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


The Rythm of Life Returns

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The long days of summer holidays are behind us and we are slowly returning to our usual rhythm. Today marks the first full week that the boys have been back at school.

After a summer of no shoes, lots of swimming and playing I have sent two bleached blonde haired, tanned boys back to school feeling most uncomfortable in their leather shoes!

It now time for me to turn my mind back to my rhythm. It's time to reshape the Vision Splendid and re-establish my connection with what it is that I am trying to achieve here.

Yesterday I did another radio interview with the local ABC. It was so nice to hear Fiona talk about how much she enjoys my site. It really gives me a tremendous sense of joy to know that others are empowered by reading my journey. Thank you again for the feedback and I look forward to building a stronger community throughout 2009.

So today I am pulling out my home management binder and revamping it for 2009. If you have a copy of my E-Book you can follow me - I am working through from page 18 on total organisation.

I have also started an audit of all the bills I pay. Have a look at the Simple Savings link on the left hand side which I am using to build more savings throughout the year. In January the focus was to look at all your bills and get a better deal. This is one site I always pay a membership for. It is a HUGE database of saving ideas - not just simple "use vinegar" type ideas, but I mean real ideas like where to find discount bread, meat, or stories of people negotiating cheaper insurance or how they have paid down debt etc. A very worthwhile resource.

As a list writer I love headings. I think in headings and boxes. So my thinking at the moment is grouped into the following headings. This sets out my focus areas for the next few weeks.

Finances: re-vamp budget, design new spending plan and organise bill payment system.

Household Management: evaluate current weekly plan and design systems. Look at doing LESS in 2009 by evolving simple successful systems for cleaning, ironing and home maintenance.

Baking: Invest time to save time - do more baking frenzies - find some interesting new meal ideas to add to our core group of meals.

Gardening: Plan out successive plantings to prevent the feast then famine approach that we had last year. Move towards supplying much more food from the garden.

So that's my 'thinking', which will then evolve into some projects.

Where are you heading in 2009 ?


A Healing Home

This is a phrase that has been stuck in my head over the last few days. I must have seen the phrase somewhere and not read on, but somehow, those words have stuck in my mind.

Although I have not fully thought it through, the idea of a healing home is very appealing to me.

The thing that comes to mind straight away is the immediate home environment. We joke about the state of our houses and put housework on the back burner because there are more important things to do, but for me, the household environment has a significant impact on your emotions. It is difficult to wake up and feel good about yourself and have a good start to the day when you have to climb over a pile of junk to get out of bed and then are faced with last nights dirty dishes all over the kitchen! Contrast this with stepping out of bed in the morning and walking out into a totally clean kitchen. I know which one would make me feel uplifted.

So, the first step to a healing home for me will be a clear and uncluttered environment. This is easier said than done!

The second idea that pops into my mind when I think of a healing home is a place of comfort and joy. It has only been in the last five years or so that I have become more 'homey'. It struck me once that if you walked into my home and I wasn't here, you would know nothing about me or my family. There were no photos, nothing of significance to tell the story of who lived in the house. Once I realised this, I started to slowly bring a little of myself and my family to our home. I chose photos that brought us joy and we had them framed to put around the lounge room. I hung up other things like the cross- stiches that my mother made to celebrate the birth of each of our sons and some other significant gifts that we had. I didn't put out a lot of stuff, because I like a more minimalist look, but I brought out some things that celebrated who we are as a family.

The third thing I think of when I imagine a healing home is a fresh smelling. chemical free home. One thing I would really like to get established is a great flower garden. I am not sure what I would grow in it, but I would love to have long stemmed flowers to bring inside every couple of days. I love to have fresh flowers, but usually only have them once a year on a special occasion. Buying cut flowers is just not in my budget, so I really must try and grow more or take better care of the few roses that I have. I love the look they bring to the place and the smell. I really don't like fake air fresheners, they seem to stick in the back of my mouth! I would much rather boil some lemons in water on the stove or burn some pure essential oils with cleansing smells if I want to bring a scent into the house. The best smell however, is no smell at all, just freshness. ( actually, the best smell is baking cookies!)

The final thing that comes to mind for a healing home is a positive, safe environment without shouting and abuse, where spirits are uplifted and everyone has a sense of relief to be able to come inside and relax. A healing home is a peaceful refuge from the world.

What comes to mind when you think of a healing home ? Have you recently been trying something new? What do you do to create a healing home ?


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.


Detailing A Simple Life - our budget

I have been getting more and more emails asking for assistance in the areas of simple living, home management and budgeting. It gives me great joy to know that my writing is actually assisting you! Please keep the emails coming. I try and address them with detailed responses, just be aware that sometimes it takes me a couple of days to get through them all. I will also try and give more specific details in each of the posts I create.

In return, I ask that if you gain some benefit from my writing you put a link on your blog or send all your friends a link to the site and ask them to tell their friends!

At the moment I have turned my mind towards tightening our budget. I think it is because of all the news coverage about the current financial climate. I really feel for small businesses who are the first to suffer when there is less work around for people. It is okay for us to say we will cut out non-essentials like coffees, magazines, restaurant meals etc - but what if you are the owner of the restaurant, coffee shop or news agent who has to put food on your table. It really is hard, because the truth is, that in difficult times it becomes a case of 'everyman for themselves', meaning, if I don't have extra money to spend I am not going to eat at your cafe. The good thing is that the economy works in cycles, we just need to ride out this downturn.

So if I can't help you by spending money at your cafe, the only thing I can do is, as I have said before, swap you spinach for eggs, or jam for beans. This is the great Australian way - swapping the pickles over the back fence. We just need to re-establish these traditions.

I have just re-done our family budget again. Partly because I want to reduce it and partly because it changes every season because of changes to our entertainment and eating habits.

As my regular readers know I am an envelope girl. I have little bags for each area where money is required and withdraw the correct denominations of cash each week. Recently I have changed this from plastic bags to a little mini accordion file with labelled compartments.

I include not only amounts that I know we spend each week like food, fuel, entertainment but also include seasonal categories like clothing, holidays, Christmas birthdays. Whenever we need something I just go to that category and pull out the cash. This really works for us and it gives me tremendous joy knowing that we always have the money there for things that we need or if we want to go and do something as a family. There are from time to time expenses that I haven't thought of but because I have been doing it for many years I have it pretty well worked out.

Hubbie needed new shoes today ( I have begged him for weeks to replace his ones that were just about needing sticky tape!) and he was able to go and get the cash out of the folder. Number One son has a birthday party to go to on Saturday and I know that there is money there for a present. If the kids bring home a school excursion note or we want to hire a movie or go out for tea, the money is there. We don't have to worry about the guilt of knowing that we can't afford it but stick it on the credit card anyway to worry about "later".

We now allocate $365 per week, down from $449. The categories are:






Clothing/ hair

boat fuel



pocket money

sanity money

kids banking.

This is separate to the amount I have for bills and savings. I always take savings out first and have a bills amount worked out by adding them all up over the year and dividing by 52.


The kids pocket money is $5 per week. They use it to buy treats and save up for things.

The sanity money is $10 each that Hubbie and I have that we just blow or save or whatever we feel like. I allocate $150 per week for groceries but never spend that much. I usually spend under $100. I collect the extra money and blow it in holiday times or when we have visitors or at Christmas time etc. Sometimes I have to buy things out of that amount if they breakdown, like a toaster or something.

I love having Christmas already paid for. I love having our yearly resort holiday already paid for. There is great peace.

Having cash on hand is extremely powerful. I love the concept of poverty by choice. I like shopping knowing that I have a set amount in my pocket. It makes me really consider each purchase.

Are you a cash person ? Or do you have some other fabulous way of staying within your budget ? Do share !

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