Is it a bird, a plane, no, it’s a whistling kite!

Fully adjustable and reversible sun bonnets using classic styling and contemporary, natural fabrics
Fully adjustable and reversible sun bonnets using classic styling and contemporary, natural fabrics

The Whistling Kite has been industrious of late. I have been busy with an infant on one arm, a sewing machine on the other and a toddler wrapped around my legs. Hooray! Welcome to the official launch of the Whistling Kite Collective. I am very excited to open my Etsy store www.whistlingkite.etsy.com

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My store is loaded with some beautiful sun bonnets to suit newborns to children of around 3 ½ years of age. I have also loaded my sun bonnets page with images of my latest custom orders- the “House Party” and the “Super Deluxe”. The jewellery range is coming soon- earrings for mum and a matching bonnet for her baby!

Fancy floral and indigo, stretch denim
Fancy floral and indigo, stretch denim

This blog is being loaded with bushwalk reviews, the Journey of Wellness and a More Natural Life series of posts. The Journey of Wellness series covers my attempts to love myself and those around me completely, without judgement or condition. The More Natural Life series examines how to use nature’s gifts to create a better life.

Cedar Creek is perfect for water play
Bush walk reviews, toddler adventuring and more…

As many of you know, I am a botanist, so there will always be an appreciation of beautiful plants and the natural world. I also love to cook, so frequently upload sweet and savoury recipes.

There are some ultra beautiful locations being reviewed soon- stay tuned!
There are some ultra beautiful locations being reviewed soon- stay tuned!

Want to make contact? whistlingkitecollective@gmail.com

Want to like us on Facebook? www.facebook.com/whistlingkitecollective

We are holding a market stall on 31 August in Brisbane, Australia. The Mathilda Market is a boutique baby, parent, home market with limited run, handmade products. I will have an amazing introductory market special available.

Thank you so much for your support. I really appreciate it. I would love it if you could share widely, tell everyone you know about the Whistling Kite Collective and send me all your good luck vibes!

xx

Wholemeal apple and walnut muffins

Wholesome ingredients make these muffins good for any time of day
Wholesome ingredients make these muffins good for any time of day

These muffins are good because they take me about five minutes to prepare, are portable, have the natural sweetness of apples, are high in fibre and have the added protein from the walnuts. Yum.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups wholemeal self raising flour
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup desiccated coconut
2 handfuls currants
2 large handfuls of roughly crushed walnuts (lightly bash them in a bag with a meat tenderiser on the bench)
pinch sea salt
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 free range eggs (ban the cage)
2 tbsp rice bran oil
2 tbsp soy milk
1 x 440 g tin pie apples

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees fan forced)
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined
  4. Fill a greased, 12 hole muffin pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and muffins just spring back in the centre when pressed.
Healthy ingredients you can see!
Healthy ingredients you can see!

It takes a village to raise a mother

"How's your motherhood travelling?"
“How’s your motherhood travelling?”

Welcome to the Whistling Kite Collective’s Journey of Wellness series.

Motherhood has been an incredible journey. One thing I have learnt, it takes a village to raise a mother. Catching up with people face to face has helped me enormously, especially in the early days when I felt like I was running downhill in the dark. My transition from woman to mother was made so much easier by being surrounded by the collective wisdom and support of others. Yes I could have done it alone, but who would want to? Being surrounded by others’ life experiences has expanded who I am and surely improved how I parent. Being able to reach out and pat someone on the back, snort into my drink, giggle at the ridiculous and cry with exhaustion has been so valuable.

This past week has been one long lesson in relationships. Each of my roles as a person has been challenged in some way.  I have felt a wide range of human emotion in a short period of time; sadness, empathy, grief, sympathy, joy, nervousness, shame, anger, excitement, shock and delight. I attended a funeral of a young, lovely person who passed very suddenly. I ran into a friend who is almost ready to birth her first baby. I spent time in nature with an amazing person and her wonderful little boy. I was lucky to spend a few hours with two dear friends that I have hardly seen since my second baby was born. When my first friend arrived at my door, I was so incredibly happy to see her I could have jumped on her! I settle for a hug and kiss. When my second friend arrived unexpectedly, I opened the door and burst into tears. My people, my village, hooray!

This week has reminded me how lucky I am. I have everything I want and need. Sure there could be more; or much, much less. Do my friends really know how special they are? Does my family? What about my favourite man? Do I really show these people how fabulous they are?

My dear friends and family near and afar have inspired me to be a better mother, to seek help, ask advice, laugh at myself, to rest when I can, to be grateful for my time and to enjoy the company of others. So, to my village, I thank you. I am blessed to be a part of something bigger, wholesome and very, very real. I also thank you internet, for connecting me to my worldwide village, where I can plug in at any time, catch up with loved ones around the globe and feel a part of it something tangible.

My favourite lessons from my village:

  1. Surround myself with positive, nurturing people.
  2. Listen and filter out any unhelpful or confusing information.
  3. Value myself and my inner voice.
  4. Quoting a very clever someone “You don’t need a book to tell you how to love your babies”.
  5. Value my people.
  6. Keep in touch.
  7. Say thank you.

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Xanthorrhoea and Banksia Track Loop- Chermside Hills Reserve

Welcome to the Whistling Kite Collective’s Great Places to Visit series. This is where I review bushwalks and natural areas. Enjoy!

The Chermside Hills Reserve is a great natural area of Brisbane. This beautiful area is only 12 kilometres north of the CBD. Honestly, residents of this city are just so lucky to have such wonderful habitat places on their doorstep.

This wonderful area provides critical habita linkage and a variety of walking and cycling tracks.
This wonderful area provides critical habitat linkage and a variety of walking and cycling tracks.

This important bushland area provides a critical habitat link between the mountains and the coast (known as the Mountains to Mangroves Corridor). The Downfall Creek Environment Centre (open Monday to Friday at 815 Rode Rod, Chermside West) is a good starting and finishing point, as the site also offers a resource centre, track maps, indoor aquariums, activity sheets, touch and feel tables, water, timber playground, undercover bbqs and picnic tables and open grassed areas). The side of the Environment Centre wall is a painted mural of native animals in their habitats. My toddler loves this mural.

Lots of animals and bright colours attract little people to the wall.
Lots of animals and bright colours attract little people to the wall.
The shaded timber playground suits a variety of ages.
The shaded timber playground suits a variety of ages.

This Eucalyptus forest offers a variety of bikeways and walking tracks. The Xanthorrhoea and Banksia Track Loop bushwalk is a good distance for small children (about 1.2 kilometres and also suitable for prams as it is bitumen).  There is a good diversity of vegetation structure and floristics supporting abundant wildlife to engage the whole family.

Wide, sealed paths are suitable for prams in a natural forest setting.
Wide, sealed paths are suitable for prams in a natural forest setting.

Sensory play provided by this forest  include large logs, a timber bridge, small branches, crunchy understorey, rough grass trees, smooth eucalypt trunks and branches, shimmering tree sap from the iron barks, colourful leaves, glistening spiders’ webs and birds’ nests.

In autumn and winter the Banksias are in flower. These large, golden “candlesticks” are full of nectar. Little fingers and tongues retrieved the nectar from these flowers. “Very yummy nectar mummy!” We managed to leave some behind for the sugar gliders! This was a highlight of the walk through the Banksia track section

Banksia nectar is delicious for sugar gliders and toddlers! Photo courtesy of anbg.gov.au
Banksia nectar is delicious for sugar gliders and toddlers! Photo courtesy of anbg.gov.au

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The Xanthorrhoea track runs along the southern section of a small gully where we have seen swamp wallabies on a few occasions. “If we pat him, he might jump away”.  There are also plenty of bush turkeys, lizards and other birds in the area.

This area provides a good half day out when combined with a picnic or bbq lunch afterwards at the Environment Centre grounds. You can build your own adventure in this forest as several tracks can be linked for larger walks. Track maps are available online (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/documents/environment/bushlandandwaterways_chermside_hills_reserves_track_map.pdf) or from the Environment Centre Monday to Friday.

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Baked Mushrooms

Unattractive, but delicious!
Unattractive, but delicious!

This recipe is another of my toddler friendly concoctions. My little miss loves to sit on the kitchen bench and help construct these. I chop and grate extra toppings because a fair amount goes into her mouth instead of on the mushrooms. I list the ingredients for these shown in the photos, but you can add anything you have on hand just as long as it’s diced and doesn’t release too much water during the cooking process.

Toddlers gnerally eat what they cook, so we may as well make it nutritious.
Toddlers gnerally eat what they cook, so we may as well make it nutritious.

As for quantities, aim for a nice rounded shape on the mushroom, kind of like a good bottom! This is not the best looking dish, but it always taste amazing and is a very nutritious addition to any meal. Last time we prepared these, I served them on the side of a tomato-based pasta dish.

Ingredients

Large, flat mushrooms, stalks removed (twist and pull)
Rice bran oil
Zucchini, diced
Grated tasty cheese
Leftover vegetarian sausage, diced
Cob of corn, kernels removed
spinach leaves, roughly torn
Pepper, seasoned to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (160 degrees fan forced)
  2. Lightly grease oven tray with rice bran oil
  3. Lay mushrooms gill side up on tray
  4. Sprinkle diced ingredients over mushrooms and press down with fingertips, leaving the cheese and pepper until last
  5. Bake for 10 to 15 mins or until cheese is golden brown.

To serve toddler, cut into large pieces so each bit can be picked up with a fork.

These are popular with adults and children in our household.
These are popular with adults and children in our household.

Lady Gaia, Please Grant Me…

Tired much?
Tired much?

The Context

When was the last time you were by yourself? Six out of the last eight weeks, at least one person in our home has been sick. Severity of each illness has ranged from the mildly irritating to requiring intervention at the emergency room. Life has not been dull and there has been very little rest.

My people have been very needy. So much so that I do not remember the last time I was alone. Therefore, this is my request to Mother Earth, just for the next little while.

The Request

Lady Gaia, please grant me, the

Energy- to keep putting one foot in front of the other

Humour- to see the funny side of accessorising my outfits with other peoples’ snot every day

Empathy- to put myself in someone else’s place, time and time again

Mindfulness- to enjoy little moments

Creativity- to provide a free range feeling on an inside budget (the public does not need exposure to this much snot or bodily product)

Recall- to remember why I am here

Clarity- to check myself, before I wreck myself

Imagination- to take myself to my favourite place in my head if things get a bit too much (stay tuned for this coming post in the Journey of Wellness series as this place is beautiful and amazing)

Insight- to know I always cope better when I put my earthly needs (like sleep, food and alone time) aside and focus on the requirements of my small people

Wisdom- to know this all shall pass

Integrity- to always live with respect and love

Purpose- a beautiful life.

The commitment

Lady Gaia, should you choose to grant me any of the above wishes, my family would be extremely grateful and I promise to always recycle and live more sustainably 🙂

Sandstone Track, Toohey Forest, Queensland

A nice morning adventure through a quality woodland habitat
A nice morning adventure through a quality woodland habitat

Toohey Forest is just a few minutes’ drive south of Brisbane city and easily accessible via public transport. There are picnic tables, toilets and shady car parks.

The 780 m Sandstone Track is a relatively flat, easy walk with few steps, suitable for toddlers. The path is fine gravel. It comprises a couple of lookouts and a small loop section.

This level and wide walking track good for little feet
This level and wide walking track good for little feet

The beautiful dry woodland habitat provides a good mix of fallen timber for climbing and balancing acts. Exposed bush rocks prove great for jumping.

The woodland ground storey is great for tactile engagement - rough, smooth, prickly, shiny and fantastic!

The woodland ground storey is great for tactile engagement – rough, smooth, prickly, shiny and fantastic!

The vegetation offers various tactile stimulation opportunities with a variety of tree and shrub species, raspy leaves, colourful wild flowers, crunchy ground cover. Many common bird species can be spotted on the walk, as well as small spiders and insects.

Rocks for exploring and attractive lookouts feature in this walk

Rocks for exploring and attractive lookouts feature in this walk

The lookouts are not fenced so we held hands in these areas. We did this walk in Autumn and it was quite dry, however this walk would be especially lovely in Spring when more flowers are in bloom.

Loving the birdsong and dappled light throughout Toohey Forest

Loving the birdsong and dappled light throughout Toohey Forest

A great walk for the family and the length is perfect for little people. My toddler loved balancing on logs, climbing the rocks, finding friendly spiders in holes, bird watching and crunching through the dry understorey! This walk makes a nice morning out when combined with a picnic lunch and snacks on-the-go.