Writing, cooking and teaching

It's been a very busy week here with no time for blogging. I'm sending out the notes for my writing and blogging workshops today and tomorrow so I've spent some time over the past couple of weeks going over the notes, adding and editing, so they're as good as they can be. I'm looking forward to mentoring this group of writers and bloggers and our face-to-face chats on Skype will be a highlight. 

This is near our front door. It's the first thing you'd see if you walked into our home.

Although I didn't have time to write about what was happening here last week, I kept taking photos to share with you. The past couple of weeks have been full of unexpected happenings in our family so Hanno and I have spent quite a bit of time supporting family members and doing a little bit more with our beautiful family.  Sunny is still in Korea with her mum and family so we've been helping Kerry with Jamie while he runs his sushi shop and keeps an eye on Sunny's shop. School holidays start today so in the next two weeks we'll spend time with the grandkids, no doubt with extra cooking and baking to fill everyone up. Hanno and I are both delighted we're able to help our children and that they still come to us when they need us.

Here is the new induction cooktop. We bought a Bosch and so far it's been great.
Still in his PJs, Jamie with the first breakfast he's cooked for himself. And notice the cup of tea. That's something he's learnt from us. ; - ) When he's here he drinks tea or water, and now it's winter, fresh orange juice.

Hanno and I continue to work towards making our lives comfortable in our old age. We decided to change over to an induction cooktop and get rid of the gas that we've used for the past 20 years. Induction is a cooler form of cooking, it's much easier to clean, the stove will switch itself off if we forget to do that and it's economical. I think we'll notice a big difference with the heat in the kitchen in summer. I decided to give Jamie his first cooking lesson here last weekend and when he arrived early in the morning with his dad, one of the first things he did was cook his own bacon and egg breakfast, with a cup of tea. There was no flame on the stove so it was safe for him to cook and the only thing I did, besides guiding him, was pour the boiling water into his tea cup and lift the eggs out of the frying pan for him. Children need to grow up knowing how to look after themselves and I'm really pleased to be able to show my grandchildren our family recipes.

Our homegrown cucumbers, pickled, with red onions.

Of course, even though I've been busy with family and writing, people still need feeding so I picked the cucumbers growing in the backyard and prepared one of my favourite pickles - bread and butter cucumbers, this time with red onions. And winter wouldn't be winter if there weren't delicious soups bubbling away on our stove. I made a bone broth overnight in the slow cooker and the following day made a separate pot of barley and root vegetables, then mixed the two together. It was so good and as it was a four-day pot, I didn't cook again for another four days.




Lunch is served - homemade soup with hot bread.


Another notable seasonal delight was the return of our supply of fresh eggs from the backyard (above).  Our girls took an extended break this year and we haven't had fresh eggs for about three months. A few people we know with chickens said they had the same thing with their chooks so I'm guessing it may be climate related. Whatever caused it, I'm relieved and delighted to have a bowl of fresh eggs in the fridge again.  I'm going to make an egg custard today to celebrate their return. Have your chickens been laying regularly?


Hanno's been working on a laundry project. Our old laundry bench was wobbly so he added a wooden top to the old bench. He matched it with a smaller wooden shelf above for our cleaners and soap. It's a great place to work with everything clean, tidy and within reach.

And finally, our computer printer finally ran out of toner last week. I think we've had that printer for four or five years and it just kept going. We don't do much printing, preferring instead to send attachments in emails. When we rang around we found a place that sells the cartridge we needed but it was $142, only four dollars cheaper than a new printer would be! So Hanno looked further afield and discovered a place called Inkstation.  They're a nation-wide Australian company and we bought a recycled cartridge for $40, and $6.50 postage.  I have no association with this business but I think that with that kind of saving and having recycled cartridges, I can help spread the word.

If you're looking for something interesting to read this weekend, discover Nicole's blog. She's a writer who lives near me and she has a great spin on living a simple life with a young family. 

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

ADDITION: I just found out that Rosettas have restocked my books.  So if you're in Maleny or anywhere in the hinterland, and you've been looking for my books, you don't have far to go.




30 comments

  1. Your soup looks wonderful, I’ll definitely be trying that recipe. Our chooks stopped laying about 3 weeks ago, before that we were only getting 1 egg every other day. Hoping they return soon as I’m missing the fresh eggs too.

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  2. When my grands are here they generally want to help cook something and I let them. It's the way I brought up their parents and I do the actual cooking part since I have a gas stove with an open flame. How proud they are of 'making' something!

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  3. It's interesting to see your new induction cook top. Friends of ours just bought a new one. Our stove is gas and is getting tired so I'm wondering if we should investigate more. Great looking soup there, enjoy your family. Oh and like the laundry too as I could do with some shelving in there.

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  4. Hi Rhonda. After finding your blog 6 months ago I have read all of your posts from beginning to end twice over and I can't believe how this knowledge is changing me as a person. I am hoping to retire next year at the age of 54 and lead our version of a simple life. My daughter asked for help next week with the children but I can't as I will be working and this breaks my heart. I have pea and ham soup on the stove right now and I am so happy to have found my tribe. Thank you so much!

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Roz. Change is a good thing and all this will work well when you retire and have more time to fluff up your nest. xx

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  5. I read every post, and I have learned so much. My life is similar, but not yet to the point where we have time to do all that we want. I am on the path the retirement - working 24 hours a week at a job that I love. I just want you to know that I search your site daily for updates. You enrich my life and I am grateful. Peace and joy, Dianna

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    1. Thank you, Dianna, I'm pleased you're finding the information you need.

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  6. I see someone a Simpson fan.
    Coffee is on

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  7. hope all is well with the family
    great reading as usual
    my chooks have barely laid since i got all the extras (17 in all) i get 2 eggs every 2nd to 3rd day; hoping they pick up soon too
    thanx for sharing

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  8. Hello Rhonda,
    your photos are lovely and it is always interesting to read what you and your family have been doing.
    It has been quite cold here in Adelaide and our hens are laying less as they are having a rest from laying every day. We are still getting enough eggs to eat for breakfast and to cook with.
    Your soup looks delicious as does the bread. Is the soup recipe on your blog Rhoda?
    I hope you have a lovely time during the school holidays spending time with your special grandchildren. I'm sure that they will enjoy the cooking and baking that you will be doing. Take care.
    Best wishes,
    Maria from Adelaide.

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    1. Hi Maria, yes the recipe is on the blog. I make it frequently over winter. It's beef, barley and vegetable soup.

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    2. Hello Rhonda,
      thank you for the name of the soup. It will be on our menu this week and I'm planning to cook it on our new
      wood-fired heater. Our living area will smell delicious.🙂
      I forgot to say how much I like the print above your hall table. I love tea cups and have a number of beautiful kitchenware items that feature tea cups; pretty china plates and sandwich platters, tea towels and serving trays.
      Please accept my sincere apologies for misspelling your name in my original comment. It was nearly midnight and I was writing with only the bedside lamp on.
      Have a lovely week Rhonda.
      Warm regards,
      Maria.

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    3. No need to apologise, Maria. Life's too short to get upset by trivial things. We all make mistakes when we type, we're all human. 😊

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  9. Hi Rhonda, You sound busy and happy. How wonderful that Jamie is learning to cook for himself. Your new cooktop sounds fascinating.

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  10. Hi Rhonda, it's always good to see what is happening at your house. I'm sure your sons are very thankful that you and Hanno are there to lend a hand when needed - and Jamie seems on track to be the next chef in the family! The chicken dish on the table near your front door caught my eye - my Mom had a few dishes just like that one in different colors. I don't have any eggs to count, but was out earlier counting the bumblebees visiting my rose bushes. Always glad to see a lot of pollinators at work! We are having a very hot and humid spell, so I wasn't out long. I took a break to visit you after paying bills and now it's time for some housework. Beth in MN

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  11. I need a new stovetop Rhonda and I am thinking about an induction one, so I will take your recommendation of a Bosch on board. Thanks for sharing all of the information. Best wishes, Pauline

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  12. Good morning Rhonda our kitchen is down for a tidy up in a couple of years, a new induction cooktop is planned for our old age so pleased to have your experience of it.I am 2/3 way through my cross stitch and have been listening to audiobooks from the library while I stitch.I am now a nervous and infrequent traveler but will be attending a family function on the Sunshine Coast next weekend and am looking forward to sushi and a few days exploring the area.

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    1. I hope you have a lovely visit, Jenny. It's a beautiful area with plenty to see.

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  13. Hi Rhonda, a lovely first sight when entering your home and I really love that picture. Some things just say "Welcome" without words don't they. Enjoy your extra time with the grandchildren over the holidays x Kate (Tassie)

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  14. What a welcoming home you have Rhonda, love the hall table. Great that Jamie is learning to cook.

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  15. It's really becoming soup weather here at the moment. As it's after the Winter solstice the hens are beginning to lay more - might be as we've had weird overly warm days of 17-19C though. Still surprises me how quickly children grow and the photo of Jamie proves it. I recall the photos of him as a baby and toddler. He looks well, happy and hungry :). Wishing you all a healthy Winter and good gardening weather.

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  16. Hi Rhonda, yes it is lovely home made soup season. Thank you for posting a link for the weekend. I previously enjoyed going onto an internet surfing tour with the links that you had posted.

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  17. My goodness, I've been reading your blog for a long time. I remember when Jamie was born! He's HUGE now!!!

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  18. Its quite ridiculous that its cheaper to buy a new printer than replace the ink. Like they are a disposable cup??? Makes me so angry. Glad you found a better option.

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  19. Good morning all, Kat from Gippsland Victoria here, my chooks have just come back to laying after a two or so month break, so glad to have our own eggs again, I found inkstation last year, a quick reliable service, the cartridges for my cannon pixma printer are half the price thru inkstation and I've had no problems with them, they print perfectly, a cold windy day here so a pot of homemade chicken and veggie soup is about to be made, nothing beats homecooked food, so lovely to see Jamie learning to cook, looks like another chef in the making, my son Sam is 26 and lives in a share house, thankfully I taught him to cook and he loves cooking, one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children and grandchildren is the gift of cooking from scratch. bye for now Kat.

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  20. Always great to read what you are doing Rhonda. Yes definitely soup weather and my crockpot has been busy with a ham hock and vegetable soup this week.
    I made your bread and butter cucumbers today. Little nervous but all seems to have gone well...and the lids popped and sealed! Looking forward to trying in a few weeks. Hopefully the start of more preserving :)

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    1. It sounds like a busy kitchen, Karen. Well done!

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  21. Hi Rhonda,
    Sorry for the late comment, I haven't had time lately to be on internet much. I just wanted to confirm that Inkstation is a great business, I've ordered my printer refills with them for some years now and they are wonderfull. Cheap, and very helpful if anything goes wrong. I had (only once) a cartridge that didn't work and they replaced it on the spot, no question asked. The lady on the phone was so friendly, it was a pleasure to talk to her.
    Have a great week-end !
    Corinne

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  22. That soup...Yummmiii.

    Just came to your site, Like your lifestyle blog.

    Blessings.

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