Thursday, 29 January 2015

What Sherri Did - In January

My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

In General

I have had a couple of meetings with work this month regarding a 'return to work plan'. I also had to obtain an updated medical certificate from my specialist which took about a month to come through.  My GP has reviewed and approved the return to work plan. So I am due to make a staged return to work beginning February.

My niece came to stay the long weekend. One of the activities she enjoyed very much was hand sewing. The inspiration for the activity came from this blog.  I bought some brightly patterned material from Spotlight and my niece sewed around the objects on the material.  I found this activity thanks to a link on Nanna Chel's blog Going Grey andSlightly Green.  Many thanks Chel, my niece really loved this activity, and I wouldn't have found the activity without your link.

I also had other activities planned, but it was too hot for many outside activities. Renese hosed our dog a few times to cool her down, and we went for a walk into a local environmental park to take some photos. We did a little bit of cooking together and I gave her a new book. The book was one of the Famous Five books.  I also had the first set of the Little House on the Prairie series and she watched a few episodes. However the sewing activity was the big hit of the weekend and she kept returning to that.

 We celebrated Australia day with family and friends by hosting a BBQ Australia Day brunch. I think next year might be a buffet brunch rather than a hot brunch.

I created my own bullet journal to help keep me organised and so I remember things. You can find out all about bullet journals here.  The website recommends a certain type of book to use for the journal. I prefer to use an A4 exercise book, I also bought a cover for it at the same time so it would look prettier. I also use post it notes tabs to help me find certain pages easily. And I use other post it notes for carry to the shops info - like grocery lists, or garden centre lists. I have only been using this system for a few weeks but it is working well for me.

I bought some small white plastic baskets for my pantry. I am storing my unopened packet goods in the baskets. It really has tidied up the look of my pantry.

I was dismayed to read that health insurance costs could increase this year by up to 7%.

I haven't done much at all in the garden this month. It has been way too hot and muggy and energy sapping.

Thriving through thrift

This is probably something many people do, I keep used envelopes and use them as jotter paper. I write notes to my husband on them, or shopping lists etc.

This month I bought bulk supplies of washing powder (on special) , plain flour, and tomato sauce. I bought extra coffee, toothpaste and ice-cream due to specials, some being half price. I also bought milk powder to make up for cooking, so when a recipe calls for milk I add made up powdered milk.

I had a lot of eggs on hand so I made my lemon and coconut slice which takes six eggs.

My husband really likes corned silverside. The other week after cooking a piece I decided we were going to have a lot left over and it might go to waste. So I made some meat paste for sandwiches by dicing surplus corn silverside and whizzing it in my food processer with some diced onion, and some tomato chutney. Which has got me wondering what other ingredients could I turn into sandwich paste? Hmm I ponder, as my sister used to say when she was little.

Last Friday I bought a second hand book on freezing foods and cooking for the freezer which will be a big help to me.

My husband Don and I found a new to us second hand/antique store that sells a lot of tools and garden equipment. I bought a light, second hand garden hoe at a great price and the owner gave me the book I was going to buy at no charge. The book was  Sarah Ban Breathnach’s “Simple Abundance – a day book of comfort and joy”.  Have you ever read it? It is a wonderful book. I gave this copy to my sister as I have had my own copy of the book for many years .

I learnt how to crochet granny squares by following along with a youtube video. Many years ago I taught myself how to crochet around the edge of doilies that I had embroidered but I never really went any further with crochet. Hopefully I will be able to increase my crochet skills and go on to make some clothing at some stage in the future. This is the youtube video   Please note that American crochet is slightly different to the instructions given in this video.

We bought the second hand bar stools I mentioned in an earlier post.

I bought my niece a new quilt cover set at Spotlight. It was on sale the price reduced from $89 down to $15. I also used this example to talk to my niece about wise spending.

Certificate iv in Permaculture

  • I have submitted an assignment/paper my property's ecosystem including information on regarding energy flow, food chains and webs.
  • I have submitted another assignment/paper on ecology - habitat, successions, stacking and disruptions to ecosystems.
  • I also submitted a third assignment/paper on climate change and peak oil.
  • My compost is still breaking down.
  • In my next unit of study I start work on preparing a base site map for my property. I am talking to my tutor later today about how to go about this. However the course information said a base map could be done using Google Earth. So I have been busy learning how to use Google Earth and also the Queensland Globe. The Queensland Globe is part of the Queensland Government's open data strategy and allows one to access maps and data of places in Queensland. The application is implemented inside Google Earth. You can find more information on the Queensland Globe here. I also used this youtube video to learn how to use Google Earth.

What I have been reading

My reading this month has been lighter than it often is.

  • The mist in the mirror by Susan Hill
  • Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fayles-Hill
  • And, Five go off in a caravan by Enid Blyton

What I have been watching

This video discussing the Edo period in  Japan and how they brought their society back from the brink of environmental collapse.

Homestead and Farm Resiliency - Principles in Practice by Ben Falk

A Good Home Forever is a 22 minute video on retrofitting a house in the suburbs. 

The things I read on the web this month that I liked best were:

This article on transitioning to a mostly home made wardrobe.

Six great vege for shady spots, from the Real Men Sew Blog. I just love the name of this blog, it makes me smile.

And this post fromMr Money Mustache that I need to read a few times to wring all the good points out of it.

I found myself agreeing with Don Stewarts comment on Our Finite World where he wrote, "I think that advertising is also used to keep people in debt-serfdom." Which got me thinking about the debt-serfdom - very descriptive and apt term. 

My Top pick of the month is this article. " Imagine your life 5, 10 or 15 years from now: Do you want to be dealing with the same money struggles you’re dealing with now?" That would be a resounding no. Next question " Do you want to be in the same place….?" No, I want to be in a much better situation. I am grateful for all the good in my life that I have now,  but I do want to be able to save more,  and be more productive at home.  I own the book mentioned in this article, - The millionaire next door.  And, "it's not how much you earn but how much you save," has been a personal mantra for over a decade. So perhaps 2015 is the year that I take my head knowledge and put it into hard core practice? Hmmm. 

For Nikki

The recipe for the tomato scrambled eggs came Leanne Brown's cookbook which you can find here I also have the same recipe in another cookbook but I like Leanne's instructions best.  I think I originally found the cookbook via a link from Rhonda's Down to Earth blog.

What hubby did

This month we hired our neighbour to erect our front fence, and to keep costs lower Don worked alongside him. It was hot, heavy work and I am amazed that they kept at it in the awful heat we had. So now we finally have a front fence. Hooray!


  1. You have been very busy indeed! I know how to knit but not how to crochet. I wonder which is considered easier... Are those birds all along that power line... or does it just look that way? It has been so cold here this month and yet, you appear to be blisteringly hot. Seems the seasons are directly opposite. :) Despite the cold, we have been very busy as well. Preparations for Spring are well on under way here at Wayward Hollow. I love days filled with activity!

    1. It's been a case of making hay while the sun shines. Once I am back at work I will be a lot less productive at home.

      There aren't any birds on the power line. I did catch the top of the lynch gate and a few trees and a light pole in that last photo though. It was such a lovely dawn sky that morning. You know, one of those skies that makes you think, I should be outside to watch the dawn more often. Actually I should get myself down to the river early some mornings and take some photos at dawn over the water.

      I think many people consider crochet easier. I find crochet easier when I have made a mistake and have to pull some of it out. With knitting - and I am a very inexperienced knitter - I get very messed up when I have to pull out rows. I love days filled with activity too. I have such a long list of projects and activities that I would like to work on. Life is never boring, and when I become frustrated thinking I don't have enough time to do everything I want to do, I am trying to instead feel grateful that my life is so full.

  2. Glad the sewing went well with your niece. You certainly do keep yourself busy, Sherri despite the heat. It just floors me now that I am older. Anything over 30C is too hot for me. LOL!

    1. Chel, temps of 30C and above floor me too. While I have been at home this summer I changed my routine so I am in my study under the ceiling fan in the morning. In the afternoons I go to the other end of the house, but by then I need to turn the air-con on and this is when I become most active with cooking and baking and housework.

      The sewing was a great activity and I am so glad she and I had that week-end together to make more happy memories - especially as her first week at school has gone very badly for her. The social aspect of school can be a minefield to navigate.