DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

21 November 2013

Note to self: make the most of every day

Picture this. It's 5.00pm at the end of a busy day. I grab a cup of tea and prepare to sit down and watch the news on TV with Hanno. I sit down, the phone rings. On the phone is the Maroochydore Library asking for a favour. The person booked to do their talk on Creative Writing is sick and can't make it. Everyone booked via email, so they have no phone numbers to phone participants to cancel. Could I please come over and fill in. I love my local libraries, they give an excellent and worthwhile service to people in our region. I said yes, how could I not. I was just sitting around drinking tea.  In the background I could hear applause. LOL 

"What time is the talk?" I asked. "Erm, 6 o'clock."

I took off like a rocket. It's a 30 minute drive to get there. I got out of my scarecrow clothes and into something decent, combed my hair, applied lippy, and grabbed what I thought were my notes and bits and pieces from a talk I'd given previously on writing. I arrived at 5.55pm, with no real idea what I'd talk about. The notes I grabbed were a stack of my old Women's Weekly columns. Ahem.


I think it went fairly well. There were 40 eager writers there with some great questions and busy pens taking notes as I spoke. We finished at 7.30pm and I drove home. The next morning I received a couple of emails from people who were there saying how much they enjoyed it. But as I drove home I was thinking about how fragile life is and how quickly everything can change. It reminded me of the time last year when Hanno nearly cut off his hand with the chain saw. One minute everything was normal, the next I was dealing with spurting blood and trying to call an ambulance. Life can change in the flicker of an eye. Note to self: make the most of every day.


I hope there are no more quick changes before the end of the year because even though I'm writing for Penguin again, I'm also winding down for the end of the year.  We've started talking about the Christmas holidays and what they will bring. I'm hoping we have a slow Christmas. I want to take time away from writing and the computer and just sit back and relax with family and friends. I want face-to-face conversations, knitting while watching cricket on the TV (hello Sue), pineapple crush with ice cubes clinking and enough rest to fire me up for next year. Because next year is going to be my best year yet. I say that almost every year and every year I'm right.


Yesterday I discussed our Christmas lunch menu with Hanno. There'll be eight of us here and I'm looking forward to a day of family, good food and watching Jamie make sense of Christmas in his own unique way. There will certainly be a lot of beautiful memories to store away for later. Our food will be simple - roast chicken and maybe a small ham with salads, followed by a pavlova. Everything will be cooked the day before and assembled on the day. We need to keep the house cool, so definitely no cooking. Just after Christmas, we'll be travelling up to visit Shane, Sarndra and Alex. We're really looking forward to that. While we're there, some of the blog and forum readers who live up that way are meeting us to have a cup of tea. That's something extra to look forward to. There are so many exciting things coming up!


I think the trick to enjoying the holidays is to be well prepared and to delegate jobs and cooking. Know what you'll serve on your special days and make sure you have everything you need well before Christmas eve. Try to keep calm in the run up to the holidays. But we've all still got plenty of time to organise ourselves, even if you haven't started yet.  Just do a bit at a time and slowly it will all come together. Start with a budget, work out your menu, plan your shopping and do your cleaning a few days ahead. And when the excitement of Christmas day is over, I hope you do what I'm going to do - nothing.


24 comments:

  1. I love that last photo of your kitchen. So cheery!

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  2. Bravo, Rhonda! And amen! Here in the states, we are heading toward Thanksgiving, and I have a terrific recipe for make-ahead gravy. (The recipe is from the New York Times.) Anyway, the gravy is made and will soon be tucked in the freezer. One thing checked off my Thanksgiving to-d0 list.

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  3. I love this post, it is easy to get caught up in daily life, remembering to enjoy today and take your time is so important xxx inspiring as always xxx I have read your blog for many years while paying off debt and now am debt free with a mortgage for the first time, thanks for your helpful blog and useful tips xxx

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  4. Rhonda, First I want to tell you how much I like your red gingham kitchen! How cute it is! I have a favor to ask if you have the time. I have been sick for the past couple of weeks and have been reading your blog from the beginning...what a powerful blog it is. It has encouraged me so much. Our stories have some similarities...I was an ambitious career woman and although I am not married or have children, I have been forced into frugal living by a disabling back injury. I no longer can work and am on disability. Reading your blog has given me a new way to look at life...to see this as a blessing and opportunity to live a simple life and learn wants vs needs. I have been reading your blog for a while, but the early posts have really given me a hope for a full and happy life living on limited income. Thanks for your instructions and insight. Now the favor...if you ever have time there was a picture of a homemade corn and barley loaf in the April 2009 blog post Hierarchy of food. I searched the blog but couldn't find the recipe. Is it possible you could post it...it looks scrumptious. Thanks, Jackie

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    1. Hi Jackie. I'm really pleased you're getting something out of the blog. All my bread uses the same recipe and I just change the type of flour used, and sometimes the amount of water to suit the different flours. Here's the general recipe I use: http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/simple-living-series-making-bread.html For that one I used corn and barley flour. xx

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    2. Thanks Rhonda. Gonna try it tomorrow, just got some new organic barley flour the other day for a song...yippee!

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  5. While I'm certainly not prepared for Christmas just yet, this year I am more prepared than previous years.

    I am bound and determined to get my Christmas baking done, and in the freezer before the end of November, it takes off so much pressure. I have made the steamed pudding and a batch of fruit mince pies and 2 Christmas Cakes so far. I give Christmas cakes to family as gifts every year, so I have to make quite a few, I have 3 to go! (And nine days to do it).

    I've started the shopping, but still have a way to go there, but I'm so pleased the baking is well underway.

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  6. We are looking forward to Christmas and the Christmas holidays. It has reminded me of my favourite savoury pasts salad that I make at Christmas each year. It has sultanas apples curry powder and mayo. I'm not a pasta salad kind of girl however I could eat a whole bowl of this. I'll dig up the recipe and posted later today on my blog www,.oursimpleandmeaningfullife.blogspot.com. I love Christmas time with young kids and in your case grandchildren which makes it oh so special. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  7. Love the pic of Jamie reading country life,you've got him well-trained for the simple / good life!

    X

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  8. I love Christmas day and the run up to Christmas day is equally exciting. I think you are so right though when you say life can change in an instant. I am so grateful for the life I lead and I know it could change at any time through ill health/ my husband losing his job etc etc, so I try my hardest to enjoy every minute of it and feel blessed to have lived this way 15 years and been at home to see my children grow. It's a privaledge that not everyone has had and I feel very lucky.

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  9. Dear Rhonda- Christmas-- hmmm- 24 days after we move onto our new farm job! BUT I am still planning to make the Christmas cake in the week following the move along with getting the vegie gardens up and running again. When I saw the photo of your kitchen and the curtains I thought SNAP as I am making some gingham curtains for my old farm house as well. They are so country. I also made Bunting to go around the deck with little twinkly butterflies on the tips and also my beg gardens are going to be painted in bright yellow/green/blue/red etc as I want people to smile when they visit and I want it to be a cheerful place for the grandchildren :-) We have a wedding 3 weeks after Christmas and then I can sit back and do....... nothing ..... until it is time to harvest and preserve.

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  10. I love christmas but it sneaks up on us doesn't it!
    I love to make shortbread to give to friends and I've also made an early batch of tomato chutney and I'm trially my first ever christmas cakes, but I really need to get cracking!
    Rhonda, what is the walnut cake you have a picture of in this post, I love anything with nuts!
    Thanks
    Jan
    www.agluttonouswife.blogspot.com

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  11. Jan, it's a banana and walnut cake. I think the recipe is on the blog.

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  12. Beautifully said Rhonda. Every day is so precious. I don't even know where we are going for Xmas this year so will have to talk to the rellies about that one. Sounds like a lovely Christmas you will have. We usually all bring something to add to the meal and have a buffet. Pavlova and cheesecake are a must! :)

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  13. I don't comment often but read your blog regularly. You have a pretty and cheerful kitchen Rhonda, I love it! Make the most of every day..how true that is. Your g'sons are so cute, and I'm sure such a treasure to your heart.
    I think this year pavlova will be on our Christmas menu as well.

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  14. First of all Rhonda , may I say your kitchen photo took my breath away , red is an amazing colour in a photo. Just gorgeous. Normally by now I have made 95 homemade cards ,my Christmas pudding and cake and have everything organised for the big day.... this year will be a little different as I'm going into hospital on the 18th December for a procedure and will be in for about 5 days.....So Christmas will be a very quiet affair with just hubby and me!.. Our children all live on the mainland and have visitors arriving from the UK so they won't be over here (Tasmania) . We will have plenty in reserve for eating and I'm about to make some meals to go in the freezer as although my hubby is wonderful and can cook there are 6 chooks to look after and half an acre of land ,this is the growing season for grass and it has to be done every 5 days or so. WE have a good vegie garden and we are weed proofing round the fruit trees so he doesn't have too much to do whilst I'm recuperating. It will be at least 6 weeks before I can do anything much outside. But on the plus side I can get some sewing done (I'm making a quilt ) and I have been putting it off . Dust if you must so that's not a problem either .... Hope you and Hanno have a wonderful Christmas with your family

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  15. Dear Rhonda, I just wanted to Thank-you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me to make the most of each day. I am at the beginning of such a terrifying trial and need to hear this. :Thank-you again.

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  16. Rhonda

    I clearly remember your post about Hanno's injury from the chainsaw. What a shock that must have been. Just this week I was reminded, yet again, of the fragility of life. My sister-in-law was struck down by a systemic bacterial infection. She went from being a vibrant, young mother of a 3 year old in optimum health to being in intensive care fighting for her life in a matter of 12 hours. After 48 hours of it being very touch and go it seems that the worst is over and she is gradually improving. We are so very thankful but very aware of how things can change in the blink of an eye. Make the most of every day is my mantra.

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  17. Ahh, "nothing" is most certainly on the post-holiday agenda. A most delicious, relaxing nothing that will be shared with my husband and children. A sitting by the fire, sipping warm cocoa while the snow flies nothing. I am looking forward to it so!

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  18. Rhonda, a simple holiday sounds wonderful! Here in America it's the week before Thanksgiving, so a big meal coming up, and then a month later another for Yule. As my kids are grown, we don't do gifts much anymore, but we have a good meal and enjoy our time together.

    Love this view of your kitchen, which seems so bright and cheerful. Just what I need to get me in the mood for a good clean-up before the holidays. :)

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  19. My holidays are going to be a bit sad this year. Our middle son is going through a bitter divorce, and I doubt we will see the Grands at Christmas this year. They are only 2 and 5 and their little world is being sadly rocked. We will have them for Thanksgiving however, November 28th, and I plan to have our tree up and decorated and have a quiet time of cuddles, cookies and holiday cheer. Only time will tell if the rancor settles between their parents, but we hope to be a calming influence throughout their lives.

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    1. Donna

      I understand your sadness. We have had a similar situation in our family for a few years but things are settling down. As a grandparent you are in a unique position to create a haven of love and stability for your little ones.

      Best wishes xxx

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  20. You are so right...everything can change in an instant! Making the best of each day is all we can do...and good advice! Darlene

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