Saturday 31 October 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Are Out The Window.

 Hello to all the readers out there.  My week started out as it usually does with a good start on my frugal list.  Then the announcement came that retail was opening up.  So I've been a little busy shopping,  buying up the things I really needed and picking up a few bargains.

The rest of my week has been spent making cards to sell and advertising them.  Now I've fired up the sewing machine again and making Christmas face masks.  Orders are coming in at a steady pace and I'm busy cutting them all out.

Some of my cleaning clients have been in contact to make their regular bookings.  I'm now trying to get them all sorted and locked in for their house cleans.

Unfortunately I haven't had time to be frugal for the last 4 days so my frugal list will be posted next week.  Hopefully by then it will be extra long.

One of the card packs I made.

How has your week panned out ?

For those who live in metro Melbourne,  have you been to the shops yet and grabbed a bargain ?

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Gone Shopping.....

After 111 days of hard lockdown with nowhere to shop but the supermarket.  chemist and Post Office,  our state government is finally allowing retail stores to we can go shopping .  So that's what I'm doing today and maybe for many days to come.

I have my lists ready for each store,  I know what I need to get and I'm so excited.

So there will be no money saving post today.  I'll either be out shopping,  counting my savings or recuperating  from all the walking.  Either way,  I'm sure you'll understand my NEED to go out.


Saturday 24 October 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th October 2020

 As I'm writing this post I couldn't believe how quickly this week has gone.  Then I look back at what we've done and realise we've been quite busy.  We helped Jessica move over two days this week.  On Monday Darren and I took a trip to the beach at sunset just to get out of the house .  Restrictions were lifted and now we can travel up to 25 km from home.  It was lovely to see something different.  

On Thursday I took my Dad into the city for his specialist appointment.  It was slightly unnerving to be back on the road travelling at 100 km an hour down the freeway.  We also looked after Luka for a day and enjoyed his little antics around our home and backyard.  I even started sorting and wrapping Christmas presents.

Here's what else we've been up to -

*  Made up 2 large foaming hand wash bottles for our daughters to use in their homes.   The shower gel I used came to us for free so it didn't cost me anything to make it up and will save the girls lots of money.

*  Sold lots of hanging towels on Facebook.  I have just a few left if anyone is interested.

*  Ate freezer meals ( leftovers ) a few nights for dinner.

*  Made butter twice this week using the free cream I'd frozen.  I think I have about 15 bottles left to use.  

*  Gratefully received quite a few tomato plants from my Dad.  He grows them from seed for his own veggie garden plus spares to give to family,  friends and neighbours.  With the lockdown restrictions he hasn't been able to give them away this year.  I thought I'd help him out and take a few more for our own garden.  In return I gave him a zucchini plant and some flower seedlings Darren has been growing

*  Picked a couple of large broccoli heads from our garden.  I've blanched and frozen them for future eating.

*  Saved the shower warm up water,  drink bottle water and washing machine rinse water.  All of this has been reused around our home as needed.

*  Refilled and diluted the dish washing liquid.

*  Gratefully received lots of glass jars from my Mum and Dad.  They are the perfect size for jam making and gift giving .

*  Dried all the washing on the line and clothes horses.  We even changed our wash days if the weather looked better at other times.

*  Used card stock scraps to make greeting cards.  

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.  To some this might not seem like a money saving tip.  You can buy kettle cleaning liquid or some people use vinegar ( which didn't work for me ).  Citric acid costs just a few cents for each kettle clean and leaves it sparkling.

*  Made shortbread biscuits for our afternoon teas.  I also gifted some for a present and they were very well received.

*  Fed the compost bin every couple of days with our kitchen scraps.


Broccoli ready to freeze

From our garden

Butter making

Christmas present wrapping

Have your started your Christmas shopping yet ?

How did you save time,  money and energy this week ?

Wednesday 21 October 2020

5 Ways To De Stress

2020 has bought great stress to many households.  Whether it be sickness,  job losses,  isolation,  money worries or a myriad of other situations,  we have all felt stress at some point.

I don't usually stress about things but even I could feel it creeping into my soul,  affecting the way I viewed life and the situation the world is dealing with.

I made a conscience effort to face each day with new hope and joy no matter what my family was dealing with.  Here are some coping strategies I've used to get through the last 8 - 9 months. I really hope they help you get through each new day.

*  Grow something.  There's nothing like seeing new life form in the garden.  The threat of food shortages has encouraged us to grow even more vegetables and this has given us a new activity to fill our days.  After breakfast Darren and I go outside to see if any seeds have popped up out of the ground.  We do the rounds of our backyard to pick garden produce,  to water,  feed and weed.  It's given us a real sense of purpose and control over our food security.  Doing something in our garden is better than worrying about what is missing on the supermarket shelf.

*  We sit outside and watch the sky.  I've always loved to watch the sky and with more time on our hands we like to watch the different cloud formations.  Taking the time to be still and enjoy the beautiful creation around us has calmed our souls.  We've also watched many sunsets this year.  There are no two sunsets the same so each night brings a new show.

*  Keeping in contact with family and friends.  We have Facetimed my parents quite a few times since my brother set it up for Mum and Dad a few months ago.  I've taken them on a tour of our home to view my new craft room,  the happenings in the garden and Darren's painting skills.  My card making group hasn't met in person since April so we've created a room on Facebook through Messenger.  Every few weeks we craft together online and chat away.

*  Going for a walk.  Darren loves to do this with Luka and they do laps of our estate waving to the neighbours as they go by.   With so many people staying at home there are a lot more people outside washing cars and tending their garden.  People are happy to say hello knowing everyone is in the same situation.

*  Interacting with our cat Princess.  She's really enjoying the extra attention and makes her presence known especially when we are outside having a cuppa.   Princess follows me around the garden ' helping ' where she can.  If you don't have a pet to enjoy,  sit outside and watch the birds going about their day.  Maybe you could take the time to watch a bee collecting pollen ( at a safe distance ) or watch ants collecting food.  Whatever you can do to take your mind off the current situation.   


How have you de stressed during this year ?

Saturday 17 October 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 17th October 2020

This week has come and gone quite quickly.  We've enjoyed good weather,  lots of rain for the garden and lots of cups of tea out on the deck together.  Darren and I love to sit outside and watch the clouds go by and dream of the day when we can go for trips in the car.  In the last 3 months I haven't driven more than 1.5 km away from home.  Lockdown has saved us a small fortune in petrol money.

Here's what else we've been up to - 

*  Froze 1 doz eggs.  We were given some eggs plus we have one laying chicken at the moment.  We can't eat the eggs quick enough so I froze them in lots of 1,  2 and 3 for future lemon butter making,  breakfasts and  general baking.

*  Darren picked beetroot,  all our  sugar snap peas and snow peas.  The plants have now been pulled out and we'll be planting different veggies in the next few days.

*  Darren made a big pot of soup with the last of the bok choy from the garden.

*  I bought a couple of solar garden lights from NQR.  We bring them in at night to use in the lounge room instead of turning a lamp on.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Knitted 2 dish cloths using cotton I had on hand.

*  Baked cranberry hootycreek biscuits and white choc / macadamia nut biscuits using dough from the freezer.

*  Blanched and froze 5 heads of broccoli given to us for free.  In the next few days we'll be picking our own broccoli.

*  Made dried bread crumbs from saved frozen bread crusts.  When needed they will be turned into seasoned bread crumbs.

*  Darren did some research on one of our car insurances due for renewal and was able to save over $300 by switching to a ' drive less pay less' policy.

*  I did my monthly grocery shopping.  This time I shopped at Woolworths to make the most of the 10% discount they offer for having an insurance with them.  I saved over $7 for buying my usual generic basic ingredients.

*  Gratefully received 3 bags of glass jars from a friend.  I will be keeping some that match the jars I already have in the pantry.  Jessica will be using some for her pantry and the rest will be passed on to friends who need them.

*  Darren gratefully received half a cubic metre of top soil from a family member who couldn't use it.  The soil was used to top up our veggie garden beds. 

*  Darren dug up some daisy seedlings that are multiplying in a new garden bed.  He's re potted them and when they are bigger we will be planting them in another garden bed to fill in the gaps.

Here are a few photos of our garden produce we picked this week -

Sugar snap peas still in the pod

Sugar snap peas ready to eat ( and freeze )

Snow peas

Have you been picking anything from your garden ?

What was on your frugal list this week ?


Wednesday 14 October 2020

Free Pantry Storage Ideas.

 Have you always wanted your pantry to be more organised but don't have the money for new storage solutions ?  If your answering " yes " then I'm hearing you.  Lots of people post photos of their pantries on social media and you just know the look they have has cost a small fortune.   Don't get me wrong,  I love to see how others organise their kitchens but not everyone has spare money for functionality.

Here are some free organising solutions that won't cost you a cent.  Some of these ideas I've used in the past,  others I continue to use even today.  Not only are they free,  you can recycle what you already have and use in your home.

*  Ice cream containers.  When I was a young mum I didn't have spare money for more pantry storage solutions.  Icecream containers I had in abundance.  I just can't bring myself to throw them out.  I used the containers for baking ( biscuit / cake ) storage,  lolly / broken Easter egg storage,  dried bread crumbs, and packet mixes.

*  Glass coffee jars of all sizes.  This is a fairly new storage solution I've been using.  I had a few of these jars stored in my garden shed waiting for a use.  I'd purchased them from an op shop for $2 each.  When I started to get rid of the plastic in my pantry,  I advertised on my local Buy Swap Sell Facebook group asking for Moccona coffee jars. Lots of people were happy to give them to me.  In return I gave my handmade greeting cards as a swap.  I even had return ' customers'. The coffee jars come in 4 sizes and offer a great airtight seal. I use them to store sugars,  milk powder,  nuts,  bread making ingredients and snacks.

*  Jam jars or pasta sauce jars.  I use glass jam jars for storing all my herbs and spices.  The pasta sauce jars are slightly bigger and great for storing homemade mixes like gravy powder mix,  french onion soup mix and taco seasoning mix.  I have a couple of friends who gave me jam jars and a some were purchased for 25 cents each from op shops.

*  Oblong plastic icecream containers.  These are the ones icecream shops use in their display cabinets.  If you can get your hands on these they make great storage for packet mixes.  I've also used them in the fridge for storing fruit when the veggie crisper was full.

*  Biscuit tins.  Just about everyone gets a biscuit tin full of shortbread biscuits at Christmas.  Wash,  dry and reuse for many different things.  I use them for storing plastic cutlery ( the few bits we still have ),  storing birthday candles and decorations,  lollies and chocolates.

Here are examples of how I've transformed my pantry for free.

Jam jar uses

Moccona coffee jar uses

More Moccona coffee jars

Oblong icecream containers

Packet mixes organised

Baking and herbs organised.

Pasta sauce and jam jar uses.

Have you found ways to organise your pantry for free ?

Saturday 10 October 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 10th October 2020

 Darren and I had planned on planting out most of our veggie seedlings this week.  Due to the amount of rain and cold weather we've had,  we needed to put these plans on hold for now.  It looks like good weather is coming our way in the next few days and I'm itching to get outside again.  So it ended up being a week of finishing craft projects for me and Darren pottered around outside under the deck and eaves tidying up where he could.  Here are our frugal tasks for this week -

*  Cooked homemade pizzas from scratch for our dinner one night.   Darren ate his leftovers a couple of day later and I froze mine to eat at the end of the week.

*  Knitted another 3 dish cloths using cotton I bought on clearance at Spotlight a couple of years ago.  The white cotton was bought at Savers for just a few dollars a big bag ( lots of rolls in it ).

*  Made another batch of butter using the free cream.  I think I still have about 15 - 18 bottles of cream in the freezer to get through.

*  Poured the last of my foaming face wash into the foaming hand wash bottle.  It will do the same job.

*  Made lots of greeting cards using up scraps I already had.

*  Dried all the washing on the line.

*  Made 11 jars of raspberry jam using fruit we'd grown and frozen last season.  This is the last of our frozen raspberries so now I have room in the freezer for the current growing season.

*  Picked snow peas,  bok choy and lemons from our garden.  The greens were put into a chop suey I cooked and it stretched the meal out.  i was able to freeze 3 large serves.

*  Wrote out a new menu plan for the next 2 weeks.  I've added freezer meals and soup as our cheap or free meals to keep our costs down.

*  Saved the washing machine water,  shower warm up water and kitchen water when possible.

*  Bought a new cat collar for Princess from NQR for $2.  This is a saving of $6 - $8 on supermarket prices.  It was the last one so I'll be keeping a look out for more.

*  Darren used a chicken feed bag to grow potatoes in.

*  Mended a cushion where the zip had broken.  The zip is beyond repair so I just sewed the cushion opening  up.  

From our garden

More knitted dish cloths

Raspberry jam

Handmade greeting cards

Hanging tea towels I've been working on over the last few months.  

How have you kept yourself busy this week ?

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Shortbread Biscuits

 Shortbread biscuits have always been a favourite of mine since my childhood.  Back then I loved the sugar topped shortbread biscuits that came in a tin at Christmas time. Since discovering this recipe I can enjoy them whenever I like.  I hope you enjoy them too.

225g Plain flour - sifted

115g Rice Flour - sifted

115g Castor Sugar - sifted

1 pinch of Salt

225g of Butter at room temperature

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

Combined all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Rub in the butter with your fingers until well combined.  It should come together as a slightly crumbly dough.

Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead it slightly until it comes together.

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin ( or similar ) and cut into biscuits with either a knife or biscuit cutter.

Place on a greased oven tray and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until light brown.

Cool on the oven tray then transfer to a cooling rack.

Store in a an air tight container.

Saturday 3 October 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 3rd October 2020

 This week was spent pottering around our home and garden,  tidying up here and there.  My craft room is slowly coming together and it's lovely to go in there and be able to find things.  My goal is to find homes for 10 things each time I enter.

Our lockdown restrictions have eased ever so slightly but they really haven't changed much for us.  Darren and I can now go to the supermarket together if we choose or gather with 3 other people in a park within 5 km of home.  Most of our friends and family live further than 5km and we still can't visit our daughter Jessica who lives 40 minutes away.  The nightly curfew has been dropped but we don't usually go out after dark.

So we soldier on trying to keep our minds and bodies active each day. We count our blessings that we have a lovely home and garden with extra free time to enjoy. We praise God every day for the good weather that allows us to go outside to enjoy our little haven.

Here's what else we've been up to

*  Picked silverbeet,  snow peas and bok choy from the garden as our green vegetable to eat this week.  

*  Saved and cleaned a candle jar that was well worth keeping.  It has a very tight lid so I'm thinking I'll use it for gifting biscuits,  mini bath bombs,  bath salts,  laundry powder or maybe to use as storage in my craft room.

*  Made a batch of butter using the free cream from the freezer.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker then a big batch of soup using a cooked chicken a family member gave us.

*  Darren gave me a much needed haircut.  This was Darren's first time cutting anyone's hair but I was desperate after not being able to get to a hairdresser for almost 8 months.

*  Darren made a big pot of vegetable soup using lots of bok choy from the garden.  He was quite pleased with the end result and has enjoyed it for his lunches this week.

*  Made a big pot of spag bol sauce and stretched it even further by adding lots of silverbeet from our garden and 4 finely grated carrots.  We had the spag bol for dinner that night and froze another 6 portions for the 2 of us.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and washing machine rinse water.  We also saved water in the kitchen from drink bottles etc and Darren used this to water our pot plants out on the deck.

*  Finished off another 7 hanging tea towels.  I used supplies I already had on hand.  These will be either given as presents or sold in my blog shop or on Facebook.

*   Sorted out all the presents from occasions we have missed this year due to lockdown.  I had the presents put away in the wardrobe but it felt good to get them out,  wrap,  write cards or place them in recycled gift bags.  Now we are waiting for our lockdown restrictions to ease so we can give them out.

*  Darren made up 2 buckets of worm tea from our worm farm.  This was enough liquid to feed the rose bushes and all our fruit trees.

Part of my craft room storage

Birthday flowers form Darren

Birthday flowers grandson Luka (and family) gave me

Candle pots I'm saving

Birthday cake. Vegan was all the supermarket had left.
Unfortunately it didn't taste the greatest but the strawberries were delicious.
Using my grandma's cup and saucer on my birthday

Some of the goodies I received

What Darren cut off my hair.

Have you been enjoying the great outdoors lately ?

What was on your frugal list this week ?