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Archive for June, 2010

doggies are recovering!

June 29th, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Jed & Banjo are doing well. They don't have cones on their heads or anything like that. When I picked them up they were very quiet and a bit drowsy. Kind of like what normal dogs are, all the time! Big Grin

I am at work today but I might go home in my lunch break to check how they are doing.

The vet visit yesterday was $652, but included four days of pain medication (which I forgot we would need to get), microchipping and registration, heartworm & vaccines for Jed, sterilisation, anaesthetic etc. Well, from now on our vet bills should only be around $300 a year. Whew!

doggies are getting the snip today

June 28th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

After talking with DF, we decided this week would be the best one to book in the doggies for de-sexing. In a few weeks we are going away for the weekend and taking them, so it would be nice if they were recovered, and a little calmer.

Jed is also getting his annual checkup and heartworm injection, plus both of them are getting microchipped.

I have no idea how much this is going to cost but I think it will be in the vicinity of $500-$600. Ah well. If we hadn't done it, we would have paid $224 in total just to register both of them, in a months time. As opposed to just $20 it will now cost us.

I know that there is a remote chance there could be complications, as with any surgical procedure, but I am trying not to think about that!

Please keep Jed & Banjo in your thoughts today! The vet will call me in three to four hours to let me know how it went.

weekend

June 27th, 2010 at 04:34 am

It is Sunday afternoon here and I thought it time to update my blog.

I had a nice weekend.

Banjo had his checkup at the vet. He is in perfect health. The vet visit was $262, which included: 6 months of Comfortis Flea Treatment, three months of gastrointestinal worm protection, his yearly heartworm shot, his second batch of vaccinations and yearly health checkup.

Next week I am going to book them both in to get desexed. The vet said they were fine to get done at the same time. I think the cost will be around $500, but also includes microchipping for both of them as well. And Jed will also have his yearly checkup in about a month, but should be less than Banjos, probably around $170.

After that, I went to visit a friend and she cooked me breakfast (that was actually lunch, by the time we ate it) Smile

After I left her house I decided to go to the shops. I bought a new pair of black ballet flats for $10, as my old ones are vinyl and are coming apart. Also spent $5.60 on a coffee (yikes!)

I got home at the same time as DF (he has worked all weekend). I pulled out all my clothes and sorted through them. Threw some away/donated some, and packed some others away. Found a few things I had packed away that I think I might wear again. DF cleaned about 120 beer bottles for his next two batches of home brew. He took an idea that our tattooist suggested, attaching a bottle brush to the end of a cordless drill to clean them. Big Grin It's funny, but it definately works!

We have finished watching Deadwood, and are now onto True Blood, which we watched a few episodes of last night.

This morning I went to the market and bought our fresh fruit, eggs and vegetables for the week. Spent $25.40.

DF also bought some cleanskin bottles of wine, mainly for cooking.

I decided to go on a bit of a cleaning blitz after that, so I have vaccumed and mopped the entire house, did three loads of laundry, and scrubbed the tiled floors in the bathroom and toilet, & lit some incense. House feels a bit cleaner now, and smells yummy.

Tonight we're having roast lamb (for DF), roast vegetables & salad.

Also made a batch of biscotti today Big Grin I'm planning on making that gluten free almond and orange cake again next week, when I buy more almond meal. It really was delicious.

Well, that's all my updates for the weekend. How was yours?

argh! doctors!!!

June 23rd, 2010 at 03:09 am

First of all, guys might want to skip this entry Big Grin

Three years ago I found a lump in my breast. It took me six months to actually go and get it checked (I know, I know). So I got an ultrasound done, went back to my then-doctor and he said I had a benign cyst and it wasn't anything to worry about.

Anyway, fast forward to this year, and I notice that I get a bit of pain every now and then. So I go and see the doctor (a different one from the first time, I have been seeing the current doctor for about two years and like her). She refers me to get another ultrasound.

I go in today to get it done, and the radiologist tells me that particular lump is fine - it is just tissue. HOWEVER, she tells me on the report that I had three years ago it mentions I have a fibroadenoma as well - which is news to me, as the doctor never mentioned it at the time.

She says to me "Usually your doctor is supposed to get a sample of the tissue by inserting a needle. If the sample is fine, they will just leave it alone. However, your doctor doesn't seem to have done that. But, this was found three years ago, and if it was a baddie, you'd be dead by now, so obviously it's not, and you probably won't need to get it done."


WHAT!?!

Feeling a little weird right now, but atleast it was good news, so far, atleast.

----------------------------

I spent $8.30 on a coffee and a date & apple muffin. The ultrasound was free, and I am going grocery shopping this afternoon when I finish work. I only plan to get a couple of items, so fingers crossed it's only about $50 or so. For some reason I always underestimate how much groceries are going to cost. I expect $30 when the total actually comes to ~$70. I guess my mind needs to catch up with inflation!


Obviously I completed some of my to-do list from my previous entry Smile Now that I have had my ultrasound, I need to book an appointment with the doctors. I also booked Banjo in for his vaccinations on Saturday. I chose a Saturday so that DF can stay with Jed. It will be the first time they are apart since we got Banjo - interesting to see how they are when they are separated! I asked the vet about de-sexing, and they only need 1-2 days notice. So I am thinking of booking them in either separately or at the same time, next week or the week after.

Who has had their dog de-sexed in the past couple of years? Is there anything I should know? Do they have to rest afterwards? What about playing together? How long until they fully recover?




gnocchi recipe for HouseHopeful

June 23rd, 2010 at 12:25 am

Househopeful, this is for you Wink (and anyone else that wants it)

I hope it turns out for you like it did with me. Smile It takes a bit of 'feel' with making the dough. In the recipe book I got it from, they described gnocchi as 'velvety soft pillows' which is something I kept in mind when making the dough and it helped a little to get the right consistency. Have fun! It's a little messy, but only takes about 1/2 an hour or so, and actually works out to be quite cheap!

Potato Gnocchi
1kg potatoes
300-350gm plain flour
salt/pepper
olive oil


Note: It is a good idea to have the sauce ready & simmering BEFORE you make the gnocchi, as it is supposed to be made, cooked and eaten straight away. If you want to prepare the gnocchi a little prior to cooking it, when you roll it out, place it on a floured board and cover with a dry tea towel - be careful not to let the gnocchi touch each other as they will stick together, and sprinkle atop with a bit more flour so that they don't go gluggy. Throughout this process you might have to sprinkle more flour here and there so that the gnocchi does not get sticky.

- Boil the potatoes (with skins) covered in salted water until soft (about 15 minutes)
- Peel the skins off and pass through a potato ricer (I actually used a sieve and the back of a spoon) directly onto a clean bench.
- Sprinkle flour with one hand and gently fold over/knead with the other until you get a doughy consistency with a bit of spring.
- Have another pot of boiling water ready, and a dish sprinkled generously with olive oil, cracked pepper and salt. Place this dish in a hot oven to keep your gnocchi warm while you cook it.
- Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll each part into a rope about 1.5cm in diameter. Cut the rope into 3cm sections, roll along the side with a fork (this is the classic gnocchi 'groove' and helps the sauce stick to it) and drop into gently boiling water.
- The gnocchi will sink to the bottom for a while, and when it floats and bobs at the top it is ready.
- Pick the cooked gnocchi out with a slotted spoon, drain for a few seconds over the pot and then place in your oiled/salted/peppered tray. (It is best to try a few pieces at the start to make sure they are cooked until you get used to the timing)
- Shake the tray slightly to coat the gnocchi in the oil and return to the oven.
- Cook the gnocchi in batches of 10 or so pieces until all are done. Be careful not to add too many to the pot at once.

Serve immediately with sauce & grated parmesan.

(I serve them with a very simple sauce: garlic sauteed in olive oil with freshly diced tomatoes, loads of freshly chopped basil & pepper).

having a bit of a slack attack.

June 22nd, 2010 at 02:43 am

It feels like I haven't posted in ages. Probably only a week or so, but feels longer.

I had a three day week last week, which was nice, relax-wise, not so nice money-wise. I went and visited DF's sister in her town (an hours drive from our place) to go op-shopping with her, and DF finished work early and was able to go at the last minute as well.

I only bought three cups (one coffee cup, two teacups) and spent $2.20. The main expense was lunch, but it was nice to have a meal with DF's sister and our niece. Spent around $40 on two meals and drinks.

Saturday it seemed we caught the op shop bug, went into our town and spent a couple of hours poking around various stores.

DF found a good quality bottle-capper for his home brewing, for $15. (They are $49 brand new). He already has two others though! I am going to sell one of them on eBay, hope to make atleast the money back he spent on it. We also bought a book, a painting, a jigsaw puzzle and DF bought himself a pair of pants.

I think jigsaw puzzles are going to be my new 'thing' hehe. DF, myself and my little sister sat around for about 6 hours on Sunday trying to piece together a 1000 pce! We're slowly working at it. It's good fun though. I just hope all the pieces are there. That's the problem with op-shop jigsaw puzzles! But I guess it adds an extra element to it. Well, that's what I'm telling myself anyway... Big Grin

My meal plan is working well this month. Next week is our big shopping week, so I will be working on July's meal planner soon.

Last night I made potato gnocchi for the first time, from scratch! And it actually turned out really well! I was so pleased. And the sauce I made to go with it was delicious too, just a really simple garlic, fresh tomato & fresh basil pasta sauce. YUM.

I did some baking last week too, now that I have an oven! Big Grin (Though everything I made has since been eaten...) I made various batches of biscotti (gave some away to friends as well) and an orange & almond (gluten free) cake. It was soooo good.

Anyway, this week is going to be a healthy eating week heh heh.

I have lots of things to do, plan, book etc over the next week or so. But I am feeling so unmotivated!

I have to:

- book a time to get an ultrasound (NO! NOT pregnant)
- order a new bottle of gas to be delivered
- make a time for Banjo to get his second bathc of vaccinations
- organise to pick up 2 x bookshelves from a friends place
- make a new ink booking
- Schedule a time BEFORE the 13th July to get Jed & Banjo desexed.
- Book a follow up appointment for the doctors to see about my ultrasound and my blood test results.
- start getting all of our reciepts ready for our tax returns (earliest I can file is start of July).
- start thinking of ideas for our nieces birthday present - she turns 1 in two weeks and DF wants to make something for her. eeek!
- also have to mend several of my cardigans which are coming apart at some seams around the neck - I am so lazy I just stopped wearing them, then realised the other day I have hardly any cardigans to wear! LOL.

Anyway. It feels like I have a huge amount of things to get through, but a lot of them are really easy to accomplish... But *sigh* it just takes a bit to organise, and when I go to do something, I think of all the things I have to do to achieve it (such as: booking the vet is easy enough, but then I have to WASH the dogs, and drive them to the vet, and then deal with them healing, argh. But if I don't do it, their registration will be over $200, compared to $20 if I DO get them desexed...)

Or ordering gas is simple enough, but then because we have not set up an account (still on the same bottle that was full when we bought the house) I will have to go through all that. Not to mention I have no idea of the size of the bottle... and I am at work now so I can't check it.

Booking a time to get my ultrasound means I will actually have to GO THERE and get it Big Grin

Booking in more ink means I will have to call, and then at some stage take in the drawings, and then ...

anyway, you get the picture...I just can't be bothered. I think I'm having a major procrastination attack! I would much rather be doing my jigsaw puzzle... Big Grin

Anyway... now that I have all that out of my system, I am going to make some calls, book some things, make appointments, and generally work through til I see the light at the end of the tunnel!!! Wish me luck (and send me motivational energy!) lol. Smile

savings

June 16th, 2010 at 03:15 am

The pizzas we made yesterday were delicious! So, just a note for anyone that has leftover pita breads, or some in the freezer: you can make pizzas out of them. (I was going to make the base from scratch, but decided to use the pitas because I wouldn't use them for anything else).

DF got his iPhone a few days ago. Only a month or so to go until I can get mine. AND I will be able to get the one DF has, on a lesser per month plan. (actually the same plan I have now) YAY.

DF is getting paid for some weekend work he has been doing this month which is exciting. It will be around $1000.00. The money will just be absorbed into our EF because of the new stove we bought. It would have gone towards a new TV and a punching bag - but I think we have to accept that those things will have to wait a little longer than we initially thought.

I'm thinking more seriously about moving our superannuation over to our bank. It has much less fees than the fund we're currently with. I think it will cost around $160 in total fees a year each. Not bad.

Plus we will be able to see at a glance exactly how much superannuation we have, instead of guessing (our current fund doesn't seem to send letters that regularly...not really impressed)

And we can get our life insurance taken out of that fund. I might do some more research into what the coverage is though. No point in having insurance if it's not going to cover you when you need it.

My goal for the rest of the month is to set up a savings plan for our house renovations goals. Also I'd like to set up a car fund too, and a few other small funds for various short term things. DF's going to have to sit down with me and listen! LOL.

missing cd, biscotti, pizza recipe

June 14th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Yesterday I got a few things done. I sorted out our music collection alphabetically (600+ cd's - quite a mission!). Found out one of my cd's is missing so I am trying to track that down. (Radioheads' In Rainbows) We have one friend who takes a pile every now and then - we trust him to bring them back but maybe he might have misplaced one. Grrr. And don't ask how I managed to know that ONE disc was missing out of six hundred, I am clearly a freak in that regard Big Grin

I also partly tidied our office. Well, I did my half. DF's is just too messy and cluttered to deal with. I hope that my side being clean will encourage him to sort out his! I just have a pile of paperwork to sort through and file, and then I need to sort out a bunch of reciepts for tax (July 1st).

I baked Anzac biscuits and biscotti yesterday. I've never made biscotti before and it was a success! And sooo easy. I estimate the cost is probably the same as buying a packet, seeing as it has four eggs in it for a single batch (and at $6 a dozen, egss aren't cheap!) But atleast I know they are fresh, what goes in them, I can make different varieties, and play around with the sugar content. Not to mention all my ingredients are organic - the packet ones are not. So I guess if I were to make it vs. buying and ORGANIC packet biscotti... cost-wise we'd probably come out ahead.

Anyway. DF really liked them too, and his dad! Who we had over to help Banjo-proof our fence. There's now two layers of wire, and bricks holding the ends down so he can't dig out, if he ever decides to do that, AND it's higher. Hehe. Try getting out of that one, sucker!

Yesterday I didn't spend any money. Today I have to buy milk and meat for the dogs. I'm having a coffee with a friend, but if we go to the place we intend to - I have a loyalty punch card that has a free coffee on it. So I'm technically not spending any money! Love that!

Tonight we're having pizza - but I'm making it. On pita bread bases. DF has some leftover roast lamb which I was going to put on his.

I'm making a pizza we used to make when I worked at a restaurant, it's delicious! (my then-boss won a state award for it)

The toppings are:
Fresh sliced tomato
crumbled feta
Sundried Tomato
Red onion
Lamb
Tzatziki Yoghurt sauce drizzled over the top after it comes out of the oven. It's divine!

Obviously I won't be putting lamb on mine. I was going to try roasted pumpkin, fresh spinach, feta & walnuts on a pizza too. I might make 3 - the lamb one, one minus the lamb, and then the pumpkin one. DF can take the leftovers for lunch. Big Grin

stupid neighbours = surveyor

June 13th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I think Banjo is turning into an escape artist. We have had him on the deck since his recent runnings-away, this morning I got up to find him on the ROOF of his kennel, which I had pushed against a piece of ply (about 1.5m high) to block the opening to the stairs (which are a full 1 storey high - jed is petrified of jumping over anything to get to the stairs, obviously Banjo does not share this fear). The dog is crazy!

Sigh.

I guess this means we are going to have to put a rush on building a fence around the property. The 1.5m chicken wire was fine for Jed, but he is a 'boundary' dog, where clearly Banjo is not.

I think we have enough to build it now, but I would like to have a buffer. I don't like to clean out our house renovations fund in one go, it makes me feel a bit uneasy. Plus I have no idea how much it will actually cost, seeing as we'll only be buying the materials - DF will build it. But probably the biggest cost will be a surveyer - we already know that one of our neighbours takes issue with our boundary line. Or rather... takes issue with the previous owners boundary line.

Funny. It seems that none of our neighbours liked the previous owner, even though he did not live there, he only rented the house out. They talk badly of him chopping down the trees on our land - even though the only trees he cut down were Camphor Laurel trees, which are a BIG pest and dangerous for our environment. They spread their roots under the ground and send suckers out, take over everywhere, and strangle the life out of anything else, and also create a 'blanket' over the ground, blocking out the sunlight so that nothing can grow, and their leaves fall and poison the ground. However, apparently according to the neighbours, as long as it's big and green, it deserves to be there. (DF and I don't share this sentiment).

Anyway, to get back to my story: our neighbours (who are actually our next door neighbours' neighbours - our neighbours land ends in a triangle at the bottom, and the neighbours' neighbours joins with ours for about a metre at the bottom - I KNOW! STUPID!) believe that when the previous owner of our house cut a pathway down the side of our property to the park, he cut into some of their land. According to the plans we have, which our solicitors aquired from our council office, he DID NOT. But they think he did. DF has already had a discussion with these people, and he left because they were not listening to him. He didn't make a big deal out of it, he just said 'I have to go now.' Then came back and bitched about it to me lol Big Grin

Anyway. I believe that the previous owner of our house is right, and correctly cut the land on our property. Why? Because he has been a builder his entire adult life. He is one of the most well known builders in our area, and he does the entire project from start to finish, has been doing this for nearly 40 years - so, somewhere along the line, I think he *may* have figured out how to read plans and borderlines. Call me crazy!

Anyway. So because of our neighbours' neighbours pig-headedness, we have to hire a surveyor to peg out our property, so that they can *SEE* this for themselves. I have no idea how much a surveyor costs, but I think it's around the $1000 mark. *sigh* AND I have to make sure I'm actually there when they are, to take photos of the pegs, incase the neighbours MOVE them (people are known for doing stupid things like this). HA!

Anyway. So I'm estimating that the materials for the fence will be around $2000, and the surveyor will be around $1000. But I really have no idea at all. AND it's a public holiday so I can't even call people to find out today. It's really annoying me.


GAH.




creature comforts

June 13th, 2010 at 05:55 am

Yesterday I didn't get as much done as I was hoping. I did some washing, tidied up and cleaned the kitchen.

This morning I was woken up by our neighbour who said Banjo had escaped twice and gone to visit their staffy. (who is also a boy, lol - i think Banjo's made a friend) The neighbour said she found the way he was getting out. I then watched Banjo escape a third time, from another part of our fence!!! eeek. Anyway. Little rascal. They are confined to our deck until DF gets home. I can't find any wire to fix the fence.

After that fiasco, I went to the markets and bought fresh veges for the week. Spent $16.90 on avocados, english spinach, pumpkin, capscicum, green beans and broccoli.

Then I decided to get some bits and pieces from the shops that I've been meaning to. Little things that aren't strictly necessary, but are nice to have and serve a purpose. Creature comforts, I guess you'd call them.

I bought a dutch tea strainer for $5.99, something I have been meaning to get for a loooong time and never got around to it. Best invesntion EVER.

Also bought a kitchen timer, ~$10 (cheapest digital I could find), an oven mit (20% off $16.95), a gas stove lighter ~$5, 2 x filters for our water jug (30% off $23) and some underwear (which probably shouldn't have bought, but it was such a good deal I decided to lol - $9.95 each, marked down to $5 each, then 30% off the marked down price... so $3.50 each - woohoo!)

I also bought a muffin for breakfast because I was getting a headache which I assumed was because I hadn't eaten. But it has not gone away all day, which is really annoying. So I used it as an excuse to rent a movie (for $1, our local store has cheap Tuesdays AND Sundays) and I watched that while folding the mammoth pile of washing we had on our couch... from last weekend. Big Grin

So, my Sunday is nearly over and I have done basically nada. Not feeling very motivated with an irritating pulsing feeling in my skull!

I'm cooking DF a roast for dinner, and I will probably have roast veges. Tomorrow I was planning on catching up with friends, but I think I will cancel those plans and do all the things I didn't get done today.

Oh, and here is a photo of my new oven mitt: Big Grin (and in the background, you can see our NEW stove/oven)

two days off and the plans for them

June 12th, 2010 at 04:30 am

I just finished my work-week and have two whole days off (and half of this day, seeing as it's 2pm). Yay!

DF is working today, tomorrow and all next week (no days off for DF Frown)

I have some plans, mainly involving sorting, de-cluttering, cleaning, tidying etc. I also want to go to the markets tomorrow.

Today I hope to accomplish the following:
- tidy kitchen
- water plants
- several loads of laundry
- fold and put away washing
- general tidy up
- clean bathroom

And, for the next two days I want to:
- Tidy & re-organise our office.
- Re-organise & clean out our pantry
- Alphabetise our CD collection again (sigh - could take several hours...)
- Do a thorough cull of my wardrobe and work out what I need to replace.
- Wash our dogs and clip their nails, and wash their bedding.


I also need to figure out some sort of system for DF when he gets home. I know it's just a male thing to do; get home and dump everything where it DOESN'T belong... but it annoys the crap out of me.

Any suggestions? He has a backpack, a lunchbox sized cool-box and an assortment of jumpers and beanies that he drops in the middle of our hallway Big Grin *sigh*




Currently Listening To: Cannibal Corpse

talk about a spendy day!

June 11th, 2010 at 10:36 am

We've been pretty good all week, knowing that Friday we would be shelling out lots of money for various things. But it still doesn't make it any easier!!!

Todays Expenses:
Gas Fitter: $250
DF's booking: $250
DF paid speeding fine: $333

I also spent $26 on fresh fruit and vegetables for the start of the week - I plan to go to the markets on Sunday and get some more too. And I spent $3 on a drink at work, and $7 on a 2kg bag of frozen seasoned wedges (hey! my boss asked if I wanted to buy a bag and I said yes! it's cheaper than I can get them at the supermarket, and that will be our junk food allowance for the weekBig Grin). My boss also gave me a bag of un-cooked croissant pasties which are now in our freeser. So now on a lazy Sunday morning, I can bake fresh croissants! Big Grin

I made our first dish in the new oven - and tomorrow I am making an asparagus and sweet potato quiche.

The gas fitter actually was here here for about an hour and a half, so it was my mistake thinking he wouldn't be doing much. We now have an automatic gas thingamajigee that switches bottles when one runs out, so we don't have to go outside and switch it over. YAY! how exciting. (for me, anyway)
Our dogs made friends with him and they whined a bit when he left, hehe. They usually only do that with us!



Currently Reading: The Chrysalids - John Wyndham

gas fitter, work, op shopping.

June 10th, 2010 at 07:54 am

The gas fitter is coming tomorrow! I'm super excited to have an oven and a stove again. I imagine the thrill will last a little while, and then I'll get sick of cooking. But I'm going to take advantage of it anyway, haha.

So, because our house is old, and our kitchen is old, and our gas pipes are old, we have to get a new dual regulator put in, because apparently the single ones are not allowed anymore.

In the end, it is going to cost ~$250 to install our stove. Grr. Anyway. I guess it's better than our house burning down and being up s*** creek with no insurance (insurance will only cover it if you have a gas compliance certificate... which is basically what you get for the $250 ... sigh). :S

Hmmm. What other news. I had an afternoon of cleaning today, took the doggies for a run at the park down the bottom of our property and did some washing. I'm now going to hang some more out and watch Grand Designs Big Grin LOVE that show.

Tonight we're having omellettes for dinner, tomorrow... vegetarian lasagna! Yummo.

DF has the day off tomorrow for a booking, but will be home in time for the gas fitter, and I am working tomorrow and Saturday. I get Monday off because it's a public holiday, and Friday too! On friday, I'm meeting up with DF's sister and we're going op-shopping in her town. I'm only expecting to spend around $50, I don't have anything I'm looking for in particular, except maybe another teapot...

interest rates up

June 9th, 2010 at 12:59 am

I got a letter in the mail from our bank yesterday. The Reserve Bank raised interest rates about a month ago, and now our bank is passing that on to us. Mind you, our payments do not go up until September.

Our new variable rate is 6.91% - and we get a package discount which takes it down to 6.80%.

Our fixed rate is 7.64%.

We have a split loan, part is variable and part is fixed, and the variable portion payments will go up ~$14 a week.

what my uni course will cost me

June 7th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

June & July are going to be interesting months for me.

I am *this* close to being able to apply for my course at university. (You are allowed to apply for Semester 3 intake after the 31st July - for a November start).

There has been no talk at all of me + apprenticeship at work, so I am still taking that as a 'No' on my boss's behalf. Whatever.

Even though I am not jumping out of my socks at the thought of studying commerce, as opposed to... say... watching movies all day wrapped in a doona drinking hot chocolate. But the fact is I do find the whole thing very interesting, and I find the prospect of what I can DO with my studies once I've completed them, or even half completed them, exciting.

So that's the study-front sorted.

I've looked into the funding side of things a bit as well, but I think I get more information after I apply through QTAC.

But this is what I have figured out so far:

It costs ~$50-$100 to apply online and that covers three preference changes (not that I will be changing preferences, I don't think).

The government covers a percentage of tertiary study costs. I have no idea of the full course costs, so that doesn't really help me in any way, other than make me feel like I pay my taxes for a reason Big Grin
woohoo for Australia!

Students have a 'contribution' amount they have to pay, which is what is left after the government pays their bit.

The contribution amount differs depending on what you're studying. Art, Nutrition, Design etc are on a lower cost band than say, Business, Law or Medicine. I think there is actually three or four band costs, but that's not really important (to me, I mean).

You don't actually find out what your contribution amount is until you've applied and been accepted, but they do give you the previous years amounts so you can see what it might be. So for the previous years, a Bachelor of Commerce has had a contribution amount of ~$1050 per unit. There are 12 units to complete in 6 years. So my initial study costs will be ~$13000 or so. I think. Unless I'm wrong. Big Grin

You can pay the full mount upfront and get a 20% discount. Which would be nice if I had that money to spend, but I don't. So instead you can elect to pay it off, through wage deductions each week, once your earnings hit a certain amount. Which apparently at the moment is around $40k a year.

Of course there are books to think about as well. No idea how much they will cost, but the good thing is that for distance study, they include everything you need pretty much, so that will take a load off my mind.

I talked to a friend of ours who did some study online, and loved it. She was really excited for me, and told me if I needed help to just ask her, but then said she found distance study better than on-campus study, and that I would be fine. This is very encouraging for me because for the most part, everyone has pooh-poohed the idea of online study. So yay.

Anyway. Sorry this was all just pretty much a ramble of thoughts about study. But atleast you now know the costs of studying in Australia vs the US.

I'm interested to know too, because for the most part everyone seems to have HUGE student loans on here. Is this the norm?

I think Australia seems to have an interesting way to fund study. Of course I'd be happier if tertiary study was FREE, like in some countries... but I think we have it fairly good.

The only thing that is lacking here, is the assistance provided while you're studying. I'm not even going to bother to look into it for myself, because I have only ever dealt with government assistance once in my life, when I finished school and while I was searching for a job. I absolutely hated it - and some people go on government assistance, pretending to look for a job, and just bludge all day, every day, for months and even years.

But I think it is unfair that someone who is studying full time, gets LESS per week than someone sitting on their butt at home full-time with no job and no study to do. It's just wrong.

family portrait

June 6th, 2010 at 03:37 am

I am dogsitting DF's dad's JR Trinity (who is Jed's 'girlfriend' and Banjos mother Big Grin) and was able to take some great pictures of them. They arranged themselves like this while I was hanging out the washing... soooo cute!




(Jed is on the higher step, Trinity is in the middle and Banjo is on the right.)

and no! I didn't pose them, they did it all by themselves Big Grin

bought a new stove/oven: $640

June 4th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Well, our excitement over fixing the oven/stove was short-lived, as it died two days ago. Whatever DF did was apparently not enough. We concluded that it is indeed just OLD - it is atleast 10 years old if not 15, and as it is just the cheapest model that could be bought back then, we figured that it has probably had it's run. Cheap appliances are not made to last - anyone can tell you that.

In saying that, we went out and bought the same one, just newer. LOL. For a few reasons:

- we have gone a long time without a stove or oven, and really need one.

- the cavity that our old stove was in is very small, which means if we were to get any other type of stove, we'd have to pull apart the kitchen.

- eventually we'd like to partially remodel the kitchen - but that will take planning, time and money. More money than we are willing to spend right now. (at the moment, the money is better spent on a fence for our dogs, not on a kitchen that is fully workable right now, just not 'to our taste').

- Buying the cheaper oven now means we don't have to think about, or rush into, a remodel of a kitchen. $640 on an oven that we don't really plan to have for more than 5 years MAY seem like a waste, but in the grand scheme of things, we are spending $640 now to have things remain the same, rather than spending a few thousand on a kitchen remodel that we haven't been able to properly plan. I don't want to model a kitchen around a new stove either - which is potentially what we would be doing if we bought a different one - the one that I eventually want to buy.

I did research (though not as much as I would have liked) the prices of that particular stove and a few similar models. The cheapest I could find online was $623 plus $56 for delivery, so $679.

We went to a store we have been to a few times. They are known for being good at negotiating prices. The RRP was $799, and the sale price was $678. We asked the service rep what the best price he could offer us was, and he came down to $645. After some deliberation we decided to buy it. When we went to pay, he knocked another $5 off.

It's not installed at the moment, but hopefully will be by tomorrow night. How exciting. A brand new stove that WORKS.

meal plan, oven is fixed!

June 2nd, 2010 at 12:29 am

Don't ask me how, but DF fixed our stove and oven. YAY! It is super exciting seeing as we haven't used it for nearly 8 months.

Just in time for winter as well, so we can enjoy bakes, pies, quiches, crumbles, puddings... and most likely tight waistbands... he he.

The best part, it didn't cost a CENT to fix as DF was able to do it at home, by himself, with whatever he needed from our own supplies.

Our Meal Plan for this week:

- Carrot Fritters & Salad with cucumber raita

- Pumpkin, feta & asparagus quiche & steamed vegetables

- Ricotta, Spinach, Roast Capsicum & Pumpkin Lasagne with salad.

- Homemade Pizzas on pita bread rounds

- Asparagus, Spinach & Corn Risotto

- Grilled Vegetable Skewers

- Roasted Sweet Potato, Cucumber Raita & Salad

I am looking forward to cooking with gas again, and seeing how much our next electricity bill is seeing as we've changed a few things here to save on electricity costs.