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My husband once said to me, “I’m glad you’re not afraid of work”. I took great pride in hearing that. And yet there I was, stomping around in my gumboots trying to find the mini tractor and trailer so I could get a load of wood for our empty wood pile by the bus.

I was very irritated and bothered because the trailer was full of grass and needed be emptied. Also, because it was really hard for me to reverse the trailer into a good spot to load wood from the bulk wood pile. And, because I would also need to back it up to our woodpile near the bus, only to then unload it with a baby on my back and a two and a half year old helping not helping.

For some reason I felt that this job was too hard, and not fit for me to do. It was real work and I’d have no help. I’d done it once before for the same reason. Darren is usually at work when it’s a good time to do it. Yet my irritation raged because I was forced into doing it again.

It’s getting colder at nights and we need the fire. Many people in New Zealand heat their homes this way. It’s a lovely feeling, sitting in front of the warm glow, cocooned in from the elements. But, along with this privilege of being comfortable and warm comes work.

I said a prayer for help. Not for help doing the wood, but for help with my attitude. I believed that I was being a cry baby. I was having an internal tantrum because I grew up a soft city girl and didn’t want to struggle with this job.

My prayer was answered. My attitude slowly softened and melted. “This is what it’s about. Whoever is able and free does this kind of work. Living in the country means learning to look after yourself without being pampered. Learning to reverse the trailer without help is a badge to be worn. I can be proud of this rather than wounded.”

I was almost finished unloading the wood and taking a rest when I stopped to watched Boy run down the hill to the tree swing. He was yelling back to me, “That was fun Mummy!” It was a beautiful, still, sunny, Autumn day. Perfect. Nothing to complain about. This was an opportunity to be outside with my children, an opportunity to grow my confidence, my patience, my skills.

Sure, I would prefer if Darren did it. If he had time, he would do it. But if he did, I’d really feel better if I was helping him, so we could at least spend his time free working together. And if I was helping him, I’d be doing much of the same work that I was doing now. My irritation was unfounded. I wish I would have at first not balked at the job but lived up to the compliment, “I’m glad you’re not afraid of work”.

I’m a bit better at backing that trailer now… Give me a few more years and I’ll be a pro… Maybe.

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We get whole wheat in bulk for the whole year and then grind it in our mill when we need it. Fresh flour can go rancid in a few months, so store bought flour has the germ removed, even wholemeal or whole wheat flour. They make white flour and add some bran back in and then call it ‘whole’. Truly whole flour will say stoneground on the label.

Some people will say they can’t stand whole wheat bread. I think that’s because they’ve tasted it when it’s gone rancid. It has a very strong and bitter taste that you can’t ignore. Fresh flour just tastes good!

We got our mill as a wedding present from Darren’s parents. Our model is called the Hawos Billy 100. It was made in Germany. We love it as it’s very simple to use and can be used to make any flour from grains and even dry legumes like peas. I think you have to be cautious though, as foods with lots of oils will clog the stone. You can see the Hawos website by clicking here.

The above photo shows about how much I make at one time. Those two containers will make around 12-15 loaves of bread. This can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on how often I bake.

The quality of flour and bread is amazing… I really encourage you to go for it if you are considering getting a mill of your own. You get many more nutrients as well when it’s fresh, as vitamins break down as flour ages.


These things are awesome… Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Asparagus rolls are a traditional finger food found at pretty much all gatherings here in New Zealand. I had never heard of such a thing or tried anything similar before moving to here.

Soft bread with the crusts cut off, spread with mayo, place canned asparagus at the corner and roll it up. Yum! Asparagus Rolls! Try it try it!!! And let me know what you think.

Do you have any recipes like this in your part of the world? I’d love to hear about them.


We’ve been trying really hard to save many the last few months. Things have a way of popping up when you least expect them and sometimes it can feel like you only barely come to the surface for a breath before dipping below the surface again. I’ve needed to go see the dentist, Girl needed a new car seat, I bumped into someone’s car with my car in the car park, so we had to pay an insurance bill and Darren has needed to see the physio for his back. All of these things add up and sometimes we feel like we will never finish our housebus. I see light at the end of the tunnel, but these are a few of the things I do to cut costs in the kitchen while keeping things highly nutritious. It really helps to keep costs down so they can go on other more urgent or important things.

1. Buy Bulk.

This would have to be the biggest saver for us. Buying things prepackaged usually increases the cost of an item. Occasionally I am surprised though. For us it’s cheaper to buy raisins and oats prepacked. But for everything else I like to find a store that keeps things in bins where I can choose how much to buy or buy a large bag that might last me a year or more. I like how everything looks in my own jars or containers, but I like the look of my pocket even more. Sometimes places like this will give you a discount for bringing your own jars too.

2. Bake your own bread.
Good, wholemeal bread can cost a fortune. Here in New Zealand you can expect to pay anywhere from $3 -$5 a loaf at the grocery store, and even more if you buy specialty breads. The way we like to make our money last is to buy bulk yeast and flour, find a good recipe and bake our own. You can find recipes that don’t take all day, and if you’re away too much, breadmakers are awesome. Here’s a loaf I made last night. Yum!

3. Eat Less Meat. Try More Legumes.

This is an easy one for us because we are vegetarian, but cutting meat even one or two days a week can make a difference. Bulk bought beans, or lentils go a long way and there are so many ways to prepare them. Try cutting half the meat in a mince or ground beef recipe and add lentils or black beans instead. If it’s the long cooking times that frustrate you, try a slow cooker or my favourite trick, the quick soak. In place of soaking overnight, bring beans to a boil and remove from the heat. Let sit two hours. Drain and cover with new water to remove the enzymes that tend to cause gas. Bring to boil and simmer until done which varies for different beans. Freeze extras for convenient beans later. Also, the more often you eat beans, your body starts digesting them better and they’ll stop giving you gas. If you’re really keen, grow your own like I did in this post last year. I’m still eating those pinto beans!

4. Shop at Closeout Stores.

You would be amazed at the deals you can find at closeout and bargain grocery shops. Their stock is always changing because they only get stuff from companies that have excess product or items that will soon expire. Last time I picked up cans of fruit for a fraction of the price and these bottles of date syrup were only $1 each. I’ve seen them at $7 before at full price. I stocked up because while sellers have to put a best buy date on items, many of these things last much longer. The date syrup is really nice on peanut butter toast or substituted for maple or honey.

5. Make a Salad for the Whole Week

Cabbages, carrots and beets can go a really long way when shredded into a salad. Toss together and pull out what you need when you need it for the next week. It doesn’t go wilty like lettuces do. Add some sunflower or pumpkin seeds, a splash of olive oil, lemon juice and salt and you have a gourmet coleslaw packing a punch with lots of vitamins and minerals.

So! Those are the top five things I like to do to cut costs while keeping it healthy. I hope they’ve given you some ideas. Let me know what tips work for you. What do you do in your kitchen to make ends meet?

Family Visit


My Aunt, Uncle and cousin came to visit last month. They were here for about three weeks. Below is a slideshow of photos from our time together.

When Brian and Rebbecca arrived we took them to a private lake in the Wairarapa region with some friends of ours and spent two days camping. Then for the rest of the week we spent time around Palmerston North and on the farm. We played a board game and ate together. We also went to a park, visited our house that we’re renting out, and explored the mall and city.

When Janice arrived we took everone out to see the glow worms. They look like stars all up the riverbed cavern at night. Then we headed off on our bus trip adventure. First was a cafe for lunch on the way, then Mt Bruce reserve where we saw many birds, lizards and the famous white kiwi! Becca and Brian enjoyed the long two hour loop walk and we all met up again to travel to Waihi falls where we spent the night.

Darren’s parents joined us starting at this point on our trip and brought their own sleeper truck. Darren and I both had a short swim in the cool water, and we all enjoyed a nice meal on the picnic tables that were at the site. Janice, Brian and Becca stayed in tents, which proved to be unfortunately quite windy that night.

The next day we traveled North to Napier where we fueled up and had fish and chips for lunch by the sea. Boy had a fun time at the park after we ate. Girl enjoyed many cuddles by all as well. We kept going and arrived at lake Waikerimoana for the night. Brian and Becca booked in at camp village and had a warm and comfortable time while the rest of us stayed at the free camping area in the rain.

It was quite rainy the next day as well so we decided to carry on out of the rain forest up to Rotorua.  On the way we stopped at a Maori Marai, or meeting house. We saw some wild horses as well. We spent the night in Rotorua at a hot springs resort and enjoyed the hot pools filled with natural geothermally heated river water. The next day we saw some boiling mud then dropped our three guests off to explore the town. Darren and I went on the Louge and also went to buy Boy a new bike after his old one was accidentally broken. That evening we stayed at a pub. They provided rooms for my family and we stayed on the lawn in our bus.

The next morning we went to Kerosene creek and took a dip in the actual river which was a lovely bath tub temperature. It had waterfalls and many pools to choose from.

Then, on our way south again we stopped at Mind Junction which had mazes and interactive museums and such to explore. Perfect for another rainy day. That night we were back home on the farm. The rest of the next week we relaxed a bit, did some needle felting and then Janice, Darren, myself and the kids went to Kapiti Island on a boat to see the bird sanctuary where all predators have been rid of. We took a long hike up into the bush and saw lots of birds.

The next day we all went down to Wellington for the day. We road on the free cable car to the Wellington Botanical gardens and then went to the Te Papa museum. Lastly we went to the top of the Mt Victoria lookout before heading home. We had one more day together before everyone had to pack up and fly home.

It was a good catch up and a nice time together. We hope everyone had a lovely time! 🙂

 

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I’m linking to this page my friend made at the bottom, click now, or feel free to read the post of what its about:

http://mamcdee.simplesite.com

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a personal blog, since things have been more about keeping in touch and I rarely have time to feel inspired enough to write. But two weeks ago I went to visit a friend and she shared a testimony with me about how she ‘does it’. This woman is amazing. She has eight children, with the ninth on the way and she is not even yet 40. Many people including myself have wondered, ‘how does she do it’. The reason we ask is not just her large family, but the grace, joy, patience, and peace she is able to present to her family and those she encounters.

What I have come to realize and what her story clarified for me is that this can be truely said of every mother no mater how many children and no matter what place she calls her home. It’s not something that comes especially from within herself that is to be coveted. It is rather someONE living inside her, providing these virtues. And she is only able to portray them because she dies to herself each morning of every day. And even of that she cannot take credit, for it’s Jesus who gives her the strength to let go and die.

She came to a breaking point when she had only five little ones. She was at the point where she wanted to literally give up, that her family would be better off without her. She was already a Christian, but found that she was depressed, quick tempered and exhausted. She then had an experience with God where she laid it all in his hands. He showed her that it didn’t need to be this way anymore. He wanted her to have more in life and to be more for her family.

What stood out for me in her story is that we can give ourselves to God, but it doesn’t end there. When we choose to be baptized by immersion, we are symbolically dying to self as we are buried in a grave of water, only to come up again with new life in us provided by Jesus. But self is tricky because it doesn’t want to die… This is sinful nature. Self tends to try and hold it’s breath, rather than drowning. This is why each day must start with an intentional death to self. We can do all the right things, and believe all the right doctrines, but if our hearts are not dead, with Jesus’ heart beating in it’s stead, it’s all for nothing. It is His blood and life that will give the power to be patient with our little ones, to be joyful when we don’t feel like it, to be loving when we are tired, and to keep going when life is demanding. He keeps our temper in check and provides us with self control and peace. If that is what you want in your home, in your motherhood, all it takes is a willing prayer to die to self each morning and faith that he will do it, even when we have failed to fully surrender in the past.

I have made a new point to do this in my own life and I have found a miraculous change. I still can’t understand how it works, how to be a dead mummy. But I believe in it and in God’s promise. I have been trying to tell the Lord each morning that’s what I want, and for Him to take the lead more fully. I still feel the same when I’m finished, but as I trust that he’s heard me, I do sense a change somehow. Its easier to see myself from the view of my children, rather from inside my selfish heart. And that makes it possible to be, through God’s power, more cheerful, less irritated and more nurturing even when tired.

My beautiful friend has set up a blog website to share her journals and reflections because God has led her to share her experience. It is her hope that other mothers can become dead mommies. Please have a look and share with anyone who needs to die to self.

http://mamcdee.simplesite.com

Blue eyed smiles


Girl is 11 weeks old today. Man, how time flies! She’s smiling quite a lot now and starting to gurgle and coo… Boy just barely started laughing at this age, so I’m hoping Girl will too, especially while family is visiting. Girl’s eyes are turning out to be a vibrant cornflower blue. She is sleeping through the night now, which is brilliant! I’ve tried a much different approach with her schedule and it’s turning out very manageable. Boy was still waking to feed at 11 months when I night weaned him.

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