Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

~ we were able to get the subject choices for our eldest daughter final years at school (Years 11 & 12) on her preference list, and I think she will get her choices or pretty close to them. This is great considering the size of the school.

~ our middle daughter got some clothes in the mail, and they were all good and fit well

~ my husband and son managed to move a Japanese maple that is a good size to a spot by the fish pond where it will have more room to grow. We were able to keep warm. I spent some time by the fire watching Flight 29 Down with the girls and I thought the show was fantastic

~ the kids experimented with making a 5 minute microwave cake in an icecream cone instead of a mug. The icecream cone one is a proper recipe using packet cake mix. So now we have a homemade version that we all enjoyed.

~ I was honored to watch Deborah 13: Servant of God on TV

~ I survived an 8 oC day with only a little bit of cold feet and hands

~ our eldest daughter won a scholarship to another country, she submitted a video of her speaking a language she is learning, in this country she will be able to practise her language skills and go to normal school

~ my Mum is helping me with appropriate dress for my daughter to take overseas with her and my husband did the paperwork

~ I got a great recipe to use up my frozen raspberries

Please click on the graphic to go to the hostess of Thankful Thursday for July. Or follow this link to read this week's thankful posts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

48 Things About Me

Photo from Flickr (click for details)

I found this at On Eagles' Wings from Bloom Where You're Planted.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:50, but I have been not sleeping until 2 so I stayed there a little while, if it makes it worse I will continue the 7:50 each day.

2. How do you like your steak? Well done, but I haven't had one for a very long time, not including stir-fry

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? That is a bad question to ask. Usually I was the one at home babysitting.

4. What is your favorite tv show? I am just getting used to what is available on Austar, don't watch normal TV unless there is something special on, which I'd have to find out about first. I just watch things on Hallmark, How To, Lifestyle and things on food sometimes like River Cottage.

5. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I'm not sure I think in absolutes like that. I think I would like to try the town I lived in as a child or the one my Grandparents lived in 3 miles down the road, or my hometown where I was born and lived after the age of 14. I am curious if it has changed much in the years we have been gone. I would be just a little bit I am sure. Moved ahead in time mostly I think.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Muesli, as there was no wheatgerm for weetbix.

7. What is your favorite food? I don't think of food like that anymore. It is just the stuff I have to buy. I have old favourites. So if it was to be a new favourite, or preference it would be Carbonara, black turtle beans, chili & mint combos, tuna, pepperoni pizza, and definitely anchovies

8. What foods do you dislike? tripe I think, little bit scared of holkein noodles and satay, and barley stew, they are the failures of our kitchen over the last 6 years and I haven't forgotten the dishes yet

9. Favorite place to eat? I'd like to try Taco Bills

10. Favorite dressing? Balsamic

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? SUV

12. What are your favorite clothes? my favourite pair of jeans

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Little House on the Prairie sites, Greenock, Cullumpton Devon, Orkney,

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full

15. Where would you want to retire? That kind of question isn't my thing

16. Favorite time of day? 6pm, 9.30pm, 12pm and around 2pm

17. Where were you born? North East Victoria

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? AFL?

19. Who do you think will not tag you back? Don't know

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? Don't know

21. Who are you most curious about their responses back to this? All the same

22. Bird watcher? I watch parrots. I notice what jays are doing.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night.

24. Do you have any pets? We have family pets.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? my daughter's scholarship

26. What did you want to be when you were little? a teacher

27. What is your best childhood memory? there are lots. So rich. I have mentioned lots before. Have I mentioned sleeping in a haystack with my cousin? I went iceskating as a teenager

28. Are you a cat or dog person? dog

29. Are you married? yes, for 24 years

30. Do you always wear your seatbelt? yes

31. Have you been in a car accident? no

32. Any pet peeves? I try to keep them to myself

33. Favorite pizza toppings? I order super supreme with anchovies and capricosa with anchovies

34. Favorite flower? daphne, osmanthus, wintersweet, jonquil, camellia, rhododendron

35. Favorite ice cream? chocolate

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? we always go to McDonalds, well I think actually if I am not there my husband goes to Burger King

37. How many times did you fail your driver's licence test? none

38. From whom did you get your last email? my son I think

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I would not do that

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? I don't think so. However, from this I found a new word, spontaneous idealist. Is that what my son is?

41. Like your job? I am not unhappy in a job, so I have to say yes

42. Do you like broccoli? yes

43. What was your favorite vacation? first I would have to remember what they were. We have stayed at Lakes Entrance, Geelong, Bendigo, Canberra, (as a teen, Swansea and other places in Tasmania, Nambucca Heads, Bega, Nathalia) Corryong, Pambula, Richmond, Vic., Stawell, Yarram, Robinvale, as a child I went on a holiday on the Great Ocean Road. Church activities at Sorrento or Rye.

I liked Walkerville a lot. It was during our trip near Yarram. I guess I like rock pools. There have been lots of daytrips too.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? I went out for lunch. Not sure when the last dinner was. It would have been a work dinner for my husband when he worked at the factory I think. My Mum is not here to babysit.

45. What are you listening to right now? The washing machine draining out.

46. What is your favorite color? Magenta, lime sometimes, red.

47. How many tatoos do you have? None.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? I would love anyone to join in.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A vision for our family?

Gathering At the Well

The discussion questions are:

Do you have a family vision?

Why does having a family vision matter?

If you have not considered having a family vision, what are some steps you can take towards it?

OK, I have found some things on the net to help me start.

Before I start typing out this post, I want to mention something I was reminded of last night while watching Deborah 13: Servant of God on Austar. It is a show about a homeschooling family, in particular Deborah, who is such a lovely girl. Her father mentioned the scripture "line upon line, precept upon precept". That was encouraging to me. We watched the show more or less as a family, and we enjoyed it.

A common purpose and plan. Since the woman is the manager of the home, maybe it is my place to do this?

I can't copy out the questions required to make a family vision, but you can find them here at the bottom. Because my family is nearly or at least half grown, some of those things have been in place, though lately I am a little tired and jaded. However, today I was nearly in tears. My daughter won a scholarship, and for a small amount of money she will be going overseas on a scholarship for a week. Sometimes even when things are hard, nice things happen. My husband and daughter did put a lot of work under pressure to put her video together for the submission. My little girl will be travelling overseas. My eldest was able to do this as well. And he graduates from university in a week! Those things when they were babies I am not sure I could have imagined. Especially considering I didn't manage those things myself.

I am very pleased that my children are able to go to Youth group and Spotlight and learn about God. This has been a vision, possibly not very well carried out, but what I am able to get done I am very pleased about. We have been trying to go to whatever activities any community we have lived in has to offer that I thought suitable.

I feel the same about music, though at the moment it is hard to achieve.

So my values are:

  • high on some Christian input for the kids
  • same about learning piano and possibly another instrument
  • manners of some kind (I try), and amazingly if kids don't do it, at least they know if they find it important from the constant reminders that you have issued even if they didn't do them at the time
  • I like them learning things like chopping wood or lighting the fire
  • I like being multicultural, but I like them to know their own culture first
  • I like the highcountry culture
  • if the family turned out well, they would be able to nurture a family and continue our society
  • I like it when the children are resilient and able to change with circumstances
  • I hope they would say we were kind
  • I like education for education's sake

Another thing I appreciated today was my little girl's wanting to play board games with us. I am not a games person, but I enjoyed seeing my daughter play Chinese checkers with her Dad before her bedtime tonight. It has reminded me of my Nana's board games. She had Snakes and Ladders, Chinese Checkers and Draughts. I loved her sets. My friend's family played Mah Jong.

Mah-Jong Tiles from China, China
Photo ~ Allposters

Green Cleaning

My family are really enthusiastic about a new show on TV that has now finished for the moment on Austar called Lush House. It features Shannon Lush and she often comes along to the home with a home cleaning kit full of things that don't hurt the environment. My daughter has tried out two of her ideas by herself, our middle daughter, aged 12.

Here are some things I found:

Shannon Lush's home cleaning kit. The videos, you can click from the top bar of this page. Cleaning the bath using everyday things was demonstrated here, I thought it was fantastic.

Do I remember by Grandma's using Green Cleaners? No. But I don't remember them having a lot of cleaning products either. My husband said one of his grandma's made her own soap.

My family used a lot of things like sand soap for cleaning hands, and a special soap for stain removal.

If I wanted to know how to do anything I would check anything Shannon Lush has done first. I wondered if she had a book, and it is called Spotless. Taking her advice we have bought some oil of cloves from epharmacy online, there is a discussion about using it on tiles on the internet, but really I would trust anything Shannon says. I suppose I am biased for cloves, I love the smell. There is also a book called Save.

I have always loved a wool wash called just that wool wash. Originally housewives made their own, and probably guys as well? Is it considered green? I am not sure. From memory I think Eucalpytus oil is good for dust mites, which I think is the reason I buy Euca to wash my clothes with. Apparently it is grey water safe, which I didn't know. But we did use the wash water with Euca in it to water our plants during the big recent drought with no ill effects on the flowers.

For cleaning my hair I use Organic Instinct. I would recommend it. I once researched shampoo made with a herb we grow called Soapwort. I haven't tried it though. It is a very pretty flower, and still grows with little water. Here is the recipe I found.

Our Soapwort

I have in the past used vanilla in the fridge, but unsure how I did it. I think you just clean the fridge with normal water you use for washing dishes, then wipe out with vanilla?

Click on any of my posts with this banner, on the banner to take you to Rhonda Jean's blog.

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Monday...

Outside my window... the fog has cleared

I am thinking... about the movie I watched on Hallmark, they have Christmas movies on at the moment, I suppose because it is winter here

I am thankful for... my daughter thinking of a place to put her computer, she used her wardrobe, which originally started life as an ironing cupboard, then a toy cupboard/wardrobe

From the kitchen... toast for lunch

I am wearing... pink windcheater, skivvy and my new ebay jeans (like new but older style)

I am creating... garden plans in my mind until they worry me and I stop

I am going... nowhere for a few days, just around town

I am reading... nothing, hope to start a book soon, it is just the first page I am stuck on, I read the back, so I know what is going to happen, I prefer not to do that

I am hoping... I stay warm this week

I am hearing... just the buzz from my computer

Around the house... washing clothes to get ready for another sort out

One of my favorite things... the new jars of chili anchovies

A few plans for the rest of the week: grocery shopping,

Here is picture thought I am sharing... wintersweet flowers

Peggy's blog has the link up for the daybooks again!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Living Deliberately & Money


Before we came to this remote area, I shopped at Coles, we had milk delivered, and yes we went to K-mart sometimes. I bought from ebay during our last year there, but we were on a low income so not sure what our shopping was, I don't think I went up the street, K-mart was near Coles. That was 6 1/2 years ago.

These days, the supermarkets are catching up here. There is buttermilk or was at some point introduced after we moved here, I think same with packaged custard, and more recently packaged birthday cakes like I have mentioned. The supermarket is now heated properly (it was very very cold, you would have to experience it to know what it felt like) the other supermarket got rid of its sparrows, and the first supermarket doesn't have tourists wondering how to get in without a self-opening door. And really why would you bother heating it if everyone left the door open?

But, we still have to buy our large shop, 50 minutes away once a fortnight, the milk, Euca washing powder and large block of tasty cheese (they used to have 2kg now only 1kg) at another shop, my husband does that. Then because our freezer is at the other house, my husband gets bread here more often and anything we have run out of. I do plan very well, but we still need a small amount of things there. Plus the things we can't get at the further away shop like wheatgerm. They say they can't sell it at the other shop, they should get the stablised stuff perhaps.

Then I have had to supplement that with meat from yet another shop. Since we get money on three different days it feels like we are always at the shop, this is each fortnight. I don't think we are at the shop much apart from that, however our daughter does look. But she is more content now with walking the dog with her friend, and I am glad. She used to feel frustrated and go to the shops instead, even though she had lots of after school activities at the time. Now she has two, one is in the evening, and is quite content.

My living deliberately plan was going OK except the house moving has taken too long and is running into the time where our second child goes off to uni. But I hope it can be managed OK. I have until March and have been thinking about it alot. Lots of things I am buying now, not on credit, like the laptop through a Christmas saving plan through the hamper companies, including kitchen stuff if he goes into self catering.

I was reading a novel about a lady who spent a lot of time with a sick child and her friend bought her a book to dream in. The novel is called One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling. I guess my dream is still to have the kids go to uni. The rest I haven't worked out.

After Michael Jackson died, it felt a little like an end of an era. Tonight we were watching, (cringing a little) Queen. We feel maybe if we went back (since we have been so busy for lots of years) and watched some of those bands, that we may find ourselves and can come forward again and find what we want now. Do we still want to move to our house, or do we want to move back to our hometown, or stay here. And other questions about lifestyle.

We are still going ahead with the odd plantings, like Jerusalem artichokes despite ourselves. Our new house has lots of room.

This year has been challenging moneywise. Not harder than usual, but for example, our trailer needs new tyres and we have spent a lot on the motor of my car, things like that. So we have been putting our thinking caps on and exercising our skills honed over many years with being frugal.

I must say, I have bought a Women's Weekly cookbook on cheap meals, and watched a couple of episodes of the cheap Four Ingredients series. They are going back to our parents, or my parents era making stews. You can tell, or at least I think I can, that they haven't had huge practise with this. Though everyone's idea on what they would like to eat is different. Pancakes for breakfast for me is not high enough in fibre, for example. Flour doesn't seem as cheap as I thought it was.

In my parents day, our meat for stews was cheap. I can't afford the meat for stews for 6 people. My Mum went halves to have a beast killed at the abbitoir, half went in her freezer. She always had mince made up mostly. Mince is still cheap, thank goodness, not so much stewing meats. I find tongue is very cheap, but to me not quick enough, but we used to eat it.

In our early marriage years, we had an attiboir nearby that sold cheap meat, so my step-son used to buy things there for me. He went over on his bike. My Nana ate a lot of lamb. It was grown right on the large block they had in town and butchered themselves. So these days I eat sausages, despite their possibly health worries.

So I like the liftouts in the paper from the Taste magazine as they are cheap, or use the budget section on the website.

Also dried legumes are cheap, but I also still like quick meals, but the supermarkets are cutting back on canned legumes. That is my preference.

I have a book with a page for each fortnight and I use that to record the bills when they come in.

Happy Homemaker Monday


The weather in my neck of the woods:
Plain cold

One of my simple pleasures:
Little finches, a joy.

On my bedside table:
A Cousin's Promise, Wanda Brunstetter

On my TV:
Deborah 13: Servant of God
Flight 29 Down, which I think is brilliant
Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory

On the menu for tonight:
we had Pea & Ham soup with kranskys, they were baby ones

On my To Do list:
Still trying to ring the school dentist, but I have the number now, I have rung twice, and got answering machine

New Recipe I tried last week:
Salad Nicoise with Slow Roasted Vegetable Ravioli pdf

In the craft basket:

Looking forward to:
Warmer weather

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Supermarket ham and cheese topped rolls are great from frozen heated in the oven in foil, about 100oC or lowest setting? for 20 or 30 minutes and buttered with tasty cheese, much better than just from the bag

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
About us, by Michaela
The Truth About Silver Lake at Beyond Little House
The Ideal Homemaker #18
The Sound of Music
And, Sunday.

Favorite photo from last week:

Lesson learned the past few days:
Nothing I can think of

On my Prayer List:
I can't remember.

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
I John 2:16, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (Thanks Joyce)

and 2Tim 3:4 what does the "highminded" mean in Greek I wonder?

This meme is from Sandra's blog.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back to Basics Challenge

  • Sowing seed or Planting
  • Planning for The Future - meal planning, the next seasons garden plan, working out storage plans or more long term goals and projects like plans for digging root cellars
  • Working for the Future - storing food, managing stores, preserving, building that home made cob or solar oven, adding house insulation, saving for manual grain mills etc
  • Building Community - volunteering, donations, joining an existing community group, forming your own community group, taking a cake to a friend having a hard time, calling someone you just let drift out of your life, etc
  • Learn a new Skill

  • Yes, we replanted our mint, in pots in the ground. In this photo they were in pots waiting for a tree to be shifted, then they got replanted. There is I believe, chocolate mint, apple mint, Vietnamese mint and moneywort.
  • We realised today that we can't continue the painting in our new house's bedroom until the insulation is put in the ceiling first. There was slight dripping in a couple of places, or at least dampness with two very slight stains.
  • I got an email today, that may help me out with the remaining homegrown raspberries in my freezer. I can't make smoothies with them because our fridge is at our current house, and the freezer at the new house. I found a recipe from a email newsletter from Taste, and the recipe calls for thawed berries. It is called a Berry & Apple Tray Bake (slice) for winter.
  • We took 11 shopping bags sized bags to the op-shop filled with clothes that our daughter's either tried on or my husband sized, as he has a good eye for it.
  • Not sure about skills. My husband was trying to offer suggestions on the way I got the fire back to life today in the heater.

This meme comes from Belinda's blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Living the theory of anyway from Belinda's blog.

The Theory of Anyway is this nifty little way of looking at the world that argues "95% of what is needed to resolve the coming crisis in energy depletion, or climate change, or whatever is what we should do anyway, and when in doubt about how to change, we should change our lives to reflect what we should be doing “Anyway.”

So on that note, I was doing some things anyway, the way my Mum taught me, then I have gone soft in a couple of areas.

I was already:

Washing out my own nappies
Using the newborn flannelette ones for burp clothes and to wipe up spills in a hurry
Cutting up old things like pyjamas and towels, sheets (hard to remember as I regularly used to do jobs like this) usually the scissors is just to cut through the harder sewn parts
I used the same rags to clean up things on the floor, and washed them
A long time ago but I have used old teatowels to wrap up things like left over lamb roast on a plate
I haven't been buying tissues, I was probably not doing that anyway, but it has been a long time. However my glasses are always dirty, and my Mum uses tissues to dry hers after washing them, I may have to do that, or to buy a chain for around my neck to keep them on

A good video to watch about what you buy at the supermarket is this:

It is interesting that the first item Christian took out of his bag was powdered milk. We have been buying one that you just take a few teaspoons out of, rather than having to make a whole lot up, and we use it at the new house, which doesn't have a fridge. Probably is better on packaging that the Jiggers.

I don't often buy individual yoghurts anymore. They are not cheap and gone possibly in a day, the six pack. We get the bags of yoghurt flavoured mix, the kids usually have about two goes at it and use bowls to eat it. I suppose one bag is better than six tubs, possibly not. It is cheaper though.

For cheapness I buy 2kg raw sugar, possibly it saves on packaging as well. I dislike a lot of kids snacks, and I can't afford those either. They usually get two things to last for the whole fortnight. A large packet of popcorn as it is one of the cheaper things. We have been using real popcorn I think lately, and sometimes the microwave one, I think real popcorn you can microwave in a pyrex. Very cheap. However we made up the icecream mix, like yoghurt mix once, and our daughter dropped the lid, didn't realise how easily it slides off, maybe it was up high as well. We buy fruit and try to get a large amount dispite the cost. However the bin fruits I get under 50c each, usually 30c or slightly more. I.e. they are not perfect.

We only get bought biscuits/cookies with our Christmas hampers. Or if we are very short on afternoon tea or snacks for a very good reason. They are cheap, but I find lately they really don't fill you up much. The girls and our son have been having fun with their 5 minute chocolate cake recipe this week (made in microwave), it is in a special kids recipe folder that they can find quickly that is all their own. I bought some cocoa. If I buy Milo they just go overboard. They also have pita bread and hamburger buns and make things for afternoon tea. My seven year old is quite good at making the cakes now.

I sometimes use bread bags again, still it ends up in the bin.

Shapes and chips, we have chips on birthdays, same with soft drink or soda. I am intolerant of 211 I think in the cordials and soft drink. All I have found is Ribena to drink last summer when it was hot. In my hometown there was a colourfree cordial, but looking at Safeway there are very few cordials to choose from these days. I used to shop in Coles. No shapes.

We make our own pizza base using a microwave recipe to speed up the homemade base (it makes the dough rise quicker and it works), have canister of yeast in the fridge, it lasts for ages.

I have started getting individually wrapped things as we have a pinata each year for my husband's birthday. Not very often as not healthy I get a large bag of individually wrapped chips. Usually it is because we are travelling, chips are also a birthday thing. We didn't always celebrate birthdays with quite so many things.

We have gone away from pasta sauces, though I did get one recently. Probably just for variety in our meals. I do like the Organic IGA one though and it helps. However, I have been healthier since I have lived here, maybe less of those type of foods, or the fresh air, or walking up hills, perhaps less stress and better water, and I'll never know which one and if the food aspect helps or not. I'd say it did because I seem slimmer. Though that could be environmental as well.

Now that awful subject. Not sure why I am bringing it up. I always bought Safe toilet paper in our hometown. These days it is hard to buy a product like that. They even change things around a lot, and the prices go up and down. I found Coles back then five years ago, was more stable. I buy over 24 rolls when I shop. Lots. And because of the variation we may run out. Yes, if you are desperate newspaper is good, and my husband learnt that from his Grandma. Usually we get saved pretty quickly.

Does anyone remember that you can use butter wrappers to grease cake tins and trays, rather than using greaseproof paper. I do that sometimes. I did that anyway.

I haven't used napkins for years, only had cloth. I dislike the way some people discard paper napkins. One of my few? pet hates/dislikes.

I refuse to buy water,I especially bought an old-fashioned blue thingo with the cup on top when we came here for when we went into town. I noticed when it was hot last year someone buying one. You can put cups in the freezer to make giant ice blocks to go inside them, that is what my Mum did for my Dad to go up the paddock with. She used the anodised cups I think to freeze?

I sometimes buy party tablecloths but this is a new thing. I had awful trouble adjusting to their not being cakes in those plastic trays with lids when I came here. Even the bakery, I think I used one or twice, that is it. We stock up on cake decorating supplies when we go to the regional centre, though there are plenty here now. I got over it after a long while. Guess what? I saw the cakes in our town last week. I wonder if I go back to them?

Sunlight Soap Advert a String of Women Admire the Results Displayed on a Very Long Washing Line

My tip about sponges and dishcloths, I use warm soapy water, usually people use it from the dish washing up water, and wipe benches etc. rinse sponge and put it somewhere to dry. It stays fresh then. I love soap shakers, but have been using the liquid, even though I still buy Preservene, though have only Sunlight at the shop now. If we run out of bathroom soap we will use it. You cut it in half to use in the shaker.

To wash dishes with a shaker (you can buy them on ebay) turn on the hot tap and straight away shake under the fast running tap. I have a hint though don't leave your soap bar that you can wash your hands with on the window ledge, as eventually all the paint will be off your ledge.

Buddy's Friday

I think this is a great meme. I found the start page for it, but as my internet speed is restricted for a few days I will have to wait to sort it all out in my mind on how to play along. However I did see this rather dramatic video about a week or so ago. I can relate to it, and by participating in Buddy's I hope it helps the cause to make sure that if people find themselves in this position the drama is not so much. I have had experience with this sort of thing back before we came here, and the company my husband worked for while it was there, actually took him to Canada. While there he went for a drive on the weekend and nearly made it to Detroit. That was special to me.

All the Buddy's Fridays on the host site can be found here. I found it on Frugal Carol's blog, I've seen it before of course, but went there reading about Independence Days that I for some reason thought was finished.

Psst, did I see Oopsey over there?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On being at home

Last Thursday I was in the kitchen at my new house, (actually we took possession of it in August '07) and I am sure it was the first time to me that it felt like our kitchen, or home, at least in the kitchen.

I looked around to see why that was.

There was our green kitchen jex, our Sunlight soap, but I thought maybe it was the retro canister on the bench that I got in 2002. There wasn't much else out on display so I wonder what it was exactly? Those things, or the things we have done to the kitchen, like the new taps, the new floor and lino, dishwasher; or that I chose to have that kitchen in the first place. I chose to have a kitchen with the remains of a chimney with little windows in it like my Nana had, or the two taps in the brick wall over the sink that I chose to replace the old ones, taps like my MIL used to have in her long time house. Maybe because I liked the way the old owners chose bright colors. Or was it that my husband had carefully planed back the edges of the bench and put on a lovely shiney clear varnish.

Was it that I had just looked carefully at the retro tiles, as I have been chosing a paint color for the back entry next door, and I noticed that the tile had a cute orange flower in it, and the square around the edges was actually tan? Was it the serviceable 70s laminex? Why was it finally home that day?

The first time I saw it, it really let the house down. The real estate agent and my husband were standing there peering into it. It was dark. I said the overhead cupboard over the sink would have to be raised up. This turned out to be true, and we did that. I couldn't see the taps or much to be able to wash the dishes.

I walked very carefully over the brown lino after we bought it, and I vowed to stay out of there. There was a little square in the lino very carefully disguised and the floor seemed soft. It turned out there were whiteants in the floor. Now the lino is white, and we have a big enamel light shining light downwards from the high ceiling with my favourite strips dissecting it.

The window is still not painted after the 40s thin glass was replaced. The doors haven't had their glossy paint, and there are minimal dishes and pans, and cutlery and food and virtually no cookbooks or decoration. Only some dried wheat and seeds or something on the mantelpiece, that still has some cute oldfashioned lino on it.

There is a toaster.

I love the stove, the door has a hole in it, why did it feel like home to me?

I think it was that I have spent extra time there lately as my computer was there for awhile. And I have forgotten the snake incident. I used to worry I would find it in the kitchen I think. Plus we got a great new back door with glass either side, and the sun shines on the cement out there and into the kitchen through the back porch. I have the door photo not far back in my posts.

It is possible it is hot chocolates the kids have made in the kitchen, their egg lunches, the fact that there is not too much junk in there. Maybe the dishes I have washed on my own in peace and quiet while the others have been busy. Everyone seems more settled there.

It has come a long way.

There used to be white mould in that cupboard, at least now it is freshly painted, just right for that bag of potatoes. The drain didn't actually work in the kitchen and the grey water went under the floor. It took a few months of airing the soil for everything to smell fresh, there, in the laundry and in a part of the garden near the laundry.

Please click on the biggest kitchen table banner to go to Rhonda's post On being at home, and perhaps visit others who have written about it.

I had forgotten I had something to write about and had a look around and found this great meme called "What does home mean to you?" at Green Gourmet Giraffe. You may want to look at what was written there, the photos are very nice.

To give an idea on how far we have come, and why it is taking so long, here is a photo of our laundry in the new house, when the plumber put the taps in the wrong place and we were trying to work out where to put the machine.

Here is the link to our newer photos, and here for the laundry. Another group of pictures here.


I was going through my photos from 2008 the other night. I had brought my computer home from the new house, and was waiting for the internet to be connected, so I looked through my photos. You may remember I was unable to finish the post with a photo for each month of 2008.

I found it a very useful and encouraging exercise. It gave me a bit of perspective.

Here is a post I wrote on New Year's Eve. Click here.

I must say I started my blog on the 24th June. So I am a little bit past my blog anniversary.

This is photo of where we finished up with the laundry. I started the journey of the renovation of the house on my old blog, here.

Originally there was metal braised on the sink I think attached to a 60s asbestos shower that had rotting wood I think inside it. The aqua part was unpainted. There were no machine taps and the taps for the sink ran under the window I think like a garden tap. We have still to replace the badge on the sink, the retro badge. My husband did the enamel again, I think with car paint we had in the shed. I think the car is long gone. I think it was for the roof of a car that was white and the body burgundy. I got the curtains from ebay, and I also have a light that we have to have installed after we repair the crack that happened when the electrician worked on that area. He also installed a ceiling fan for the shower. I know a more upmarket job could be done, but this was our budget fix.

June was a butterfly event. One of our children saw the newly hatched butterflies start to fly.

To be continued.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Check out Joolz' Vegemite Post

Joolz has a great post in honour of the new Vegemite on the market, a mix of Vegemite and something else actually. Thanks Joolz, I wanted to see what it looked like. All Joolz pictures and explanations are great. I won't say much more, but here is a Vegemite photo to add to those Joolz posted here. You can click on my photo to go to the original photo and it's owners photo album.

I love those little guys.

I prefer Vegemite on white bread, and Promite on brown bread. I am not sure what my children use as my jars always are a little stale, Vegemite and Promite have to stay clean to appreciate their gorgeous flavour. My Nana was the one with the Promite in the cupboard, it is probably because it is a little less acidic.

And like any good Aussie mother (I know not all have my confidence) my children had Vegemite on their first slices of toast, their first lunches.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't put up with it anymore

Gathering At the Well

Put up with what?

Lust and Sex in today's culture

Oh. Thinking about it, it is a good subject. And those confronting two words, I think I have some things I can write about it. Here are the discussion questions:

  • In what ways can you help the men in your life fight this battle?
  • Find at least one other scripture to meditate on that will aid you in this fight.
  • Talk openly and honestly with your husband and children about these struggles. Shine the light on this dark place. Let them know that you are there to fight with them.

Amy's post is very good as always. The first part interesting. Click here for Amy's post.

Now back to what I had planned to write. It would have been helpful if I had written it down.

This is sort of an incriminating subject isn't it? I suppose I can't speak for my husband and sons really. So only can comment on myself. I have had four teenage boys in my home during the years, and one husband. He is the only partner I have had, so I have only the experience of this subject with one man and Mum and step-Mum of four boys in our home. Yes, I am glad I have the girls next, though have no idea how hard that is going to be in comparison yet.

In our home lately, we have the music channels back on a pin number that only I know. We stopped watching the Michael Jackson videos, I finally said they were too much and the girls accepted that. Our son wasn't really watching them anyway. The Country Music Channel I am now only watching the request show or the Spotlight on a certain artist. Random country songs usually is a mine field.

That actually bothers me that country has sex and alcohol always attached to it. And because we live in that kind of place, of utes, cb aerials, love of football and netball there is a lot of drinking. Yes, it was hard for my son at one point, but he has found his way through the maze and I am pleased for him.

We don't go and borrow movies, except the Love Comes Softly series, which is fine of course. We did watch the movie Australia, and it had one scene. Thankfully very short.

This subject is new to me, and has come up because of strangers. After the small amount of attention shown, the love songs and the pictures, video clips have all taken on a new meaning for me, I know "get it" I suppose, or at least something more than I did before. Yes, it has become a burden, but Amy's post makes you realise that it can become much much worse. It is so sad. I am able to stay away from it. The worst thing I find each year, is saying to myself I am not going to watch Australian Idol, and then watch it anyway. We are due for a new season soon, I think anyway. I think the American Idol, is perhaps better, though I haven't seen a lot of it. There was a lot of explaining to the contestants of the value of this to sell their music last season.

I have been talking honestly with my husband, but I think that has made things harder for me. In order not to offend, what if it puts me off men altogether? How do you deal with the attention of strangers especially if you are unsure what is going on, if anything? How come the Bible doesn't condemn what effect this may have on the woman? Why only the men? That just means I think that I don't know much about this subject matter. I don't think it would help me to know more. I think we really are from different planets, Mars & Venus.

Is their attention anything to do with the media, or just an attraction. Are attractions made more magnified by the media thing. I think this is true. This becomes an issue if you are married of course. I wonder if it makes it harder for singles to have one life partner if they see too much before they find the right person.

I just think the whole relationship thing can be against Christianity on a lot of levels. The headiness of the relationships so exclusionary. (Of course with husband's and wives this is how it should be. See this article. Anyway I found an excellent post on this recently, view here. It is about modesty.

"Consider the following examples: “a modest home,” “a modest income,” “Mary was modest about her achievements.”

The measure of the modesty of the home or the income is not whether or not some isolated person manages to be covetous, but whether on average, these are showy or impressive things. And the measure of Mary’s modesty about her achievements is not whether or not Sue is jealous of them, but whether or not Mary is making a big deal out of them, being sure that no one could fail to know what she had done..."

The same goes for lifestyles. Having this experience of a new person to love, is like having the best of something.

Anyway those are my thoughts and I hope to learn something from reading the other posts.

Simply Kind Tuesdays

Today I came across something called the Great Kindness Challenge, which is to be held on August 8.

"The Great Kindness Challenge is one day devoted to performing as many acts of kindness as possible. Our goal this year is to have over one million children participate. It is our hope that this day will inspire a lifelong commitment to service and kindness."

At first I thought that was silly, but after all, we do the same type of things for the environment don't we? So why not kindness? It doesn't seem the same, but on reflection I think it is. I think a lot of kindness acts must add up to something.

Click here to go to the Great Kindness Challenge.

It is interesting reading the challenges, here on pdf. Do you think some of them would be taken the wrong way, or embarassment material later? Are they the kinds of things you associate with kindness?

Please click on the flower to visit the home of this meme, Claudia's blog and her Simply Kind Tuesdays posts.

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather in my neck of the woods:
It is warm because it is going to rain

One of my simple pleasures:
the sun streaming in one of the windows

On my bedside table:
Just finished They Call Her Mrs Doc by Janette Oke

On my TV:
Better Homes & Gardens
Supersize v Superskinny
Super Nanny UK
a movie on the Hallmark channel maybe it was called Daniel something

On the menu for tonight:
Hearty Country Risotto click here for recipe, it used kranskys or chorizo so is adaptable as I buy both, and I did need to change meat as it happens, was so happy to find the recipe, someone found my blog through a search for kransky pasta and I found the recipe in their search. I hardly ever check what is going on, thanks whoever did that, some recipes are harder to come by

On my To Do list:
to keep asking my husband if he has found the number of the school dentist

New Recipe I tried last week:
Pork Sausages with Thai-style Salad (recipe under title, ie click title)

In the craft basket:
my husband mended some pants, not sure if we have anything else we haven't done

Looking forward to:
a small top up of money

Homemaking Tip for this week:
I like to freeze smallgoods, however, they seem to have a long shelf life, or fridge life

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
Sandra's movie reviews, here

Favorite photo from last week:

Lesson learned the past few days:
looking over your year in photos is a worthwhile experience, I stopped doing this, but realise it works just as well with digital photos

On my Prayer List:
my husband

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Nothing comes to mind

This meme is from Sandra's blog.

I noticed some blogs with a variation to the comments today. Maybe the problems some people have been having will be finished soon as it looks like Blogger have been working on changing the way the comments are being done. Any thoughts?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Back To Basics Challenge

Sowing seed or Planting

Nothing this week.

Planning for The Future - meal planning, the next seasons garden plan, working out storage plans or more long term goals and projects like plans for digging root cellars

I did a bit of networking about uni for my son.

Working for the Future - storing food, managing stores, preserving, building that home made cob or solar oven, adding house insulation, saving for manual grain mills etc

My husband has been painting his ceiling that was screwed up literally to batterns made from reused wood. He also got the elastic in the waistband of my ebay bought jeans without drama.

My daughter tried out some yeast that was past it's date and found it was still good. I have also replaced the yeast canister that we keep in the fridge. It lasts for a very long time, as in lots of pizzas, not something you have to buy everyday. The other yeast was the one in the box.

Building Community - volunteering, donations, joining an existing community group, forming your own community group, taking a cake to a friend having a hard time, calling someone you just let drift out of your life, etc

We took two shopping bags of clothes to the op-shop.

Learn a new Skill

I learnt to pack up and move my own computer without relying on others in the family. I disassembled the computer, UPS, printer, router, keyboard, speakers and monitor. I was surprised just how many chords it takes for a hobby like this. When the family had a chance they brought my forgotten mouse pad and UPS. Not sure if anyone remembered my chair.

I am still practising using my reaing glasses while supermarket shopping.

Think you have no skills? I watched a show called Feeding Frenzy, the first episode I think. It showed a family that was able to make a lasagne after eating frozen lasagne usually. The surprising part about this family of ready meal eaters (I think) was that it took 20 minutes for them to find the pasta sheets in the supermarket. I like those types of shows speaking of what skills you can gradually lose.

This meme comes from Belinda's blog.

Home Production

The things that stand out in my mind about our home production lately are three things, the costume my son made, the dress my eldest daughter made, and the dog kennel my middle daughter and my husband made.

As you can see he liked it right from the word go. The kennel was made from materials left over from the things our builder ordered to fix things on the house, and also some wood that was used to hold lattice before we took it down. In other words materials we already had. Read more about it here.

My Mum made the main costume for Leafeon. My son made the other things, with some advice now and again. Read about it here.

My daughter's dress is from a New Look Pattern in green and black, view pattern here.

My skills (mostly my Mum, my school and my Nana taught me, and my step-Mum):

sewing (no I haven't learnt to thread up my new machine)

do I use them, not a lot. However, the knowledge is still used in other ways I suppose.

new things:

learning to use Vietnamese mint in a salad, from the garden

learnt to bake with fresh raspberries and made up our own cookbook for next time

learnt to bake with coconut milk

my husband learnt to blind hem on the machine, and our son learnt to do buttonholes

learnt to make apple sauce (like tomato sauce)

made a tea from pineapple sage

Pineapple Sage recipe here

We do things at our home like:

Have our own rosemary that we pick to add to sausages to make pasta instead of buying rosemary in a plastic sleeve

Make our own jam, pickles, sauce and chutney from jam melons, apples and gifted plums

Make our own wood piles by cutting the wood ourselves for heating

grow our own raspberries

repair sagging plaster

do our own landscaping

grow Jerusalem artichokes

fix damaged curtains and rehang them perhaps in a smaller window

find two of the same thing at the tip, like barrows and vow to make them into one

find ash bucket at the tip and vow to put on a handle

find guttering at the tip and vow to put it up and fill any holes with car bog

use ebay to find preloved curtains

use existing shower rail ends and buy pipe to make use of the hard part of the door at the edges

fit our own pipes that have burst on the car

sand our own floorboards

This is all recent and you can read about the details here.

It has been a long time, but I am back watching Better Homes & Gardens TV show again and finding it an inspiration. I am watching the ones on Pay TV. Click here for highlights.

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Saturday...

Outside my window... a fluffy sunset, dark grey clouds with peach edges

I am thinking... I am having a better half of the week now

I am thankful for... a gift of used clothes for my daughter who needs lots of warm clothes

From the kitchen... Sausage Casserole, I actually found the original recipe in the magazine it was printed in originally which was interesting, it is a chipolata recipe with mashed potato on top

I am wearing... the jeans I bought off ebay because they sounded like my jeans that wore out. They are nearly identical. My Mum had sewn elastic on the back, my husband was able to take it out and copy how she put it in. He did it very quickly, which was fantastic! I feel much better with "my jeans" back

I am creating... a menu plan, well actually sorting out what we can cook until the fruit order comes on Tuesday, thankfully there were three recipes on my plan and three days; perfect!

I am going... I don't think I am going anywhere to speak of for 12 days perhaps

I am reading... One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling

I am hoping... my daughter tries on some clothes for me, her gifted clothes and others in bags so we can discard any that don't fit

I am hearing... the wii

Around the house... my daughter on the laptop, one on the wii and another reading, we need to put some more wood on the fire

One of my favorite things... looking at crochet pics on blogs

A few plans for the rest of the week: my son is doing a SAC or compulsory school work at the regional centre, so that is exciting, they are doing it at a uni

Here is picture thought I am sharing... this is from May.

Visit the home of Simple Woman's Daybook here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Electricity & Water

Thanks to Joolz I think I just about have a handle on how these posts work, thanks Joolz. Check out her excellent post here. I also check Mandy's too (starts July 9 downwards), even then I am a little dumb. I actually found Rhonda's sign up page as well. Phew.

I think I did OK on my food post, no major fumbles.

The topics for the Simple Home Audit are:

On Being At Home
Home Production
Green Cleaning
Electricity & Water
Living Deliberately & Money

So onto Electricity & Water.

Everyone who reads my blog may notice that my whole point of reference as a person at the moment is the time where I was living in my hometown in my home of three years onwards. Year 2002. I had lived my married life in that town since 1984. I changed houses but we lived the same way in the same climatic and other conditions.

We always had gas water heating, gas heating, and everything else electric, with a dishwasher in the later years. Always line dried and only started drying on inside lines towards the end. Town water that was reliable (no restrictions though that was during the time we lived there, no the population hasn't increased significantly, go figure). We didn't live there during the one big drought and the fires which affected the water quality, though the fire one I think we were there on weekends.

Then we went to live in a rented farmhouse on a contract for one year (2003), and we ran out of water after a week if that. There was so little water I gave up washing nappies and baths were infrequent. We stretched our water buying to three weeks instead of one week. During the drought a couple of years ago, I was surprised to learn that the people here were given free water. During that time though we were on moderate? water restrictions and we did lots of work reusing our nappy buckets that we were to throw out (and haven't even now) using our Fisher & Paykel machine on hold and using the rinse water on the plants. Thankfully things have been kinder since then. Especially since we now have two gardens to water.

This week we rang the water people as there was a leak from our water meter. We thought it was on there side of the meter which is a new one, but it was a fault with the tap etc. attached to the meter and running slowly all the time. It would have been starting to add up onto our bill quite a lot. It got fixed today. The posty had trouble driving through the water up the hill on his motorbike.

For anyone interested there is little if any water coming down after Lake Hume and the river is full before it, and it is filling up, nearly to a nice scenic level.

Moving here to an all electric house was daunting with the first electricity bill. We do heat the house with wood in the winter, and have no air-conditioning, otherwise I don't think we would be able to handle the bill to be honest. I try to keep it to a level I can pay in one go when the bill comes. Normal light globes pop here with a very quick turn around time. Why you ask? I think from memory higher and lower voltages being near a power station. Or surges perhaps. We use a UPS on our computer most of the time, and I love it. So we gradually changed light bulbs to the new ones that most people have now, the energy efficient ones, which are great for bedside tables as they are less likely to burn people or the light fitting. That helped with our bill. When our eldest was living here before he went to uni (he graduates next month!) he always went around turning off lights and that helped too. We have collected more TVs and computers, and I am not sure but I haven't noticed a big change like something like using a tumble drier would do.

This year we had more clothes to dry and we put our cabinet drier back in the house after checking for safely (view picture of it here). They are more efficient on power. We just couldn't bear to get rid of our family "friend" who had served us well during the nappy washing years, (I washed the nappies of our first three and no disposables for them). I knew the cabinet drier was kinder on the nappy fabric.

Every morning after I get dressed I open the blinds and go around and check that all the lights are off.

My preference is to wash 7kg of washing (one basket load full) and hang it all out on the line. I prefer the one fashioned silver lines. However, there is heaps more fog here, and not the bright sunny days of my hometown in winter, where one year I did a whole big catch up during the school holidays and it dried without drama. Add in a dog that likes clothes hanging down. I saw a dog so similar and from the same area as where we bought our dog on Better Homes & Gardens that did the same thing. No cure. Time share the backyard. Not good if you want a daily washing habit. We also run out of hot water here. Yes, it is a teenage problem. However this week and a few weeks prior I have been getting to the bottom of this. Once it was like a strange secret, three possible culprits and no clues at all. If my eldest at home goes away to uni and work this November maybe that will help next winter? One can hope.

Having said that our clothes are dried in front of the wood heater and on the back of a door on a rack. We even now dry sheets, doonas and towels on it so are not using our tumble drier even for those emergencies. I wonder if that is because we have no little kids ie toddlers, probably not.

I had a practise with the dog and the line at the new house. I bought a new basket trolley, a nice long handled one as I have a nice path under the line. I put the dog on the chain as he has a nice view of a large yard there. No dramas. My son took mine apart many years ago, admitedly it probably had its day. It wasn't restored if it could be restored and I have wanted another one since. It is parked at the new house though, in case puppy likes to chew wheels.

I won a water filter, I think I went in a survey on the phone or something. We have also collected fresh water from the bush sometimes and a spring. Our water in our part of town was never clean. In the end they had to treat it, though today, it is like a swamp. I grew up with water from a small creek and this is the first time I disliked the taste, not including when our tank was nearly empty (I'm sure it needed cleaning but we were renting and we had that fresh spring water to drink anyway). We have kept large water containers for collection of water to drink. It helps when there is ash in the water, pretty sure we brought the spring water home to our hometown for the weekends when this was happening.

Does drinking water add up to something in the scheme of water usage, not sure.

Our new house has automatic watering systems through the whole garden. We use buckets to water the trees. The tops of the risers are drippers not sprays. We use mulch, though it is very hard to buy straw here even for the dog's kennel. We have had to do things like bring a bale back from our hometown 2 1/4 hours away if we happen to be there, which requires a bit of thought. Or, like this year, picking up a broken round bale from the side of the road, though we didn't get it all done. Still have a nice pile to use though. We use leaves as well.

We have been using the town pool more than a blow up pool in our backyard these days. We found heat affected things in our house after last summer's hot temperatures in the house.

Thankfully the temperature dropped quickly below 21oC and has been like that ever since, so I don't think I am worried about another summer living through the heat. If I do happen to be living in our new house then with a split system airconditioning in our room, we are getting prepared for that. The room is uninsulated. My husband has reused wood and has put extra batterns in the ceiling to screw up the plaster (40s house = scrimping on materials as a war was on). Now we can insulate. However, split systems ice up outside in this climate and don't work for periods of time.

TV shows that have audits in them:

Carbon Cops
Outrageous Wasters

For something different

My blog is becoming boring, I haven't been doing my usual lists justice, and even been posting on odd days, as my computer was not with me all the time. To celebrate it being back, I found this on my friends blog DeliciosoMama and thought I would have a go.

"Why don't you own up to your inner "foodiness" and take the test, post it on your blog and then tell us what you would add to the list. Highlight in BOLD print what you have eaten and leave in regular print what you haven't."

1. Natto (what is this??) (I agree)
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen (and this??)
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (?)
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea (a.k.a. Bubble Tea)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine (Elderberry, etc)
19. Gyoza

20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam

38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Lasagna
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Caviar
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwaffle
47. Samosas
48. Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed/Wakame
51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi
53. Crepes
54. Squid or Octopus
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. PiƱa colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple or Spam
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Lo Mein
63. Bangers & Mash
64. Curry
65. Sea Urchin
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Adzuki beans
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Potato Knishes
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Something made with squid ink
83. Tings ( another name for ting-a-lings"?)
84. Frogs Legs
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Wild Game, such as Ostrich, Venison, Elk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Spot the snow. Actually don't. It was very visible to the eye, but I think my trees are in front of it, picture three and the last one are the views with the snow I think. There is a tiny touch near a leaf on the left of the right tree.