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April 2010

Getting ready to (tea) party....

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I'm preparing for Little Eco's third birthday party next weekend. Last year I found myself buying disposable cups and plates at the last minute. This year i'm prepared....it will be a disposable-free tea-party. I've been collecting second hand teeny glasses and cute little floral vintage plates. I started paying around $1 per cup and $2 per plate, but during a recent trip up the valley I discovered an opp shop where glasses are only 10c and plates 50c. I love country town opp shops!!! And I love even more that we'll be using these glasses and plates year after year.

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And of course it wouldn't be a party without punch. I was  pretty happy when I found these two punch sets.

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I also found this as-new vintage linen apron. I decided it was a perfect canvas for me to try thread sketching. I bought it to use as a gift...but i've decided to keep it for myself.

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Here's todays outdoor photo. It's raining here at the moment and Little Eco headed off this morning in search of puddles with her Grandad. Around 30 mins later it started absolutely bucketing down. Daddy Eco went out to rescue them and found them sheltering under an eve... very wet, but very happy.

Enjoy your weekend. Head on over to Sophie's if you feel like more Flea Market Finds.


Starfish shoes

Our Sunday outdoors. A beach and no plans…So what did we do?

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Said hello to some starfish and tried on some starfish shoes. 

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Saw how many different types of seaweed we could find.

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And my favourite activity was watching Little Eco eagerly collect water from one end of a rock pool and carefully walk around to ‘fill up’ the other side of the exact same rock pool.

Note: No seaweed or sea creature was harmed during this fun. We took the opportunity to explain to Little Eco that we should treat all sea creatures tenderly and always return them to their home.


Sunset tea party

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I found this cute little tin at an opp shop yesterday for only $4…

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…filled it with a few small tea cups and saucers (only $1 each) and a tablecloth my Gran made for me…and we enjoyed an outdoor sunset tea party

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It’s nice to be using the tablecloth my Gran made me. All that beautiful embroidery was done by hand. I cannot even guess how many hours it would have taken her.

I enjoyed browsing through my favourite opp shops yesterday. I had a rare morning to myself and went armed with a list of what we needed so that I wouldn't get too distracted and return with a whole lot of bargains that we didn't really need. I found a lovely wool cardigan that I imagine will become a favourite this winter. I also found another vintage suitcase to add to the collection. This one is destined to become our 'craft case' and will store recycled bits and pieces ready for some eco crafting.

Head on over to Sophie's to see more Flea Market Finds. And to catch up on the outdoors challenge, here's Fridays photo...collecting feathers at Blackbutt Reserve.

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Pets and knowing nature

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I’m sure those of you with children and pets don’t need to be told of the positive influence pets have on children. I’m sure you see your pets tempt your child outdoors and I’m sure, like me, you see their benefits each day.

Little Eco loves her pets. She has a best friend called Barney, five chooks, two Guinea Pigs (she’s pictured above with her favourite ‘Crocodile’), and up until a few days ago she also had a rather large stick insect.

The pleasure, companionship and lessons she receives from her pets are obvious. Through helping us feed and care for the animals she is learning how to take care of another living being and experiences responsibility.  I delight at seeing the kindness and affection she gives her favourites ‘Barney‘, ‘Crocodile’ and ‘Wanda’ and I can see her concern and respect for other living things grow. I particularly love that pets can be an instant tantrum stopper. I’ve discovered the easiest way to stop a tantrum is to say “I wonder how Crocodile is? Shall we give him a cuddle?”. She stops mid tantrum and heads outside to cuddle Crocodile. Seriously! Rarely fails.

But most of all I love that our pets provide an instant connection with nature. On the days when I work out of home and Little Eco is in child care, we often struggle to find the time to get out-and-about and be ‘in nature’. Through tending our pets each morning and night we connect ‘with nature’ and they help us ‘know nature’. The short time outside tending the animals also provides a moment for unstructured play within what is otherwise an extremely structured day. Today a freshly fallen branch and tea pot provided joy.

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This post has been written for ‘The Great Outdoors Challenge’. I’m enjoying visiting the other Great Outdoor Challenge players and have been inspired to try blowing bubbles outdoors; walk around our neighbourhood counting frangipanis (the only tree Little Eco can easily identify so far); and I was twice inspired to go and find a creek to play in.


Knowing nature ~ a children and nature awareness month challenge

I believe that to care about nature and our environment you need to know nature.  Why would you care about something you don’t know?

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I see it as my role to ‘introduce’ nature to Little Eco and I try to take her on a ‘visit with a nature’ each day. We don’t have to travel far…nature is everywhere, even in a busy city. Nature doesn’t have to be grand or wild. It can be small and squishy like this caterpillar found amongst our sweet potato a few weeks ago.

But i'm not always a good friend to nature and often realise it has been days since we consciously visited. So when I saw 5 Orange Potatoes Get Outdoors Challenge I decided it was exactly what we needed. The challenge is in honour of Children and Nature Awareness Month and requires me to ‘go outside everyday, rain or shine; then take a picture each day, for the rest of April, of your children outdoors and post it. Just a single picture will do; words aren’t even necessary. Lets spread the word and go outdoors!’.

Sounds like fun!