DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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21 January 2014

A recipe for slow

Thank you so much to those who looked at Sarndra's facebook page and liked it or ordered clothes. We tried to get her up over the 1000 mark. We didn't make it but we gave it a good try. It went from 611 to 842. It was a great effort and I thank you for helping. If you're looking for good quality baby or toddler clothes, check in there to see what Sarndra available.

♥♥♥

I have been getting a few emails over the past couple of months asking about slowing down and taking time out in the day to relax. It seems to be a mystery to some people. I have written back saying to just do it - leave your work behind and put your feet up, knit, sew, walk, paint, garden - do what your life allows you to do. I'm aware many of you have young children and I'd never tell you to walk away from them, but you could take them outside and walk or garden. When we look after Jamie, who will be three years old at the end of March, he loves to be outside in the garden with us. He likes helping, so we create small tasks for him so he feels a part of us and our garden. We both feel relaxed in the garden and we show him how to work slowly, sit and talk and generally to be part of that natural setting without impacting on it too much with noise and busyness. If you're snow bound inside you could knit or sew while your child plays. If these measures won't work for you, ask your partner, best friend, mother or sister to look after your child for an hour and do what you want to do. And do it regularly, giving something back in return.

But if you can't get away outside or have someone help, make tea in a pot. Tea will slow you down. You can do this alone or with a child. When Jamie is here, he drinks "special tea" which is just our tea from the pot, with a lot of milk and a small amount of honey. He loves it.


Above and below are photos of my favourite tea pot of all time. I got it from my sponsor's shop Odgers and McClellend just before Christmas.  It's had a workout since then. :- ) It's got an excellent no-drip spout and it's just the right size for Hanno and me, plus Jamie when he's here. It's enamel so I'll have to make a tea cosy for it in winter, but I'm looking forward to doing that. I've got a few tea pots and it's possibly the cheapest of all of them, but it will be my daily pot for many a long year to come. I feel very comfortable with it on my tea tray.


The challenge here is to make a pot of tea. Don't use tea bags, or if you're making coffee, make a pot of coffee, not instant coffee. Anyone can make a cup of tea with a tea bag and even though I've had my fair share of them, it's not the same as drinking good loose leaf tea, made in a pot. I stopped using tea bags a few years ago and I've never regretted it. My tea is better now, I love the ritual of it, it slows me in a gentle and practical way, and then I get to sit and drink it. Fast and instant may be good in certain circumstances but if you want to relax, they won't come close to helping you do that.

When you make tea, you have to wait. Waiting is good for us. It means we're doing nothing and in that nothing time you can stand there thinking, or look out the window, or slowly set a tray with the pot, tea strainer, spoons, tea pot, cups and whatever else you're serving. You can breathe deeply.

So, you've waited for the kettle to boil. Pour a small amount of boiling water into the clean pot, swish it around to make the pot hot, then pour the water into the sink. Add your tea leaves - one for each person and if, like us, you like strong tea, one of the pot as well. Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves, give it a quick stir with tea spoon, and put the lid on the pot. And now? Now you have to wait for it to brew. While you're waiting, take the tray to where you'll sit. After a couple of minutes, pour the tea.


Now you can do whatever you want to do - just sit there with your cup in hand, talk, watch the birds coming and going, if you're alone and you're not used to that, listen to the radio (very quietly and not music), or you can knit, embroider, hand stitch, write or do nothing but relax. Think about what you're doing - you're consciously taking a break because you need it and deserve it. Breathe deeply and take it all in.














While you're there thinking, think about your own happiness or contentment. You are responsible for that - no one else will walk up to you at any point in your life and serve you happiness and contentment on a silver platter. You're in charge of it. I'm not saying you selfishly squander your days giving yourself rest breaks and gifts and think that everyone else should care for you. We're adults, we're self-reliant, we do as much for ourselves as we can, including cultivating happiness and contentment.

Tea making in a pot is a small and gentle way of giving yourself time to relax. It's the tea ceremony as much as the tea that does it. This ritual that will have you waiting when no one waits nowadays. It will help slow you - first when you wait for the water to boil, then when you wait for the tea to brew, and then in the drinking of it and the feelings of relaxation that come from that. When you finish, feel thankful that you had time to look after yourself and promise that you'll do it again tomorrow. Soon it will become a habit and who knows what could happen if you're relaxed and happy!

Will you try?

42 comments:

  1. I just loved this post. What a difference it makes to take just a half hour a day to sit with a cup of tea and a treat and ponder your life. I love the granite tea-pot. A good spout on a tea-pot makes it or breaks it. Your reminder to take time out each day is appreciated. Deb

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  2. I have this ritual every afternoon about 3.30......tea in a pot, maybe a biscuit, a book, and whatever I'm working on.....knitting or handsewing.....and a bone for the dog all set on a tray. We head up the yard to the deepest shade of the jacaranda tree, I let the chooks out and then enjoy my quiet time and freshly brewed tea. I might share an apple or watermelon with the chooks......and the dog usually....and all my beasties gather around under my chair and relax too in the cool.....or a patch of sunlight in winter. I stay there most of the afternoon until it's time to walk the dog, and I might do a bit of gardening with the chooks, or neighbours going by in the lane might come in for a chat and a cuppa or to bring plant cuttings or vegetables or honey, they all know where to find me of an afternoon.....and I count my blessings with every breath.

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  3. You are so right about a pot of tea slowing life down. There is something so satisfying in the mere ritual of making the pot and then the enjoyment of that first cup. Love it. Good to hear that Jamie likes his cuppa's too. It was a highlight of my visits to my Grandparents to share a cup of tea with them.

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  4. That's good advice about slowing down and making tea. I make coffee in an old fashioned percolator in the mornings. It takes about 25 minutes, but I can tidy the kitchen in that time and then enjoy coffee in a spotless kitchen. It tastes wonderful, too!

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  5. I wish I liked tea but I have tried a few times but it's not for me. I do love the ritual you have described though and Nanette above your afternoon sounds great starting with your cuppa. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  6. My two girls are well trained now. They are 5 and 2 and they know not to disturb me when I'm having my tea or coffee. They can talk and ask questions and in terms or can you get me this and that, they know they have to wait until I'm finished. Sometimes it's the only breaks I get but they're important no matter how short they are. My 5 year old who is definitely the eldest in age and personality loves to remind my 2 year old that mummy is having a rest and when she finishes she will get up!

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  7. Mum used to call Jamie's sort of tea "childrens' tea" and I loved having it, in the Little House on the Prairie series, Laura used to refer to little Grace having "cambric tea" which was the same thing. I think it's a delightful ritual of childhood and one that a lot of kids miss out on now, I'm glad Jamie has it.

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  8. I'm a coffee drinker, but I still have that ritual surrounding it. Good things take time.

    I use a plunger and use the coffee I like instead of the cheapest. While the kettle is boiling, the coffee goes into the plunger, the milo goes into Les' mug, the milk goes into my mug. The biscuits (usually some variety of the Cheap and Cheerful biscuits from your book, Rhonda) go onto a plate. The plate and my mug get taken to our "viewing area" (the place where we have the best view of the paddocks behind our house).

    Once the water is boiled and poured, we go and just sit. My coffee brews. We chat, or just sit and look. Pretty much every day we do this. It is a ritual. It calms me, and brings me back to my good place.

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  9. I wonder why 3.30 is the time some of us slow down enough to think of taking a tea break, maybe we have used up all our fuel that lunch provided for our bodies activity.
    When I was growing up it was always Lan Choo tea at home and at Grandma's,next door (wasn't I lucky) then a few years ago a friend said " try that tea with some Earl Grey added", my mix is 1/4 Earl Grey and 3/4 LanChoo but try mixing a small amount until you get the balance to your liking, it really is the loveliest flavour, a bit special indeed.
    My favourite tea break is out on the shady deck, which faces into my garden, where I can watch all the comings and goings in the bird bath, such a simple joy.

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  10. Oh Rhonda, such a timely reminder to sit back and slow down for a short while each day!! Thank you, thank you for the beautiful words and the lovely old fashioned tea trays! I needed to be reminded today.

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  11. Wise words indeed(Jamie's so fortunate to have you both as his grandparents:-),Rhonda!

    X

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  12. I much prefer tea made from loose leaves than from a bag , much more pleasant taste . Lovely post .

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  13. What a lovely post. I had just gone up to the front sitting room to sit and relax with a cuppa and opened up your post.The pictures alone create a sense of peace. There's something about setting out a plate rather than grabbing a biscuit from the jar...
    I mostly use a small china teapot that does 2 cuppa's but have a variety of larger china & silver teapots. I love to bring out my cheap old pot from student days, 40yr ago, as mum had knitted a beautiful cosy - the top half of a doll sits atop the teapot wearing a double thickness cosy dress - alas she has had one arm break off.
    OK, now -- 3 biscuits, 3 slices….who has the 2nd one?? They look so yummy I'd definitely be in for 2.

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    1. HA! Hanno always likes to have two of whatever is on the plate that day.

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  14. I love taking the time to slow down. There is so much value in it, and I love showing my daughters how to do the same. My 5 year old is about to start school, and I know she will be bombarded with new friends, learning opportunities and fun, but I am going to make a conscious effort to give her time to just "be". She loves it though. Often we will be out in the backyard, and we will lie on the grass, or on the trampoline together and look at the sky. It is so peaceful, and a beautiful ritual. We look at the clouds, we watch birds fly over, we talk about things, or just have a cuddle.

    My 17 month old doesn't know the word 'slow', but she loves exploring our garden. She tries to feed our chooks grass she has picked, and she loves going to our fruit trees and taste-testing the apples and plums.

    This post made me wish I liked tea. I've never been able to enjoy it, despite growing up with parents who drank it often, and would always share a pot after dinner. I've tried and tried it, with different flavourings, black, milky, sugar, honey - it still makes me gag :(

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  15. A great post. Enjoying a pot of tea is a simple thing to do but so good at slowing us down.

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  16. I have pot tea at home and use tea bags at work however after reading the articles that were linked to todays blog I'll be taking a small pot to work. The tea bags we have at work are not 100% biodegradable, but I'll look into how I can change that too.

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  17. I have been drinking tea made with tea leaves for a few years and I make my own blend. It costs me a lot approx. $40 per month but that is for 2 people and the odd visitors my husband and myself we don't drink alcohol or soft drinks so it is cheap.

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  18. Such a nice post Rhonda I know many of us get so caught up in running around we forget to relax. Its nice you thought of us mums, I often set up some craft activity's for the kids or put out a basket of toys & I sit down put my feet read or do some knitting. I love the sound of the tea ritual this is some thing I should try to put in our weekly goals, time for relaxing & enjoying the small things

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  19. I would love to have this routine. I do admit that I enjoy my coffee at morning tea at work. Our office junior brings it to our desk and I put my files aside to log on and read a few blogs or check out the news on ninemsn. It's a nice little ritual and refocuses me until lunch time. Love the teapot Rhonda...I have my eye on some of their enamel mugs because my kids tend to break the handles off ceramic ones :)

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  20. Such a cute tea pot. My post broke recently and I've been searching for a new one, and would love to get this one, but can't decide on a color.

    I love drinking a hot cup of tea, and gazing out of the window. It makes for nice serene alone time.

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  21. I really, really enjoyed this post Rhonda. Thankyou so much.

    cheers Kate (Lenny)

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  22. Dear Rhonda, First of all thanks for mentioning my blog last weekend. It is not a blog about simple life but my little open space to my two passions : Quilting and Embroidery. The peapod pincushion is a creation by Maggie Bonanomi. I love it too.
    You are so right about tea!!! Letting tea steep, taking some time for yourself, has a way to make you slow down and reflect about your life.
    One sentence you said many times has been very inspiring for me : "Bloom where you are planted". We all have a tendency of thinking that grass is greener elsewhere. I try to follow your advice and to bloom where I am and the more I grow old the more I feel my roots deep in the ground where I am. But, I also like the fact that thanks to blogging and sometimes traveling, I can also expand my branches far and beyond my town. Both are important for me. That plus the feeling of complete control over my life has been liberating and I now see opportunities where I used to see difficulties.

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  23. When my son was little, he was always at his happiest pottering around outside in the garden in his wellies either in the sandpit or riding his trike. And he loved and still does, going out with the dogs or running around on the beach.

    Life has become too fast and hectic I think. I used to be busy, busy, busy always working and studying, filling every moment usually with stress until I burnt out. Now I'm home based but do some part time work but work extremely hard running the house frugally like a business. Taking time out is really important and allows us to spend time with our loved ones.

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  24. That is so true. We brew real tea, can't stand the tea bags, awful taste. In the colder months, my husband usually sews whilst having his, I knit or read. It took us an age to not feel guilty enjoying this simple pleasure but now we do it several times a day. In the warmer months, we usually sit outside, under the awning (south facing garden) and just enjoy listening to the garden. The hum of the bees, the chirping of the birds etc.

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  25. I have a morning routine that is my way of starting my day slowly. I write in my gratitude journal, fill in my Keels Simple Journal (google it. it is such fun and quite thought provoking) and then read my Bible reading notes. If I have time I also meditate and practice reiki on our elderly dog but if not that cane be done later in the day. At the end of the day I sit down with a journal and a book I am working through called The Way of the Happy Woman. That way I bookend my day with quiet time. I used to feel guilty about having that time for me. But I am a much happier and nicer person for it :)

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  26. Rhonda, your posts always give your readers plenty of food for thought! This one brought back memories of my childhood when my parents made their pot of tea in the afternoon and after dinner. Naturally I wanted to copy what they did, but Mum wouldn't let me have a whole cup to myself, so Dad would deliberately slop a bit in his saucer and let me drink that, much to Mum's disgust! But that was my first taste of tea, and I still take it the way Dad did - with milk and sugar.
    My hubby was also brought up with fresh tea in the pot, so we both indulge ourselves every night with a pot of fresh tea and a slice of cake or some biscuits. If friends drop in for a quick cuppa, we use teabags, and most of them don't know the difference as they only use teabags at home anyway.

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  27. For me it is my grandma's teapot: made and painted in Stoke on Trent,the traditional pottery country. It is Burleigh ware blue and white willow; it is always special when I make tea in it.

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  28. Hihi! Don't have to try. I know it works great. Even with two kids and four days at work ;o)

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  29. It is important to take that bit of time. I realized this recently after becoming ill with the (apparently) the flu in the middle of December. It hung on and on and, now a good month later, I'm finally turning the corner from the bronchitis. I just didn't listen to my body or symptoms. After all it was the holiday season with all that needed to be done. Afterward, daily chores needed to be done and I kept pushing along. Finally after three trips to the med center, I just let it go. My strength still isn't what it should be but honestly the laundry or vacuuming will wait until after I take a short nap.

    I'm still working on getting away from soda and am trying to like tea. I don't drink coffee at all. I ordered a sample assortment from Upton and worked my way through them. Its just not a ritual here, making tea when grabbing a can of soda has been the norm.

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  30. What a lovely post and quite a coincidence for me. Now I am working from home, I make sure we all sit down to breakfast and that a pot of tea is made and we have cups and saucers. I love my blue and white willow pattern tea and dinner service.

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  31. This post really made me feel happy! I recently started to use a teapot and a kettle. I will keep this in mind and create my own ritual!

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  32. Rhonda, I decided to try the British way of drinking tea. I found a cute brown pottery teapot ( it looks like a small barrel) at an antique store for $5.00. On the bottom it says A.W.S. made in England. I looked it up and I believe it's made by Arthur Wood & Sons Co. Of England. I bought some Twinings Earl Grey loose leaf tea and made it the British way. It really is delicious. I enjoyed tea bags ( being American) for many years, but this tea is indeed better! It is fun for me to make a cup of tea now and very relaxing. I sometimes put honey it it and sometimes ( don't faint) a pack of artificial sweetener. Thanks for all your tips and the lovely pictures! I enjoy learning new things! Jo T. Tucson, Arizona

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    1. Yay! Good for you, Johanna. Now I'd love to see you ditch that artificial sweetener. :- )

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  33. I felt relaxed just reading your post, Rhonda.. Oh to just be able to drop by and drink a cup with you ... smile.. xo

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  34. Rhonda, I couldn't agree more with you!
    Tea-time is such an occasion here in India (I'm Indian). We love our tea, and although a very small section of the society has taken to instant tea (teabags), a large majority still prepares tea on the gas-stove. The whole exercise of bringing the water to a boil, adding tea-leaves, waiting for the tea to brew, then adding milk, sugar and spices (ginger, cardamom, clove, pepper etc.) is therapeutic in nature. And once the tea is prepared, to pour it down in a mug, and enjoy it while reading a book or just sitting and doing nothing is an act of pure relaxation! How I love my tea!

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  35. Sounds silly but iI have never used loose tea! You say to add one for every person. One tablespoon? Does the strainer sit in the pot?

    Thank you!

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    1. One teaspoon, Wendy. One for each person and one for the pot if you like it strong. I make it two ways with the strainer. If I'm taking the pot outside and I know we'll have more than one cup each, I'll put the tea inside one of those ball strainers - we have a tea pot size one. I brew the tea and then take it outside with no tea leaves in the pot.
      If there are a few of us and I know we'll just have one cup each, I take a strainer out and leave the tealeaves loose in the water. I use the strainer over the cup when pouring. The problem with this method is the longer the leaves stay in the pot, the stronger the tea is. If you use this method, you need to pour the tea after a couple of minutes. So to clarify: warm your pot, add one TEAspoon per person, let the tea sit for a couple of minutes. Pour it. I hope you enjoy your tea.

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  36. I love your post on tea!!! My husband works from home and drinks several pots of tea a day. As you say, I think it helps him to stop and relax for a few moments because he stands there by the kettle waiting for it to pop and that gives him a bit of time out of his chair and his eyes moving farther than the computer screen. I love your cream teapot too! I have one nearly just like it in forest green.

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  37. I punctuate my day with cups of tea - often as a little reward after getting something done, or to have as I sit and read. Tea is also very social in our house and I love to share it with friends and family - my two teenagers enjoy it too and the four of us often sit and chat over a cup. I must admit it is usually tea bags, however when I do make a pot I enjoy the process even more! Thanks for a lovely post Rhonda.

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  38. I am so thankful for any voice in the crowd that says its a good thing to wait, to do "nothing." We're always so busy doing something. I was thinking about this the other day. Its like we think sitting with our thoughts is a waste of time! I think we're the poorer for that. I switched to whole leaf years ago and have never looked back. I do, however, need to look forward and make myself a cozy for my tea pot!

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