Saturday, 21 January 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 21st January 2017

Hi everyone.  We've had an eventful couple of week lately.  Two weeks ago Darren and I flew to Mooloolaba Queensland for a week long holiday.  The weather was just beautiful with daily temperatures ranging from 28 - 31 degrees Celsius.  The water temperature at the beach was 25 degrees - just perfect for swimming.  Our accommodation was three minutes walk away from the water's edge and two minutes from many cafes and restaurants facing the beach.

While we were in Mooloolaba we visited Australia Zoo where we saw all three of the Irwin family.  We even sat near Terri and Robert in the crowd.  Darren and I also went on an all day Fraser Island Adventure Tour.  We did lots of 4WD trekking in a purpose built bus,  drove along the beach, had a bbq lunch in the rain forest and  swam in the fresh water Lake McKenzie ( simply stunning ).

The same day we flew out,  our girls flew to Hamilton Island Queensland ( further up the coast ) with my brother,  sister in law and family.  They had an amazing time swimming,  kayaking,  snorkelling,  eating and driving a golf buggy.  Our cat Princess went on a holiday to the local pet resort where the workers love her.

This week we've spent time unpacking,  doing loads and loads of washing and tending to our garden and chickens.  It was back to work on Monday for three of us.  Tuesday I was baking and doing more washing.  Wednesday was spent in the garden pulling out bushes and pruning.

Unfortunately Thursday morning saw Jessica and myself  with gastro.  I spent the rest of the day sleeping and watching tv.  I was aching so much I felt like a little old granny every time I moved.  Darren came down with the gastro Friday morning.  By tea time he was up and about feeling a little better.  Megan is fine thankfully.

Here's what else we got up to over the last two weeks -

*  Washed and reused a few snap lock bags.

*  Collected lots of pumice stone from a fresh water creek on Fraser Island.  Now we won't need to buy any for years and years to come.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the washing machine or pot plants.

*  Picked a couple of handfuls of raspberries and a few strawberries from the garden.

*  Kept the curtains closed on hot days and turned the cooling on low just before lunch.

*  Gratefully received a couple of fuel discount dockets in the mail.  Thankyou Tania.

*  Bought home the little shampoo,  conditioner and shower gel bottles from our holiday accommodation.

*  Darren emptied both compost bins into one of our veggie garden beds. 

*  Darren mowed all the garden clippings and added them to the compost bins.  The grass clippings went into the chicken run.  The chickens had fun scratching and pecking at the grass.

*  When we were in Mooloolaba we used our saved Flybuys dollars to buy all our groceries for the week.  We even had plenty of money left over.

*  We carried water bottles wherever we went on holidays.  This saved us approximately $60+ dollars for the week based on $3 a bottle and consuming three a day ( we probably consumed four between us ).  We also carried snacks with us on our outings.

*  Decluttered some of our clothes.  I took two big bags to Savers op shop and received two discount stamps.

Stunning Lake McKenzie.  It's a fresh water lake with extremely fine white sand.  The light colored water went up to my neck. Where the water darkens,  the depth increases significantly.

 On a rain forest walk on Fraser Island while our bus driver cooked our bbq lunch

 The purposed built 4WD bus for our Fraser Island tour.

The colored sands on Rainbow Beach

At Australia Zoo

Look what bloomed in our garden while we were away.

My garden work on Wednesday.  Yes I puled it all out.

   I'll post more photos of our holiday some time next week.

What did you do this week to save money ?

Saturday, 7 January 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 7th January 2017

Here is my frugal list for the week -

*  Glued the soles back on my moccasin slippers.  One sole was half off and the other was just starting to come off.  I'll be getting new moccasins before next Winter so I just want them to last until then.

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.  Darren used his special pronged tool to turn the compost.

*  Fed the chickens some old lettuce,  cantelope seeds,  weeds,  snails and grass.

*  Used an old suitcase to store my Christmas nutcracker collection in.  Their usual cardboard storage boxes were getting a little shabby ( also taking up too much space ).  Darren was going to buy two plastic storage tubs until we realised we had old,  small suitcases in my shed that we'd outgrown years ago.   We saved ourselves about $14.

*  Lined my bathroom bin with lots of recycled bread bags.

*  Cleaned the dishwasher using bi carb and vinegar. Wiped down the seals and door with Miracle Spray.

*  Picked lettuce from our garden for a salad to feed eight people.

*  Picked our first ever apricots.  We also picked strawberries,  raspberries,  boysenberries and two peaches.  I made up a fruit salad to feed eight people.  About 1/3 of the fruit came from our garden.

*  Made up a bottle of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  I have to keep all available bottles diluted due to a certain daughter liking the full strength liquid.

*  Cleaned the inside of the kettle using citric acid.

*  Gratefully received lots of little pavers from my Dad.  We plan on using them around the strawberry patch and outside our garden shed.

From the garden


Rose bush in the chicken coop.

Our girls

Lavender in bloom

Recycled pavers

How did you save time or money this week ?

Saturday, 31 December 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 31st December 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful week enjoying the Christmas festivities.   I've been quite busy this week doing lots of bargain shopping at the Boxing Day sales.  I've found so many bargains and made a big head start on next year's gift list.

At the moment we have Darren's dad staying with us.  He's bought his big telescope with him.  We'll be doing a little star gazing and planet gazing while he's here ( clear skies permitting ).

I received a new camera for Christmas from Darren.  The camera I'd been using was falling apart and I'd been struggling to use it for 18 months.  Due to all my shopping this week I'd almost forgotten to set it up and take photos for this blog post.  Here's what we've been up to and a few photos I've taken.

*  Sold two dozen eggs to a neighbour.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps.

*  Baked peanut butter choc chip biscuits to give with birthday and Christmas presents.  I made a double batch of the dough and froze most of it for future baking.

*  I went to the Boxing Day sales at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre.  Jessica and I were there at 7.45am to get the bargains when the shops opened at 8 am.  I wasn't going to shop this year but I'd found lots of card making stickers and ribbons in the discount shops before Christmas.  On Boxing Day they were all half price.

*  Bought a pair of sandals at 1/2 price.

*  Used a gift card for Katies and bought two tops when they had their 50% off storewide sale on Boxing Day.

*  Saved lots of washing machine and shower water for each next load and to water some plants.

*  Emptied water bottles onto the mango plants.

*  Picked handfuls of raspberries,  strawberries and boysenberries.

*  Made lots of egg custard with leftover egg yolks from a dessert Megan made.

*  Bought a tester bottle of aftershave at a heavily discounted price on Boxing Day.  It comes in a plain box but doesn't look like it's been used.

*  We've had four days of humid weather here in Melbourne.  We have evap. cooling in our home so it doesn't work as well in this type of weather.  Instead of turning up the cooling,  we used electric fans to help keep cool.

*  Kept the curtains closed when it was hot.

*  Saved a piece of wrapping paper that can be used in card making.  I also save all ribbons from the presents.

Our first apricot growing

We have a couple of mandarins that have set.

The lettuce is ready to pick

Tomato plants are growing
 My Boxing Day Bargains bought at half price

Christmas dish cloths

Card making supplies

Christmas bling stickers

More ribbon $1 per roll

My father in law's telescope.

Our table setting

 A present from Jessica's boyfriend.
What was on your frugal list this week ?  Did you pick up some bargains ?

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Blogging Break

Hi everyone.

Just thought I'd let you know I'm taking a short blogging break to enjoy some time with my family.  My father in law is visiting us from Tasmania for a couple of weeks.  Darren is hoping to go on some fishing trips with him.

I'll be spending  time doing the family budget for 2017,  making crafts for my Etsy shop and getting a few blog posts written ahead of time.

I hope to post something each Saturday.  It might be the frugal tasks I do or a couple of links to previous blog posts that might be of interest at this time of the year.

Please feel free to read the other articles I've written or leave a comment.

I'll be blogging again towards the end of January  xoxo

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Frugal Tasks, A Year In Review And Merry Christmas.

I've kept my days quite busy this week.  I worked two days cleaning homes,  then did a fair bit of sorting,  cleaning and organising around my own home.  The garden needed a little weeding and watering too. Here's what else I got up to this week -

*  Made a big batch of pita chips with pita bread that was given to us.  These will be great with dips,  cream cheese and camembert cheese over the holidays.

*  I went to Spotlight earlier this week.  They had 50% off all Christmas decos,  craft and material.  I stocked up on lots of ribbon for crafts and card making.  The ribbon was 60% off.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the pot plants.  Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next load of washing.

*  Picked our first two peaches of the season.  We also picked boysenberries for the very first time ( just a few ),  lots of raspberries and strawberries.

*  Darren picked lovely pink roses from our garden for my bedside table.  They are the first thing I smell when I'm waking up in the morning and the last thing I smell as I'm drifting off to sleep.

*  Refilled the Miracle Spray bottles around the house.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I used recycled bread bags to store the loaves in the freezer.

*  Gratefully accepted lots of bread bags from a charity bbq.  I turned them inside out,  decrumbed them and hung them on a clotheshorse in the sun to dry.

*  Darren and I picked up a few Christmas decorations last Sunday at 50% off.  They are a lovely light mint green and dusty pink / mauve color.  These will be the colors on our tree next year with silver.

*  Lined the bathroom bins with lots of recycled bread bags.

*  Made a batch of strawberry and apple jam using our strawberries,  lemon juice from our lemons and sugar given to us.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash bottles with diluted shower gel.

*  Refilled a conditioner bottle and added water to the almost empty bottle to get every last drop out.

A Year In Review

Well, 2016 is coming to an end.  I must admit it's been a challenging year to get through. We lost a good family friend to cancer early this year.  Darren and I found it hard at times to keep going with our goals but we did manage to get a few things done. I'll be glad to start 2017.  It will seem like a fresh start.

Here are some of this year's highlights -

*  In January Jessica bought her first car.  She'd been saving since she started work at 14 1/2.  Her hard saving paid off and she paid cash for her three year old car.

*  Megan received her leaners permit  on her 16th birthday in January.  She's had fun driving to school and work on the weekend.

*  Cath and I travelled to Adelaide in February to help promote the opening of Aldi in South Australia. We had approximately 35 people attend our guided shopping tour.  We also had  fun catching up with Annabel,  Tania ( Outback Tania ) and a few Cheapskate Club members.

*  Jessica got her drivers licence in March.  That's when Darren and I started going even greyer.  It's hard to let our kids grow up,  but grow up they must.

*  During May I filmed a story for the Channel Nine News.

*  August came around and we had a new kitchen installed as well as new flooring throughout our home.  New lighting was installed too.  We were glad to say goodbye to bare light bulbs and hello to down lights.  Darren installed new colonial skirting boards too.  Our home was packed up and moved from room to room during these big renovations.

*  Towards the end of August a group of mums ( including myself ) set up The Crafty Mums Co op Etsy online shop.  We've been busy making and selling our cards and crafts.  Thankyou to everyone who visited our store.  Thankyou to our customers who bought our goods and for the wonderful reviews.

Once again I'd like to thank all of my blog and Facebook readers.  I appreciate all your comments and feedback on the topics I've shared.  We've become an online family who learn from each other.  I get a thrill to hear from overseas readers too.  We have quite a few readers from New Zealand,  America,  Canada and England.  The world seems quite small when we can chat and share our frugal tips.

May your Christmas be a joyful one shared with family and friends as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Ribbon bargains

Pre Christmas sales

In the garden

Our first peaches of the year

First ever boysenberries

Our Year In Review Photos

Soap making

Knitted dish cloths

Hand Towels for the Etsy shop

Jam making

Pumpkin soup

Darren's hot cross buns

Old kitchen

New kitchen


Cards for sale on Etsy

Christmas crafts

Monday, 19 December 2016

Planning A Christmas Menu On A budget

With Christmas just around the corner,I thought it would be good to repost this article I wrote last year. I'm sure you have all been very busy decorating your home and Christmas tree with special ornaments. Table runners, candles and Christmas lights can also bring the festive feeling to your home.   A couple of months ago I  started planning my Christmas Day menu too. Although I want this special day to be perfect, it is so easy to go overboard with the food.

Providing two meats, a couple of salads or roast veggies and two or three desserts is all that is needed to satisfy the hungry souls at your table. The more you have to choose from, the harder it is for the eaters to choose. How to fit it all on the plate ? There is only so much you can eat at one meal and many people travel from table to table ( family home to family home ) in one day.

Also, the more you provide, the more likely you are to be left with leftovers for a week. To avoid gastro,  food should be refridgerated between courses and consumed within 2 - 3 days of cooking. You are less likely to forget what is left in the fridge if it is consumed within a small time frame.

I've cooked traditional and casual Christmas lunches in the past. Here's what I've provided for my guests


roast lamb served in gravy
roast chicken
roast potatoes, pumpkin and carrots
cauliflower and broccoli with white sauce and cheese on top
mint sauce
sticky date puddings in muffin size with caramel sauce, cream and icecream


bbq steaks ( cut into smaller pieces )
mushrooms and onions
bread stick
green tossed salad
potato salad
pasta salad
plum pudding ( no name ) with home made custard, cream and icecream
mini pavlovas ( home made ) with cream and berries

Both have been hugely successful and everyone is full and satisfied. The casual meal had a lot more leftovers. We just ate salads and sausages for the next two days. The best thing about these meals is that I have most of the ingredients on hand already so there are no grocery blowouts. The only extra expense is the meat and a few veggies / salad things. 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 17th December 2016

As we get closer to Christmas,  our days are getting busier.  There are last minute presents to wrap,  extra food to prepare for parties,  lots of work drop offs for Megan and general tidying around the home and garden.  Here's what else we got up to this week -

*  Dried most of the washing on the line.  A few things needed to be thrown in the dryer.

*  Picked approximately 920 grams of strawberries from our patch.  Picked a few handfuls of raspberries too.

*  Sold two dozen eggs to neighbours.

*  Sold a card from my Etsy shop.

*  Cut up a cereal bag to use as go between for chops etc.

*  Saved the shower water to water our pot plants.

*  Saved and washed some plastic containers from cobs of corn given to us.  These containers will be handy when I need to take baking to a party etc.

*  Saved all the washing machine rinse water for each next load.

*  I did the monthly food shopping this week.  Because I've been stockpiling for the Summer months on my $200 a month grocery budget,  I didn't need to buy too much.  The saved money is going into the grocery slush fund.

*  I only put in $15 worth of petrol into my car.  Petrol prices are so inflated at the moment so I'm just putting in a little bit of petrol here and there until the price drops then I'll fill up .

*  Jessica has started present shopping for 2017.  She's taking advantage of the sales and stocking up.

* Saved some colored cord from damaged gift bags.  I found a tutorial on Facebook that shows you how to make gift bags from wrapping paper.  The saved cords will come in handy when I make the bags.

*  Started writing out my list of wanted items for the Boxing Day sales.

*  Saved the plastic wrapping paper from a bunch of flowers Jessica received.

*  Jessica has been busy buying little presents for her friends.  He needed quite a few small gift bags to place then in.  after ricing them at the shops ( anywhere from 50 cents to $2 each ),  she decided to have a look at what we had at home.  She was able to reuse lots of jewellery gift bags that were the perfect size.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Cleaned out my garden / household shed and donated some items to the op shop.  I received a discount stamp for the goods.  

Our "display" stockings

Strawberry haul

The boysenberries are slowly ripening.

The lettuce is getting bigger

Two mangoes have set on one of our trees.

Corn cob containers I saved.

   Has your week been busy ?