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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:



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???

bought ourselves a tv (& cute pic)

December 5th, 2010 at 09:49 pm

As some of you know, DF and I have been looking at buying a new television for a very long time. We have gone through three of the older tube-style tv's this year (one was DF's, one was mine, and one we were given). So finally, on Saturday, we bought ourselves the one that we have been looking to buy since the beginning of the year, it's a 40" Sony Bravia LCD tv. They have come down a lot in price in the past few months, what with all the LED's and 3D TV's coming out. And even though we *could have* spent a few hundred more and got one of those, we didn't.

DF is always hard to convince about these things - he doesn't look at it as saving $300 by buying an LCD, instead he looks at it as 'We could get an LED for what we would have spent on an LCD three months ago.' Big Grin

Me? I'm not interested in always having the latest and greatest. It is something I think DF and I will never agree on. He likes STUFF. I am happy with the basics, pretty much. I don't need a new computer, therefore, I don't want one.

In total we spent $990, with a 5 year warranty. The tv itself was $861 - ticket price on that day was $1126.00 - I think we did well at bargaining it down.

In other news, we got our new mobile broadband starter pack with a mini wi-fi modem - and (after much hassle - I think I was nearly ready to kill something) IT WORKS! And it works good, which is the main thing. We have to invest in a wi-fi adaptor for DF's computer ($42) but from then o... it's all savings baby!

Old Plan (24 month contract - expired)
Home Phone: $29.95
5gb ADSL Internet: $44.95
Total: $74.90 + approx $5 in monthly calls

New Plan (12 month contract)
4gb Peak, 8gb Off-Peak Mobile Broadband: $29.95

So, we are saving between $45 and $50 a month! It means though, we will not have a landline phone. We do not use it anyhow, TBH it is mainly to order pizza Big Grin, which we can do online. With the old plan, you could not have internet by itself, it had to have a phone line, and that was the cheapest I could find.

We both have generous mobile cap plans, so if we have relatives that want to talk to us for a while for a catchup, we can just call them.

Next in line is our life insurance and superannuation. I am looking forward to this saving as well, it will be roughly $50-$60 a month in savings PLUS linking our superannuation to our online banking so that we can actually see how much we have in there (it does not allow us to withdraw from it though, in case you are wondering).


And finally, Aldi is opening locally in TEN DAYS! I am sooooo excited. Big Grin


I think that is all my updates for now. Oh! DF has put in a quote for a large job that needs to be completed before christmas, and he will probably be getting a large sum for it. We were talking about putting it towards our wedding rings and Soundwave concert tickets we were eyeing off.

Is it really *that* unconventional to go to a heavy metal music festival for your honeymoon...?


And to end the post, here is a cute pic of Banjo:


weekend shopping, & icy pole ideas???

September 10th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Had a lovely start to the weekend so far. A store near us was having a sale on home-brewing supplies, so DF stocked up on a few items. Saved probably about $10. Not a huge amount, but now he is good for atleast another few months. (less trips to the store for DF means less spending - as he always goes in for one thing and comes out with ten extra items!).

I bought two summer tops for $15, three pairs of underwear for $21 and a hair accesory band for $9. Also shouted my SIL to a coffee and myself, $8.10.

I tried on a new style of dress that seems to be in all the stores at the moment and realised it actually looks alright on me - now thinking of finding one in a pattern that I like! The good thing about them being in a lot of stores is firstly, variety of prints and materials, and secondly, I can find the best price too. So I guess that will be my treat for the month. Might buy those in palce of the flip flops, seeing as I can't find any under $120 and don't really want to pay that much for them.

This morning I went to the market and spent approx $35 on fruit and veges for the week. I also bought some plastic icy-pole containers, so that through summer we can be cool & healthy Big Grin

Any ideas for what to make them with? In the freezer I currently have sliced strawberries and apple cider.

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.


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.

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

we are trialling roo meat

August 29th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I am about to embark on our first week of trialling fresh kangaroo meat for our dogs. I have found a supplier (a pet store near my work) who gets their deliveries on Fridays. You can buy it frozen in 1kg lots, or fresh if you order it before Wednesdays (to be picked up on Friday).
I will be buying the fresh product, because they generally eat a little over a kilogram in a WEEK, so I will have to separate it into daily portions (which is what I do with their regular meat).

Why roo meat, you ask?

Two reasons:

Firstly, it's cheaper than what I can get at the supermarket. I can normally get some type of chuck, Y bone or rump steak for between $8-$10 a kilogram in bulk packs. Let me quickly say that our dogs do not eat a LOT of meat, but I believe a little fresh meat is beneficial. They only get a small handful for dinner each, it is all they need. I can't imagine how much pet food would add up if you owned a large breed dog. That takes commitment!

Fresh or frozen roo meat, from this particular pet store, is $5.95 a kilogram. So the savings WILL add up quickly.

The second reason is that roo meat is actually very healthy - for animals and humans. It is very lean - has NO fat, and loads of iron. TBH, I have never eaten it, though I hear it has a distinctive taste... maybe one day when I'm pregnant, low on iron and if craving meat I might give it a shot... Big Grin
Anyway. So those two reasons are good enough for me. I am excited about the savings and am pretty sure the dogs will like it also.

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?

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.

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.

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

1st birthday ideas???

July 4th, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I was getting a little worried about Jed as the area near the surgery site was a bit red, compared to Banjo's, which seems to be healing up nicely. So I made a last minute appointment to go in today and get him checked. Well, the vet said that Jed is doing great, and if Banjo looks better, then he won't need to see either of the dogs for a follow up appointment! Which is great news. He didn't charge me for today's visit either, but I did buy Jed's flea control for the next 6 months. ($81.65)

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow, and then hopefully won't have to go again for a year. YAY.

Tomorrow I am doing our big Aldi Shop. Estimated expenditure ~$150.00

On Wednesday I am going to the movies with a friend. I'll be eating dinner at home though, so should only spend $10 on the movie and ~$5 on a coffee (and maybe some chocolate Big Grin)

I have to try and find some flat ankle boots, but I don't want to pay a lot of money for them. I already have a pair of heeled ankle boots which I LOVE, but I just need a pair of boots for everyday, slightly dressed-up kind of wear. I might try and find them on Thursday afternoon.

Not a lot of spending planned this week other than those. We are going out for dinner on Saturday though.

Also we have to get a present for our niece, who is turning 1. I have no idea what to get! DF said he wanted to make something, but I don't think he has enough time now, as work is kind of hectic for him at the moment. So... any ideas? In the $30-$50 mark? Thankyou in advance!


June 26th, 2010 at 09:34 pm

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 22nd, 2010 at 08:09 pm

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."


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?

having a bit of a slack attack.

June 21st, 2010 at 07:43 pm

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

talk about a spendy day!

June 11th, 2010 at 03:36 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

thinking of going prepaid for broadband... monthly bill cost analysis

May 17th, 2010 at 09:31 pm

For awhile now I have been researching internet plans & costs.

I want to reduce our monthly living expenses, and seeing as we are pretty no-frills anyway, it's quite difficult. We don't have cable television, subscriptions of any kind, or memberships to anything either.

Basically we have car costs, insurances, electricity, gas, groceries, petrol, mortgage, a personal loan, internet & phone, mobile phone, pet costs & property rates.

Other things like health costs, fun & entertainment & house repairs are variable and sometimes non existent, or can be cut back at any sign of trouble.

Those are our expenses in a nutshell.

Petrol expenses can't be helped that much, short of using one trip for multiple purposes and driving like a granny.

Personal Loan is nearly paid off, we're not worrying about it too much as it's less than $1k now and I'd rather have that money available to us at this time. If our account experiences a nice surge upwards, I'll transfer the money straight away. In the meantime, security means more than $37 a week payment that will soon be gone anyway.

Property rates are fixed, nothing we can do to change what they are.

Mobile phone, I'm on a plan that suits my usage, and will be until November. DF will shortly be ending his work plan (in september) and starting up a personal mobile plan, so that will actually be an INCREASE in monthly expenditure for us, but it is the right thing to do by his dads business. I will just have to see how DF's usage goes and fingers crossed he can go down a value level on his plan, bringing it from $80 a month to $50, like mine is. I'm hoping by September/November, iPhones will be available as a free upgrade and we'll both get one Big Grin It would be at no extra cost, so I don't see why not. Currently the cheapest model is $6 a month + plan costs. Giving it until September I am pretty sure they will be $0.

Pet costs... We get a discount at the vet because we have 2 dogs - and soon their registration will go from $112 each a year to just $10 a year when we get them desexed & micro chipped. An initial cost of ~$500 will pay for itself in a few short years, and probably solve a few other problems (like weeing everywhere!) along the way. Their food, I will not skimp on. Simple as that.

Foodwise, I've blogged about how I've saved money by doing a monthly shop at Aldi. So while I've only been doing that for a few months, my guesstimate is that it's a monthly saving of between $20-$40.

Electricity bill has been decresed over the past six months by always switching the power points off at the walls, and the lights. We don't have aircon or heaters and we don't use a clothes dryer. Monthly saving is around $10, I *think*, but of course it is hard to tell, especially when we are billed every three months, and have only been living in this house for a little over 12 months.

Our gas bill is non-existent (as in - gas for cooking via stove/oven) because the stove and oven still aren't fixed, and we haven't used all the gas since the previous owner filled the bottles before we bought the place. So that's a plus, I guess. Smile

I'm looking at decreasing our monthly life insurance cost by rolling our superannuation over to our main bank, and having our life insurance billed from our superannuation account. If we choose to, we can make additional deposits into our superannuation account and recieve 150% of that amount from the government as well (it's a government superannuation building incentive).

Our house and contents insurance actually went down I think, because we renewed our policy. (It was automatic, so technically didn't do anything at all...)

The bill that has been on my hit list for some time now is internet and home phone. We don't use our home phone, and the only reason we have it is so that we can have an internet connection. So we're wasting around $45 simply because there's no other way to get around it. Recently there's been a few releases of different ways to access the internet from home, regularly (mobile usb stick broadband, naked dsl etc, that kind of thing).
I'm looking into Pre Paid USB sticks because I think it might be a good idea cost-wise and will probably save us money. I'm just worried I guess, because we've had the same plan for over two years now and never had a problem, you know when you're about to take a leap into something new, it's kind of scary? Ok, so technically we're not doing anything life-changing... it's just an internet plan... Big Grin

So what I'm looking at is:

For a start-up pack, we pay ~$140 and get the usb stick and 5gb.
The 5gb expires in 6 months.
On average, we use around 1.5gb-2gb a month. So that would be 9-12gb usage in 6 months. So far so good, we'll either use up the 5gb each before the 6 months is up, OR just come close.

So far, that's $280 for 6 months of internet access.

If we were to STAY with our current plan, we would be spending ~$462 (current plan costs ~$77 a month for 5gb per month of usage - which we never come close to anyway. So far, that's an approx saving of $180. But the initial outlay is a straight up $280. Hmmmm.

Initially my list of pros and cons included running out at a time when we couldnt recharge (seeing as we mainly use the net at night anyway) but you can now do it all online, so that doesn't even present an issue anymore.

The recharge costs are:
575MB 15 days exp $15
750MB 15 days exp $20
1.15GB 30 days exp $30
2.3GB 30 days exp $40
3.45GB 30 days exp $50
4.6GB 60 days exp $70
6.9GB 60 days exp $100

If we were to both get the 1.15gb each month we would still be saving money, and we could play it smart and share a USB to stretch out recharging, overlapping at 2 week intervals instead of recharging at the same time. But I think most months we would only need a 750mb recharge each. Which would be a saving each month of $37.

Anyway. So the cost issue is worked out, I just need to work out the technical side of things, like if we can actually use it, what the coverage is, speed etc. Hmmm. Well, atleast it's a viable option *so far*.

a thinking post

April 12th, 2010 at 05:38 pm

In an earlier blog entry I posted that I would only have one day off this week. Well, I am home sick today. Frown Be careful what you wish for! Technically, I am not sick. I just have terrible stomach cramps. Most of the female bloggers on here know what I'm on about. *sigh*

So I thought it would be a good idea to post an update of sorts.

Work is still pissing me off. My boss came in for an hour or two yesterday. There's not much product, but hey! What can I do about it? I'm not working a minute extra when the problem could be easily fixed.

I got to thinking yesterday about how this might be approaching the end of my working there. I'm not going to leave any time soon, of course, but you know when you get the feeling that you've been at one place for long enough? So this University thing could be coming at a good time. I'll continue working as long as I possibly can there, and I don't think I'm in any danger of being sacked, but with Uni, my job will just feel like a source of money now, and not a responsibility or a future. You know what I'm saying?

But then again my feelings about work could change. I sense that it might not just be work that I'm annoyed at. I think I'm going through a phase of being annoyed at everything right now. My best friend and I had a... thing. I wouldn't call it an argument, but I was SO angry at her.

Basically I don't want to post the details because it involves her obsessive compulsive disorder, but she told me something I told her I didn't want to know. Then I got pissed off at her because I didn't want to know, and because of what she told me, and because she told me even though I told her I didn't want to know. Confused yet? Big Grin And then she couldn't understand why I was angry, because she thought it (what it was she told me) was a fantastic idea. When in fact I felt like I was going to throw up. But I couldn't tell her that because I've always encouraged her to talk about things. So I guess I just shot myself in the foot. But I *did* tell her I didn't want to know, just this one particular time. Why is that so hard to understand?

Anyway, so none of that actually makes any sense. But the point of the story is that even though we decided to pretend our argument never happened, I'm finding it hard to be around her without getting annoyed at her. It's just that her frustrating behaviour with money (which I've blogged about in the past)transcends into all aspects of her life. She just goes 'This is a great idea!' and goes ahead and does something without thinking at all about the cons, and even when you (or a group of friends) gather around and try to explain them, she just shakes her head and says 'Don't be silly, this will be fabulous'. It's just who she is. I just find it hard to take sometimes.


In other news, the family business is plodding along splendidly. That has to count for something right? Big Grin They have work in front, and seem to be just making their bills each week. It has surely taken at least a little stress off my mind. Funny how things have a habit of balancing out, even if it is ever so precariously.

We have loads of basil growing. I think I'm going to attempt my own pesto some time this week.

It's raining today, ever so fitting for a day off when you don't feel like doing anything Big Grin

But I am going to attempt some things. On the weekend we had a big day of cleaning. I cleaned out all the cupboards in the kitchen, we cleaned the front deck and the back verandah, DF put down another home brew, and I cleaned the bathroom and mopped the floors. I think today I might tidy our office, sort through my clothes (again - but this time I am going to be RUTHLESS!) and sort through some music. Also, put dinner on in the slowcooker and make a shopping list for tomorrows grocery shopping.

A friend of ours who lives in LA called yesterday. He and his soon-to-be wife are coming to stay with us in November! DF has not seen him for two years, and I have not seen him for probably 5 years. Woah, time flies! Makes me think about the future, when (hopefully) we have the funds to be able to take a holiday and fly over and visit them one day too.

dog food trial

April 12th, 2010 at 12:18 am

We have started to trial our doggies with a new brand of dogfood (dry food - we don't feed them tinned food).

Previously we were using a couple of different types of mid-range dryfood, like Pal, Pedigree etc. About $7.50-$8 for a 3kg bag. It lasts about 8 or 9 days between the two of them.

Having spoken to the vet about which is the best to feed them health-wise, he said basically with dry food, you get what you pay for, and he explained that with premium brands generally you don't feed them as much as you do the mid to low priced range.

So at the moment I'm trying out a brand called Optimum - $11.55 for 2kg. I measured out the correct amount to feed them - and it was literally HALF what I had to feed them with the other brands.
I felt like I wasn't giving them enough over the past few days with it, as they really seem to like it and eat it as soon as I give it to them, unlike the other stuff which they pick at through the day.

So today I gave them some more after they'd eaten the first amount, but they didn't touch their seconds Big Grin I guess this means they're getting enough.

(BTW: I can buy it in larger bags which means it's slightly cheaper, I just wanted to try it out first.)

What do you feed your dogs and why? The reason I ask why, is because for our own groceries I would never sacrifice my health to save money at the checkout, so I don't see how it can be ok for me to do that with our dogs either. So to a certain extent, money doesn't come into play when it concerns our dogs food. I'm obviously not going to feed them Wagyu Beef and Caviar, but I'm not going to feed them something full of preservatives, sodium and pigfat either.

updates of a random nature

March 30th, 2010 at 08:20 pm

Thanks to my massive ($131) Aldi shop three weeks ago, I have not had to buy many groceries these past few weeks. For once our grocery expenditure was UNDER budget for the entire month (by $4 each week - but still...atleast it was under!)

I am going to try and be more motivated to save those small amounts here and there. The mild annoyance of researching phone plans etc and grocery shopping at three different places will hopefully be offset by the savings. Hopefully. Big Grin

Today is grocery-shopping day and I only have to get a couple of items. I have to keep in mind that we are going away for the easter weekend to a friends holiday house. DF's sister is doing the shopping, and we are transferring the money into her account once she works out the cost. Last time it was around $25, which isn't too bad. I expect it to be around the same again.

Finally got a replacement tray for our coffee machine. It started to rust out last year, and I called Sunbeam as it was still under warranty - in AUGUST 2009. They told me they had 'developed' a new tray that had a plastic lining and was stainless steel, apparently even though the rest of the machine is stainless steel, the old tray was not. It was a 'design flaw'. Pfft. I call it 'cutting costs'. :P

Anyway, so it arrived yesterday. Only took 7 months.

Ummmm... Sold a couple of books on ebay. I think the sale price covered the fees and postage, and I might have made about 40c. But oh well. Waiting for my friend to finish In Treatment and return it to me, so I can re sell it. With the earnings from that I was hoping to buy X Files season 4 Big Grin

Our boys (and by boys... I mean our dogs) will most likely be getting de-sexed in April, if all goes well. And in May I think we might have enough of a surplus to consider buying a new TV. LCD and Plasma prices have reaaaallly dropped lately. Vieras are $595. When they were first released I think they were about $1200. Exciting stuff!

Normally I'd roll my eyes at someone getting excited about buying a flat screen tv, only because it's (usually) associated with bad money choices. HOWEVER. Our current television is around 12 years old, and the cables from the set-top box, xbox and dvd player are held in place with paddle-pop sticks and pieces of folded up cardboard. Yep! Big Grin Kind of in need of a new tv... about two years ago. After that we will be looking at a new dvd player. Unless the tv comes with a built in one, which would save a whole lot of hassle and drama.

gardening, friends.

March 11th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Nearly a NSD today, I bought milk from the corner shop (1L - $2.25) because I ran out this morning.

I did not even start this months Put It In Park challenge. Sorry!

But I have begun to keep a log book for tax again. I realised I was running out of time (I have to keep three months worth of driving records in order to claim my vehicle for work use, as I use it to run errands for work sometimes - and the three months has to be before June 31st).

Ebay has free listings for auctions starting under 99c until late March, if anyone is interested. I think I might spend a little time trying to find some things to list this weekend. even if I only get 99c for a few items, I will atleast have gotten rid of some things, allowed someone else to enjoy the benefits of it without it going to landfill, and reduced clutter in my house. Not to mention, making 99c. lol Big Grin

I was meant to have coffee with a friend today, but I couldn't get hold of her.

Then I was going to have coffee with another friend, but she's been frantically moving furniture that a friend has given her, from her friends house to her parents garage. So we are meeting up tomorrow. And then on Sunday I am catching up with a friend I have not properly seen for about 7 years.

Have been thinking lately, how fast does time fly?! This friend, F, left school in year 11. I continued on and graduated, and other than the occasional text or phone call, and a random meeting at a pub (she was working) I have not seen her since 2003. I feel bad because she was my BEST friend from the age of 13-15. Frown But hey, atleast we're meeting now, right?

I think I may have enough tomatoes on my tomato plants to make a WHOLE SALAD!!! Big Grin

My lettuces seem to be growing much better this time. Yay. Also noticed some basil has cropped up, after all this rain we've had. Oh, and for those who commented on how it's impossible to kill mint: I did kill it. I have watered it and fed it fertiliser in the hopes of making the scrawny scraps turn green and grow again, alas it has not. I killed it. I really did. I killed MINT. *sigh*

I will be attempting to make a rough MONTHLY plan of meals this weekend, so that I can do a proper shop at Aldi on Tuesday. How organised am I?! Big Grin
I want to make the drive there worth it, otherwise whatever I save on groceries will go straight into my petrol tank anyway. And I know where I'd rather my money going, if I had a choice!

(although, by doing some super rough calculations, I worked out that the drive from my workplace to Aldi and back again will cost me at the MOST $3-$3.50 in fuel, which isn't too bad really).

updates, parties, weekend fun, groceries

March 9th, 2010 at 05:17 pm

Things have been a bit hectic here over the past week.
On Friday afternoon I half-made the birthday cake for our close friends daughters 1st Birthday. (Will post a picture when I upload it - I got everything at cost price so a cake that fed 50 people only cost DF and I $30 plus my labour, and was our gift to our friends daughter.)

I got some more work done on my lower leg on Friday night. Originally we were meant to get takeaway because I would not be able to (okay... didn't want to...Big Grin) stand around cooking. Technically I could have, but it would have been painful. But DF said he would cook for me. In the end it worked out because we did not get home until past 11pm, and nothing would have been open anyway. We watched movies and eventually went to bed at around 2am.

Saturday morning I wasn't up to going to the market (I was tired, and my leg hurt), and decided to stretch our groceries out for a few days and eat from the pantry, and we both had a bit of a lazy morning before going into my work to finish the birthday girls cake. I made everyone leave the kitchen so I could draw and write on the cake without them watching me. Stage fright, anyone?! Big Grin

The party was a blast. There were about 30 kids under the age of 3. My jaw hurt from smiling all day and my hearing felt fuzzy because of the screams and squeals. The birthday girl passed out in the middle of the yard halfway through the party - we believe from a sugar overload. Many naughty aunties were seen feeding her cupcakes and lollies at various times...Big Grin Later on it rained and she ran around getting muddy and stomping in the puddles. It was very cute.

I hung close to another childless friend, and together we dealt with the usual barrage of 'where's YOUR child?' and 'oh don't worry, you'll have one of yours soon enough'. Ahhh! Why do people think that is appropriate???

The cake was a hit and a few people asked for my number, which is kind of cool!

Anyway. DF's niece, sister, BIL and mother all stayed on Saturday night. We decided to get takeaway that night. I found a vegetarian dish at the local chinese place that I am actually fond of! It was a miracle! (Vegetarian Fried Rice)AND it is only $6.
We watched Imagine That, and Couples Retreat. Both were funny & entertaining.

In the morning we went out for breakfast and wandered the shops. DF and I did well to resist buying anything other than some snacks and a book (Hell's Angels by Hunter S Thompson - $9.95).

When I got home I realised my dad sent me a link a little while for 30% off Borders Online bookstore. DAMN! Oh well...

DF's family stayed on Sunday night too. After having to repeatedly explain that, NO, we do not have an oven OR a stove, a group effort resulted in a greek salad, steamed vegetables and grilled sausages & a vege patty for dinner. We watched Bangkok Dangerous, and while I LOVE Nicolas Cage, I wasn't overly fond of the movie.

I decided to take a trip to Aldi yesterday. I have only been there once and didn't know what to expect, so this time it was different.

Really, this time I just went there to see what they had, and to check out the prices. I bought a few things, but mainly wanted to just mentally tally prices and product etc. I call it 'investigating'. Big Grin

I have figured out that a once a month trip might be a good idea. It is a 45 minute drive from our house, or around 25 minutes from my work on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. So if I planned to go there after work, it might eventually lead to saving a bit of money. I will trial it over the next few months and see how it goes.

health food store shopping

February 8th, 2010 at 05:05 pm

Spent $25.00 at the health food store today. I bought:

dried kidney beans
ground psyllium husks
rolled oats
dried pineapple chunks
whole brazil nuts
dried apricots

yoghurt cranberry clusters

bentonite clay

The yoghurt cranberry clusters were an impulse snack buy, so today I don't get a point for the challenge Frown

Bentonite clay is something I have been looking for. It is used in face masks for cleansing. I bought $7 worth (it is $35 a kg), but it should last me a loong time, as you only need a little bit to make into a paste. I am excited to try this out.

All the rest are for healthy snack bundles for DF's lunches and for me to make my own muesli.
Since we have had no oven for months now, my baking products shelf has been sitting there, contents unused and neglected. Then I realised at the supermarket the other day, as I was contemplating buying a packet of muesli, that I have virtually everything I need, on that shelf (rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts, coconut). I bought some bran for $1.87 and made my own muesli. Big Grin
So I used up some items, and decided to purchase some more to make my breakfasts a bit fun. Hence the dried pineapple and brazil nuts.

I have heard that psyllium husks are one of the best sources of fibre, and it is so over priced to buy it in the supermarket (in fancy containers with exciting names and bright packaging).
This is where some health food stores are great, as this particular one I go to, you can buy it from containers and scoop out as much or as little as you need. I will be adding the ground psyllium husks to my muesli.

Plus everything that I just bought, was certified organic. Smile

Currently Listening To: Warriors Dance - Prodigy

quiet weekend

February 5th, 2010 at 05:15 pm

Yet another week has gone by. Time just seems to fly doesn't it?

We are having a quiet weekend. It's too hot to do anything anyway. I think it's about 35c - and humid. It's 11am and I have yet to find the motivation to do some household chores, because I know anything other than sitting will make me sweat Big Grin. Sigh.
But, I do have to get some things done, as we are having some friends over this afternoon who have not seen the improvements we've done to the house - even though out of all our friends they live the closest! It's funny how that happens. They have a 10 month old and things just get in the way every week.

I listed a book on eBay yesterday, one of the Imogen Edwards-Jones books. It already has one bid and two watchers. Yay. I bought it on sale for $8 so I hope I can atleast get that back.

I checked my inbox yesterday and I had a nice surprise, a survey offer. I completed it and am now *this* close to cashing in the $30 check I wrote about earlier.

We finally filled out and filed the forms to link DF's high interest account to our normal accounts. (There is nearly $900 in there that we had forgotten about from over a year ago). Around $500 of that is already spoken for, but the remaining money is just going to go into savings.

So far I have only had one day to claim a point for this months Challenge. Frown

I went to the farmers market this morning, spent $35 and got lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, rocket, cherry tomatoes, brocolli, bananas, apples, strawberries, nectarines, peaches and plums.

Tonight we will most likely have a salad with toasted turkish bread, grilled tofu/lambchops.

I have overdue library books which I will probably return today (we don't get charged for overdue books - only if we lose them). But first I need to copy some recipes from one - it is a Slow Cooking recipe book, with lost of good recipes. One thing I like about it is that everything is from scratch. No premade pastes or anything like that. yay.

My plans for today:

- 3 loads of washing (wash/hang out/fold)
- Wash dogs
- Wash dogs bedding & tidy deck
- Tidy kitchen & give a good wipe over
- Sweep & mop floor
- Take dogs for a run.

I have been using a facial cleanser that I made myself for nearly a week now. No complaints - I don't know if I'm convincing myself that it's better because it's homemade, but I really do think my skin appreciates it more than bought, chemical-filled cleansers...

But we'll see, I will give it a month or so and see how it goes. But I have high hopes for it - I really think I could do this from now on!

If all seems to be going well after another week, I will post the recipe. I have recipes for other things too, but I am going to wait a while, as there are things I need to buy to make them, and at the moment I already have commercially made products to use up. You can call it frugal - but moreso it's just laziness and me being a tightwad! Big Grin

I am not liking 2010 so far...

February 1st, 2010 at 05:33 pm

You know those times when EVERYTHING seems to be weighing on you, and you feel like curling into a ball somewhere dark and pretending you're not an adult and you don't have responsibilites? Yes well...

Prepare for a rant of selfish whining:

- I have a tooth ache. I need to get the tooth pulled but I don't want to because a) it costs money b) it will be partly visible when I smile very widely and c) it will mean going to the dentist, and no doubt being told what ELSE I need to get done.

- Every time I get in my car I see little glass shards that the vaccuum didn't pick up and I get annoyed, because it means I have to clean my car again. And it reminds me of the recent $456 expenditure we had to cough up because some no-nuts kid threw a brick through the window.

- It's hot and I hate hot weather.

- The gutter on one side of our house is full of leaves from a Jacarandah tree and it is DF's job to hack the tree branch off and clean the gutter, but he has not done it.

- There is a cement pipe in the ground that DF found that has broken and he thinks it might start causing problems for the foundation of the house if we don't get it fixed soon.

- Yesterday I scraped my mag wheels on the gutter. It's the first time I have ever done that in the 5 years of my driving life and now one of my wheels looks utterly crap.

- DF made a big deal about it because he was there when I did it, inspected the wheel, and found that my tyres are so worn down that we have been driving on the metal thread. I'm annoyed because I have been saying for MONTHS that I need new tyres and now I find that my tyres could have popped at any time while I was driving.

- Why am I annoyed? Because every time something happens to my car, I have known for months that something needed to be fixed, but DF has insisted that he will do it. He then never gets any time to do it, and then it's MY fault beause *I* haven't fixed it. And because I don't know as much about cars as he or his dad does, I feel like I shouldn't go to the mechanics by myself because I'll get duped. So then when I do go, I'm nervous about it. (Which it always ends up being fine anyway...except I then get into trouble from the *mechanic* about the state of my car...)

- So today I have spent $228 on new tyres, which is depressing because of the amount of money my car seems to have sucked up lately.

- I told DF how much money we had in our account yesterday, and he remarked that I should bring home more pies from work. I know he was only (partially) joking, but this is a long running annoyance of mine. Because I work at a bakery, people assume that I eat a lot of crap, and that I can take whatever I like home. And DF seems to believe this too, and is constantly bugging me to bring home 'treats', like end bits of slices and broken bits of cake etc. First of all, I'm so busy at work most of the time that I don't get a chance to eat AT ALL, for my entire shift. Secondly, I have to pay for everything just like customers do, except for ONE free loaf of bread each day that I work. If I took pies home to eat for dinner instead of shopping for groceries, it would probably end up that we spent MORE. And lastly, I am of the type that will eat something if it is THERE, and DF knows this, but still asks me to bring things home, which I refuse to. So then he says it's not fair (?? whatever) and then uses that as an excuse to buy chocolate and icecream every week.

- Furthermore, DF's eating habits are grating on me lately. I don't know WHAT has happened, but in the past two years he has gone from being mostly healthy, to completely UNhealthy. When he first started working for his dad, he weighed about 95 kgs. In our first four or five years together, he would get up a little earlier every morning and make a salad for his lunch as well as a Carmans muesli bar and some fruit, and he got down to about 78 kgs. Then all of a sudden he decided he was sick of that, started getting up later and took 2 minute noodles for lunch instead. His argument was that it was cheaper anyway, so what did I care? Only that it allows him to say 'hey, i can get a pub lunch because i only have two minute noodles and they won't spoil in my esky'. Coupled with getting up later usually means he gets a drivethrough breakfast as well, and all this is costing FAR more in money AND in health than a salad ever did. DF's now back up to about 86kgs, and his dad has remarked that he works slower and is more sluggish than he used to be.

- At the same time, DF insists that *I* should be healthier and exercise more. While I am NOT the type to be overly sensitive or get upset like most girls do when they are assessed on their fitness/health/appearance/weight etc, I *do* find it slightly annoying that he can say this to me on one hand, but then do the complete opposite for himself and write it off because 'his work is more physical than mine'. Pffft.

- The house is a mess and I don't feel like cleaning it. You know when you have a big party and you look at the cleanup job the next morning and don't know where to start? Well, it feels/looks like that. Minus the vomit.

- I haven't been able to sleep properly for what feel like weeks. At the best of times I get around 5 hours of sleep a night - I do *go* to bed with enough time to get 8 hours, but it generally takes me 2 or more hours to drift off. But lately I have nights where I don't sleep at ALL - about two or three times a week. It's getting to a point where everything is annoying me, just because I'm tired and cranky. (Hence, this entire post...) Furthermore, DF doesn't understand my predicament because he can fall asleep in 10 minutes. He says to me 'just go to sleep'. If it was THAT easy, don't you think I would have done that by now???

- It has rained for the past four days, and I haven't been able to do any washing. I don't feel like doing any washing anyway, but that's not the point. The point is that I can't, even if I wanted to.

- The dogs are a handful at the moment. Technically they're not any different than they were a month ago - but it just feels like it. DF was the one that insisted we get *a* dog. Then he was the one that insisted that we get a second one, to keep the first company. While that's all good and well and I love them, I feel like I am doing all the work. When we first got Jed, DF would take him for a walk every weekday morning. I would take him for a walk Monday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, and Tuesday & Wednesday mornings, and then we would usually take him together on Saturdays. Now, I have to practically drag DF to take both of them for a walk with me on the weekend - and I am the only one that walks them during the week. Sometimes DF will throw a ball for them in the mornings, but I don't think he does it every morning any more. On top of that, I also have to make their food every week and wash them.

*sigh* well, I feel slightly better after letting it all out. don't I just sound like a whinger?

natural beauty care...?

January 30th, 2010 at 02:48 pm

I found a book at the library with recipes to make your own skin care items and have found it really interesting. Lately I have been getting more and more concerned about the chemicals in things I use every day.

I rather wish I didn't know sometimes. I know a lot of it is very extreme and the anti-cosmetics movement uses fear to make their point - but it is hard not to think I have several forms of cancer just from standing in close proximity to the items in my bathroom drawer.

While I think it would be a while before I gave up a lot of things (clinique foundation, for one) I think there are a few bits and pieces I can incorporate into my routine to see how it goes.

Financially it makes sense too. The recipes call for things that I already have in the house anyway (chamomile tea, oats etc) and the finished products will end up being cheaper in the long run, even if I do have to buy some items in the end.

I'm not one to throw everything out and rush head first into it. I will be using up my old stuff and just experiment with the natural products to see how they go.

If I find that I am not liking the home-made stuff, I might have to bite the bullet and start looking for commercially made natural ingredient beauty products. But I think it would be nice to be able to make your own.

Thoughts? Ideas? Recipes? Anyone?

this is why I don't take DF grocery shopping!

January 28th, 2010 at 11:22 am

Yesterday afternoon DF and I went grocery shopping. I was meant to go on Wednesday, and I usally go with a friend and we share a cart; take about an hour to walk up and down the aisles and make fun of various items while catching up and getting our weekly groceries. It's odd, but we've been doing it for nearly two years now so I'm used to it.

So DF and I agreed that I will not ask him again, for atleast another year. The reason he doesn't like going is because I make him push the trolley Big Grin And the reason why I won't allow him to come anymore is the amount of extra items he put into the cart that we don't need:

Chocolate: $2.69
Chocolate: $2.69
Jelly Crystals: $0.92
Jelly Crystals: $0.92
Chips: $1.19
Chips: $1.89
Ice Cream: $5.88

Total: $16.18

While it doesn't seem a lot, it is when you think about the fact that I am trying to NOT overspend this month on groceries! *sigh* It is just that these are all items that I do not buy...

I mean... honestly, who buys Jelly Crystals if not for their kids or a party???

menu, surveys

January 24th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

It was 34C today. Eugh.

I just checked a survey site account and had enough to cash out a $20 GC for a shopping centre I use. There's $5.50 remaining in the account too, and I am close to getting a $30 check from another survey site.

Menu Plan for the week:

Salad, Lamb Chop/Vege Patty, Steamed Veges
Toasted Paninis
Indian Vegetable Curry with rice
Dinner Out (DF's sis's bday)
Vege Sauce & Pasta
BBQ & Salad

I shopped at the markets on Saturday - BIG difference in the produce. Smile Oh well, I tried. It might be convenient to drop by the store during the week instead of every Saturday mornings - but it's so much fresher at the markets.

I will hopefilly only need to buy olives, feta, tofu & some other assorted goods from the grocery store. Not a lot needed this week.

That's all for now!

Currently Reading: Half-Assed - A Weightloss Memoir


January 22nd, 2010 at 03:13 pm

I have been reading people's posts but not writing any of my own lately.

It was our one year engagement anniversary this week (on Monday, to be exact). We didn't do anything, but it's crazy to think how time flies. In two months time it will be 7 years since DF first told me he liked me Big Grin

Not a lot financially is going on. It is the beginning of the slow months for DF - so he has been earning about half of what I do - and I usually earn half of what he does... *sigh*

So this month does not look good even though our spending has been drastically reduced. I think we will most likely break even for the next few months, and any big purchases will be coming out of the EF, or other sources.

On a good note, we will most likely be in budget for groceries, which hasn't happened for two months Big Grin

I have decided to stop buying vegetables from that fruit and vege store I mentioned a while back. It is just not fresh. When I shop at the markets, even though we hardly have anything left at the end of the week, the few things we do have are still edible, which I usually use in soup or make stock. Now when shopping at the fruit and vege store, things go slimey within a few days. YUCK. The few bucks I was saving go in the compost bin. Yay.

I have succesfully lost the 1kg I had planned to for January Big Grin I am down to X5.00kg. Weee! It's a good feeling.

If I lose 5-7kg more, I will be the same weight I was in year 10 when I was 16 years old. So I think I am going to make that my goal. And I have set myself a time limit. I have 6 months. It seems easy enough to do so we will see how it goes. Is that a crazy goal? Technically 16 years old was when I stopped growing taller...

We still don't have an oven, and I think the most part of that is due to the fact that I am lazy and can't be bothered getting a repairman in (and paying for it). So we'll just see how long we can last. In the meantime, it's nice to not have a choice for dinner sometimes. It's either salad, or salad! Big Grin

It's been about 33-37 degrees celcius here lately. And humid. Ugh. I hate humidity. Thank god summer is getting closer to ending. I think we are halfway through at least.

I bought a rashie (a long sleeved swimming top that you wear over your bikini). DF bought one for himself about two months ago, for $80. I bought mine from the same shop and it was only $45! For once in my life, a piece of clothing that is cheaper than the equivalent in boys. It was amazing.

The friend that I go swimming with laughs at me when I wear it. I wear shorts and a long sleeved top, while she 'dries' herself lying in the sun. I'm sorry, but I don't want to make friends with cancer. (The state that we live in, has the highest rate of skin cancer etc etc). Whatever.

Our doggies are going well. Banjo has grown a lot (I think - it's hard to tell when you see them every day). They both get along well too. They play fight all day and Jed has taught Banjo all the things we were meant to teach him Big Grin (like walking on the lead, where to go to the toilet, where to sleep, what to bark at etc etc).

Jed is a master at begging. When he wants a pat or a treat he will stand on his hind legs and use his tail to balance on behind him, and he can stay like that for ages. The other day Banjo copied Jed. It was so cute. Big Grin

Well, I think that is all my updates for now. Hope everyone is well! Smile

Currently Listening To: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Weekly Meal Plan x 2

January 5th, 2010 at 07:17 pm

Meal Plan for the week:

Monday: Minestroni Soup
Tuesday: Takeaway Pizza
Wednesday: Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup
Thursday: Salad, Steamed Veges (Lamb Chop for DF)
Friday: Mexican Beans & Rice
Saturday: Steamed Veges & Rice/ Spaghetti Bologaise for DF
Sunday: Mexican Beans & Jacket Potatoes.

This week should be very minimal in grocery expenditure as I have most of the items I need at home already. I am hoping that January will be a 'Clear Out The Pantry' month.

On that note, this is a loose meal plan for next week:

Monday: Vegetable Risotto
Tuesday: Minestroni Soup
Wednesday: Salad & Grilled Tofu/Lamb Chops
Thursday: Lentil Dahl
Friday: Vegetable Curry & Rice
Saturday: Dining Out (friends bday)
Sunday: Bolognaise for DF/Steamed Veges & Rice

The only items I need to buy food-wise are:
Meat for DF/Meat for Dogs
Tofu for myself
Fresh fruit & Veges
plus some other extras for lunches etc.
We don't need many other grocery or household items, so I am hoping this will be an under-budget month.

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