baby blanket: crochet ripple

Last January my niece was born. And don’t you think  every baby ought to have a soft, warm crochet blanket?

I think I started working on this blanket shortly after my sister told me she was expecting a baby. I crocheted a few rows at a time, thus keeping myself busy until shortly before my little niece was born. Very, very therapeutic business for aunties who can hardly wait to meet their little nieces and nephews……

 

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I made the pattern up as I went along. It wasn’t my first ripple blanket, and I learned the trick by watching tutorials on Youtube, like this one. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can make up your on variations quite easily.

The yarn I used is Scheepjeswol Stone washed: a mixture of cotton and acrylics: very, very soft!

 

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Reduce plastic waste #1

Remember my new years resolutions? The plan for 2016 was to reduce the amount of plastic used in this household of ours.

If you are not collecting your plastic seperately, I recommend you start doing so. It really is an eye opener to see how much plastic one collects during a week, a month…..

we collect our plastic seperately and at the moment it’s enought to fill a plastic bag a week. I take this to the shopping centre to throw it away in a special container. But, collecting our plastics seperately so they can be recycled is one thing…. now it’s time to start reducing the amount of plastic that enters our household (and that wille leave it again eventually). But let’s do this step by step.

Step 1: try to avoid replacing plastics (and make your own stuff)

If I run out of something that’s packed in plastic..let’s see if there’s an alternative to replace it. Like, for example, deodorant. I ran out of my storebought, chemical, packed in plastic deodorant, and decided it was the perfect occasion to try and make my own, rather than running to the store to get myself a new one, in a new plastic container that would sooner or later be discarded.

I have heard many positive stories of home made deodorant, so, why not?

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I used a recipe I found on the blog Leven zonder afval ( living without waste).

All you need is a (re-used) glass container coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch (optional: glycerine and scented oil). I understood the glycerine helps to make it smoother, but since I didn’t have any, I skipped it.

All you need to do now is mix 4 table spoons of (soft) coconut oil with 3 table spoons of baking soda and 2 table spoons of corn starch, plus a few drops of your favorite scent if you wish. Stirr, well, store in your container and make sure you have clean hands, or a clean teaspoon every time you take some of this mixture out of the jar. You just need a small amount per armpit, so this little jar should get you quite far.

You can keep your deodorant in the bathroom, but on hot days,  it can turn quite liquid so you might want to store it in the fridge.

And PS: it works! It works really, really well.

now, let’s see which other steps we can take…….

 

 

The single parent’s survival guide to dinner

Do you know the feeling…it’s been a long day and yet you’ve tried to make the most of dinner. Some vitamins, some colour, nothing extraordinary, just, you know something healthy…

The food isn’t even on the table yet before number one claims she has a headache and therefore…no appetite…number two is tired and iritated, and number three starts screaming as if you try to feed her poison:  ‘what’s this?! Oh no, I can’t eat that!’

All you can think is ‘why did I even bother? ‘ and….. ‘Now why isn’t there another adult at this table to  tell me ‘well, honey this is just delicious, kids, don’t fuss, eat your dinner!’? ‘

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Some nights, you’ve just got to do what makes everybody happy: feed ‘m pancakes and ice cream…………… with hidden vitamins….

For your pancakes, just make your usual batter, then add a grated zucchini (use these light green ones if you can, they’re perfect camouflage. If you use the darker green ones, be prepared to answer questions  such as ‘Mom, what are these green spots in my pancake?!?’…now try to answer that without using the V-word!

Bake and serve as you normally would…..then sit and watch them eat their veggies and smile…..

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Since we’re in a good mood, why not add some ice cream? Blend 2 chopped banana’s (frozen) and a large mango (cut into small pieces)  with the juice of one lemon. Serve, watch ‘m eat, enjoy……

Don’t feel like eating pancakes? Make yourself some soup! Chop another zucchini, boil in a little vegetable stock, throw in a handful of kale, add some cumin, coriander and black pepper, blend. Serve with some (vegan) cream, and a good swirl of ground red pepper. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

simple, tasty lentil soup

Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups e-ver.

The basis is always the same: red lentils, an onion, vegetable stock, some veggies and cumin, lots and lots of cumin……

I can eat this for days on end, and it’s a good way of using some leftover vegetables aswell!

This version is extra creamy because I’ve added coconut milk.

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You will need:

200 grams of red lentils – an onion – a large carrot – a red paprika – 800 ml vegetable stock – 250 ml coconut milk  – 2 table spoons of sunflower oil – 2 table spoons of ground cumin – a table spoon of ground coriander – half a table spoon of ground curcuma – half a table spoon of curry spices -red pepper flakes according to taste ( the more the spicier) – dried mint

 

Chop the vegetables, wash your lentils, heat the oil in a large pan. Stirr fry the vegetables, lentils and spices (except the mint) for a few minutes. Add vegetable stock and  boil for 20 minutes ( or until lentils are soft). Add coconut milk, stirr well and boil for another 2 minutes. Blend smooth, and serve with a topping of dried mint, pepper flakes (and, if you like…more cumin!).

very, very tasty with home made flatbread!

 

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Book 1: Lost and Found

 Well, the first book of 2016 is a fact!
And it was one that put a smile on my face, and made me think.

Brooke Davis’ debut: Lost and Found is the story of Millie Bird who travels all across Australia looking for her mum, who left her behind in a department store after the death of her husband.

On her somewhat surrealistic roadtrip, Millie is accompanied by her elderly neighbour Agatha and Karl the typist, each of them struggling with the loss of their loved ones and with life itself.

The story of their journey is told from the perspective of Millie, and of her two elderly companions.
I took this book along from the library, mainly because I fell for the cover, and the brief description on it. I had no idea there was a complete website behind the book (which is where I found this little film too).
If you are looking for a book that will put a (sometimes sad) smile on your face,and will keep you reading, here is one.
What’s the first book you’re reading this year?

New years resolutions

A new year, time for some resolutions!

What is it with January that it makes one want to start all over, do things differently…and better?

While I write this post, my two youngest kids are cleaning out their bedrooms, spontaneously and all by themselves. Must be those January vibes, because this is so unique!

I sit quietly, afraid of spoiling the magic, thoroughly enjoying the sight of those little kids walking through the house with the vacuumcleaner, and a smile on their faces.

A clean slate, a fresh start……….. So, why don’t I share some of my resolutions with you?

In 2016, I want to:

  • Reduce the amount of plastic used in our household. I’ll try to keep you posted on my successes and failures. Any suggestions on how to go about are welcome!
  • Craft more. It is hard to find the time in between work, kids and household, but it’s such a necesary thing for me to do. I just feel better when the creativity is flowing. So why are my crafty moments always on the bottom of my to do list?
  • Read more. More even than crafting, reading is a life necessity. I can’t be happier than when I’m lost in a book. To keep me reading, I will keep track on this blog of the books I’ve read. I’d appreciate it if you’d share the most beautiful and inspiring books you’ve read in the comments below to give me some reading inspiration.
  • Blog more frequently.
  • Take further steps to reduce our ecological footstep and live a greener life.
  • Discover new recipes

And in 2016, I will go to bed on time, keep up with the laundry, be a patient mom, start running again, spend more time with the kids, read them all those nice childrens books that are still waiting for them, participate in their school activities, sew their carnaval costumes, plan their birthday parties on time, and cook them wholesome meals they’ll eat with a smile……………Ok, wait….let’s not set the aims too high, let’s go with the flow, see how we roll?

Either way, let’s have fun in 2016!

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What are your resolutions?