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update time (& cute dog pics)

August 19th, 2011 at 05:34 pm

After a late Friday night (full of laughing and talking with our tattooist... well, we were laughing and talking and DH just grimaced for most of it Big Grin it was in a painful spot on his arm...) I'm up late after a nice sleep in (til nearly 9am!!)and about to start a weekend chock full of study!
Thought I would update, first though... Big Grin

The guy who bought the tyres has just picked them up and given us the $60 he owes us. The lady who bought the cabinet dropped by on Thursday to pay $50 off and buy 10 cupcakes she asked me to make for her. She asked if she could pay for the rest of the cabinet next week, as she is a bit short of money this week due to unexpected kids expenses (totally understand - my mum deals with this all the time), I told her it was fine. She is a lovely lady, single with two kids and I think she is doing it tough (obviously not too tough as she can buy cupcakes!). I have her address and phone number, and she has already given us $60 toward it. We could sell it again for no hassles if she changed her mind.

Also, she asked if I made birthday cakes Big Grin I doubt my abilities with cake decorating, even though that is what I am employed to do. (BTW, 'cake-decorating' as a term, when I use it anyway, actually means: making the cake, and then decorating it... in case people are confused!) I don't like making things for people I know, or people who seek me out as an individual. I am afraid they won't like what I do. I need to get over this, as I realise I can make some pretty good-looking and great-tasting cakes most of the time. (sometimes... most times... better than my boss Big Grin shh, don't tell him I said that...)

I just don't have any of the supplies or equipment to make them at my house. DH is always encouraging me to 'invest' in these things and I think it's an unneeded expense. Maybe not. I don't know? I could probably make some good side-money, and even if I just bought the decorating equipment and left the actual cake-baking to be done at work, in my own time and paid for the scratch ingredients from my boss. Things to think about, I guess.

Heard back from one of the jobs, unsuccessful. (what a surprise... not). I suppose I will not hear from the other ones. I do not always get an email saying I was unsuccesful, they usually just leave you hanging. Nice.

I have begun taking some pre-conception vitamins Big Grin (holy dooly, are they expensive! I don't take vitamins as our diet is varied and healthy, but I figured I probably should for this as it's recommended... even at a discount chemist a months supply is $20) DH had a doctors appointment on Thursday and has to get some blood tests done next week. I also have to find a doctor, and get a check up. And go to the dentist. Sigh. Next week...

Work update:
My best friend quit. It was the day after she had that guilt-trip from my boss's wife, and after I had that horrible phone conversation with her too. I did not work that day (worked at my other job), but the next day (thursday) I went in and my boss was SUPER nice to me. Almost too nice. I guess he is afraid that I will up and leave too, because of his wife. You know... even though he is a really nice guy (apart from the lying and obsession with his social status) I wish I was offered a job right now, just so I could ring up his wife and say 'I quit, and it's because of you and your unprofessionalism'.
I know, it's a bit low and immature. But look at what I have had to put up with! Would you really blame me??
My boss would survive. He's worked very long days before. Perhaps his wife will have to help out at the shop a bit more than her token once-a-month visit? Big Grin

DH has some work this week which is great. Even though he's had a few weeks off, our bank account is still looking healthy.

We have been doing the weekly grocery shop on Saturdays or Sundays, together. It is easier for me this way and saves time with DH coming. (Even though he usually wanders around looking at other stuff). This week looks like it will be a really small shop: we have so much stuff in our pantry it's ridiculous, even though I have not bought a lot of stuff over the past couple of weeks either.

We're doing the shop tomorrow (Sunday) and I am going to make our meal plan off what we have in the pantry, and just nip into town for the essentials, and fresh fruit and veges.

I'm thinking our meal plan will go something like this:
sweet & sour tofu with egg noodles
pumpkin & cashew stirfry with basmati rice
minestrone soup
vegetarian pasta
baked fish, salad & sweet potato
mexican beans & rice
steamed vegetables, tofu & rice

We ate our first bananas since January, last week!!! It was very exciting for us. Since the floods in January bananas have been about $15-$20 a kilogram. Doesn't matter if they are organic or not, price is the same. Well, shopping at our local organic grocer we spied them at $9.99 a kilogram so we bought four little golden, beautiful, sweet cavendish. They were lovely! The oranges have been delicious lately too...

DH is having sellers remorse on some of the items we sold at the garage sale Big Grin oh well. He sold a PS1 for $7 with a whole heap of games, a chip, two guns etc. His uncle rang him the next day to see if he still had it, and said he would have given him $40! Even still, last night our tattooist said he would have given us $60! What are the chances?! (But, it went to a young high school girl who is no doubt going to have a lot of fun with it... I personally think it went to a good home). In the end, we made $450 and I think the reason we made that much was because our prices indicated we wanted to sell the stuff, not have people umm and aah over the price, but instead go 'hey! I'm going to buy that! Right now!'.

The coffee table (the one I didn't want him to sell! lol!) he sold for $40. Then two people came back that had been in the morning to ask about it, and asked how much he sold it for. LOL. But like the PS1, it has a nice selling-story to it too: the guy bought it because he wants to teach his grand-daughter to play chess. I mean, could you ask for it to go to a better home?!

And lastly, my poor baby Banjo!!! Earlier this week, he kept licking his face and seemed to not be closing his mouth. (He is a dog that pants half the time... so I wasn't especially worried at first, but then it got to a stage where I was a little worried). We tried looking at his gums and teeth, nothing. His breath was a lot smellier than normal. I took him to the vet on Thursday. The vet looked at his gums and teeth (as DH and I did), couldn't find anything, suggested maybe he had a sore throat and got a flashlight to inspect the inside of his mouth. Opens Banjo's mouth and what do we find, but a piece of a stick jammed in the roof of his mouth, horizontally between the molars on the left and right side! (hard to describe...) The vet said 'ahh, this is your problem!' quickly reached in and pulled it out. Our poor Banjo must have had it in for a few days, two great big holes on the inner side right next to his teeth and huge cut across the roof of his mouth (and blood!). The vet gave us some painkillers and antibiotics to clear up the infection. He asked if Banjo had trouble eating or drinking. Nope! I had even given him a bone the day before. Our vet laughed and said 'This ones a tought nut!'

On the trip home he sat in the front seat and when I looked over, he was curled up in a little ball with his paws on his snout. Fresh pain after getting it pulled out... ouch. He was a brave little fellow. I feel so bad that I didn't know, but the vet said unless you knew what to look for you wouldn't have known - he said he didn't expect to find that at all, he just thought Banjo had a sore throat, and that you wouldn't have been able to see without a light, as the roof of Banjo's mouth is speckled anyway, the stick was pretty much camoflaged. Poor Banjo!!! Total cost $70.25 for short vet visit, A/B & pain meds. (worth every penny I should add!!!!)

Here are some pictures of the last time we took them out, to my little sisters birthday picnic in the park:

Banjo:



Jed:

garage sale, keeping & getting rid of things...

August 4th, 2011 at 09:52 pm

DH doesn't have a lot of work lined up for the next two weeks (and has already had a week off, save for a small 6 hour job), so for the first time ever he's actually been extremely motivated to hold the garage sale we've talked about having since we moved in (two years ago...).

My DH is a bit of a hoarder. He reckons he's not, but his motto is 'if I can use it at some stage, some day, possibly... then we should keep it, we have room after all!'
Yeah, right. That 'room' we had (the entire basement) is full of crap. Big Grin I'm sorry, I meant useful stuff *cough*. I have a few items to sell as well.

DH wants to sell our coffee table though. He made it about five years ago and I love it. It's solid hardwood with a parquetry top that you can play chess on. When he said he wants to sell it and use another one he has (that's in the basement somewhere) I said I wanted to keep it because everyone always comments on it when they enter our house, it looks nice, and also he MADE it. He says he doesn't want it BECAUSE he made it. Frown

Oh well. I guess we have to learn to let go. And I suppose I shouldn't be trying to make him keep it - after all he does have a bit of a problem with that anyway! Why am I discouraging him!?

I remember when my dad & stepmum had a garage sale years and years ago. I was about 13. My stepmum gently suggested my dad sell a few of his records (he has... oh... a few thousand...). After much thought and sorting he emerged with an entire milk crate, with about 20 he was willing to let go. Big Grin
He told me later, that when someone flicked through the crate and picked up a record for a closer look, my dad felt his stomach clench when he realised he just wasn't that ready to let it go. At that exact moment, the mans daughter threw a tantrum, distracting him. My dad whisked the milk crate away and put it back in the house Big Grin

updates, diets, outings.

August 2nd, 2011 at 07:09 pm

I just checked my account and my tax refund has been cleared. Yay! That means DH's will go through tomorrow.

(I had done mine and looked at the pile of reciepts for DH's and decided to post-pone it to the next night. And thank goodness, it took me nearly an hour!)

I have been inspired again reading Ceejays blog to start a short and sweet health kick regime. Even though we *are* much healthier right now than a month ago (and even then - we were much healthier than a lot of people we know!) I have found I haven't budged any weight that I wanted to. Frown I blame winter, studying, lack of energy etc etc. But, I only have about five weeks until TTC and even though some would think it's pointless (seeing as, well, I'll probably be putting on a lot more weight in the 9 months after...!) I still want to be as fit and healthy as I possibly can before pregnancy.

My aim is to take the dogs for a longer than usual walk/run (around an hour) on a different walking track. This one has a few hilly areas and gives me a bit of a workout. I'm hoping to do that five days a week, one day of rest and one day of yoga. Also hoping to slip a few sessions of boxing in there too, but that's only a maybe, depends on the time.

Diet-wise, I have cut out drinking coffee during the week, and only drink one or two cups on the weekend. This is for a few reasons: firstly sometimes I get weird heart palpitations, sweats and shakes when I have a cup of coffee (I haven't gotten them since I stopped, a few months ago). Also, because obviously I won't be drinking coffee while I'm pregnant, so this is me weaning Big Grin. And lastly, because DH had to give up drinking, I figured I'd do something too.

You should have seen us the first night! Sitting down to dinner, It went something like this:
---
DH: Can't I just start this tomorrow? I've had a long hard day working with dad and I want a glass of wine.

Me: What! No! If you do that, then tomorrow you'll say the same thing, then the next day, and the next, then there won't be any point at all. And besides, I haven't had a coffee all day and my head feels like it's about to implode. So you CAN'T have a wine.

---

Continuing on the diet discussion, I haven't quite figured it out actually. But I'm thinking along the lines of a few weeks eating steamed vegetables, brown rice, soups etc. Might have one day in there to relax a little and eat something naughty. But for the most part I want to eat fresh unprocessed organic food, mostly vegetables. Minimal dairy. Extremely reduced sugar intake (probably only my 'free' day). Etc Etc. We'll see how I go. It's so difficult trying to study though, with low energy levels. I find my concentration wanes a lot. Now I understand why my old flatmate used to eat 1kg of lollies every week - the sugar keeps you UP. lol.

We are thinking of going to Greazefest on Sunday ( www.greazefest.com ). It is a 1950's car/fashion/style/hotrod/music themed festival that we've wanted to go to for a few years and finally we have the weekend spare when it's on! Exciting. But, we are still deciding, because the day will probably cost $100+ ($25 each entry, petrol to get there, food etc). And DH is just about to spend a bit of money on some screenprinting paint and a bulk lot of blank tshirts. We have a friend who operates an art studio who has offered to sell some of DH's designs.

Even though we're about to embark on running the flooring business ourselves with less input from DH's dad, I think DH wants to find a way to make money without having to do physically draining work, use chemicals, and deal with pedantic clients. (Unfortunately the clients can't be helped, DH's dad runs a premium flooring business that is unlike the subcontracted ones you hire out from a carpet shop who do a usually sub-par job.)




hello everyone!

July 31st, 2011 at 12:44 am

It's been over a month since I last posted, sorry everyone. I have missed SA, and I find I think about a lot of you sometimes. Even though I've never met any of you, you all feel like my extended family. I've tried explaining this to DH once before, and he doesn't really understand. (I suppose, we do use the 'imagine-everyone-you-don't-know-on-the-internet-is-a-huge-fat-guy-sitting-in-his-underwear' example with my little sister when she decides to not use her brain and adds strangers on facebook, myspace, etc).

I see there are lots of newbies here too, welcome! (I was, once upon a time, a 'regular', however it seems I don't get time to scratch let alone write a blog post, and when I do, I find I don't have much content, so I delete it! I'm determined to post this one though.

So, for about a year now I've completely stopped recording our expenditure/earnings etc. The organisational freak in me sometimes has a spin-out and panics a little bit. I did think, about six months ago, that I felt like I had no idea where we were with our savings and expenditure. I feel like I'm walking on a tightrope very high with no safety harness. However, the bank account begs to differ. It seems that once we relaxed a bit with our financial situation, it did the world of good. Perhaps recording everything isn't for us; maybe doing that meant we had more binges and blowouts because we both always felt like we were pinching pennies. Whatever the reason, our bank balance is almost at where it was when we first bought our house and had a bonza of additional funds from settlement. Basically, the EF I've always stressed about having, is actually there for once.

We just submitted our tax returns for the 10-11 financial year too, and are getting a nice $2300 back. Where is it going? Savings, of course.

I passed my last subject, LAW1101. I'm now about to start my third week of STA2300 (data analysis) and CIS1000 (business information system concepts). I'm actually liking them a lot! Having been met with looks of horror and pity when telling people one of my next subjects was data analysis, I think I'm now shocking people even more by telling them I'm enjoying it. But... someone has to right? And if I didn't like it a tiny bit, then why the heck would I be studying accounting anyway?

I've been applying for a couple of jobs a week. So far, no luck, but I'm waiting on three recent applications I submitted. Fingers crossed!

On the current job front, well, things are still the same level of frustrating. Atleast ALL the staff are frustrated, and at the same person (our boss, and his wife). In some way, that makes it bearable. We are able to joke an whine to each other about it, and pretty much everyone is in some stage of looking for a new job.
Our boss seems to be doing a whole lot more lying lately, and is intent on talking himself (and his wife) up on the social status ladder. He goes through stages of doing annoying things. Lately it's this.
I am not the type of person that cares about what someone earns, how big their boat is, what car they drive, how prestigious their house location is, etc. But, I have to listen to my boss talk about his friends in this way. It actually makes me a little sad, as I've realised lately that I don't know his friends names, what they're like, what they do in their spare time (other than sail their yacht around), how well they get along with their spouse, if they're funny, or a little weird, or their quirks etc. When I talk about my friends, that is what I talk about. I talk about THEM. I've also caught him lying outright (to a customer he didn't even know, who happened to have a bank uniform on) about how his wife is a bank manager. First of all, she hasn't worked at a bank in about two years. Secondly, she approved loans, she was never a manager.
Little things like this, EVERY DAY, begin to drive a person insane.

That, and the wife still hasn't apologised for yelling at me after I told her my sister couldn't work because she was in hospital. So, I'm not really a happy chappy at work right now.

In other income-related news, DH's dad is partly handing his business over to us in a few months while he moves interstate to help his parents (DH's grandparents) fix up their house. Before that happens, I am working with our accountant to turn it into a company. I think eventually DH's dad will retire and hand the business over to us. Things are actually going alright in that section of our lives, for once. Normally it is all sorts of hell with the family's business, but not right now.

My little sister was diagnosed with PCOS last week. I am not really sure how they picked it up because she does not exhibit any appearance related signs (hirsutism, obesity, acne etc) but atleast she knows at a young age and can learn to cope with it now.

Tomorrow will be DH's third week of not drinking alcohol. He has struggled with it, but it is for a good cause. We decided long ago that when we wanted to conceive we would stop all drinking and unhealthy habits, for atleast two months before initially trying. So that is another bit of exciting news: we hope that by the end of the year we'll be pregnant. I'm hopeful, anyway. We're both relatively young and so we hope it shouldn't be too difficult, but have known people who have struggled, so at the same time we're not overly confident that it will be something that happens straight away. We'll see.
My sister having PCOS has made me worry a little bit. I'm not sure if it's something that is genetic? Should I be checked for something like that?

What else? Our dogs are well. I actually took them for their yearly check up and was told they are too fat! So, I have begun to feed them slightly less dry food and take them for walks more often. I did slack a bit with the walks during my exam preparation in June. They seem to have lost a little already (it's been a bit over a month).

I think that is all of my news. I have not had much time to scroll through everyone's regular blogs - so feel free to leave me a little update of what's been happening in your life lately in the comments section! Big Grin




test results, back to organics, exam times etc

March 30th, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I got results back for my first two tests for my law subject - 70% and 80%. So far, so good. Could have done better... but I am passing with a credit so far, which is good! I have two more online tests and the final exam to do.

I have tickets to see the Dalai Lama which is smack bang in the middle of the exam period - seeing as I only have one subject to do an exam for, and the exam period is two weeks, I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is NOT on this day. I also have a booking on the last day of the exam period too! Why! Anyway, with luck, it will all work out.

DH and I have made the decision to go back to buying organically grown fruit and veg - where possible. It is just something that we both feel strongly about. We decided to also begin reducing our portion sizes of meals too - so in the end, it will probably work out to be comparative in price anyway. Only thing is I get immediately tired at the thought of going to the market, lugging around heavy bags of produce. So instead I'm trialling a health food store that's local. It has been around for years, and a family member actually worked there a while ago. I have not been there in 10 years - but it's pretty much the same.

To be honest, most of the prices are very much the same that we would pay in a supermarket (that I have been paying, anyway - prices have been ridiculous since the floods...). $3.50 for a head of lettuce, 90c for a bundle of green beans, $1.50 for a bag of carrots. etc etc. Actually, some produce is cheaper because it is local, and much fresher. Produce prices have risen tremendously in the past few months - bananas are $12.99 a kilogram right now. Have not eaten one in about a month!

On the weekend I'm going to a babyshower for a friend. We are supposed to dress up as 50's housewives. I have put together some of my own clothes and think I can get by without having to purcahse anything. I have a black dress that flares from the hips & a polka dot shirt that I was going to wear over it & tie at the waist, and a headscarf. Any other ideas???





we have set the date.

November 21st, 2010 at 02:24 am

February 15th, 2011 - is the date that we are getting married. There was no particular reason for the date (though I just realised when typing it, that it is the day after Valentines day. ha!) rather, it depended on another persons availability.
I think he was rather taken aback that we were asking him to choose the date that we get married, but said he felt honoured to be a part - seeing as only him and our two registry witnesses (and of course the people at the courthouse doing their daily jobs) will share in that day. It is a Tuesday - which means I will have to organise a day off work.

We have also decided to have a 'Wedding Party' in the mid year (so - 3-4 months after we get married). This will give us time to plan it, invite family & friends and let them organise themselves, & save a small amount of money for it. It is not really what I want, but I do have to consider that we are GETTING MARRIED and that is about two people forming a union. And as I said, while it is not something that I necessarily want, it *IS* something that DF wants, and so we will do that.

When I pointed out that we were initially planning to do the thing in February to avoid what will *probably* happen at the wedding party (eg family feuds) I think DF's exact words were 'Yeah well, it's meant to be a day about us & family, so if they can't put their problems aside for one day, then they can go and get....'

Which is true. I am taking the stance that if *anything* happens, from anyone, even my own mother (which is highly likely) I am just going to breathe deeply and walk away from the situation. Like I mentioned in my last marriage post, no one is going to change, so I can't do anything about it. But I can choose not to be involved, and I can choose to stop caring about it. Because by caring, I waste my time, energy and life-force, and it gives me nothing in return - atleast in these particular situations anyway.

I will just have to do a whooooole lotta yoga that week, as it seems to be the only thing to keep my emotions at bay!

Atleast in this way, I can have my dad as part of the celebrations, which is something that I *do* want. I will call them in the next few weeks to tell them of the plans, anyway.

The second factor is of course, cost. After working through the 'family issue' I had a big meltdown about the cost of this thing, in which DF had to calm me down and singularly discuss each aspect, so that I could see that what we have planned probably won't cost a lot - but I still have to do research and find out exactly. But, our plan is to have caterers supply nibblies and fingerfood, most likely have guests BYO alcohol, and to rent a little hall somewhere close to home. My dad is rather traditional in these things (I think it is actually stemmed from my stepmum, who nudges at him and says 'you know, you're supposed to do this...'). For example, the father of the bride is meant to buy the alcohol for a toast at the engagement party - and that is what he did, last year. And so from that reasoning, it's possible he expects to pay for the alcohol at the wedding party. I will let him know that it's not required, but if he insists, I will probably only make it wine and beer, as that is pretty standard as to what we've seen at other weddings.

So, even though it seems like an about-turn from my previous post, I think it will be ok. We are still doing what we planned, but are basically having a big friends & family get together a bit later in the year. I do feel bad for planning to exclude friends and family that WANT to be a part - it is just those few who's unpredictable unwanted behaviour makes it difficult to imagine having a 'nice' day. But, I am going to not let it worry me. This thing is meant to be low maintenance, so I am not going to even think about it any more.
And I do feel bad because even though I am not that thrilled about weddings and tradition, it *is* something that DF wants, and just because I don't want to do something doesn't mean DF doesn't want to do it either, and I don't want him to miss out on something that we only really have one opportunity for, just because I'm being stubborn.

The other thing is, we are not keeping the February 15th a secret. DF's sister and BIL married a bit over a year ago, and it was all very hush-hush, as they planned to have a 'big' wedding this year, next year or the year after. The reason they married was because they wanted the same last names on the birth certificate of their daughter. But now, they are having a second child, have spent loads renovating, and buying a new car, and it seems the dream big wedding will probably never eventuate. But now it is kind of hard for them to announce that they have been married now for over a year. So because of that, we've decided to tell friends of our plans, and let them know there will be a celebration a few months later. This way, they'll know about the actual marriage date and can be happy for us, but know that they will be included in something that is special as well.

getting married

November 2nd, 2010 at 09:55 pm

We haven't completely decided yet, but are most likely going to get married some time early next year.

It's not going to be a big wedding. In fact, we are not having a wedding at all.

Why?
Recent events have made us realise that some things are NEVER going to change in our family. It wouldn't matter if we tried to talk it out, separate those involved, have group mediation, ignore it or turn a blind eye etc. People are going to remain as they are, and we have come to accept that we can't change them, no matter how much we plead.
It would be silly to expect things to run smoothly, and I don't want to have that burden on a day that is supposed to be fabulous and all about love and family.
And I don't want to save money and fork out for an event that is going to leave a sour taste in my mouth when I think about it.
We can't NOT invite the people involved either.
Also, I have had a couple of friends ask me 'When is the wedding date?' and then go on to say 'Oh, I love weddings...' etc. I have been feeling a huge amount of pressure to put on some type of show, which is really not my thing at all.

So we decided that, in the end, marriage is the unity of two people. When you pry away the layers of royal icing and lace, or whatever it is you have at a wedding, the bare-bones of it is that it's about two people saying they will be together forever.

And so we decided that instead, we will do something that is slightly alternative that WE enjoy as a couple, on the day, after registering the marriage, and that will be it. Maybe we will have a dinner out with some family members or friends, maybe not. Most likely we might make a quick weekend trip to see my dad - but that's it.

We have been talking about this for a couple of months now, and I think we have both felt a weight has been lifted. It feels so much better knowing that we don't have to do something solely because other people expect us to. I know it might upset some friends, but I can't help that.
My best friend is not fond of the idea. I'd go so far as to say she disapproves greatly. I think she thinks it's extremely unromatic.

Whew!

validation... & iPhone apps?

October 26th, 2010 at 06:27 pm

I just got back from a meeting with our business accountant, and he said as I was preparing to leave, that I was doing fantastically well. Kind of some much needed validation after a few pretty crappy weeks regarding my book-keeping job.

After he said that, I mentioned I was about to start (my uni course) and he was actually excited for me and said I would do well, and that it would provide a lot of pathways in the future. He also reinforced my choice of uni, saying that he did a couple of units through them externally himself, years ago, and they were *the best*. Big Grin

Getting back to the office, DF called me to tell me my text books had arrived. Yay! And super quick!

My iPhone arrived yesterday too, so I have been playing around with that, probably more than I should.

I bought my little sister a SIM card and gave my old phone to her. She thinks it's because DF and I are being nice, but really it's so I know WHERE SHE IS at all times. She is, unfortunately, one of THOSE teenagers. *sigh* trying to get her to be more responsible and aware of what the world is really like (that it's not actually safe for a 15 year old girl to be walking around the streets at night just because she had a fight with her mother and stepdad). Atleast now she might be 5% more safer with a phone.

Stress has been alleviated slightly at the family business, as work has picked up for the before-Christmas rush, and there's money in the bank to pay bills. So we can breathe easy for a week or two and hopefully everyone will get along.

DF and I need to start making preparations, in all areas of our lives. Will post more about that later.

Question for iPhone users at SA (BA & Frugaltexan... anyone else?)

What cool iPhone apps do you have? There are so many. I am 'allowed' to buy atleast 6, because that's how many DF has already bought. Big Grin

I ask this because DF is not really an app user - he likes the ones that have novelty value, like the Star Wars light saber (which I actually do think is kinda cool...Big Grin) But I was wondering if you could recommend any good, functional, useful ones?

birthday celebration ideas???

September 19th, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Not a lot has been happening financially with me. We seem to be spending a lot, probably too much.

We did get our tax refund though. On the weekend we went and bought a punching bag, two pairs of gloves and a pair of shoes for DF's work. Spent nearly $300 but did manage to save $62 by asking for deals & haggling. Big Grin Saved $6 on each pair of boxing gloves, saved $30 on the punching bag and saved $20 on DF's shoes. I feel too uncomfortable to haggle, but DF is pretty good, it seems.

I am going to try and list some things on eBay to sell, but not sure what. Really I just want less junk in my life, but for some items I think that someone might use them, so it would be worth it to try and get a little bit from them, even if it is only a few dollars. All I can think of at the moment are some books I have read but don't want to keep or read again, and some makeup products that I got for free and won't use. What do you sell on eBay? What have you sold that surprised you?

I have decided that I am definately going to change our life insurance and superannuation over to a new policy. It will save us money, and an added benefit is that we will be able to log into our bank and be able to see our superannuation balance as well. Not really doing anything, but it's a perk anyway. Makes me feel a little richer!

It is DF's 30th birthday in a little over a month. We are planning on hosting a big do - so it really is time for me to get started on organising everything. Things like this always stress me out a little, but are worth it in the end.

We will have to organise invitations in the next week or two, and food when the rsvp's come. DF will have to clean up our rumpus/shed area and mow and tidy the lawn. I will have to get the spare rooms ready for guests.

The other thing I have to organise in secret is some type of 'memorial' thing. DF has done collages in the past for his sisters 21st, his dads 50th and his grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. He made colour copies and laminated them, and everyone got one to keep.

So I was thinking of doing something like that, but instead just doing one large collage. Also was thinking of having a notebook for everyone to write DF a message on the night.

Any other ideas for a 30th Birthday? What memorable things have you had at a birthday or special event that someone has done for you?

stressing out. updates. etc.

September 13th, 2010 at 08:21 pm

Our tax refund hit our account today. Woo! ~$3k.

Though it is rather stressful at the moment. I am trying to not let it weigh me down too much, but DF's dads business is not doing so well. Just when DF's dad had turned a corner financially speaking, and it looked like he might be able to manage his money appropriately - the industry up and dies on us! I am keeping my fingers crossed that he gets a slew of jobs to keep them super busy up until the new year - which is generally what happens, but not so sure it will happen this year with the economy and all. They say it's picking up, but I don't know who 'they' are or where they work either.

What worries me most is DF's ability to find another job. Well, let me rephrase. I don't doubt his ability to find a job (he is skilled in several industries), rather his motivation. Sometimes it seems like he has blind faith and loyalty to the business, and won't consider looking for outside work. Even when there is no work, he will do something to do with the family business (which equals no pay, obviously) instead of, I don't know... day labour? listing some junk on ebay?

So, that is what is stressing me right now. Even though the tax refund calmed my fears a little bit, not I am not so sure if we should go ahead with our plans to buy a new TV. We are already discussing downsizing from the original idea of a 40" to a 32". I know a flat screen TV is not a neccesity - which is why we have not bought one yet - but it is something we have wanted to buy ourselves for a reallllly long time (like, five-years-long-time). And seeing as every tube-tv we have has broken in some way or another, bar the one we are currently using - which is about to, I might add, it is not as if we are going out and just buying one because everyone else has one.

*sigh*

Anyway. To further stress me out, DF has a couple of days off work right now, and is utilising his apprentice (who must work every day - or get paid for doing nothing) to paint the exterior of our house. I just wonder how much the paint is going to cost. Frown Though, I do forget sometimes that we have money put aside for renovations. And I guess we are saving a lot of money by not paying someone to do it. And atleast DF is actually doing something productive. I guess I should just calm down and breathe. Smile

Thanks for letting me get that out. You know when things seem so much bigger in your head? Yeah, that.

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

In other news, I registered Banjo finally today, and re-registered Jed for the year. $20 it cost to register them! Instead of $224 it would have cost if we hadn't de-sexed and microchipped them. The surgery will pay for itself in two more years. Big Grin
On another note, they also seem, dare I say, a little happier? Since the surgery there has been NO, I repeat NO pee on our deck. It's incredible. And Jed seems to be finally mellowing a little bit, which is nice. Though we have another couple of years with Banjo acting like a crazed little thing before they both settle down. Banjo is much nicer and easier to hold than Jed (don't know how long that will last - Banjo is definately smaller than Jed which is one thing, but he is still growing), though now Jed will have moments where he will sit on your lap and not try to cover your face in slobber and claw you. Big Grin For about two minutes. This morning I read two pages of a book before I had to put him down. It was lovely!

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

I know this completely contradicts my previous whine about money (or lack of), but in my defense I have been looking out for this sale for aaaaages. It just so happened to appear during the week where I have a big stress. *sigh*.
Anyway: every year Clinique have a special 'Gift Time' sale where if you spend over $60 you get a free makeup bag full of products. I always try to buy my foundation during this time. I pretty much buy foundation and an eyeliner pencil- any other makeup products I use come directly from this 'freebie' I get. I'm kinda cheap when it comes to makeup - except for the fact that I don't actually use 'cheap' brands, I buy the absolute basic items and everything else I do without unless I get it for free somehow. So anyway, I bought it today. The foundation is $49 and the eyeliner is $36. Eyeliner lasts me about 3 years - foundation about 1. They did not have my shade in stock, so they gave me a sample pot and will call me when it comes in. I also signed up for their rewards program. For every 200 points you get $10 to spend. I already have 85 points. It's at a chemist, so I am sure I will buy other items from them anyway.

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

I made a delicious pumpkin, feta & caramelised onion tart for dinner last night. We had it with a garden salad and steamed vegetables, and because DF is working at home today, I was able to take the leftovers for lunch. Big Grin So good!

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

My little sister is due to go home tomorrow as our mother is back from her trip. I have noticed over the week how much my poor little sister cares about what people think/what she looks like/what clothes she wears/letting down her friends/going to parties etc. Also realised how much I DO NOT CARE. Big Grin Is that a good or a bad thing? I am polite and nice, which helps I guess. Not sure if DF and I were at all a grounding influence on her, but I hope to maybe some extent we were. She does not get a lot of support from our mother, but maybe staying with us she has realised there is a bigger picture in life than the things she is currently worrying about. In *so many* ways my little sister and I are similar, but unfortunately my little sister is rather impressionable, which I never was. I wasn't really an outcast at school but I was always on the sideline because I didn't really understand why everyone worried about stupid little things when there was so much more to consider in life.

lunch ideas?

September 6th, 2010 at 05:12 pm

Still trying to figure out a way to tell my boss I've enrolled at university. I think pretty soon it will get to the stage of ridiculous. You know when you leave things just a little too long? I'm famous for that.

But I have thought of a possible way to slide the news in nonchalantly. I'm going to call my boss and his wife at home just to inform them that in February I'll have to take a few days off for exams. Then they will ask questions. So that solves my problem.

In other news, we are looking after my little sister for a week and a half while my mum is away. I have to pack her lunch and pick her up from school - feeling a little bit domestic right now, Big Grin I am sure I will be over it by the end of the week though.

Though also feeling rather unqualified to do it all because all I could find for lunch for her on Monday was some banana bread, an apple, a carmans muesli bar, a packet of Vege Chips and some Japanese seaweed rice crackers. Though apparently it's similar to what she takes every day anyway. Like me she doesn't like a heavy lunch and prefers to snack on things every couple of hours. Must run in the family. Smile

Any ideas, fellow parenting SA'ers? I'm stumped. She doesn't want a 'lunch' lunch, like a sandwich or a salad, or anything in containers that she has to carry around all day. Picky thing.

Anyways.

This weekend I have to drive her to work at 6am, then I will probably go to the market bright and early, 6.30am on the way home, right when it opens for the day. I'll have first pick of the produce!

Sunday I have a work lunch to attend. It is paid for me, but not DF. Not sure about my little sister either, though technically she just started working at my work too...? Though the juniors weren't invited. Hmmm. Will have to check on that.

I decided not to get my fitflops, because I couldn't find any under $120. Online they are $80!

Well, that's all my updates for now.

breaking the live band fast...

September 4th, 2010 at 04:45 pm

We haven't seen a live band, concert or festival since January 2009 (for us, that's a reaaaally long time).
I just found out that a band we really like, Tame Impala, are playing in the city next month. Tickets are $42.30 each and we are thinking of going. Actually 99% sure we are going.

They are an Australian Band that have just come back from touring in the UK. Sounds like The Beatles & Jefferson Airplane rolled into one - they call themselves 'psychadelic mellow rock'.

Anyway, kind of excited! The night shouldn't cost more than $150 in total. We will either drive there and back on the day, or stay at a friends place in the city, depending on whether we can get them to go as well.

Weekend To-Do List, Enrolment

September 3rd, 2010 at 06:46 pm

I have completed a few things on my Weekend To-Do List, but have a lot more to do. Always the way!

I got one of the biggest jobs out of the way though. I enrolled! I have picked the first two classes I will be studying as well, starting 15th November through til February, and have finalised all of my funding and HECS-HELP loan. So I think all I have to do now is wait for my course materials to arrive in the mail. Exciting!

It took me ages to figure out how everything works with the courses and prerequisite courses, but I think it will all work out. And it's possible I may finish WAY earlier than in 6 years time if I can handle the workload - but also found out that I have 9 years to complete the course if something arises.

So, feeling a lot better about having all that sorted out.

I also completed and sent off both of our tax returns. YAY! $2900 coming our way in the next two weeks. New TV and the rest is going to savings.

And now this is everything else I want to accomplish this weekend:

- 2 x loads laundry, fold & put away. X
- Wash Dogs bedding. X
- Give Dogs their monthly flea products. X
- Wash Dogs.
- Sweep our deck & tidy, remove clutter.
- Tidy my desk.
- File all loose paperwork.
- Vaccuum & mop entire house. X
- Water outdoor plants. X
- Tidy lounge & dining areas. X
- Clean Walls & Windows. X
- Fruit & Vegetable Shopping @ Markets tomorrow.
- Meet a friend for coffee.


My plan is to get as MUCH AS POSSIBLE done today so I don't have to do anything tomorrow except market shopping & coffee with a friend. Big Grin

fitflops

August 30th, 2010 at 06:58 pm

It's my birthday this week. We're not doing anything exciting and probably won't even end up going out to dinner (can't be bothered organising it, to be honest). But, I have asked DF if I could have some Fitflops. Big Grin I have wanted a pair for a while. I like the concept - and while they're undeniably ugly, I think I could pull them off. It is getting to Summer, after all.

Of course, what attracted me to them in the first place is the idea that they tone your calves and thighs. Who wouldn't like that idea?

But, the seller for me is actually the OTHER aspects. That they mimic barefoot walking and improve posture etc etc. Kind of sound like a good idea, and I think after a year and a half of wanting them, now is as good a time as any to get them right? It is, after all, my birthday Wink

Revisiting our Spending Plan

August 24th, 2010 at 07:46 pm

I call it a spending plan because we're not really ones for 'keeping to a budget' like some. I admire those who do it (including the whole thing of not buying XXXX for two days because it will put this weeks budget out, etc etc) but it really doesn't suit us. But, we do have a 'spending plan' which I try my best to keep track of. Up until recently I tracked every cent, but the past two months I have laxed. I was thinking our spending plan is probably outdated a bit, and I think a re-doing of the plan and our weekly expenses was in order. Having an up-to-date plan might spur on my interest in keeping track again. Well, fingers crossed anyway.

So, this is what I have come up with:

Mortgage Payments: $480
Extra Mortgage Payments: $20
Savings: $180
Bills: $200
Groceries: $150
Misc: $100
Fun: $80
Petrol: $70
Personal Loan: $37
Total: $1317.00

This accounts for an average income per week on the lower side with a bit of a surplus after the above expenses. More often than not, our weekly income is higher, but I'm keeping it lower so we don't get our heads stuck in the clouds.

Now, for some explanations. Looking at the expenses, I'm sure you're probably wondering 'where's this expense?' 'Where's that?' etc. I have put everything into very general categories this time. For example:

Bills include the following: Mobile Phone, Internet, House & Contents Insurance, Car Insurance, Life Insurance, Car Registration, Car Repairs, RACQ Membership, Gas, Property Rates, Water, Electricity and Pet Expenses.

Misc covers a variety of expenses that don't occur regularly, such as health & grooming, gifts, bank fees, charity donations, clothing, stationery, electronics and house purchases etc.

I have upped our grocery limit to $150, from $120. Generally it is ~$130, so any surplus we have will flow through to other areas. I just don't want to feel bad or stressed out by constantly going over the 'grocery limit' each week. While to some people's standards our grocery expenditure is outrageous, I don't really care. We cook from scratch, use wholegrain products, buy organic and locally grown produce, and use cleaning & body products that don't hurt the planet or our health and wellbeing. And we're alright with that. It's taken me a while to realise that this is something I truly don't mind spending money on. If I can find the items I normally use, cheaper, then ok. If not, oh well. Life goes on.

Personal Loan: is actually going to be paid off shortly, I just keep forgetting to transfer the remaining money. So this $37 a week expense won't be up there for much longer. We will probably add this amount to our EF savings, and have in mind that we will probably look at buying a new (to us) car in the near future.

Savings: Our total amount per week in savings is actually divided into four categories:
- EF (Goal 1: $5000, Goal 2: $7500, Goal 3: $10000)
- Baby (Goal: $30 000)
- House Renovations
- Short-term
The total amount saved per week goes into ONE account, which I keep track of on a spreadsheet. (It is actually our mortgage account, to reduce interest. No, we don't get charged for withdrawals or deposits).

Most of the savings are self explanatory, except Short-term. Basically Short-term covers all sorts of higher priced entertainment and consumer-ey expenses like seeing a band, gallery exhibitions, ink, higher-priced book purchases, art purchases, electronics, screenprinting supplies, furniture etc.

Fun has been reduced by $60 (Used to be $60 for me, $80 for DF.) Now that we are earning roughly the same amount, I figured now was the best time to reduce it to LESS than 10% of our take home and equal it out. DF's weekly spending has reduced anyway, since he is home-brewing. Basically our fun money covers any frivolous purchases we don't feel like explaining Big Grin or the odd take-out or movie night.

Petrol is generally less than $70 a week, but better to plan for more than less right?

Mortgage Payments & Extra Payments: Technically, our normal mortgage payment pays off extra AS WELL. But I figured it is better to schedule an extra $20 to go in as well. Can't hurt.

The one thing I have not put in there is university costs, because I have no idea what they are. But, our EF should take care of this if our 'Misc' doesn't as I don't think it will really be all that much to get started.

So, that's it. Feeling very motivated with our new spending plan and can't wait to talk it over with DF and get it into action. What does everyone think?

tracking expenditure slipping... & summer

August 16th, 2010 at 04:55 pm

It's halfway through August and I haven't tracked a single cent of our spending. What's going on?
I know we're not spending any more than usual, and we hold back, as always, on purchasing frivolous things or dining out more than necessary. But it's the not knowing that is freaking me out.

I could probably recall all of my expenditure - but DF is a different story. He remembers probably up to two days. And I used to ask every afternoon, so he would get into the habit of remembering to tell me as well. And now, I don't ask, so he doesn't even remember to remember!

I MUST get back on track with this. I can see how we could live without it, but it is my freakishly controlled organisational nature that won't allow it. I know just by looking at our accounts that we are doing fine, plodding along, but it's not good enough. I need to know details! Big Grin

Summer is coming. Or Spring, I should say. Though we don't really have Spring. Or Autumn, for that matter. Basically we get about three months of cold mornings and fair temperatures through the day, that we like to call 'Winter'. Then the rest of the year ranges wildly from tropical thunderstorms to out of control humidity & heat, back to the thunderstorms. And that's just in one day. It's lovely. If you're a mango tree. Or just a plain weirdo like my best friend, who spends about 90% of her time at the beach, slathered in coconut oil and pretending the ads on television about skin cancer don't exist. (Sometimes you might see me sitting next to her... with a long sleeved swimming vest, polarised sunglasses, sunscreen and an umbrella.)

I am getting prepared (mentally, that is) for the heat. The humidity. The afternoons where, even though I never drink normally, an icy cold beer is the only thing appetising on the menu. I am looking forward to more weightloss. Winter plateaus for me. I haven't put anything, hooray for that. But after my inital 6 kilogram weightloss as the end of 2009/start of 2010, it just stopped. Can't say I really tried that hard. Too cold to get out of bed earlier than neccessary. Yoga is hard because our house is cold and it's difficult to do the balances and stretches in anything other than shorts. Tea and bikkies are more comforting than a bowl of fruit for dessert. And hot chocolate...

I guess Summer is good for the longer days. Apparently people say they get more done. I'd love to meet them, and see how true that is. When I get home from work all I want to do is sleep. The heat wears me down. Eugh.

I am trying to look at the positives of Summer. Well, my personal positives. Because according to some, I'm a hermit and better suited to somewhere like the North Pole. Or London. (Truth be told, I'd love to live in England. It sounds like my ideal climate.)

Positives of Summer:
- Eating more salads for dinner.
- Weightloss.
- Home-made icy poles.
- Mangoes & other summery fruits...
- Fruit Salad.
- Swimming at the river.
- It's too hot to eat anything from work.
- I can finally reap the benefits of DF's home brewing.
- Our birthdays are coming up.
- Christmas.
- Staff bonus/presents.
- Summer thunderstorms, lightning, cool changes.
- Earlier mornings.
- New clothes are out in stores. I might actually find a skirt that I LIKE.



What do you look forward to in the changing of seasons?

Goodies

August 13th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

This morning I went to the famers market and DF took the dogs for a walk. I got home just as he was running up the hill with them. I realised how funny both of us must look when walking the dogs - as they walk ahead of us on their leads, practically touching each other (Banjo has a habit of leaning into Jed while walking) and trotting along, mouths open and tongues hanging out. Almost looks like they're grinning - they LOVE their walks.

Spent ~$35 at the market. $29 on fruit and vegetables for the week and $6 on some freshly made turkish pastries for breakfast. Oh so good.

Then DF and I went into town and did a morning of op-shop touring. I bought 2 novels for $6, an Abercrombie & Fitch skirt for $1, a Motley Crue tee for $6.50 and a Groove Armada tee for $3.50.
DF bought two hats for 50c each, a pair of shorts for $4.50, some woodworking magazines (11 of them) for $2.

Amazing how the prices differ from store to store. I always find great things at one particular op shop but just refuse to buy some of the stuff because it's so overpriced. $8.50 for a plastic plate with a retro sailing ship picture on it! I would have bought it for maybe $4...

My tooth (or lack of, I should say) is healing. Still kind of hard to eat though, but I am getting there.

We stopped at Bunnings (a huge, chain, discount hardware store) and bought some fancy brackets for the spice shelves and some new bins. Never thought I'd get excited about buying bins, but I am. They're sleek stainless steel ones with a foot-pedal - we got one for the kitchen and one smaller one for the bathroom.

I have some things planned to do before the day ends - it is nearly 4pm now. Washing, tidying, watering plants etc. Well, I guess I better stop procrastinating!



Currently Listening To: The Clash

books, more books & shopping

August 8th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Work was busy today. Always busy on a Monday, but a bit busier than usual. Not really complaining though; when there's a lot for me to do, it goes fast. Not to mention I LOVE my Mondays - I work ALONE and that suits me perfectly. I don't mind working with people, either, but they tend to get in my way. I like to have the entire bakery to myself (I mean, apart from the counter staff girls) I can have custard tarts setting over here, choux pastry mixing over there, apple turnovers in the top oven, cupcakes in the middle oven, my radio station playing and only my own dishes to wash. Big Grin Kind of makes up for the fact that I have to get up at 4am.

I just found out that some of my tattoos are getting published in a book that is being released in October this year. Uber-exciting! Big GrinBig GrinBig Grin
... Except now I'll have to buy the book *sigh* aaah well...

Speaking of books, a friend of ours (who works in a bookshop) finally got the books we ordered in stock, the first and second volumes of Angelique Houtkamp's work. I am giving one to my dad but haven't decided which one yet. We got them slightly cheaper than retail prices too, so all up I am guessing they cost around $60 for both.

Tomorrow is my Aldi shopping day, but I just realised I am getting my tooth extracted at midday, in my lunchbreak. I am not sure if I will feel up for a monthly shopping trip, I am going to try. Hopefully by the time I finish work at ~3.30pm, the anaesthetic will have worn off and I will be able to talk & control my facial movements and not be a slobbering mess Big Grin Otherwise, I will try and go on Wednesday. I don't think I can leave it for another week (I have already postponed the trip a week) because DF is starting to complain that we have run out of peanut butter, or vegemite, or mineral water etc etc. If I go and buy them at the normal supermarket, it would cancel out the whole point of shopping at Aldi in the first place. So, we'll see.

productive weekend

August 8th, 2010 at 12:02 am

What we were able to achieve this weekend:

- Got up relatively early (for a Sunday) at 6.30am, had a coffee and went to the local markets for our fruit and vegetables. Spent ~$30 for the week (all no spray, locally grown organic produce). It is nicer to go earlier, as there aren't as many people.
- Had breakfast at an organic, artsy cafe we love. Spent $32. Was unplanned, but nice anyway.
- Stopped at the hardware store to buy spraypaint, a curtain rod & hooks. Spent $43.
- Did most of our weeks worth of washing, tidied the house and vaccuumed and mopped the floor.
- Hung our new curtains. I love them. This is a picture to show the pattern:

The photo does not really show the shades that well, it is actually a charcoal grey and black velvet-feel pattern.

- DF spray-painted my spice shelves. Hopefully by the end of the week they will be installed in the kitchen and I can get rid of the yucky green vegetable stackers that currently store all the jars of spices and herbs we own.
- I candied ginger for the first time. It went well, and I am pleased with the results!
- Made banana, honey & cinnamon muffins.
- Also made lemon and almond biscotti, which are currently cooling. Yum!
- DF is fiddling with his car. Always a good sign - the more he fiddles, the closer he gets to actually being able to drive one of them Smile

palm reading

August 7th, 2010 at 12:56 am

Today I met a friend for breakfast and then we decided to go to a local market. There was a guy doing palm and tarot readings at a nearby hall for $10 and my friend talked me into it. Actually she asked if I wanted to, and I shrugged and said sure, why not? Could be fun. And then she danced around like a crazy person for about half an hour because I said yes. LOL. I'm not really into any of that kind of stuff, and she is A LOT. We're best friends but pretty much polar opposites. It's funny and sometimes weird. She has asked me a hundred times to go to psychic expos with her and 'read this fantastic self help/affirmation etc book, it's fabulous.' Errrmmm. No thanks?!

Anyway, so the guy let us both sit and listen to each others. It was scarily accurate, but I guess the individual will selectively read into and listen to the parts they want to hear anyway. And I'd say some small part of what is said is taken just from your body language and what you look like as well. But nonetheless, it's interesting to watch someone at work this way. For instance, the same could be said for profilers, therapists, behavioural anaylists etc. It's a very similar thing, used for a different purposes.

Of note in mine:
I have atleast two if not three 'child' lines. The marriage line is defined. Apparently I'm creative, very much into the art and music scene, and like 'nice' things. Money came up a lot on the cards. My first card signified worry, the second card was to do with partnership & marriage. (Interesting fact: Last night, DF and I were talking about possibly skipping a wedding altogether, and getting hitched without telling anyone...) Apparently a decision must be made, and I need to be more confident and put myself out there. He said something about a house, and family lending assistance to do with it. (Interesting fact #2: DF's mum gave us $4000 for part of our deposit. And DF's dad constantly helps with renovations.)

Anyway, it was all very interesting and fun and makes you think about things! I guess that is why lots of people find these types of things helpful: having someone talk about something, even if they don't know how it correlates to your personal matters, just puts a different spin on things. Have you ever had a tarot or palm reading? Was there any accuracy?

car, election, tv series

August 2nd, 2010 at 07:29 pm

This morning I dropped my car off at the mechanic for the usual service. Fingers crossed there is nothing wrong with it, although I did tell him it sounded 'odd'. But, I dropped it off at 8.30 this morning and it is now 12.30, so I think if there was anything big, he would have called me by now.

On Sunday I was naughty and bought a book. Cupcakes, Cheesecakes and Cookies. It has beautiful pictures and great recipes. I am going to try my hand at some pink macaroons later this week. (If it is successful, I might post a picture).

Last night a made a delicious Indian curry - Dum Aloo (potatoes and spinach). I also added orange sweet potato to mix it up a bit, and add an extra vegetable variety. (For some reason, I can't stand cooking a dish that has only one or two vegetables in it, it just doesn't seem healthy. Maybe once in a while at a restaurant, but at home - the more vegetables the better!)

Still have not made that appointment for the dentist. I am thinking when I pick up my car, I will swing by and get a time to go in. It HAS to be done, and the expense is only $100-$200. Versus the pain I'm in, and also versus how much it COULD cost if I let it go any longer. *sigh*

The election campaigns are heating up. Have to say, it's all been rather boring. The media have nothing to target because both of the main parties have been careful to not step on toes, so instead they have been making fun of Tony Abbot and Julia Gillards ears. Ears, for gods sake.

DF and I do not watch much tv, anyway. But it seems every time we turn it on, there's some election thing. Can't wait for it to be over.

At the moment, the only shows that we watch are Good News Week, Lie To Me & an australian police drama called Rush, that I got sucked into in it's first season last year. It's nice not having to be tied to the tube, I can tell you. Though we do watch a lot of series on dvds.

TBH though, at the moment we're running low again, it seems. Finished Deadwood a while ago, and got started on series 2 of True Blood. Finished that, and are now on Series 3 of Supernatural. I am hoping my friend gives me back series 1 of In Treatment, so I can sell it on eBay and buy some others.

What are you liking/watching at the moment?

saved some $$$

July 31st, 2010 at 05:06 pm

As some of you are probably aware, DF and I are big music fans. Up until we bought our house, one of our biggest expenses were music festivals, the second probably being buying actual music. Without doing any calculations, I'd say we easily spent $2k a year each attending festivals (four or more a year). Accomodation, transportation, tickets, drinks, food and an overpriced tshirt sure add up!

So obviously that expense was cut when we decided to jump headfirst into the joy that is 'the mortgage'. We have not been to one since the Big Day Out 2009.

But, buying music is still something that we occasionally shell out on. My dad works in the music industry and we are regularly blessed with packages of 20 or so discs of music that he knows we like. Always a good day when I find one of those on the doorstep! (This also explains why I don't download music, if anyone is wondering - my dad would probably disown me. I don't mind loading it from a friends copy if it has been bought, but I won't support illegal downloading).

DF and I have very similar tastes in music, there are some that one likes and the other doesn't care for, but for the most part we like the same stuff.

However, it becomes hard to buy something when the other doesn't like it. Neither of us see the point in buying a cd if the other doesn't like it. Odd I know, as a normal couple would probably think the opposite way: the person who didn't like it wouldn't want the other to buy it. *shrugs*

Being the weird child I am, I have a love for death metal, especially when I'm working. (I'm sure people could read into this in some psychological way, and I'm also sure some people probably think it is in some way related to the devil - like some people also believe the world is flat... *cough*) Anyway, DF doesn't like it at all and I've never bothered to buy any because of this, and my dad doesn't work in that genre (and doesn't have any desire to aquire any for me Frown), so I usually just listen to it, streamed from youtube or some other source, because I'm too cheap to buy it just yet, if only one of us is going to enjoy listening to it. (I'm working on it though. "Listen to that guitar, dammit! There's some skill right there, I sure as heck couldn't play like that... if I could play a guitar at all..." Eh! Can't say I didn't try...)

So I just discovered that my little brother (little, being 16) has pretty much all that I could ever ask for. He happily put it all on my iTunes (I think this was the moment he discovered that his OLD sister may, in some extremely minute way, be just a tiny bit cool), and I didn't have to spend a cent, and DF doesn't have to listen to it in some justification of the money spent on it. Thanks lil bro!

first glance at july

July 27th, 2010 at 07:36 pm

I have put in the final figures for July - though I am sure there will be a few dregs to catch up on, cash expenses here and there of DFs etc etc and a few grocery purchases. However, it seems we are ahead this month by around $300, and that includes paying for the dogs vet visit, which was over $600. So technically speaking, we are ahead by $900, because I have that money aside in our bills account.

I'm going to put $400 into our mortgage account, and another $200 into savings. The rest will serve to top up our 'buffer'.

Next month might be a bit spendy, I am planning on getting new curtains, and also have a booking that will cost ~$350. DF wants to buy some new work shoes, and I need some too. I get the cheapest ones I can find, because I need to replace them every couple of months, so I get the cheapest I can find which are about $12. DF's don't get covered in flour regularly Big Grin so he can spend a bit more on his and they will last him a couple of years. I am thinking they will be about $100.

Also, I have a car service booked for next Tuesday (but that will come out of our Bills account), our bi-annual rates are due ($739) and I want to get a tooth removed (~$200). EEEP! Next month is going to be a whole lot of sitting at home watching TV and brainstorming ways to make extra money Big Grin

Speaking of extra money, has anyone on here heard of threadless.com? It's a great site, I buy a t-shirt here and there from them because I love that real people actually design them, and some of them are excellent! I was thinking of designing one to see how it goes, I have a couple of ideas.

Basically people vote on your shirt idea, and if you win, it gets printed. Was wondering if it would be in bad taste if I linked to it from here when I finally get around to it? Are you actually allowed to do that, or is it against SA rules?

weekend happenings and spending

July 24th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Well, time for a weekend update. It was going to be a busy weekend but ended up being not quite so. Friday night we said goodbye to DF's grandparents who were staying at his dads. That was kind of a late one, got home around 11pm.

Saturday I went to the markets in the morning (spent around $25) and DF went op shopping. I think he spent around $10. Then we were going to be having DF's sister, BIL & neice staying but they ended up not coming because they were all sick. So instead we were going to invite other friends over for dinner, but they weren't available either! We gave up and watched movies together instead, somehow the day just disappeared. Did a late night run to the corner store for an icecream each ($7.50) and it ended up a late night, we went to bed at around 1am after watching two movies and then watching the end of Oceans 11 on television.

This morning was my little sisters birthday so we went to my mums and had mudcake for breakfast Big Grin then coffee and english mufffins. Cost was zero, except for the materials for the cake, which I will pay for at work next week. LOVE being able to make my own cakes in a commercial kitchen... so much easier! Also spent ~$15 on my little sisters present, a plain black hessian messenger bag, some cool buttons, patches and badges that she can decorate herself. We have a badge maker and at the last minute DF made her one with her favourite saying 'Loose Lips Sink Ships' (an old sailor saying).

DF and I went to a friends place and picked up a bookshelf they were holding for us. DF drove it home and I stayed for an hour or so, then went to town and bought a pair of shorts I'd been meaning to buy for AGES. It must have been my day, because they were marked down from $89.95 to $49, and only in my size Big Grin Super awesome! (As a side note, I know $49 is expensive for a pair of shorts, but I only had one pair of shorts, and I find the ones I spend a little more money on, last waaaaaay longer.)

Just got home and we have some friends that have dropped over. One seems to think he is staying the night! So it's dinner for an extra person. Here's hoping he likes tofu, because I was planning on making a tofu curry. Too bad if not, I think we have some two minute noodles somewhere in the pantry... Big Grin

sunsets...

July 22nd, 2010 at 03:40 am

Not financially related, but thought I'd share a photograph I took on Tuesday afternoon. This is the view we get from our back deck.



decorating ideas

July 20th, 2010 at 08:52 pm

I haven't been recording our daily expenditure lately, so I don't really have an accurate reading of how we've been doing this month. I'm really annoyed at myself. I guess we will just call July a relaxed month, and go back to it full swing when August starts. I still haven't gotten around to putting an expense tally on our fridge, which I think will help.

And there are things I want to buy, for our house. Thankfully not expensive things. Well, maybe added up, but in small bite sized chunks it won't be. Every time I go to another couple's house I get inspired by their decorating or storage ideas. Not in a 'let's go and spend hundreds of dollars so that we can copy them' way, but in a way that gets me thinking about what we could do with those niggling annoying things that... annoy me. Just storage, mainly. And decorating. And nifty things. All that jazz.

For instance, we have the same curtains that the previous owner had. Most are fine, but the kitchen, bathroom and toilet ones annoy me because they're lace, and don't really seem to serve a purpose. And the one that is at the door leading from the dining room to our deck, is floral. I feel like I live in an old lady's house. Not that there's anything wrong with that... except that we aren't old ladies, and it's really not our style.

So I've gotten DF's approval to search for, and eventually purchase, curtains for this area in sort of a baroque-print-style. Can't wait. I think I know the perfect store too, and they're quite affordable.

The lace curtains, well, we'll see for now. I might try and find something that slightly matches the dining curtains. Or I think DF has some black fabric dye - has anyone ever dyed lace? Is it tricky to do???

Other things I want to achieve:

Bathroom Storage. DF's aunt and uncle had this nifty little cupboard in their bathroom, that was about 6 inches wide, but about 5 feet tall (did you see how I used non-metric measurements? huh? huh? Big Grin). It would be the *perfect* thing for our bathroom, because it's very small, and we don't have much space. Because at the moment all of our toiletry items are shoved into three drawers and a small cupboard under the bathroom sink, and it's really an absolute mess. DF hasn't quite warmed to this idea yet, but that's because he only has a razor, a hairbrush and some nail clippers. Everything else, he thinks it's fine to 'borrow' off me, and therefore my overstocked drawer of lotions and hair products and accessories and moisturisers is my problem...

A cake stand. Or rather, a cupcake stand. Okay, so it's technically not a neccesity by any means. But I've been meaning to get one, because we have a few parties every year and usually have some type of cupcake or cake, because I made them one year and now everyone expects me to make them every time we have a party, because apparently they're 'amazing'. LOL. So, I've seen an idea in a magazine, where someone made a cupcake stand out of old china plates superglued together in a three tiered tower (with obviously something in between to separate them - I was thinking of using teacups to keep with the theme of tea and cake). So I was going to attempt to make this, and use plates and cups from op shops. The whole thing will probably cost me around $5. Might post a picture if I'm happy with the results.

A bag holder. You know those 'sleeve' type things that you stuff your plastic bags in? Well we need one of those. I was thinking of making one, so then I could get the type of material I want, and it wouldn't cost a lot either because I'd need less than a meter. Except I'd have to hand sew it, because we don't have a sewing machine.

While we're on that topic, I'd love to get a sewing machine. I might put that on my wishlist. I haven't used one since year 8 (10 years ago) though, so it's basics for me! Pillow covers and mending things I think, for me. LOL.

Office Tidy-Up. There are a few things I think would make our lives a lot easier in terms of home office organisation. I use the term 'home office' loosely, because it is used for a variety of things:
- working from home (me)
- screenprinting design & research (primarily DF, some me)
- art research & creation
- computer games (DF) and computer use (both)
- craft, card decorating etc (me)
- filing

So you see, there's a lot that goes on in this small space, and it can get messy pretty quickly. So I've come to the decision that it needs to be organised, fast. The decision was made on the weekend after frustration boiled over, in the form of DF not being able to find an acetate cut out and turning it pretty much upside down. That's when we said Hmmmm. Time to fix this.

So it's going to be a pretty involved process, but I have started with the filing portion. DF has a lot of crap to sort out, but I think once he sees what I am doing, he will get motivated. He's like that Big Grin. But my plan is to aquire a whole lot of slightly ab-normal storage facilities to keep stuff in. For example: cool mugs for pens, 70's tupperware containers for papers & craft items, funky jars etc etc. That kind of thing.

Any other suggestions re: storage? What cool ideas have you come up with?

Also, I've been nagging DF to make me some extra shelving for the kitchen. We have space for it, it's just a matter of getting the timber, painting it and putting it there. I want a couple put up, and I think this will definately help with making things look more organised. Of course, once that is achieved, I'll then want some nice spice jars Big Grin Though I already know the style I like: there is a certain brand that sell artichoke hearts in small jars for $1.99 and I LOVE the shape of the jar, it's sort of short, squarish rounded with a wide-ish lid... So, it's just a matter of cooking lots of things with artichoke hearts Big Grin

more babies

July 19th, 2010 at 05:57 pm

Our niece's 1st Birthday went well. We got 2 shirts screen printed the morning of the party - we were actually about 45 minutes late to the party, but we arrived when most people were getting there as well, so thank goodness for that. (It was an hours drive to the destination from our house). DF wasn't feeling well in the morning (too much ginger wine the night before, methinks) and that kind of slowed us down.

Yesterday my only expenditure was $23.85 on fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. We are going out to dinner on Friday night, as DF's grandparents have been staying with his dad and they are leaving on Saturday morning. On Saturday we are having DF's sister and BIL stay the night. I was planning on making a Mexican banquet for dinner: a pot of mexican chili beans, steamed rice, corn chips with melted cheese, homemade guacamole and sour cream and maybe some tortillas and baked potatoes. I will only have to buy kidney beans, corn chips, avocado and sour cream, and I was thinking of making the chili beans the day before so I only have to reheat it.

DF's sister and BIL announced at their daughters 1st birthday party that they are expecting their 2nd child. They had already told us the week before, so we had to act surprised. Smile Exciting news for them, and for DF because he loves being an uncle. But extremely daunting for DF and I (having to endure about an hour of interrogation from all sides of the family and some friends as well. Some questions and comments that stick in my memory:

"You better have some soon!"
"You're next!"
"When are you going to start a family?"
"Don't leave it too late!"(excuse me? I'm 23 in a months time...HOW is that leaving it too late?)
"When are you going to give us more grandchildren?"
"Wouldn't it be great if you had them now and they could grow up together?"
"It's best to have them young, you know..."

and my personal favourite, from a friend:

"When are you going to pop one out?"

Absolutely charming, is all I can say.

shopping.

July 15th, 2010 at 03:51 am

Went shopping for a birthday present for our neice's 1st. DF and I have an idea in mind for a screen print, so just had to buy plain leggings and a tshirt. Couldn't find many baby items that were plain though, everything had some kind of print on it. Eventually did though, and spent $15. So expensive. *sigh* Probably would have been better just buying something WITH a print! I thought the presents that were hand made that 'come from the heart' were meant to be cheap! Ha!

Anyway.

Also tried to find myself a skirt but had no luck. Everything in the shops at the moment is high waisted which I really can't be bothered with, it's not my style. I know it's IN STYLE, but that doesn't really concern me. Gah. So, everything I pick up off the rack and look at thinking 'Hmm, that's a nice skirt and a nice length' I get to the change room and realise it's high waisted - so actually much shorter than I originally thought. Frown

That was pretty much my day today: work, walking the dogs and shopping. Eugh. SPending time with the dogs was the only good part!

Tomorrow I am hoping to get a bit more accomplished. I have plans to get all our washing done so I don't have to do any on the weekend. Also want to bake some biscotti, send off DF's jury duty letter and my application documents.

Oh yes. DF got a jury duty notice. He forgot about it, and now it's too late to get a letter from work, even though he can't take time off. This is his second time, anyway. He figured on the day he would just wear a short sleeved shirt. Big Grin Though I do get annoyed at how judgemental people can be, I guess this is one instance where it actually comes in handy Big Grin aaaah well. Gotta take the good with the bad!

The September Issue

July 14th, 2010 at 12:43 am

I just did some research and found out that all Australian residents can apply for a HECS loan, regardless of income. So that's some exciting news, and something I don't have to worry about so much now. Also found out my course *might* only be costing me ~$8500, a bit less than I originally thought. And I won't have to pay it back until my annual income exceeds $44k - OR if I choose to pay portions of it back early, I get 10% more paid off for each payment. (So if I pay back $500, the balance is reduced by $550). Awesome.

DF is bottling a homebrew, and then my mother is hosting a dinner party for DF's dad and his parents, who are visiting from inter state. DF and I aren't particularly thrilled about going, it's been a veeeerrrryyy long time since I've been to any night-time sort of function with my mum and I doubt she'll be abstaining from alcohol, even though she knows how everyone feels about it. But DF and I are the only people that ever say anything about it, so we are the baddies. Everyone else just keeps their mouth shut. Excuse me, but I didn that for 8+ years and it didn't help. *shrug* I told DF if it seems like it's going sour, we're leaving, even if our plates are half full.

I just watched the documentary The September Issue. It was fantastic. Has anyone else seen it? It's the real-life version of The Devil Wears Prada, pretty much. Starring Miss Anna Wintour herself.

On a side note, this is my 500th entry!



Currently Reading: And The Ass Saw The Angel, by Nick Cave

weekend, TV, hair straightener, aldi

July 10th, 2010 at 11:49 pm

DF and I just got back from a long weekend away with his family, which was lovely. DF's BIL has a holiday house which we stay in occasionally, and because we're 'family' we don't have to pay either (it is $50 a night otherwise) Big Grin

Weekend Expenditure:

Meal Out: $55
Drinks: ~$15
Groceries: $7
Food: ~$20
Petrol: ~$60

We will also have to pay a bit more for groceries, but don't know how much yet, as DF's sister did the shopping. I expect around ~$40 or so.

We got home in time to check out an electrical and appliance store that was having a sale on TV's.
I think we have decided on the TV that we are eventually going to get. If we found one we wanted under $1k today, we would have bought it. As it happens though, my dad is able to get a staff discount so I might see what price he can get for us.
The one we have decided on is a 200hz 40" Sony Bravia HX series HD LCD TV. The sale price today was $1698, marked down from $2199. The quality seems to stand out more than the others it was around - though I know that sometimes it can have a lot to do with contrast settings as well. But it was much more clearer and defined. Is anyone here a wizz at these things?

Because it is much more than we were originally going to spend, we are going to wait a couple more months before we buy it. DF also wants to try and get a free Xbox with it Big Grin And it will probably be even less in price by then.

How exciting.

So we didn't buy a TV, but I did end up buying a new hair straightener. I have been planning on getting a new one for months now, but haven't gotten around to it. And the deal they had, I couldn't refuse. Even DF said I would be crazy if I didn't buy it. It is a Vidal Sassoon Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener. Original price was $119.95, and sale price was $59, plus it came with free ceramic curling tongs and a three year warranty. I don't see how I could go wrong!

Anyway, in other news we found out that an Aldi store is being built closer to us! It is only 30 minutes drive from our house, or 10 minutes drive from my work! Which is a far cry less than 45 minutes from our house, or 30 minutes from work. This means I'll be able to do weekly shops there, and will definately increase savings, as there are often a few things I underestimate how much we need, then have to buy them at the supermarket halfway through the month, and pay more. So even though I sound like a frugal-grocery-nerd, this is probably the most exciting news of the week for me Big Grin


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