I would love to simplify is my wardrobe. I have lots and lots of clothes – and most of them seem to live on my bedroom floor – clean or unclean – 90% of the time.

I want to spend less time doing washing.

I find I avoid doing my own washing because I know that it is going to take me about an hour to put all my clothes away and another hour to do the ironing.So because I avoid washing I wear everything I own until I have nothing left to wear – and then I have to spend an entire afternoon and evening putting away and ironing. That is not how I want to spend my time on a weekend!

I want to think less about getting dressed in the morning – know that I have a planned outfit or two in the closet that will look great.

I first discovered project 333 a few years ago and have attempted to get my wardrobe down to 33 items a number of times over the past few years. However every time I have tried I have found a reason not to just get on with it – the biggest reason being that I didn’t seem to have enough things that mixed and matched to get the who  process happening properly – and for me to have enough variety in what I wear.

This Christmas just gone (in an attempt to commence the simplification process) I have done lots of cleaning out and assessment of just what I have in the way of clothes. About two weeks ago I did a major edit and got my wardrobe down to about 60 items that I wear regularly.

Just this morning I have narrowed down the 33 items that will see me thorough the new few months until it starts to get chilly here in Canberra. Surprisingly with this slow process I have found it to be more simple than before – although I have figured out my wardrobe to mix and match a little better I feel also (with thanks to Pinterest and instagram!)

I’m not one for outfit posts but I may take pics of my 33 items and post them here and I might be able to talk my 6 year old into learning how to take a photo or two over the next few months.

Here is my list of 33 items.

1. Black Cardigan

2.Grey Cardigan

3. Red Cardigan

4. Black Blazer

5. Blue linen t-shirt

6. White linen t-shirt

7. stripe t-shirt

8. Black t-shirt

9. Black pencil skirt

10. Print pencil skirt (colourful)

11. Long floral skirt

12. Denim Skirt

13. Black shorts

14. White Shorts

15. Green canvas Skirt

15. Black work slacks

16. Skinny Jeans

17. Bootleg jeans

18. Black blouse

19. Black and white floral blouse

20. Black and white jersey dress

21. Purple and green jersey dress

22. White and black jersey dress

23. Purple and black jersey dress

24. Yellow handbag

25. Black handbag

26. silver tiffany necklace

27. Silver slides

28. Yellow loafers

29. Black patent ballet flats

30. Black court shoes

31. Neutral flat shoes

32. Red resin necklace

33. Yellow resin necklace

The only caveat I have is that I will also allow myself to wear items that I have made by hand in my wardrobe selections. I have a few items floating around that I have made that I do wear quite often and it would be a shame to have these things hiding away in the closet and it’s not like it is 100 dresses or anything like that. Just a few handmade blouses and dresses and knitted shawls.

If you would like to check out my instagram account to see if I have managed to post any outfits pics please check out @Andjxx on instagram. But I am sure they will get posed here eventually as well 🙂

Wabi Mitts for me

Wabi Mitts

I have been looking for a great fingerless mitts pattern for sometime now and when I found the Wabi Mitts pattern by Karen Templar on Ravelry over the weekend I cast on right away. I have been knitting things lately that take some time on the one project so I was glad to have something to knit that would work up fast – a little bit of instant gratification.

I have had two balls of Naturally Amuri DK Possum Merino blend sitting in my stash, waiting for the perfect project for some time.  While the project notes suggest using a fingering weight yarn, this Amuri is more of a light DK weight so I thought I would give it a go. It wasn’t long into the knitting process that I decided these gloves were quickly going to become my very favourite things. As the fabric was created, the soft, cozyness of the yarn appeared and I fell in love. So much in love that I cast on a second pair almost immediately – these ones as a gift for a friend though. I just can’t tell you how much I love wearing htese mitts – but to give you an idea – I have been wearing them and it is still summer here….

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Knitting has become my most used craft skill over the christmas holiday period as I can knit at the same time as supervising two boisterous boys who are on school holidays…although I have to make sure that I hide the project away from the littlest ones inquiring mind and he can unravel knitting project faster that you could possibly imagine…I know this from experience.

xx Andj

Art at Home with Kids

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When the kids were little I really struggled with the idea of letting them do art at home. It was one of those things (like playdoh and collage) that these things just create so much mess …and work..for me to clean up after 10 minutes worth of painting. However over the years I have come to find little ways to work with the messy creative arts process that allows them to have the experience of painting at home – to create that mess – and for me to stay relatively sane in the process. However, occasionally I do some painting – and whenever I have my painting things out, the boys also want to join in and create alongside me. My big boy in particular absolutely loves to be doing whatever it is that I am doing that is crafty.

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Smocks are the absolute first essential – especially because i often let the kids paint using high quality acrylic paints – which just don’t come off as easily as other paints might.

My second big essential is a large piece of clear plastic (which I originally bought for a sewing project)  that I drape over the table – you can just see it in the picture above. This way they can be messy with less stress.

Thirdly – Lots of paint brushes, rollers, scrapers and other painting implements.

Four – Good quality painting materials and mediums – Artist paints, Canvas, watercolour paper etc – when the kids paint on good quality mediums, they get a better result, they can put lots of paint down and the canvas or the heavy paper can cope with it. I also let them go back to the paintings and work on them a second and third time – helping them to see the artistic effects that can be created through layering and pulling back colours to reveal those underneath. I often buy a few canvases when they are on sale in Lincraft or Riot and tuck them away. I think that it is important to use high quality paints (though not necessarily expensive paints) when the kids are painting. This allows them to experience the way that colours blend and the speed at which  acrylic paints dry. When using watercolours it allows them to experience the different effects that you can achieve with watercolour paints.

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I personally find it hard to just let them paint without interrupting their creative process, especially when I know that if they put two (or four or six)  particular colours together that they will get mud…or when one is intent on using the sponge roller to apply every colour and they just all blend into each other. The appease my own sense of wanting to jump in and ‘help’ them I will generally only offer them a specific colour palette – or if they want a particular colour I try and steer them in the direction of a colour that might work a little better. The two of them have such different personalities when it comes to artistic expression, the little one just puts the paint down and has fun, not worrying what then end outcome will be. The big one has intent and gets very cross if something happens that doesn’t match his intent – but it is all part of the learning process and I think (and I hope) that these things help him in learning that not everything works out the way we plan it too in this life.

So as to not ‘waste’ the canvas, if I am feeling inspired, I will sometimes go in afterwards an alter their painting – probably not the best things to do with the big one’s paintings but with the little one I can get away with it.

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So this is after a few layers of paint put on by the little one, I went in with some moulding paste and a stencil and added some texture, lifted some colours back and used some alcohol inks. It’s still not finished but I have lost the inspiration for it right now, but when it is done we will have a lovely collaborative art piece. Really for them it is all about the process…and memory creation. That’s the most important thing.

Andjxx

Holiday Hapennings

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Now that the christmas period is over and we are getting back into the swing of the daily happenings of life I thought that I should come back to giving this space more attention. The garden is overflowing with produce, not completely providing us with everything we need but doing a fine job of supplementing our fresh (organic!) vegetable intake. There is art and craft happening on a daily basis and we are enjoying the outdoors during this not too hot high summer.

I haven’t made any formal resolutions for 2015 but over the past few weeks I have definitely had some goals beginning to formulate in my mind about the direction I want 2015 to take for our family. Rhythm and health need to be the main focus as we have one boy heading into grade one and one boy heading into preschool. Healthy living with less (less than we already do) reliance on processed and packaged foods in our diets. Fortifying our mental health with more crafting and time spent doing introspective artistic pursuits. Reading…novels and more intellectual tomes, and Rhythm, instilling that daily ebb and flow that helps us all to be more calm and get everything done that we need to do.

So in light of that the goals that I have set for myself include the following:

  • Read 12 books in 2015 – one per month
  • Sew (or knit) – 12 garments in 2015 – one per month
  • Try one new whole foods based recipe each week – and share it in this space!
  • Take a weekend getaway – or two – this year (We already have one planned for March!!!)
  • Learn form our work in the garden over the past year and implement these learnings so our organic produce is even better in 2015 – I’ll write about this more over the next week or so.
  • Focus on the sentiment that we have everything we need to live this life – we do not need to spend money on unnecessary wants and desires – just the things we need. (This is a hard one for me but something I need to work on!)

And thats it!! If I achieve all of these things then 2015 will have been an awesome year!

These too are the things that I will be focused on writing about this year, I really hope that anyone who does read my blog continues to do so and that I might even see some new readers hop on bard this year!!

Happy 2015!

xxAndj

How does my Garden Grow November 3 – 16

Garden progress

Ii has been a few weeks since I have posted any garden pictures – I have been absolutely flat out with work and during those times the blog has to take second place. The garden however still gets the normal level of attention. It is my therapy to be able to go outside when I get home from work and check the progress of all my little plants. These photos are actually about  2 – 3 weeks old – the garden looks very different now. I will take some pictures this weekend.

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Tomatos and Capsicum

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Zucchini and Eggplants

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Kipfler potatos at the front and a larger variety at the back

This is the first time in a while that I have grown potato’s. When we first moved in there were lots of potato’s in the garden beds but then we renovated and all those beds had a house built over them. I will be interested to see how they go in this spot. I have buried them about 10 – 15 centimeters deep and then hilled up around the stem of the plant about 20 cm.

I didn’t have good luck with the tomato’s last year so I am hoping that this year they will be a bit better. I have done a few things differently with the tomato’s also. Enriched the holes they were planted into and had them started in pots early in spring.

Zuccini’s usually go alright here but I haven’t grown eggplant in about 5 years. Mainly because we didn’t really eat eggplant but I figure it might be nice to have some variety. I have planted Lebanese eggplants here and have a different variety growing from seed on the windowsill.

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The other thing I have done differently this year is planted some companion flowers and let some of the Coriander and Parsley go to seed – just to invite some more critters into to help with pollination.

It will be interesting to see what the result is of all these variations.

Andjxx

Why I won’t be buying a Thermomix

THermomix free zone

Thermomix Free Zone

Yes – you heard me correctly – this post is all about why I decided not to buy a Thermomix.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to go along to a Thermomix demonstration – and let me tell you I was hooked. I came away from the demo and I desperately wanted one of those things. It was just amazing…You could do so many things with it and it was so speedy…and such little amounts of washing up…

So off I went an began to plot how on earth I could possibly begin to afford one of these gadgets. But here’s the thing..in my life right now I could simply not justify the near $2000 cost for a machine that did everything I could already do with the gadgets I already had at home.

I still wanted one.

But as the weeks of my obesession wore on I started to do some research into people who had a Thermomix and did not like it or didn’t use it as much as they thought they would. I started reading things that I found myself nodding along to. What kind of cooking did I do? Lots of quick things – stir frys and grilled meats; lots of long slow cooked things – set and forget stews etc; baking baking baking…using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Real cooking with real ingredients that I chop by hand because I enjoy the process of chopping and stirring and cooking.

How would this gadget fit into the way that I cook right now? It just wouldn’t. I had a multi function cooker that is a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and risotto maker in one. I had a Kitchen Aid food processer and Stand Mixer, I have a Vitamix blender with the dry blending canister for making nut flours and other grain processing. I already made my own yoghurt with the Easiyo. I can make Custard on the stovetop. I can make bread dough by hand. There was nothing  that I needed to spend $2000 on a machine to do for me that I didn’t already have the capacity to do.

I completely understand the value if you do not already have all of these gadgets in your kitchen, or if you have a very small kitchen and need to maximise gadget for space capacity, or you didn’t already cook most things from scratch and you were wanting to learn – but for me – the investment would have simply been one of ‘Keeping up with the Jones’s’. So I came to my senses and decided against it.

I think they are a great gadget for the right person – just not for me.

So that’s why I won’t be buying a Thermomix.

Andjxx

 

 

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