Wednesday, 30 September 2009

LETS or Local?

Are you local to Spiral Garden (near Malanda, Qld)? You can use the code 'local' in the discount coupon section of Checkout to avoid being charged shipping. Please contact me to arrange pick-up or delivery of your order.

Are you a member of a LETS group who use the Community Exchange System? Contact me about using your local currency for Spiral Garden orders.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

10% off all Art and Craft

For two weeks only we are offering 10% off all Art and Craft products in stock at Spiral Garden.

Offer closes 10th October 2009.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Spiral Garden on Facebook

Spiral Garden has had a group page on Facebook for a year and a half now... If you use Facebook, check out the group page here.

Sunday, 20 September 2009


I especially love to stock handmade items. Some of the items are made by me, some by other small at-home businesswomen and other items are made as a hobby by crafty folk I know...

Do you make things? Would you like to sell them through Spiral Garden? Items I'm looking to stock include:

washers and wipes
jewelery - glass, wood, metal, hemp, etc
bags - library, tote, shopping, fold-up, produce, toiletry, drawstring
capes for dressing up
hats, crowns and garlands for dressing up
baby shoes/booties and bibs
craft kits
hand-dyed yarn
hats for summer
hats and scarves for winter
bandanas and headbands
stuffed toys
wooden toys
musical instruments
lotions and potions
packets of viable seeds
baby toys
card games
fabric tic-tac-toe etc

I'm also open to suggestions!

I need items to be well-made and safe. They need to be produced from natural materials - hemp, cotton, bamboo, timber, wool, silk, etc. We avoid varnishes, paints, toxic dyes, plastic, polyester, etc.

Initially, 2 to 6 or more of each item are required. From then I will re-order once the items are selling. There is no deadline or minimum time to send the orders to me - I'm happy to work around your schedule. I would prefer to stock items which I can re-order once sold, though, than constantly changing the products.

Wholesale rate is negotiated between us and I pay postage to me. I require some form of invoice for tax purposes. For hobbyists, one of those simple invoice books from the newsagents, or something printed from your computer is fine.

If you have creations you'd like to sell through Spiral Garden, please don't hesitate to email me.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Cooking with Kids

Our children have been involved with helping prepare meals for a few years now. Initially it was my husband's idea, and I was hesitant to share my kitchen and deal with the mess! But by working one-on-one with my four older children, they are now capable of making meals by themselves.

Our 15 year old helps with two meals each week, I do two meals alone, and the 13, 12 and 10 year olds each help with one meal per week. First they wash their hands (or have a shower if they're quite grubby from outdoor play) and clear away dishes or anything else cluttering the bench space. We often wear aprons to protect our clothes, which adds to the atmosphere of getting on with something important. The menu is planned ahead, of course, so we always know how much time to allow. Some preparation tasks happen in the morning, also noted on the meal plan/family calendar.

Once the kitchen is ready to go we gather ingredients - they often start peeling vegetables or cutting up salad whilst I duck out to the garden for any home grown produce required. We put other ingredients from pantry and fridge onto the bench so everything is at hand. As we use it, we put the items away. We also rinse and stack utensils used along the way, and wipe up any spills. This is my way of using a kitchen, and I hope to pass the habit on to them so that cooking sessions don't end up with a big clean-up resulting!

Together we share the task of getting things cooking - measuring, adding, using the Thermomix or rice cooker and chatting as we go. Meanwhile, I am calling the other children in from outdoors to have a shower and clear and set the table so that by the time the food is ready, so are we. Our family eats together every evening.

Each week the children pick up a new skill or two in the kitchen, spend some time with Mum and help the family by preparing a meal. I encourage other family members to express gratitude for their efforts. I try to vary the meals they prepare, starting with basics like pasta. I also try to frequently schedule their favourite foods on the nights they're cooking, to keep them enthusiastic about the task. Since we bought our Thermomix a few months ago, they've been a little hesitant with using it, but as they watch and learn and try things for themselves, they appreciate it more.

We have had the odd burnt pan, some interesting herb or spice additions, and occasionally not quite enough to go around (because I wasn't on hand and they didn't peel and cook enough vegies, for example). But there's been nothing we couldn't eat, and a quick dessert of fruit and yoghurt or custard fills hungry tummies! And really, I could count the kitchen mishaps on one hand, so they're all doing really well.

Two of the girls are great bakers - better than me, I think! They bake at least once a week, which is more often than me, that's for sure. I rarely buy any prepared snack foods, biscuits etc, so that encourages them to make yummies for themselves and the family.

My younger two children are now joining me on "my" nights of cooking to peel some vegetables, put clean dishes away, fetch ingredients and just spend a little time together. Hopefully the six children will all know a lot about food and nutrition, cooking and cleanliness by the time they're grown.

Once we've eaten, the tasks of clearing the table, putting leftovers away, changing the tablecloth and doing the dishes are shared among other family members. It's true that many hands make light work and when we're catering for at least eight people each meal, it's more fun when we share the workload.

Happy Cooking!

Great gift ideas to encourage young cooks include:
Wooden Spoon
Rolling Pin
All Purpose Full Apron
All Purpose Half Apron

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Rolka Blocks

Rolka Creative Building Blocks provide hours of fun & challenging activities for all ages from 2 years. This set includes 50 blocks, which is challenging enough for up to approximately 7 years. The blocks are 12 x 2 x 1.5cm.

Virtually unbreakable – will last a lifetime
Environmentally sound
Locally-sourced Natural Plantation Pine
Non-toxic, aesthetically pleasing
Simple, using no glue, attachment or fixation point
Promote interactive play & co-operation
Great for table/floor activities, inside and out
Stimulate imagination & increase concentration
Improve motor skills and balance, develop patience
Magical dimensions, versatile, unlimited applications
Help discover physical laws, geometry & patterns
Australian made and owned manufacturer

Fully illustrated 20-page ideas booklet and calico storage bag included. Only $34.50 plus postage.