Holiday reading

Thank you for helping us welcome amazing Gracie into our lives. She's quite mischievous but utterly adorable, a giant personality in a tiny package.

This will be the last post of the year. It's been a tough year for me and I'll be pleased to see the end of it. I'll be back in January with new posts about cooking and baking, living a good life, cutting back, budgeting and the work we all do in our homes. Thank you so much for your visits and comments during the year. Your comments convince me that even after almost 10 years writing here, there are still things to say and connections to be made with readers all around the world. Thank you for being part of my day and adding your voice to a growing number of people who realise that our world has changed and we have to change with it.

I hope you have a wonderful time over the holidays and that you rest and take time to put your feet up and read a good book. If you're travelling, be careful, I want you to be here with me next year.  ♥︎ 🐾 ♥︎

Recycling in Sweden
Beginners Sewing Course - Day 1 - The Basics - you tube
Happiness in Australia
Happiness depends on health and friends, not money, says new study
Those who hate cleaning their oven will love this trick - you tube
Hanukkah recipes - 24 December
Christmas recipes - 25 December
Christmas leftover recipes
The lives they lived and the rooms they left behind. American readers will most likely know most of these people but even if you don't know them, this is interesting.
Eight things you need to do right now to protect yourself online
Is This the Top-Secret KFC Recipe?
The grief of losing a pet is traumatic and universal. So why don't we talk about it?
Arctic ice melt 'already affecting weather patterns where you live right now'
Science confirms turmeric as effective as 14 drugs

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50 comments

  1. I found your blog this year Rhonda and so happy I did. Really looking forward to another year ahead with you.

    Thanks for the links which I look forward to reading. I'm especially looking forward to reading about the people who stopped spending.

    Wishing you a very Happy and safe Christmas and thankyou xx.

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  2. Merry Christmas to you, Hanno and Gracie, Rhonda. Enjoy a relaxing break behind the gates of your place. Put your feet up, watch the cricket, potter in your garden and hold close the dear ones you love. Meg:)

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  3. Hello Rhonda,

    thank you for another great year of reading and photos. I would have said I'd had a great year this year, but three and a half weeks ago in the middle doing the final renovations on my home, the back part of the house was destroyed by fire. The hardest thing has been not being able to live at home and being completely out of routine. This is disconcerting, as I'm sure many readers here know that the daily routine is the foundation of our simple lives, and a source of order and happiness. It was also sad to see what was left of my home-made dish cloths be thrown aside as rags and not inventoried with the 'bought stuff'. At least I know what they are 'worth', and can knit some more when I am back in a knitting mood.

    The up side of the fire has been that I have seen my friends more in the last month than I have in the last year! It is a good reminder that the 'stuff' can be replaced but people can't.

    Madeleine.x

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about the fire, Madeleine. Thank god you and your family are safe and sound. Knitting dish cloths over Christmas is a yearly routine for me. If you can get yourself organised to do it, it may give you a sense of rebuilding. Take care, love. xx

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    2. Dear Madeleine ~ I am so sorry to read about the fire in your home.

      Love, hugs and prayers ~FlowerLady

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    3. I am so very sorry to hear about your fire too. Fire is a terrible thing - I had one the week of Thanksgiving .I kept smelling something and when I came again to check the flames were licking at the ceiling! I totally froze in shock and fear but with the help of my daughter and her partner we managed to contain it before it did more than take out the end wall. My daughter tore the blackened mess out the next day and replaced the main wall for me. I am so very grateful to still have a home to be "home" in. I am so glad to hear that you guys were not hurt-now Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Much love from US.

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    4. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts!

      Madeleine.x

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  4. Merry Christmas to you and your family Rhonda.
    Thank You for the gift of your time, wisdom and words over the year, and for providing us all with such inspiration.

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  5. Have a lovely Christmas and a great 2017 dear Rhonda ~ FlowerLady

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  6. Merry Christmas, Rhonda Jean! Little Gracie is so cute, bet she would look really adorable in a Santa hat. May you have a lovely holiday.

    Hugs
    Jane

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  7. Dear Rhonda, Hanno & family, wishing you all the best for a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy new year. Thank you Rhonda for your time & effort invested in your blog this year. Your books are my absolute favourite books that I own and I still enjoy and learn so much from your blog too. Enjoy knitting and watching the cricket over the Christmas period! Kelly xo

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  8. Dear Rhonda,
    Thank you for your blog, for your writing and for the time and effort you put in here spreading the simple living message so beautifully. It is such an important message and I to believe the message is spreading.

    I hope you all have a wonderful christmas and that little Gracie doesnt get up to too much mischeif!

    We are getting out little scottish terrier in a few short weeks - I cannot wait until she hits her 11 weeks! We have decided to bread them over the coming years and we have been busy doing all the necessry reserch that goes in with that. We want to do it gently, with strong genetics to grow healthy and true puppies that are well socialized.

    So hearing Gracies stories and seeing her beautiful face makes me chuckle all the more!

    Much love Rhonda, to you and your family over this christmas season.

    xx

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  9. Merry Christmas, Rhonda! I've been reading your blog about 9 years and am still inspired by it. I don't comment alot, just read and enjoy. Here's hoping that 2017 is a great year for all of us. See you on the flip side... :)

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  10. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas. Your puppy is adorable.

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  11. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy your family and Gracie!

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  12. Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to all of you from a chilly Canada! Looking forward to all of your upcoming posts!

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  13. Merry Christmas dear Rhonda, Hanno and Gracie! Lots of love from your friends here in Perth -- M, T, E, J, R, T, K & A (and a puppy kiss from Daisy)

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  14. Thank you for sharing your wisdom again in 2016. Happy Christmas to you and your family!

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  15. Dear Rhonda, I'm so pleased that Gracie is fitting into your lives and adding a little mischief too. Thank you for your wonderful blog this year. I wish you and all of your family a wonderful, festive and happy end to the year and may 2017 bring you so much of the good stuff. Lots of love, Kate xx

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    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Kate. You've had a few bumps in the road this year too. I hope we've turned the corner now. Much love, Rhonda xx

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  16. Merry Christmas to you and your whole family and a very happy New Year. Thank you for all that you share!

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  17. Merry Christmas Rhonda and thank you for sharing with us through the years, you have been an inspiration. Because of you I met Grandma Donna of Generations Before Us and have been joining her in her living history projects. At the start of 2017 I am going back in time to 1942 and living a simple and home based year of frugality and simple lifestyle, and all this started after reading about Down to Earth in Yours magazine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Judi.

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  18. Merry Christmas to you, Hanno and your family (including Gracie...:). Thank you for the generous amount of time you give to us, your readers. Enjoy your Christmas break and I so look forward to catching up with you (on-line) in 2017! Is it really 2017.... where does the time go.

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  19. Happy Holidays Rhonda! Thank you for a wonderful year of inspiring, comforting and reassuring posts. I hope you and your loved ones enjoy make some precious memories together.
    Warmly,
    Puccetta

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  20. I check your blog daily, always hoping you have written something. I rarely send a comment, but I truly enjoy your words. Thank you for sharing your life. Sending warmest wishes for a happy holiday season.

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  21. Happy Christmas to you and yours, Rhonda. And thanks for all that you do for people.

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  22. Merry Christmas, dear Sharon, and Merry Christmas to all who read here. Sharon, I hope you realize what a community you have created here, filled with like-minded people with one goal in mind: to live a better, more simple life. For that I say thank you. Blessings to you and yours! Kristina

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  23. Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year Rhonda, Hanno, Gracie and all the family. Look forward to reading your wonderful posts in 2017.

    Sunnymidnight

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    1. :- ) I'm happy you're here. Merry Christmas to you and Mr Sunnymidnight.

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  24. Dear Rhonda, This is the end of the year and I think it is a good time to stop and write a comment as I have not done so for quite a long time. I feel like writing to an old friend though we do not know each other in real life but I feel that I know you very well through your blog and two books. I must admit that I have not succeeded in all areas of simplifying my life but I am on the right track. Yet, every time I understand that I am going off track I go back to your books. It helps me and motivates me. I am now 48, completely debt free, no loans on my house that I own, no loans for paying my daughters's studies (one finishes in 2018, and the other will start university in 2019), no loans whatsoever even for a car. I fell free and happy. Yet, even after years of careful spending, I still find it difficult to resist temptation, even when I do not need something... but I am working on it. What I have noticed is the sense of pride and lightness when I achieve some significant savings. I feel that I am the owner of my own life and that I am the only one making decisions, be them right or wrong. For the past three years, I have been on my wife's side in her two battles against a lymphoma cancer. It's been tough for her and for us but because I was in control of my life I have had strength and energy to deal with all we were going through. I must admit that the French system of health care provides you with the best treatments and you are covered 100% whatever the costs involved. My daughters didn't have to change plans in their studies, I didn't have to sell the house, and it did help. I did not need to worry about that, which was great as there was so much to deal with besides. I am writing to say thank you for what you do as I am not sure I would be so positive about my life and future if I had not followed your wise words. Now, I think that I am in control. I am now working on staying healthy. I am careful with what I eat and try to buy local and organic as much as possible. It is costly but as I eat less and less meat and I cook from scratch and use leftovers, at the end I am not spending more. I do my home cleaning products which helps too. The only thing I am not very careful about is for my passion which is quilting. I still buy way too much fabric and too many quilting books but quilting is my personal time, my meditation time and a time when I create with my hands and it fills my soul. I hope that many readers will find the same sense of fulfillment in their life when they find what is really meaningful for them. Thank you Rhonda and Merry Christmas to you, Hano and your loved ones. David (from France)

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    1. Hello David. Thank you for your interesting comment. I'm sorry to read about your wife's illness. My mother had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, it's a difficult disease to treat and deal with. It sounds like you're managing well so keep on keeping on. I think we all need a passion to keep reminding us that there is a light at the end of most tunnels. Merry Christmas to you, your dear wife and your girls.

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    2. David I think it is amazing that you are mortgage-free at your age, especially as you've been bringing children up! Really inspiring!

      I still have a mortgage, but other than that I am debt-free. My challenge this year has been a recent fire that destroyed a good part of my home (just as I was completing 8 years of renovations on my own!) I am completely with you when you say that being in control of your life financially helps you to manage the big challenges. In my situation, the 'emergency money' from the insurance company didn't come through for two weeks. In that time I had to find accomodation, buy food and replace essentials such as towels and even toothbrushes - imagine if I had a big debt and no savings!

      I wouldn't feel too guilty about your quilting habit. I think most of us need a creative pursuit as it's so fulfilling and therapeutic. I think we all spend at times on things we don't need, but the main thing is we are working on mindfulness, not perfection!

      Best wishes for the return of your wife's health, and wishing you all a wonderful 2017.

      Madeleine.x

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  25. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year...and may this coming year bring you all you need. I love your blog, and you inspire me!

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  26. Happy Christmas ..look forward to seeing all that you are getting up to in the New Year ! : ) x

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  27. Merry Christmas! Looking forward to the New Year here with all you share and more pictures of your adorable pup!

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  28. Merry Christmas to you and yours! I look forward to your offerings in the new year...until then, be well.

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  29. I secretly hope that one little ear of Gracie's does not straighten out - it is very becoming. Have a wonderful Yuletide Rhonda and Hanno. Remember that you have changes so many people's lives over the last decade - it is a huge gift from you both to us all. Phil

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  30. Merry Christmas to you, Hanno and Gracie. Enjoy your rest and thank you for your on-going commitment to the blog and the forum. Kindest regards, Gail

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  31. Happy Christmas Rhonda and Hanno, Gracie, Jamie and to your family. Thank you Rhonda for every blog post this year and for welcoming me to the blogging world earlier this year. I count my blessings and appreciate your generosity every day.
    Enjoy watching your cricket (you remind me so much much of my Mum who loved her TV cricket)and take the hot summer days slowly. Much love, Sal

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  32. Happy holidays dear Rhonda, Hanno and little Gracie, I've been coming here for years...it took me a long time to learn to see simplicity as being beautiful but thanks to this place I'm learning to be frugal, be happy with the little things, enjoy what I have and even housekeeping has its joy's never thought I would say that...thanks for the inspiring moments last year...I'll be back here next year and on the forum...lots of love...Angela

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  33. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you, your family and your readers.

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  34. have a lovely christmas, I hope that 2017 brings you everything you need and want.Thank you so much for your wonderful blog and the amazing advice you have given us over the years
    Alana xx

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  35. Rhonda, I hope you, Hanno and Gracie had a lovely Christmas Day. I really look forward to your 2017 posts. They remind me to cook different things and try different things. I have not purchased washing powder, cleaning products, cheese spread, ice cream or many other food and household items since buying both your books. Presently teaching my self to sew using The Great British Sewing Bee book. You have inspired and changed lives through your work - Thank you Rhonda, Thank you!

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  36. Dear Rhonda, I was saddened to read that it was a tough year for you. Thank you for your help and guidance throughout the year. I hope you and Hanno have a prosperous and happy 2017.

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  37. Rhonda, I hope you, Hanno, Gracie and the rest of your family had a wonderful Christmas together. Enjoy your holiday break, and to borrow a favorite quote: "For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes." Dag Hammarskjold Beth in MN xx

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  38. Your Gracie is so sweet it makes me want to get a new doggie but our Ellie cat , now 10 would be unhappy. Hear,s to a great 2017!

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  39. I love Gracie's look of mischief!
    As a long time reader I want to say thank you for sharing your life. I am in the Northeastern US and to be given such a glimpse at life in Australia has been enjoyable and amazing.
    May you and your family have a very Happy New Year.

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  40. Have a nice well deserved rest and very best Wishes for 2017!

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  41. Happy New Year Rhonda and Hanno! Best wishes for a wonderful 2017.

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  42. hi Rhonda. can I encourage you to keep going. even if you feel li you to keep on going as even if you feel like u have said it all it inspires me just to see what you are doing on any ordinary day to just get on with mine. thanks for all the great posts. happy new year from Yvette in Perth

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