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February 2011

Finding calm amongst the chaos

I've decided to stop fighting against every single moment of chaos that creeps into my life. I thought that striving for a slow and simple life meant avoiding chaos at all costs. I'm now thinking a little chaos, every now and then, is OK, even necessary.

It's the moments of calm in between the chaos that are important.

I’ve managed to find a teeny moment of calm within my working days. There’s this small park near my office. I've walked past it for years without venturing in - until a few months ago.


From the outside it doesn't look very inviting. But inside, it’s like a little secret garden, full of calm, nature and creative touches.


I now often wander down there for a brief moment after lunch. Sometimes I just sit and close my eyes. Sometimes I explore the winding paths. Sometimes I just breathe.


Each and every time, I leave calmer than when I arrived. Ready to face the chaos.


Last week I left something behind……


...along one of the winding paths...


...on a small simple seat...


... I left 1 of 1000 homes of happiness.

I wonder who finds it? I hope it brings them a little happiness and wellbeing.

How about you? Do you manage to avoid moments of chaos? Where, or how, do you find calm?


If you found this post inspiring, please take a moment and share it. Tweets or Facebook likes are great. Many thanks.

Be well and happy,


Fun tips for encouraging children to eat vegetables


I'm sharing a few fun tips for encouraging children to eat vegetables over at Childhood 101 today. As you can imagine, my tips don't involve disguising vegetables. Instead I talk about involving children through sprouting, gardening, cooking, farmers markets and farm visits. Head on over and read the full article here

Dehydrating food in your car ~ A food dryer that (almost) everyone has

I tried dehydrating bananas in our car over the weekend.


I wonder what the neighbours thought?

I had the car parked on the street facing the sun. I prepared the bananas the same as when I dehydrated in the solar oven, although this time I also sliced some cross-ways into banana chips. I simply placed them on oven racks with a black tray underneath (dark colours work best as they absorb heat rather than reflect) and then placed the trays on the dashboard. I opened the windows a few millimeters for ventilation, making sure the opening was too small for flies. 

It was a hot day (around 40 degrees C) and I had the bananas in the car for around 7 hours. They came out perfect.


Sweet, tasty, chewy, car-dried banana chips.

I'll certainly use the car again for drying. I think i'll try drying herbs next time. Perhaps a batch of car-dried tea: lemongrass, mint, spearmint and lemon verbena?

Shared at Simple Lives Thursday.


If you found value in this post, I would be grateful if you could pass it on and share it. Many thanks.

Be well and happy,



Dehydrating bananas in a solar oven

I dehydrated a batch of bananas in my solar oven this week. I've wanted a food dehydrator for ages, but had waited because i'd heard you could dehydrate in a solar oven.

It's so easy, and far better than having an oven on all day or powering an electric dehydrator for hours.

I simply peeled the bananas and then sliced them into three lengthwise.


I could have left them whole, but they would have taken longer to dehydrate.


I then dipped them in lime juice to stop them from turning brown. I could have used lemons, but I had limes, so used them instead.


I then spread the bananas out on a cake cooling rack that conveniently fitted into a baking tray, which in turn conveniently fitted into my solar oven. It's important not to crowd the fruit, as good airflow between pieces is important.


The food to be dehydrated needs to sit near the top of the oven, with the oven held open an inch or so, so that you get good airflow over the food. I propped open the oven with a small container and luckily my baking tray fit snugly on the top of the cooker. If it hadn't, I would have propped it up by placing a baking dish under it.

To stop flies entering the oven, I simply placed bits of an old netting curtain over the openings. I held the netting in place with chop sticks this time, but next time I think i'll whip up something more permanent. Perhaps i'll make a netting skirt I can hold on with elastic?

Then five hours later we had some delicious dried bananas....


Perhaps a little too delicious. Only three pieces made it to the end. Once we started testing to see if they were ready we couldn't stop.



The last three lasted less than a minute. Apparently, if dried until they are leathery and dry, I could have stored them in a jar for up to a year. I doubt they'd ever last a year in this house.

With the price of bananas expected to rise as a result of the recent cyclone Yasi, I think i'll do another batch tomorrow. There's only so many bananas I can fit in the solar oven, so i'm keen to try dehydrating some in my car. I'll let you know how it goes.

Do you dehydrate? Whats your favourite food to dehydrate?


Need some sustainable living inspiration? Head on over to the Little eco footprints inspiring reads page. My favourite post this week was Penniless Parenting's Rules of Foraging.

Be well and happy,