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11 February 2014

Ordinary days at home

It's been quiet here lately. Sunny and Jamie are over in Korea visiting Sunny's family. It's a wonderful opportunity for Jamie to spend time with his cousins, aunties, uncles, and Sunja, his beautiful Korean grandma. I want so many things for my grandsons, Jamie and Alex, and being at the heart of their families is just one of them. Hanno and I miss having Jamie here but we've been talking on the phone and have seen photos and videos. Hello Sunny, Jamie, Sunja and the rest of the family! We send our love to all of you.

 Jamie in Korea with his little snowman.

Hanno finished most of the chicken house renovations and although there is still some work to do on the exterior - painting the recycled corrugated iron and adding an enclosed run, the coop, roosts and new nesting boxes are all ready. I'm decorating the coop. I haven't yet decided if I'll put curtains on the nests but I probably will. There will also be fairy lights and bunting. :- ) One of the things I know Jamie would be excited about if he were here is that we're just about to get some new chickens. He would be right in the middle of that so when they arrive, I'll make sure I take plenty of photos of the girls, their new home, where they're sleeping and eating and drinking to send to him.  He has loved those chooks since he was tiny and from when he could walk, the first thing he did when he came to visit was feed the chooks bread and fruit.


In the meantime though, my days flow by in a gentle trickle. I have such a rich life, there is always something to do here. I haven't yet sewn the embroidered pocket on my new apron, I have the last bit of Johnathan's cardigan to finish, I want to knit a set of loose weave dish cloths and of course, in addition to my housework and writing, I have the on-going important work of raising seeds to be planted in our vegetable garden next month. This is all the gentle work of a simple home, the tasks change with the seasons but the work flows on, never ending.  I love that.  Working for the life I want at home is a creative and rewarding way to spend my time. You probably do something similar and feel the same about your home.


I started a new ebook recently. It's part of a series of six. I'm not sure of the title of the newest book yet but it's all about housekeeping, routines and green cleaning. Penguin expects the first book, The Simple Life - the pleasures and rewards of getting back to basics, to be published as a print book and ebook in late March. The ebooks will be on sale on Amazon and iTunes and all the usual places.

I wonder if I can pick your collective brains. In addition to that book, I've already written one on milk and making dairy products (various cheeses, yoghurt, ice cream etc) in the home kitchen using what is generally available, I've also written a kitchen garden ebook, and now the housekeeping one. My contract calls for six books in total so I wondered what other topics you'd like to see me write about. I was thinking one could be a book of my various food recipes, some published here, some new ones. Would that interest you? And one other topic - maybe baking - a step-by-step guide to various breads, fruit loaf, cakes, scones, crackers, biscuits. Something that will help you provide tasty and nutritious snacks for your family without going into those aisles at the supermarket. Give me some ideas of what you want. I thank you in advance for your help.


Although it's still summer, this February has been quite mild here, but not so for our friends down south and in the west. More homes have been lost in the bush fires and thousands of hectares of bushland burnt. That means lost habitat for our birds and wildlife. I hope the days of high temperatures will come to and end soon and we can all enjoy the start of autumn. I'm sure those of you in the snow are looking forward to sunshine, green grass and warm days. We've seen quite a few news reports this year of the heavy snow falls and floods in north America and Europe. It's been a tough season in many parts of the world. But soon the seasons will change again and we'll all get used to the changed conditions. In the meantime, stay safe everyone.

57 comments:

  1. I would love to see an e-book on your biscuits, breads, etc... in addition to one on your simple cooking - all the meals you prepare look so delicious!

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  2. Frugal living/budgeting is always a good topic??

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    Replies
    1. That was my thought too:)
      Thanks, Janina

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  3. I've always admired your beautiful breads, and I think that would be another wonderful ebook for you to write!
    -Jaime

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  4. Morning Rhonda - I think an e-book on food recipes would be great. As you say providing tasty and nutritious snacks (and economical too) it would be an excellent book. I would like to have it on my virtual bookshelf, I would refer to it a lot. I cannot wait for have all six books on that same shelf:)

    Beautiful photo of Jamie.
    Have a great day.
    Sourdough333

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  5. The one on baking bread and other things you mentioned would be great. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  6. Hi Rhonda .Please write a recipe book.Write just as you speak with all the tips and suggestions as you go Cheers Affussa

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  7. That's the cutest little snowman I've ever seen!
    And Jamie doesn't look like a toddler anymore - he looks like a little boy.

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  8. I didn't see a book like this listed in the subjects you mentioned, so here is my request. A long while ago, you did a blog post on permaculture in the home--how you used the principles of permaculture within your homemaking/cooking/sewing/et cetera.

    I'd love to see a book that outlined how I could practice permaculture within my home. I'm interested in permaculture, but don't know enough about it to know what to do *inside.*

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    1. Hello Valerie, I doubt I'd have enough to say on this subject to make a full book of it but I'll keep your request in mind and do a post on it soon. I'll explain the basic concepts and how to apply them to your home.

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  9. Good morning Rhonda, so looking forward to the print version of your new book! Also, just a question - I really love the jam jar candle holders - I have a collection of similar jars and was wondering if there was an easy way to remove the centre of the lids? Karen :)

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    1. Hello Karen. I have the lids that have the removable centre disks. I bought these Ball jars, with the lids, recently and was really disappointed by their quality. The lids don't fit properly and I'd never trust them to preserve my jams safely. So this is how I'm using them. If you're in Australia, you can buy lids like this at Spotlight or Ozfarmer.

      We discussed this on the forum recently and Ball have a range of jars made in China - I bought those (without checking), and another range made in the USA. I am told the American made jars and lids are excellent.

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    2. very interesting on the Bell products...I will make sure to check from now on!

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  10. Reading comments here and on the forum, some of the greatest changes in peoples lives have been made through the budgeting, beating down debt, becoming debt free aspect of simple living. Everything from envelope systems, stockpiling, cooking from scratch, buying second hand, not using credit etc. They are all good common sense things that people have forgotten along the way. I think there's a market for that advice

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  11. Hi Rhonda, I am looking forward to your new series! I have two requests. One, I would love to see a book on frugal living, and budgeting and the other is if you write any recipe books, would you please make sure to include the American measurements as well as the metric? It's really frustrating to see a recipe you'd really like to try but have no idea how much the measurements are! Thanks so much - your blog is an inspiration to me daily.

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    1. Will do, mikesgirl. Thanks for the tip.

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  12. Rhonda, a book of recipes sounds great. Love the photo of Jamie! I know you must miss him so very much.

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  13. Yes, please, Rhonda. Recipes and baking principles.

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  14. Rhonda we have a first: this must be the first time we've seen a Hetzel rugged up for snow with a snowman! That's an interesting picture in the white frame in Photo 3. ;)

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    1. I thought you'd recognise that, Rose. ;- )

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  15. 'This is all the gentle work of a simple home, the tasks change with the seasons but the work flows on, never ending. I love that.'
    Part of that comment above would have filled me with dread a few years ago, but now I am happy to say that I love it too. Working at the job of life itself is the most fulfilling job I've ever had. (It has to be said though baking a loaf of sourdough bread or harvesting tomatoes does trump cleaning the bathroom! ;-) )
    Thank you again Rhonda for being part of my day.
    Kate

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    1. Kate, I agree wholeheartedly about the sourdough and tomatoes but in the end it all balances out. xx

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  16. It sounds like recipes for making baked goods....breads snacks etc is a popular idea and I'd second that.

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  17. Rhonda, I think a book of basic, easy to understand recipes would be great, maybe a guide to buying 'staples' for the pantry would also be helpful. If you wanted to include your cleaning recipes as well the book would be a wonderful present for new brides, it could even make it's way onto the wedding registers they have now. I know this 'old' bride would be interested, (I've nearly read the print off your 1st book, it's been the best book on simple living I've seen)
    Deb M

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your critique, Deb. I appreciate it.

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  18. Rhonda i would love a book on healthy, easy, and simple-living type lunch boxes. I made the cheap and easy biscuits last weekend and we all liked it. I love that I can freeze separate dough logs (filled with different add-ins) and just cut and pop them into the toaster oven.

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  19. Hi Rhonda, i'm sooo excited about your new books. I would love an australian book on frugal living and recipes that enable that to be successful

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  20. Hi Rhonda

    Definately a book on simplifying spending a dependency on $$ and debt incorporating all your fantastic common sense (not so common in my case!!) advice on budgeting, debt, making do, stockpiling, making your own etc etc all in one book - that would be great. You tube is jammed-pack with folks looking for and interested in this topic so that is an indication of the interest in the topic already.

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  21. Hi Rhonda.
    Looks like the consensus is for you to write a 'recipe' book. Could I please make a few suggestions to make yours different from the 'trillions' of other recipe books.
    I love that out of your small kitchen you produce a wide range of recipes - in the spirit of simplifying, could you make a list of the essential kitchen tools including such things as the sizes you use for pots when making jams etc as guideline…
    Also a list of pantry essentials?
    Apart from wanting to reduce pantry items, now that I am on my own, I don't want to have ingredients only occasionally used (read wasted or just taking up space). It would be helpful then with your recipes to give substitute suggestions for some items -- I love that with your biscuit recipe that if I don't have a can of condensed milk you have given a recipe to make the equivalent.
    Cheers,


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  22. A book on breadmaking for us newbies would be wonderful.

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  23. hello from Texas. I think one more subject that might be good to cover is the 'art' of mending. So many people do not know anything about sewing. I have seen very nice things in a thrift store for lack of a button. I took home economics with I was in high school and that was my major in college, but it seems to be a lost talent.

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    1. I second this suggestion! I took home economics as well, but that was 30+ years ago. I'd love to know how to mend things, and simple sewing and even that red work you do. Thanks Rhonda!

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  24. A book on crochet, knitting and sewing projects for the home would be great, for items such as blankets, patchwork, dishcloths, etc

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    Replies
    1. I second that proposal - my thoughts exactly!

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  25. preserving food, that´s my suggestion.

    Celia

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  26. I would also love to see your recipe book.

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  27. It is very, very hot down here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as well. Our temperatures have certainly been much higher than last year. Regarding your ebooks, I think that the suggestion of the various breads and cakes would do nicely. Think about including the different sour dough starters and teach how to use them everyday in pancakes, etc so that none of the starter needs to be wasted. Good luck with your books!

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  28. Hello Rhonda, perhaps a book on Gardening, principles, composting, raising seeds etc, preserving the produce.

    Also a book on budgeting, saving money and the frugal life would also be great Rhonda.

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  29. I love Roxie and Lavendar's suggestions...a sewing, knitting, mending guide including 'how-to' tips and your favourite projects would be wonderful.

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  30. As you may notice, folks would enjoy your books on a variety of subjects. I'd like to see one with recipes and menu ideas - how to put food on the table from one's stockpile/pantry as well as the other topics mentioned. Thank you for your blog.

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  31. I think you should consider a book on mending/repairing. Mending clothes and changing clothes for new purposes. Simple repairs around the house. These are really necessary skills that makes our belongings last longer, cuts the budget and reduces waste.
    Best wishes from Guri in Norway

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  32. I think a book on needlework would be great. Knitting, sewing, crochet etc. would be great.

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  33. I second the mending idea. I would love to be able to fix and sow little useful stuff

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  34. All the suggestions above are wonderful ones, but I also think that a book on decorating frugally with the things one has wold be a nice thought. I notice that you always have such pleasant scenes both inside and out for your posts; I have always admired people who could do that. Colour theory, arranging,and ideas for themes could be explored.

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  35. Hi Rhonda! Here is the perfect opportunity for me to ask for something I meant to last week! I absolutely loved your recent post on growing pumpkins.... So detailed yet easy to understand, written so simply and honestly... I said to my husband 'as soon as you get that compost heap together we're growing pumpkins!' thanks to your similar post on growing garlic, I have a fabulous looking crop on the way... My first attempt but I have good feelings about it because I trust your advice =) now, what I would LOVE is a similar guide for all the other basic garden yummies like tomatoes and stringless beans, I have failed at both repeatedly... And of course as many other veges as you could include... I think this would make a fabulous eBook! Pretty pretty please =)

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  36. Just an idea: I would love to see more on the topic you write on that I love so dearly: The importance of taking time to create. Then some of the crafting ideas like that way to cute table cloth with the blue squares and flowers. Or the knitted/crochet dishclothes, napkins, aprons, etc. Many women have no idea how or what to make. And much of your posts evolve around the concept of taking time for yourself in your day. My husband sat me down, after several years of constantly wearing myself out, and said "I really want just clean laundry that's put away, food in the fridge and a happy wife at the end of the day." That has spoke volumes to me. Your blog is showing me (and encouraging me) to take steps to do this. Thanks by the way, for your blog. Being home without kids, it's nice to feel a connection to another woman who is home as well.

    Peace to you and Hanno,
    Dee

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  37. Hi Rhonda,

    I am eagerly looking forward to your ebook set!

    My ideas: creating (like Mrs Peterson's Place suggested), such as basic stitches for sewing, knitting, and crochet, along with a basic pattern or two for each and some ideas for mending garments, tablecloths, etc. Also, what about a quick guide to upcycling - for example, I use an empty pill bottle to corral hair elastics on the outside and clips on the inside.

    You are awesome, Rhonda! Keep it up - we all really appreciate it :)

    Best,
    Mandi

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  38. As with others here - I'd love to see something on budgeting/living frugally.
    Baking would also be lovely as I think a lot of people wish to bake breads and simple morning and afternoon tea items, but just don't know where to start. My husband I both bake and he also makes beautiful bread, it helps us punctuate our weekend days at home with morning and afternoon tea, it gives us a time to catch up on what the other has been doing around the house and it just helps us to reconnect.
    Finally, the one I would covet the most is on mending, knitting, crocheting, sewing etc. I am 31 and have a sewing machine, and all the items to knit/crochet but I still struggle with the basic. Any help would be appreciated in that area!

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  39. I thought you were writing a book about ageing? I am very interested in that from many perspectives

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    1. That was the plan Cathie. That book was going to be written after these. But I've decided to stop writing after these books. I need time to myself again.

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  40. I can understand that Rhonda! Maybe some of the aspects will be incorporated into your blog anyway. This is the first time I've commented as I just took the time to work out how to! I've been enjoying your blog for a long time now, I find it informative and it is also brings peace and tranquility to my life. I also have your book which is beautiful as well as practical. So pleased you have shared so much with so many Rhonda. Every good wish, C

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  41. i'd love you to compile recipes for kids snacks, homemade cheesey biscuits or fruit leathers(when fruits are in abundance), muesli bars (using up all the scraps in the cupboards) , homemade popcorns with various flavours etc. Fruit buns. Introducing cooking with yeast to children. It would make a nice gift for someone.

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  42. Everybody wants something slightly different! Well, maybe not so, but variations on similar themes. There are so many cookbooks around, it would be like moving the deckchairs on the Titanic for you to write another one, even in your inimitable style ;-)
    I tend to go along with those who have suggested a book on mending, fixing and recycling and/or upcycling as mentioned by Mandi.

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  43. I agree with the above commenters who mentioned a book about mending! Not as many people do it these days, probably because they were never taught how :) I think I'd enjoy pretty much anything you write though Rhonda x

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  44. Hi Rhonda. I do like the ideas for a mending book, but it would love to also see you share all the things you do with fruit. Things like cordials, jams, leathers, vinegars, dressings, preserving, etc. what a treat that would be and helpful when one finds themselves with a bounty of something and doesn't want it to go to waste. Fruit doesn't give us a very long window before going bad. Thanks for sharing all you do.

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  45. Budgeting and frugal living along with ways that a stay at home parent can bring in that much needed exta money from the privacy of their home

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  46. I echo some of the others here and ask for a book on the role of the gentle crafts in the home, knitting, sewing, darning and mending. Projects that are functional workhorses of the house, like dishcloths, aprons, tea towels, laundry bag, bag for keeping rags/bags in, easy napkins, that kind of thing. Perhaps even made with things we might already have in the home. Another idea would be gifts from a simple home; a lot of your recipes for food and household items you give can away for gifts when appropriately packaged. I also like the idea someone had above for budgeting and financial household management within a simple home. Keeping to budgets is half the battle.

    xxSteelkittenxx (for some reason can't get my typepad profile to work so have to post as Anonymous)

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