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 over 8000 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.

18 December 2013

Taking a break

Most of you know I'm writing for Penguin again and hope to have that series of six ebooks published from March next year. They'll be sold internationally this time. :- ) In the past few months we've undertaken the mammoth job of moving the forum to a bigger and more stable server and now we've upgraded the software to a new and improved version. The forum has grown a lot in the past year and it's my hope we can continue to meet new and older members who are simplifying and to provide a safe and friendly atmosphere there were you feel secure enough to share your lives with us. The forum has evolved into a wonderful information and friendship driven space where encouragement, support and congeniality are waiting for all who wish to visit.  I have big plans for next year at the forum. However, the upgrades have taken up a lot more of my time than I expected them to. I'm still fine tuning as we settle in.

 The Christmas cakes just need a hot jam glazing and they'll be ready for the kitchen table.

As a result I've been having problems getting everything done. Keeping up with my housework, helping Hanno, helping with Jamie, writing, the forum work and writing the blog are starting to take their toll. I was going to have a few weeks away from the blog starting next week, but I know I have to start that break now. This will be the second-last post for a few weeks, although I have a list of old posts I think might be helpful to many of you that will be resurrected. Weekend reading is almost completed for this week and that will be up as usual on Friday. And then I hope to finish off a book before Christmas, start another one after Christmas, enjoy the holidays with my family, take some time away from the computer and generally fulfil commitments and get my head in order for the coming year.


A huge thanks to all the forum volunteer admins and moderators - Sue, Rose, Lisa, Lynn, Sherri, Becci, Robyn, Amy, Alison, Meghan, Deanne, Sandy, Michele, Rhonda, Tessa and Allison. They are the driving force behind the forum and without them I would not be able to operate it. They are such a wonderful group of kind and loving souls.  Thank you ladies, for all you do. I appreciate you all very much.


I am continuing to fight against the consumerist mindset and have rejected proposals from many advertisers during the year. I am only willing to promote people whose products I use and love. So thanks to all my wonderful sponsors. Many of them have been with me for a few years now and I have a wonderful relationship with all of them. Merry Christmas to Eco Yarns, Eco Store, Maleny Dairies, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores, Biome and Beautiful Chickens. Thank you for your kind and generous support during the year.


And last but not least, thanks to you dear readers for continuing to read what I write. This has been my sixth year of blogging and I'm still inspired by the people who read here and still love reading the stories of lives being changed for the better. A special thank you to the readers who usually lurk in the background but who commented for the first time this year. There were a few of you. I appreciated that gesture more than you know. I hope I can tickle another comment out of you as time goes on.

Hanno joins me in wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a productive new year. I hope you all spend the holidays doing what your love with family and friends. May peace and happiness be with you all, my friends.  

82 comments:

  1. A very happy Christmas to you and yours :o) Enjoy your blogging rest too.

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  2. Thank YOU, dear Rhonda, for all your wonderful posts! Wishing you and the family a peaceful and restful Christmas, and every blessing in 2014. Love, Tina xxx

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  3. A very Merry Chistmas to you and your whole family, Rhonda and Hanno! Rest up and enjoy - you most certainly deserve it :)
    -Jaime

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  4. Hi Rhonda,

    I hope you have a fantastic break that includes the right balance of rest, and getting done what you want to do.

    I've so appreciated each and every blog you've posted this year, and it will be a treat to re-visit some of your old posts. Sometimes I get something different from them the second time around :)

    Merry Christmas to you and Hanno,

    Love, Madeleine.X

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  5. Have a wonderful holiday! I hope your break is both relaxing and productive and filled with love and warmth. I look forward to when you resume blogging. Reading your blog is one of my favourite things to do each day. Your Christmas cakes look simply divine.

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  6. Merry Christmas, Rhonda. Have a well deserved break from blogging and enjoy your time with your family.

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  7. Rhonda-so pleased that you are taking care of yourself & your family by having a blogging break. :) You are precious to many and your generosity in writing this blog and not only initiating but constantly improving the Forum are appreciated by many of us.

    I'm so humbled that I can be of any assistance at all on the Forum. Merry Christmas to you, Hanno & your family. XXXX Deanne

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  8. Enjoy your break Rhonda, you deserve it, although it sounds like a pretty busy rest to me! Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

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  9. Thank you Rhonda for your lovely blog - it's so inspiring. I love the picture of your outside seating area, it looks very inviting. All good wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Christmas. I hope you have a relaxing time. Put your feet up and enjoy the cricket. Congrats on your boys winning back the Ashes - well
    deserved! It hasn't quite ruined our Christmas:)

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  10. Christmas Blessings to you and all of your's. A break is a good idea and can be very refreshing. enjoy yours.

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  11. And a Happy Holiday to you and your family too Rhonda. Your blog has made such a difference to so many people. We are very lucky to have you in our lives.

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  12. Thank you Rhonda for continuing with your blog whilst you have so many other competing priorities. Take a well earned break and enjoy the time with your family. The first thing I do in the morning is look at your blog so I am glad you will be resurrecting some old posts. Although this time of year is looked forward to by many, it is also a time of year where stress and workloads are increased and we look back over the year at what we have done (or not yet completed) so it is a time that can be confronting for some. Good on you for recognising your need to slow down some more, we will miss you here but want you to have a wonderful family time over the festive break. Thanks again for all your wisdom and care. Yes...I noticed the shot of your coveted can lounge....you are stirring the pot...LOL.

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    1. haha Vicki, I wondered if some of my forum girls would notice.

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  13. Dear Rhonda

    Merry Christmas to you and Hanno and all of your family. I read every day but don't always get the time to comment.

    Take care and enjoy your break

    xx

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  14. Merry Christmas, happy new year and have a happy and restful break!!
    I´ll miss your posts.
    See you again after the holidays!

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  15. Have a nice break and lovely days. You deserve it ! With love Manon

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  16. Dear Rhonda,
    Thankyou for all your posts this year... You have changed my life and my home for the better. I hope you have a great new year ahead...
    Nurdan

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  17. Wishing you, Hanno & your family a very happy Christmas. I hope you enjoy a well deserved break from the blog. I thoroughly enjoy reading & learning from you Rhonda - you are such a kind, wise & inspirational woman. So THANK YOU for all that you do! Kelly xo

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  18. Dear Ronda....I am one of the lurkers that you refer to and also one that has made a couple of comments during the year. I read your blog first thing every morning as well as every comment. I love what you have to say .....and the commitment you make to us by writing as you do.... It is inspiring. So have a lovely break, just for you, doing what you like.

    To you, Hanno and your family, may your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill .... It's the little things that matter most!
    Have a magical Christmas

    PS....I am very ticklish , hehe

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  19. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. Enjoy your well deserved rest and time with your family. I appreciate all that you do.

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  20. Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. Enjoy your break. Look forward to reading your posts in 2014

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  21. Rhonda that Christmas cake looks so good! I wish you, Hanno and all your family much peace and joy this Christmas and may 2014 bring you good health and happiness.

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  22. A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Sarina and family, sending much love and peaceful festive days to you and your loved ones all the way from good old Blighty. Enjoy your well earnt break from blogging. I shall look forward to the next year of your inspirational writing.
    Much love, Sarina XXXX

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  23. Hi Rhonda,
    I am one of the lurkers, i read your bolg everyday, and you are an inspuration to me and so many, thank you for taking the time to share your life with us, may You, Hanno and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the Cricket and a well earned break. look forward to next years posts.
    Love Cindy

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  24. Hello Rhonda from northeastern Pennsylvania USA . We are enjoying a foot plus of newly fallen snow which is oh so beautiful. Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your wonderful blog which I so enjoy. You have become a faraway friend whom I look forward to hearing from each day. Your photos are so beautiful and inviting and the grandsons are adorable!! Best wishes to you, Hanno and family for a Merry Christmas and Happy healthy New Year. Look forward to your return to blogging in the New Year.

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  25. Blessed Christmas and peace to you in the New Year Rhonda. I read everyday and I learn something new with every post. Relax and enjoy your precious family during your break. God Bless.

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  26. Rhonda, thanks for the friendship and all the gifts of knowledge you gave during the year. Happy Christmas to you Hanno and all your family. Enjoy your break.

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  27. Bless you Rhonda and Hanno of course.
    I love reading your blog and have hopefully taken on board some tips for a simpler life.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

    Sandie xxx

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  28. Enjoy your much needed break. Your posts have been so helpful to me. Since my family and I took on a simple lifestyle I have looked for inspiration and you were one of the first blogs I stumbled upon. Thanks for always reminding me to slow down, look within, and enjoy the life I am building around me in my home. I look forward to your return.

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  29. I wish you and yours the very best of Christmas seasons and a the very best for 2014. Enjoy your break and hopefully everything will be done with minimal stress. God bless and see you soon.

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  30. Merry Christmas! I have been reading for years and your blog is on mine as a "Favorite" but I don't comment often. Just lack of computer time!

    Thank you for all you do. I am so looking forward to having your e-books available in the U.S. this time. :)

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  31. Love your front porch picture. "Oh, the serenity". I have a 'sanctuary' spot inside, a quiet contemplative couch in the front sitting room looking out onto the front yard. As I don't have a similar outdoor area one of my projects in the next few weeks is to create one on the side porch. Already have a small water fountain, a few pot plants, wind chime and chairs. Need to clean & stain the wood decking, put together a table, AND make garden out there - currently weeds, wooden fence & neighbours house a few metres away. Like everyone else I have LOADS of projects but I have an added incentive to complete this as I also look out onto this area from my small kitchen table & family room.
    Thank you for reminding us, by your example, the important things in life - to set goals and priorities, to slowly & simply create a home - a place of refuge, and to take time out to rejuvenate our physical body, mind & spirit. I wish you clarity of thought in your writing, peace & rest for your whole body and joy filled days with family & friends.
    Blessings.

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    1. Thank you Hadassah. That's a great project and something that will benefit you over many years. Good luck with it.

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  32. i hope you and your lovely family have a wonderful holiday! your writing has been a bright part of my day for a long time and has helped to give me strength in dark times. you will be missed! best wishes and lots of rest!

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  33. A Merry Christmas to you and Hanno, Rhonda!

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  34. Oh, that LOUGE SET! I am seriously swooning over it. You are TERRIBLE for posting a picture of it when you KNOW how much we all love it.... you naughty girl, LOL :)

    I'm pleased that you are taking a blogging break because you work so very hard. I appreciate every word you've written over all those years of blogging. I've read every single post at least twice :) You've helped me, motivated me, straightened me out, calmed me down, jazzed me up, sorted me out and generally taught me how to run my home and life in a MUCH more meaningful and fulfilling way. I will be eternally grateful to you for your generosity and your kind, common-sense style of writing which has been a literal life ring for me on some very dark and trying days.

    Enjoy your break dear Rhonda! Best wishes for a lovely Christmas together filled with the sound of your Grandchildren's laughter and the clinking of ice cubes in your ginger beer as you sip your way through "The Cricket".

    With love from the Morrisons in Alberta XO

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    1. Sherri, if you've got, flaunt it. LOL So much kerfuffle over a second hand cane lounge. I love it. Thanks for your kind words, love. xx

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  35. Best wishes, Rhonda. I have just discovered you and (sigh) you'll be taking a break for now. But you deserve it! All the best and Merry Christmas.

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  36. Hope you have a lovely rest with your family over the Christmas break. Thank you so much for all that you do. You have been such an inspiration to me and I will be forever grateful.
    Rest up and enjoy!
    Xo Dilkara (Gwen)

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  37. Happy Christmas Rhonda and Hanno. Enjoy a lovely time with your family. I look forward to your E-books when they are finished. Hope to see "Down To Earth" published state-side someday, I'm standing here money in hand :) All the best to you and yours from Dallas, TX.

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    1. It's a distinct possibility, Donna. Penguin took Down to Earth to the Frankfurt Book Fair in September and there is interest in the US as well as other places.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. xx

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  38. Wishing you and Hanno some nice rest breaks, sitting on that lovely couch on the verandah - you deserve some down time, I reckon! Merry Christmas to you and your family,

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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    1. Thanks Joolz. And thanks for reading all these years. Merry Christmas, love. xx

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  39. Hope you have a lovely break & enjoy your family time & just you time too!
    Happy Christmas & hope 2014 brings great things - sounds as it is shaping up that way.

    Oh, how many of us want that lounge.
    Kind Regards - Damac

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    1. HA! I know you put dibs on it on the forum. I'll have to keep a sharp eye on that lounge. Funny thing is, I bought it for a few hundred dollars on Gumtree. Merry Christmas, Judy. xx

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  40. Merry Christmas to you and Hanno, thank you for all the years full of inspiration, Rhonda!

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  41. Is it really only six years since you started your blog Rhonda? It feels like you and Hanno have been part of my life for so much longer. Always so "down to earth" and inspirational. Right up to this second-last entry. I´m late as usual with the Christmas cake but just loving your fruity decoration, feel inspired to get a move on.
    How busy you are! I´m not surprised you feel you need a real break. Enjoy!
    Wishing you and your family, good health and happiness for 2014.

    Ramona
    Sweden
    (PS Hope this comment works. Had to activate my Google account out of its Cinderella sleep in order to comment this time.)







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  42. Enjoy your break and have a lovely Christmas with Hanno and your family.

    From a distance (e.g. my blog link to yours) I thought for a moment that your beautiful cake was a chequered table runner you'd made! The red cherries were small squares . . . The creative eye? Or lack of sleep!!

    Best wishes and looking forward to your posts throughout 2014 - you are an inspiration.

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  43. Rhonda wishing you & your loved ones a very merry Christmas, enjoy your time offline & thanks you so much for the forum. I don't know how I would have got through this last year if it was not for the support & encouragement I how got for this beautiful community. I now see what the fuss is about the lounge lol.
    Thanks to you, your book & the DTE forum not only am I able to deal with each day but living my dream of a much simpler life. Wish you all the best for 2014
    Merry Christmas from Natural Mumma & family

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  44. Wishing you, Hanno and your family are wonderful and safe Christmas and all the best for 2014.

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  45. You have inspired me to make my first comment after reading for a few years! Thank you Rhonda for all of your wisdom and practical ideas - your way of life inspires me and while mine is very different in inner Sydney I try to do what works for me and my family to simplify our lives, both practically and spiritually.
    Have a wonderful break,
    Vanna

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  46. As I enjoy the first Christmas of our new life in Portugal, I will think of you Rhonda - your blog and the forum gave me the confidence I needed that we could make this life work.

    I hope you & Hanno have a wonderful and relaxing time with your family.

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  47. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Rhonda, Hanno & the rest of your family.
    Really glad I found this site & others like it.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (south England) UK

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  48. Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas with your family, thank you for great inspiration. Blessings, Pam

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  49. A very Merry Christmas to you and your family Rhonda. I will miss your weekly posts but am glad that you are taking time out to relax with family and recharge for the new year. I am taking your lead and also breaking from blogging until the new year. Thank you again for writing your blog, and thank god I found you when I was lost nearly 7 months ago. How things have turned around :D since then.
    Warm regards,
    Jan

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  50. Enjoy your well deserved break. I look forward to past posts as I haven't gotten through them all. Thank you! Merry Xmas to you and Hanno and extended family!

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  51. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. May the coming year be the best yet for all of you. Thank you for sharing all that you do. I start my day with your blog every day and will visit the archives over the holidays.

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  52. Hope you and the family have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your break. I'm doing the same and looking forward to the cricket. I've been watching the test match this year and have been enjoying loving every minute. I'm still trying to get around to wishing my followers the best before I walk away from the computer for a complete break. See you in 2014. Hugs Sue

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  53. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and new year. Enjoy your break and thank you for another year of inspiring posts.

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  54. Hi Rhonda,
    We wish you a safe and blessed holiday together with your loved ones. Maybe now would be a good time to read all your older blogs:) Thank you so much for being there for so many of us.

    Love, Janina and children, Ontario, Canada

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  55. A very well deserved break, too! Thank you for your lovely posts through the year, and all good wishes to you, Hanno and all the family for a wonderful Christmas and new year! xx

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  56. I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas. We are moving in a few weeks into a traditional longhouse on a sheep farm in the middle of the Welsh mountains to pursue a simple life which has been inspired by your blog. You made me realise that the dream to live like this was inside me all the time but I had not been in tune with it. Thank-you. Lily. xxx

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    1. How exciting Lily! I don't know what a traditional longhouse looks like. I hope you send me some photos, or start up that blog of yours again so we can read and see. Merry Christmas, love. xx

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  57. Merry, Merry to all! See you after your break! I think I am going to do the same and get myself set up for some projects in the New Year. Darlene

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  58. Very best wishes to yourself, Hanno and all the family, you deserve a good break. Thank you for all the blog posts, you've certainly changed my life, I'm eternally grateful for all your good guidance over the years. Have a lovely break, we'll all be thinking of you xxx

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  59. Enjoy your break and your holiday with your loved ones. Looking forward to when you are back. :)

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  60. I hope you and all your family have a lovely Christmas, and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

    Thank you for your wonderful Blog, for the time you take to write and publish it so regularly, and for the inspiration it gives on a daily basis, it's a wonderful place to visit.

    All the very best.

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  61. Dear Rhonda & Hanno, Thank you for blogging this year, you are indeed an inspiration. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year from our family.

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  62. Thank you for all your hard work, Rhonda. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and best wishes for 2014!

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  63. Dear Rhonda, Hanno and all of your family members and loved ones. I still love to visit your site and read all of your (family)stories as I did over the past six years. You really became a friend, how strange that may sound. I do feel as if I really do know you and for me it is a shame we do not live in the same country. How I had loved to visit one of your bookreadings! But I have to say I LOVE your book and I am só glad I took the 'trouble' to ship one copy over to Holland!

    Thank you so much for giving me and so many other people a look into your simple way of living. I hope many, many more people will open there eyes and see that it ís possible to live that way.

    I wish you, Hanno and all the people around you at home, but also here at your blog a very Merry Christmas and a peacefull 2014.

    Love from Holland

    P.S. I really think I finally can and will bloom were I am planted now. Thank you.. x

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  64. A peaceful Christmas to you and yours.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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  65. Have a lovely Christmas with the family, Rhonda, and enjoy your well-deserved rest. Thankyou for all the time and effort you put into your blog throughout the year; it is very much appreciated. I always find your posts interesting and thought-provoking, and I have, at long last, made my first batch of laundry liquid!
    Best wishes from the Isle of Wight, Michelle

    PS Still recovering from the cricket !!

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  66. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Rhonda. I will miss your posts, but I am comforted by the thought that you are looking after yourself and enjoying the season. Thank you for everything this past year, and I eagerly look forward to reading your posts in 2014!

    Best wishes and a big hug,
    Mandi

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  67. Many blessings to you Rhonda and Hanno!
    That cake is a stunner and reminds me of how we used to make them here long ago. I think it's time to rekindle a tradition.
    I don't know what it is about your porch. It always draws a sigh of contentment from me =)

    A wonderful and safe Christmas to you both and to your family.
    Thank you for walking by my side once again this year.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  68. Hope you get your Christmas projects all done and have some family time as well as down time to get ready for the new year.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    See you in 2014

    From all us Witte's here in Indiana

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  69. Alright, you've tickled another comment out of me! Wishing you, Hanno and your family a wonderful Christmas break. Seeing your cane lounge setting, reminds me that I plan to take some time to sit and relax on my back porch with a good book and some iced tea over the holiday period, as well as spend some time having fun with my family. After all Christmas is about love and family! Merry Christmas!

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  70. This will be a good time to look back through the archives and get my frugal mindset back.
    Have a blessed Christmas and enjoy your family and especially those little boys!

    Debbie
    Central Illinois

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  71. Have a wonderful and restful Christmas and New Year break with family and friends Rhonda. Thanks for being an ongoing inspiration and reminder of what I value as true. xo Shell.

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  72. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us during this past year. Best wishes to Hanno and yourself for the festive season and the coming New Year. Enjoy your 'time out' to unwind with family & friends.

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  73. Wishing you and your family all the very best for Christmas and in the new year. Thanks for all the time you put in to this blog and all the information that you so consistently put before us. I find it refreshing to be reminded of the simple things in life!!
    Enjoy your break and those two cute little boys!

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  74. Dear Rhonda.. I pray you will have a lovely break away from the computer and enjoy your break immensely. Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas with your family and friends. It was great having your visits and I want to thank you for your posts. They are informative and interesting..
    Oh and your porch looks wonderful.. Tonight in this huge storm we are having it is hard to imagine.. grin..
    Merry Christmas dear lady.. xo

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