Bookshelf Review~ A Table in the Orchard- My Delicious Life by Michelle Crawford

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When I walked past this book I just had to pick it up and with the title, A Table in the Orchard- My Delicious Life by Michelle Crawford I could not resist. Then when I flicked through it the gorgeous pictures caught my eye and captured my imagination, I had to take this book home.

This book is full of stories and photo’s of Michelle’s life changing move from Sydney to Tasmania, and her life looks and sounds delicious. Michelle left Sydney to live in Tasmania with her husband and two children. They now live in a Georgian Farmhouse on a small farm in the Tasmanian Country side.

The book is full of gorgeous photos of food, and life in picturesque Tasmania. Michelle has mouth watering recipes accompanying all her stories. It’s theme of home grown, locally bought, being resourceful whilst cooking from scratch and passion for food permeate this book.

Take- aways from this book:

Take time and hard work to grow your own vegetables and fruit, it not only results in a tasty crop of food, but a greater appreciation of that food. There is joy in the experience of growing your own food. For myself, this means getting out into my backyard vegetable patch.

Be resourceful, grow your own food, barter for foods, use good locally grown ingredients, and cook from scratch using what you have. Good quality food, home grown and home cooked result in delicious good quality meals.

Enjoy the experiences of your environment, and community, and make food part of that experience, discover the yumminess around you. For myself, as a suburbanite, this could mean visiting a Farmers Market, Local Markets or going for a drive in the country side on the weekend and discovering new foods.

It was quite clear that Michelle did not have a lot of money to spend. That she was patient and saved up for the important things they valued for their home like her wood stove and renovating her kitchen. She was resourceful using what she had to create amazing recipes. Her family enjoyed the simple things in life and the experiences of farm life and exploring their local community.

Richness in life also came from being connected with family and friends, and the way that food connected them, that celebration of gathering and food. Yes, I am thinking more family gatherings, friends over for dinner, BBQ’s, picnics and camping weekends.

Finally, understanding that richness comes through our simple daily experiences, the way we interact with family, food, home, and nature. It doesn’t take a lot of money to live a rich life, it takes a passion for life, appreciation of the moment, and current circumstance. It takes a dream of that delicious life we desire, and a slow moving towards it, enjoying the journey as we go.

More details about this book go to  Michelle Crawford’s website  Hugo and Elsa 

This book is a must read for all those Happy Suburban Chicks out in the world. A frugal tip, try borrowing it from your local library.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

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Bookshelf Review~The Spy by Paulo Coelho

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Historical fiction I love. This author’s work I love. This book brought to life the historical story of Mata Hari (Margaretha Zella) who became famous as an exotic dancer and high-end prostitute to powerful and rich men. The character is painted as a strong and independent woman whose ” only crime was to be an independent woman.” She was betrayed, executed, and used as a Scapegoat to distract the publics attention from the brutal loss of young men’s lives due to the war at that time.

Immediately the book grabbed my attention from the very beginning starting boldly with the execution. It was engaging, easy to follow and told in the first person by Mata Hari and the Lawyer through letters they wrote.

It creates Mata Hari as a very strong character who had come from difficult circumstances. She was raped at 16, then found herself in a physically and sexually abusive marriage, she suffered the death of a son, whilst her abusive husband had custody of her daughter. I felt her desperation to survive and thrive. I felt her courage and strength to reinvent herself and do what she needed to do to survive. I don’t know that she had many choices however she chose a daring and controversial path.

It was a great read, although I feel it glamorized her position as a dancer and prostitute. I really wonder how much choice she really had, how much pain she suffered, and how difficult it must have been for her at the time. The book makes it sound like her time as an exotic dancer and prostitute were easy.

However, I liked that I could admire her for being strong, taking control of her life, and daring to think out of the box, use her smarts, looks and talents to survive and thrive. Whilst from the beginning to end she was treated unjustly, especially the final betrayal by men and her country France, and yet she never acted like the victim, rather with pride.

Overal it was an interesting and engaging read, I think I would like it more had it been a little grittier.

Wishing you all a wonderful day

.FRAN DISHON

 

 

My journal book adventure.

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During Journal Club by Jamie Ridler, I was inspired to grab a book off my self and start working through the exercises and prompts in my Journal.

 

The Happy Suburban Chick likes to journal, I am currently doing Journal Club and delving deep into the practice of journaling. The last week we explored using books off our shelves for journal prompts. This inspired me to get one of my books off the shelf.

Some books are really good for being part of the journaling process and discovering parts that you can apply to real life. I recently got Julia Cameron’s book Finding Water- The Art of Perseverance, this is the book I have chosen to do over the next 12 weeks.
Like Julia Cameron’s other books you need to know about a number of tools, Artist’s Dates, Morning Pages and Walking. You can find out about the tools in a previous post I did for Walking in this World.

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I have already done the Artist’s Way and also Walking in this World and have found the prompts and exercise excellent for exploring in my journal. Also each time I work through one of her books I discover a new perspective and initiating changes that make my life so much enjoyable and in a much more positive direction.

Today I have chosen this prompt from week one which is uncovering a sense of optimism. It is easy to focus on the shoulds, however, those shoulds can limit us and get in the way of what we really want to be doing. This exercise is about focusing on the coulds to discover new possibilities. This is about completing the following quote and doing it as fast as you can. It is important not to overthink it or try to rationalize rather for the answers to just flow on the page unedited.

O ften we do things because we should, what this is about the things we could do. Julia suggests we come up with ten answers to the following prompt.

Journal Prompt: I could try…………………………………………………………..

I love journaling and I love journaling with books I write more about this in my blog Living a beautiful life- journaling and walking.

I really recommend taking a book and not just reading it, but also live it and see what works for you. What book could you read and apply to your life today?

 

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

It is not that exciting! Suburban living.

fullsizeoutput_15c8Just another ordinary day, with the highlight being a walk around the lake.  It is a fine Winter’s day, a coat day because it is cold outside. Days like today just are not that exciting.   As part of the Ultimate blog challenge today I am to share blogs that I am reading.  Well I am tired and want to go to bed so I have only one to share.

Today  I have decided to just let you know about a Suburban online  social network to connect with your neighbours and find out what is happening in your neighbourhood it is called Nabo 

Nabo is an Australian social network where you can sign up and is relatively new but is growing. I love that it is suburban focused.

A great blog post on the site  to check out is How to fall in love with your neighbourhood again.

I love its suburbia feel and how it focuses on suburban living.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

Another day bites the dust.

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Saturday evening and I am sipping wine, munching on dip and biscuits, listening to some very strange chill out music. I have been trying to convince my husband to cook dinner tonight. He has gone to the kitchen and is making a lot of noise, so I am very hopeful.

The day has been spent organizing paper work for contests and trying to use easySpeak for my Cranbourne Toastmasters club. It is my personal project for the weekend to work on.  My new role of VPE ( Vice President of Education) requires me to set up the agenda for the meetings.  I am struggling with create a template for the contests.  There is always that one thing I don’t know what to do. Solution after some Couch Carol videos, and playing around, I find myself growling at my computer. It is at this point I grab my phone and make a phone call and ask for help. I find my fellow Toastmasters are always willing to help.

It Saturday evening, the chill out music and wine, give a real Saturday night feel. Still I need to get this blog post done as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, so here I am on my couch computer on lap, my fingers tapping out the words.

This is  a personal/lifestyle blog, I tend to blog about life. I love journaling, Toastmasters and personal develpment. My newest hobby is photography.  My biggest learning curve has been navigating the resources, funding and programmes for my 16 year old son with a disability. I am not an expert rather a Happy Suburban Chick trying to improve each day and be the best person I can be.

Got questions? Ask me anything!

Today I invite you to ask me anything and leave your question or comment in the comment box.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

 

 

 

Weekend Off! Wow weekends are special when you work a lot of them.

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Friday evening, excited for I have the weekend off. Winter time is tough, so much time spent indoors, short days and long nights, its cold and I don’t want to go out. Spending what few weekends off I have wisely helps prevent the Winter Blues from getting to me. I work a lot of weekends so having a weekend off is pretty special. This weekend is particularly special because it is the first weekend in a long time where I have nothing planned. All that free time I wonder what I will do with it. I check out the weekend forecast that just tells me it will be cold and wet. I will be needing a coat and umbrella, and will probably be spending a lot of time inside. My thoughts are it should be a productively relaxing weekend, with family time, exercise, personal project time, and even some free time. I often find that I over book my weekends with activities and events, and come out feeling tired at the end of it.

I found a couple of blog posts on the internet that may help when it comes to making the most of your weekends.

Things Successful People do on weekends

53 Fun thing you can do this weekend

Are you trying to do too much this weekend?

Weekend wish list- my list of things to do for this weekend.

Friday family movie night. ( family ritual)
Family time an afternoon to do something, go somewhere and enjoy some family time.
Yoga class
Reading( curled up on the couch)
Work on a personal project, ( 2-3hrs)
Go for a walk and take my camera out and take some photo’s( I really want some time to play with my camera.)

 

Nothing too exciting, just a casual, relaxing weekend, is all I want. What sort of a weekend do you want to be enjoying?

 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

 

FRAN DISHON

 

Bookshelf Review- The Art of Living

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Wednesday bookshelf review is running late this week. This blogging every day is working out to be quite a challenge and  I am already one blog post behind.

This week’s book was The Art of Living, by Bob Proctor and Sandra Gallagher.
It was very much based on the law of attraction, thoughts+emotions+ actions= results.

My takeaway from the book was to choose a big idea for a goal.

“Your setting the goal to raise your conscious awareness. That’s the real purpose of a goal. It’s to bring more of you to the surface. And when you do, you enjoy everything you do more” Bob Proctor.

A big worthy idea that you really want, something that is exciting and so big you don’t know how you are going to achieve it. The important thing is to focus on it, imagine it and imagine achieving that goal. Then continue to focus on it and take action. The opportunities and people will show up. By focusing on our big idea, we are likely to have more awareness of opportunities and people who can help us when they show up. The most important concept was that the purpose of a goal is to help us grow.

 

The next thing is to come up with the big idea! The book suggests expanding our awareness by taking a small idea and turning it into a bigger idea. Still, I have plenty of goals I am working towards but I don’t have a big idea goal. I guess I will just drink coffee, journal and let my ideas percolate until a big idea shows up. This is the next step to figure out what my big wonderful idea goal is.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

The Problem With Housework!

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The Happy Suburban Chick must come face to face with her reality of housework. It certainly does not fit into the area of domestic bliss. Here is a list of 5 housework problems that every Happy Suburban Chick must come to terms with. They are as follows:

Housework is like Groundhog day, same thing day after day. I empty the wash basket, and the next day it is full and I start all over again. I make the beds and the next day I make them again. I do the dishes and the next day I do them again.

The biggest problem is nobody really appreciates it especially when it is done well, things run smoothly everyone is happy and life just goes well.

When it not done, you soon hear the complaints, the inconvenience is well and truly noticed. Like where are my jocks, did you buy me my deodorant, post my letter, and I am hungry what is for dinner tonight

I don’t get paid to do it, even though I work hard and put a lot of hours into it.

It doesn’t require much skill, but rather takes up a lot of time. I can not develop my skill and knowledge.

Being distracted by housework when I could be doing something more interesting, challenging and fun. Yet somehow that housework is very persuasive because I find myself doing it.

So what’s a Happy Suburban Chick to do! Put on the music and get stuck into for a start. Acknowledge that it will never be complete it simply and ongoing project with no end date. If no one appreciates your work you must be doing a magnificent job. They can sack you, and give your job to someone else. Funny thing is I have never been given the sack from doing housework even when I suck at it. That’s right it’s unpaid work. Finally when you find yourself being sucked in by the persuasiveness of housework, set boundaries and give it definite time frames, and say no when it demands more.

A Happy Suburban Chick must learn to control the times she spends on housework so she can spend more time doing what makes her happy.

How do you cope with housework? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Wishing you a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

Photography Bliss : Alfred Nicholas Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges

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Wow! Magical, Picturesque, Amazing colours, these words all describe the Alfred Nicholas Gardens. These gardens are situated of Sherbrooke Road in the Dandenong Ranges. They are run by Parks Victoria now, and entrance is free.
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I went at the end of Autumn and the Autumn foliage colours were just gorgeous. It not just the colours it is also the ornamental lake and boat house with a couple of small bridges that just make this place so picturesque. Whilst the gardens are surrounded by rain forrest. It is a delightful place for a walking adventure with a camera.  I was in my happy place taking lots of delightful photo’s.
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This day was the perfect day, late afternoon and slightly cloudy for taking photo’s. I am a new hobbyist photographer and are still learning how to navigate the settings of my DSLR camera and take good photo’s. All I know is I need to get out there and practice and take a lot of photo’s. This place makes it easy to take pretty photo’s because it is just so delightfully beautiful.
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You can discover the Alfred Nicholas Gardens for yourself by going to Dandenong Ranges,  Sherbrooke Road, Sherbrooke, Victoria. Admission is free, and the photography opportunity is great. To find out more go to Parks Victoria’s site. 

This post has been inspired by the Ultimate Blog Challenge Day 11, which I have been encouraged to share some photo’s. This year I am also sharing a picture a day on Instagram, which are mostly iPhone photo’s, because that the camera I always have with me.

 

 

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

Fun Things To Do In Winter.

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Morning walk on a Winter’s Day!

Winter, you make it so cold and dark outside. Really all I want to do is curl up on the couch and keep snug and warm. Whilst that is nice for a little while, I know I could be enjoying life more. I have to push myself to enjoy these Winter’s Days. This is my question: What are fun things to do in Winter?

Here are some of my ideas:
1. Cooking Adventures: Winter is a perfect time, to put the music on, put the oven on and start experimenting with new exciting dishes.

2. Reading time: What better time to snuggle in bed reading a book, or to simply curl up in an armchair with your book. I only have a heater, it would be so nice to have a
fire.

3. Go to the movies, It is warm, snug and even exciting. I love movies they are an awesome indoor activity.

4. Going out to restaurants and cafe’s, just catching up with family and friends.

5. Make a commitment, it doesn’t matter how cold or wet it is, I go out in the evenings to attend my Toastmasters club.

6. Coats I love my coats, being warm is important. I good selection of coats lets me dress for different occasions and still stay warm. It also helps me to rug up and go for a walk.

7. Sunday drives places still look pretty in Winter, and you can always stop somewhere for a warm coffee.

8. Finally winter festivals, exhibitions, and events. I check out local papers, what’s on websites like Weekend Notes, and local council calendar of events to see what is on in my area.

9. Do an online course or class and learn something new.

However I know I still like to stay tucked away inside, hibernating on my warm couch with the heater on, and the warm cup of tea in my hands. Here I am in search of fun things to do in Winter, to bring more energy and excitement into those Winter Day’s.

What fun things do you like to do on Winter’s Days?

So what are some fun things you like to do on Winter’s Days? Please leave a comment. The more ideas we have the better our Winter Days will be.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON