Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Saving money

Being a single Mum and paying a morgage and keeping it all together has been such a learning task for me. 95% of our clothes we buy at the opp shop and we have some lovely clothes. The other day at work a lady said to me I love your handbag, I said I bought it at the opp shop for $6.00 she said "oh my god we were allways told as kids dont go in there they are for the unfortunate people with this look of horror on her face, I then said" well I buy all my clothes from there and the kids" she couldnt believe it ,she said "gee I would of never known that I might go there which one do you go to" lol . I cant believe some people still think like that as though they have a stigma about them. You can find beautiful items in there.

Onto shopping , bake your own biscuits, make your own laundry liquid. and cleaners,
In your weekly shopping how many items would you buy that you dont need, like packet biscuits, chocolate, cakes. packet mixes. If you can knock 20.00 worth of stuff out of your trolley thats $1000.00 a year and thats $83.33 a month. If you put that on your home loan, say your loan is $155,000 and the term is 30 years at 7% putting that extra 20.00 a week on it saves you $51,750.27 in interest and you pay your loan of 6 years earlier hmmmm thats a lot of money for the sake of baking a few items a week.
I wonder if they teach that to the kids at school.

Monday, 28 November 2011


My chickens free range my backyard at the moment, I am hoping to enclose them in a area sometime next year. Of course they have a shed and nests, but on nice nights they refuse to go back to there pen and like to perch around the yard. I have 3 silkies and 3 Black utility Austalorps at the moment, I am a bit unsure of the sexes of the Australorps as yet as these were my eggs that I had mail ordered.
Around the yard there are several spots where they like to dust bath. My silkie girls are so friendly they come running to me every time I appear in the yard and crouch down for their pat. The dogs and the cat dont worry them the only thing that will chase them is my rabbit (strange). I love having chooks, they are so entertaining to watch, they make the best pets, they supply us in eggs. Their droppings make great garden fertilizer , they eat our scraps, nothing is wasted. They scratch around in the garden, ever since I have had them the soil looks so healthy and alive and rich with worms. Busy little girls they are

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Funday Sunday

It comes once a year and the kids look forward to it all 3 of them, my eldest has been going for 19 years.
Family funday and thats exactly what it is.
All the food you can eat, all the rides you can stomach, my two youngest ride until stumps, and christmas presents from Santa.
My favourite is allways the animal nursery.
What a great way to celebrate working all year with family having lots of fun together.

We also spent the morning together watching my son do his karate grading. Dad was so impressed watching how hard they worked. I love watching the gradings as the endurance is fantastic. I think it is important as a family we support each other in what we do. Im hoping the next grading we can all watch together also. Im sure my Mum would be proud of her family.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chocolate brownies

Friday night used to be take out night, now its baking night.
We never buy packet mixes or bought biscuits, we prefer to make our biscuits and cakes.
When we bake its usually never one thing, we fill the oven , Friday night just gone was 2 batches of Indias brownies, 2 orange cakes (we froze one) and a jelly slice and golf balls, hmmm that should get us through the weekend ( although we do have extra house guests).
Im sure India makes brownies every week and its usually after I have the kitchen spotless.

125g butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 teasp vanilla
1/4 teasp salt
 1 cup plain flour
1 teasp baking powder
1 cup white choc bits

Melt the butter
Stir in sugar, cocoa,vanilla and salt
Quickly whisk in eggs
Fold through sifted flour and baking powder
mix in choc bits
spoon intp greased lined slab tin
bake at 170 for 25- 30 minutes

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Christmas is coming

Its that time of year again , and its come around so quickly the diary is full of events leading up until christmas.
I have plenty of home made soaps that will be given in christmas hampers, Christmas baking will start soon, a lot of things will be home made this year as we have quite a few bills after a hectic few months.
Im not quite sure yet as what we will all be doing on christmas day, but in another week Im hoping to have that all organized.
India and I made chocolate houses for the christmas table.
I have just had 13 bales of pea straw delivered so I will also be busy gardening.
Im hoping to get back into writing some blogs as I have been lazy of late after losing my Mum I couldnt quite get back into the swing of things.
Im lucky that I have such a lovely family and good friends, who I love spending time with. Dad and I go for great drives to country towns opp shopping he makes me laugh so much our drives are one of my favourite things at the moment.

My children all three are just so special it was my eldest daughters birthday this weekend and she came from Melbourne and spent the weekend and brought a special house guest which entertained the children all weekend (her pet parrot}. I must say we certainly ate lots of food between Dads famous lasagna which we all love, then his chicken wings are to die for, bbqs, banana pancakes. I was glad for a rest during the week from all this food, oh and I forgot Indias apple crumble which is also the best I have tasted.

 Banana pancake recipe
I dont measure anything
make a batch of pancakes or crepes.
 Then cut up bananas
Put abt tablespoon of butter in frypan add 2 tablspoons brown sugar then some orange juice to make a syrup , add cut up bananas, then simmer away then add some cream to make it into a caramely sauce, then add to pancakes dollop of cream and its extremely yummy.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Here comes the Sun in memory of my Mum

Phyllis Duvall born 19 March 1940 passed away 13 October 2011.
So many beautiful memories
After battling Cortico Basal Ganglionic degeneration since 2006 and the last 2 years being the most difficult. It was hard to remember the good times as we watched you suffer helplessly each day and not to be able to communicate in those last months. You could hear us your eyes followed us some days and somedays you just slept. As the disease took hold leaving you unable to even swallow. The morning you left us I felt your presence more than ever after feeling scared and afraid for weeks, the moment you stopped breathing there was peace in your room and all those good times I could feel again, I felt your strength and knew you were now around me. I felt you in the things you loved, in my home and in my garden everything is blooming and it reminds me of you. Dad and I go for drives and you are there with those wonderful memories.  I said before you went I dont know how I will cope and Dad said we will all cope together, and we will, you are in all our hearts Dads, mine, Teneales, India and Tylers, we have all had signs that you are near, free from your suffering. Peace at last xxx

Friday, 7 October 2011

Laundry Liquid

I wont be buying laundry liquid again this is fantastic and so cheap to make, what a savings.

1 cup grated soap { I used Lux}
1/2 cup washing soda {powder not crystals}
1/2 cup borax

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan with 1 and 1/2 litres of water.
Heat stir and dissolve

Get a bucket that holds 10 litres.
Measure in 8 litres of water.
Add hot soapy mixture and stir.
Fragrance can be added { I added essential oil}
I saved my old 2 litre milk cartons and have stored liquid in these. Make sure you dont fill to the top as mixture will seperate and needs to be shaken before use.
Use half a cup to each wash its fantastic.

It works out to $1.75 for 10 litres of laundry liquid, cant really beat that

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Home made cough mixture

I must say I havnt had a cold in many years but my children have and my daughter seems to allways get a nasty cough which is very hard to shake, this year I made my own cough remedy and I must say her cough was no where near as bad as it usually gets and cleared quite quickly.
Here is the recipe
1/4 teasp cayene pepper
1/4 teasp ground ginger
1 tablsp honey
1 tablsp apple cider vinegar
2 tablsp water
Mix and take by the teaspoon

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Opp shopping

Opp shopping has allways been a part of my weekly routine, since I have a low income and increasing bills, which seem to be insane at the moment.
My two youngest children and myself 80% of our clothes are from the opp shop. I dont like to pay above $10.00 for an item of clothing and if I do it has to be pretty special as the budget just does not allow for it.
What is annoying me so much lately is the prices in the opp shops, these places are supposed to be for people with low incomes , the goods are donated the workers are volunteers I know the money they make goes to helping people and charitys but honestly the system is a disgrace. This morning I visited the Salvos and St Vinnies well the prices were insane I looked at a dress it was $70.00 then another it was $30.00 everything I picked up was well over $10.00. If I went to Kmart the clothes are cheaper there but everything is made in China. So what choices do the they give the consumers ... to buy imported stuff  make everything overseas as its so cheap to buy, let our countrys unemployment skyrocket. Let alone the quality standards are a lot different to ours especially with food.
How do the low income earners clothe their family when charity shops have their prices so high , why such high prices its all donated . We buy from the salvos so they can give money to families who cant afford food because they have spent all their money on drugs and alcohol and gambling ....yep not bad.
Its cheaper to buy from China keep the unemployment situation rising, look at Coles they import rip of chocolate bars and Dove from China its cheaper and consumers buy all this rubbish as its cheaper.
I have nothing against China they are lovely people but they could just supply themselves. Imports should be banned we should be able to make our own food and clothing.
Bit of the track with opp shops now, but its all about being green, there are still some nice little church opp shops who keep their prices down who are genuine who do help the community. So next time we have a closet clean out and want to donate think twice about where you donate your stuff to.
On the note of stuff there is a web page which is very interesting
We are such a wasteful society, this web site should be shown every year at school, it actually should be a subject in schools.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Home cooking

Ok Im still using the lemons, after a morning at soccer and home to clean all the hutches, we decided to use up some more of these yummy lemons.
India made a easy lemon slice
Lemon slice
225g morning coffee biscuits
1x 375g tin condensed milk
1 cup of coconut
1/2 cup lemon juice
Place a layer of biscuits in slice tray.
Mix together condensed milk and coconut and lemon juice
Pour mixture on top of biscuits
Add another layer of biscuits on top
Then ice with lemon icing
Refridgerate before serving.

Very easy lemon butter
4 eggs
1 yolk extra
3/4 cup castor sugar
3 large lemons approx 3/4 cup lemon juice
125g butter
Whisk eggs, extra yolk and sugar together in mixing bowl.
Whisk in lemn juice
Add chopped butter
Micro on high 3-5 mins whisk every minute
It is ready when curd comes to boil
Spoon into steralized jars.
Seal keeps in fridge for 2 weeks.

That was a few more lemons consumed and the skins went onto the compost heap.

Also we made a lovely moist orange cake
155g butter
2 teasp grated orange rind
2/3 cup castor sugar
3 eggs
1 and 1/4 cup SR flour
1/4 cup milk
Grease a deep round cake pan line with paper.
Combine all ingredients in large bowl, beat for 3 minutes, place into pan
Bake in moderate oven for about 45 minutes.

I must add my recipe for sausage rolls as I have used this for many years and have had a lot of comments on them , even my father who slings of at my cooking all the time loves them{ he was a chef}.
I dont ever weigh anything so just add ingredients to taste its approximate amounts.
500 g sausage mince
1 onion chopped
few dashes worstershire sauce
few dashes tomatoe sauce
some breadcrumbs
teasp chicken stock
1/2 teasp curry powder
grated carrot
teasp minced garlic.
mix all together place in some puff pastry I buy the sheets must try making my own soon.
bake in moderate oven.
Very flavoursome.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Never enough time in the day

What a busy week, I really have to many things I want to do and going to work isnt one of them but it pays the bills and it was 3 afternoon shifts this week.
The first morning before work I made another batch of soap , cinnamon and orange, olive oil and coconut oil, it smells divine.
My intitial plan was to make soap for myself and my family and to give as gifts, now I have a few people wanting to buy it of me, and my first batch isnt even ready as I cure it for 8 weeks. So I better get cracking and make some more.
Just an interesting note on soap, mass produced soap generally has the natural glycerin removed and so lacks this natural moisturizer which cold processed soap retains.
Many commercial soap bars are composed either partially or totally of synthetic detergents.
Dove a leading complexion bar is reported to be roughly 26% stearic acid and 55% synthetic detergent.

The second day was a quick trip to opp shop as I scored this unit for $60.00 on ebay what a bargain I have been needing one for ages and refuse to buy one new.
The three teacups and sauces I scored in the opp shop for $3.00 the lot.
My son decides to display his captain underpants novels here as well [ oh great] I bought this shelf for his display, next it will be covered in star wars figures.

Today was a busy one with a morning at school with two classrooms of show and tell with guinea pig and her babies. She is my favourite guinea pig,pure white shelty  just adorable especially with little clip in her hair , I think Im the only nut in this house as when I got to school Indi said "take that out".

My Dad gave me some beautiful lemons and I cant see anything go to waste so tonight was roast chicken marinated in lemon and garlic stuffed with a lemon and herb stuffing. Friday nights used to be take away night but I would much prefer home cooked food and kids have no compaints and thats the way I like it.

This weekend will be lemon slice and lemon cake and anything else lemon I conjure up.
I just cant resist bringing flowers inside, especially daffodils they are so bright and cheery, my daphne plant never has flowers left on it in the garden as that is one of my favourites ,reminds me of when I was a kid we had a plant right by our front door and remember walking up the path and you could allways smell it, the bush was huge, mine isnt that big ,I wish it was, Mum was such a keen gardener she had the biggest vege garden and grew the most stunning gladiolis she had every colour, Im just starting gladis Ive had them for 2 years and last year I divided up some bulbs so it will be interesting to see how they come up this year.
So many things to do on my list , vege gardening, soap making Im also thinking of having a go at cheese making and make myself some candles. Kids to entertain, if I didnt have to work Im sure I would homeschool them, if I won tattslotto I surely would. Everything is so material in schools this is a link that I think they should watch in schools and really get the kids to think about where things come from


Really interesting viewing.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Learning to adapt

After speaking with my father this morning about rising prices and supermarket shopping we came to the conclusion that having not much money has certainly taught us a lot of things.
Once apon a time I worked full time with quite a good salary and I was married so there were two incomes , Dad reminded me that when he used to come shopping with me he thought I was crazy, I never looked at the prices of anything i just bought what I liked, and paid stupid amounts for clothing ,never questioned bills.
Now Im a addicted opp shopper, I will never pay more than $20.00 for an item of clothing usually it has to be under $10.00, and that includes the kids and if I see bargains for my father or somthing I could give as a gift or sell on ebay I buy it.
My groceries would be $80.00 at the most per week. I make all biscuits and cakes and try to refrain from packet mixes.
I dont buy commercial cleaners I use vinegar, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and a drop of dish wash liquid. I have just found a recipe for laundry liquid, and am making home made soap and also in the process of working on a shampoo bar.
I work part time and that money is to pay morgage and bills.
We go to library to borrow books its a great resource.
The animals keep themselves in food from the sale of their young, they also provide great compost for my vege garden and keep us in eggs.
I have gone all this winter with out using the dryer ..yay.
Im allways looking of ways to save money as somthing allways crops up and hits me with a big bill, currently my electric hot water service is on its way out, so Im looking into the cheapest way out of that, think I may go solar gas boosted, so need to knuckle down the next couple of weeks and scrimp and save for that. Years ago i could of just gone and bought one but it isnt that easy on one wage. So hence clean out wardrobes and sell of things that are no longer needed.
Everything I buy thats usually how its done, I will be saving for some water tanks also for the garden so the next couple of months will be saving and selling.
I have just changed my energy provider so hopefully will save some dollars there.
I think Im pretty happy not having much money I get quite excited when i find a bargain and think if I had plenty of money I probably wouldnt care so much, so I think not having much teaches us to learn to appreciate things more, Im hoping my kids eventually think the same way.
I know some people at work say to me when Im reading my soap making books or growing vege books. " why bother" I think to myself I enjoy it a lot, Im very satisfyed. I dont need to waste money on cigarettes and alcohol or pokie machines. I probably have more than some people who earn 3 times as much as me all because I choose this lifestyle , I choose to work part time, I could work full time but I want that time with my kids and to do the things I enjoy. Im working on becoming more self sufficent its not the lifestyle that everyone likes , but I like it .
This year it will be 10 years of living on my own and I think Ive kept it together pretty well, its been very slow getting things done.But things are coming along slowly.
Dad said today even if he had money he wouldnt change the way he spends it and neither would I.

Friday, 5 August 2011


After doing a soapmaking workshop a couple of months ago and getting quite excited about making my own soap finally I made some time to give it a go. Im not sure that after working an afternoon shift then coming home at 10pm then starting on this new task was such a good idea.
Anyway my recipe was for
450ml rainwater ( if you dont have this use tap water and leave sit on bench over night)
172 grams caustic soda
1000 grams olive oil
250 grams coconut oil.
Making soap you need to be very organized with ingredients and make sure you have all the safety equipment like rubber gloves, safety glasses and old clothes and some white vinegar on hand just in case you spill caustic soda on your self.
Use only stainless steel pots and spoons. I used a wooden chopstick for stirring caustic soda and mixed it up in a glass jar.
I lined all the bench with newspaper
Make sure you have accurate scales.
I measure out the olive and coconut oil and heated in a stainless steel pot.
Then I measured the water and added the caustic soda to the water, never ever add water to the soda.
Stirring this until caustic soda was dissolved, this becomes quite hot. Make sure there are no kids or pets around.
The oils have to heat to 50 degrees and the lye has to cool to 50 degrees, so make sure you have  a thermometre this is very important.
Once the oils and lye were at the same temperature I added the lye slowly to the pot of oils and stirred until it started to thicken, then I used a stick blender to bring the mixture to trace, which looks a bit like custard, this is the time you can add your essential oils I used peppermint and ylang ylang.
The spooned the mixture into silicon moulds or old cardboard milk cartons.
Leave this mixture 24 hours then remove from moulds and cut . The leave for 6 weeks before using.
Store in linen cupboard or somewhere out of reach.
Clean up was quite easy I used old rags and wiped out everything and sat in an old bucket in laundry for a day and then put in the washing machine.

Im looking forward to making another batch now using another recipe.
Also I have a great recipe for laundry liquid which I will try next.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Finally they hatched

After my black silkie went broody and not having a rooster, I purchased some fertilized eggs, after placing them carefully under her I marked in my diary 21 days and exactly to that date the first chick appeared. I kept picking up eggs listening if I could hear pecking and very faintly yes I did , I thought I was imagining things first and then I could hear cheeping inside the egg , I never knew that i would be able to hear the little chick but yes definately a day before hatching i could hear cheeping , thats when the kids started to get excited.
Unfortunately the first egg I found out of nest with dead chicken laying beside it, dont know what happened if it were ducks or another chicken or cat but I decided to lock the pen with the 2 broody silkies one on chicken eggs and the other on duck eggs.

Later that day went down to find another hatched and all ok, at the moment 3 have hatched and Im waiting on another 2 hopefully all goes well, the kids are so excited and have been in and out the chook pen but I think I have been in there more than them , Im lucky the silkies are friendly and dont mind the attention as we have been lifting them on and off so we can peek and now when we go in the little chicks pop out and come to us, they are just adorable

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Selling bits and pieces

This winter weather makes it hard to get outside and do the things that need to be done in the yard.
So today I have decided to trial an Ebay shop for 2 months selling bits and pieces from around the house, and little treasures that I find in my opp shopping travels. Not sure if its going to be worth it but will give it a couple of months, gives me an excuse to have a clean up as I do tend to hoard a few things, over the last few years Ive picked up some vintage clothing and bits and pieces that I was going to have a stall at a local market but never got around to it.
Im really anti big companies at the moment and imported goods from China, everything I pick up seems to be imported ,what gets me is designer or different labels like sportsgirl, witchery and Target and really most clothing shops with a huge difference in prices all their stuff is from the one place .... China.
Me I prefer the opp shop I would prefer to buy second hand and leave out all the large greedy companies.
So my ebay store will be about re-use and recycle.
This is the link to my store if anyone would like to take a browse, Ive only opened it today but I plan on hunting around for some bargains to forward on.
Eventually even get some hand made things on there as my daughter and I make hair clips. In the past I have made jewellery out of vintage bits and pieces so when I find some extra time shall even give that a go, never know what will be on there.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Guinea pigs and rabbits

Being a animal lover and trying to become more sustainable nothing much goes to waste in our house.
At the moment we have two litters of baby guinea pigs and they are just so adorable. Apart from being a cute little pet the litter from their cages is great for the vege garden.

Our first litter the poor Mummy was huge and she gave birth to 5 little pigs unfortunately 2 were born dead but the other three have thrived. I was quite worried about the mothers as this was their first litter and they were over 12 months old and after reading a few books they are supposed to have their first litter under 12 months as their pelvic bones can fuse and just read a lot of stories of them not surviving. But both mothers delivered 3 successfully and are lovely little Mothers.

Next on the agenda is our bunnies which we will mate next month. We have 3 beautiful mini lop rabbits, Jett our black buck who is just beautiful with a great personality and Indira a sooty fawn doe and Peaches a blue fawn doe.

Also due to have a litter is a beautiful little white long haired guinea pig. In the picture is her and her mate , he is the father to all the little guinea pigs

Sunday, 17 July 2011

What do you do on a rainy Sunday.

Well you can brave the cold and go to the local market and freeze just to buy some cheap fruit trees for your garden. In my aim to be more self sufficient I now have nectarine, cherry, apple, apricot, lemon, 2 olives and a almond and still going to add more.
That was enough of outdoors for me today so in I went to make home made pasties and two date loaves which are the best date loaves I have had.

India also made some chocolate cupcakes for this weeks school lunches but I dont think to many will make it into lunch boxes.

                 Date loaf

1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablsp butter
1 teasp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
3/4 cup SR flour
3/4 cup plain flour

Place dates, sugar, butter and baking soda in a bowl and pour over boiling water mix well and let cool.
Add egg.
Sift dry ingredients add gradually, mix well, pour into greased and floured bar tin
Bake in moderate oven for 40 minutes
Suitable to freeze.

500 grams mince
3 grated carrots
5 grated potatoes
1 grated onion
salt , pepper 1 egg
mix well.
3 sheets puff pastry.
Place mixture on sheets fold then bake

Chocolate cupcakes
100g butter
2/3 cup castor sugar
1 teasp vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 cup SR flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teasp bi carb
1/2 cup milk

preheat oven 180
Cream butter and sugar add vanilla gradually add eggs mix well
Sift flour cocoa,bicarb. Add to creamed mixture with milk, stir until combined
Spon 1/3 cup into patty pans and bake 15- 20 minutes

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Look what we found today in the garden

Finally a day with no rain, after a morning of soccer it was time to spend some time outside, kids playing on trampolene and playing with rabbits, me cleaning spouts and planting more veges, the rabbits having a free range around the backyard. My silkie still sitting on her eggs.

I thought I would check out a garden that my ducks like to frequent and make a bit of noise while they are there and what did I find but 7 lovely eggs, Since I have a male and a female duck and Im unsure how long eggs have been there and the ducks wernt sitting on them Ive decided to place them under my other silkie to see if they may hatch. I will now keep a close eye on ducks to see where they lay and use the next eggs in baking.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Those are my eggs.....

My beautiful black silkie has gone broody, since I live in town and Im unable to keep a rooster I puchased 6 fertilized eggs online, they arrived in the mail nice and safe and have been under her a week now.
Today is the first day I seen her get off to get somthing to eat but not long after leaving the nest to grab a bite to eat, my other silkie jumped on the nest and claimed the eggs for herself and would not budge, much to my black silkies disgust as she pecked at her and stood on her and tried to squeeze into the nest. So after watching for a while I decided to make a nest next to her and lifted her off the eggs and popped the black silkie back on her nest. Im going to have to keep a close eye on these eggs I think.
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