Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas spending

I would like to give everyone a gentle reminder and, hopefully, a little strength to not go overboard with Christmas spending. I've received a few emails recently from readers who feel they need to indulge their family and friends with Christmas gifts, even though they're on a tight budget and trying to move out of debt.It's a difficult balance to achieve. On the one hand you're evolving into a

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Slowly returning to normal

I hope you didn't think I'd jumped ship. The house was a shambles when I woke up yesterday, then when I sat down to my computer to write, I couldn't connect to the internet (Hanno had disconnected everything to move the desk), so I decided to post from work and started tidying up. Yes, I had yet another day at work yesterday. I've been there every day this week so far, and will go back again

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Flying eggs

Last week Ann asked if I had two dogs as usually Rosie is in my photos. Here are Alice (left) and Rosie together last night for Ann, and to remind us all of the pleasure pets can bring to our lives.It has been my experience all through my life, that while the vast majority of days are lived in a very ordinary way, they are sprinkled with days that test me to my limits and those that are the sweet

Apron swap and emails

I'm about to do two posts.This one is to remind my Australian and New Zealand friends that today is the deadline for the apron swap; they should be posted today. The deadline of 28 November is tomorrow for those on the other side of the world. I hope everyone has enjoyed this swap, it will be the final one for the year, but we'll have more next year, starting in January.I also wanted to say hello

Monday, November 26, 2007

The kitchen

There is no kitchen here, no floor either. These vital parts of our home should have been installed last Monday and Tuesday but the kitchen is still echoing when sound bounces off bare walls and the cement slab. Nothing has been done.The workers arrived last Monday, ripped up the old floor and discovered water under it. Work stopped while we had a dehumidifier dry out the slab. The slab dried and

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Recycling, reusing, reducing

Glass jars can be reused many times for your jams. New lids can be purchased when the seal goes.Choose your packaging carefully when you are buying groceries. It’s great to recycle and reuse plastics but it’s much better to reduce the amount of plastic you buy in the first place.If you buy those plastic sauce dispensers, buy one, then buy a bulk pack of sauce and keep refilling the dispenser,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Three blogs to read

Yes, it's the second post today but I wanted to write about a few additional things. There are a few blogs I want to recommend you read. The first is Julie's. Julie has been going back to basics and writing about it every day for the past month. It's very interesting and definitely worth reading.Julie's blog - Towards SustainabilityKim is following the rigorous Riot for Austerity 90% reduction

Paying off your mortgage and credit cards

Debt, what a rotten word. Yet it’s what most of us have to sign up to, live with and work through if we are to own our own home. Let me say first that I know there are many ways to pay off debt. I’m writing about what worked well for Hanno and I. This is what I have experience in. Other methods may work equally as well but as I have no experience of other ways, I can't write about them.As I said

Friday, November 23, 2007

A few updates

I had a lovely email from a reader today, an ex-New Yorker who has moved to PA. She's a writer and a contributor to the book Get Satisfied: How Twenty People Like You Found the Satisfaction of Enough. Apparently it's been very popular and is going to be made into a documentary. I checked it out on Amazon and it looks like a very interesting read. I've added it to my Amazon favourites.Don't forget

Getting rid of debt

Our six monthly water bill arrived yesterday. It was $44.85, with our discount we have to pay $40.36. We've worked hard to reduce our water consumption and as the price of water has been rising - from 78 cents/kilolitre in 2002 when our bill was $248.20; 78 cents in 2004 when our bill was $148.20; 95 cents/kl in 2006 when our bill was $101.65 to 115 cents/kl now when our bill is $44.85, we have

Thursday, November 22, 2007

It's time for tea

It's Thanksgiving Day in America today so I'd like to wish my American friends happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a wonderful day with family and friends.Some of my tea making paraphernalia. I know I have too much of this but tea makes me happy, I enjoy making good tea for friends and family and I love having morning and afternoon tea. So for those reasons, I'm keeping all my tea gear,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This is the beginnings last night's dinner, prepared in the guest bathroom. There are cooked potatoes in the colander at the back, radishes, just picked, and pickled cucumbers. I'll write about this meal in a future post.We are making progress. It might not look like it, but there has been movement in the right direction. Yesterday the dehumidifier was removed after draining something like 200

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A post from the edge

Is this every man's dream? The fridge next to the armchair, facing the TV.We survived another day without a kitchen, and with cupboards and appliances sitting on the back verandah. Actually it hasn't been too bad and the only thing I'm really missing is my filtered water tap. There is water in the tap but I never drink our unfiltered tap water. I thought we were preparing for two days without

Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome to the revolution

I love it when the unexpected happens. It reminds me that no matter how much we plan things out, no matter how many people work on a job, no matter how much we want it to go smoothly, some things just take their own sweet time. Whatever will be, will be.Work has stopped on the kitchen.Yesterday I was dressed and had eaten breakfast before the workers arrived at 7am. My plan was to have everything

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moving the kitchen

This is what came from kitchen cupboards, there is more on the floor.The day has arrived. Today we'll finish clearing out the kitchen in preparation for the renovation tomorrow and Tuesday. We worked on it steadily yesterday, packing things in boxes, putting aside unwanted items, throwing out unrecognisable pieces of plastic and cleaning out cupboards. This is the ultimate deep clean. The

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quilts - I get it!

The tentative beginnings of a quilt. The centre panel is an old pillow slip I bought from Ikea, that is bordered by leftover fabric from my new curtains. The rest will be made up of bits and pieces of old fabric, never used. It's from old skirts of mine, tablecloths, pieces from Tricia and a couple of metres of blue tones bought specially for this project.I'm a quilter! I never thought I'd ever

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How a garden can help reduce your costs

All these photos of the garden were taken this morning.The garden is producing well at the moment so we've been able to cut back on what we buy at the shops. I thought it might be interesting to work out the cost of our food so far this week, including all meals and snacks, and see how the garden produce factors into those costs. I will also include the source of the food, from our garden,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Work in progress

This is the quark I made from my yoghurt last week. It drained for four days before I could get back to it, but that's fine as long as it's kept refrigerated. The cheese on the left is savory with cucumber, red capsicum (red pepper), green onion and salt and pepper. It's great on crackers or a sandwich. The one on the right is sweet with honey stirred through it. It's delicious on toast for

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Preparing for Christmas

We started our Christmas planning yesterday. Not here at home, but at the Centre where I work. Our two main projects are Santa's Helpers and a Christmas breakfast. Both of them are a big part of this caring and open community and both require a lot of organisation.

Of course the end result of both projects is quite simple. Santa's Helpers enables us to give gifts of toys, books, games and

Monday, November 12, 2007

Preparing for tough times

I often watch a local TV program on Sunday at lunchtime. Landline is an ABC program about all things rural and it gives a good insight into important issues facing our farmers and people in country towns in Australia.Last Sunday their lead story was about the effect equine flu has had on the people who own horses but aren't part of the horse racing industry. For those of you who aren't local, in

Sunday, November 11, 2007


My simple life is changing all the time, just like any healthy process, it's not stagnant. I try to improve what I do so that I get the best results for the time and effort I put in and I'm always thinking about ways to make the more mundane chores pleasant and satisfying.Ironing has always been a problem for me. I think it stems from when I was a nursing sister. That was way back in the days

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Attention swappers who did not receive their napkins

THIS IS FOR THOSE SWAPPERS WHO DIDN'T RECEIVE THEIR NAPKINS If you sent napkins in the swap and didn't receive a package, please contact Sharon at Sharon will be sorting these stragglers out. Sharon, I spoke with Rhonda Gay, Karen's partner. She is sending a new set of napkins as hers have been lost and the Post Office can't track them.

A busy week and quarantine restrictions

There is a lot work to be done here today. We have our new floor and kitchen repairs happening tomorrow week, and I only have six free days before it starts. I want to do a few extra things like make some food for us for the time we won't have a functioning kitchen and start moving plates, pot, pans and glasses to another room. I'll think about relocating food later next week. I also have to do a

Friday, November 9, 2007

Life's abundance and complexity

This is my adorable dog, Rosie. Rosie is an Airedale Terrier and she's 12½ years old. Hanno has just clipped her for summer and she's come into the kitchen to see if there is a spare honey biscuit for an old girl. Hello to another Rosie, hello Rosetta!I was talking to an acquaintance the other day about retirement. She asked me if Hanno and I had enough money for travelling, entertainment and


Can we have a check of the swaps. Have any of the people who are waiting on the last swap received their napkins? Has everyone in the current apron swap made contact with their swap partner? Please check into the comments box so I have a better idea what's happening. Thanks everyone. : )

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Inner peace and contentment

When I first started living as I am now, I was searching and hoping for happiness and contentment and thought I might find it with fewer possessions and less attachment to mainstream ideals and what modern life had evolved into. I focused myself on the lifestyle and not what would eventually bring me real happiness, my inner self. I know now that the simple lifestyle is merely the means of

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I am having a wonderful day. I am alone here today, it's just me with the dogs and chooks. Hanno is off having some medical tests done and will then go to pick up our new kitchen appliances.I love being alone and haven't been for the longest time. My only alone time now is when I drive back and forth to my job. Today was a real treat for me. And it's been raining. : )This morning I took my

Yoghurt and quark

Yoghurt and quark can be made from ingredients usually found in the fridge or stockpile cupboard. With the price of food seeming to rise every week, they're handy recipes as you'll be able to make yoghurt for snacks and desserts, and quark for sandwiches and crackers. Quark is an easy to make from scratch simple cheese that's popular in the Germanic countries, and maybe also in Scandinavia. I

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Covering your food

You might think the subject of today's post is a bit odd but it's the unusual things that aren't generally thought about in today's consumer driven life that make the simple home what it is. Today's topic - corks, lids and food covers.We had a recent post about jars so lets start with jar lids. Mason jars have two types of lids. You have the general metal screw on lid as well as a variation of

Monday, November 5, 2007

The full measure of the day

I had an email from a dear reader yesterday asking for some thoughts on a life-career dilemma. Although I don't see myself as an expert on such matters, this is what I think about it, I am sure that there will also be some intelligent and thoughtful comments that may help. This is part of the email:"I would like to suggest a post idea or just tap into your experience. I am 50 in December. My

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Changes to comments

I have had to change to comment moderation because someone ranted in one of the comment boxes. Naturally it was from an anonymous person. I'm sorry that this will hold up comments being shown but I will not allow that kind of comment on my blog.

A wonderful sun day

Yesterday was a day of gardening, cooking and sewing for me. It was quite hot here so before the sun hit the garden I was out there cutting back the pigeon peas. Most of the vegetables are growing well and our nectarines are the sweetest and juiciest we've ever tasted. Sadly there are a lot of fruit fly around and we've had to cover most of the fruit with exclusion bags to keep these tiny flies

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Two good posts

I found two very good posts this morning that you should read. One is by Little Jenny Wren and it contains some wise truths: other is someone new I've added to my blogroll, Melinda at Elements in Time. I really like what she said in her 90% reduction post:

Old fashioned houses

As I was doing my work yesterday I realised that our home is very old fashioned. Our kitchen is the centre of our home, it's a place where we all sit and talk, when friends drop by they are entertained in the kitchen or outside on the verandah, when Hanno and I stop for tea every morning we usually sit outside on the verandah. We have a large area around the house for chooks, vegetable and flower

Friday, November 2, 2007

Routines no. 3

This is the last lot of routines. I have found them fascinating. We are all trying our best to live simply, we all over the world and yet despite the many differences, our routines seem to me to hold a measure of similarity. I hope you have enjoyed reading how some of our readers live their 'normal' day.From Margaret in Maryland USAGet up at 5:15Make coffeeRead Bible and prayTake care of the

Routines no. 2

From Anastasia in USA5:00am - Get up. Fix DH breakfast and pack his lunch. Visit with him until he leaves at6:30.6:30am - Read Bible.7am - Check email, Pay any bills.Get organized for the day! Check a few blogs8am - shower & get dressed8:15am - Fix breakfast for kids. Start laundry, Run dishwasher.9-11am - Homeschool11am - Fix lunch, Clean kitchen, Get anything out for dinner, More laundry1pm -

All living simply, all different

There is no doubt about it, running a home is complicated, and when you add in a partner, children, pets, homeschooling, work, gardens and working animals it can sometimes seem like you're out of control. I have no magic wand that will fix this for everyone - I get a lot of emails asking about routines - but the intention of this post is to show that we all have a full and busy lives, to give you

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Our routines

I've been thinking about the post I'll do tomorrow. I need your help with it. I want to write a post about how we're all different, yet all similar. I need you to write out, in list form, your daily routine. If it changes each day, I just want one day's list of what you do in a normal day, from when you wake up, until you go to bed at night. If you don't mind, include your town/city or

Self discovery, reinvention and changing your attitude

This photo is completely off today's topic, it's a small view of our front garden. It's spring here so we have all sorts of flowers growing. Incorporating beauty into your life is an important part of living simply. But just so you know I've not gone completely flower crazy in the front garden, those leaves poking into the top right hand corner are avocado leaves and planted next to the avocado