Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas and New Year blessings to ALL

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and prosperous new year.
I'm going to "see" you all again mid January as I'm going to work hard on our plans over the school holidays for next year! I'm going to avoid even the internet during this time :o-

Until 2011  Piglet xx

Here's a fast moving Christmas Elf for you!

Plans for 2011

Lots of rocket for salads and pesto
I thought I'd share our hopes for next year. We are going to have another no spend year (beyond essentials) since the last one was so very successful. (  I don't expect we'll have such a generous government this time, no 'get the economy flowing' type payments, so it will be all us this time.

2010 it cost us $579 a week to keep our family fed, clothed, housed and tootled around in the cars.

I'm hoping this year we can do it for $489.50/wk or less. We don't expect to have pre-school costs so that's an automatic saving. We have changed to a cheaper internet plan that gives us more download, same company too, makes you wonder.
I allowed extra in other areas like pharmaceuticals and mobiles.
So the question we are asking, is can we lower electricity and gas bills? Tweak the food budget further and resist the urge to splurge on something we don't really need but fully justify at the time of purchase?

Here's the break down per week:

Mortgage interest only: $122
home and contents insurance: $25
Electricity: $15
Water costs: $5 (this is petrol to pump and servicing costs)
Gas: $8
Rates $9
Landline $5
Mobiles $10
Internet/voip and call costs: $14

Groceries: $120
Petrol costs: $30
Car rego: free
Car insurance(includes green slip) $53
Car repairs/ maintenance: $10
Caravan rego: $2.50

School fees $5
Pets $20

Life insurance $7
Pharmacy: $5
Dentist: $10
Clothing: $1 (op shop)
Shoes: $1 (op shop)
Gifts: home-made from what I have or from the grocery budget.

Donations $12

Banana Passionfruits

The aim is for us to knock as much as off the mortgage as possible.

To reduce these costs further we will try to not use electricity as much, I'm going to get a wood heater in the garage to dry the clothes in wet weather. Use a home-made solar hot water heater for bathing in. Use the wood cooker for meal preparation more. Get the garden producing more. Come up with monthly meal plans and then perhaps 3 monthly if possible.
I hope we don't need any clothes as we have enough but I thought I'd budget in from my fav op shop.
I hope we will save in the dental area, the little ones can go to the hospital clinic for free. Depending on the asthma the pharmacy might not be $5 a week. Here's hoping littlest has better health but starting school probably means lots of colds that then means asthma :o( Poor little dot.
I don't imagine we will need the proposed school budget either. It should be half but I don't know what excursions there will be.
If this amazing rain keeps up we won't need to pump much water so that could also be a $260 a year saving ;o)

So we are fingers crossed we can do life 2011 a bit cheaper, but you never know what is going to pop up.

I hope to sew more and use up my fabric stash, Pooh hopes to garden more. i will try to come up with regular family fun that doesn't cost much.

Vietnamese mint and regular mint for tea and cooking.

Goodness no posts for ages!

I'm sorry there hasn't been any updates for ages! You know how it is, the end of year and lots of loose ends to be tidied and parties to attend :o)

Great news on Mum, she is home and recovering slowly. She is walking and slowly talking. How happy she must be to sleep in her own bed! Dad is very happy to have his wife back too :o)

Here is the kindergarten end of year performance. All those little cuties. I have to say our little guy had the most wonderful teacher this year, the woman is a saint! Thank you for your input into his impressionable life :o)

I have to show off a gift a girl friend made me, I don't know how she finds the time, she is the busiest person I know. How clever is this.

I made a cute little card holder for my girls friends, you know those store cards, ones that get punched etc

Next year I hope to spend a lot more time sewing, I really miss it. We have exciting savings plans for next year but I'll keep the gory details for it's own post.

I've been to the best op shop ever, Here is my $2 outfit, skirt, under top, over top and knitted jacket/cardigan.

And for Tan who wanted to see the full dress, ta da...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Year 10 formal

Doesn't she look gorgeous :o)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tea towel Apron

I got the idea for this cute and easy apron from  Waldorf craft book. I've forgotten which one. These are so nice as gifts and include a home-made cook book for little people. They wash and wear wonderfully.

Fold corners of a tea towel and pin as shown

Close  up of the pinning, when sewing leave a casting on the outer edge to  thread cord through

Sewn and soft cord threaded through.

One cute 4yr old modelling above apron. It covers them so well, it gathers around the arms.

Dried Mushrooms

We have a zillion mushrooms again so we have resorted to drying them. Here's about 6 kg fresh in dried form, about 350gm! The little ones are eating them like that. Ick! LOL

Running a drier is really inexpensive and a brilliant way to preserve food.

Friday, November 5, 2010

18th with Blacksmithing family.

Our son is blessed to have the most wonderful group of people in his Blacksmithing class. It's the end of their 3rd year and celebrating DS's 18th birthday. They are absolutely tops.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Do!

What do you think? It's a bit different, think of the shampoo I'll save! I decided I couldn't live with the grey just yet!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Single serve casseroles.

We have one child with allergies. It's a pest as most meals I make have tomato or potato in it. So I have started to plan ahead and have a friendly meal in the freezer for him. I found the most adorable little casserole pot and as luck would have it, the texas sized muffin tins are a perfect fit. So here's the first serve. In the freezer and waiting to get dumped into a freezer bag and then I'll refill with another casserole. I could reheat in the microwave but I don't like them, so the tiny casserole dish is perfect.
Chicken Casserole
This would be such an easy way to prepare meals for a single person. I know if I was just feeding myself I'd be lazy and tempted to have toast or something. This could be the answer :O) 

One less supermarket item.

For some strange reason I had not made peanut butter. I have made jams, pickles, jellies etc and always knew how to make peanut butter but never actually did it!

Peanuts, shamelessly I chose roasted and salted and a small amount of oil, I ran out of sunflower and used peanut oil. Say 4 cups to 1 TBS. Whizz in food processor for a few minutes.

It is very cheap too!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

1958 Dresses

Here are Mum's 'going away' and a special honeymoon party dresses. Aren't they gorgeous and still in perfect condition. I've forgotten the name of the lady who sewed them, she was an older lady in Bendigo.

Sorry, it's been a hard week :o(

I've been away all week, my dear mother has had a stroke. She is still in hospital.
Praying for you Mum. Know that God is actively working by His spirit in you each day, you are not forgotten but precious to Him. I do pray that we might have you a bit longer here, basically because we are selfish and love you. We; Dad, Simon and I, Wess and grandchildren want to talk to you and hold your hand a bit longer.

2 Corinthians 4

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 5

Our Heavenly Dwelling
 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It takes time!

This self sufficiency gig is SLOW! It is so easy to read books and think that it can happen quickly but honestly I have to say from our experience life gets in the way!

I just updated a garden bed post that we started back in May. It's now October and there hasn't been a huge advancement, well, really I there has been work but I still can't plant in it. But we had to get it welded, gather rocks, get the pipe etc, it just takes time and money and if you don't have it, which is most normal families, we just have to be patient.

Changing habits takes time. Convincing the rest of the family of a good change takes time! Weaning children from screen time, takes time!

This is our southern orchard, it has been planted for 5 years but we only learnt how to prune properly this year and  finally it looks like we might get more than one or two pieces of fruit.

If you are a normal family with normal time, money and health constraints please be encouraged IT TAKES TIME! For all of us, it's one step at a time.

Retro patterns. Op shop fun!

I had a great find at my favourite op shop last week. I have no idea if I'll get anything made up, so I'll store them as little package of future hope ;o)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The man is on a roll! Scarf Display and Holder

On top of fly screens (post below), Pooh has cleaned off the most gorgeous old ladder, I think it was his grandfathers (just over 100 years old) for me to hang my scarves and wraps on. How delicious is this! Handy too, I forget what I have when they are in a drawer.

I should add I've got a talented family, the painting was by Mum, it's the church of St John the Baptist, 1846 in Tasmania and the candle holder was via blacksmithing son, also the blacksmithed shelf holder and eldest son thicknessed and shaped the timber shelf.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I've married a genius! Fly screens at last!

We moved into our home 8 years ago and it was a dump. It was a garage with very few windows and dearest Pooh has slaved away with his bodgy eye and made me an Eden! Today after many summers of mosquitos he made fly screens! I'm stoked and can now have the window open into the evenings (Well I hope I can, yet to be tested I suppose!)

This wall was brick, no window at all. He cut the brick, put in a lintel, made the chunky timber surrounds out of a fallen tree on the property and added recycled windows we pulled out of an old house about to be demolished. Today he came up with sliding fly screens!

Anti bacterial wipes -homemade

When I'm out at the shops or else where and we are having lunch, whether bought or brought, I like to use wipes for our hands before eating. I used to buy them but it added up even though they are a few dollars, so here's a homemade job. If I can't take a bottle, I can just damped a cloth and put it in a ziplock bag :o) 

Anti bacterial wipes: 

100ml white vinegar 
20 drops lavender 
20 drops eucalyptus oil 
10 drops tea tree oil 
Blend and store in spray bottle with some cloth squares (or paper towel if throwing away) Ziplock bags to carry cloths or dirties to wash at home.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Patchwork project

I have an old sleeping bag, I do think it's from the 70's although the colours aren't too bad and I'm going to give it a new lease on life. I've decided to 'patchwork quilt' it and I've borrowed a friends book, "90 minutes quilts" by Meryl Ann Butler. She has this groovy technique that you quilt as you go. I'll add photos as I go.
Here's the old bag elegantly dropped on the floor so you can see both the colours, however the phone has fibbed, it's yellow and blue:

I'm looking forward to choosing the fabrics from my bits and pieces :o)


Cable stitch!

A thread about coffee cosies got me wondering if I could cable stitch! Here's my efforts.
Sorry the pic is on the phone as eldest kiddos took the camera to Tassie!

I found video jug to be very helpful:

Now guess what the children's teachers are getting for Christmas, a coffee cup cosie, how did you guess?! LOL

Big kids Tasmanian Trip

The big children have saved their pennies and having a ball in Tassie!
Here's the oldest bridge in Australia It's found in Richmond.
Here's their mode of transport
I'm proud that they saved their money from their junk mail run and are now having a lovely time, snow and all!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wild winds on the South Coast

That was the chook house

One of the many up rooted trees

The garage

A bit of the drive way, trees all the way down. It took 4 hours to clear.

It's funny but it doesn't look too bad in the photos. It has been really full on, there is leaf and limb litter every where, it will take weeks to clear up and months to get all the piles burnt. All the fences need fixing, trees removed and wires redone.
However, we were all safe so what more could we want!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home Schooling Resources

I'm trying to put together a curriculum and my friend Crystal shared her fav sites from her blog so I looked at each and added my own favs and here's the list that I liked.
Fonts for Kids! (this is the cached version at
Sonlight- Has great reading suggestions!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jam melon and ginger jam

Inspired by eldest efforts, I have 1kg of jam melon, 300g ginger and 1kg sugar sitting overnight waiting to be jam tomorrow :o) I hope it is as successful as Eldests!

The inside of a jam melon.
Here's it all chopped up with sugar.

I kept the seeds of course! Next years jam melons :o)

I've got this large so you can see the moisture that is formed from leaving it over night.

Bring to boil for 10 mins and wait for fruit to go clear-ish then add juice of 6 lemons and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Boil 10 mins until it sets on a saucer in the fridge. I decided to put the bamix (stick blender) through it too puree it a bit, I thought it was a tad chunky, I thought it would break up more. Bottle. This made 4 250ml jars. and here they are.. TA DAAA!

Tangello & Lemon marmalade

Eldest chopped up 24 tangellos and 8 lemons and soaked them over nigh in 7 1/2 litres.
Next day 6 kg of sugar, 2 sachets jam setter and it turned into 31 jars of marmalade! Clever boy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Post 5 from the challenge: Cleaning, all home made, cheap as!

I've posted about cleaning before but like all things your habits change over time. Currently I use hot water and tea tree for mopping the floor. I use Window/mirror cleaner and multipurpose cleaner from this thread:

I use Planet Ark sensitive for our clothes washing which is bout $7 a box. I use 1TBS and that gives me 1000 washes.

For the dishwasher I use Aldi Tundra which is $2 or $3 I can't recall exactly. I use 1 tsp.

This thread has the idea of printing out the recipes so anyone in the family can make them :o)

I must confess piles of paper are my down fall. I think the problem is just not making the time to deal with the papers in the first place, instead I pile them up and nearly weep at the size of it! LOL I have developed a few systems, like folders for specific things. This works brilliantly when I use it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Post 4 from the challenge: Clothing

Well, I said de-cluttered and barest minimums and I have to say this isn't anyways the case! We are very blessed to receive 'hand-me-acrosses' and I go to the awesome op shop ever. So our clothing does wax and wain, however I try to keep to minimums.

For me, wife, mother and secret hippie I think I need:

2 pairs Jeans                                                                few shirts 
2 pairs of snazzy pants                                               few dresses
2 pairs of trackie pants

6 tee shirts                                                                    4 jumpers 
6 singlet tops                                                                2 vests
4 shirts

1 runners                                                                       1 slip on shoes 
1 sandals                                                                       1 buckle up shoes
1 boots                                                                          1 thongs

7 undies, 3 bras, 7 socks  (all black and identical) Spencer and long johns, 3 pj's and 1 dressing gown                                                                various scarves

I find it a bit difficult to restrict clothing as it depends on how I feel! I can't look like I've crawled out of woodstock and go to church. I can't go sensible all the time because it's not creative enough :o-  One day balance will come... or not!

The little children
7 undies, 7 socks (always less because they disappear!) few singlets

4 pairs on long pants
4 shorts
7 tee shirts
4 long sleeve shirts
2 church shirts
4 jumpers -2 knitted and 2 fleece
1 vest
1 jacket
3 seasonal pj's +1 dressing gown

summer hat and beanie

That's about it. If you have too many clothes you have too much to look after and you don't wear it all, it is a pain. Keep clothes washed and repaired. It helps if you can, and sometimes you don't have a chose but try to stick to plain pants and patterned tops. Don't do checked pants and patterned tops for example. Everything plain makes it easier but most things, especially for boys have printed things on them.