Thursday, 24 January 2013

Our eco-friendly party!

My husband celebrated a big birthday recently that had an 0 at the end of it. He didn't want a big party or performance and didn't want to spend screeds of money (Who are we kidding here??? He might be the birthday boy but I'm the party organiser with the deep pockets so he was never going to spend much anyway!!)

Anyway - In the end we decided to go away for a week up to a cabin on the local mountain - Springbrook, where it was going to be at least 7 degrees cooler than the "close to 40 degrees" we are having in Brisbane at the moment, for his birthday and while were were there invite friends and family up for a lunch time gathering to celebrate.

The husband was keen to make it as eco friendly as possible so no balloons, streamers, paper plates or plastic cups - sounds like it might be a bit of a challenge but - Here's what we did...

Since the cabin was very rustic in design, we simply did a few vases and jugs of branches and grasses for decoration. We let Mother Nature and the architect/builder set the scene!

We took up all our own crockery, glassware and cutlery - and even though it was a fair bit to lug up and back and a fair bit to wash up, it gave people time to bond over dishes and lowered our rubbish considerably. For 30 people for lunch, 3 people for a week, and 6 others overnight - we only generated one and a half bags of rubbish for the week, not including recyclables. I thought that was really quite good!

We tried to buy what we could in glass containers rather than plastic and since most of the food was real food it didn't come with much packaging and thus there was less waste. We did a make your own filled roll for the main meal and people bought their specialities along as well - so we had scotch eggs, pork pies, a yummy cheese ball, an awesome slice, antipasto platter, nibblies of all sorts!

We lived on the leftovers for the next few meals (this was planned!)

We used real serviettes instead of paper ones.

For presents, he asked for donations to be made to some of his favorite charities, and so received only a few pressies - mainly books, music and videos that he was expecting!

It wasnt the easiest or quickest party to organise but it was a lot of fun!!! There are lots of ways to have an eco party, Have a look here for decorating tips. Have a look here for all sorts of ideas for an eco friendly party! For kids eco friendly parties, going to the park, pool or some place other than home can make it special but for parties that may not involve a lot of littlies, have a look at these ideas...

Have fun!
Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for using things that can be washed and used again
Frugal-ness: 5/5 Turns out to be much cheaper if you already have the bits and pieces!
Time cost: A lot more time to pack, wash and repack all the gear - but it was good bonding time for those who shared in these activities.
Skill level: Lots of thinking of alternatives!
Fun-ness: Great fun to only have a bag and a half of rubbish - made us feel quite virtuous!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Slowing down the Slow Living Essentials way - December 2012

I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a while and in January she set a challenge to record on our blog, monthly, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this for the last eight months and really got a lot out of it. This is my November reflection on Slowing Down - the Slow Living Essentials way!

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
After the festive season there were lots of left overs. We got sick of eating them fairly quickly as I'm sure we all do. This year I got a bit creative with the left overs and I made anti-pasto muffins (basic savoury muffins with chopped up antipasto in it) a variety of dips to go with all the left over crackers and biscuits for lunch, there was a few ham, cranberry and cheese toasted sandwiches and a smoked salmon quiche that went down well!

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve.
The only thing we stockpiled over the festive season was calories!

REDUCE: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
We composted most of our wrapping paper, reused boxes and bags for re-wrapping and are re-gifting a few Chrissy presents that missed the appreciated mark...

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products.
We did a fairly green Christmas - recycled cards, newspaper wrapping paper, less food, well chosen presents, homemade work mates gifts and last years decorations...

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
My main harvest this month has been eggs!!! With only the brand new baby and the still not so well chook not laying I have eight regular layers now. My Aracana came on line with her green eggs and disappointingly, the other chicken that was sold to me as an Aracana, started laying white eggs, not green or blue or olive like she might have. At least she lays eggs!

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
Been trying to create calm and order from the Christmas /New Year Chaos...

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
Books that were gifts, Instruction manuals, receipts and road maps are the only texts that got read this month!

ENHANCE: community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
So many communities at this time of the year! Christmas Parties at my various works, Christmas parties at my husbands work, neighbours Christmas gatherings, cards from people you love but only catch up with at this time of the year and lots of wishing total strangers a Merry Christmas!

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family.
See above but add extended feasting with family!

IMPROVE: Change or create a habit, work on an aspect of mind, body and soul that needs a wee tweak.
I did well with the guest thing this year - I'm usually keen to help and get involved with the preparations and again on the day even as a guest. This year I waited till I was asked to help/make/provide and then did so with enthusiasm. For the rest of the time I ate, drank and chatted to which ever relative was sitting closest and didn't (overtly) worry about what was happening in the kitchen. It made for a much more relaxing Christmas!

This month will be about getting back into an exercise routine. I'm trying to do at least thirty minutes three times a week - and Yoga doesn't count! So this morning I will bike down to the shops or the few things that I need instead of taking the car and check out the local swimming pools and go for a swim early next week.. Lets see how I go with this one!

I love this check-in at the end of the month! I hope you are going to continue to host it Christine! I have really enjoyed so many aspects of it!

I love cruising over to other blogs and catching up on whats been happening for others and enjoying reading about every ones exploits, thoughts and ideas. I do always leave comments but have noticed that sometimes they don't come up on the comments page or I can't get past some of the 'security' devices ("type in these letters" thingys). So, even if you can't see my comment - know that I have been visiting!

Thanks for the opportunity to share again Christine!!! Have a great month everyone! - Kara xx

**** For some reason Blogger wont let me upload pictures... I will try again later and see if I can add them this afternoon! - K xx****** Ah Ha! it seems to be a blogger/Internet explorer issue for those of you with  the same problem. Go into "HTML" instead of "compose" and you will have no problem getting the pictures up and then you can edit them back in "compose". Cheers - K xx

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Link to a free 2013 planning meditation!

For quite a number of years I have subscribed to the meditainment website. It has a large number of twenty minute guided meditations that I have found really helpful when I'm stressed, tired, or in need of a twenty minute break!

They sent me an email saying that for the next week, their guided meditation that takes you on a walk through the mountains to make important plans for the following year is free for the next week! You can download their meditations and keep them on your computer, MP3 or i-thingamo and listen to them over and over at any time.

My favourites are the oasis in the desert, swimming with the whales and walking around my tropical island. There are also meditations that take you to the spa of relaxation, wandering around a secret garden, kayaking to a meadow and sheltering from a storm in a cosy cabin in the woods (or an igloo!) I enjoy these and thought I would share this link with you - I'm guessing it runs out on 7th of January.

Have a look, relax, listen - Enjoy!

The website: or go straight to the free meditation
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