A recipe for fun: MUD KITCHENS! 

There are some beautiful, fancy mud kitchens turning up on Pinterest. Looking at them you could almost be forgiven for thinking a mud kitchen is just too expensive or too much hard work. But out here in the real world, mud kitchens are just good, clean fun. Well, not clean exactly 😀

So what do you really need to make a truly awesome mud kitchen? It really only takes THREE things…

1. Mud

Dirt + water = mud. It’s free. It’s fun. I’m sure you have some lying around. If not, pick up a cheap bag of garden soil from Bunnings and dump it in your designated spot. That brings us to number…

2. A place to get muddy

Choose your spot wisely. Near a hose is good. Near the clothesline you hang your white linen on? Not so much. You only need enough room for a kid, the mud and…


3. Junk from the kitchen

Think old pots and pans with scorched bottoms,  rusted patty cake tins, that old broken wooden spoon you didn’t want to just throw away. If you can put mud in it or stir mud with it, it is perfect!


And that’s it. No pinterest required. Have fun!

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A Quiet Revolution 

​”Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.” ~Marianne Williamson

We live in a world where homesteading, which is really just living much the way our grandparents would have, is a quietly revolutionary act. In a society ruled by corporations, this is one of the few ways we can take back control of our lives and reclaim responsibility for our future and for the future of the Earth.

Growing our own food is a way to say NO THANKS to corporate greed and control. No, I’m not ok with you forcing farmers into unsustainable practices whilst offering (forcing) them ridiculously low prices for their produce. Farming is a profession which should be respected, celebrated and supported. I do not wish to be party to your bullying tactics.

Growing our own food is a way to say NO THANKS to losing touch with seasonal living. Sorry, but I am not ok with eating out of season food that has been trucked in from out of state or worse still, shipped in from overseas. Those unnecessary food miles and the resulting pollution are not ok with me, thanks anyway. I would much rather wait patiently and truly enjoy the first magical strawberry of the season.

Growing our own food is a way to say NO THANKS, I’m not comfortable with large-scale monoculture practices and the subsequent chemical use. I would rather not ingest those pesticides if I can avoid it, and I’d prefer not to be responsible for degradation of our soil. Instead I will work to repair the soil on my small patch and feed my family food that barely needs rinsing.

Keeping animals for food, even if it’s just for eggs, is a way of saying NO THANKS, I am not ok with the factory farming industry and it’s unspeakably horrible treatment of animals (buying direct from one of the many wonderful, ethical farmers in this country can send the same message). I would rather watch my hens forage around my yard and gratefully accept the eggs they gift me in return.

Cooking from scratch is a way to say NO THANKS, I am not ok with accepting the highly processed and packaged foodlike items that are robbing us of our health. I would like to know what is in my food, know that it nourishes my children’s bodies. I can do without all of the unnecessary plastic that pollutes our planet.

NO THANKS, but I don’t want to accept a one size fits all life for myself or for my children’s education. I don’t want my clothes to be made from oil. I don’t want to rely on a factory to provide me with something so simple,  so everyday, as a dishcloth. I don’t want to pay for things I can do myself. I don’t want to live detached from the Earth I came from. 

Like a toddler I want to scream, “I can do it myself!”

Suburban homesteading is a way to take back control. Control of our spending, control of our health. Through growing, cooking and preserving our own food we can accept responsibility for ourselves and for our impact on the Earth. We can thumb our noses at the corporations that try to tell us how to live, from the clothes we wear to the water we drink. 

The problems of the world can seem insurmountable. We can feel lost, powerless and afraid. Or we can take back our power. 

Each person who plants a garden takes back some control and responsibility for themselves. Each person who plants a garden inspires a friend to do the same. Slowly, quietly, the revolution is spreading from one backyard to the next. 

Have you joined the suburban homesteading revolution?

Get started with these ideas for homesteading in the suburbs.

 

Changing the feel of your home

“Your home is always so peaceful and calm”.

I laughed when he said it because the kids had been screaming ten minutes before The Mister and His Mate walked in. But when I stopped laughing for a moment and looked around my home, soaking up the feel of it, I realised he was right. Somehow over the last year these four walls had become a haven of calm in a never-endingly busy world (tantrums notwithstanding). How had this happened?

The changes happened so slowly, so organically, that it felt like they happened all on their own. I wondered, was it the renovations? I suppose that helped. There is a lot more natural light now. I certainly don’t miss the carpet. Or that wall we apparently  didn’t need 😉

But it was more than that. Simpler than that. It was a changing of the culture of our home that has brought this feeling of calm, of quiet purpose, of peace. And as luck would have it, they were changes anyone can make regardless of budget or whether you are owning or renting. No renos required.

5 Ways to Create a Peaceful Home

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1. No t.v.

Ok so we have a tv. We even watch it *gasp*. We just don’t watch a lot of it and we very rarely watch it during the day anymore. Actually we rarely watch tv at all on weekdays. Movie night has become something to look forward to.

This is the number one change we have made that completely altered the feel of our home. It’s astonishing how noisy it feels even having it on quietly in the background now. It puts me on edge. We do often have calming music on low instead but it is always something relaxing and unobtrusive.

2. Clean and uncluttered

It’s amazing how much STUFF we can accumulate over the years. Pointless, expensive, takes-up-too-much-space stuff. Trust me- you will feel better and your home will feel calmer if you declutter. One of my favourite things about my home is the feeling of space and airiness. That all comes down to less stuff.

Jumping off the consumer bandwagon isn’t just good for the sense of calm it can bring to your home. It will save you $$$. It will also minimise your carbon footprint because less stuff equals less landfill, and less resources used in manufacturing things we really don’t need.

As for caring for your home, a daily rhythm will help you stay on top of chores without it feeling overwhelming. My home always starts to feel chaotic if I’ve strayed from our rhythm for more than a day.

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Rhonda’s book is a must read

Rhonda Hetzel of ‘Down to Earth’ fame talks about the acceptance of housework as an everyday part of life being a mindset change, and that was a light bulb moment for me. Instead of wasting our energy resenting the time and effort it takes, we can instead incorporate housework into our daily rhythm. We can take pleasure in a job well done and enjoy the resulting peace in our home.

A rhythm to our days, our weeks, the seasons, brings a sense of peace and purposefulness all of its own.

3. Organised homeschool materials

This one has taken a bit of trial and error to find what works for us, and will certainly look different depending on the style of homeschool you subscribe to. For us moving our formal activities into the kitchen, into the heart of our home, has meant that mama gets more done in a day. And that certainly helps.

It has also necessitated a change in the way we organise our materials. A pretty basket is the lynch pin of our system. I’ll chat more about the specifics of our bags and baskets another day, but the important part to note is that having a system keeps us neat and tidy, and most of all, organised. Chaos feels…well, chaotic. Organisation feels calm.

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Our homeschool basket keeps all of our materials on hand and tidy

No matter what materials you use, how many materials you have, or where in the home you ‘school’, make sure there is ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’. Baskets are invaluable. Remember that 😉

For those who don’t homeschool,  the same principle applies to books and toys. Reduce the volume,  organise what you have and display attractively. You’ll see more use, more respect for belongings, and won’t feel overwhelmed by ‘kid things’ taking over your home.

4. Smells of beeswax, cut flowers and homecooking

Forgetting how delicious a made-from-scratch dinner smells, what is just as important is what our home DOESN’T smell like. It doesn’t smell like harsh cleaning chemicals or synthetic fragrances. We make most of our own cleaning products now. It’s cheaper and the smell isn’t stuck in your nostrils for days.

Our children draw with beeswax crayons, and warm beeswax on the windowsill and in their soft hands to model with (think playdough for big kids, but better). We burn beeswax candles instead of turning on lights in the evening.

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Beeswax candles smell amazing and contain no nasty petrochemicals

Bunches of cut flowers from the Farmer’s Market fill vases on the kitchen bench. Herbs hang to dry in the sunroom windows. Fresh air streams in through gauzy curtains and wide open windows. The home smells fresh and alive.

5. A sense of quiet purpose

Maybe I should have put this one straight after ‘No T.V.’ because this is what has filled the space. Before, there never seemed to be enough time. Time to relax or time for hobbies. Often there didn’t even seem enough time for chores.

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Baking days are a set part of our rhythm

While the chores are still there, there is now a whole lot of time that we didn’t have before. Those hours we spent watching T.V. are now spent playing games, gardening, reading, baking together, preserving food and taking up crafts. The home hums along to the steady ryhthm of these activities. The dishes in the morning, the knitting in the evening.

And that’s the key, I think. The rhythm of the home.

Homesteading and homeschooling together have given us new rhythms and a new raison d’être.

Have you found your rhythm?

Frugal meals: Devilled Sausages

This may come as a shock but I live on a *gasp* budget. Crazy right :-p But if you’re reading my blog I’m guessing you are probably doing the same. And when you think how much money gets spent on food in a week, well it makes perfect sense to cook some budget-friendly meals. Cheap and cheerful! Devilled sausages are a regular favourite here and so easy to make 🙂

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Devilled sausages are the perfect comfort food

Ingredients:

6-8 sausages of your choice

Splash of olive oil

2 small onions
1 large green apple
2 small tomatoes (you can substitute with half a can of crushed or diced tomatoes)
1 clove garlic crushed

3/4 cup tomato sauce (preferably homemade for extra flavour)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 clove crushed garlic (yes, another one. You can leave it out if you want. Or you know, add more because garlic is the shizz!)

It may look like a lot of ingredients when you could mix up a Maggi packet and call it a day, but I’d wager most people have these things stashed in their pantry.

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 180°C then fry your sausages in a pan. You can use whichever sausages you prefer or have a go at making your own.

Obviously cheaper sausages have less meat and more fat, etc. in them but sausages NEED fat to hold them together and give them that sausage-y texture. Also…they are cheaper! Because this is meant to be a frugal meal, right 😉

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Save money by buying whichever variety of sausages your butcher has on sale this week

When they are browned all over remove them from the pan, chop into bite sized pieces and transfer to a casserole dish.

Step 2

Slice the apples and onions thinly, and chop the tomatoes into a large-ish dice. Toss them into the pan you used for the sausages, add a splash of oil and the crushed garlic. Sautée for about 15 minutes until soft. When they are done add them to the casserole dish with the sausages.

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Don't wash your pan after cooking the sausages. It saves time and add flavour!

Step 3
Here is where you forget the packet of goodness-knows-what-dried-powder that you find in the supermarket, and instead make a delicious alternative with REAL ingredients. In a bowl mix together the remaining ingredients from the list and pour over the sausage mixture. Give it a good stir and pop it into the oven. Cook for 45 minutes with the lid on.

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Cook on 180°C or 350°F for 45 minutes

While you wait…
Do yourself a favour and make up a BIG bowl of mashed potato. The creamier the better. It is the perfect accompaniment to Devilled Sausages.

Enjoy!

Now I didn’t share a photo of the finished product because let’s face it, no matter how awesome this tastes it is never going to be a particularly pretty dish. Looks aside, my munchkins are GUARANTEED to eat seconds and even thirds when I cook this dish. Any leftovers make the perfect lunch for The Mister to take to work with some buttered bread.

Honestly, the vast majority of us are living on a budget so it makes sense to have a few of these frugal meals up our sleeves. 
What is your favourite frugal dinner?

When public school is the way to go

You believe wholeheartedly in the need for holisitic education. You passionately want it for your children. Yet for one reason or another you may choose to send your child to a mainstream school.

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Choose your own path

If your family is like mine, the travel time and the dollars involved both put alternative schooling (like Steiner Education) out of reach. That often leads to family choosing to homeschool which has been our path for the last year. But what if you don’t choose to homeschool?

Maybe you have to work so homeschooling isn’t an option. Maybe your local primary school has some fabulous programs you want to take advantage of for your child. Perhaps you gave homeschooling a go and then your little one asked to go to school like all of her friends who live on your block.

Or you were losing your mummy marbles. Or your child has special needs you find it hard to accommodate at home, on your own,  on a fulltime basis. Or you plain didn’t enjoy it. Maybe you just don’t want to fulltime homeschool.

And that’s ok. Really. I promise you, it is. If you have weighed up all of your options, listed your pros and cons, and have still come to the conclusion that public school is the way forward…it will be ok. Don’t let mummy guilt (or really, the internet) get you down. Your choice is valid. It is ok. More than ok.

You don’t even need to give up your dreams of providing an holistic education for your children. Honestly! Because there is this cool concept you may not have come across yet. Afterschooling.

Yep, afterschooling. For some this means sneaking in the academics they are worried their child is missing out on, but in the context of holistic education afterschooling is a conscious striving for balance in your child’s life.

Remember the head, heart and hands concept we talked about? School will take care of the head. It’s actually pretty notorious for it 😉 Many people (myself included) feel mainstream schooling focuses too much on the head aspect. So outside the hours of 9-3, Monday through Friday, you can bring the focus to the heart and the hands.

How do you do that? By consciously focusing on the 3Rs of reverence, respect and ryhthm. By consciously choosing to forgo the cult of busy and the standard slew of extra curricular activities. By consciously including stories, handcrafts and the arts in your daily life. By consciously eschewing consumerism and instead focusing on imagination, freeplay and time in nature.

Rather than sign up for Saturday sport, perhaps you could spend the time hiking as a family. Instead of listening to the news on the radio for the drive home,  you could choose to listen to classical music or ‘Sparkle Stories’. Perhaps you could leave off the tv and work together on a sewing project or play a co-operative boardgame.

A candle and a verse when you serve breakfast. A family tradition of rolling beeswax candles and having a bonfire to mark the Winter Solstice. Meals prepared together with food collected from your garden. Baking bread together. Evenings spent listening to mama tell stories. A nature table given pride of place in the living room.

We each have to make the best choices we can for our families given our own unique set of circumstances. The trick is to make these choices work for us, rather than feel like the choices are being done to us.  Learning doesn’t just happen in schools, so holistic education doesn’t just have to happen in an alternative school or homeschool either.

You have the power to offer your child all of the benefits of an holistic education. School gets him for 30 hours a week. You get him for the other 138 hours. Make the time count.

Have you tried mainstream school with a holistic afterschooling twist?

The Holistic Homeschool

This article is Part Two of a series on holisitic homeschooling.

I know, I know. I promised this post moons ago. I’ve been busy writing an article for the next issue of Mulberry Magazine (due out very soon) and writing/procrastinating/agonising over my plan and report for the Home Education Unit. Not to mention the general business of running our micro homestead. But here it is. Finally 😉

The holistic homeschool. What is it? What does it look like? What is the point?

In Part One of this series I talked about holisitic education and how it differs from traditional education. The topic is HUGE but at it’s core we can boil holisitic education down to a few points: rhythm, balance, relationships, a transdisciplinary approach. A holisitic homeschool takes these values and ideas and applies them to the home and to home education.

Here’s how it works at our house ☺

Our home hums along to a gentle rhythm. This makes sure our day-to-day life flows gently and with purpose. Children thrive on knowing what comes next and what to expect. And to be perfectly honest, so do I. When your home is also a homestead, daily rhythm becomes imperative. Those animals aren’t going to feed themselves unfortunately. At least the bread rises all on its own 😉

Aside from a daily rhythm which includes our everyday chores, our meals, our lesson time, play time, self-directed learning time, etc., we also have a weekly rhythm. This helps us balance our lessons to ensure we are addressing all learning areas across the week, sharing our time between home and community, between lessons and play, between inside and outside.

Overlaid with this we have our yearly rhythm. This includes family celebrations, festivals, seasonal planting/harvesting/preserving and celebrating the cycle of seasons. We endeavour to live seasonally, with respect for nature and our place within the environment.

Each of these rhythms seeks to bring balance to our lives and our learning, to foster an understanding of and respect for the environment and to help us become productive members our chosen communities.

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One of our old rhythm charts


TIP! Writing out your rhythm on a chart serves as a helpful visual reminder to the whole family.

While we are focusing on bringing our lives into a harmonious balance, we are also seeking to balance our learning. Unlike traditional schooling, book learning isn’t deemed to be more important than learning (both through and about) art, music, handwork, yardwork, or even the learning that comes through being bored and at a loose end. It’s amazing the things you learn when you’ve got nothing but time and imagination!

Aside from the intrinsic value of each of the areas mentioned, we also believe that utilising these as tools is helpful in learning the more traditional subject areas. We discover science through story telling, maths through the art of form drawing, English comprehension through drawing and modelling. And this is just to name a few!

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A story began this science lesson outside with friends. We learn handwork with the help of songs. Drawing helps with comprehension of stories. Story and manipulatives assisted this maths lesson.

A balanced approach to learning has us overlapping between the subject areas. As holisitic homeschoolers we aren’t into learning subjects as separate entities, studied individually. We try to incorporate head, heart and hands learning- to bring story, song and art- to all areas.

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Art, song and story make it into all of our learning

We’re also not very interested in sitting still in one spot for our lessons. We learn in the garden, on our nature walks, at our co-op, and on family outings. We learn in the kitchen, in the playground, on our blackboard and in our books. It happens on our couch and on the floor. Learning happens in all sorts of places with all sorts of people. It happens as part of our daily life. It happens just as often while jumping around as it does sitting still. Actually with my kids it very rarely involves sitting still for long 😀

On a very practical note, we have tried curriculum and no curriculum, very structured and rather unstructured curriculum. We’ve gone DIY and we’ve gone open and go curriculum. For us, a Waldorf-inspired approach works best and we have found Kristie’s curriculum at BEarth Institute to be the right fit for us (nope, not being paid to say that and that is NOT an affiliate link. I just love the curriculum and wanted to share it with you all).

While we dedicate LOADS of time to pursuing personal interests, to freeplay and to just doing our own thing, we discovered unschooling just wasn’t for us. We prefer the structure, the rhythm, the balance, the parent/teacher-child relationship that comes with a holisitic model of homeschooling. We enjoy the magic, the art and the story of the Waldorf approach (even if the anthroposophy isn’t for us).

I’d love to hear what model of homeschooling you have adopted or are drawn to and why 🙂

Happy Homeschooling xx

Homesteading- what is it?

You’ve heard me talk about it. Suburban homesteading. But what is it?

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If you get up in the morning and put on gumboots instead of slippers, you might just be a homesteader.

If you ready your kids for school and find yourselves sitting around the kitchen table ready to start your lessons, you might just be a homesteader.

If it’s time to put dinner on and you send the kids outside to collect what you need from the garden, you might just be a homesteader.

If the change in seasons means something to you beyond a change in wardrobe…
If a hole in a sweater means work not shopping…
If you keep animals but not just pets…
YOU MIGHT JUST BE A HOMESTEADER.

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Homesteading- it’s a bit of a buzzword. You’ve probably heard it more than once, even sussed out that it refers to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. I’d wager you could even list off a half dozen or so activities you think it includes. And you wouldn’t be alone if you’re still a little…vague about the idea.

And that’s because homesteading is more than a location. More than a set of actions. It’s a lifestyle, but more importantly it’s a mindset. And that’s why homesteading can happen on a farm or in your suburban home. And it’s why anyone can do it!

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To be a homesteader all you need is the drive to become a more self-sufficient. That’s it! If you want to live more naturally, be less reliant on shops, save yourself some money, and become a maker not a buyer, then you’re set to be a homesteader!

And because this is a mindset change,  these pearls of wisdom may come in handy 😉

“Use it up, wear it out. Make do or do without”

And

“It’s not about where your home is, it’s about where your head is”  ~Rhonda Hetzel

So- are you a homesteader?

Shared on
Our Simple Homestead Bloghop

An Holistic Approach to Education

This is Part One of a series of posts discussing holistic homeschooling.

Let me start by saying that this post feels a good deal heavier than what I normally write. I promise to return to my regular back to basics style next post. But quite a few people have expressed an interest in the approach to education we take in our home, especially as we have moved on from unschooling– at my son’s own instigation I should add. I felt that I couldn’t adequately explain our approach without a little background knowledge so please bear with me. (I promise not to hold it against you if you skip this post and come back next week ;-))

So here goes…

Traditional education- at least in the sense that it exists in the modern Western world- is focused on academics. What can we learn? How can we test it?  Someone, somewhere sat down and decided that one particular body of information was so vitally important that it was to be institutionally imparted to each person. Occasionally another someone shakes it up a little but the gist remains the same. This is regardless of the individual’s unique personality, interests, goals, background,  community and values.

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We each have our own unique view of the world and our place within it

And a lot of this information really is important and useful. I don’t know about you,  but I do find a use for reading, writing, algebra, geometry and so on in most days. If not most days, at least most weeks. So a focus on the 3Rs is important.

But it is not the only learning of value. What about the 3Hs – head, heart and hands? This is where holistic education differs from traditional education. As Satish Kumar points out in this video, we are not just a vessel for our minds. We are also our emotions, our actions and perhaps most importantly,  we are our relationships.

We are the relationship between our mind, our emotions, our body, and our spirit. That fundamental ‘thing’ that makes us ourselves, whether we attach a religious meaning to it or not. We are the relationship between ourselves and our families, our homes and our communities. We exist as the relationship between ourselves and our food, our clothes, our pets, our world.

Holistic education seeks to develop each aspect of the child, as well as their relationships with the world around them. It isn’t enough to teach them the biology of how a plant grows. They need to experience it and learn with their hands and their hearts as well.

Along with recognising the relationship between people and the environment, we also need to recognise the relationships between subjects. Maths doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is intrinsically linked to science for example. It is a part of our everyday lives. The same holds true for the other subjects, so it doesn’t make sense to treat them as stand alone entities. Bringing learning to our children should take a transdisciplinary approach. Forget half an hour of English followed by an hour of maths drill and problems. This reductionist approach removes meaning from learning and learning becomes a chore rather than a joy.

This isn’t some wishy-washy hippy approach to education, although given what I just wrote you could be forgiven for at first thinking that 😉 Instead , holistic education is a realisation that we aren’t just educating our children to pass a test.

We are educating our children to be their best selves. We want them to enter adulthood with an understanding of themselves and their relationship to the world around them. We want them to be confident in their interactions, mindful of their impact, passionate for their future. We want children who are well-rounded individuals capable of great compassion and thoughtful influence. We want them to be not only capable of making a living, but of really living. We want our children to be able to take care of themselves and of others. We want more for them than just proficiency in the 3Rs.

Holistic education, with its focus on the WHOLE CHILD, provides such an education. This education may take the form of Montessori Education, Waldorf Method or Reggio Emilia Approach. Perhaps it’s enquiry-based learning or project-based learning  It may be a combination of approaches, or look entirely different. Especially in the homeschool there is a lot of room for individuality in this approach.

Regardless of the method it is implemented by, holistic education is always “a philosophy of education based on the premise that each person find identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace.  Holistic education aims to call forth from people an intrinsic reverence for life and a passionate love of learning.”  (Ron Miller). In a nutshell,  we are talking about a whole child, systems approach compared to the reductionist, compartmentalist vision of the world we are usually exposed to.

This is a big topic and I’ve only scratched the surface here. For more info, I suggest reading these pages and definitely check out the video I linked to above.
An intro to the theory
What is holistic education
Methods for implementing holistic education

In Part Two of this series, I will give you a look into the practical side of holistic education, and show you how it is evolving in our home.

See you soon x

Recipe: tomato sauce (it’s like ketchup but better!)

Here it is!

After promising  (and forgetting) then promising again, here is my current favourite recipe for tomato sauce. Or ketchup if you are American. I will not be swayed on terminology, especially with Matt Preston declaring our take on catsup more sophisticated due to it being more vinegary and less sugary than its American counterpart 😉 And who is going to argue with Matt Preston?!

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Homemade tomato sauce

You will need:
1L vinegar
1kg sugar
150g salt
6 cloves garlic (crushed)
6 cloves (ground)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sweet paprika

5kg tomatoes (peeled and rough chopped)
1kg brown onions (peeled and rough chopped)
1kg green apples (peeled, cored and rough chopped)

Allspice (to taste)

Glass bottles and lids

Step 1
Place vinegar, sugar, salt and spices (except allspice) into a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Prepare the tomatoes, apples and onions (see here for how to peel tomatoes quickly) then add to vinegar mixture once it is boiling. If your pot isn’t ridiculously huge you may want to halve the recipe.

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Tip: if you have a food mill for step 3, you can skip peeling your tomatoes. I don’t have one so I peel- easier now than later. I also don’t bother to remove the seeds. They cook down soft and add good flavour.

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Step 2
Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours. While the sauce bubbles away, wash your bottles in hot, soapy water. Rinse clean and leave to dry.

Step 3
After two hours, pass the sauce through a food processor or mill in batches. Return to the pot and bring back up to the boil. Add ground allspice to taste (I like plenty and feel it adds body to the sauce). Keep at a simmer until you reach desired consistency-no more than a half hour or so. The sauce will thicken a little more when it cools, so keep this in mind. Or, you know, forget and accidentally make chutney. I may or may not have done that once or twice 😉

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After passing through the food processor

Step 4
Place bottles in a hot oven to sterilise for 10 minutes. The lids can go into a bowl of boiling water. Rummage around in the drawer to find a ladle and funnel. They are probably at the back 😉 Fill your bottles. It should be hot sauce into hot bottles to avoid glass cracking. Fasten the lids tight.

Step 5
I am going to go ahead and tell you to waterbath your sauce so that it will be shelf stable for 12 months. This is the current recommendation for safety reasons. I don’t want anyone blaming me for contracting botulism! Personally, I am old-fashioned and happy to use the overflow method for bottling sauce. But I told you to waterbath for safety. Remember that :-p

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You can reuse old bottles so long as they don't have plastic lids and no cracks

So long as you keep your ratios of tomatoes, salt and vinegar the same, it is safe to half or double the recipe. Hell, you can quadruple it if you have a massive tomato glut. Do NOT mess with the vinegar and sugar ratios though! You can also play around with the spices, or use different varieties of tomatoes, apples and onions. Make the sauce your own 🙂

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We picked these on a family trip to Stanthorpe

The batch I bottled yesterday has tomatoes from a local farm as well apples and tomatoes from our recent trip down to Stanthorpe. I love buying the local produce wherever we visit.

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My little Apple Picker

Apologies to those I promised this recipe to months ago.

Happy bottling xx