Making Greener Cleaners

I’d like to thank The Accidental Hippy for inviting me to post today.  Life can get pretty crazy and I love the concept of slowing down, casting off unnecessary ‘stuff’ and living a life mindful of our impact on others as well as the planet.  There have been some inspiring posts right here on this

Making Greener Cleaners by Anke BialasMaking Greener Cleaners by Anke Bialas

Recipe – Chocolate Bread

Today’s recipe title is care of Miss Squid.  We call it Chocolate Spread, she calls it Chocolate Bread – which makes sense to a 3 year old. A friend shared a recipe she was planning to make with a parent’s group I’m in.  It certainly got my ears perking with “Home Made Nutella Type Spread”.

Home Made Chocolate SpreadHome Made Chocolate Spread

Making a Sheet (or Book) Bag – Part 1

I finally managed to secure some day care so that I could get back to (part time) work, which is a huge relief for me as the budget was starting to get a bit scary. Unfortunately it was not my preferred option of home based Family Day Care, but in a long day care centre.

Sheet / Book BagsSheet / Book Bags

Year in Review

Year in Review

This time last year  I was planning my 2012 goals, and so I am feeling like this is an obvious time of review.  I have had mixed results this year, but overall I do believe I am in a better spot than I was last year, which has got to be a positive.  I might not be as far along as I’d hoped, but life is like that sometimes.

My goals for 2012 were:

  • I want to not buy anything new that is not necessary

I guessed I would struggle with this one, and I did.  I had moments of mindfulness and deliberateness, but I have discovered how culturally ingrained it is to want new stuff all the time.  This is something I intend to continue to work on as I am finding an increasing urgency for the need for this in my life.  I have too much stuff, I buy stuff that I look at after the fact and realise I did not need.  I buy things that I think I want or need and look at it a day/week/month later and realise that I did not.

This is a life lesson for me and one I will commit to again:

In 2013 I want to continue to objectively assess whether I want or need new purchases.  I want to buy less “wants” and concentrate on the “needs”.

  •  2012 in 2012

This was a commitment to move 2012 pieces of “stuff” out of our house, donations, gifts, sales of stuff on auction/classified sites or simply throwing it out if it is not valuable to anyone else.
I found this surprisingly easy in concept, and remained faithful to the concept even up to this morning.  The administration of having to count/document the items for the blog slowed me down as my energy levels waned so I made the decision to follow on with the process of culling our household belongings, but without counting or documenting it because I believe that moving things on was the gist of the goal, not blogging about it.  I can’t say that I even got particularly close to the number of 2012 items, but I have learned to look at what I have and how to let go of that which I no longer need or desire .

I learned that sometimes I hold onto things because I think I *should* want or need them.  I tend to hold onto things because I think it is wasteful to throw things out but I don’t have the time/energy/inclination to repair/reuse/re-purpose the items or don’t have the time/energy to list them to sell or give away.   In effect, I was letting guilt drive the process – which is not helpful.  I am not proud to say that in the end some things just got binned to move them on.  I accept this as a learning lesson that I should aspire to better, and that if I let less “stuff” in, I should have less stuff to find energy to maintain.

I again, will re-commit to the process I started in 2012:

 In 2013 I want to continue to remove that which I do not need, love or value from our home so that we can spend more time and energy on that which we *do* need/love/value.

  •  Make our budget more of a focus

This was a vague goal, and has such, failed in the intent of the goal, but in reality, I did focus on the budget – which I then promptly ignored.  Part of my downfall is not setting a specific goal.

I will re-commit and re-draft this goal:

In 2013 I want to only add to our mortgage re-draw amount, not withdraw from it.  If we are to re-draw, it is only to be for a specific project (painting the house/urgent repairs), not for everyday living expenses.  I commit to paying credit cards off in full at the end of each month, and paying bills before their due dates.

  • Health is always on the list, but I’d like to see my goal weight in 2012 (60kg).
  •  I’d also like to blog more regularly this year – once a week at least.

I ended up fracturing both my ankles (at different times) during the course of this year as well as having a ridiculous amount of illness in our household.  I had my first ever ambulance ride with one daughter (with a 3 or 4 day hospital stay), and my own first visit to Emergency for myself.  Given that I completely dropped my exercise bundle for a while there, I am not unhappy that I ended up this year pretty much in the same place I started the year- maybe a kilogram or two behind.  Whilst I still have the 60kg goal weight in the back of my head, my goal this year is slightly different.

On the writing/blogging front it is painfully obvious that I fell off that wagon too.  Not making writing a priority when I went back to work, fighting constant lurgeys as well as only in the last 2-3 months being able to count on a an unbroken night’s sleep has all added to the lack of motivation.  The up side was the goal of having some non-personal friend followers and the numbers on the facebook page lead me to believe that I have achieved that. (Thank YOU!!)

In 2013 I commit to take time for myself to maintain my personal well being. I commit to waking at 5am each day and  write, plan or go to the gym.  This will be my time that I will protect as if it were someone else’s.  Protecting this time will lead to the secondary goals of weight loss and regular posting should follow.

  • I’d like to see us eating more healthy home made foods, which fits in with the goals above

This year we definitely decreased our reliance on commercially prepared foods.  We still ate a lot of them, but we absolutely cut down on store bought and upped our home made food quotas.  I can see that this will be a trend that will continue and grow.

  • I’d like to do some study

This was a very vague goal with no real substance to the commitment, but when the opportunity came up through (paid) work to do a Certificate IV course, I jumped at it with both hands.  I have completed the coursework component and now need to budget some more time to complete the assignments so that they will give me my qualification.  I have also been looking at a short course in time management – I think that is next on my wish list!


All up, I think I did pretty well with my goals given the scope of them.  I will admit I would have liked to be further along with most of them than I am, but ultimately life is about chipping away at barriers and moving forward.  In most respects of my life I am in a better spot than I was this time last year and I am happy with that.

Did you set goals for 2012?  How did you do?  Will you be setting goals for 2013?



And the Winner is…

Thank you for your entries in the give away and your patience as I have been less than speedy in announcing the winner but today is the day.

The (randomly drawn) winner is:

Kelli Stevens

Congratulations Kelli, I will be in touch with you shortly to arrange delivery.

Thanks again to Anke for visiting us and sharing an excellent blog post on herbal cleaners and allowing us to be a part of her book tour.

I’d also like to encourage you to have a look around some of the other tour sites as there is some excellent information being shared.

Suz’s Space were very generous in pointing people here as the next tour spot after their visit, and as well Comfrey Cottages pointed people my way too. I have been a less than exemplary comminity blogger by not sharing the love, so I am trying to remedy that a little bit today.

Whilst I’m dropping links like there is no tomorrow, I’d like you to go check out Anke’s post on Rhianna’s Guide to Ethical Eating because Rhianna has a great blog full of interesting recipes and thoughtful comment on how we source and eat our foods. (She’s also be a great supporter of this blog from the start – thanks Rhi!)

The giveaway was a bit of fun and I might look at sourcing something else to give away, just because!

Making Greener Cleaners

Making Greener Cleaners

I’d like to thank The Accidental Hippy for inviting me to post today.  Life can get pretty crazy and I love the concept of slowing down, casting off unnecessary ‘stuff’ and living a life mindful of our impact on others as well as the planet.  There have been some inspiring posts right here on this blog that have prompted me to look more closely at my family’s consumption of the unnecessary. Today I hope to add to the Accidental Hippy message by talking about home made cleaners.

Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda have shot to the top of the popularity ladder of all DIY household cleaning jobs.  Both are inexpensive and easy to obtain.  However, natural cleaning products that you can make at home can utilize many other ingredients as well as, or instead of, just vinegar and bicarb.

If you are like me and you like to make cordials or other recipes that require a lot of citrus fruit. There is always so much peel left over that it seems such a waste to just throw them away.  After you have used one or two lemon halves to degrease your stove top (everyone does that, don’t they?) there are still a dozen more lying around.  Nothing is easier than to peel off the zest with a potato peeler, throw it all in a glass jar and cover it all with vinegar.  Let it sit for 2 weeks, shaking it anytime you walk past it.  After the two weeks, strain out the liquid and discard the solids into your compost.  What you have there is a fabulously fragrant citrus cleaner & disinfectant that you can dilute with water to make a spray cleaner or use as a concentrate whenever you need it.

A more herbal alternative allows you to use up the herbs left on those giant bunches from the supermarket that always seem to go to waste, or when you have excess supply from your garden. To a non reactive saucepan (non aluminium) add one handful of sage leaves and stems, as well as 300ml of water. Cover and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and leave on a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool.  Once cool, strain through a fine sieve, pour liquid into a bottle and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 8 drops of lemon juice and shake well. Store this handy kitchen & bathroom cleaner in the fridge for 1 week.   If you don’t have sage handy, you can also use one handful of rosemary or 2 handfuls of thyme sprigs.

To make an easy herbal window cleaner, add 1 handful of lemon balm leaves (or peppermint leaves) to 250ml of water, bring to the boil in a non-reactive saucepan.  Reduce heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes.  Take off the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, strain and bottle the liquid and discard any solids. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 3 or 4 drops of liquid soap. Seal and shake well.

There is no limit to the combination of herbs you can use to make your own cleaning products.  Marjoram or lavender added to a hom emade furniture polish leave a lovely fragrance wafting through your home.  Since it does not lather like mad, the root of soapwort makes for an excellent upholstery shampoo.

Of course it’s not only house cleaners you can make.  You can make body lotions, skin washes, toners and shampoos for the whole family.  When I say family I include the four legged members and wholeheartedly recommend making natural pet shampoo, insect deterrents and air fresheners as well.


Anke Bialas is owner and content editor of She is known for her practical, everyday approach to herbal health which led to the creation of her books,  Herbology At Home guides to herbs and natural health. Visit Anke Bialas at: &   For permission to reprint this article please contact


Giveaway – An Autographed Copy of Homemade Health from the Herbology At Home Series


I know it has been a while, but I have a good excuse which is taking me an age to blog about.  I will explain it all but I really wanted to share that The Accidental Hippy is participating in a virtual book tour to celebrate the release of Anke Bialas‘ latest book Homemade Health.  Anke will also be dropping by with a guest post (our very first – yay!).

Herbology At Home Book 3 - Homemade Health

I have a review copy here that has been given to me as part of the tour which I am excited to be able to give away!

I have decided to try out an off site raffle/give away site as it promises that it should be an easy way to do it.  The cool part of doing it this way is that I have been able to give everyone up to 7 opportunities to win depending on how much you are willing to do (you might decide to only do one thing – that is fine too).

You can get:

  • 2 entries if you tell us (via the rafflecopter widget) about a homemade remedy that was used in your house when you were a child (especially if you continue to use it today),
  • an entry if you Like Herbology on facebook,
  • another for following @HerbologyAtHome on twitter,
  • another for liking The Accidental Hippy on facebook,
  • one for following @AccidentLHippy on twitter,
  • and lastly one for tweeting about the give away.

You will need to sign in to the widget below (or the one on facebook) and register that you have done any/all of these things.  At the close of the competition I will randomly select a winner and notify them via email.  I will announce the winner on the blog, facebook and twitter as well.  I will also collate a selection of homemade memories and publish them on The Accidental Hippy before the end of the book tour.  One entry per person, please.

Please visit the giveaway page to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Recipe – Chocolate Bread

Recipe – Chocolate Bread

Today’s recipe title is care of Miss Squid.  We call it Chocolate Spread, she calls it Chocolate Bread – which makes sense to a 3 year old.

A friend shared a recipe she was planning to make with a parent’s group I’m in.  It certainly got my ears perking with “Home Made Nutella Type Spread”. Bri sourced it from who credits it to a reader Joann, so thanks Joann for sending in the recipe.

In the same week someone in the same group also mentioned a nut free “butter” you could buy at the supermarket as an option instead of peanut butter.  Steve has a peanut intolerance and avoids all nuts as he doesn’t tend to like the smell/taste of them (to the point that he had never tried Nutella because it is made with hazelnuts and it never appealed to him).

I am obviously not the first person to come up with the idea to make a nut-free version (as the first comment on Stay at Home Mum attests), but I still want to document it for myself and for you.  A friend pointed out that whilst you might not have any nut allergies in your own family, there are a lot of schools and daycares banning nuts for the safety of those that do have allergies.  This would make an appropriate sandwich treat eligible for school usage in a nut-free environment.


Chocolate Bread
Recipe type: Treat
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30
Nut free, healthier chocolate spread than similar commercially available options.
  • 1 x 400g canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon FreeNut Butter
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  1. Place everything bar the water into a food processor/blender and blitz.
  2. Add water slowly to achieve a smooth paste, then add a teaspoon more (I have noticed ours whilst still spreadable has dried out just a little over time).
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 15g Calories: 48 Fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 4


I used a stick blender because we don’t have a bigger machine and it kind of struggled.  My spread was also a bit grainier in texture than I would have really liked, but I did not want to overwork the motor of the machine either.  Next time I might try the processor bowl, or making it in two half batches because buying a new machine is not an option right now.

As I noted in the recipe,it dried out a bit over the next day or so, so I’ve added in the extra bit of water at the end, which is untested.

I used a 430gm jar which held the yield nicely.  It is has been in our fridge for nearly 2 weeks (which surprises me, but I guess it really has been a “sometimes” treat) and is holding up well, no changes to texture or taste apart from the initial change.

The nutritional values are approximate (I used white caster sugar and extra virgin olive oil because I had them on hand, other oils and honey are all possible substitutions).  15g would be a large serve on one piece of toast for me, but others might want more.

I’d definitely make this again as another option for toast or simple sandwiches.  I have a friend (Hi Jacqui!) who swears that Nutella fairy bread is a sure fire hit as a decadent Birthday party treat.

Another friend (gee I sound popular today!) was most disappointed to hear that the recipe has chickpeas in it (they can’t eat them), so if anyone has any ideas on further substitutions, I’d be interested to hear.

I gave some to a friend for a taste and she missed the hazelnut note that Nutella has, but certainly did not spit it at me.  For me, who was always to scared of the cost, fat and sugar, to get too hooked on Nutella, this works for me.

I have shared this post through:

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Cheap Tuesday – Pump Bottle Dosage

Cheap Tuesday

Welcome to another Cheap Tuesday tip.  This one relates to pump bottles like hand soap, bulk shampoo, body wash, dishwashing liquid and the like.

Often depressing the pump will give you more product than you actually need. If this is the case you can wrap an elastic band under the pump head and slide/roll it up or down the stem of the pump so that it creates a “stop” point for the depressing of the head.

Cheap Tuesday Tip - Elestic Band on Pump Bottles

This is a small saving per dose, but over time it will add up. Additionally there will be less product in the waterways that needs treatment.

Sounds like a win:win to me!