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Showing posts with label The Six P's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Six P's. Show all posts
This Home Made Life

This Home Made Life


I have really enjoyed the last few days. I have been busy baking, making and gardening up a storm.

Today I came to realise how 'normal' these things are for us now.

On Friday I made a huge batch of washing powder. As I was grating up the soap I watched "Harp in The South" on my laptop. This is a beautiful Australian story about a poor family living in Surrey Hills Sydney in the 1940s. As I was grating away I felt like Olivia Walton making butter on the front porch while Grandma knitted!

Friday night is pizza night and we do it so often now that we can slap together a batch of beautiful half plain/ half wholemeal with the toppings that each person wants before you can even find the number of your local delivery boy!

On Saturday we made fettuccine that was so damn yummy I had a dream about it and could have easily made some for breakfast on Sunday! Because we have our own eggs, this fresh and tasty pasta only cost us 27 cents to feed the four of us !!!

Sunday was of course the Sunday roast and the weekly apple pie to go with it.

I also managed to plant some garlic, lettuce, onions and carrots.

Soon I will make another batch of homemade soap and this time I would like to have a go at making a liquid hand soap.

I am loving this home made life.
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A Vision Splendid
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One Foot In Front Of The Other

One Foot In Front Of The Other





My sons finish school on Wednesday and tomorrow they are having a picnic day at Camp Elim near Forster. I am going as a parent helper and am expecting a huge day of canoeing and games.

On Wednesday I will be talking on ABC radio in Tamworth as part of a 'Keeping Christmas Simple' forum and will then go to the annual prize giving ceremony for the school.

On Saturday I am doing a Christmas Workshop for all the people who come to our classes throughout the year. This means a whole day of teaching with a catered lunch for 25 people in the middle. Exhausting but hugely rewarding!

Saturday night we are having a Christmas Party with friends where I may just have to test my friend's Singstar to see how Abba sounds - must practice those dance moves! Then Sunday we go out to Dubbo to see my Grandmother for a couple of days. I am really looking forward to that. It is a 5 hour drive through country NSW and the scenery is really beautiful. I guess the trip will be longer because we stop to take so many photos. I will be sure to post some of them here for you to enjoy.

We have to slot a trip to Sydney in as well before all our guests start arriving, about the 23rd of December. Then we will fall into Christmas mode. Lots of swimming, eating prawns, water skiing, drink beer and yummy mangoes!

So as you can see, when I lay it all out there is so much to be done and so much to prepare. When I look at it like that I could easily get swamped. So I will look down at my feet with my blinkers on and put one foot in front of the other. Plod. Plod. Plod. I will enjoy each event and be in the present.
So now, to focus only on tomorrow...... sunscreen, water bottles, hat, joggers, Dencorub, valium, scotch. That should get me through the day! lol
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A Vision Splendid
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Seven Steps to A Simple Christmas

Seven Steps to A Simple Christmas






1. The 6P Principle: Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance.


This year I am dreaming of a debt free Christmas. How about you? Good planning is the key to heading off any personal or budget stress. If you haven't planned well, make it your New Year Resolution. You can put an amount of cash aside each week or if you don't trust yourself with cash you could buy gift vouchers throughout the year from your favourite store or start a fee free Christmas Club account. Don't forget to become the lay-by queen and spread your purchases out through the year.


2. Make It About More Than Just Presents:


Do you have other tradition beside gift giving at Christmas ? If not, invent some! Make Christmas a collection of ideas and experiences, not just about the presents. I have had to do some serious tradition inventing over the years. Our traditional activities started this past weekend. We put up the Christmas decorations whilst playing old crooners from a free CD that come with the newspaper. Hubbie sings into a hair brush pretending to be Elvis while I dance around wearing flashing antlers. As the children get older I hope they will recall how embarrassed they were when their parents did this year after year - but hey, something to look forward to each year!


My children are still young, so I guess these will change as the years go by, but we make reindeer with rolled oats and glitter in a brown paper bag - nice idea, but gee those reindeers are messy eaters!


The year before last we had Christmas at our house and had a big brunch and smaller lunch. We started the day with pancakes, strawberries, bacon and eggs and then had a smaller Christmas lunch. For the first time we didn't feel awful! We took the boat down to the river and spent the rest of the day water skiing, tubing and had the best Christmas day ever!


Why not make it a fun Christmas and find your inner child. You can have the backyard cricket game, some beach volleyball, same handball comps on the driveway or get out the water pistols and have a full on war. Dads especially love a few water pistol fights after a little Christmas cheer!


By making Christmas a variety of experience, the actual gift giving becomes only one part of the day, not the whole focus.



3. Secret Santa


As families grow and siblings get married and have children you find that your Christmas gift list just grows and grows. A couple of years ago we opted for the Secret Santa concept where all the adults' names are put into a hat and you draw one out and buy JUST for that person and sign the card ''Santa" and put it under the tree. It works wonderfully!


4. Give "Non- Gifts".


In the past I have used charity groups like Tear Australia to make donations in people's names to poorer overseas communities. You can buy school books for children, sink a well in a village or buy medicines. The year before last I wrote my brother in law a really funny poem that ended with a line about a goat in Bangladesh. Attached to the poem was a voucher that showed that I had donated a goat to this particular village in his name. It was absolutely hilarious and far better than the after shave and car polish that I had been buying him for the ten years previous. LOL


Other ideas for "non gifts" might be CD messages from children to Grandparents, photo albums with photos and hand written stories, cookies in a jar, special letters. Kids are very good with coming up with ideas and the results are precious.


The thing about giving 'non-gifts' is that the perceived value is far greater than the actual cost. After all, the reason we give gifts is to show people that we love them. If we are low on funds then we just need to find creative ways to say I love you. How do you put a price on a home made, illustrated story made by a child for a grandparent - the cost is nothing yet the value is priceless... and will definitely last longer than that foot spa you thought you might get!



5. Tone Down the Gift Giving


If you have children, the best way to reduce gift expectations is to give little throughout the year. If kids expect a toy every time they go shopping, then trying to make Christmas special is very difficult. I like to know very early what my children are hoping for at Christmas time. It gives me time to plan and save or time to VETO. "honey I don't think Santa will be bringing you your own TV ". I learnt that discussing gift giving ideas as children get older can be very important. Last year number one son said on Christmas Day " why would Santa have left me an XBOX game when I don't have an X BOX" - it seems Santa wasn't really up on all the different sorts of game consoles and computer thingys. I have suggested he does better homework this year!



You can set Christmas guidelines throughout the year by continually reinforcing the rule you want to introduce ' we usually get four things for christmas in our house'.... etc. Kids are usually fine... once they know the expectation. LOL ( gosh I hope they are not reading this!!)


Another good way to lower expectations is to limit advertising exposure. We know that advertising works, so reduce yours and your children's exposure and you won't be left wanting so much 'stuff'.


Being frugal doesn't mean being cheap. It is better to get a couple of things of quality rather than a room fall of cheap plastic! Most importantly, refer to point number one. You can give gifts of quality as long as you are cashed up and ready for it. We want to avoid the January credit card hangover!


6. Forget Being The Perfect Hostess


If you are hosting Christmas at your house this year, people will ask you ' what would you like me to bring?' and we answer with the pride of a martyr " nothing - just bring yourselves" and then we work like slaves to get everything organised. This year why not introduce the co-operative Christmas rules and let everyone bring and do something. People feel valued when they are able to contribute something so - let them! It brings a spirit of togetherness and the work is shared around. Everyone has their signature dish , be it salad or dessert. Let them flaunt it. Nothing says ' I value you' more than asking someone for the recipe of their signature dish.


My friend ( who shall remain nameless) has been taking her signature potato salad to bbbqs for years. She admitted to me that it is actually two tins of homebrand in a fancy bowl! - she never did get around to passing out the recipe.




7. Make December A Month Of PEACE.



Peace, love, joy ..... you know those words on the front of Christmas cards ? They don't just happen. You have to try really hard. You can't have PEACE if you leave your gift shopping until 10pm on Christmas Eve, that creates stress. Bring peace into your household by being prepared. Finish your gift shopping and wrapping early. Plan your menus and think about simple meals. Don't over cater - we already through out so much food, I doubt anyone will go hungry.

Get ahead now by making cookie dough and putting it in the freezer. You can pull them out and have fresh baked goodies in about 12 minutes. You can make cakes and freeze them un-iced, or chop them into smaller pieces ready for a trifle you whip up on Christmas morning.


And... if you are having toxic relatives over for Christmas ( and you know what I mean....) it might be worthwhile to cut out those words off the front of Christmas cards and hang them all over your home to remind you to bite your tongue as your auntie tells everyone that she thought you looked four months pregnant at your wedding! LOL You just have to put this down to part of the fun of the day.... the one day of the year when you start the day off with a handful of peanuts and nap in the chair while there are visitors in your house still..... Oh, c'mon, there's gotta be a little joy in that !


Simple Christmas......... that's what I am aiming for this year....... Joy........ love........ and hopefully ( depending on the relatives!)..............PEACE.

What are you doing to focus on the true values of Christmas in your home ? I would love to hear from you.
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A Vision Splendid
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7 Deadly Sins That Kill A Simple Life

7 Deadly Sins That Kill A Simple Life











1. Failing to Plan Ahead. - always running around doing things at the last minute, creating stress that could have been avoided.


2. Overscheduling. too many commitments, too many appointments and engagements. Not enough time to relax and enjoy yourself and spend some quality time with your family.


3. Impulse Buying With A credit Card The 'buzz' of something new soon wears off. By the time the credit card bill comes in you may regret the purchase but have to pay for it with interest!

4. Staying on the Debt Treadmill The longer you stay in debt, the more time you have to work to pay back the debt plus the interest. If you didn't have any debt, would you have a different job, work less, pursue your dreams? How would you live differently if you could step off the treadmill ?


5. Putting Wants ahead of Needs Look in your cupboards/garage/storage shed. There lies all the 'stuff' you have spent your hard earned money on. If you could add it all up what would the total be ? What about all the 'stuff' you have already thrown out, donated, or given away ? What are your true needs versus your wants ?


6. Exposing Yourself to too much advertising Would you read a book called " 101 ways to make yourself feel totally inadequate" ? Advertising is designed to firstly to point out how poor/ugly/fat/undesirable/unintelligent you are and then show you how you can fix it by buying a product. If you don't want to be convinced how inadequate you are, limit your diet and advertising, get in touch with your 'joy factor' and live a fabulous life!


7. Competing with the Jones'. Continually comparing yourself to others is a downwards spiral! The Jones' may have a fabulous house but I am guessing there is also a fabulous mortgage. What you see on the outside is very rarely the real deal. Make a commitment to yourself and your family to build a life of integrity from the inside, as opposed to a life showing things off externally. Build strong marriages, strong family bonds and genuine happiness.
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A Vision Splendid
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These are Exciting Times

These are Exciting Times







Who would have thought so much joy was here awaiting me. Today I crunched into a carrot that was so crispy and sweet that it tasted like a fresh coconut!




There are tomatoes just bursting off the bushes. They are almost ready to come inside and ripen on their vines. There are grape tomatoes and Grosse Lizzy. The carrots, oh boy, there are SO many carrots..... and beans...... won't be long and we will be drowning in them! I can't wait to supply friends with fresh produce. I remember my two Nannas exchanging things when I was a child. Do you remember, before plastic bags, things like fresh beans were wrapped in damp newspaper and had a rubber band wrapped around them ? I will be reviving this tradition FOR SURE! LOL




This picture is of one our our newer beds. They measure about 2 metres by 1 metre. We are a living proof that you do not need a lot of space in order to produce your own food. This is a highly productive little garden. There are loads of carrots, two tomato bushes and huge area for climbing beans. We thought that to produce some of our own food we would need to have a huge area, even maybe an acre of land and that we may have to move. This is such a myth! You can have a very productive garden in a very small space. Our first tomato plant was in a pot! You can plant three lettuces with leaves that you constantly pick in a pot about 40 cm in length. That will do you all summer!


Today I heard Maggie Beer talking on the radio about cooking. The presenter said that it was difficult for people to cook from scratch because we just don't have the time. I was so impressed by her answer. She said the idea was total rot! All it takes to be able to cook a meal is a little planning! She said with some planning and a well stocked larder it is actually quicker to cook from scratch than it is to drive to the takeaway, place your order, wait for your order and drive home again. I remember Jamie Oliver proving this by phoning for a Pizza whilst on stage and then making one and having it ready well before the delivery boy arrived.

So, I guess if it's not a time factor, it must be a "can't be bothered" factor! I know I suffer from it sometimes!
These are some other tomatoes that are growing up the side of the driveway. This spot faces west and is not a 'garden bed' as such. It is just an area that we used to have to pull the weeds out of from time to time. Now it is a wonderful productive garden.
Let me tell you ........ these are exciting times.
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A Vision Splendid
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Monday is a Busy day

Monday is a Busy day







Phew! What a busy day.






Monday is the day I do all my running around. I start the day with what I call a 'home blessing'. It is where I do my normal morning jobs but add in a few others like vacuuming, washing sheets, dusting etc. I then sit down and write my menu plans and organise my shopping list.


By 11am I was done and headed into town for my usual routine. I stop at the Post Office and withdraw my budget money then I head to the petrol station and put in the weekly allocated amount for fuel. Then I do any errands that need to be done and finally I do some grocery shopping.



By 1pm I'm home and unpack the groceries and have some lunch. Then I have my 'office day' where I pay bills, organise any correspondence, update the budget categories etc etc. Today I met a friend online to test a 'virtual classroom'. It was very exciting. In this process I donwloaded Skype and 'found' my sister in Queensland.


At about 3pm I started the dinner and I then headed up to the back room for some therapeutic ironing. I really love ironing. I set up a little nest in our granny flat that usually consists of a DVD playing on the laptop and a cool drink. I then iron away. Lately I have been working my way through The Waltons - let me tell you it's very inspiring !!!






About 5.30 I headed back into the kitchen and made some lovely lasagne sheets. This is the first time that I have made fresh lanasage sheets. We have made fettucine before and it was magnificent. I am looking forward to tasting the lasagne. The eggs were given to me from a friend who is VERY proud of her new chickens. The plain flour is 91c a kilo and I used 400g and the mince was about $3.69. So, this is a very cheap meal indeed!







I am about to put tea on the table and then it will be showers and reading for the boys, a few extra jobs for me and then I will fall into my latest book that awaits me eagerly.


A busy day, but a joyfilled day! There is much joy to be had from working hard.



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A Vision Splendid
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Reviving Hospitality

Reviving Hospitality



Yesterday I was with a group of ladies who are all my Mum’s age. We had a lovely morning tea at one lady’s home. The hostess laid the table out beautifully. Each place setting had a small plate with a napkin on it and on top of that was a tea cup and saucer with a lovely spoon. There was a selection of yummy things to eat as well as a nice sugar bowl and milk in a jug. The reason I am telling you this in such detail was because it really struck me as being quite beautiful.

The layout of the table made me sit straighter, pour my milk delicately into my cup and give a little tinkle tinkle with the spoon and then sip it oh so lady like. (I’m sure I even poked out my pinkie finger as I held my beautiful cup!). We said please and thankyou as we passed around plates with yummy snacks.

The ritual was really lovely. The actual beauty of the scene shaped our behaviour. It slowed us down and made us engage in the setting.

Hubby and I have often spoken about the loss of this tradition of having people over for morning or afternoon tea. Hubby speaks about his two old aunts. As a child he loved going over to visit because in a minute they could put together the most wonderful ritual of afternoon or morning tea. The house was always tidy and organised and they never had to jump in the car and run to the shop because they were out of milk!

I have very fond memories of going to my other Nanna’s house ( she died in 1999) She was actually my Godmother, but she was always treated like a Grandmother. Every time we visited her we were made to feel very special indeed. She ALWAYS laid out the table cloth and got out the “good cups” and in a few seconds could put together a spread that most of us would be in awe of. She could make the most amazing sponge cakes, all cooked in a wood stove. She was so amazingly resourceful. She even knew how to chop particular types of wood for different things she was cooking. I always remember her chopping ‘scone wood’.

Whenever anyone came to her house that knew her they always came to the back door. The back door opened onto a small veranda area and then you stepped up into the house. On the left just off the corridor and leading into the bathroom was the old concrete twin washtubs and her old washing machine. Not once on my entire life of going there did I ever have to step over her washing that hadn’t been done. Can you imagine if the main entrance into your home required your guests walking into your laundry – would you be proud of cringing ? Not once was her home messy, or she hadn’t washed up or had piles of ironing or the beds unmade. Even if we turned up unannounced!!!

In my generation, no-one does the ‘afternoon tea spread’. Although I do have some frugal friends that do coffee and home made goodies, generally speaking no-one my age even has anyone come to their home for a cup of tea !!!! If you want to catch up with friends you have to go to a coffee shop.

I believe that we have lost the art of hospitality. We can’t have anyone come over without two hours notice so we can tidy up! I’m not saying that this is everyone, it is just what I observe. We have all the labour saving devices yet we get so little done.

Before the days of mobiles and telephones, people used to go ‘visiting’ and just drop in on their friends. It was a usual occurrence. Scones were the usual accompaniment to a cup of tea because they were quick to whip up. Can you honestly say that if visitors dropped in unannounced you could whip up a batch of scones ? LOL How times have changed!

So...... In my quest to revive the old traditions I am going to revive morning or afternoon tea. Lots of people drop in for a coffee here, but I am going to make them feel that little bit more special. I will put down a table cloth ( oooooohhhhhhh) and use the ‘good cups’ (ooooohhhhhh) and my sugar and milk jug. I am not the scone maker in the house ( Hubby is) but I generally have some baked goods on hand. If not, there is always the trusty frozen biscuit dough already shaped so I can have cookies in about 12 minutes.

Everyone thinks, “oh, don’t go to any trouble”, but gee it is nice to “play ladies” it changes our behaviour and in a world where everyone is only looking out for themselves, it is nice to spread a little kindness and joy!

Are you a household that has lots of drop-ins who you are always prepared for or are you cringing at the thought of anyone knocking on your front door. I would love to know YOUR thoughts. Please leave a comment.
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A Vision Splendid
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Thinking About Christmas ( but not presents)

Thinking About Christmas ( but not presents)





Recently I have turned my mind to Christmas planning and I don't mean presents.


We take it in turns to have Christmas here or over with Hubby's parents. This year I am very excited because everyone will be coming here.


The reason I have been planning for Christmas so early is because I need to make sure my garden is ready for the BBQ season. My aim is to be able to create as many things as possible from scratch and from the garden.


When I hear people talking about the Christmas countdown I think about what plants will mature in that time. I think about what plants take 16 weeks to develop or 12- 14 weeks ? Then we plant out, hoping for a Christmas harvest.


Because it is Summer in Australia it is salad and bbq season. My aim is for us to be producing the following things:


lettuce, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, shallots, corn, beans, potatoes and a good range of herbs. I also want to make sure there are plenty of blueberries.


I am very excited about how the corn plants are going. The seeds that I planted have powered ahead and are much taller and stronger than the seedlings I planted a few weeks before. It will be a joyful day the day I can pull some corn from the plant and cook it straight away. Hopefully that will be Christmas Day !!!!



I am also preparing other things for Christmas. I am experimenting with bread recipes and cookies and cakes to make sure that I have it well perfected before the day. There are also napkins and placemats to be sewn, decorations to be made, edible gifts to be perfected and Christmas Irish Cream to be made!


It is all very exciting!


I have written before about the joy that comes from the 'doing' of things. Maybe the true joy of the season comes from hand making things to give as gifts. The recipient will be overjoyed receiving something so precious, and you will experience their joy! JOY JOY JOY - there you go ! Is that why when Christmas is all about BUY BUY BUY we don't feel the joy of it and all we worry about is the headache of the credit card bill coming in January.


As I write this there are 62 sleeps, five hours and two minutes until Christmas Day. That's over 7 weeks. What can you get up and running to feed your guests at Christmas ? Can you start with some herbs, put some lettuce in a pot? Can you start to make some handmade gifts? - you don't need great skill, you just need ideas - google for ideas!


My challenge to you is to bring some joy back to the Christmas season. Give JOY not STUFF.
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A Vision Splendid
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Wash on Monday Iron on Tuesday.............

Wash on Monday Iron on Tuesday.............




I never thought that I would find comfort in routine and rhythm. It used to annoy me that old people would wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday etc. I thought it was ridiculously old fashioned and heck, I needed my freedom! I didn't want to be tied down to any routine. I didn't need a day of the week to tell me what to do !


Instead of finding freedom in lack of routine I found disorganisation. Ironing became five minutes before I needed to put something on ( often running late) washing..... well it usually happened when I ran out of underwear and it would take all day to do it, not to mention the weeks of clothes laying around in baskets.

Over the years I have tried many 'systems' to be able to get things done. I would go ok for a while but then fall off the wagon and be back to old habits. Once I was married and added children to the mix it became increasingly important to have things organised.

Let me tell you that I still fall off the wagon from time to time, but it is a whole lot easier to climb back on again. The difference is that ( and I almost hate to admit it) have set days for set things. If I have something on a adjust things or do a simplified version of the day, but generally I stick to the pattern. Now don't think I can't come over to your house because Monday is my washing day or anything, I am completely flexible, but Oh the Joy of having things done and getting ahead and knowing that I just do a few things each day rather than spend a whole day trying to clean the house.


You will laugh when I tell you that my days are also colour coded. I use my calendar in OUTLOOK to work out all my tasks and put in appointments etc. It works fabulously for home management as well.


So...... At the risk of sounding completely obsessive here is the breakdown of my days in detail for those of you that have asked for this via email.


The basis of the whole system is having a strong morning, afternoon and evening routine. These tasks are done regardless of what is happening on a day. If I will be out all day or am doing a days work I still do the tasks, I just do them a little earlier to get through them.


MORNING ROUTINE - walk, shower/dress, load of washing/ breakfast / tidy kitchen/ make beds / sweep floor/ wipe the bathroom over.


AFTERNOON ROUTINE - iron washing/ organise dinner/ homework.



EVENING - clean up from dinner/ bath (sometimes) skincare/ PJs/ reading.

There is a lot in the morning routine only because I have slowly got there. I would NEVER have done this to begin with because it was setting myself up for failure. I think five good morning tasks is enough to create a habit.


Then I have a basic weekly plan that looks like this:


MONDAY - Home Management day ( mine is green). I do a ' home blessing' ( flylady.net terminology) This means I add a few jobs to my morning routine. I add vacuuming and dusting each room, wipe over screens and mirrors and mop the floor. I then go to the local Post Office and withdraw my money in cash. I fuel up the car on the way to town and do my errands which usually consists of going to the library, getting photos printed and then grocery shopping. When I get home I unpack and do up my budget books, pay bills and general office jobs.


TUESDAY - is my GARDEN, BAKE and MAKE day. ( Green) This is the day I work in the garden to plant new seedlings, move plants. build up beds, regenerate soil, bake goodies for the week like bread, biscuits both sweet and savoury and make dough and things for the freezer for times when I am too busy too cook. I have also made this my 'make' day for when I need to make soap, ginger beer, sewing etc etc



WEDNESDAY - is my business day. ( blue) I prepare classes and workshops to teach and make teaching resources and try and do some sort of training or personal development.


THURSDAY - A Vision Splendid day. (Pink) This is when I write my articles, respond to emails, update newsletters etc.

FRIDAYS - personal day ( purple) - I often update my scrapbook albums, teach a class if I have one on my books and I also do more baking to get us through the weekend.

SATURDAY - family fun day. ( yellow) We usually go to the river with friends and spend the day skiing, tubing, swimming etc. We often catch up with friends for dinner and have a bbq or something. In the winter my sons play soccer.

SUNDAY - day of rest! - whatever takes our fancy. We often do a bit more gardening, laze around, read the newspaper, play with the kids etc.

Overlayed over the top of that is the focus area for the week. Each week of the month has a different room allocated to it. for example, Week one might be the front two bedrooms, week two the kitchen etc etc. The idea is to spend 15 mins or so doing a job in that room. Soon you get to the stage where there is nothing to do in the room, for example, your bedroom where you just keep it maintained each day or week and there are no huge tasks that need to be done, except maybe cleaning fans and windows seasonally. Other rooms, like the kitchen, often need a focus clean once a month because the second drawer breeds extra utensils and the tupperware cupboard has a way of messing itself up each month.


Sounds rigid doesn't it! - Well, it's actually freeing. Once you get up and running a routine actually gives you time. I would much rather spend 30 minutes each morning doing a few jobs rather than a whole weekend trying to get a house in order.


Please don't send me emails saying it will never work for you because you work a 90 hour week and commute two hours in either direction. This is MY routine. When I was working it was quite different. The idea is to do what you can do throughout the week to free your weekends for fun and relaxation with your family. It really only takes 45 seconds to wipe over your bathroom in the morning. If you leave it for a week or two it will take you half an hour of scrubbing. The choice is yours!


So..... there it is....... not quite wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, but just as rhythmic and it gives me tremendous joy and peace knowing that my house runs smoothly and that I am up to date and when my friends from Sydney call ( as they did today) and say they will be arriving tomorrow I can relax in peace and turn my mind to the wonderful meal I will prepare for them to make them feel welcome.





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A Vision Splendid
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Making The Most of Your Waiting  Time.

Making The Most of Your Waiting Time.




Today I had some waiting time.


Waiting time often catches us by surprise. We rush to an appointment only to sit for half an hour waiting. We are meant to meet someone and they are late...so we wait.


I used to hate waiting time. I would constantly look at my watch. I would subconsciously practice the narrative in my head “My appointment was 1pm. It was half past by the time I got in” The more I looked at my watch, the slower the hands moved. I would memorise every poster in the room.


Now I am always ready for waiting time. I secretly love it!


Today during my waiting time I pulled my tiny notebook out of my wallet and began writing my lists. You know that I love a good list! Sometimes I can’t think straight until it is down on paper in front of me. My tiny notebook is made with a few pieces of paper about credit card size, cut up and stapled together. I have little tabs that break up the ten or so pages.

Today was very productive waiting time. First, I wrote out things that I wanted to add to my ‘sustainability’ list. You know, making more soap, growing loofahs, planting out the cucumbers, cutting up the towels for cleaning cloths. Next I got on a complete roll and began mentally going up and down the aisles of the supermarket writing down things that I could make instead of buy. Next I made a list of all the activities I could do with the kids in the school holidays- things that cost nothing or little but will be great fun. Then I made a list of jobs for my morning, afternoon, and evening routine , revamped my basic weekly plan and listed what jobs should be done during my weekly home blessing hour. In the time I had left I brainstormed all the places that I could go to get my goods and services locally avoiding the chain shops and trying to support local businesses.

By the time the waiting was over I was very pleased with my efforts. I had mapped out so much and developed a plan out of the fog that was floating in my brain.

Sometimes it is nice to wait. All I need is a little notepad, a great pen and my brain, then I am off.... a million miles away...... who’d have thought such tremendous productivity could happen right there in the waiting room. Give it a go... it beats a trashy magazine hands down !
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A Vision Splendid
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Blessed Are the List Makers....For They Shall Inherit Peace on Earth.

Blessed Are the List Makers....For They Shall Inherit Peace on Earth.





My first born son who recently turned ten headed off for school camp today. Here he is marking off his list.

His teacher ( the most organised woman on the planet) gave them a list of what to pack, but ( God love him!) he had to type his own list and put coloured headings and pictures so he could cross the items off as he packed his bags.

His father cannot understand the need for a list, but we all know that the world is divided into those people who love a good list and those that don't understand. God love the precious child - he has inherited my 'list gene'.
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A Vision Splendid
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A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine




A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.


This is a popular proverb whose origin is unknown, but was apparently made famous by Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. There are various interpretations of what it actually means. There is the literal interpretation, that is, if you mend the tear when there is a small hole with one stitch it will save you having to mend it with nine stitches when the hole eventually gets bigger.


A more philosophical interpretation is one of avoiding procrastination. Do the job now before it develops into a huge black cloud that hangs over you and is much harder to do.


I like a practical interpretation. To me, A Stitch In Time Saves Nine means 'wipe the shower screen over a few times a week or it will take you 45 minutes of scrubbing mould on your hands and knees". Or what about " tidy each room, each morning, or it will take you hours of cleaning to get your house back under control" .

Whichever way you look at it, it comes down to a choice. You can do things as you go, or you can make your tasks much more difficult for yourself. I know which one I would choose. Last time I took ages scrubbing out the shower I promised myself ' NEVER AGAIN!'.
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The  Consumer World Thrives on YOUR disorganisation.

The Consumer World Thrives on YOUR disorganisation.





There is no doubt about it. Being disorganised costs you a lot of money. There are whole industries which would crumble if everyone was to actually get their act together and have some sort of order in their lives. Of course, none of us have order all the time and if you are anything like me you have times of being highly organised and then backslide into total chaos. My theory is that you have to have the occasional backslide into total chaos so that you can climb out of it and appreciate how good it feels when you are organised. A bit like joy – you have to experience the lows so you can recognise and appreciate the highs.


If your life is fast paced and chaotic and you have children, you will know what I mean when I say that being disorganised costs you money. In fact it will often cost you in other ways as well. Here is an example.

It’s 6pm. You’re on your way home from children’s after school sports and you have nothing organised for dinner. You remember the ad for some fried chicken in a bucket which tells you to buy it because it’s quick and easy and the family will love you for it. ( even though your arteries and your wallet won’t!) You call in and pay an amount which you know is the equivalent of about 5 meals made at home. The ad was right , the family does love it and there’s no washing up. ( actually the family loves it until about 40 minutes later when Dad has a gall bladder attack, the kids are ‘hypo’ and you’re left feeling grossed out and heavy)

There are many other ways that being disorganised costs you money, apart from eating unplanned takeaway meals. How many times have you lost something and bought another one, only to find the original one a few days later? Have you had to purchase something because you need it straight away and you know you cant’ wait until the next sale? Have you gone somewhere with the kids and spent a lot of money just on drinks and snacks because you didn’t have anything with you for everyone to snack on.

Here are my thoughts to alleviate the problem.

1. Schedule based Menu Planning: If you know that you are home late on Tuesday nights, have meals that are quick and easy to prepare scheduled for that night. You could also make a double batch of something on Monday night knowing that you will have left overs ready to heat up for Tuesday nights.

2. Start your Evening Meal in the Morning: Take 10 minutes out of your morning to cut up vegies ready for a stir fry that you can just ‘throw together’ when you walk through the door. If you are really organised you could even have the chicken or meat marinating in the fridge.

3. Always take snacks and drinks with you. This is important especially if you have children that seem to need ‘refuelling’ all the time. It takes very little time to pack some drink bottles, some fruit and some home baked goodies. It is extremely expensive to go to the cafe near a park and buy everyone a drink and a snack.

4. Have a ‘gift cupboard’. Buy things when you see them on sale for Christmas and Birthday presents. In the back of my diary I have a list of who I buy presents for. Throughout the year I scribble down ideas that come to me about what I would like to buy or make for people on my list. If I see an item or the makings of an item that are on sale or a good price I will buy it and put it away in the ‘gift cupboard’.

5. Pay Your Bills on Time: a lot of service providers now have a late payment fee if payments are not received on time. Our system for bill paying is very simple. When a bill comes in we write it on the calendar and clip it to the “bills to pay” clipboard that hangs on the wall in the office. On my ‘office day’ I look at the bills that are due that week and pay them. The money is in our bills account because we total up the years bills and divide the amount by 52 and put that aside each week throughout the year.

6. Group Your Errands: Save petrol by making less trips to town. Have a list of things that need to be done or purchased while you are in town. Running back to the shop for one or two things you have forgotten is a costly exercise.

7. Avoid The Supermarket: If you go to a major supermarket for your shopping try and go there less. Every time you go in ‘just to grab a couple of things’ you will come out with more than what you went in for. Why is milk at the back of the store and bread at the other end ? It is to seduce you as you walk around. If you are currently a ‘drop in’ shopper try to menu plan and shop once a week. If you are a weekly shopper try to move to once a fortnight. If you are a fortnightly shopper – can you be a ‘super planner’ and only go there once a month ? This is my aim. A once a month supermarket trip and the rest from fruit and veg suppliers, farmers markets and the local fish co-op.

8. Return your hired DVDs on time. We hired some DVDs for our sons sleep over last month. When I went to pay the lady she said “ you really should go and get one more because these will cost you $13, but if you go and get another one you will get them for $9 because of the deal we have”. I reluctantly went and got another movie. National Treasure 2 for the grown ups to watch . I say reluctantly because we had already been in the shop for 40 minute while we persuaded five 10 year olds to agree on movies that we deemed suitable. The slumber party passed, the grown ups didn’t get a chance to watch the movie and kept it for the next night to watch, which didn’t come off either. By the time I took the DVD back I had to pay $5 for the late fee for a movie that we didn’t watch and didn’t want! LOL. ( .... and we still haven’t seen National Treasure 2!)

9. File your Warranty paperwork When your kettle stops working, can you remember whether it had a one or two year warranty? In our ‘throw away’ society we seems to replace these appliances all the time. A couple of times now we have had items like toasters and kettle replaced for free because we still had the warranty card which guarantees the product for 12 months or two years and didn’t quite make it over the line.

10. Know you tax deductible Items. Do you have a good working knowledge of what deductions you can make ? There is no point waiting until the end of the financial year to find out that you should have kept receipts for your spending throughout the year. For Australian readers, the tax office has an occupation guide for most jobs that points out the deductions available. Know your list and make a file of receipts and paperwork to maximise your deductions and reduce your taxable income as much as legally possible.

These are only a few tips. I am sure that you will be able to come up with many more. Why not share a lesson you have learnt ? How has disorganisation cost you money? Or what is the best organisational tip that saves you money? By sharing ideas we can all progress in this area.
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A Vision Splendid
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A Vision Splendid Newsletter

A Vision Splendid Newsletter




























Thank you for your emails. I really enjoy reading them and am so glad to be able to help many of you. I also love the feedback and assistance that you are giving me!

If you had previously subscribed to the VISION SPLENDID newsletter and have not received it, you will need to send another email with 'newsletter request' in the subject line.

We had our computer rebuilt and it appears that a lot of contacts have dropped off the list. The email address is on the left. I look forward to hearing from you.
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A Weekend of Memories

A Weekend of Memories









I am very excited to be heading off to my annual scrapbooking camp today. Three lovely days at Camp Elim on the lake near Forster NSW. It is the one time of the year when I can catch up on my albums. I don't scrapbook like you see in the shops with all the piles of ribbon and flowers and sticks and anything else that can be found, to me it is more like a photographic journal. The important thing for me is capturing the story that goes with the photos, like a diary of our daily pursuits with photographs.




I do this in 'hard copy' because although everything is in digital format, the format changes every couple of years. As an example of this I look at my childhood which is on 8mm silent film. The projector doesn't work properly anymore and yes I could probably get it fixed and convert the films to DVD etc etc, but the format will change again before too long. Just think - we started with the 5 1/4 inch floppy disk and then moved to the 3.5 inch disk and then the CD and then the DVD - what will be next ? Realistically I will have to convert my photos into a new format about every 5 years or so.

So for me, it's the old fashioned way. I take photos and I get them printed then I put them into museum quality albums and write with archival inks and preserve them. In the future there will be no outdated technology required to view my history, just the naked eye.



I have all my photos sorted and printed into groups ready to go for my intensive album making session. I have made notes to trigger my memory about what I want to record on the pages and it will be head down tail up working hard all weekend.



Making albums brings me so much joy. For each of my boys I have written an album 'to' them. It is a series of letters and photographs starting with when they were growing in my tummy. It captures how I felt about the day they were born, bringing them home for the first time, when they took their first steps. They love to look at them and read them. It is my view that it reinforces in them how they fit into the family and how precious and loved they are. In our busy lives do we ever take the time to write a note to someone and tell them how precious they are in our lives ?

This is my chance to record history for my family.
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Getting Ahead

Getting Ahead
























"When you have time, you do things for times when you have no time".
This is what my Grandmother taught me about Getting Ahead.

We all seem to be so busy these days that we are always running behind. We are late for work, late home and then have to get something 'quick and easy' to slap on the table for dinner because we simply 'don't have time'. We run our children all over the country side, yelling at them to hurry up.

We flit from one appointment to the next, having quick catch ups with friends on the hands free mobile while swapping the kids from school clothes to soccer gear in the back seat of the car with the other hand.


Why don't we have time ? Over the years have they shortened the length of a day ? Was 24 hours in 1972 longer than 24 hours in 2008 ? If you believe the hype then you would conclude 'yes'.


In the 1950s women were told that they could have so much extra time by purchasing labour saving devices. Clothes washers, clothes dryers, dish washers, kitchen appliances - all saved the housewife a tremendous amount of time. BUT.... where did that time go ? What did we fill it with ? Work outside the house ? Coffee mornings with friends, shopping ?



Our lack of time is a cross between a problem of overscheduling and perception. If you were to make a list of your priorities in life and then compare it to your diary you might be surprised at the results. For example, you might say your spouse is the most important thing, but when you glance back through your diary you may find you actually spent more time having coffee with friends or shopping than quality time with your spouse. Honestly answer the question - do you do too much that is not really aligned with your purpose or priorities ?

The other reason we don't have any time is because of our perception. If you ask anyone, they are busy. It seems to be the standard answer. How many times do you hear people say "i'd love to do that, but I just don't have time". The truth is we all have 24 hours a day.

So, when I do have some time left over I do as my Grandmother says and try and do things for times when I know I won't have spare time. Last week I had planned to do so much in the garden, but the miserable rain kept me from venturing out too far.
Instead invested some time. I made huge batches of biscuits and muesli bars, made soup with leftover amounts and made cordial. I also got an extra loaf of bread on. I have been making crunchy cookies lately as they seem to keep a bit longer. I put them in glass Moconna Coffee jars on the bench -It gives me great satisfaction knowing that I have made them for the family and I know exactly what is in them. I also put a huge batch of dough into the freezer for stand by. I usually always make a double batch so that I can make cookies at short notice

























These muesli bars worked out well. It's the recipe that just uses rolled oats, crushed weet-bix dried fruit orange juice and honey.


 


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Soaring diesel costs push truckies to the edge

Soaring diesel costs push truckies to the edge


Picture from Food Magazine

Did you see the 7.30 report on the ABC last night ? If not you can see it here: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/ or read the transcript here: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2008/s2311384.htm You can also google 'trucking industry strike' for the latest in news articles.


It seems that fuel prices are crippling many of the truckies. We have heard drivers saying that every time they go to fuel up it adds $100 to the bill. The difficulty for us as consumers is that EVERYTHING comes by truck. Most things you find on the supermarket shelf have travelled many hundreds of kilometres to get to the store. Eating Local suddenly becomes extremely important.

In all the articles I have read and watched the drivers are talking about a strike, 'go slow' or blockade on the 28th of July. There has already been one ' go slow' on a Sydney Freeway. The Transport Worker's Union say they are not in support of a strike, however other industry groups have formulated a list of demands to present to government.


Online forums are buzzing with people talking about their husbands, brothers, sons and cousins who are truckies that are going to strike. Diesel prices have risen 50c a litre since October and their runs are now unsustainable.


This has a major impact on us as householders. I do not blame the truckies, as there are numerous issues which must be addressed for them. Regardless of how those issues are resolved or played out, the matter of importance for me is the impact on households. Ask yourself this question..... How long can you sustain your household without going to a shop ?


QUOTE:

" Truck drivers are planning a nationwide two-week strike that could limit the supply of food and fuel. Requesting better pay and conditions, the organisers, led by the Australian Long Distance Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, are asking truck drivers to strike for two weeks from July 28.
The planned strike could have serious consequences on food industry supplies.One of the transport company owners said that the stoppage would highlight the impact the economy would be subjected to if the industry was to collapse. “On day three of the stoppage shops will run out of food, on day four service stations will run out of petrol, on day five we will run out of [drinkable] water … and on day 10 industry will shut down because there will be no power,” Hervey Bay’s Peter Schuback said. "

SOURCE: Food Magazine: Food and Beverage Industry News


Be wise. Apply the 6P principle. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Always make sure that you have sufficient supplies on hand to lessen the impact of any events which prevent you from obtaining food. You never know what these events may be: power shortages, floods, storm damage, sickness in the family, trucking strikes, petrol shortages. Having a good supply in your cupboards is a great insurance policy.
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