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June 2012

May 2012

Valuing their creativity by giving them the “good stuff”

Drawing with Lyra pencils

“The materials that we give our children to create with send them a message about how we value their creative endeavours, their time, and their work. When we care for and value their materials, so will our children. If we invest resources and treat the materials with respect, our children will know that their work is important to us. They will know we believe they are worthy of the “good stuff”.        Amanda Soule, The Creative Family.

I read these words when Little Eco was still a baby. They struck a chord with me and have influenced the type of art supplies I've bought for her and the space we’ve dedicated for her creativity.

Little Eco's desk in the corner of our kitchen

Little Eco's art desk takes pride of place in the corner of our kitchen and her painting table is permanently set up on our verandah.

I buy her few art materials and favour quality over quantity. Quality art supplies make creating easier and also mean less clutter and less waste.

Giveaway from Dragonfly Toys

Little Eco (and I) particularly love Lyra pencils, so when Tracie from Dragonfly Toys offered to run a giveaway for Little Eco Footprints readers I jumped at the chance for one of my readers to win a set of these pencils.

Lyra Pencils from Dragonfly Toys

Would you like to win a Waldorf Selection of Lyra pencils

Entries have closed and the winner was comment number 16 - Shellie. Congratulations Shellie! I've sent you an email.

Thank you all for entering.

To enter head on over to Dragonfly Toys and check out their products (which are delightfully categorised into imagine, create, listen, read, live, give, and baby) and pop back here and leave a comment sharing which of their products you love the most and why.

Entries close midnight (Australian EST) Wednesday 6th June 2012.

One entry per person, please. Sorry, entries only open to those with Australian addresses.

The winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator and will be announced here in this post on the Thursday morning. I'll contact the winner directly by email. Good luck.


Growing herbal teas at home

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I’ve been guzzling Lemon Balm and Rosemary tea this week. I’ve had a rotten flu and apparently both Lemon Balm and Rosemary have antiviral properties.

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To make the tea I pick a few generous sprigs of Lemon Balm and a small sprig of Rosemary, add hot water, and brew for at least 10 minutes.

I love being able to step out into the garden and pick herbs for nourishing homemade tea. Besides Lemon Balm and Rosemary, the only other ‘tea friendly’ herbs I’m growing at the moment are Mint and Lemon Grass, so I’ve decided to make a ‘wish list’ of herbs I’d like to grow for tea.

Herbal teas that are easy to grow at home

  • Brahmi
  • Chamomile
  • Echinacea
  • Fennel seeds
  • Ginger
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Grass
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Mint
  • Nettle
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Stevia
  • Thyme
  • Tulsi
  • Winter Tarragon

What have I missed? What’s your favourite herbal tea? Do you grow any tea herbs at home?

Edited: I've updated the list to include your suggestions. Thank you!


Are you shopping at the supermarket less these days?

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The Little Eco Footprints family is now four and a half months into the skipping the supermarket challenge - skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains.

Until a month or so ago the challenge was a bit of a non-issue and was a restriction we hardly noticed. We've continued to get a weekly veggie box through a Community Supported Agriculture farm and regularly pop into our local greengrocer for dairy and fruit. I get pantry staples like nuts, dried fruit, pulses and rice through a local mum-run bulk-buying club (who orders from Honest to Goodness) and we can usually find anything else we need at either the farmer’s markets or one of the local organic food stores in our neighbourhood.

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I've even started buying goats milk in recycled bottles direct from a local farm.

But everything went down-hill the morning after one particularly tough training walk. At 6am the following morning I pleaded with Daddy Eco to pop into the supermarket to buy some bacon, orange juice and epsom salts. He spotted an opportunity and returned shortly after with my requests, along with almost 100 rolls of toilet paper, a couple of HUGE boxes of weet bix and a jar of vegemite. The check-out girl asked him if he was having a party. That would be one weird party!?

I've also broken the 'shopping malls' and 'super chains' bit of the challenge too. All Little Eco wanted for her recent birthday was a mermaid outfit. I couldn't find any suitable fabric in my stash nor at the couple of op shops I visited. So I popped into Spotlight and Little Eco chose some suitably sparkly material. Fast forward to the day before her birthday and I still hadn't found the time or energy to make the costume. So I sent my Mum off to a super chain toy store in a nearby shopping mall to buy a mass-produced and branded mermaid outfit. Definitely a low point!

Since then we've given in to the supermarket urge a couple of times, but we're determined to get back on track from now on.

How about you? Are you skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super-chains? Or are you shopping less at the supermarket these days?

Feel free to leave a link to any posts you have written about changing the way you shop or the skipping the supermarket challenge in the comments section so that we can pop over and read about how you are going.

There's only one day left to enter the Australian made sock giveaway. Entries close midnight wednesday.


Compensation, bribery, or living vicariously through my child?

Her first horse riding lesson

I’m pretty certain we’re doing the right thing moving to the country. And even if we're not – we can always move back.

However, every now and then a sense of uncertainty hits me. Is it fair to drag our only child out to a regional area away from her friends? Will she make new friends? What will she do after school? Will she be lonely?

Lately I’ve found myself encouraging a love she’s always had for horses.

‘Perhaps you can get your own pony’.

‘Imagine – you could even ride your horse to school. How cool would that be!’

We even gave her a proper horse riding lesson for her birthday. There she is above on her first trot. Our usually reserved girl headed off for the lesson without a backward glance. She hardly looked our way the entire time and was lost in her own world. She’s fallen well and truly in love.

Hang on!! What am I doing?! Horses are expensive. And a lot of work.

I gave it some more thought and realised I was likely trying to compensate for dragging her out bush. Or am I trying to bribe her into being happy about moving to the country? Or worse still, am I trying to live vicariously through my child?

Either way – I’ve decided that a hobby that gets my daughter outdoors and fills her with confidence has to be a good thing.

I’m trying to convince Daddy Eco that an interest in horses delays interest in boys by a few years. Anyone else out there willing to support my theory?

There's still time to enter the Australian made sock giveaway