Restoring The Vision Splendid

I have been doing a lot of reading lately on a number of topics - green living, frugality, additive free eating etc. I have said this before...... whichever way you turn it comes back to the same thing for me..... live like it's 1940.

Here's what I mean. If you decide that you are going to approach things from a green living perspective then you might group your trips to town to save petrol, shorten your showers to save water and money, save electricity, grow your own food, buy non processed foods, buy foods with limited packaging, buy second hand, not use disposables etc

If you are approaching life from a frugal perspective you will cook from scratch, work on a 'cash only' budget, make things instead of buying them, not spend money on non-essentials, barter or share with friends etc

Whenever I read these ideas for living I think that it all comes back to how people lived in 1930 or 1940. It seems that they had things pretty well worked out!

My Grandmother built a house in 1936 which was made with solid concrete using sand from the creek. There were two water tanks at the back of house, for rainwater or water from the well on creek bank when there was no rain. There was a well which was spring fed and crystal clear. My mum tells me it tasted better than bottled water. There was a big tank that was put up in the 1950s. It was for watering the garden and was filled from the well

All vegies were home grown as were the fruit trees and grape vines. All excess fruit and veg were preserved and made into jam and pickles.

A sheep was killed about once a week or maybe a fortnight for meat. Beef was shared with the neighbours. They also had ham and bacon which was salted and smoked in a square tank with sawdust. There was also chooks for meat and eggs

In so far as rubbish is concerned, nothing left the property. All scraps went to pigs and dogs. All packaging that was re used. My mum tells me that there was also newspaper in the dunnie!!!!

So... in today's terms you would call it ' self sufficiency', 'green living' 'frugality' 'the Good life' etc. I call it 1940s.
I think we can all learn something from this way of life.

Football...... Can you believe I am writing about football ?

I knew there was a reason I am called BusyWoman ! Once again, I have been busy busy busy!

The football was very enjoyable, even though at times I had absolutely no idea what was going on! LOL. It seems that the commentary is only for TV and doesn't happen over the loudspeaker. Of all the games to see, this one certainly gave us our money's worth. 12 all full time and the Knights won in extra time. The crowd went crazy !

I was surprised by the family atmosphere. I thought it would be full of drunken yobbos, but I was wrong. It was quite okay and my boys loved it. Hubbie and I laughed because we were cheering and booing like we actually knew what was happening !

I think sometimes we live in a parallel universe. There is a whole world out there that we are oblivious to. In a way, I am glad!



A wise women told me last month that she was going to an Iron Maiden concert because she was spending some quality time with her 18 year old son and nephew on 'their terms' and was meeting them 'where they are at'. I really admired her for this. It reminded me of another wise woman at work who has raised two beautiful children to adulthood and has remained 'connected' with them by taking an interest in their interests ( no matter how awful the music is !)

To cut a long story short, we are off to the football this weekend to see Newcastle Knights play Manly Sea Eagles. I have NEVER been to the football. I haven't watched a game of football since about 1981 when Mick Cronin played centre for Parramatta ( I can hear NSW people my age laughing !) I have this sense that this weekend is an indication of the future. Me as the only female in the family, immersed into 'boy things' over the next few years. I am not overly feminine so it's not as if I am wishing for shopping trips and beauty parlours, it's just that I didn't imagine that I would be 'meeting them where they are at ' so soon. I am actually looking forward to the game - even though I disagree with the commercialism and the 'worship' of sports stars and would much rather my sons worship scientists or peace activists. I am actually smiling at the thought of the four of us sitting up in the grandstand with the boys cheering, with Hubbie and I not having a CLUE about what is going on. ( he is NOT a fan of football either).

But..... I am looking forward to the reminiscing ......" Mum, remember the time we went to see the footy..................." I just hope that Iron Maiden aren't still doing concerts by the time my guys are 18 ! LOL


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. http://www.chefstoolbox.com.au/

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.


Fuel Prices Starting to Heat Up..... $190 later.

I have posted before about my interest in Peak Oil and how it will impact fuel prices and the flow on effect for basically every product on the planet.

Yesterday I really FELT it!

When I was driving the 7.5 km to work I noticed that the fuel price at the United fuel station was $136.7 ( for the green fuel that I use) while across the road at the Coles Service Station it was $1.47. I suddenly remembered hearing on the ABC news the night before that fuel prices were meant to go to $1.50 for Easter and that fuel had hit a $108 US a barrel. I also remembered that this particular fuel station was often the last one to put up their prices.

I did a quick U -Turn and filled the car up, at the same time calling and texting everyone I thought would be interested to fill up before the price hike. I note that earlier in the week the price had already jumped 9 cents a litre.

So... I filled up my car ($70 gulp~!!) and hubbie filled up his ( $120 ~gulp gulp!!!). Sure enough, on the way home I noticed that it was $1.47. That is a TWENTY CENT LEAP IN SEVEN DAYS !!!!

At present, I budget $30 for my car and $20 for hubbies car a week ( just dropped hubbie's from $30) I can tell you that $20 at this rate is just JZZZZZTTTTTTT click ! ( meaning it takes NO time at all before you hit 20 bucks !

So..... what to do. I could walk or ride to work... but it's always about time. Hubbie walked to town today to pick up his new pushbike because he had ridden the other one into the ground, literally, the axel broke beyond repair and he already rebuilt it once. It took him one hour and 10 minutes. I just don't have that at the start and end of each day. In a couple of weeks it will be dark when I walk home and there are sections that are just road, with no houses and no street lights. I live in a little town, outside a bigger regional centre. He rode the bike home which took about 20 minutes ( he is much fitter than I am. It would probably take me 45mins)

I could ride my bike, something I would really aspire to do. Logistically this is messy. I am a professional. I wear suits. Can I scrunch the suit into a backpack ? Can I shower at work ? Can I cart make - up? Can I do my hair at work ? I know, I know. Dump the societal expectations and not wear make up and don't do your hair. Unfortunately, the clothes maketh the man in my game, or should I say, the suit, hair and make up maketh the woman in a man's world ! LOL

Hmmmmm...... thoughts anyone ? ?


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 ( http://www.flylady.net/) 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 !

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