DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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10 July 2009

Biggest kitchen table - On being at home



Our no spending mission ends today. I know a few of you had to make small purchases but you got back on the horse and trotted to the finish line, congratulations. No spending helps us think about why we spend and it shows that we can stay at home and that our lives don't have to revolve around shopping. I'd love to hear a few of your stories. Did you find it difficult? Were the family on board too?

This is the last of our current series of kitchen table talks. I thoroughly enjoy it and hope you did too. I am often thanked for what I put into this blog, but the truth is that you give me inspiration, and good ideas with your comments, so I think it's a two way street; all good conversations are. Thank you all for taking the time to comment. It lets me know you're out there and that others are walking this path along with us.



So how do we round off a series that has talked about disposables, green cleaning, money, home production and a few other topics? I think the perfect way to end is to examine our feelings about our homes. Home is the central point for me. It is where I feel the most comfortable, and where I live each day according to my values. We are our true selves here, this is where we reveal who we really are and it's where I share common ground with Hanno and my family. And it is where we celebrated one of the most important events in our lives just a couple of weeks ago - the marriage of our son Shane to his beloved, Sarndra. So just in those few sentences I've revealed a few of the reasons my home is important to me.

I have lived in many houses over my many years and I know that it takes work to make a dwelling a real home. In the first couple of years we lived here, when I was still working outside the home, I saw my home as just a place to sleep. I thought excitement and fulfilment waited for me in other places. It was only when I started doing my own housework and shopping, that my view of home changed - an along with that I changed too. I finally realised that my home was a reflection of who I am and making it comfortable, secure and warm, made me that way too.

Our home is not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, it is what it is because of our gardens, the homemade goodies inside, the smell of home cooking, welcome mat at the door and the unwavering certainty that in this home we work to produce as much as we can for ourselves. That work gives us independence, makes us self reliant, and rewards us with a self made home that fits us like a glove.



Your home should reflect you and your family. It should be the one place where you can kick off your shoes, sing at the top of your lungs, sit quietly with your thoughts and a cup of coffee, raise your children in safety, make things you can and can't buy at the shops, welcome your family and friends with cool home made fruit cordial in summer and hot and hearty soup in winter. Your home is the place where it's okay to put up red curtains against a purple wall, or live surrounded by stark, white minimalism, if that's what you want. Your home should be a safe haven where you can close the door on everything that is outside and feel secure and comfortable. And if you make your home everything you want it to be, and if it nurtures you and your family, when your children, your partner and yourself set off into the world from a home that is loved, you're setting everyone up for their best chance of success.

I hope this series has helped you think about your home in a positive way, enabled you to make the changes you need or given you the confidence to not change what is loved. There are many important and significant things we will do in our lives, making a good home is one of them. It won't happen overnight but if you put the work in and if you march to the beat of your own drummer, you will be rewarded with the best possible place in which to live your simple life.

Take care, everyone and have a lovely weekend.

36 comments:

  1. Well, again Rhonda, thank you. Thanks to your lovely words and advises, the comments from all the others opened my eyes even further. Behind expectation, my husband enjoined me on this journey. On the beginning of the no spending week we both took € 5,00 in our pocket. Today all of it is still there. We did it! And I think we will do this more in the future (maybe every week?).

    In a couple of days I hope to make a list on my blog with my no spending week experience.

    For now I want to wish you and your family a good weekend and hope you will keep writing about your tips and trucs for us.

    Lovely greets from Holland

    (and my big, big excuses for my horible english) :-(

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  2. There is no better feeling than making a house a home. I must share with you a compliment I received years ago from a 7 year old boy who lived in a large house in a wealthy neighborhood. He and my son were friends from school and we had him over one day. We lived in a not so nice area in a very small house. He told me he was going to ask his parents to trade houses with us. When I asked him why he said that when he was at our house he got a warm feeling in his stomach, which he did not get at home. To me, that is the best compliment ever, and a good reason to make a comfortable and cozy home.

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  3. Thank you for an inspiring week. I love reading your thoughts every day. We're working toward the time when I can stay home with our little one and you are a great example of happiness and fulfilment at home.

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  4. I am a completely different person today than I was just a few months ago. Why? Because I came 'home' for good. I told all my business associates and business friends that I was retiring. I knew that they would not understand the need for me to live a simple, yet satisfying life. And at the time, this calling to come 'home' was hard to put into words. Now I understand. I so enjoy this blog. It is also fulfilling to share experiences and learn from each other.

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  5. Thanks for the post! I have always loved being home and I know that my peers always thought I just had "no life". Truth is, I am most comfortable when I am home, I love to read, to cook, to listen to and to play music, and there is no better place than being home. I agree - we are taught that doing "something" means being away from home and most often, spending money. When I decided to fight this urge and go against the norm, I realized I shopped as something to do, rather than for something that I needed. Being at home gives me peace and I hope to pass that feeling along to my children.

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  6. Rhonda thank you ... it's been inspiring reading about how everyone is working to make their own lives and the world a better place.

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  7. Thank you so much for a very enjoyable and thought provoking week. This week has been a great opportunity to re-think and re-evaluate. There is always more than one way of looking at everything and often more than one benefit to a course of action. For example a greener more sustainable and simple lifestyle is easier on the purse as you have so often proved. These days so many people are struggling to make ends meet and going into debt to meet the demands of a lifestyle that is unnecessary. It would be wonderful if we could remove the pressure from people to provide newer, bigger, faster, trendier or whatever it is they feel they need to be happy. Your blog has helped me and I am sure many other people to value the things I have got and the skills I have aquired. A few years ago I would have felt inadequate giving someone a homemade gift but now I am happy to do this.
    One of the things I have realised this week while doing my home audit is that I have not fulfilled my promise to myself to finish Christmas presents earlier and spread out production throughout the year. I will be attending to that right away.
    This week has been a great help in focusing my mind on the things I need to do in my home and I have also enjoyed reading the comments. There are some wonderful people out there !
    Cheers, Eileen in England.

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  8. Hello Lady...Well this was the one week where spending was necessary so it did not coincide it was stock time.
    I love our home and the one thing I rave learned to think on is that every one who lives here...is a part of it and the likes and dislikes of each person ought to be considered. The needs of each person as well.

    I have had several inquiry about the zero balance budget and was glad to share it. I hope it was a help to others.

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  9. We recently moved into a rental house for at least 12 months. At the moment we are trying to have a baby. I was so distressed because I thought I would get pregnant and bring my baby into the world in a house that wasn't our own. Reading your thoughts has just changed my view completely. Why can't I make this house a home - even if we are only here for 12 months? I can cook and plant some herbs and enjoy the visits of my friends here. I can make it feel like ours even if we don't own it.
    Thank you for waking me up and making me see that a home isn't just something you own but it is something that you create with warmth and surrounding yourself with the things and the people that you love. I now know if I deliver my baby into this house it will be their first home.
    You are great Rhonda. Thank you!

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  10. Thanks for putting it perspective for me... I'm currently homeless, I live in a home with my in laws, and my wife and I are in the process of trying to find a home. As we have shopped and searched around over the past 9 months for our new home, we have finally settled in on our target requirements of something that will represent "Provident Living". Your post here about what a home is really sums it all up and helps me keep it in perspective. - Thanks!

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  11. I think Maree Reese has been blessed by visiting this site. I got goose bumps reading how her view of home has changed. Best wishes to your family on making the place you live, whether you own or rent, a true home.

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  12. I love the picture of your verandah! Thank you for taking the time to write, giving us food for thought and inspiration. :)

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  13. Dear Rhonda-
    thankyou so much for this last post- It definately made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside about my home! Thankyou, Marnie

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  14. Thanks Rhonda for all the posts that you share with us. Your home sounds wonderful and just the way that I want to feel about my home. I'm working on it, but it's a slow process to change the way that I think.

    cheers Kate

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  15. Thanks Rhonda for all the posts that you share with us. Your home sounds wonderful and just the way that I want to feel about my home. I'm working on it, but it's a slow process to change the way that I think.

    cheers Kate

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  16. Thank you Rhonda. Today I had to spend on milk and medical supplies, but other than that I have not spent anything since Sunday. I intend to go through to Sunday to complete my week.
    I love your column and read it every day without fail. You have reinforced everything I have always believed a home was, and how I want mine to be.
    I stay at home, and work from home. Because we moved from a place that I loved it is taking me a long time to settle here. I like wide open spaces and here I am surrounded by "close" neighbours. Don't get me wrong they are nice people, but they are too close. I am working towards either returning to the place I love or getting a house with space around it. You have helped reinforce this for me. I will not let anything get in the way of what I know is the right thing for me.
    Once again thank you Rhonda, you are an inspiration.

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  17. Rhonda, you said it so perfectly, I could'nt say it better. Home is where you can be who you really are. It's your sanctuary, and should reflect you and the others that live there as well. That's why my house is such a mixture, my H and myself, and our pets (and you can tell that they are family too!)it is made up of all of us.

    Thank you!

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  18. I am a relatively new reader of your blog. I found down-to-earth quite by accident while doing some reading. I have loved reading your ideas, and draw inspiration from your posts. I have read for several weeks now, without getting the nerve up to comment. But, your latest post makes me think of a jar that my Mother gave me when I got married. It was a tiny ceramic jar with a lid. There was nothing in the jar except a handwritten note in my Mother's handwriting. It said, "Love...Add a pinch to everything. It will go a long way." This fall, my husband and I will celebrate our 17th anniversary. I have tried to build a happy home for him and my children. And, the little jar has had a place of honor on the back of my kitchen stove throughout my marriage. I have tried to take my Mother's advice. I have tried to make my home a retreat from the world. A haven of Love. Thank you for the terrific post.

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  19. Hello there Rhonda,

    I love this topic! My house and more importantly, the people in are my life, and i wouldn't have it any other way.

    My hubby and I bought our little house in Sydney when I was 22 (now 27), we scrimped and scraped for 2 years for the deposit, but now that i'm a stay-at-home mum, i appreciate having a place of our own that we have free reign to decorate how we choose.

    The funny thing is, when i head out to the shops to do the groceries(the list of things to buy is dwindling since i make lots of stuff now), and i am amongst the hustle and bustle of people with their loaded trolleys, i just can't wait to get home to the peace, quiet and comfort that i know is waiting for me.

    I potter around listening to Van Morrison while I knead my bread dough, my little girl playing with her playdough at the same table, and even though all my friends give me stick for it, im am the happiest i have ever been.

    Thank you so much for this blog Rhonda, for such a long time i felt i was all on my own wanting to simplify my life and learn to do things myself when i was in my mid 20s when everyone else is spending spending spending. Now because of all the other people who comment, i know i am not alone, and i have more confidence knowing that if my husband lost his job tomorrow, we wouldn't go to the wall like so many others because of all you have taught me.

    Thank you.

    LH

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  20. Thanks for all you have shared in these posts for biggest kitchen table. I made it through most of the week without spending, only buying a few essential items. It was good not spending and I was pleasantly surprised to see the extra money in my wallet at the end of the week. Well worth the effort. I love being at home, it is my sanctuary, and agree that home is a place to be oneself and enjoy being with the family. When I see homeless people I am so grateful to have a place that is home.

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  21. Thank you for you lovely blog, it inspires me. My Grandma used to say "once you get to cleaning the corners in a home, is when you will love your home".

    Love Granny

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  22. This has been a good week. A busy week but good. We have learned alot about what we are doing right and what needs thinkering with. Some things more than others. Our stockpile certainly needed an orverhaul and now we know what items we need to buy and what we could have done without. No spend week help here.
    Thank you for this week of thought and re-evaluation.

    Pippa.

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  23. First off, a very belated congrats on the wedding of your son and his love!

    this has been a great series and I've had so many ideas reading through each post. I'm going to do a thorough audit on my place next week. I did manage to make myself some more cloth napkins. We always have used cloth napkins, but this is the first time (strangely) I had a go at making my own.

    I haven't actually spent any money this week, (except for my regular organic vegie market shop), partly because I er, don't have any money right now, but we still ate well, (it's good when the imagination has to kick into gear with meal planning isn't it? hehe), and did everything we wanted to do.

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  24. Rhonda, thank you for a very enjoyable and informative week! I've loved reading your posts and the comments.

    I've been lucky in that I've been able to be home with my daughter these 17 years. I've enjoyed every moment!I was a ballet dancer before getting married and have always looked at my home as a way to express the artistic side of me.

    Manuela

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  25. This was a wonderful article, home should be a little piece of Heaven and peace....I am new to this blog but am hoping to read past posts on the no spending series.

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  26. I have been reading your blog for a few months having come across it through reading soule mama. I love your site and I read it every day. I have gradually been making changes to a more simple life and I have loved every moment. I have 3 young children and I do some part time work for a childrens charity. Today I have done 3 loads of washing with your home made laundry liquid and line dried it. Picked sweet peas from my garden and lavender for the house. Made our evening meal with our home grown veg from the patio. Wrapped the home made soap I made last week (I need more practice at moulding it as it stuck to the mould a bit and doesn't look that pretty!) Mopped my floors using your multi purpose cleaner and cleaned out the airing cupboard. Washed up using my newly knitted waffle dish cloth. I have loved every moment of my day. I love being at home and feel so satisfied that my children can be brought up in a home free of chemicals and with a sense that we don't have to go to the shop for every item. I feel that I have got further to go before I live as simple a life as I would like. However, i'm enjoying the process and it is giving me real satisfaction and pleasure. However, I find it so satisfying as for slowing down - well! There is so much I'd like to do!! Thankyou Rhonda. From Julia

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  27. Lovely!
    I love my home. It's not any special, just another house in a suburban neighborhood in Denver. BUT it is our home. It's so cozy and snug, yet light and airy. It's filled with things we love and most importantly the people we love. This is where I live, work, love. My babies were born here and are taught here. This is where I've discovered myself and learned so much along the way. This is where my gardens grow and my dreams as well. It's a great place to be as we long for an eternal Home in Heaven.

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  28. Well, I tried my best but I had to get gas for the car on Thurs. night. That is one thing I found out that still has to happen regularly. Today (Friday) I had to get a PILE of groceries to fill the pantry again and I'm questioning if it was really worth it. Yes, because it made me aware of how things are done in the home but since I'm so frugal already it ran me out of daily stuff and it was overwhelming at the grocery store to have to replace all that we used. I did enjoy the challenge though! I guess I'm ready to go back to my 1-2 week schedule of grocery shopping.

    Alice

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  29. Bravo, hooray and well done!
    I needed to hear the very words you wrote.

    I'm all for having more of your "Kitchen Table Talks".

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  30. i spent money only on food and paying bills this week plus a little to my 20 year old for driving me to the library and grocery. i am confined to home due to a broken wrist/right hand...at first, i was very depressed not being able to do my crafts, but have figured out a new routine that involves sitting outside all morning, then baking or cooking in the afternoons. i am a pretty good one handed cook. in the evenings, i have been reading beach novels from the library or watching documentaries on netflix streaming video.

    my humble apartment home feels like a safe haven right now.

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  31. I am fairly new to your blog but love it! I was what I call, a suburban homesteader for part of my life. An ending marriage lost a home and my two apartments since have been that place just to sleep and house all the untouched stuff.. however, I think I forgot I can take "home" wherever I go.

    I forgot that just because I can't can enough food for a full year that I can put up 6 jars of jam and 4 jars of tomatoes from the local farm markets and not my own produce. Small is good and better than nothing. So again I find home and thank YOU!! for reminding me of all the little things I did to make a home a home.. those same things that can be done in an apartment.

    My apartment is looking rather like "home" these days.

    Thank you.

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  32. Thank you for this mini challenge.

    We still have to go until tomorrow but as you say "the gate is closed" today and we are spending the day puttering around the house, cooking, cleaning, reading and knitting so we have had a successful no spend week.

    My hubby was very happy to tackle this challenge and I have been trying to show him the simplier life over the past few months. He has finally 'gotten' it and now he has been coming up with the most amazing ideas that will help us to become more self-sufficient and frugal.

    I am in my early 40's and look forward to many more years of the simple homesteading life.

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  33. Thank you for all that you do here...I love it. I've been following you for a long time...since then I have lost my job, my home and pretty much everything else, even to the point I have lost some of "me!" Saying all that, how can one feel at "home" in a place that is not yours. I now live with my son, daughter-in-law and 12 yr grandson...of whom I love but they live nothing like I did. I miss my home, living green & simple, they do not and don't care too. Bless their hearts but my son & family do not live anything like I did. I do not have the "right" to change their lifestyle/home but I NEED to find a balance in all this. I feel obligated to them for I am now totally dependent on them for everything. I am so grateful that I am not homeless and for them...but I can't seem to adjust and I am feel I am losing my true self. WOW guess I just open "my" pandora's box eh? Anyone have suggestions or in the same boat with me? THANKS for listening. sageearth@msn.com

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  34. Oh Brenda! The pictures of your home are beautiful! We use our outside areas like you do as another room in our home. As the years go by we just repaint the chairs or make new pillow tops and such and enjoy every minute we have on this beautiful earth. We love being out in the garden checking on the veggies and watching the birds and insects. Our home gives us such peace and is as it should be, a shelter so-to-speak from life's storms. Thank yhou so much for the ideas and inspirations. Jody

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  35. Rhonda, Thank you for providing the opportunity for those of us who gathered together last week. Your posts enabled many of us to think beyond our 'normal' and gave others of us to think how we might change or adapt to new adventures.

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  36. How very true this is! I absolutely LOVE being a homemaker- my home is my favorite place to be. Thank you for doing this series- it truly has helped me to take a step back and look at my priorities!
    I did ok on the spending week- we ran out of milk (my fault! forgot...) but that's about it. Now I'm going for 2 weeks! At first DH wasn't on board, but when he realized how much gas and money we were saving, he soon converted! :D Thanks again! :D
    Courtney

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Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

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