Water Usage

You may recall that our family undertook an eco-challenge ( scroll down to the categories of posts at the bottom to read) and were focusing on a number of areas.

Well, it looks like we are beginning to see the results. The water bill came in yesterday and it is 16 Kl less than for the same period last year. It is also 5 Kl less than the last bill.

There is still room for improvement as it really hasn't been that difficult to get the usage down.


Home Made Wraps

This is the first time I have tried to make a tortilla or wrap as we call them. It was surprisingly easy! This wrap is for number 2 son's after school snack. It has home grown lettuce and tomato that I bought at the local Farmer's Market on Saturday, so it definitely fits within the 100 mile radius. You

may recall the challenges that I am having with the 100 mile diet - scroll down to categories at the bottom of the page if you have missed the posts.

Tortilla Recipe
2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm milk.

I just mixed it all together and let it all sit for a while.

 Then I broke it up into balls and rolled them out really thinly on a floured bench.

I them 'scooped' them up with an egg lifter and put them in the frying pan. I only used a tiny spray of cooking oil and had the pan as hot as it would go

. It only took a about 20 seconds to cook each side. Number two son said they taste better than the packet ( God love him ! ) and as he is only six I am sure if they weren't he would have soon let me know.

I used to buy the packet of ready made wraps.

We often have them in the summer time. I marinate some chicken breasts cut into strips in ginger, coriander and lemongrass with a little soy sauce and then cook the strips on the barbecue.

They are great for guests because you can lay out a smorgasbord of salad and everyone can make their own wraps. I have one friend from Sydney who loves them, but she is particularly sensitive to food chemicals and comes out in an itchy rash when we have them. I guess if you can stick a food product in a plastic bag and have it sit on the shelf for 3 or 4 months it must have something in it to preserve it.

I can't wait until she tries these wraps. I hope she loves them.


Raspberry Coconut Slice

This is the slice to make when you think you have nothing in the cupboard!

You Need: ( the base)

3/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup SR flour

90g butter

2tbsp sugar

1 egg

jam ( I used strawberry because I had it - the original recipe used raspberry, but you could use anything you have ! )

Mix together and press into a baking tray. Then spread with the jam.
Then to make the top you need
1 1/4 cups coconut
2tbsp sugar
1 egg
mix this all together and spread on the top of the jam base. Then bake for about 30 mins at 180 degrees or until the top is a lovely golden brown colour.
The one in the picture is a double mixture. The amounts above only make a small tray. Make the small on first and see whether your family likes it.

Where Did The Name Come From ?

" A Vision Splendid" .

Long before I started blogging I had a computer journal. I used to collect ideas, pictures etc and write my plans and thoughts.

One day, in the middle of renovations, sick children and an absolute mess throughout every room in my home, I walked around and took some photographs of our place in it's " raw state". When I uploaded them onto my computer I named the folder " Not A Vision Splendid". I then proceeded to open a new computer journal called " A Vision Splendid" and began writing in great detail how I was going to 'take control' of all aspects of my life. I now believe that this is an ongoing process and that I will never 'have' control, but when I look back, I think I have really come a long way.

Australian readers will also know that poem ' Clancy of the Overflow' in which Banjo Patterson uses the line:

" And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plain extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars."

This also, has influenced me in not only the name of the blog, but in the idea of picturing your ideal and then moving towards it.

Visit this link for the whole poem

Often when you read people's blogs you think they must have a perfect life as it all looks so lovely. I think that you only see what they want you to see. No-one ever shows their kitchen during cooking or what their loungeroom looks like after a rainy weekend when the kids decide to build a pirateship out of boxes !

One day, when I am feeling game, I will show you the 'not a vision splendid' photographs ( cringe ).

My challenge for you today though is, in an attempt at keeping it real, post a photograph of something that you know is currently not perfect that you would like to choose as your 'Vision Splendid' project, that is.... imagine how you would like it to be and slowly move towards it.

Feeling Personally Organised

Do you ever feel that you can’t keep up with life and that it just happens while you run to keep up with the pace.

The idea is to take control so that you become proactive instead of reactive. This means that you will be prepared for events beforehand rather than reacting to them when they become urgent or important.

The tools you will need to feel personally organized are:

1. A diary
2. A calendar
3. Menu Planner
4. Shopping List
5. Budget Book

The calendar needs to go on the wall at home and the diary needs to be big enough to write in yet small enough to carry around.

In order to get ahead you need to set up your diary. Remember, you start where you are. Don’t think you can only start doing this at the beginning of the year.

Firstly, birthdays. Fill out a list of all the birthdays for the year. Then go through and mark them in your calendar. When you go to mark them in your calendar/diary you will need to firstly mark the date and then secondly put a note in the week before that says “send off card” or “ buy present” or whatever you do for that person. It may just be that you send a special email on the day.

Mark in any other dates. I, for example, mark in all the school holidays and try and plan when I will take leave throughout the year.

Now whenever you receive notification of any events you need to not only put them in the diary but put a reminder a week or two out from the event depending on what sort of preparation is needed for.

I have discussed the concepts of menu planning, budgeting and shopping before on the website and you can scroll down to the category searches if you need further information.

The idea is to be dealing with things before they become urgent. The more ' ahead' you are the less stressed you are.

What can you do today to be prepared for something that is on you horizon ? If you deal with things on the horizon they are the size of ants. If you leave them until they get closer and closer those ants become elephants and you will be trampled.

Please let me know different ways that you do things in advance. It could be as simple as making lunches the night before, buying Christmas presents in January or once a month cooking, I would love to hear from you.Please also let me know if you require more detail. Would you like to see the charts and forms I use in my home management binder or mu budget books/ menu planner etc. Do you need a copy ? Please email me. My address is in my profile.


Wash on Mondays, Iron on Tuesdays

Well, maybe not that programmed, but Monday is my stay at home day so I always have "Monday Jobs".

These usually include:

Paying Bills
Doing the Budget
Menu Planning
Calendar Updating
Organising my clothes for the rest of the week
organising sports clothes for the children

Rhythm and routine are important parts of life.

If you can spread your tasks over the week you won't have one day where there is an impossible number of tasks to be done.

Doing things little by little brings peace to your day.


The Family That Plays Together Stays Together.

We have just had another wonderful day down at the river.

Whenever the weather is good we pack up our picnic things and our skiing things and head of. We usually have another two families that meet us there so between us there are 7 children.

The good thing about these days are that we all play together. We have learnt to water ski and tube, the kids fish, swim, run around etc. We all ‘play’.

The grown ups all comment about how much fun it is to come together for days of complete relaxation. The good thing is that our kids are with us. They are not wandering the streets or hanging out with other kids or families that may have different values to ours, they are with US. We all hope that if we are an active family that does activities that all ages enjoy, then we will keep our kids from wandering off the path !

Tips For Building a Strong Family

1. Build a Family Identify – give kids a strong sense of who they are. Treat you family as your team. Use positive language such as “ we are the Jones family…” “ The Jones family always…..” make up funny and memorable things about your family.

2. Establish your family values by defining them through the above e.g. “ In the Jones family we treat each other with respect”

3. Develop a strong family history. Children love hearing stories about when you were young, or when they were babies etc. In days gone by oral traditions were very important. We talk so much less now that we all glue ourselves to the TV. So tell your stories to keep the history alive.

4. Develop Family Celebrations. Kids love predictability and rhythm. Celebrate the little things with special dinners or treats. Build up to bigger celebrations such as birthdays and Christmas by preparing weeks in advance. Kids love the suspense and the countdown. Develop Family Traditions by repeating key components of celebrations, for example, 1st December is always the night that we play Christmas carols and unpack the decorations and tree. The children are SO excited by knowing that this is the way it always is.

5. Play together as a family. There is no better way to develop a sense of belonging, than to actually spend time together.

My challenge to you if you still have your children at home, is to simplify things. Don’t be tricked into thinking that if your children aren’t doing 3 after school activities a week that they are ‘missing out’.

What kids are missing out on today is the chance of being kids in a family that is calm and well rounded and most of all loving ! So, slow down. Create routines and rhythms by which you run your house in a smooth manner rather than a frantic timetable of trying to keep up with everyone.

Just stop. Think. And Play.

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 ...