A new slab!

We have a new slab poured!  This will be the extension of our little old cottage.  It will contain a lounge, master bedrrom and a small ensuite.  Which will be a girl only bathroom, what a luxury! 

The cost of the slab came in well under what we were expecting and the fellow did a very thorough job of it all.  Working nearly, carefully, quickly and happily around our family situation of children and pets.  He was wonderful to work with, and he was so thorough and particular at every stage. 

Where the old timberframe, lean-to was.

Prepping for the new slab..

And its in!  No more dirt at the back door! 

Much love,
Emma
10

ponderings and a cement truck.

Here I sit, listening to the rumble of the cement truck outside.  Pondering about life.  The next stage of renovations.  The new slab gets poured today.  The beginning of a new stage for the little old cottage. 
I have learnt alot living in this little cottage of ours.  First when we lived in the outside room, all five of us sharing a tiny room.  Then into the main cottage, all five of us sharing a room again, but a bigger room.  Then the boys shifted into their own little room, once that was fixed up.
It feels like we have been here longer than a year or so.  A lot longer. 
So much has happened.  You know the best part? 
Realizing how little we all need.  Joyfully appreciating the simple things in life, like running hot water, a celling, working lights and heating/cooling.  When you renovate on this scale with a young family, you spend a lot of time essentially camping. 
I have learned to let go even more, to go with the flow.  (There may have been the odd period where I let go of my sanity temporarily also, but let’s not go there....kidding!) To work within the periods of work and rest with the house.  I LOVE clean floors.  Love them.  I’m a shoes off in the house kind of girl.  Renovating does not lend to clean floors.  At all. 
So, we have a deal.  On a Sunday, after a weekend of dusty dirty work, we stop, take the time to tidy our space and vacuum and mop.  Because it keeps me sane.  I appreciate it while it lasts.  We do it at night, when the kids are in bed so I can savour it for a few hours before the chaos starts again.  It might sound strange, but I appreciate that window of time.  Where I can relax, forget about the chaos and things are relatively calm and clean.
It is easy to look at those around us who look to have everything.  But do they?  No one really knows another’s story.  The feeling that person has deep in their heart of hearts. 
There is something that happens when we are challenged.  Like when a fruit tree is pruned.  It sometimes hurts, it sometimes seems rough and brutal.  Sometimes we are left feeling bare and exposed.  But then something changes within the very core of who we are.  It triggers a new growth.  A more resilient growth.  The old and restrictive is stripped away, the light and air is allowed into our hearts and then that....that is when the best fruit appears.
We are entering a new season of renovating here at the little old cottage.  A new extension, a new kind of building.  The demolition is finally finished.  Now we get to the good bit.       
But throughout it all we give thanks.  For the good, for the lessons we have learnt through the challenges.  For the surprising closeness and thankfulness, we have found as a family by choosing less.   
Aggie is growing, so much love for this wee girl.....she looks like she is guilty in this prcture.  She probrbaly was.....little terror!

Giant Jenga we made for church.  $40 of  2"x4", cutting and sanding and we have an awesome game with so many open ended play possibilities.  Grant is going to make Henry a set with ramps for his cars for his 4th birthday next month. 

Puzzles, I love puzzles.  So does Gus in particular.  They suit his need for order.

Henry continues to kick Grant out of bed on a semi-regular basis.  Grant continues to good naturedly tolerate it. 

Still studying.  Always studying.  With a sleeping cat to keep me company usually.  Or two.  Thank goodness for cats!

Much love,
Emma
xx 


14

Simple waste reduction.

Zero waste....What an inspiring movment.  One that, at times, seems miles away from where I currently am.  But whilst I may not be able to identify as zero waste, we ARE strongly on the path of waste reduction.  We are activly making more environmentally/ethically aware choices, and long term changes of our families daily habbits.  Which already has, and will continue to reduce our waste footprint.

Which is awesome.  Small changes matter.   

There are loads of DIY tutorials online about making your own beeswax cloth to replace glad wrap.  There are loads of tutorials about making your own fruit and veggie bags too. I fully intended to make them.  I'm more then capable of making them. 

But I wasn't doing it. 

My time in this season is precious.  With family, work, study and the renovations on the little old cottage continuing in full swing, my craft game is weak.  Like, non-existant weak.  Eventually I decided the financial cost of out sourcing these things was less then the environmental impact of not doing it.  So I jumped on line and poked about to find a company that could provide me with the things I wanted at a fair price.  A company that was ethical, and supported other small business. 

I came accross an Australian business by the name of spiralgarden.  I have been SO impressed by their customer service I just had to share them here.  This is not a sponsered post, I simply want to show this business some support and appreciation for their desire to go above and beyond. 

A little while ago I put in an order for some things.  Beeswax wraps, mesh bags, large and small fair trade woven baskets and a fair trade "Jenga" style building set for Angus's 6 birthday.  There was a small technical glitch, as sometimes happens and which was no ones fault.  When I emailed to enquire the it was too late for the Jenga set to arrive for Angus's birthday.  They were also a little short on supplies of the large baskets after the big christmas rush.  I completly understood, and as we are also a small, family run business.  I understand all to well how frustrating supply issues can be! 

But what most impressed me was their desire to fix it above and beyond what was necessary.  They kindly offered me a beautiful larger, more expensive basket for the price of the one I enquired about and promised to post me a set of beeswax wraps on them when they arrived.  Which was completly unnecessary.  They also increased my post to express to ensure the birthday present arrived ASAP.  When my goods arrived I was very impressed with the quality, they are just beautiful.  I LOVE my large basket and comes in handy all the time for packing drinks, snacks and bits and bobs for when we are out and about.  This kind of customer service is rare these days.  I will certainly be going back in the future, and highly recommend others checking them out too.  They have a wonderful range of Zero waste producs and information, courses, books, eco-friendly/ethically made childrens toys.  There is a beautiful simplicity in the range of products they stock, and their products are an absoloute pleasure to use. 
This was my order, just so beautiful.  The boys have already mis-placed a wooden block, but at least it is a hit right?!  Im sure it will turn up soon enough!  ;)

Another simple way we reduce waste is to use cotton tote bags as shopping bags, here are just a few of my stash.  When these are worn out, they will be composted.

When cooking alot from scratch, food storage is another simple area where waste can be reduced.  I love these pyrex containers with their plastic lids.  Dishwasher safe, able to go from the fridge to the oven for re-heating and sturdy,  They stack well in the fridge and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  They are also affordable and easy to source.  I have a couple of sets of these and the rest are currently in the fridge.  They are in constant use here.   





Cloth napkins is another thing I have mentioned before.  This bundle is all op-shopped.  I love them, we dont iron them of fuss with them and it takes no extra effort but saves on wipes/napkins or other things people often have on hand. 

My waste reduction journey is not contained to one glass jar of rubbish for the year.  Though that movement greatly impresses me.  But these are a few simple changes we have made which significantly reduce the amount of disposable goods that are needed in our day to day lives.  Add recycling and making conscious choices to purchase things with the least packaging.....Well these things all begin to add up to a meaningful shift. 

What simple changes have you made that help reduce your waste footprint? 

Much love,
Emma
xx

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