What's in a home?

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life." (Henry David Thoreau, Walden.)

With the world seeming uncertain at the moment, it's a good time to look inwards at our home and how we are living. 

When it comes to the crunch a good house is that which provides us shelter from the elements. A place that is warm and dry when its cold and a place to escape the heat in summer. It should provide a comfortable place to rest, and allow us to prepare food in a hygienic and safe manner. Our home needs to be able to store our belongings and clothing. It's should also be a place to experience community and fellow ship with those around us. To share a meal, for children to play, learn and grow. You know, when COVID restrictions aren't interfering with that. 

These needs can be met in a small and simple home, even a yurt.

But what is it in us that craves more? Why do we desire homes with so many rooms that some of them barely get used? Why do we build homes so big that they fill their block leaving no space for a garden? Why do we hanker after bigger and better televisions, and the latest interior decorations?

Perhaps it is because we envy what we see on TV, magazines and in shop windows. Maybe we look at the beautiful scenes and imagine how lovely it would be to have a home that looked like that, one which is clean and pretty and organised. But when we buy the items to create our own version of that space it ends up feeling wrong. It gets messy, the Instagram perfect white couches get coffee spilled on them, the dogs jump on them and the kids leave their crap everywhere. 

So perhaps the answer is more storage, better storage. So off we head to the shops to buy the ideal storage that will keep everything in order so we can have that beautiful house. Still clutter accumulates, mess happens and we are constantly cleaning to keep the house looking beautiful. 

One might look at this scene and think it is messy. Compared to a magazine image, I guess it is. But the reality is that it's just the ordinary goings on of a family home. It's nothing to hide away nor be frustrated over.  It is the stuff of life.  

Perhaps we have outgrown the house? So off we go to get a bigger house, a newer house and a bigger mortgage. A bigger mortgage means everyone has to work just a little more to pay it off. Of course it will need its own look, items and decorations. 

Eventually we find ourselves tired. The bigger house requires more maintenance, it takes longer to clean and no one has the time because they have to work more to afford the bigger mortgage. The built in wardrobes are bursting with clothes and before we know it, it has all become just a bit too much. Because everyone is so tired and busy working to earn the extra money to afford the lifestyle they have found them selves in, relationships falter. 

Money is a huge stressor on a family. There are many families who live day to day because they simply have no choice. This post isn't referring to them. This post is referring to those of us who have the privilege of choice.

The world is in a season of uncertainty. I feel it is more important than ever to focus inwards at what we have and make the most of it. To find the beauty that exists in the ordinary parts of our lives. To build resilient homes and relationships. To minimise debit if we can and simplify our lives to create a bit of a buffer. Just in case. Many of us have been living just a little bit out of our means for a really long time. 

The warmer of the wood oven acting like an incubator for a rejected kid. Unfortunately she died, but I'm thankful we got to make her last hours warm, safe and comfortable. 

So what can we do to make a small home work rather then upsizing? I'm not going to lie, I would love one extra room. A room for a sewing room/office with a spare single bed would be really helpful. But considering we have only just got a bathroom, which is not yet finished, that is unlikely to happen any time soon. 

Instead we can look at little ways to make our spaces work better for us. The first thing is to de-clutter. Draw by draw, room by room. If you don't use it, look at it or even remember you had it, you really don't need it.  There are stacks of ways to declutter and people who will write about it better than I. But getting rid of clutter and useless crap is really helpful to creating a home that functions well for you.    

Creating a space for Elsie to cultivate reading. This way the books can face outwards so they are more visually appealing and I can rotate them. 

Look at the furniture you have and if it is serving its purpose as well as it could. For example, our couches are too big for our tiny lounge area. I am on the look out for a second hand slim-ish brown leather two seater lounge/chaise combo that I can actually vacuum under. Along with the rocking chair and maybe beanbags for the little kids, this small shift will open up the lounge area hugely. (I actually found one which would be perfect but it's in Sydney and they are locked down...dang it!) Once I sell our couch, the cost involved will be minimal, if anything. There is stacks of amazing furniture available second hand and it is easy to buy and sell items to make the space you have work the very best it can. I can't remember the last time I bought furniture new. 

Is your kitchen too small or is your dining table too big? Do you need as many plates, bowls and cups as you have or can you get rid of those ones jammed right in the back of the cupboard? Do you use all your pots and pans that fall out of your cupboard every time you open it? What about clothes, do you even like all the items taking up space in your bursting wardrobe? 

Historically, homes were much smaller than they are today and families generally bigger. When lamenting the size or mess within my home, my mind often wanders back to this fact. It reminds me to pull up my socks, focus on the present and get on with the task at hand. 

Rather than looking outward for what is going to make our lives better, perhaps it is more helpful to look inwards at what we already have and how we are using it.

Including that precious thing too often over looked. Our time.      

Much love,


Simple self care when caring for young children

Self care. 

We all hear how important it is, right? But who has the money for a massage? And if we did have the money, who would look after the kids? 

When we hear the words "self care" we often imagine luxurious spa days, massages, manicures and fancy hair cuts. This is what media and advertising would like us to think self care was, and for some people who enjoy these kinds of things, it can indeed be a form of self care.  However, I am a woman of simple needs. A home body who is most comfortable in leggings, a soft dress and a cardigan. If, like me, you have a bunch of small children to care for, have mobility problems, or are living with a tight budget these kinds of costly 'self care' experiences are totally unattainable.
And to be honest, while it is important we get a chance to step away from the weight of our responsibilities from time to time to breathe deeply and be alone with our thoughts, the kind of self care I find most helpful is in the small daily habits. 

During this seemingly never ending season of COVID self care is incredibly important. Lots of us are tired and the world feels heavy and uncertain. People are facing unemployment, reduced hours and financial hardship. They are trying to work form home while homeschooling/home educating small children, which for any one who is in this position, it is a near impossible task. And then there are those who are most at risk of getting sick or are sick. The burn out and exhaustion people are facing is very real and many people are teetering on the edge.

So what does self care look like in this heavy, time poor, cash poor, uncertain season of life? 

For lots of people, their time is stretched so thin trying to juggle all the balls that self care can only exist in small pockets of time. With this in mind, I thought I would share a few things I find helpful.
Actually taking 5 minutes to sit down to drink a nice hot cuppa, preferably somewhere sunny or where you can look out to nature. 

If drinking a cuppa alone isn't an option, create a ritual of 'tea time' and serve the kids sweet camomile tea or warm milk in their own little mug and drink your 'tea' together. It might take a little time to get in routine, but at the very least I have found it has the affect of making me feel like we are vaguely civilised. 

Listen to the essential news and then turn it off. We know COVID is crap and horrible. It's important to keep up to date, but it serves no purpose to us to down our selves in it by listening to the news all day. Popping on some favourite music or an uplifting podcast is much more beneficial.

Breathe. Take 5 slow deep breaths right into your belly. Stop and do it throughout the day when you feel that tension settling in your chest.  

Embrace your inner cat and stretch if you're finding yourself sitting for long periods of time. 

Pack away toys and rotate them so at the end of the day you don't have to clean up an insanely messy area. 

Take a walk around the yard along or with the little person in your life. Take the time to look at your plants and even pulling a few weeds. If you get to clear a little section, perhaps you can plant some cheerful flowers or herbs. 

Take a moment to pop on a podcast while folding the never ending rounds of washing. Or don't fold it and chuck it on the spare bed and make a game of the kids finding their clothes every morning. what ever works. Just don't beat yourself up over it either way. 

Pop on a show/movie for the kids and actually lay down on the couch while they watch it, rather than using that time to catch up. Because really, when it comes to a house full of small children, one is never actually caught up. 

Have a hot shower, change into clean clothes and actually use the moisturiser that's been relegated to the back of the cabinet, forgotten in the midst of teaching children to wipe their own bottoms and brush their teeth. 

Change your sheets and dust your bedside tables to help create a clear, relaxing sleep space.

Open the windows to let in the fresh air.

Give some love to your indoor plants. Get rid of dead ones and replace them with hardier options. Don't beat yourself up about killing them, think of them like a bunch of flowers. They gave you joy while they were alive and even the best gardeners have things die on them. It's all trial and error.    

If social media is sucking time and energy delete them off your phone and pop the phone on a shelf so it's not right next to you to avoid mindless scrolling. 

When it comes to bath time, pop a few drops of lavender oil in the bath and some magnesium salts to aid in a restful sleep for the big and the small people in the house. 

Try to cook a nourishing meal in bulk every few days. Less cooking, less dishes and it saves money and time. If you can make it a one pot meal where all the veggies are incorporated even better. And if you're too tired, scrambled eggs on toast is a perfectly acceptable meal. And two minute noodles, whilst not being the best option, will fill tummies with no fighting just fine. My kids love when they get two minute noodles for dinner. I figure if you serve fruit and yoghurt for dessert you're looking at a pretty balanced meal. 

These little daily rituals are the kinds of things that fill my cup when life feels heavy. They are not grand nor impressive, and part of me feels a little silly writing such a list. But these things exist as small reminders to breathe and to remember the way we spend our minutes is the way we spend our days and as such, our lives. I know from my own experience it can be all too easy to throw myself deep into mothering, and then find myself drowning under the weight. Having forgotten that I too have needs that need to be tended to.  

So dear readers, what little rituals do you find helpful in your day to keep you steady? Is there anything in this list that resonates with you? 

Much love,

Living simply, goats and a new vlog

How are you dear readers?
It seems COVID has taken off in NSW and Sydney is in hard lock down. It has also escaped to Melbourne and SA and as such, they are locked down too. 

If you are reading this from Sydney or any other locked down area please know we are thinking of you and holding you in our prayers. While we are not locked down on the mid-north coast yet, there are more restrictions in place. Our family is unable to visit another family as we are more than 5 people. For the first time since COVID started, Will has to wear a mask at school. Masks are now compulsory for everyone over 12. This variant is affecting children and if the virus pops up any where near us we will be switching to home schooling quick smart. I have already decided if that happens again I will mostly not be using the school curriculum. The teachers do an amazing job in near impossible circumstances, but we wasted so much time juggling the various online platforms they were on and switching back and forth that it added a whole other layer of stress. Our satellite internet can be sluggish which doesn’t help. Because I am full time at home, I have the luxury of working out our own curriculum. We will be working out our own schedule, projects and work directed by what is relevant to us, while working towards the schools desired outcomes. Except perhaps maths. I have found the online maths component helpful. I figure if I look after our family it will also free up the teachers to focus on the families who are juggling the impossible of working from home and learning from home. 

This past week Grant and I have been working on a new vlog, and if you are after something calm, soothing and a little daggy to watch the link is HERE. If you could take a moment to like, subscribe and even share it would mean a lot. We see a lot of American homesteaders online, but not so many Australian ones and we would love to contribute to that space from a mindful and sustainable viewpoint.

In this vlog we chat about our goats and show how we rotate them. I do a little cooking on the wood oven and you see plenty of little Elsie telling the goats who is boss. When did she get so big?! Even Grant sat down and had a bit of a yarn. Miracles will never cease. I have learnt a lot about filming and editing over the course of making these last few vlogs. I can say there is a vast improvement in the final product of this vlog, and I have many strategies in mind to continue to improve. 

There are two schools of thought when undertaking a new endeavour. One is to practise and not release something until you have it nailed, the other is to start small and learn along the way, gathering encouragement and ideas as you go. I am a big fan of the latter. I learn best by doing and sharing. It is how this blog started and grew to what it is today and I think there is honesty and transparency in keeping things real. I think just giving things a good crack is a great life lesson. Whether it be starting a garden, learning to sew, knit, cook a new recipe, thrift, paint, mend, tinker or write. Not one ever got better at something by sitting on the couch simply thinking about it.  

If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by uncertainty of the worlds events, I encourage you to take a deep breath, make a cuppa and think about just one small thing you would like to do. It can be tiny. Do you love indoor plants? Look around your home and clear a nice sunny spot ready to welcome in an indoor plant next time you go to the shops. Or take a cutting off a succulent when you're going for a walk, which has the added bonus of being free. Rip up an old towel or sheet to use as cloth rags to stop buying chux. Buy vinegar, eucalyptus oil and bi-carb instead of that bottle of toxic disinfectant. Change your sheets and dust your bedside tables to help create a soothing bedtime routine.  

Still too much? Perhaps eat a piece of fruit and take a nice hot shower. It's ok you're finding things hard. It is a bloody hard season. You are here and you are going to get though it day by day. When the world seems out of control, these small actions help us to create a form of self care and in turn we are taking meaningful action towards a more frugal, nourishing life within our home. It's so important we take the time to look after ourselves.Sure, listen in to the news to receive the daily updates as necessary and then switch it off and put on some uplifting music. Try to create pockets of loveliness in your day, even if you're surrounded by small children. I know it's hard! Perhaps, a nice hot cuppa with a choccie biscuit, or send the kids out to find 10 insects/leaves/flowers in the garden so you can breathe for just 5 minutes. My kids love having a cup of tea and a biscuit with me and it has the bonus effect of making me feel like we are civilised despite the chaos that might surround us.  

Look after yourselves dear readers, and go gently.  

Much love, 


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