Showing posts with label home management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home management. Show all posts


There's More To Life Than Money ?

There’s more to life than money. We hear that saying all the time but for many people money is at the centre of their existence and I believe, rightly so.

If you are thirsty and dehydrated you can think of nothing but water. If you are starving you can think of nothing but food. So it is right to think that when you are out of money or you have money troubles then that is all you can think of.

Poor money management creates tremendous stress. There is stress because of guilty feelings of over spending. There is stress not knowing how bills will be paid for. There is stress in knowing that you are going backwards. This stress is often the basis of many disputes and marriage break ups.

The only way out is to WAKE UP from the CONSUMER NIGHTMARE.

If you are unhappy with your present financial circumstances then you must make changes to your relationship with money or things will not improve or they will get worse.

1. WORK OUT WHERE YOU ARE FINANCIALLY – list everything you have and everything you owe. A total clean sweep – right down to that 10c on your bedside table and the 20c coin in the glove box of your car. Gather it all up and FACE YOUR FINANCIAL TRUTH.

2. LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE – If you are in debt, look around your home and ask yourself ‘was it worth it’. I remember seeing a TV programme once where a finance expert was in someone’s home and they opened up the storage cupboard and just started counting - $30, $25, $75 etc as they were pointing to board games, hairdryers, DVD collections, toys etc. How much of your money is just sitting around in cupboards. It’s a VERY scary thought.

3. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU NOW DON’T HAVE: Think about this- if you have a mortgage and you haven’t paid it off in ten years, ask yourself where that money went that could have been used for extra repayments. The answer is – thrown out! You have spent thousands of dollars that could have got you out of debt on things that you have bought and thrown away. How many clothes do you have that are more than 5 years old ? We buy them then they go out of fashion and we throw them away. We also buy popcorn makers and electric slippers, music CDs, storage baskets, doona covers, computers, TVs, lounge suites. We have them for a while and then they become old, boring and unfashionable…. So we buy new ones. So instead of now being debt free, we accidentally spent the money that we could have put towards extra repayments on …… things that we thought were good at the time.

4. KNOW THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Advertising is seduction. The sooner you understand this, the better you and your money will get on together. Don’t believe what you see. No face cream will make you look younger, no car will improve your life, no office furniture will increase your income. What will really make you feel great is being financially free, having positive relationships and finding your ‘JOY FACTOR’ – that is, something that truly gives you joy in life. Think about why companies offer - BUY NOW PAY LATER type deals. It is because they know that the majority of people don’t pay on time and they will make extra profits.

5. IF YOU HAVE A POOR TRACK RECORD, DON’T TRUST YOURSELF: I have heard people say, I can’t carry cash because I just spend it. In my experience it is a lot harder to part with cash knowing that you only have $30 in your wallet than it is to hand over your credit card and convince yourself that this is a justifiable one off purchase that you will definitely pay off at the end of the month. BE REAL – carry cash and be creative about not using it.

6.BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF: We get into trouble with money because we are lying to ourselves. We won’t accept the cold hard truth that we cannot live our current lifestyle on our current income. It’s as simple as that. If we were HONEST we would think differently about how we spend.

7. RECOGNISE THAT RECREATIONAL BUYING GIVES A SHORT TERM BUZZ: - Sure, it’s exciting when you bring something home from the shops but the buzz wears off, sometimes too quickly and you have to buy something else to get that sense of excitement. – If it were any other substance you were abusing it would be called a drug addiction !

8. START IMAGINING A BETTER WORLD Day dream about what your life would be like if you were debt free. Would it mean that you could take holidays, real, soul renewing holidays. Would it mean that one of the parents could ‘come home’. Would it mean that both parents could work part time. Would it mean that you could stop working to pay for debt and start working in an area that you are passionate about that may mean a lesser salary. Would it mean that you could leave work all together and work for yourself, create your own income or do volunteer work ?

9. WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO TRADE YOUR TIME FOR: If you are working to create income, then everything you buy you have worked for. If your hourly rate is $30 then to buy a $60 pair of jeans you have to work two hours. You may be quite willing to do that. Ask yourself, however, whether you are willing to pay for other things – Are you prepared to work 20 hours per year to pay for cleaning products that you simply pour down the toilet or the sink ? If not, use vinegar and bi-carb. Are you willing to work 26 hours a year to pay for a subscription TV service that you miss most of the time anyway. If not, borrow DVDs from your local library. What about working 40 hours just to pay for the finance charges on your credit card which are in addition to working to pay for the things that you purchased that created the finance and interest charges. Maybe the answer to some of these questions might be ‘yes’ but it’s worth asking the question.

10. PLUG THE HOLES AUDIT: Go through all your bank statements, receipts, bills etc and see where your money goes. Don’t dismiss any small amounts. If you seriously want to make some changes then plug the holes in your ship. The small holes draining away your potential savings could sink your ship. Look at every option and try to work about how to save $5 here and there. You might find cheaper house insurance that cuts $10 a month off your bill, what about grocery savings by menu planning and shopping with a list, what about using cash only when you’re out. How about driving less or changing brands of deodorant, bread or internet provider. There are THOUSANDS of hints and tips waiting for you out there when you are ready to make the change.

THE RESULTS: Having your family budget under control means that you have freedom. You can sleep at night without financial stress. You can spend freely, knowing that you have amounts in spending categories already there in your money tin when needed. If the kids have an excursion, need new shoes, are going to a birthday party or are playing sport, you can be confident that there is money to cover it. You know that planning your meals and squeezing your grocery budget is worth it for the end of year holiday that you have each year. When you have the money aspect of your life under control it frees you up to think about chasing your joy and living a more sustainable, family centered life.


Pasta Making

Further home made joy the other night from freshly made pasta. Someone told me many years ago that once you taste fresh pasta it is very difficult to go back to the dried stuff. I would have to agree.

Our pasta is just made with flour, egg and salt.

The photo below is pretty bad and doesn't do justice for the outcome, but the whole family got involved in producing this dinner and it was lovely !

The Joy of Soapmaking

Here is the result of my first soap making efforts. I am very pleased with the outcome, although some of them are a little bit crumbly. Although I left them 24 hours before turning them out of the moulds, I feel they could have been left longer.

My recipe uses copha, olive oil, rice bran oil and lye. I added a pure lemon myrtle oil as fragrance and for it's medicinal properties. I stamped them with a fancy M because it's the only stamp I had.
The soap takes 4-6 weeks to 'cure' and I can't wait for them to be done. Just washing the containers, the soap feels very creamy and moisture rich.

I loved making the soap because of the joy factor. There is joy in knowing that I can produce something like this from scratch and there is joy in knowing exactly what is in it. There are no petrochemicals here!

It struck me when I was making this soap that it is not as much 'work' as I thought. Being more self reliant does take time, but it's time here and there. About half an hour to make the soap and I won't have to do it again for some time. I will work out how long the cakes last and time it so that I will always have lots on hand.

How exciting having another thing under my belt in this quest for self reliance. Bring on the cured soap so that I can grate it to make washing powder !!!!!


Feel the Rhythm.....

Can you believe I have made ten Chinese Lanterns tonight because the boys wanted to "celebrate the Olympics"? Personally, I am not into the Olympics - there's that whole Human Rights issue that spoils it a bit for me, along with the whole - money for entertainment while millions starve, but, I keep that to myself ! LOL

It is so lovely to be home for the afternoon/evening routine. When I was working and would come home late I would REALLY miss this, even though I have the best husband in the world that would do homework, cook tea and bath the children, I always felt that I was missing out.

Kids thrive on rhythm and so do adults. It provides stability and security. Life seems to run smoother with a daily, weekly, seasonal and yearly rhythm. That's the way nature operates.

Today confirmed for me that I have made the right decision in leaving my legal career and choosing my family instead. It's really funny that most mothers agonise over the career/family decision when the children are small. It seems funny that I was home for 5 years when they were young then went back to work for about 2.5 years then made the decision to 'come home'. I remember my sister, who has children a lot older than mine, was talking about mothers 'coming home' when the children where in their later teen years, especially when they were in the senior school years because that's when they were needed most. At the time of hearing this I was dreading the idea because you tend to think that as they get older they become less reliant on you. As my children grow I realise that the reliance remains, it is just in a different format.

Another wise woman told me once that there are seasons in life. This is my season to nurture. I don't know how long it will last, but when I feel ready I will return to work. I have a really great boss who sent me an email today updating me on one of our cases and telling me to let him know when I get bored ! lol.......... We'll see when the season changes.


Today..... In A Nutshell

1. Wash bedding for number 2 son.

2. Make corned meat with Nanna's mustard for tea

3. Plant my Dutch Iris bulbs

4. Plant some more flowers out near the front steps

5. Make bread

6. Make a chocolate cake for afternoon tea

7. Make cookies to stock up the jars

8. Tidy the backyard gardening mess from yesterday's planting session

9. Measure space for the chook house and turn the sketch into a formal plan

10. Measure and design outdoor kitchen space ready for summer

11. Re-organise under sink garbage system - compost/ recycling/rubbish

12. Begin update of my household planner - focusing on budget.

13. Prepare for scrapbooking camp I am teaching at the end of August.

14. Juice fruit and make cordial

15. Tidy Office

16. Put bigger sign on front door that says "please make up my room" to see if there are any takers.


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: or read the transcript here: 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 ?


" 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.


My Most Used Kitchen Appliance

Who would have thought that a mix master could bring you so much joy!

This was a gift from Hubby a couple of years ago for our 10th wedding anniversary.

I use it all the time. I love it because the design hasn't changed a great deal in the past 30 years.

 I have a book for an older model and it hasn't changed much either. It is very good quality and I hope it will last and last.


10 Tips for Reducing School Morning Stress

Tips for reducing the morning stress.

1. Have all clothes ironed and ready the night before.

2. Put children's clothes in a place where they can easily access themselves. We put our boys clothes over the same chair every day so when they go to get dressed everything is there.

3. Prepare notes the night before. We have a thin folder for communications between school and home

4. Have lunch boxes out ready to be packed. Depending on what foods you include, some can be prepared the night before.

5. Have an early bed time. Reduce stimulation well before bed time – have quiet music, relaxing baths, turn of TV, read aloud etc

6. Start early in the morning. Don’t leave everything until the last minute when you have to run around madly.

7. Have children do their ‘morning jobs’. Kids thrive on rhythm and routine. Depending on their age they may be able to do their own jobs such as making the bed, tidying their room etc.

8. Get yourself ready early. Get up before your children so you have a head start on the day.

9. Take the time to have a good breakfast.

10. Turn off the TV in the mornings. Time always go slower when the TV is off.

If you can implement these things it will bring peace to a very busy time of the day.


The Family That Cooks Together..........

We have just had a wonderful weekend of eating and cooking. I had to go to the Hunter Valley for a work conference on Friday and Saturday and managed to pick up some favourites reds and some lovely cheeses. On Saturday night we had a bbq at a friends house and enjoyed said wines and cheeses.

On Sunday we went water skiing before I had everyone over for a Chef's Toolbox party. If you haven't seen this before, you MUST have a look. I went to a party a couple of weeks ago, somewhat reluctantly, with my Mum. I was so surprised ! It was brilliant, nothing like what I expected from a party plan. Chef's Toolbox is an Australian company that sells cooking equipment and bakeware.

Catherine, the demonstrator, did a 10 minute talk then all the participants used the demo stuff to prepare a meal. We made a Thai chicken curry and caramel chocolate tarts. One person chopped chicken, another stirred the coconut milk etc. When it was all done we looked through the catalogues, made our orders and then sat and enjoyed the food with a glass of wine ! It was great so I quickly booked a party.

Yesterday we did the same recipes that I did at the first demonstration. I got loads of freebies for being the hostess ! The products are exceptional quality. The cookware is expensive as a one of purchase, but excellent value ( the saucepan I want is $149). They have a lifetime guarantee so I am prepared to save to get them. The bakeware is very reasonable with most pieces being about $39-$49. It suits the needs of all budgets.

I told Catherine that if I had the time, I would become a consultant. It is so aligned with my passion of empowering women and cooking from scratch. I also know that party plans go VERY well in regional areas because we just cannot access the quality products. There are no department stores to duck in to.

After the party No 1 Son made pizza dough in the breadmaker and cooked a great pizza for himself. Not bad for an almost 10 year old ! Today I made a big batch of choc chip cookies and put a big amount of dough in the freezer ready for busy times. Hubbie made rock cakes tonight because he has to go away tomorrow and these seem to have become his signature dish !

The Chef's Toolbox scales allow you to use one bowl for weighing all ingredients. They allow you to press a button and 'zero' the scales each time you add something. This means you only wash up one bowl ! For example, you put the bowl on the scale and then zero it and add 300g flour and then zero it again and add 90g butter and zero it etc etc

So, here is the rock cake recipe:

300g self raising flour

90g butter

1.2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger ( heaped if you want a stronger taste)

2 tablespoons of sultanas

1 egg

3 tablespoons of milk


Sift flour and rub in butter with fingertips - keep rubbing until the mixture resemables breadcrumbs. (Hubbie says the secret is 'cool hands' - this cracks me up !)

Add sugar and ginger and stir through. Add fruit. Beat egg and add milk. Make into a stiff dough. Place spoonfuls or small handfuls onto a buttered tray and bake at 220C for 10-15 minutes. Turn onto a rack and cool.

Hubbie also makes pretty mean scones - I mean real ones with buttermilk ! The world, in my experience, is grouped into two classes of people - those that can make great scones and those that can't. Last time he made scones he had to ride his motorbike to town because he didn't have any buttermilk. When he got home I saw him laying on the bed reading a water ski magazine. When I said 'aren't you making scones' he told me that he was waiting for his hands to cool down, because his secret ingredient is 'cool hands'. LOL - you gotta love the man- he takes his cooking very seriously !!

The chocolate chip cookies are really easy and the kids love to make them - yell out if you don't have a recipe and want to try mine.


1950s Home Management Book ... page 419

The Daily Work

"The easiest way to plan the daily work is to divide it into three parts. The first is tidying up and quick cleaning, including airing and putting straight all the rooms and parts of the house in daily use, removing surface dirt and dust, bed making, attention to fires, central heating apparatus and water heaters if any, and sanitary fittings such as bath, hand basin and lavatory pan. The time required for this work will vary greatly according to the type of home and family, but it will be less troublesome if such jobs as airing and straightening of living rooms, emptying ash-trays and putting away books and papers are done overnight".

The second job is the preparation, serving and clearing away of meals. Careful planning is of great help here, so that the time and effort spent in shopping is minimised and the amount of cooking done is not excessive.

The Weekly Turn Out
The third job is the weekly or thorough turn out of some part of the house. This may sound a contradiction of terms, but every day except perhaps Saturday and Sunday, part of the home in turn must be thoroughly cleaned, though not necessarily every part every week. Rooms not regularly used may only need turning out occasionally, others perhaps every two or three weeks, though bathrooms, lavatory and kitchen are among the three weekly 'musts'. If regular cleaning is done conscientiously the occasional or 'spring' cleans will be less formidable, and may not be necessary at all except when redecoration is required."

It is so lovely to read this and think about how important it was in 1950. Then part of me thinks ' yeah, but she never had Lego, slot cars and pokemon cards to deal with'. Having a small house also means that we live in every inch of it! I really need a 'parlour' where guests come into and sit. A room that is always kept tidy and inviting. The only problem is that we have a cottage style house where you walk in the front door and off to the side from the hallway are all the rooms. Two bedrooms are at the front of the house and then you walk into the lounge room on your right and kitchen on your left.

Do you have a 'special' area of your house or do you live in it all ?


1950s Home Management Book ... page 418

"Most people will agree that some sort of plan is essential in running a home, but let if first be made clear that household routine is a very individual matter, and it is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules. However, as all homemakers have to struggle with the problem, let us see if some useful guidance cane be given which will help every household to work out its own salvation".

What Has To Be Done

" The next step is to decide what has to be done to keep the household happy, healthy and comfortable. The first essential is good feeding, and this is a task needing knowledge skill and ingenuity. It includes planning, shopping and the preparation if interesting well-balanced meals, plus serving, washing up and clearing away day after day for seven days a week.

Next to feeding comes clothing, for if the supply of clean, tidy clothes runs out the members of the family will find themselves in dire straits indeed. Household linen and soft furnishings must be included in this too and, whether the laundry is done at home or sent out, time must be allowed for care and attention to clothing, and making, mending and renovation."

"Third on the list is the care and cleaning of the home, from daily attention and thorough cleaning to special cleaning in all parts of the home, decoration, renovation and repair"

"last but by no means least, the housewife must find time for her own relaxation and recreation and to take an understanding interest in the life and pursuits of her family. The routine must be adaptable, or family difficulties will arise because the mother has worn herself out trying to keep to a strict plan and has no energy left to deal with personal problems or to devote to entertaining"

" We now have to fit all of this into a workable plan".

This is from a two book series called "Newnes Home Management". My mum got them at a book sale or garage sale for virtually nothing and I love them. They have everything from cooking to budgeting. There is even a section entitled 'housework for the figure' in which you can keep a shapely body by stretching a little further when you dust ! LOL

Household management has been on my mind as I work through my management binder. I have noticed that bloggers have been discussing the pros and cons of Flylady ( or GTD ( Getting Things Done - book by David Allen) What is the best way to manage a household ? Do you subscribe to any one method ? Wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday like the old days ? Do you spend the weekends doing housework when you should be out there 'living' ?

I will post more on the 1950s method of 'keeping house'. Who knows, we might learn something !

The Tea Towel

As you may remember I have taken it upon myself to single handed revive the lost art of 'air pot' use

I laughed recently when a girlfriend in Sydney told me that she is single handed reviving the art of giving tea towels ! Remember when people went on holidays they brought back tea towels and spoons as gifts for people ? She cracked me up ! We decided then and there that we are not reviving spoons, just the tea towels.

I can remember receiving tea towels for my 'glory box' when I was young. The tea towels were usually brown with pictures of kangaroos on them LOL !

When I was travelling out west earlier this year I picked up two gorgeous tea towels from Inverell in brown and pink that had Australian recipes on them. I gave one to another friend for her birthday with some other bits and pieces ( after telling her our revival story). I gave the other one to my friend from Sydney when she was visiting last week. She laughed so much ! She said she loves it!!!

A few days after giving the first tea towel away my friend turned up with one from England (where she's from) saying she had brought this back with her and now she knew exactly who would appreciate it. Oh gee I laughed !

Do you remember the tea towel and spoon giving tradition ? It makes me laugh !
So, join the club, lets do a revival of the commemorative tea towel.


Monday Monday ....

Today I am off to do the shopping. Not just any shopping, but my 'extreme shopping'. Frequent readers will know that I take my grocery shopping pretty seriously! LOL

The good thing about shopping today is that I won't have the children with me, so there's a dramatic saving straight away ! I will also go to ALDI which is about 40 minutes away. I go with a friend and we share the petrol cost. It's also a nice day out to go to a place that has shops that we don't normally see.

I am looking forward to getting my menu planning sorted out, my budget money up to date and re-stocking my stockpile. We let it run down over the summer because we were going to be away so much and I wasn't working, so we used up much of our stores.
I am almost finished updating the sections in my planner For those of you that asked about it, I will update you on the inside workings of it once I have completed it.


Rhythm and Routine

The school year started for our family yesterday. The boys enjoyed their first day. One in year four and the other in year one.

My focus at the moment is restoring rhythm to our house. Kids thrive on predictability, rhythm and structure. They learn that they are safe, secure and become personally disciplined. Adults are the same to a certain degree. There is a peace in a steady routine and we often feel at our worst when things are happening all over the place and we don't get the basics done each week.

Because I work four days per week I think the evening rhythm is the most important that needs restoring. Bedtimes are usually all over the place during the long summer school holidays. With daylight savings it's not getting dark until after 8.30pm, so it's really important to get the kids to wind down before attempting to put them to bed.

Our evenings will flow like this:

- after school the children can play.
- homework - once I arrive home
- Dinner about 6.15
- shower after dinner
- reading aloud to children ( at the moment we are ready the Spiderwick Chronicles)
- children in their beds - I will let them read or draw for 20 minutes before turning their lights off.

I make sure that the TV is off so that we don't compete with the noise. I have noticed that the kids choose better activities and use their imaginations better when there is no TV.

Let's hope the grand plan works well !

Savings or " Not Spendings"

We hear all the time about how much money we can save. We see it in shops - save $15, save 30% or we read about people cutting $25 a week off their groceries.

But are these really savings ? and if they are where does the money go ? I am quickly realising that most so called ' savings' should really be called ' not spending', in that unless you were actually intending to spend, for example, $100 on an item and you only had to spend $80 and invested the $20 - then that is a true 'saving'.

Lets look at it this way.

When doing our budgets we go through and 'reduce' our outgoings - $5 a month here, $2 a month there etc etc. - adding up to $400 saving a month and a whopping $5000 saving a year. But do we actually invest that saving and earn interest off it and add to it and make it grow ? Or is it simply money that we could have spent but didn't!

I am going to make sure that I 'scoop off' all the little 'savings' I find. For example, when I budget $150 for the weekly groceries but only spend $125 I will put some aside for weeks when I need to spend more to stock up and I will scoop off some and put in my 'never to be touched' savings account. I think in this category a 50/50 split with the leftovers will be good.

Are you frugal, do you work hard to save money .... do you channel that money into savings or into debt reduction ? Post your ideas here.


Modern Retro Housewives

Take this job and love it!
By Ami Thomas

Her alarm clock chimes before the sun rises. She's not only up and at 'em, she's dressed to the nines in heels and a full face, wearing perfume. Her apron is starched and matches her outfit, and breakfast is on the table. Her husband and children come to the table dressed and pressed: they've been raised that way, and she's done the ironing.

The year is not 1944, or even's 2004, and the modern retro housewife is keeping house like Grandma did. She’s starting early and staying up late. Her day begins just after daybreak, when she gets up and gets dressed. No sweats or boxer shorts and t-shirts for her, she's wearing silk pajamas and pin curls. She bathes, dresses, combs out her hair and does her face. She's a modern-day Donna Reed, and she doesn't wear Donna Karan.

Home-Cooked Meals

When her family leaves for school and work, after a hot breakfast, the kitchen is cleaned, beds made, house straightened. If it's Monday, it's wash day, but whatever the day, you can bet her home is in order. The cupboards are never bare and dinner is ready when Father comes home in the evening. Meals are simple and nourishing. Breakfast and lunch are served in the kitchen, dinner is served in the dining room, and little boys tuck in their shirts before coming to the table.

Once a week, she gets her hair done and a manicure. If the budget is tight that week, she does it herself, but "going without" or cultivating "bedhead" is no more an option than wearing a jogging suit to the grocery store or going to the mailbox without lipstick.

She may be just an old-fashioned gal, or a semi-retired bombshell. She’s mastered the art of cleaning the cat box in a pencil skirt and stockings. She can sweep, mop and clean the toilet without chipping a nail or losing a bobby pin. These dames can keep house and keep the home fires burning. And really, what's sexier than a woman who can cook and doesn't mind cleaning up afterwards?

Taking Pride in Pleasing Others

These retrophiles and their mates are happily living in their own little time warps, raising their families the old-fashioned way, with good manners and knowledge of some basic social graces. Their children know who Alfred Hitchcock is and can sing Cole Porter tunes in the bath.

The little ones look up to Daniel Boone and Amelia Earhardt, and when they say the Pledge of Allegiance in the neighborhood grade school, they understand it and it means something. The kids wear plaid skirts and saddle shoes and turned-up dungarees with striped t-shirts and Beaver Cleaver caps. They say "ma'am" and "sir" and know which fork to use.

I know, it all sounds so nice, so perfect. Well, it is nice. Maybe it isn't perfect for everyone, but for a few of us, it's heaven. We were born too late. We live in that fabulous era of the mid-20th Century, when we'd just won The War and the whole country was overflowing with optimism about things to come. Good had triumphed over Evil, just as it should, and all was right with the world. The guys in White Hats would keep on winning and we'd all be safe from those guys in the Black Hats. It was as simple as that. The Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. What could be more wholesome?

The Retro Housewife's Office

It just so happens that we don't think all things referred to as "progress" really are moving us forward. And it isn't just about the clothing that kids are wearing today (or, more accurately, not wearing these days). Looking at style trends is a good barometer for where we are as a society. When it just doesn’t matter to you how you look when you leave the house, it probably doesn't matter to you how you do your job. It probably doesn't matter to you how you drive or how you keep your lawn or anything else. If you can't take pride in yourself, then what can you take pride in?

For the modern retro housewife, our lifestyle is a show of respect—respect for ourselves and others. Housewives dress each morning just as if they're going to an outside job because keeping house and caring for their families is a job. It's a serious job and we respect that work. We show that respect by not showing up for work wearing velour sweats and un-brushed hair. (And for the record, flip-flops are not shoes, just in case you're on the fence about that one.)

Modern Conveniences

Sure, we take advantage of some modern conveniences: good dishwashers, advancements in vacuum cleaners, a good TV to watch those films noirs. A big refrigerator with water in the door definitely saves steps, and I can't live without my garbage disposal. I also really like the coffee maker…but I have a percolator and I know how to use it. We have cell phones and pink princess phones. We have CD players and Victrolas. We have new cars and old cars. We have DVDs of our favorite classics, because we like to preserve what's important to us.

Living this way every day is a real commitment. We have to mean it, because we are outnumbered exponentially and sometimes it feels like Us or Them, especially when we're trying to teach our children some values and morals. You know, simple things, like buy pants that fit and no one else wants to see your underwear.

Going to the grocery store is better at the local market, not the big chains, since most of the customers are dressed like I am. Granted, most of them are in their dotage, but they don't look at me like I'm wearing a costume. (It's easier in a bigger city, too, when you're likely to just be considered "eccentric", and since I live in the same town as John Waters, I figure I'm OK.)
'Granny Chic'?

If you've seen the August and September issues of Vogue magazine, you'll know that I am at the height of couture fashion this season. "Granny Chic" as it's called, is all the rage. (This outraged me and some of my friends at first, because all the "good stuff" we’ve loved all our lives is going to be outrageously priced and hard to find.)

Looking like I care what is going on at Fashion Week is anathema. I don't want to be trendy. I don't believe in trendy. The upside (my fellow retrophiles decided) is that in a few months, all those designer retro suits are going to be in the thrift stores and all over eBay. We can wait.

You know, the whole thing really comes down to how you want to live and what you want out of living. Frank Sinatra said, "You only live once, but if you live like me, once is enough." We believe that, in theory, though most of us can't live like the Chairman of the Board. Mostly, we try to live like we mean it, like it matters, not like we're just killing time or getting through one thing and onto the next. Every day matters when you live simply and honestly and know what's important to you. We look at our children and we're proud of them. When we're old, we can look back at our lives and be proud also—proud that we were modern retro housewives.


New Planner

Here is this years cover for my Home Management Binder. It's a bit "pretty" this year. I have really taken to dusty pinks and greens at the moment.

One of the things I love about the New Year is when you take some time to get on top of everything. You finally get to do the jobs that you have been putting off, you know the ones - where you just hang on until the end of the year passes and then you can finally breath out and start afresh.


New Floors Down

The floors are down and the furniture is slowly going back to where it should be. The floors need to be polished a little as they are a bit flat and have a powdery coating.

The next step is to complete my 'VISION SPLENDID'. My vision is of a well maintained, organised house with a place for everything and everything in it's place. Clear of clutter and unused items. A place where our children can grow and learn in a simple environment free from the distractions that the world puts in our way (read consumerism!) I believe that when children have too much and are never bored, they don't ever develop their imagination. It is the child who is allowed to become 'bored' from time to time who builds a cubby house, creates a 'shop' or sits down to sketch and design.

So the task of decluttering, simplifying and creating peace continues.


Not A Vision Splendid

Last night we had to move everything so that the timber floors can go down. FINALLY !

We have done a lot of work to this little house over the past few years. It has grown as our needs have grown. The latest project involved closing in a back cement veranda and reclaiming an over sized laundry for living area. We then updated the bathroom and combined the laundry with the bathroom because the bathroom is a good size and we use a front loading washing machine that doesn't take up much space.

Now it's time to put timber flooring down - all the way through the house except the bedrooms. Hopefully it will cut down on dust and will be easier to keep clean.

I am looking forward to putting things back and minimising all the clutter. I will create my Vision Splendid, that is, I will design it exactly the way I would like it to be !


A Facelift and A New Mindset

You have all seen this picture before. I snapped it one morning when I felt that Spring was trying to break it's way through the cold winter mornings.

This is the main hallway in our home.

You will notice that we have cream coloured carpet.

It was a good idea at the time. Number one son was a newborn baby and we had no idea what life would be like in the future with cream coloured carpet and two young sons. My father-in-law suggested that we get black carpet and paint the walls black up to a height of four feet until the children are about 12 years old. LOL

Next week we are having the carpet replaced with timber. This is something we have been saving up for, for a while now.

We are really looking forward to a total clean sweep of the house. Since renovating the bathroom and building a back room onto our house many of the normal spring cleaning jobs have gone out the window, so we a really looking forward to a re-vamp.

Part of the re-vamp involves a massive clear out. We are going to reduce our belongings dramatically. We have so many things in this house that we never use and the freedom that comes from decluttering is long overdue.

I was reading an article recently about setting up home for the first time. It listed things that are required for each room. As I was reading it dawned on me that we really don't need too much else than what was listed.
For example, under laundry it said:

___ Iron
___ Ironing board
___ Detergent
___ Bleach
___ Fabric softener
___ Laundry Basket
___ Stain Remover
___ Sewing kit
___ Hangers

What else do you have in the laundry that may not be necessary ?

When we go away each year to our holiday unit we always comment on the simplicity of it. You open the cupboard and there are only 8 matching glasses, plates, bowls etc.

The cutlery is all matching, the second drawer only has a few important utensils. All so simple, so peaceful and so easy to maintain.

So...... a change of mindset...... simplify...... differentiate between needs and wants.......declutter and reduce belongings drastically.

Are you interested in a clear out ? Would you like to follow along and revamp your own rooms one by one with me ? Send me an email or a comment and jump on board!

P.S. One woman's trash in another women's treasure. I will post a link to my ebay site when the process begins. LOL

April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn.  The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper ...