14 May 2012

Here at home

I've had a very busy weekend writing various things, re-working the blog and looking after Hanno. He injured his back last week and is in a lot of pain. He can't lift anything, even cleaning his teeth and dressing brings the pain on so I've been bringing him cups of tea and making sure he keeps up with the medication. He's like a cat on a hot tin roof when he's sick. He watched the Hamburg Harbour 823rd birthday celebrations on his computer for a couple of hours but he looked very uncomfortable sitting there trying to support his back. If he's not showing some signs of improvement today, I think we'll be off to the doctor. 

With the weather getting cooler, I've had a chance to keep my feet warm with the Ugg boots I bought when I was at Tricia's. They're so cosy! Another cold weather treat was a delicious lamb roast on Sunday night. The leg will see us through a few meals and sandwiches so, although it was fairly expensive, with careful handling and planning, it works out to be quite reasonable. I made enough roast vegetables to do us for two nights and on the third night, I'll make a lamb curry with herb rice.

We've been going quite well with our 50 percent meat reduction. Last Wednesday night we had mushroom omelette, Thursday night we had mixed vegetables in a cheese sauce; Friday night a chicken schnitzel  (one breast sliced in half), homemade potato wedges, raw vegetables in the form of homemade coleslaw and a garden salad and Saturday night it was tuna, boiled eggs, the rest of the coleslaw and garden salad. The chooks are laying a lot of eggs at the moment and the garden is starting to produce well, so there is no shortage of fresh food coming from the backyard. It's a great way to cut costs. I hope you're harvesting plenty of fresh food from your garden too.

The grocery challenge is going very well. I did some shopping on Friday afternoon and apart from milk and some fresh vegies late next week, I doubt we'll need anything for another 10 days or so. One of the good parts of late afternoon shopping is that you sometimes find some unexpected bargains. On Friday I picked up a couple of packs of premium mince (ground beef) that had been marked right down. One interesting thing I have discovered is that doing the shopping myself has given me the motivation to completely eliminate food waste. Food is so expensive now and it's a good reminder of that sad fact when you go to the supermarket and stretch your dollars as far as you can. When I come home, I make sure everything is stored properly and all leftovers are eaten for lunch the next day or made into another meal. How are you going with your meat reduction and grocery challenge?

Although it was a busy weekend, I still had time to do a tiny bit of knitting and to make a button necklace. I'll write about it soon. We'll be making button necklaces at our craft afternoons soon as part of our recycling theme. They're a simple idea and easy to make but they look wonderful.

The week ahead looks like it will be another busy and exciting one. Every day it gets a little cooler, the flannel sheets are on the bed, extra blankets and quilts are out and we're all set for winter.



  1. So sorry to hear about Hanno`s bad back. Wishing him speedy recovery.

    I`m not sure I like the new look of your blog. Was so used to the older version.

  2. Oh, poor Hanno! Has he tried ice or a heating pad? Hoping he's on the mend very soon... love the new look!

  3. Oh poor Hanno, please send him my love and get him to that doctor if he's no better tomorrow.

    Pippa xx

  4. oh dear, i hope your man's back improves soon! I hadn't read your grocery challenge, but have challenged myself of late to cut right back on our grocery spends- such a stupid amount of money wasted on poor buying, then wasted again on bad storage and being lazy and disorganised! Last week I cut our groceries bill by about a third, and it was really easy. I think I will use the money I've been saving to buy your book!! Have a gorgeous day :)

  5. Oh dear! All the best wishes to Hanno!

    Bit weird to read about the blanket you are having close to keep you warm. We are hoping for the blanket to finally come of for warmer Springtime! ;o)

    Love from Holland

  6. Although I didn't join the food challenge,these reminders are good for me.It helps me be mindful of what I am buying and trying to eliminate all waste. I still have a long way to go yet. I am getting better about buying less and only what I need,but waste is still a big problem for us. I will make a menu plan and then something comes up and it seems to all be for naught! I am working on it,tho!
    The new look is very neat and clean lines.....but I miss your smiling face,Rhonda!!! When I get onto the computer and look up your site,it is like you are here when I see your photo!! I hope you decide to put your photo up again. I enjoy seeing you when I come to "visit".
    Have a lovely week ahead and Happy Mother's Day to all in the USA! Darlene

  7. Hi Rhonda,
    Hope Hanno feels better soon!
    I think I liked the old blog look better ~ had a more homey, cozy feel to it. This one looks a bit business like ~ unless that's the look your after. Either way, I love your blog, you are such an inspiration!

  8. Sorry to hear that Hanno is under the weather with a bad back. Hope it's on the improve. For me the new look will take some getting used to but I dare say that very soon it will feel like the old friend that it is.

  9. I surely do hope Hanno is feeling better soon. Backaches are such tricky things. If he doesn't seem better soon, it is the wise thing to do to see a doctor...voice of experience here. I've had back surgery twice. I'll be sending happy, hopeful thoughts his way. He's lucky to have such a good nurse in you, Rhonda.

    Diane in North Carolina

  10. Hi Rhonda, I like the new look of your blog... except I can't tell which of your blogs I've read and which ones I haven't anymore. I've only being following for a few months (and now I can't live without you!) and I'm trying to catch up on all your old posts. Is there anyway to bring that function back?

  11. I'm sorry but I don't like the look of the new format on your blog. It was so nice to come here and see something more homey. But now it's kind of business like. And harder to follow. And so sterile looking. Little color. No Header. Nothing that speaks to me of Home and Kitchen. I'm probably not going to come as often.

  12. Hi Rhonda. Have been a regular reader of your blog for a while now and am loving it. Like the new format but it doesn't show me the date. Liked that part especially if I was referencing older posts. Keep up the good work - that vege garden looks spectacular Hanno (very envious) and I hope your back gets better soon.
    Have a great day both of you. Regards from Sandra in Brisbane.

  13. Wishing Hanno a speedy recovery and relief for his pain. No doubt he'll be back at it again with all the goodness coming from your kitchen :)

  14. I wish my chooks would start laying again. It's been around a month with no eggs... looks like someone's been having pillow fights with feather pillows in their coop every morning though.
    *sigh* I hate buying eggs.

  15. Hi Rhonda

    Sorry to hear about Hanno's back. I hope he gets some relief soon.

    I really like the clean lines of your new blog. I also love seeing the picture of your garden in the header.

    I didn't join the grocery reduction challenge but I am trying to reduce the amount we spend each week. I'm aiming for $100 each week as we need to buy quite a bit of veg and fruit. I still have a long way to go. It won't be long before our cat's food out costs our own food ;).

    Have a lovely uggy-warm day.

  16. I hope Hanno's back heals quickly, and that he doesnt need a doctor!I like reading about your grocery challenge, it's a good reminder. We have a hard time cutting back, we are so used to eating out whenever we dont feel like cooking. I am trying to take steps to end our old habits. It takes so much discipline to change!

  17. Hi Rhonda,
    Like Darlene I miss that lovely face smiling back at me each morning. Please think about putting your photo back if you will.
    I send my best wishes to Hanno for his back problems. I have had a couple of bouts with back strain and the physio told me to try and walk as much as I could. Rest and then a little walk and then rest again for awhile and another little walk. This helped a lot with the pain. However I had just strained my back, not anything more so it might be best to check first.
    Your meals look delicious and I will not need to shop this week. I am also keeping tabs on all we spend. Very enlightening when you tally up the little expences. Have a good day. Rather a cool but beautifully sunny day down here on the South Coast today.
    Blessings Gail

  18. I hope Hanno's back eases soon! I've had chronic back pain since a car accident a year ago, (which lead me to a more simple life - things aren't all bad!!) Ice, pain killers and gentle walking (no digging in the garden!!) all help...

    We are very lucky that our local butcher sells lamb cheaply,$7.99kg for as little as a 1/4 of the lamb. considering they will cut it up to your specifications if you order it a day ahead. (it's great for us because I get more chops and a smaller roast as there is just the two of us as well)

    Love the new look for your blog! Thanks for sharing your lives with us :)

  19. I hope Hanno will soon be better.

  20. Hi Rhonda. I love your blog and have been following it for a couple of years now. I hate to be negative, but I also prefer the old format. This one doesn't make me feel warm inside like the old one. Also, I couldn't get the first post - 'What is Simple Living' to work. Keep on posing tho', you are a constant source of inspiration.

  21. Oh dear, hope Hanno feels better tpday. If not, I can highly recommend chiropractic treatment - our family chiroprator keeps us all in great shape.

    Also love the new look of your blog!

  22. Hi Rhonda, I have a question.... Do you find that by the end of doing something like a grocery challenge your stockpile is depleted and then you have to focus on replenishing it? Or do you find that you are able to keep yourself going with garden produce and only use what you would normally use from your stockpile?

    Thanks Rhonda- love the blog change, a change is as good as a holiday :)

  23. Give Hanno my best wishes for a quick recovery - bad backs are so debilitating - especially when you are a 'get up and go' person.
    Your meals look yummy as always - I am definitely going to try the 50% meat reduction challege - starting today!

    Cheers - Joolz

  24. I am going to join the throng of bloggers who prefered the look of your old blog I think the colours and your photo made it seem warmer and friendlier. However the content is still worth reading and enjoying.
    I was unfortunate to miss out on buying your book yesterday by about 5 seconds I was in the ABC bookshop at Carindale and there was 1 book left on the shelf and was just about to reach for it when the man next to me handed it to his little Daughter to give to her Mum for Mother's Day. I can get mine again but this little one's Mum is going to be so thrilled.....
    how does it feel to know you have been sold out in such a prestigious bookshop ?????

  25. Thank you all for your good wishes for Hanno. We're going to the doctor later today so we might have a better idea of the cause and treatment then. Hanno is taking Warfarin so he can't take any of the common anti-inflammatory drugs you would normally take for a sore back.

    Many of the long term readers will know that I change the look of the blog every few months. I agree it's not as comfy cosy as it was but I had quite a few people saying they couldn't find things, so I thought this way was clearer. I'll put my photo back in a day or two when I have some time.

    Thanks for that feedback, Maureen. The book has been selling well and it makes me very proud to know that not only is it selling but that people are enjoying it and being motivated towards their own changes. I hope you get your own copy soon. I'll be at Avid Reader in West Wend on Thursday so if you can travel over that way, I'll sign your copy.

    Marnie Girl, yes and yes. I do run the stockpile down, but I save the grocery money each week so I can stock up again. And having the garden so productive now really helps keep us going.

  26. Hello Rhonda,
    I really love your new blog format - nice and clean, easy to navigate.
    But I do miss your photo! I like saying hello to your familiar face first thing every morning.

  27. After your blog re the ugg boots, I went online and bought a pair myself from the same shop in the Blue Mountains.
    I have been wearing them this week, and being the real thing, they are so much warmer than the cheaper synthetic versions.

    I wish Hanno a speedy recovery.

  28. If there is anyone in your area who does Bowen Therapy it is worth a try....this works by getting the muscles etc to go into their correct spot and helps them to stay there...can be used when there is an active injury in play...can also be done in conjuction with medication...

  29. Hi Rhonda,
    I have found using cash saves a lot when I food shop. There is something about pulling out money that makes me stop and think about what I am buying.

  30. Hello Rhonda,

    Lovely to wake up and see the new changes to your website..thanks for that its much easier to navigate and a lot quicker for those who are time poor.

    How beautiful is Hanno's garden?..i never new fruit and vegetables can be so attractive..credit to him, he has done a wonderful job..hoping his back improves quickly and he is out of pain soon.

    Loving your new recipes so nutritious..heaven to a vegetarian..lol.


  31. Ouch! Poor Hanno, I hope your back feels much better very soon.

    The new web site design is very clean and easy to navigate Rhonda.

  32. Wishhing you both all the best. I understand what it is like to live with a man with a bad back! Your constant positive encouragement is the best!

  33. Rhonda

    I'm sorry to hear about Hanno's back. I know it can be real challenging. I hope he heals soon.

    I must say I don't like the new format of the blog. I have in the past stopped reading blogs that have the "read more" where you have to click to continue reading. I like the flow of being able to scroll down to read several posts at a time. I used to love reading another blog every day until she started the "read more" format. Clicking annoys me for some reason (I probably should work on not getting annoyed!! :) ). This is just my preference when I read blogs. Your blog has been a real inspiration to me over the years and was a real help when I decided to leave my 9-5 job at a law firm. I love the information that you share with us.

    Enjoy the cooler weather. I love fall (we are just now getting into spring here in Pittsburgh). Fall is my favorite time of year, but I will push through summer and enjoy the food from my garden.

    I am a vegan so I didn't join in the challenge. My challenge is to stop spending so much at the grocery store. Things are very expensive but I'm sure I could cut down in many areas.

    Happy Mother's Day!!


  34. Hi Rhonda, I'm OK with whatever you do with your blog as long as you keep blogging, nothing in life stays exactly the same for long, for me it is what makes life so great.

    I heard a snippet on the radio recently that they have a new drug to replace warfarin which does not require constant blood tests etc.and is more patient friendly. Might be worth asking the doctor about.

    Keep holding up that light for us all.

  35. Hoping Hanno's back pain can be relieved by the doctor. I knew a man who taught himself to knit when he was injured and forced to stay in bed. He said it kept his brain busy learning the new stitches and the increasing/decreasing changes. He made himself some lovely pairs of socks.
    Not sure I like the new look, yet, but it is easier to locate everything.

  36. Back pain is just so painful...and frustrating for every move you make....I hope it heals quickly...we are harvesting lots of greens as the Winter vegies begin their time of plenty...although I still picked a small box of eggplant and capsicum which is unusual for May in South Australia...I was happy to receive your new book this weekend, as I thought it would be a xmas present, so I am thrilled to be able to sit this week with a cup of tea and a home made bikkie and have a read a bit earlier than expected....have a lovely week...Suzanne

  37. hmm I agree with the first post, I really liked your original blog layout, you just had the 1 page and could scroll to read the whole post, and the posts from previous days.
    Wishing Hanno a speedy recovery !

  38. For hanno,
    I highly recommend magnesium chloride oil or gel for pain relief. You just spray or rub directly onto painful area. Also good rubbed onto the feet or in a footpath - the body takes up what it needs in 20mins. The magnesium relaxes the muscles and increases blood circulation to the area to give pain relief and help healing. You can also put 5 sprays in a glass of water with a pinch of bicarbonate and drink. Close to you is the budderim magnesium house. For more info check out book by mark Sircus. Sorry for rambling but know many of my clients get great results from using it. Cherish

  39. I dont mind new layout and great work to all those involved. BUT I do miss Rhonda's smiling face. Gosh, the garden looks good.

  40. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm afraid I am one of your readers who prefer the old style of your blog - it was more homey and welcoming, and I miss you looking at me.

    Off the subject, please tell Hanno that it was me who pulled up in front of your place on Saturday morning, and thanks Hanno for waving. We had been up to Landsborough to visit our daughter and her family in their new home, and I couldn't resist driving past your place.

    Rhonda, you must be thrilled that your book is selling so well. Well done, girl!

    My best wishes to poor Hanno and hopes for a rapid recovery.

    Lyn in Northern New South Wales.

  41. Hello...
    I have loved reading your blog, it has been such an inspiration to me. I will be praying for Hanno.. my mom has had back trouble all her life and it is quite painful. I understand this is your blog and like I said, it is such an encouragement to me, however, the older version gave a "homey" feel, a more personal feel to it and as soon I as I looked at it, it warmed my heart. Please give thoughts to maybe adding some old things back in. The words now are also small and light, harder to read. I also miss seeing your beautiful header and pretty face on the front page. Thank you for sharing your heart and knowledge with us.

  42. Having lived with severe back pain for the last 18minths I really do sympathize with Hanno. So sorry to hear that he is hurting.

  43. Hello Rhonda, I love the new look of the blog! The only thing I miss is your smiling face greeting me in the morning, in the prominent place where now there is this twitter/facebook nonsense!

  44. I am so sorry Hanno is hurting. He is such an active person it must be awful to him to have sit for long. I sure do hope he gets some relief from the pain and recovers very very fast. We are still working on reducing and reducing more the meat consumption. Rhonda, my thought is it is your blog and you can arrange it anyway you like. I miss your picture but that is your decision not mine. The one thing I miss though is no date on each blog post. I see others have mentioned this already. We only spent $7.56 this week on groceries and they were marked down things. Thanks to the garden and pantry we are supplied pretty much. Thank you for all you two do... Sarah

  45. Hope the doctor can offer some speedy help for Hanno.
    Everyone will adjust to your blog changes in time, we just have to keep in mind that you are trying to make it easier to use.

  46. Hi Rhonda,
    this is my first comment and first of all thank you so much for all those inspiring posts. A friend pointed me into your direction and also lend me your book :) Things were already heading into the simple back to basics life direction party out of necessity (living in the WA bush means stocking up when you get to the city and access to bulk meat means well stocked freezers) but reading your book I often had the feeling that you summed it all up so niecly and gave more ideas.
    I showed your book to my 83 year old grand father in law and he asked me why anyone would write a book about this simpler life. He has always grown his own food. I had to smile because he didnt understand that not eveyone has access to this sort of knowledge and skills.
    But I agree with you things are changing. Between about three friends, I baked bread, one made soap and one made quark on sunday. We are talking about your book about housework, catching up for baking sessions and sharing sourdough starters.
    Its nice to be a home maker and feel so connected to all those women before me!


    PS:I cant see the header(garden photo?) and loved your flowers in the old format! but I'm sure with a little tweaking it will be beautiful again!

  47. Lyn, Hanno told me a car had stopped, someone waved and he waved back. He wondered who it was and I told him it was probably a stalker. LOL

    Madge, I'm with you, I like change too. Although I have to admit, having no date on the posts is very irritating. Had I noticed that before I wouldn't have installed this template. It's one of those templates that you can't adjust. Let's see how long it lasts.

  48. A change is as good as a rest they say, and this change is cetainly nice and clear, I don't honestly know which template for your Blog I prefer.

    The lovely helpful content is still the same and that is what matters.

    I had someone leave following my Blog once just because I changed the background colour....you can't please all the folks all the time!

    You meals all look really tasty, lovely picturess.

    I hope Hannos back improves, backpain is so debilitating.

    I'm a third of the way through your book now (I got it for my birthday), and enjoying every page. Usually I rush through books, but I'm savouring this one.

    Sue xx

  49. Gosh, poor Hanno. I know it's never a good time to have a sore back, but thank goodness it didn't happen while you were doing your book signing tour!

    Wishing him a speedy recovery! xx

  50. Poor Hanno; I hope his back improves soon and the pain eases.

  51. Rhonda, I am cutting down too, we're budgetting $50 a week for two of us, and pretty easy to stick to so long as I don't get tempted by things on special (which is fine when there's space in the freezer but not when it's already full!) I have recently been doing better with things not going bad by labelling everything! that goes in the freezer, and with veges like broccoli and brussels sprouts as much as possible I'm chopping them cooking them lightly and freezing them, the ones I know will go off if I don't use quickly. Saying that I just threw a few disgusting things out of the crisper... should have made some leftover soup a week or two ago. I resolve that it will not get that way again. :) We also enjoy roasts, or BBQ chooks when they're half price, get two or three meals and some sandwich meat out of them.

  52. g'day
    ohh i hope hanno gets well soon, backaches are horrible.
    not sure i like this new look you have here, loved the old one, it felt so friendly & warm, guess we'll all get used to it eventually
    hope you have a great week & hanno gets better too

    selina from kilkivan

  53. Rhonda Jean,
    So sorry to hear about Hanno, and hoping for a very quick recovery.

    I really miss your smiling face on your blog---to me, your photo was the face of encouragement, saying, "Come on, give it a try! You can do it! I'll show you how!" It really gave your blog a sense "presence". Now it feels more like coming home to...an empty house.

    You must, of course, do what you feel is best for your blog. Keep up the great writing.


  54. Rhonda, please give Hano my best wishes for a speedy recovery.
    I have to tell you that I really don't like the "new" look of your blog. I don't read blogs that have the read more option, it takes more time to read, and it's,in my mind not as nice as just reading the whole article allat once. I also miss your picture. You look so happy and contented, it gave the blog a welcomling look to it.
    I do however, love to read your thooughts and ideas. Keep up the good work!
    Susan from Michigan,USA

  55. Poor Hanno! There is nothing worse than having back problems. My sciatic nerve flares up every now and then,it's so painful...I sympathize!

  56. Hi Rhonda,
    Your vegetables look delicious! I love rack of lamb. Am sorry to hear Hanno's back is bothering him. All of that yard work is intense on the muscles. I have to do special exercises and yoga in order to keep gardening. I didn't realize how attached I was to your old blog. The opening page was the most beautiful I had ever seen. I just loved the chickens, the photos, the love, care, and individuality that shined through...I feel sad that it's gone, but I will adjust. It's your blog and I love reading it!!!Your writing is superb!

  57. Rhonda I like the new look of your blog but miss seeing your smiling face when I login. I suffer with major back problems after a nasty accident some 20 years ago. I know just how Hanno is feeling and I hope he improves rapidly with your TLC.

  58. Hi Rhonda,

    I left a comment earlier about Hanno and his backache, but I decided to leave another one about your new format. I really miss seeing your face, just like a lot of the other posters.

    I hope I grow to like the new format because I'm sure you thought long and hard about it before you made the changes. But I do have to say, please count me in as one of those who loved the old format. I trust your judgment and I'll try hard to adjust to the new format.

    Diane in North Carolina

  59. Melinda says
    I like many of your followers prefer your old layout and I always liked to know the date and also how many comments there are to read as this has also been deleted. If I missed a day and wanted to refer back to a post I was able to just arrow down now it is a much more complicated way of reading your blog. I also follow another blog and she has gone to this format and I find I don't read hers as often as I used too.
    Like all your followers they sympathise with Hanno and his back and when reminded remember when I have hurt my own back and it is isn't pleasant. I know often we don't like change as in your layout but please take onboard what most people have said. I am with your other followers that your content is still as interesting as ever

  60. Hope everybody had a great Mother's Day, I was lucky enough to receive a copy of your book for Mother's Day Rhonda, very happy with it so far =).
    Wishing Hanno a speedy recovery.

  61. your new look is very modern and clean looking, but to be honest the old version seemed much more personal and welcoming. It won't stop me visiting though!

    best wishes

  62. Hope Hanno gets better soon, as with my dh i am sure it is hard to keep him still for long!

    Thank you for all the time and energy spent on the blog, i learn so much on a daily basis. You provide so much useful information for free, please don't stop.
    Waiting for a copy of your book, should be across the "pond" soon!


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