Our Favourite Creative Homebodies : Foxs Lane

Each week we’re tracking our favourite creative homebodies.  Today we are popping in on Kate from Foxs Lane and getting her take on home, being away from home and  what matters most in the homebody department.  You can join in with our #homebodies story by tweeting or emailing us a photo of your home. We’ll feature some of our favourites NEXT Friday on our Homebodies post. Now let’s hear what Kate has to say. Over to you Kate-lady!

Last year, after living on our farm for ten years, we packed up our family and spent six months exploring parts of Australia in an old caravan. With thousands of kilometers worth of distance from home we could really see it with perspective.

And what we saw is that we’d gotten into some bad homey habits. That we were taking shortcuts that didn’t make sense, and that we had been so focused on our business that we had forgotten that family and home were more important.

We took stock of our lives and made lots of decisions. Decisions about how we live as a family and run our home. And about how we would change things upon our return.

Before we went away we were exhausted. We spent our daylight hours farming and then we’d come inside at night, eat unthinkingly, and sit down to unwind in front of the television. We would watch program after program for hours. And it was the same with the girls after school and on weekends.

We made a blanket rule: no TV at all during the week. No movies, no recorded shows, no ABC kids. A family movie night on Friday night to celebrate the end of the week. And then selected movies and recorded shows on weekends.

This change has made the world of difference to our home. We read and interact more, we are more productive, and we don’t feel like our lives are being sucked into a vacuum.

Before we went away we were busy growing and supplying Melbourne’s best restaurants with gorgeous organic fruit and vegetables, but we ourselves ended up eating the same few meals over and over. And worse, we were taking food short cuts. We were buying frozen fillets of fish, packets of pasta and tins of vegetables.

Now we menu plan. We sit together once a week with a pile of cookbooks and chart a week’s worth of meals. We focus on what foods are in season, what we are growing, what we can buy from the organic shop. And we try to include at least one new-to-us recipe per week.

Menu planning is fabulous! Who knew? Not only does it minimize wastage and shopping, but it also eliminates the dreaded 4pm ‘what’s for dinner?’ scramble and allows us to be more creative.

We also planted a kitchen garden right outside our front door.

Before, if we needed a lettuce or some herbs for a meal, we would have to drive down to the paddocks where they were growing. And while it was great to have access to that gorgeous organic produce, the drive was ridiculous.

Now we enjoy a ten-step walk to our lettuces, peas, beans, beetroot, garlic, berries, herbs, broccoli, carrots and radishes. If it’s raining we have to put our shoes on, but still, there’s nothing like feeding your kids just picked veggies. That’s some pretty low food miles right there. And there’s nothing like their enthusiasm over washing carrots that they planted, weeded and picked.

And where before we ate our meals in shifts and stops and starts, now we stop whatever we are doing to sit together, to enjoy our meals slowly, to have rituals, to discuss the best parts of our days, to make decisions and to resolve issues.

We no longer take short cuts and the easy way out because while a home certainly consists of physical things, it is also built by the choices we make: how we want our children to grow up and the way we want our family to live.

What sort of homey changes have you made lately?

And what changes would you like to put in place?

Creative Homebodies : Kootoyoo
Creative Homebodies : Meet Me at Mike’s
Creative Homebodies : Gourmet Girlfriend
Creative Homebodies : Wee Birdy 

Would you like to share the bits of YOUR home that you love the most? Tweet or Instagram a photo with the #homebodies hashtag to share or join in.  We’ve got lots of wonderful bloggers posting their thoughts on home and #homebodies over the coming weeks.

This post was written for Harpic’s Clean For A Cause Campaign. Harpic will donate $10 to Save The Children for every hour that you clean. Win!  And speaking of winning, you could win a $100 gift voucher here, thanks to Harpic.

  • http://twitter.com/ruthbruten GourmetGirlfriend

    people often ask me where i find the time to cook as i do for my family.
    i think i have finally worked out the answer after reading this Kate!
    it is because i cook WITH my family- it never feels as if it is a chore or as if I am missing out on other stuff by doing the cooking- Ima getting to be with my kids, spending time together, chatting, making bad jokes (the best kind of all) etc.
    there is no doubt that it does take time & effort but the difference is that we do it together – that in itself makes it worthwhile.
    such an ace way to spend time together.
    I can so identify with the crazy wheel of tiredness that our day to day can be if we don’t make change.
    it is so lovely that you are enjoying your beautiful family in a different way since returning home.
    xxx

    • Kate

      Your home is one of the happiest I have ever been in Miss Ruth.
      I LOVE the way your kitchen is the heart of your home.I LOVE how everyone gets involved in the making and the clearing up.
      And I LOVE that there is music on and chaos and laughter.
      You have created something very special GG. xx

  • Reannon Hope

    I am loving this series Pip! You are showing some of my fave bloggers ( I have many) in a different light & I love that, so thanks xx
    Kate I love your blog, it’s so ridiculously beautiful & honest & inspiring, & it is such a bright spot in my day when I see one of your posts has landed in my inbox. I like the way you live your life, the fact that you could see something wasn’t working & changed it.
    I think homey changes are the most important because if things are good at home then you can bet they are pretty good in all other areas of your life too. I am trying to set up a chore chart for my two boys at the moment. I want them to contribute more to the running of our house & not take what I do for granted. I’m hoping it makes our home run a little better. Meal planning is something I always shy away but you make it seem like such a great idea. Maybe I WILL give it a go!

    • Kate

      Thank you so much Reannon.
      I think it is really important to keep changing things about too.
      And I am such a big fan of menu planning. I never thought it would suit me but it has changed my life. x

  • Deb Robertson

    This is so lovely. I agree sometimes you just have to stop and work out what is important! I’m always inspired by what you are cooking. It looks so delicious. Now that spring is coming, I’m starting to feel inspired again. We ate A LOT of vege soup over the winter. Comfort food at it’s best, but time to have some fresh food. Although tomatoes (from Australia) are $10 a kg in the supermarket today. We have to let our chickens out in the winter cause their run gets muddy and they eat EVERYTHING in the back yard!! but now spring is here almost, so we can start planting again.

    • Kate

      I love how spring feels like a whole new world of opportunities.
      Bring it on. x

  • hugoandelsa

    Kate! I love this story!

    • Kate

      Thanks so much Michelle. xx

  • Cath @chunkychooky

    I am so with you on the garden unless it’s just outside the door you don’t use it. Buying a new kitchen table has actually been the thing that has made us eat better. It’s small and we are all determined to keep it clear of paper and actually eat of it every night. It’s working.
    Watching my little one grow up in the country I often compare to my city childhood. She is so aware of the seasons and of snakes and spiders and identifying kangaroo poo and running in the paddocks and watching birds, I love it.

    • Kate

      Yes! The kitchen table is vital for family life.
      We inherited my parent’s big old wooden table.
      There is room for us to all eat up one end and for my computer and a little pile of craft junk down the other end. It is the heart of our home.
      I hope to have you sitting at my table one day soon Chooky. x

  • http://www.kootoyoo.com/ kootoyoo

    Gorgeous Fox. You and your crew have got it sorted. x

    • Kate

      Thanks Kirst. xx

  • Broni

    Kate, I have just spent the past few hours reading your entire blog… couldn’t tear myself away! I too live on a farm (grazing, in nsw) with my lovely workaholic man and two gorgeous little girls, and we have sometimes discussed getting a van and doing a trip (maybe 3 months will be as much as we can stretch it). I feel so inspired by this post, and your blog, I’m now determined that we will do it, even if it doesn’t happen for another year or two – I think it would be such a valuable experience as a family, to scale down, simplify, reconnect, and just be – together, seeing, doing, sharing. Thank you so much, I’ll aim to be a regular reader of your blog from now on. Oh… and I’m definitely going to learn how to crochet… you make some super gorgeous things!

    • Kate

      Oh Bron, you’ve made me all emotional.
      Do it!!!!!
      Your farmerboy, your girlies and you will be all the better for it. xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/kate.pickard.52 Kate Pickard

    What a gorgeous home and homelife. You’re so inspiring and thank you JustB for allowing us this insight into bloggers home. I think the fates aligned as I was reading your story as Claire Bowditch’s You Make Me Happy started playing. A beautiful moment. Love your blog too.