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Showing posts with label proverbs 31. Show all posts
Showing posts with label proverbs 31. Show all posts
An Early Riser

An Early Riser





I am an early riser. Sometimes it is ridiculously early. Sometimes I am rising when others are just blowing out the lamp for the evening.


I wake naturally. I haven’t had an alarm clock for years. Somehow, I seem to have a built in one.

It wasn’t always this way, in fact, I used to be the complete opposite. When I was at uni the first time they ran evening exams and my housemate and I became completely nocturnal for a period of time! Then.... there was the time I overslept for a maths exam and bolted out the door ( thank goodness I had fallen asleep fully dressed) and was then told that I had the imprint of the electric blanket wires in the side of my face!!!!


But, alas that was almost 20 years ago (gulp!) and somehow I survived the lack of sleep and somehow managed to get a degree or two and somehow pick up a husband and a couple of children on the way to here. ... somehow.....

In between all of that I have lived at both ends of each 24 hour period. I have stayed up very late and I have gotten up very early. For me, the rising early habit really works.


1) I function better, no really.... a LOT better when I have had great sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep I not only lack energy, but my brain fogs over.


2) Quiet, uninterrupted morning time. Whether you use this time for meditation, reading, blogging or just sitting.....the peace and still of the morning really centres you.


3) No rush: getting up early means having enough time to eat a proper breakfast, snuggle with the family, think through your day, get ahead with some housekeeping jobs to free up extra play time etc


4) Seeing the sunrise is a powerful moment. That clear reminder that today is a new day and that everything is fresh and ready to start again. ( contrast this with the buzz of an alarm clock and rush rush rush.....)

Do you want to become an early riser ?

Try these tips.

Go to bed earlier – read if you need to wind down.

Make slow and steady changes, try 15 minutes earlier every second day.

Do something ‘lovely’ with your new time so that getting up early becomes a treat not a punishment.

Read up on the health benefits of getting sufficient sleep

http://www.abc.net.au/health/minutes/stories/2009/04/06/2532293.htm


Are you an early riser ? If you are a night owl, would you say you are productive or have 'quality' time in the evenings ? Have you tried to become an early riser ?

"She rises whilst it is yet night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens" - prov 31:15



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A Woman's Work

A Woman's Work



These are some shots I took from a display at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. I have been there a couple of times before and was glad to see that this display was still there. I love this display because it reminds me so much of my other Nanna's house. Looking at it is almost a step back in time for me. It reminds me of a time when things were so simple. I look at these photos and think about the women who spent many hours in these types of kitchens.

Meal preparation and cleaning was a big part of their day. There were no microwave ovens or online pizza ordering.


Depending on which source you read, some women fought to escape from the prison of the home. They longed for a life that recognised them as individuals and beings that were capable of so much more than being "just" a mother and housekeeper.



I love that here I am in the 21st century at the age of 36 and already have had two professional careers ( lawyer and school teacher). I love that the above picture of me captures the present and the past. I love that I here I am with the world as my oyster knowing that I can do and be anything I want to be .... and yet, I write a blog justifying my choice to be "just" a mother and "just" a housekeeper.
...... I wonder what the 1940s woman would have thought of me................



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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 Perfect Father's Day Meal*

The Perfect Father's Day Meal*









































Last Friday my favourite radio programme Life Matters ( ABC Radio National) ran a programme on the topic of the decline of eating at the table. This is a topic I have read about in the past. I can recall reading some research that came out of the USA that suggested that kids from families that ate at least four meals together a week had better school grades, fewer teen pregnancies and limited drug use. My sons are only seven and ten but I can guarantee you that eating at the dining table as a family will prevent either of them falling pregnant in their early teen years. LOL

The photos are of the table that my sons set for the father’s day meal. I cooked a lamb roast with so much rosemary that when I first put it in the whole house smelt like the Catholic Church from my childhood! LOL ( must have been a sort of incense smell).

We eat 99.97% of our meals at our kitchen table. We have a small cottage style house and the table is slap bang in the middle of the kitchen. It seems to be the ‘hub’ of the house and I believe it when people say ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’.

I believe that eating at the family table has a myriad of benefits for our family, probably some that I am not even aware of and could probably never articulate, but these are some thought that come to mind.

1) It is a TIME OF GATHERING – we are all busy and it seems as the boys get older, that pace continues to increase. Meal times are an opportunity to gather together as a family unit.

2) It is a time to COMMUNICATE – we have a similar conversation each night at the table. It usually starts with ‘ what was the best thing about your day ?’ or ‘How was Miss Taylor (teacher) today ?’ Even when they were tiny they loved to contribute their five cents about something that happened that day. Even if it was a couple of disjointed words at the age of 18 months, it was still their contribution.
 As they have gotten older their contribution has become increasingly articulate and I love how they recount narratives about their day. It makes me laugh that the ten year old’s contribution usually involves some funny anecdote about the day, about who said what that made the whole class laugh. The seven year old’s contribution usually starts with ‘ do you know what?’ and we all have to say ‘what??’ to which he replies ‘well……’ with terrific expression in his voice! Even the grown ups have to contribute what was good about their day. It often makes us think. When I am in an awful mood, it is the conversation that usually turns me around! I am hoping that as the boys get older a platform is built for open communication and sharing of concerns and issues.

3) A time WITHOUT TELEVISION. Even if the television has been on I always turn it off when we sit down to eat. I seems that the meal time is a special time. The switching off is like some great ceremonious gong that announces ‘ let the sharing begin’.

4) A time of STRUCTURED MEALS – combined with a menu plan it is a great way of looking at what the kids are eating. I have one son that eats absolutely anything and another that eats very blandly – rice chicken pasta peas saos apples and rice crackers could get him through the year. Laying meals out on the table lets me keep up with what we eat.

5) It makes me feel a bit WALTONISH – lol. Remember the show THE WALTONS? I have the compete Series One on DVD and I love it. It’s kind of strange and hard to articulate but I love the old fashioned values, the simplicity of life, the hard times, the family values and I love that they sit around the table and debrief over beautiful home cooked meals.

I know that as the boys get older and get cars, mates, girlfriends, part time jobs and hormones that this romantic notion of the family meal will probably go out the window so for now… for this season I will enjoy it while it lasts.

I ask you this………. Are you swapping the opportunity for better family relationships, a stronger family unit and greater communication for the evening news and gossip or the latest soap opera ?? Food for thought I guess………


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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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The Spirit of My Ancestors

The Spirit of My Ancestors





This is the spoon I use to cook with.

It belonged to my great grandmother.

Considering that my Grandmother is now 101 years old, it is amazing to think that HER mother used it to cook with.

If you look closely you will see that one side is worn down from use over the years.
This is one of my most prized possessions. A couple of years ago I was a guest speaker at the View Club and took my spoon along to talk about the importance of writing down our stories. I accidentally left it on the table and it was collected with all the cutlery at the end of the meal. I went home without it and it took a couple of days for me to remember that I must have left it there. I was devastated and returned to the venue and raided drawers and drawers of cutlery with the owners to finally get it back! It must have gone into the dishwasher with every thing else. I was extremely lucky!

I really LOVE my spoon because every time I pull it out I am reminded of the spirit of my ancestors. Hard working, frugal living, self sufficient, simple people. Whether it was by choice or necessity, the spoon reminds me to live like it's 1940s. To be more family oriented. To cook from scratch. To be self reliant. To waste less. To save more. To have a grateful spirit.

I wonder what possessions of mine are going to be around for more than 100 years ? The answer that pops into my mind is unfortunately the millions of plastic bags I have used so far LOL !
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This is What 101 Years of Simple Living Looks Like....

This is What 101 Years of Simple Living Looks Like....



This is my Grandmother who turned 101 on the 15th July. She still walks around, has a wonderful memory and she certainly has " all her marbles". She lived in her own home up until 6 weeks before her 100th birthday.

When the local Newspaper were interviewing her they asked her what the secret of a long life is.
She said it was 'keeping busy'. I guess that is true. I have never known Nanna to procrastinate over anything. She was always prepared for anything. Her freezer was always stocked with freshly blanched vegetables and she had frozen meals she had made bursting out of the huge chest freezer she had. We always joked that if the Apocalypse came, it would be okay, because Nanna's freezer could feed all the survivors! LOL

When asked if she made a wish on her birthday she said she didn't need to make a wish because she had everything she wants and needs. She enjoys living in the nursing home because she doesn't have to do her own washing, cleaning and ironing. She views it as a luxury.

When asked about society today, she said the children are little brats. Her thoughts are that children should be put to work early for their parents so that they learn to do the right thing.
She was asked if she had ever used a computer, and told the journalist that although she had used my lap top, the only mouse she has ever known is the one you set a trap for !

So.... 'keeping busy' is the key to a long and lovely life ? What was she busy with ? In the earlier days it was milking, baking, cooking meals, washing, cleaning, gardening, ironing, farming, knitting, sewing. Then, when she moved to town it was ......... baking, cooking meals, gardening, washing, cleaning, knitting, sewing....... hmmmmmm I guess she was just too busy to grow old.

So, what can I learn from this ? Am I doing my best in the areas listed above? Am I seduced by the advertising devil that tells me to slacken off, rest because I 'deserve it', buy because I 'deserve' it and think about myself because, after all, I am the most important person in the world! No.......... I think I will adopt the more humble life. I will work hard for the joy and peace that comes in knowing that I am 'ahead' and prepared for the days to come.

Proverbs 31:21
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
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The Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman




















Some years ago, and I can’t remember how, I stumbled across this concept of the Proverbs 31 woman. It is a verse from the bible. If you are ‘anti religious’ or simply not religious, don’t switch off just yet ! View the concept as you would any quote from Ghandi, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins or any other personal development ‘guru’.

The basis of the verse is a mother telling her son what sort of woman he should look for in a wife. That basic idea written thousands of years ago has been the basis, particularly in America, for women to adopt a particular way of life, that is, the mother who serves her family.

I personally love the philosophy behind the ‘concept’ of the proverbs 31 woman. I will paste the full text here for those of you that are not familiar with it. Once again, I ask you to put your religious position aside and read it as a text. I have kept it in the ‘old’ language for effect and you must remember it’s about 2000 years old.

10 A virtuous woman who can find? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no lack of gain.
12 She doeth him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant-ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and their task to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and maketh strong her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is profitable: her lamp goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She spreadeth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh for herself carpets of tapestry; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh linen garments and selleth them; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing; and she laugheth at the time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and the law of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying:
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates.

I love this ideal. The proverbs 31 woman is loving, intelligent and entrepreneurial. When I read through each verse it gives me ideas of how to work harder at aspects of my life.

I am reminded that by doing my husband ‘good and not evil all the days of his life’ I am insuring a good marriage. I have found that over the years the more I do for him the more it is returned to me. I find it a sad part of society today that many relationships break down because of this ‘why should I do that for him, he never does that for me’ philosophy. Going out of your way to do things for your partner brings gratitude and then it turn they do something for you and the cycle continues.

When I read through this passage I am reminded of the importance of the 6P principle. When it snows I want my household clothed in scarlet – meaning that I have an emergency fund so that if something goes wrong I am prepared.

I also think…..

- I want my husband to have full confidence about the way I manage the family finances and plan for our future.
- I want to be entrepreneurial , that is, I can invest wisely and see a return on the vehicle I chose to build our family wealth.
- I want to be ‘strong for my tasks’ in that I think it is important to remain healthy and look after myself physically.
- I rise early and prepare the day for myself and my family

Of course, the verse that always gets me off the chair and into action is the one which mentions “she watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”

I believe that society’s view of the stay at home mother is significantly shifting. It is slowly crawling out from under the grip of the feminist model that degraded the role of being “just” a mother or the idea that ‘serving your husband well’ was a form of oppressive slavery that had to be fought against!

Rather I see society as slowly shifting towards a model where even career women take off extended periods of time to ‘invest’ in the growth of their children by being the stay at home mother. There are even now ‘stay at home’ fathers !

I have been a teacher and a lawyer and a stay at home mum. I know which, by far, is the most important job that gives the best return and it’s nothing to do with money. The best return is when you make home made tortilla wraps and your six year old says ‘ the ones you make are so much better than the ones from the packet’. Joy of joys ! :>)
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The Greatest Balancing Act

The Greatest Balancing Act










































The most difficult job of all that a mother has to do is balance her roles. I often say in a funny accent "Everyone wants a piece'a me!" And often times it is true.

I work outside the home, four days a week. I have every Monday off. I really love my stay at home day. I put my apron on and bake and organise and clean and get ahead with things and it gives me a wonderful sense of peace.



























I used to be a school teacher.

After my first son was born I went back two days a week in a job share and it nearly killed me. I hated having to leave him, even though I had a really good 'Day Care Mum'.

 I agonised over whether to leave or not. In 2000 I started studying again externally and fell pregnant with my second son. That was all the persuading I needed. I resigned from my teaching position and cranked up my study. I studied full time waiting for the baby to come.

My son was born in May 2001 and I juggled two little ones and the study. It was then that I learnt the value of redeeming my time. I gave up television ( except Seachange on Sunday nights on the ABC) and started to get up really early, sometimes as early as 4am, to do my study without interuption.

To cut a long story short, I had about five years at home with the children. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to work three days a week in the area that I had done my second degree in. I started the three days and eventually it turned into four days.

The boys are in school now, but not a day goes by when I don't consider coming home again. It's just the little things. Number Two son sat doing his homework this week and I thought I need to be there with him when he does it. Hubby is home with the boys when they do their homework and he is very good with them, but it's not the same. He is a great cook as well and has a meal ready when I get home. but it's not the same. The difference is , that when I get home from a busy day I have very little left to 'give'. I would be happy just to lock myself in a room for an hour until I 'come down'.

So... it's the great balancing act. I enjoy my work. I like the stimulation. However, the stay at home mum is the most important job in the world in my books! It's not about the money. We have survived before on very little money. Sometimes we do better on a tighter budget because I manage it so much better - last time I budgetted really strictly when my first son was born, we ended up being able to carpet the house with the surplus !

So, if I don't need the money and I agonise over the stay at home role, I bet you are asking why do I stay ?

The answer is complicated. I really like my work and I am grateful for the opportunity to be getting the experience. I don't want to walk away and live with the regret of what I could have acheived. I also think that I can invest as much money as I can for the future of my boys. Goodness knows what it will cost to put them through university if that's what they choose.

One good thing at the moment is that I can work flexible hours. My aim this year is to start early and finish early, hoping to be home at 4.30pm. That way I can still have a little down time before I slip into my apron and enjoy my children!

Are you caught in the great balancing act ? How do you juggle work and family ? Does your financial situation pin you to a job you hate ? Email me or leave a comment. I would appreciate your feedback.
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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.
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Modern Retro Housewives

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 1954...it'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.
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A Vision Splendid
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New Planner

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.
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A Vision Splendid
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An Entrepreneurial Spirit


As you would have ready earlier in my blog I am fascinated by the ways of my Grandmother who is now a healthy 100 year old. I believe that we have lost many of the good things about this style of living.

 I am not saying that it would be nice to go back to having no electricity and no running water but I think we can implement many of the ideas and philosophies from that time to benefit our modern lives.

One thing about the old ways that I love is the entrepreneurial spirit.

That is, the ability of people to create their own incomes. I am certain that it wold not have been viewed in such a romantic light back then, it was more a case of survival.

 If you wanted to eat then you needed to either grow it yourself or make some money doing something in order to buy your food.

There were no credit cards. If you didn't have the money then you didn't buy the goods. I often think that if it wasn't for credit cards and redrawing on mortgages we would be living almost like the Great Depression days.

How would you go if you got your weekly income out of the bank, held it in cash and new that it was all you had to sustain you for the week, or new that you had to actually save some of it to buy more expensive things?

In times gone by people created their own money without a job as such. Lots of people worked for themselves - the old idea of the butcher, baker, candlestick maker. My Grandmother worked hard to save money when it came in from selling wheat and wool. She also made money through extra things like selling eggs and turkeys.

Have we lost our Entrepreneurial Spirit ? Would we be brave enough to sell our services or goods for money ?
Would we be brave enough to know that if we worked hard we would make more money but if we were lazy we would make less?

Something worth thinking about.
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A Vision Splendid
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Working with a Cash Budget

Working with a Cash Budget








































Over the years we have tried many different methods for controlling our spending and working on a budget. By far the most successful method for us is to work in cash. I have worked out what we need each week and I withdraw that amount of money.

The following are our ' cash categories'.

Groceries
Fuel
Entertainment
Christmas
Holidays
Birthdays
Scarlet Ribbon ( clothing shoes etc)
Kids Banking

You can see in the photo that I use resealable plastic bags with the category and the amount written on it. Each week I go to the bank or post office and I have a little card in my wallet that says " 3x $50, 4 x $10 etc and get the exact breakdown. When I come home I give the cash to our young sons and they go through and put the amounts into the bags. Then, when we want to do something like hire a DVD or buy a present etc, we just go to the appropriate bag.

Having the money in cash is great for a couple of reasons. When you have cash in your wallet you are much more careful about spending it. My sons have also learnt the value of money because they control it. We are also empowered by the fact that we have money in advance for needs that may arise.

I call one category 'scarlet ribbon' because of the proverbs 31 woman who has no fear for her household for when the winter snows come her household is clothed in scarlet. It is a very old proverb but one that has always stuck with me.

I have also calculated how much we require for bills. You can do this by looking at what your bills are over a year and dividing the amount by 52 or 26 depending on when you get paid. Then I transfer that amount into an account we use for bill paying.

So.... what do you do when you finally sit down and add it all up and the results are frightening ? When I did this the first time I was totally shocked at our living expenses. Son number one was about 12 months old and I was faced with the prospect of going back to work. I was a school teacher then and was going back to work just two days per week. I hated the thought of it! So, we sat down and worked through everything in a huge amount of detail. I called it my " Plug the holes audit". By this, I meant that I thought the ship ( our house) would sink by the little holes that were in it, not the gaping big holes. So I set about saving money on little things, $2 here, $1 there. I changed phone plans, shopped for cheaper insurance, worked out a price book to track specials and calculate unit pricing, worked a cash budget etc etc. The results were amazing and I gave up teaching at the end of that year.

I often hear people talking about how difficult it is to make ends meet ( while they are watching pay TV and smoking and eating take away food). My answer is to be totally honest with yourself and live within your means. Take control of your money so it doesn't control you. It is such a wonderful feeling to jump in the car and go for a holiday with the freedom of knowing that you have the cash for it all and you won't have to face the credit card bill when the holiday is over.

If you can't be bothered with the hassle of micro-managing it all then you will need to be happy with staying in debt and having no money and having lots of stress. The choice is yours to make, so which path will you choose ?
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A Vision Splendid
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The Home Management Binder

The Home Management Binder








































Some call it a home journal, or household notebook. I call mine my home management binder.

 It is the master plan for how I run my household. It is important that I balance all the roles that I am given and do my best to keep things running smoothly. Because I am spread so thin between my children, husband, work, friends and other family members I need to 'go to paper' so that my thoughts and ideas are not heavy in my head.

The front cover has a wise quote from proverbs about the Proverbs 31 Woman. It says " She watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness". When I was first married I tried to adopt this as a theme for my life. I must add that I always struggle with this ideal.


The sections in the binder so far are:

1. Family Finances: This is where I keep my budget, bills to pay, savings goals, debt reduction and net worth calculations.

2. Household Routines: I have been a flylady fan since 2000. This is where I detail my morning, afternoon and evening routines and have my overall cleaning and organisation plans. If you don't know what I am talking about visit http://www.flylady.net/

3. Shopping and Meals: This is where I have my grocery list ( I use a standard sheet in the order of the supermarket isles) I also have a list of favourite meals, menu planner (Although I generally use a magnetic fridge version), price book.

4. Travel and Organisation. This is where I keep my going away list, picnic list, camping list, first aid list, emergency preparedness list etc

5. Resources The final section is where I keep printouts of articles, ideas, budget tips, management tips etc. I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my family management and make my household run smoother.


One day I sat and asked my Grandmother detailed questions and took my laptop and typed out what she said. It took many days to complete this process. I will share her wisdom further on this website. It is a topic that is very close to my heart. I think that many families are out of control today because they have forgotten ( or never learnt) age old principles and methods of life management.
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A Vision Splendid
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