9 January 2012

Hello 2012, let's get cracking

Today is the beginning of my work year. I had such a good break with Hanno; we've been watching cricket, snoozing on the lounge, laughing at the chooks, talking and reading, and while he's been doing odd jobs in the backyard, I've been knitting and sewing. I feel thoroughly refreshed and I'm looking forward to the year ahead. I'll take this opportunity to send my sincere thanks to so many of you who sent cards, emails, comments, gifts and kind thoughts to Hanno and me and to our sons and their families last year. It was a momentous time for all of us in so many ways and we've all come out of it stronger, more connected and with our focus firmly on our beautiful babies and the year ahead. We all felt the love sent our way and appreciate your affection and kindness more than you know.

Sarndra and Shane with Opa holding Alexander. 

Hello cousin!  Jamie and Alexander getting to know each other.

We had a lovely Christmas with the family. Kerry, Sunny and Jamie arrived on Christmas Eve and came to the Christmas breakfast with us the next morning. We didn't do any work there this year because we had so many local residents who asked if they could volunteer, we just sat back, had some breakfast and mingled. I proudly swanned around with Jamie in my arms, took a few photos and walked around with the donation jar, and that was it for me. I'd take a guess and say there were about five hundred people there, so again, it was a great success. When we went home, Shane, Sarndra and Alexander arrived and stayed with us on Christmas night. After we opened our gifts, we had a late lunch and relaxed and talked for the rest of the day. It was wonderful seeing the babies playing together on the floor; they are both so happy and content, just as all babies should be. I have to tell you that seeing my sons with their own sons is real joy and it makes me so proud seeing all four of them being the most wonderful parents. I don't think I was so relaxed and self assured when I was a young mother. I hope you enjoyed the holidays with your family and friends and like us, took advantage of the time to connect with your family and recuperate.

Christmas day in our kitchen.

As well as being time for relaxation, I used some of the previous few weeks to organise myself and do a some tasks that will help me during the year. The fridge has been cleaned out, the oven and microwave are sparkling, the pantry is clean and organised, the stockpile cupboard has been cleaned out and checked. I have enough soap and cleaning products to do us for a while. The only thing that let me down is the ironing; it refuses to be done. Oh well, I can deal with that because everything else is fine. I've even synched my calendar and music, moved files to a portable hard drive and deleted photos. Whatever is ahead for me this year, I'm ready for it.

Sunny and Jamie with Santa. Jamie wasn't too sure about the man in the red suit.
Opa with cute elf Alexander.

There is so much to look forward to. I have a full list of workshops ready to go at the neighbourhood centre, a number of talks I'll be giving around the place, my Women's Weekly column is continuing, I'll be back on ABC radio and Hanno and I have decided we'll pack ourselves into the car and drive south to promote the book. Penguin is organising some promotion in Melbourne and Sydney and of course we don't want to fly down but hopefully we can stop off along the way in some bigger towns, sign some books and meet up with some of you. We'll take s few side trips and catch up with friends along the way and have a little holiday while we're about it. I'll take the laptop with me so I can continue to blog as we drive around. We haven't had a holiday together for a long time. Hanno went to Germany alone in 2010 and I went to Tricia's for two weeks last Easter, apart from that we had two weeks in Victoria about ten years ago. We're looking forward to this adventure very much.  I'll have more details about it when they're organised.

Jamie as he sets off to discover every inch of our kitchen floor.

This year I'll continue writing about our simple lives, and as there are so many new folk reading here now, I thought it would be a good time to go over some of the core elements of our way of living again; not only for the new readers but to keep us on our toes too. I'm sure you all feel the pull of commerce and pressure to buy convenience. We feel those same pressures and it will be good for us to review where we've been so we're sure about where we are going. Soon I'll be writing about cheese making too because we've just set ourselves up with a little cheese fridge. I've made cheese in the past but here in the sub-tropics it was too difficult to cure the cheese without a special fridge. I've finished the On my Mind Friday series and will be featuring instead a short list of links to articles, blogs or posts that have inspired me in some way. I hope to not only bring new ideas and writers to you but to expose them to a wider audience as well. And this year I'll link my blog with the Down to Earth forum more so we can all explore various subjects in more depth. On the more practical subjects that I write about here, I'll open up a thread on the forum to carry the conversation on over there so I can answer questions, you can add your thoughts and we can all have our say. Every so often I'll throw in my thoughts about ageing, work, babies and anything else that I've been thinking about.

I'm really pleased to be back. I've missed you! But I'm better for the time away and all it allowed me to do. I'm very optimistic about the coming year, there is a lot to think about and discuss with you, and, as always, I'm looking forward to reading your comments.


  1. What a wonderful break for you, Rhonda : ) You have a truly beautiful family and a wonderful life...

  2. Looks like you have your time all worked out. And new ideas for the blog will keep things fresh. I`m looking forward to the new way it`s going to be presented. And, I can`t wait for your book to be available, too. Best of luck with your trip and those book signings.
    I`m sure you`ll have a lot of fun with that. Could you let me know how much it would cost for you to send me at least 2 signed copies to the Uk? I`m happy to send you the funds in advance, if that`s helpful. Lots of love and good luck in the new year for both you and Hanno. XXXX Sarina.

  3. Hello Rhonda,
    A very Happy New Year! I really enjoyed the cute babies!
    Really looking forward to the release of your book. Wonder whether it will be available from The Book Depository website? Postage to any country is free rom there.

  4. It's so good to see the pictures of the boys. I had my third son in February last year, and it's been good to see them all change and be about the same age give or take.

    It's so funny to see the boys in summer Christmas clothes. It was unseasonably warm in our part of the States at a balmy 40 degrees! lol

  5. Started back at work last Tuesday after two moths at home with my broken ankle. I'm working part-time (avoiding rush hours) whilst still in the cast, and using a ground floor office for the same reason in case of fire evacuation.

    One of the best things about my return was knowing how much I was missed - not just by my immediate colleagues, but also by everyone from the canteen staff through to senior managers.

    Because I'm still not mobile enough to rush around in the lunch hour, I have to make sure I take lunch in with me. And due to the logistics of getting to and from a room with a microwave, for the foreseeable future it will have to be salad, sandwiches or soup in a flask.

    Once I'm mobile I may lapse if I have errands to run, but it's a habit I want to keep.

    I also want to set more time aside for writing. I would normally take an overground train to work. Quicker but I have to stand most days. At the moment I'm taking the bus to the tube station, which is slower, but as it's near the start of the line I can get a seat in the morning. I'm going to make sure I have a notebook with me and make good use of the travelling time.

  6. Welcome back Rhonda! Sounds like you had a lovely time with your family. Looking forward to another year of your thoughtful writing - and oh! Your book! What an adventure you and Hanno will have!

    Much love

    Jenni x

  7. Yay! You're back! Glad you had a refreshing holiday :) Looking forward to a new year with you, Rhonda.

  8. Hello Rhonda! I have missed you. It sounds like you had a fantastic break, but I'm glad you'e back. Thank you for 'On My Mind' last year. It was my first year of blogging and I met so many wonderful people through 'On My Mind'. I'm looking forward to this year and reading your posts. I will have more time to be a housewife and I can't wait!

  9. Your photos were wonderful Rhonda. I am looking forward to seeing your book out in the stores. I wonder whether you may make a trip to promote it in Tasmania too?

  10. Hi Rhonda,

    Those two little fellows are so precious. I know what you mean about the feelings you have when your children have their own children. So many new emotions once you become a grandparent. I love that you're sharing your feelings and experiences with us.

    I keep hoping that I'll be able to get a copy of your book here in the US...any news on that front? I'm not having any luck finding a source.

    Diane in North Carolina

  11. Isn't having family home for the holidays wonderful?! Mine oldest daughter and her family are still with us for a few more days and I am loving spending time with them. Looks like you had lovely time!

  12. Am so pleased that you are back. Its nice to refresh the soul so we can all tackle the reality of living in this complicated world today.
    Looking forward to your insight to help all of us steer in sometimes rough and uncharted waters.

  13. Okay~smiling at your lovely role as Grandma! What a blessing!

    Happy New Year!


  14. Hi Rhonda,

    Welcome back. Glad to see you had such a relaxing break. Looking forward to another year of wonderful information and knowledge.

    x Beck
    (first time commentor, down-to-earth discoverer 15/11/11, simple living starter 16/11/11, slowly making my way through the archives)

  15. Great to have you back, Rhonda! Thanks so much for all the interesting topics you bring up all year ..... I'm looking forward to reading the gems for this year!!!
    And your grandbabies are b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.!!!

  16. Have really enjoyed reading your blog and trying some of your recipes during the last few years. I hope that I may be able to buy your book in Australia. I will only be able to follow the blog from time to time over the next couple of months as we are setting off for two months in Australia tomorrow. We are so excited to see the country you love. Doubtful whether we will get to Queensland as I think our drive from Perth to north of Sydney will be enough.
    Keep up the good work Rhonda and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all the family
    Helen in France

  17. Such beautiful family photos. Those grandsons of yours sure are cute. So glad to have you back. I look forward to catching up with your news everyday. It would be so nice to meet you as you pass down through this way!

  18. I think it's a good idea to go back through the basics. I've set myself some big goals this year, both mortgage and earning a supplementary income wise, so I'm already getting prepared for a very frugal and satisfying year.

  19. Welcome back and glad that you had a wonderful break with your family. As another relatively new reader, (and at the start of my frugal journey) I'm looking forward to learning more about the simple way of life over the coming year.


  20. Good to see you back. Glad you feel refreshed and had a lovely family Christmas. Looking forward to this year with you!

  21. Good to hear that you all had a wonderful family Christmas together. Lovely to see the two little cousins getting to know each other!

    Have a happy and healthy year in 2012.

  22. Rhonda it sure sound like you and your family had a great 2011.
    What I read looking forward to 2012.

    I've sat up a few cleaning and organizing projects.
    I believe it will Wednesday but I believe it will be Thursday I'll be posting about it.

  23. LOL, I thought you retired when you gave up your job at the community centre? I think you needed the break though and so glad you enjoyed it with the family.
    Glad that you're going to go through the core elements again as I'm still catching up because there's so much 'good stuff' in your blog. Really looking forward to the cheese making as we have a house cow providing milk again and I've always wanted to try this but couldn't get the 'hang' of it in the past with the soft cheeses so wasn't game enough to go further.
    How do we find out where you may be for book signings as I live about 1 1/2 hours drive from the 2 bigger towns near me on the mid north coast of NSW?

  24. Good morning Rhonda.

    Your year ahead sounds full and wonderful. I look forward to your new and old posts this year. :)

  25. It's nice to see your name in Google Reader again Rhonda. My work year starts tomorrow, so I have one afternoon and evening to go.

  26. Hi Rhonda.
    happy new year and welcome back :) I hope you will consider stopping in Armidale on your book tour. We have a vibrant artistic and self-sufficiency community here. Maybe you could stop in for dinner!

  27. Happy New Year, Rhonda & family! Glad to hear you had a lovely festive season ~ the pictures are lovely, babies adorable (of course!). All the best for 2012!

  28. Dear Rhonda,

    Oh it's good to see you back! You needed that break. It's lovely to see your beautiful family too, so many smiling faces. I like your enthusiasm for the coming year and know that it will be just the thing for me.I hope I'm close to you for the book signing!
    vicki xx

  29. Hi Rhonda,

    Happy New Year to you and thank you for sharing your family and Christmas with us. If you dont mind if i make a suggestion? What has been working for me the last couple of years has been buying second hand santa sacks to use instead of wrapping paper...i hate the money and enviromental waste of it! These also could be made like library bags out of old clothing in a variety of sizes.

    Also you mention before you would like to know who follows you..well i have no idea how to make the little picture thingys on the side bar..so maybe it would be of benefit to explain to others how to follow you.

    I so look forward to you book launch and thank you and hth.


  30. Your Grandsons are so beautiful Rhonda. I am glad you all had a nice Christmas. I am looking forward to a simpler new year with your blog to help guide me.

  31. Welcome back! Looking forward to our journey into 2012 :)
    Lis xx

  32. Happy New Year Rhonda and family! The boys are getting so big-they sure are adorable. You have the most wonderful journey ahead of you, each year with grandchildren is better than the last. Our oldest just turned 13 and our youngest is 3 and they are so much fun. Looking forward to learning all you have to share in 2012. Karen from CT

  33. Welcome back, Rhonda! Glad you had such a wonderful time over the holidays. I missed your refreshing posts, so in the meantime I read through the archives. I've been following you for about a year now and have developed quite a desire to live more independently and make certain goods myself. I'm living in an apartment and work full-time but don't earn a furtune. So I don't have the space, time and money to keep chooks, have a vegetable garden, or produce nearly everything what I need myself. But I can make a difference in a small, yet valuable way like keeping my apartment nice and tidy, save up for a renovation, buy eco-friendly, cook more from scratch. I'm in the process of collecting information on making soap and household cleaners and want to start the production on a small scale soon. Kind regards from Uschi in Austria!

  34. Hi Rhonda...i am from Malaysia..and i am looking forward to buy yr book..but i wonder how can i get it?...pls let us know..we from outside Australia...thanks.

  35. Yeah Rhonda!!!!
    Looking forward to another year!
    Don't you love how babies smell?
    Your grandchildren are absolutely precious.

    Trinidad & Tobago

  36. Hi Rhonda!

    I was so glad to see that you are back! I so enjoy your style of writing and the great content you provide. Thanks for sharing your life with us~ and helping us to make our own lives better!


  37. Melinda says
    I too have two new grandsons, born just before Christmas and what I really enjoy is my son a first time father with his two boys still in hospital is talk about them, how they are progressing, changing nappies and describing how the little ones are learning to suckle on their Mum. He was a son slow to grow up but now happy with his new wife and new responsiblities. We live near by so will be able to watch them grow and develop.

  38. I'm glad you enjoyed your well-deserved break Rhonda. I missed reading your post for the day while having my breakfast and morning coffee. Always grounds me for the day ahead, coping with keeping my little ones and monstruous amounts of washing! I didn't realise how much of a ritual reading your posts had become. I look forward to reading your words of wisdom this coming year.

  39. Welcome back Rhonda,

    Will you be able to let us know where you will be on your tour. Would love to meet you if you are around our way.

  40. I love your blog and really look forward to continue reading it in 2012! Thank you and Happy New Year!


Thank you for your comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.


Blogger Template by pipdig