DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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28 March 2016

Routines and menu planning

Sunday morning 7.30 and I'm trying to re-establish my routines. They used to work well for me in the past but were abandoned when I was writing; it's about time they pulled me back into shape again.  And shape is an appropriate word here - routines shape my day, they'll probably do it for you too if you give them a chance. I like to have all my regular, easy housekeeping finished by 9am. If I can do that, I can concentrate on a larger project from then until lunchtime. So the bed is made, bread is set to rise, the kitchen cleaned and lunch prepared, all before 9am. We have our main meal at 12 noon so I often get started on the prep before nine. If it's a slow cooked meal it might already have been cooking since the night before. Now that we're moving towards the cooler weather, when we have plenty of soups, curries, casseroles and roasts, one of then will usually be filling the house with home cooked aroma and reminding us that at noon, we'll be sitting down to a hot nourishing meal that will keep us going throughout the afternoon and evening.  Late in the afternoon we might have toast, a crumpet, fruit, yoghurt or tea and cake. We don't need much then. I find that having the main meal at lunch works better for me now that I feel tired in the afternoon. I know I've feed us well and cleaned up while my energy level is still high and it doesn't take much to prepare a snack later on.


We have a visitor here for the next week so I'll probably move the main meal to the evening but the cooking will be done well before then and I'll just have to serve and clean up. The dishwasher does most of the work that I used to do washing up by hand, so cleaning up after a big meal in the evening isn't the palaver it once was. Late yesterday afternoon I set out my meal plan and shopping list for the week. I'll shop today and look after Jamie, then during the week, with Hanno's help, we'll really concentrate on one of our biggest annual tasks - our new season vegetable garden.


Usually in the afternoons I do slower and easier tasks or work on my sewing and knitting, and later in the afternoon, just when the light is dimming, I like to go out to the garden. Connecting with the natural parts of my world never fails to remind me of my place here. I take off my shoes and feel the grass under my feet, I feel the soil for dryness and moisture and sometimes I water the plants while I watch the birds and listen to the sound of the neighbourhood. We are all surrounded by such artificiality. I really felt it while I was away touring with Hanno and Tricia. There was no grass to feel, no vegetables to pick, only concrete, bitumen, plastic, glass and unfamiliar, man-made noise. We are all part of the natural world and for me, this part of the day is therapeutic.


This week I'll clean out the fridge and organise one shelf of the stockpile cupboard a day until it's back up to scratch. Later this morning I'll clean the floors and organise the kitchen table and dresser.  Since we went away they've become dumping grounds, holding a variety of things that needed to be put back in their rightful places. They need to be tidied, with fresh flowers brought in, so it's once again a pleasant area to sit and talk. It will all get back to normal eventually, it just takes time and a bit of effort.


I have two Brisbane outings this week. On Friday, 1 April at 12 noon I'll be at Dymocks in Brisbane for a book signing. The address is 177 Albert Street, (Cnr Elizabeth and Albert), Brisbane. Please come along if you can. Don't forget it's Mother's Day soon, maybe the mother in your life would like to read The Simple Home.  Then on Sunday, 3 April at 4pm I'll be at Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St, Bulimba for a talk, crafts and afternoon tea. I hope to see you there but I believe the event is already booked out.

27 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm curious that you mention a dishwasher in your post as I thought you had gotten rid of the dishwasher some years ago? The reason I'm asking is because I've been trialling not using the dishwasher for the last couple of months, and was thinking of getting rid of mine when I redo the kitchen. Part of my decision is due to the fact that the kitchen is tiny and I thought I could use the dishwasher space for more drawers. I wonder if you found that in the end it was better to have a dishwasher for busy times?

    Madeleine.x

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    1. HI Madeline. It's easier having a dishwasher and you do less work with one, however, the reason I went back to a dishwasher was the amount of water we were using. Technology has moved forward in the years since I got rid of the old water guzzler dishwasher which used more than I used washing up. My new one, a Miele, uses much less. Our water costs here are quite high. Hanno and I use less than one person's usage because we are always mindful of the conservation of our water but that still costs us over $200 every three months. We bought the new dishwasher about nine months ago, after about 8 years without one, and I still see it as a good investment.

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    2. Hi Rhonda,

      that's interesting about your water costs. In Armidale we have cheap water due to having more stored than needed for a town our size. (on the other hand, land rates are amongst the highest in the country and there's nothing I can do to use less and therefore pay less. Currently my land rates are around $2700 a year!) I think your situation shows that as far as simple living and the environment there's never a 'one size fits all' solution - we all have to think about our individual needs/ circumstances/ values and make the best choices we can from there.

      Madeleine.x

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    3. Hi Madeleine, I just thought I would weigh in on the dishwasher question. After 9 years in a house with a dishwasher, 3 years ago we moved to an older home that does not have one (nor is there space for one, really). I thought I would miss it, but I have to say, I kind of like not having one. The need to keep the sink clear forces me to wash dishes/dry/put away dishes frequently, so it doesn't feel like a big task the way unloading the dishwasher always did. We have also found that our dishes get cleaner--with our dishwasher we had to pre-rinse everything, and even running on the longer cycle we usually had a few things come out still dirty. This way we wash them once and they're done. All in all, most days I don't miss having it at all. We had debated getting rid of the one in our old house, but in the end we did not because we were worried about affecting the resale value of our house--so it really worked out rather well when we found a house without one. :)

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    4. Hi Helena,

      thanks for adding your thoughts. I also find everything is cleaner and the cutlery is shinier - I wasn't using the strong chemical tablets and the eco powder I used just didn't do a good job.

      Madeleine

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  2. Did you make that beautiful patchwork bag, and if so, do you have a link for the pattern/instructions, or have you done a post on it?

    It is absolutely gorgeous, I love it!

    So much truth in the old saying "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."

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    1. Cheryl, that bag is one of the many gifts I was given on my travels. It's beautiful, isn't it, and so well made.

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    2. How lovely!
      To the beautiful soul that made and then gifted that bag, well done it is beautiful.

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    3. I have an almost identical bag I received from the Christmas exchange. So there are twin bags in both hemispheres,us and aus. I will try to post a picture!

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  3. Rhonda, The bag caught my eye too. It is quite lovely. Jamie will be happy to spend some of his holidays with you and Hanno.

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  4. Looking forward to weeding my veggie patch and getting it planted out too. Also wanting to put in some sweet pea flowers this year too. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. I'm wanting to plant sweet peas too, Kathy. I have been waiting and waiting because I always plant mine later than the traditional March 17. It's been too hot but the last few days have felt like Autumn and the time for sweet pea seedlings is getting closer. I'm going to plant mine next weekend.

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    2. Sweet peas must be on all minds, Meg and Kathy. I've been roaming and checking out my new garden, finding the best place to plant them. It's still a little warm here....northern NSW, but soon!

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  5. Love the routines reminder today! I used to be all about routines when I had four children at home; but, now, with my working full-time, I have gotten all out of sorts on one... for years! In the summer, when I am not working, it is so easy, but while working? It is nearly impossible for me.... Any suggestions on how to pull myself together? I'd welcome them!

    Did you read the recent study about bare feet on earth and how it is actually very healthy because we absorb so many nutrients from the soil through our feet? Just confirms that Mother Nature knows what we need!

    Enjoy this week!

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    Replies
    1. Matty, if you're a member of the forum, log in there and look for Rose's posts on routines. She works outside the home too and she's super organised.

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  6. Whenever I'm out in my garden, Rhonda, it is usually in bare feet so that I can feel the grass like you love to do. I usually work without gardening gloves too so that I can feel the soil. I may have gardener's hands (and feet) but I'm happy!

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  7. I have a routine too I find it so important to ensure that I get everything done in the day. I thought I would hate the rigidity of it but I find I am so much more effecient.

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  8. In one of the photos above there is what looks like a Royal Doulton 'Violets' milk (?) jug. I have a small, fairly flat, bowl which is part of the tea service range in this pattern. It may have been for resting a tea strainer between pourings - I'm not really sure. It belonged to my mother-in-law. 'Violets' appears to date from the 1930's. It's a lovely pattern; you can almost smell the violets.....

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    Replies
    1. I noticed the 'violets' milk jug too as it was the first time I'd seen another piece with that design. We have a 'violets' bowl with holes in it sitting on a plate, that used to be my mother-in-law's. It may have been to drain lettuce for salads but am not 100% certain. and yes it's a lovely pattern.
      Wendy

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  9. I am a creature of habit too and find routines bring me much peace of mind. My morning routine includes strength training exercises or 3rd age yoga, a short meditation and a trail walk. All this done right here at home as I have a trail out back. Then I work on a project, plan and prep my main meal, spend time reading on my porch and in the evening watch my favorite TV programs online. One of my new favorites is an Australian show, A Place To Call Home.

    I do break my routine for errands, trips to the library or a special event. But, basically my daily life runs on routine which suits me very well.

    Thanks for describing your routines to us!

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  10. Hi Rhonda,

    Glad to hear that you're able to get back to your routine way of living after the fun, but exhausting book tour. I wanted to let you know that I received a message today from the Book Depository that your new book is available once more, so I ordered it just now. The Book Depository was true to its word and let me know right away when it was back in stock. Can't wait to receive my copy. It will probably take the place of your "Down to Earth" book right beside my bed for a while.

    Diane in North Carolin

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  11. I had never wanted a dishwasher, thinking they used too much water, but your post all those months ago when you bought your new one inspired me to put it on the list of what I was going to have in my new kitchen when I moved. Well, it was installed last week, and it's not an exaggeration to say it's the best thing I've done. Although it's only me and a houseful of animals, I think because I always cook from
    scratch and often have friends over for a meal, I always had a mountain of dishes, and I really resented the time spent at the sink when I wanted to be sewing or gardening. No more, they're in the dishwasher and I'm out of there. I had a friend visiting over Easter, she's about to renovate her kitchen and after seeing my dishwasher, and hearing about your research, a dishwasher's at the top of her renovation list too. So thanks from both of us, Rhonda.

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  12. After a busy term of contract teaching I am so looking forward to coming back to my home and filling my days here. I will be working two days per week next term and the rest of the week is mine. Time to get my routines back in order, so that things get done, and in a timely manner. Thank you for the reminder.
    PS drooling over that gorgeous bag.

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  13. I'm glad that you are able to be home again and get back into your routine. We have an early Spring here in my part of the world and I am enjoying going out and seeing all the new growth and hearing the birds chirping once again. I have even been able to open up the doors and windows on a few days and let the fresh air in and once again hang some laundry out on the line to dry. I think it may be time to get the patio table and chairs out of the storage shed and set them up on the screened in back lanai once again so we can start having some of our meals out there. :)

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  14. Rhonda I wish you would come and do a book signing in Perth WA soon! I got your book a couple of years ago on a whim and loved it!
    Renee x

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  15. Washing up by hand is something I am doing at the moment. Our dishwasher has a fault. Tidying up after some time away always seems to take longer than we think. Why is that I wonder?...

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  16. Greetings from Tassie. I love your patchwork bag in the last picture. Is that from a pattern - it is absolutely delightful.

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