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Microburst storm hit us but we're all fine

It was a quiet normal day on Saturday and then all hell broke loose in the evening. Hail started tapping on the bedroom windows, then there were strong winds and torrential rain. In about 15 minutes, our evening went into overdrive.  Hanno checked the big shed where Kerry and Sunny have all their possession stored. That shed has flooded before but we were lucky this time and everything remained dry. Lightening was constant in the sky with 130,000 lightening strikes recorded and the rain and hail bucketed down. It was quite a storm, which I noticed they called a microburst on the news.

 Above and below: just outside the front door.

This morning when we woke, Sunny and Kerry were off to work around 6am and when Hanno and I went outside, it looked like a war zone. Trees were down in the front and back yards and there were shredded leaves covering the lawn. Our garden umbrella snapped off just under the canopy and Hanno said an old tree near the creek was ripped out of the ground by the roots and dumped across the creek.

 Breakfast was easy, everyone had the same thing - eggs, baked beans and fried bread.

The power was off from about 7pm Saturday night till 2pm Sunday and I was starting to get nervous about our freezers. Sunny has her full freezer here too but happily, they all survived. The internet went down on Sunday morning and when the phones ran out of power, it was silent and we started telling Jamie about the old days, before TV, computer and internet.  😉 It was such a fine opportunity  I couldn't pass it by.

It will take a while to clean up all the mess. Hanno doesn't have a chain saw anymore but we'll get there taking it one step at a time. We're hoping the council has a special kerb collection because I know there are hundreds of people in our town and the next one who have a lot of storm rubbish to get rid of. I'll be adjusting the emergency numbers in my phone too. I used Hanno's phone yesterday and liked the way he has his emergency numbers organised in his contact list. It's always a good idea to think about these things after they happen and see if there are improvements to be made. I'll be doing that today.

I hope all my readers here are safe and sound - those close to me here and in much colder climates. I noticed in the news that snow is falling in the UK, Ireland, Europe and North America. Take care, my friends, and stay safe.

Weekend reading

School holidays start today in my state of Queensland. The kids have a long summer break and go back to school late January. Jamie is very excited about the holidays and we've organised a project to work on together. We'll be creating a video. He loves You Tube and has a couple of shows there he's allowed to watch so it's inspired him to try his hand at video making.  The video will just be shared within the family but it should give him a taste of how complicated it can be. At the moment he thinks it will be really easy and most of us know that it is those things that look easy that are usually the toughest to master. My job as grandma on this project will be to guide him through it so he comes out the other end with an understanding of the process and the enthusiasm to develop his skills further.

The hot weather started here yesterday with 33C at noon. We've had a very mild summer so far. How are you going in your town? I hope you've got your Christmas gifts and plans organised because it's almost that time when we can all sit back and relax.

I hope you have a great weekend.  I'll see you again on Monday. xx

Twisties and TV Hits: artist pays homage to the Australian milk bar
John Clarke's Tinkering
Meet some of Australia's beautiful birds
20 best Christmas recipes: part 1
To cure affluenza, we have to be satisfied with the stuff we already own
10 creative ways to wrap gifts 
9 embroidery sampler patterns
Six steps to creating an organised linen cupboard


Every so often I receive an email from a reader asking for ideas about something they're struggling with.  Here we have one such query which I present below and hopefully, between all of us, we can give Amy a range of possible solutions.

I hope you don't mind me asking a question...
I wrote to you around 3-4 years ago about wanting to quit my job and stay home and you addressed it in a November blog post. Well, it's taken me awhile...but I've done it...I finally quit my job. I'm burnt out (from my job) and have no direction right now. How in the world did you find your "way" around your home and get into a routine after working for so long? I've only been home for 2 weeks and need to adjust to it all...but how?
What is my first step?
Where do I start?
How do I plan?
I wake up each day with good intentions...but find myself aimlessly wondering around.
Can you offer any suggestions?

I'm sorry to hear you're burnt out. I remember that feeling and it's not nice. I hope you're spending time doing nothing but the basics so that when you're rested and ready you can take the next step in your new life with optimism and confidence. What you need is a plan.

Sit down with a coffee, paper and pencil and work out what changes you need and want.  Remember, this is about a new life for you and your family so the only ones you have to please are yourselves.  The priorities are to keep a clean and tidy house, feed everyone, work to a budget so you live the life you choose without running up debt, maintain the house and garden and possibly to make a few things you currently buy. I'm thinking mainly of laundry liquid, cleaners, dishcloths, napkins, aprons, bread, cakes, preserves etc. But keep in mind that you make the items that will make a difference in your home.  We're all different.

I would start by dividing your day into three sections: 
  • Morning, which will be from when you get up till around 9am - remember, all this is adjustable.
  • Daytime, 9am - 4pm. This is the bulk of your time when you'll do your shopping, ironing, cleaning, sewing and whatever you choose to do for your own pleasure. That might be reading, gardening, talking to friends and neighbours, sewing etc but it includes what YOU love doing.
  • Evening, 4pm - bedtime. Evening meal, cleaning up, thinking about tomorrow's meals.

In the morning and evening you'll usually do the same thing most days. In the morning it will be cooking, breakfast, getting other family members off to work or school, laundry, cleaning up, making the bed, feeding animals, watering plants, general tidy up.  In the evening it will be preparing the evening meal, washing up, packing the dishwasher, thinking about tomorrows lunches and possibly preparing them, or deciding on what you'll cook the next day so you can defrost what you need.  The more you can get done at night the less you'll have to do the following day but you don't have to push yourself because you'll be at home and you can do extras during the day.

The rest fits into the main part of your day.  It might help you to list all the large tasks you have to do in your home that aren't covered in your morning and evening routines. Tasks such as cleaning bathrooms, doing the washing and ironing, food shopping, vacuuming and mopping floors, dusting, cleaning the fridge and oven, washing windows etc. If you can make a list of these tasks and assign them to a certain day, that will help you cover your housework by doing your morning routine, your daily routine, which will include one of those larger tasks, and your evening routine. The main thing I urge you to do is to take it slow. You have many tomorrows ahead of you and as long as you're making yourself happy by the changes you're making, you'll be on the right track.

When you have these life essentials sorted out, or at least on their way, you can fine tune the other things that need it and add what you enjoy doing.  I found when I started my new life that when I started changing things, one thing lead to another and I just followed along.  If might not be that way for you so just see what happens and do what you think is right.

Other things you can look into include:
  • make a list of your priorities, values and how you would like your life to change. When you have that in place, it will show you what you need to do, change and learn to make the life you want; 
  • create a budget; 
  • work out a shopping strategy, including reasearching where you'll get the best value for money;
  • look at the rooms in your home and working out if you're making the best use of the space, 
  • menu plan; 
  • start a stockpile cupboard; 
  • make up a rag bag; 
  • if you don't know how, teach yourself to sew, mend, knit and garden;
  • work out how you can remove cleaning chemicals from your home.

Life will be slower now. What you're about to do is to make a new life and to redefine what a normal day is for you. It's different for everyone so start by getting the essentials of food and shelter sorted out and then concentrate on the rest. Once you settle on a way to organise your days that suits you, you'll probably find that housework is less of a burden and more about making your home a place that supports and comforts you and your family.  There is no need to fret about moving all this along fast. It will take it's own time and it will change as the years pass by. Homelife is never static, there's always something to do as well as time to sit quietly and appreciate what you have.

Don't be pressured into having a rubber stamp of a life. One of the benefits of living this way is that you no longer have to live to a rigid timetable or one where recreational shopping has any importance.  Good luck!  I'm sure our readers will have more suggestions for you. Now, my friends, it's over to you.

Weekend reading - UPDATED

I've been thinking of going through The Simple Home book with you next year.  The book sets out, month by month, various ways of dealing with home organisation, housework and family food from January through to December.  Rose wanted to do this on her blog and we talked about it a lot. Then she got sick, the focus and energy went elsewhere, and when she died I just couldn't face it. I know she'd want me to finish what she was determined to start so I thought a few of you who have the book, and those who don't, would like to waltz through it with me. I still have to think about how to do it but before I start doing that I want to know if anyone is interested. Let me know in the comments. Thank you.

I'll see you again next week. I hope you enjoy your weekend. ❤️

Thank you all for being so enthusiastic about working through the new year with The Simple Home. I think it will be fun and we can all share our ideas.  I'll start making notes on how it will slot into the blog. I'm thinking we might do a different aspect of each chapter on all the Mondays of each month. That will enable us to cover more territory. There'll be more news on this when I formulate a plan.

And just a note about one of my sponsors, Odgers and McClelland. I've just received my monthly newsletter and it lists the top ten items in the shop.  I'm pleased to say I have the teapot, set of spoons,  the enamelware and the Opinel knife and use them all constantly. If you have a hard to buy for person on your Christmas list, grab one of those Opinel knives. They are so handy, they fold up to go into a pocket or purse and will last for a long time. I use mine in the garden and I also have one tucked away in the car's glovebox. If you've never looked at the online shop, do it now and see real products that will really help you create a lovely home.  While you're there you can signup for the free newsletter. BTW, I always smile when I see those pudding bowls. :- ) 

Something between compulsion and comfort: the quiet therapy of counting
Bush fruit Christmas cake, milk jellies and other Australian Christmas food
Recipe for Switchel
My father's tools
Mynas v miners: they might be swooping menaces but they're not all bad
How to sew basics
Make your own reusable hand warmers
A cute little Christmas colour-in
How to draw and sketch cats
14 surprising things you can clean in the washing machine


Acceptance - of myself and others

Most of the time I potter away here doing things that make life easier for us.  Hanno does the same, although he usually works outside. My daily tasks include cleaning, organising, mending and looking after the vegetable garden. I gather herbs for cooking, I peel vegetables and fruit, I make stock and sauces and place a home-cooked meal on the table every day at 12 midday.  I don't watch the clock to do that, it just happens that way.

Every day I make our bed and instead of thinking about getting through it fast and what I'll do next, I think about the bed and how to make it comfortable. We all spend a lot of time in bed and it helps us relax and sleep so we have the energy to do the work we need to do each day.  All those thoughts help me to not just pull up the doona/quilt, they make me slow down, fluff up pillows, adjust crooked sheets, make sure the side tables are dust-free and that when I walk away, job done, I've done the best I can do and we have a clean and comfortable bed waiting for us every night. I wonder if there are other mindful bed makers out there.

Apple and cinnamon butter cake.
I set a task for myself two weeks ago to change my work room. I want to move all my ironing gear in there so it's out of the bedroom and in a space where I work already. I moved the ironing to the bedroom two years ago as a temporary measure and it's stayed there, reminding me of work when I'm trying to relax. If I just ploughed through it I would have had it moved in one day, but as I'm sure you know housework is rarely a linear activity, it is often interrupted, so the move is only partly done.  Back in the day I would have been disappointed in myself for being so slow but now I accept it. I'm in a season of slowness, I'm not the fast and efficient workhorse I used to be and I'm fine with that. Self-acceptance, it's a fine thing and something we have to learn, and sometimes relearn. None of us will stay in our prime, if you live long enough you'll lose some of your strength, you won't work at the same pace all your life. All of us who live that long need to adjust our thinking to know that is okay, and that a slower rhythm is part of life and part of the balance most of us accept as we age.

And now acceptance of another kind.  I'm very pleased that recently we Australians voted to accept same-sex marriage as part of our legal and social lives. I don't know why we had to vote to allow fellow citizens the right to marry the person they love. I don't know why it took us so long to do it but I do know that if I have the right to marry the person I love, everyone else should have that same right.  So thank you my fellow Australians for knowing that love is love and saying yes to it. ❤️
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