I Love Dew

The days I get to walk my daughter to school are a treat! If I’m working she gets taken by a dear friend of mine. We can wake an hour later on my days off, and the mornings are more relaxed, although with the inevitable last-minute dash out the door.

I love that we can walk together to school. I don’t envy those caught in rush-hour traffic every day (we don’t even have a rush hour here). Walking sets us up for the day I feel. We experience transitions between places in ‘real time’ (i.e. walking speed, although I have experienced that in a car too). We experience the weather and our surroundings more intensely. I find walking very grounding when we are aware and mindful of our journey. To encourage this we play games such as I-spy and stop to notice a flower, or berries now, and once my daughter stared in wonder into a hedge telling me she could see coloured sparkles – I don’t doubt that she did.

After school drop off I get to re-trace my steps – although I don’t. I always take a detour through a small park, we sometimes go there together after school. A beautiful wildlife garden lovingly tended by volunteers. It is a place I am able to truly ground and connect with nature in my own time, in my own way.

Releasing and letting go of any tensions as I lean my back against the trunk of a sturdy beech tree.

park

Or sitting and contemplating the flowers and  gently humming insects.

flowers

Burying my nose into a fragrant rose blossom and deeply inhaling the warm perfume.

rose blossom

Or, like today, crouching down and sinking my fingers and palms into the soft, mossy, dewy grass, creating a physical, tangible connection to Mother Earth.

I love dew

 These days are a treat!

Please share you favorite place or way, to connect with nature below.

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Inspiralized

In an attempt to add some variety to our meals, and also see if improved presentation will convince my daughter to try a wider variety of vegetables I recently invested in a spiralizer.

A spiralizer essentially is a fancy grater. It does the job quicker, without adding knuckles to the mix, and the result is more attractive and, if you don’t mind the indignity of it, more fun to eat. (If you want a more dignified eating experience I suggest cutting the strands before serving, as they can get to be several meters in length.)

I did some research online before I made a choice and I made my decision to buy the Benriner Cook Help based on this review. It certainly does the job and I’m happy with the results. It works well either left or right-handed (P is left-handed and I’m right-handed) although for cutting anything firmer than a courgette a fair bit of downward pressure is needed which was difficult for P to manage when spiralizing carrots. It was however cheaper than the review mentioned.

Since getting it we have eaten more raw carrots, courgettes and beetroot than the rest of the year so far.  We have also tried it out with butternut squash, apple (fail – but I’m going to give it another go sometime) onion, cabbage and cucumber.

Beetroot – visually the most spectacular transformation out of everything we have tried so far. It looked so very lovely tumbling from the cutter that I made more that I realised out of sheer joy of what I was able to create. Somehow the mere act of spiralizing seems to increase the amount of vegetable fourfold, and a few smallish beetroot fed us for days.

This pairs beautifully with my chocolate balsamic dressing

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Cabbage – An easy way to produce very finely sliced cabbage, perfect for when making coleslaw.

The cabbage needs to be small and very dense, I found it worked best when I just used the flat blade, without teeth attached.

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Carrots – with the fine tooth blade produces beautiful cascading ringlets reminicent of Merida’s hair in the film Brave.

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My daughters little friend was totally enamored and crammed handfuls at a time into his mouth.

I have been meaning to try this carrot and caraway slaw recipe which sounds amazing (just substitute another sweetener of choice for the honey).

I have also been hoping to try rainbow carrots when my local organic food shop gets some back in stock.

Courgette, works really well as a replacement for spaghetti and is fantastic with a pesto sauce, or my current favorite – olive oil, grated zest of lemon, sea salt and black pepper (and maybe a few sliced olives as an optional addition). I found that if the courgette is too thick the spiralizer just bores into the middle of it. If it is a particularly watery courgette a salad spinner works well to remove excess moisture from the strands (and the juice tastes quite nice).

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Courgette spaghetti with pesto sauce

Onion – Like the cabbage, this worked best with the flat blade. It was very quick and easy to produce long fine strands for adding to salads and slaws. Lovely with avocado dressing – below.

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Coleslaw with avocado dressing

Avocado dressing – 1 avocado blended with 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup hemp oil, 1 dessertspoon of coconut nectar (or any other liquid sweetener of choice) and a pinch of cayenne pepper or black pepper to taste

Vegetables we have yet to try

Kohlrabi – I was unsure of these when I found them in the organic veg shop as they smell of swede, however Charlotte Hume in her enjoyable journey ‘The Great Big Veg Challenge’ says that it has a  ‘mild turnipy taste …..it makes good coleslaw‘. I see a theme emerging…………

Also horseradish and mooli, assuming I can get them locally.

I intend to experiment with more varieties of spiralized vegetables and dressings and post back soon.

My daughter has cautiously tested small amounts of different vegetables having been involved in the spiralizing and this is certainly a step forward, I’m hoping it will encourage more taste testing as we continue with the experimenting.

Our Summer Lego Challenge

So I had this idea that during the summer holiday we would try to use up every Lego piece – it sounds easy, at the end of the day we were not trying to create anything in particular – just use them all up. However it was not as straightforward as I expected. We just happened to pick up a copy of the Lego Play Book in a charity shop on holiday, which was the original inspiration for the project. At first glance many of the ideas in the book looked unfeasible due to our limited stock, but it became a great source of inspiration and we came up with some really resourceful takes on their original designs.

Overall our individual models started to fit together to from a sort of town scene. I photographed the progress but models constantly evolved, particularly when we needed ‘that brick’ which necessitated taking another building completely apart (several times).

lego town

Wedding Scene

wedding scene lego

We spotted the fairy tale carriage in the Lego Ideas book, and built our own fit for a princess bride, complete with wedding altar and a rather splendid 3 tier cake.

Here comes the bride

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Graveyard

A handy place to store spare body parts.

graveyard

This scene was inspired by the story Teeny Tiny and the Soup Bone

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“This teeny-tiny bone will make me some teeny-tiny soup for my teeny-tiny supper.”

Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts

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Hairdressers

A Back to school trim for Harry, Hermione and Ron

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patio

Holiday Cottage

with patio, sliding door, radio and bookcase

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Ice Cream Stall

with Slushie machines, freezer and signpost (left)

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Beach scenes

beach hut

Jaws

We had great fun creating stories and scenarios around the individual models we built. Here the shark, lifeguard station, beach hut and fishing boat are joined by other vehicles and characters in a rescue operation.

shark attack

A Fantastical Dr Seuss style building

centaurs tower

Spidermans hide-out

with get-away vehicle

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Things on wheels

road runners

A selection of vehicles, including a bin lorry, which led us to create a recycling center and wheelie bin. Handy for those odd leftover pieces at the end of our project.

recycling centre

We had a lot of fun with this project and I’m sure we will repeat it some time in the future.

If you like this post please pin it to your Lego Ideas Pinboard.

As part of my 30 day blogging challenge I have been encouraged to try out Canva photo editing, hence the titled and tinted photos. It’s been a lot of fun and a handy way to individualise my blog photos.