By Sean Melrose.
Fiona Rossiter wears many hats: public speaker, community leader, Orange Electorate’s woman of the year in 2006 and of course, writer.
Growing Great Families, is a book written by Rossiter that shares the experiences she, along with her partner Paul, gained by raising a family, moving to a new country and all the associated challenges that went along with it. Contained within the pages are sections that suggest grabbing a pen and jotting down responses, encouraging further thought on the topics and provoking discussion.
Rossiter originally moved downunder at the age of one, then left school at 16 and stayed on in Australia when her parents returned to England. It was on a visit to see her parents in the UK that she met Paul and two years later they were married. Not long after, the couple decided to travel to Australia and settled in Orange NSW, where Growing Great Families was written and lived.
In focus are a broad range of subjects, touching on all aspects relating to a healthy family lifestyle in body and in mind, from parenting to mental health and even meal times and dinners. Along with some handy general advice about planning meals, are some accessible family recipes for hearty soups, pies and classic deserts.
"I have always been fairly good at cooking and don’t mind being a bit adventurous. I gain particular satisfaction from the presentation of a meal and then finding that it tastes delicious.” ~Fiona Rossiter, p71.
One of the key takeaways from Growing Great Families is the advice given for making ends meet on a shoe string budget. Speaking from experience, from a time when having a family impacted the Rossiter’s budget plans, the book includes tips on how expectations and commitments shape methods for saving money.
"Are you a person who has to have the brand name and top of the range products or are you someone who can managed with the lower priced products? This is something for you to really think about. I say that because this could end up being one of the easiest ways of saving extra money.” ~Fiona Rossiter, p54.
There is a horticultural theme that runs through the whole book, each chapter titled with a different reference to gardening, for instance pruning, refers to health and well-being, while nurturing refers to goals and dreams. So it’s easy to see that the veggie patch has had a big influence on the Rossiter family, noticeable in the photosynthesis section, which elaborates on the benefits of gardening and its influence on their children.
"Planning your garden and making it work for you is so important, especially when you have a family with children. It can be your saving grace and provide many memorable times. Getting the children involved and watching them enjoy the benefits is a great reward.” ~Fiona Rossiter, p101.
Growing Great Families is full of tips for young families just starting out, as well as those perhaps looking for a fresh approach. Take a look at the ecosystem of family life, through the eyes of a green thumbed, inspiring family.