Friday, December 31, 2010

Pantry Poopers....

Always read the label...

Dinner last night was delicious, however in trying to add variety to the diet I used a packet of noodle chips as the base for the Butter Pork curry instead of rice. Both Husband and SmallBoy had not been impressed and eaten everything but the noodles saying they tasted funny. Having no sense of taste thanks to this stoopid cold/flu lurgy ~ I ate on with gusto.

Bad move... at least I can't complain about being 'bogged up' for quite some time! OK ~ not going to go into too much information, but I didn't think dried noodles could go 'off'. This packet did have a 'best before' date (as I discovered sometime around 630am when getting water after the third visit to the loo) and I should have looked before hand. It's not a good idea to go with something with a best before 2006 when it is 2010. Unless it is wine. Wine from 2006 is particularly good now it is 2010! *grins*

Today Husband mowed while I got more clothes sorted. Boy oh boy ~ how many clothes does a family need?? Not as many as we have ~ that is for sure!!  There are three sets to the sorting ~ things we are wearing, clothes to store for winter and stuff that can be sold either on eBay or at the garage sale for $1. Lots of $1s will make for at least $500 - the school uniforms SmallBoy has outgrown should account for $20 or so ~ goodness we are hoarders. No ~ goodness we were hoarders. No more ~ it all must go!!

Low Spend / No Spend 2011

We are all in to keep costs down as low as possible. Anything found for less than the budgeted amount will continue to go on the credit card first. It's a killer. SmallBoy has asked if his pocket money of $10 per week can be given as $5 in the hand and $5 in the bank. As we have been able to spend less each fortnight than our income, we feel if he does his chores and helps out around the garden then he should receive pocket money each Sunday. It was brilliant he wants to get savings together and his 'online' bank account is set up waiting for the first payment on Sunday. Just the clean up in his bedroom this week is worth the reward/pay ~ plus he has been emptying the dishwasher and helping with the chooks without quibble or delay.

There are so many areas we plan to lower our spending to increase the payment amounts going on bills, the credit card and the mortgage. It seems Wednesday is a bit of an illogical day to try and do the budget wrap up - especially as we receive income on Fridays and set the menu and budget for the fortnight over the weekend. So updates on the financials will be over the weekend, in readiness for reading bright and early on Mondays. This should make it less of a chore and more of a weekly review of our successes!

Earlier in the blog we set some ideals we hope to maintain. You can see those plans in the 'Notable Posts' section in the first post. This was more in the work in progress stage and as the months have progressed these are taking place or getting sorted. Other areas we are making 'the norm' for the next 12 months include: 
  • Menu plan based on what needs using and specials 
  • Bake each week to avoid the need to buy snack foods 
  • Buy specials, meat and grains in bulk 
  • No clothes or shoes unless from op shop 
  • Freeze leftover vegies so they don't go off in the fridge 
  • Set a 'birthday' present budget 
  • No new appliances ~ source through Freecycle if required
  • Plan car trips to limit quick shops/stops ~ walk to the supermarkets
  • Heating/cooling on extreme weather days (rug up or strip down as required)
  • Be eating 3 meals from our garden by end Jan
  • No shop takeaways 
  • Use up all the half bottles of this n that
  • Home made cleaning products only 
  • No books/magazines - hello library

With the pantry opened up and laundry cupboard empty, there will be plenty of places we can organise and store things that can be used up before we need to either buy or move to home-made varieties. Yes ~ if it is food, the date will be checked. If in doubt, it will be thrown out. I never want to feel this lousy again!

On Simple Savings there are lots who are planning a low cost or no spend 2011 ~ one thing we are not doing is buying and storing in advance. Mainly because we don't have the money to do so but also because it feels a little like false economising. If we had a spare $300 to spend in preparation it would go on meat, the garden or a dumper bin. As we don't ~ well, it ain't gonna happen *grins*

Enough for tonight ~ feeling drained in all senses of the word *pun*
The support through comments here on the blog and FaceBook, especially these last few weeks, has blown us away. I don't think we can thank everyone enough for the cheers! Hope you continue to join us on our journey.  Next year (hehehe - as in Saturday, tomorrow...) Mands on a Mission is going to have its first competition. More about that later.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why wait for the new year?

Helping with the weeding... 
Busy little bees today...

The washing was up on the line at the crack of dawn (well, before 9am ~ it is the holidays still!) and the first known expense has been identified. We need new pegs. Urgg ~ how I hate spiders and the ones remaining on the washing line were full of them!!

While the boys slept in ~ a leisurely breakfast of muesli's was eaten reading the local paper from last week. Bit behind on the news, but not any more!  I didn't realise the Base Hospital volunteers had ended their 40year run ~ I loved seeing those ladies as I went in for tests, to A&R with bunged-up kidlets, to visit friends in the maternity wing. They will be missed!

Today was a day of de-clutter. With the weather finally warming up, Husband and SmallBoy attacked the carport and so much of the rubbish has just gone! At last ~ somewhere to put the items for the garage sale without adding more to the chock-a-block garage. What's more, some of the stuff from the garage can move over to the carport for easy access. Yay!! When it came to the weeding ~ even one of the chickens decided she could be a help! She did a great job.

Most impressive was the tidy up in SmallBoy's bedroom. Having a new doona for his big bed left a lot of single bed sized doonas, blankets and sheets with no home, no place to be other than the floor, chair or under the bed. Why? Not sure ~ laziness and disorganisation mostly. It's good to see these gone from the room and remembering what the carpet looks like.

Yes, I know ~ it's financial update day. Honestly ~ we've not used any money, spent any money, earned any money so the only cash flow has been the incoming of the pension and the outgoing of the bills on direct debit. Don't know if it is balanced, having an ostrich moment because life and the universe is all a little overwhelming at the moment. 

This new year is going to be about spending as little as possible on the necessities and nothing on anything else. Ideally this will mean more can go into the debt than ever before. We hope to start the year off with 'the' garage sale - the second week of January sounds good to me. We'll have SmallBoy's outgrown school uniforms so that should count for $20...

Besides, reading my stars, this is the best way to be going at the moment.

SCORPIO (30 December NZ/Australia) 

With Mercury in retrograde motion in your income sector and with no backup, you can be forgiven for thinking that you're going nowhere fast. In reality Mercury has turned back to help Venus, who lagging behind is now just 9 days ago. Confident that the planet of money is on the way Mercury turns direct today, creating a real mental shift when it comes to your income opportunities. Instead of looking back, you're now looking ahead.

With the screening of the first episode of the documentary House Of Food Obsessives, emotions are a little scrambled. It was great to have so much commentary from friends, strangers even. One of my sisters watched and posted on Husband's FaceBook, noting my funny little ditty. I knew she'd watch and get a buzz. I hope she enjoyed the programme, knowing it was only a snip of almost two months of filming.  Sadly, the rest of my family has made no comment ~ but this might be a good thing. Knowing it was on, I can only guess they decided it was not worth the time to watch or if they did had nothing to say. Again, possibly a good thing. Who knows? I don't *sighs*
If you missed it or are not in the viewing area, you can watch online here:

Food fun
Looking for a pasta machine ~ I've had three of these puppies over the years. Used one but it seems to have disappeared in the last move, plus I lost my mojo and had no desire to do anything fiddly while waiting for my back op, more so after. I won two so re-gifted one and gave another away on FreeCycle. I love FreeCycle.  Here's hoping we can find another because I think I'd like to give it a go again, now I've got some energy back and the strength is increasing each week ~ especially when the warmth gets through to my bones.

Don't need one. However, as we plan to move off the grid in the next two years, I'd like to know if I can use one with the same joy & passion of 4-5 years ago.

Tonight's dinner used up some marked down pork strips from the freezer ~ from $7.36 to $2.49 for 500g ~ half an old cauliflower, the last of the beans and some frozen peas. Somewhere along the past three years a sachet of pre-made butter chicken simmer sauce appeared, so it was added and I tell you ~ delicious. 

That's about it for another day ~ hope you've had a great one.  Off to bed now and should catch up with you all tomorrow. Loving the opportunity and comments. Here's to getting some regular swing going and more people visiting for savings tips, low cost hints and extra help to fill up our spare change jar which we are putting on our debt.

Should mention the spare change jar is looking a little empty so if you've any to spare, please feel free to send it our way *all gratefully accepted* 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A really quick note

For those not on FaceBook, Simple Savings or any other network ~ there is a documentary on SBS tonight which I have a rather substantial involvement.

The House of Food Obsessives ~ or 'Happy House' as I call it on Mands Meanderings ~ starts this evening at 830pm.  Those in Australia will be able to see it ~ not sure about the rest of the world as yet, although I believe it will be viewable on the SBS website from Thursday and will confirm this once known.

That's really all we wanted to share. 
Goodness knows if it is sensationalised, edited out of context or an absolutely brilliant portrayal of the events and learnings as they occurred... We shall all find out together *grins*

Regardless ~ it was a very positive experience for me, certainly has helped in many ways and while very much steered to the overweight, over eaters it is an area I am continuing to explore, develop and follow. 

OK ~ on with the show....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chrimmis ~ over for another year

I am not a Scrooge or a grinch... 

But boy I am glad the 'silly season' is over. Heads up ~ this is not the usual savings, mission, de-cluttering post our Mission features. Not that we went overboard ~ just sticking to the budget, not getting caught up in the sales, not buying into the hype and planning what we needed, wanted and could afford, sourcing the best available within a budget and all that! It just seems that such an uplifting and exciting day ends up in tears and stress for way too many people!!

I enjoy Christmas ~ seriously I do. I love the opportunity to have family together ~ watching little eyes light up with excitement over small, simple items; sharing time and meals; reflecting on the year gone by; seeing those we catch up with spasmodically, sometimes begrudgingly, but catching up all the same with the intention of pleasantries, kindness and merriment. 

I do not like the 'bigger, better, faster' nature of a single day of elaborate presents, over-the-top entertaining, the 'obligation' of being in X place at Y time for the benefit of A, B & C if it means stress, tears and anxiety. For me ~ that is not what Christmas is about, but what it ends up being. There is nothing to celebrate about this type of Christmas. 

This year, Husband received a whizz-bang SLR, digital, modern camera. Before passing judgement, know this gift has been two years in the saving, is not the top-of-the-line model and is the only 'good' camera we have. Until Christmas Day, we have used a little digital 'snap n shoot' bought 6 years ago and the mobile-phone camera programme with the iPhone ~ purchased as a work tool when first released however many years ago that was. 

And it was not given by 'Santa' ~ no way was a fictitious being going to get the credit for providing a gift of such expense. Almost $1000 of camera, $10 a week put away for two years on 'the sly' and ultimately for use by the whole family to record special events, nature's beauty and allow the sharing of images with family and friends ~ no, Santa was not going to be the star on this occasion. *grins* 

Why should he?  After all, Christmas is not about Santa is it? The Summer/Winter Holiday, end of the year, Holiday Season ~ that's the commercial side of it all, the part which seems to have the spot light.  
Of course we know that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, the celebration of his coming into the world and the start of His story. All I am seeing is how 'unfair' it is the shops are closed, that the present wasn't the one that was asked for, that getting together with family is terrible, stressful and full of angst or argument. Then why do it?? 

Now ~ I am not 'religious'. I believe in God, the almighty, maker of heaven & earth. As to who God is ~ I'm sure we all find out in the end.  No offence intended in any way through my word choices however the modern day Christmas is not the celebration of life, love and spirit as much as it is a reason to holiday, party and spend. Personally I think we all can be a little of the God (or Godess) we admire, love and/or follow. After all, you really do need to be able to love yourself ~ don't you. 

I might not be in joyous rapture to receive a clove encrusted orange to place in my 'smalls' drawer as a 'for the sake of it' present ~ I would happy, impressed and grateful to receive one if it has been made with the intention to please and not to antagonise. Regardless of gifts, celebrations and festivities over the Christmas 'season', I still think my Birthday is MY special day - the day my life is celebrated.  No one else gets a gift because it is my birthday... 
Might be something in that. 

Didn't mean for such a 'deep' kind of post ~ I do not understand why Christmas needs to be so stressful when it should be a time to celebrate. If not a religious event, at least celebrate the togetherness of family, friends and/or loved ones. Honestly, who are we trying to impress anyway? Ask MudGuts about the Christmas he received all his high school stuff as his 'big' present ~ it was needed, it was the real deal ~ well worthwhile. Or the one when he received a laptop ~ again, a needed item for school not just because. And ask SmallBoy why he did not get a mobile phone (aside from being 11, not in need of one and not being able to pay for credit at his age) or a 'screen' of some sort.  But he did get a big Lego set along with his socks, jocks and t-shirts!

Might leave it there ~ the last thing I want is a debate or argument about the merits of gifts, celebrations, religions and any other topic that can spring to mind. Oh for a life where less is best, simple is the goal and moderation is the key

Putting a really yummy salad recipe on the FaceBook page (in the notes) ~ it's one of the salads we took down to the family luncheon, with enough leftover for dinner. Vegetarian too ~ so it suits most tables! It will be up on the blog here a little later...

Our Mission is moving along well ~ we've not incurred any additional expenses and been able to add an extra $500 to the credit card while we have some breathing space on the mortgage. All the current bills are up to date, we've almost got the rates total together ready for February's payment date AND we are actually going to have a garage sale in the next few weeks.  It might even need to be two because there is just so much stuff that can go ~ you'll be able to buy 'that' for a dollar is going to be the motto ~ but if we can get a week of good weather, we'll accept walk ins on any day!!

Not a lot of noise around here unless you count coughing, sneezing and nose blowing. We are all being very quiet, as this ensures less ouch on the ol' throats. See ~ it doesn't cost much to give something to everyone you love ~ gave everyone a little dose of my lurgie.  Oddly enough, very few have accepted my offering with joy and glee *chuckles* At least it has allowed everyone to take it slow, rest and enjoy time with each other...

Time to go ~ what a collection of words and waffle.
We really love the feed-back, likes and followers here and on FaceBook.
Really hope we can hear from you soon.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Guess who just popped past??

Ho Ho Ho
Yes ~ Father Christmas (also known as Santa, St Nick and many other alias') has been down our chimney, delivered the goodies and is now heading over to Western Australia for deliveries.  How do we know this?  

Aside from helping him unload a plethora of gifts from that mighty sleigh of his, we were watching his journey using the wonderful Norad Santa Tracker which now used Google Earth (but make sure you use the free app ~ there are some up expecting payment ~ spoilsports!)  Plus we know for sure the roof is going to need some work if we plan to put up solar panels!

Thanks to Father Christmas using the chimney ~ we will not require a sweep out when winter rolls in next year. For such a big bloke, he sure can squeeze down skinny flues!  Can you tell we enjoyed a natter and some Christmas spirit?!!  Oi vie it is late and so not how this year was 'planned'.  Lost a few days with this annoying cough, cold, flu, virus lurgy. Much better now ~ thanks for asking ~ and more thanks to those who sent the much needed 'get well' vibes!

Should get about 6hours sleep before the kids decide to wake us up and start the merriment. Hopefully the Christmas spirits will carry us through *grins* Actually ~ I've only been drinking ginger cordial. Very yummy and helping kick this bug!

My horoscope has had me giggle ~ couldn't be more suitable for this particular time. I am really looking forward to the family all together for lunch ~ who would have thought!:

SCORPIO (24 December US/Canada/UK/Europe - 25 December NZ/Australia) 
Despite the fact that your mind is likely to be on other things and to your horror you can’t seem to take your professional hat off, this is one Christmas that is likely to be very special, with a lot of love, pleasure and joy. That’s because for the first time since 2007 Venus, planet of love is spending Christmas in your sign, reminding you that at the end of the day it’s all about love, listening to your heart and focusing on the things you’re able to celebrate.

Salads are made, ready for the esky. Breakfast is sorted - home made chocolate croissants amongst other yummies. So now Husband and I shall hit the hay and be ready to have a very special and happy day. There are going to be some big smiles when it is daylight and the wrappings start to come off. *grins*

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a joyous day. 
Remembering the non-commercial aspect, show love and care to those who need it ~ and those who don't ~ today is one day we can all be friendly, forgiving, sharing and caring.
Bring out a little of your God (or Goddess) and smile like you mean it.

Love & Light; Power & Might

Friday, December 24, 2010

Way too early...

Christmas is almost wrapped up for 2010

It is too early to be up and alert ~ thankfully I am only one of these things at the moment!! If you need a hint ~ alert is not one of them!

Hence the dribbly nature of this post! If I could work out how to go to the pages using the phone, I'd update the finances. I don't want to turn on the computer because it is too noisy. Gosh technology is amazing. Back to money - spending actually. Knowing we have 'failed' dismally of late (mostly due to the madness of Christmas) this is probably a good thing for the old self-confidence to not try and do an update until the whole thing is sorted ~ sort of?!?

We've got everything for the sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, mothers and fathers for just under $250 ~ and that is no mean feat when there are 22 people who fall under one of those types!! One gift is my family's Kris Kringle which has a $50 cost. This year's theme is home or house (can't remember exactly) and we were $1 over.

We also need to get gifts from the kids to the nanas - these fell within that $250 budget ~ had ball-parked $10 per head and made it. Nothing tacky or too kitch either!! Oh I can't wait to share some of the bargains found, scavenged and bought this year.  Personally, the free 67cm colour flat screen TV is the best score - free, functional and fantastic - and going to a very deserving person (well, we think so *grins*)  No No - not us, although it is definitely in the "bigger, better, faster" category!!

Thankfully the sleepies are again creeping in ~ this lurgy is terrible and the coughing has disturbed for too many days. Heck knows how Husband sleeps through.  Funny note - he did 'wake' and say "oh, baby, not fair" but has no recollection of doing so. At least he is not missing out on his beauty sleep.

A little Christmas thought to share to all

Finally, it's Christmas Eve
And the kids are on such highs
Mum & Dad keep smiling
When they hear the happy cries
It's not about the gifts they get
Or what Santa left behind
This year its all about the joy
And enjoying special time
For every year, as they pass
It's less about the presents
As we all grow, we get to know
Christmas is more about our presence

So hug your loved ones
Hold and kiss them true
One day the best gift
Will be the memories from you

✲´(░) ¸.(░)´✫
(¸(░)´ (¸.✲´´¯`•.¸¸.(░)✫
(░)•(░)✲ CняisԷмas کþяɨղƙɭєṡ (░) • ✫
┊ ┊ ❄´´¯`❅.¸¸.(░)✫
❄  by ~Mands 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What? Huh? When did that happen...


This last weekend, actually this whole last week, I have been reminded over and over I am no longer 21. *little sob*  In fact, it is obvious I am no longer anywhere near my 20s. *bigger sob* As for the 30s ~ lets just wipe them off the cards now *has a little cry*

But it was fun trying at the time!! And there may be hope for this old chook...

It felt like it was taking more than THREE FULL DAYS to recover!  Something is terribly wrong with that. I allowed for a day or two, even thought the next morning things were going really well and I had use the right amount of moderation. It had seemed I was wrong.
It would have been a low spend weekend - again it seemed I was wrong - discovering human nature likes to take advantage of those having a party ~ no ~ not us, although we were part of the few who contributed a heck of a lot of cash to cover the abuse of a bar tab set up by the birthday girl for her sisters and brother. People are quite horrid, arent they. *sighs* again...

Had a wonderful weekend of catching up with friends and family ~ the friends 'do' was awesome with the 'free' food, wine and cocktails (mmmm ~ lurve cocktails ~ more so when fweeee!!) which came with a ride home at no cost and the easy laughter and chatter of old friends, ending at the civilised time of about 1230.

My sister's party was great ~ and it was really enjoyable chatting to the family, in-laws, kids and such. Sadly, some friends decided to run up a 'family' tab to the tune of $1000 and, as you would guess, my little sister was distraught and caught short. Thank goodness we had budgeted for a bit of a spend. As seven of us left, hoping for the impossible - to find taxis at 1am in South Yarra/Prahran to get us 'home' - we got to the corner of Punt Road and Commercial Road where an 8-seat taxi bus happened to cut through the petrol station, vacant and happy to take us all. Fluke, karma, whatever - what a relief and score!!

Caught up with MIL on Sunday and headed off home. Monday felt like I had drunk too much still or perhaps eaten something which did not agree with me. Tuesday pretended to feel OK in the morning to do some volunteer work (will tell you about that another day) then faded ~ not quietly either.

Today, still feeling like death warmed up ~ a trip to the doctor was made. Better part of $150 for the appointment AND medication because I have not scrimped on doing a half arsed job on being ill.  I have whooping cough ~ and an ear-nose-throat infection. Add to that a virus in the bronchial AND laryngitis ~ four prescriptions later, and vile tasting stuff at that, still feel like crap but at least I know my lungs will stay in my chest now...

Merry Happy Christmas Holiday time ~ 
Please send only good wishes, healthy thoughts and get well vibes ~ I think these are so much more needed than any coins in the spare change jar this week. I know all of us want this Christmas to be happy, joyful and fun ~ because the last two have been a bit flat, tight and limiting ~ and we would love a super special fun time this year. THAT would be the best gift of all!!

Night all ~ must sleep ~ again...

Thursday, December 16, 2010


May the angels keep you till morning.
May they guide you through the night.
May they comfort all your sorrows.
May they help you win the fight.
May they keep watch on your soul.
May they show you better ways.
May they guard you while you're sleeping.
May they see you through your days.
May they show you new hopes.
May they still your every doubt.
May they calm your every fear.
May they hear you when you shout.
May the angels keep you till morning.
More than this I cannot pray.
And if the angels ever fail you.
Then may God be there that day.
~ my reading from the angels

One of those funny things you try along the way ~ more a note to say we are here and it looks like the outstanding moneys is to be finalised.  Not as expected, but to end the heart-ache and feeling of being used we will accept the offer of 50% ~ it is what one does to move on.

Big day of appointments, meetings and I am going to do some volunteer work to refresh my administrative skills so that over the next 12 months when Husband returns to work I too can undertake paid work with recent experience.  Plus I've always wanted to do work in Child Services so this could be an eye-opener.

No money spend, no savings made ~ but we did have the most delicious meal tonight using 'dead' veggies, 1 chicken breast and rice.  It was almost like a gado gado ~ peanut satay sauce but better.  Mmmmm ~ so no takeaway, no spending, no angst!

Well done to us ~ and we shall chat tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One big hurdle

Oh you would think by now we'd have it together

Nah ~ for one, while we have a 'break' from the loan - the NIVA which is considered a 'debt' needs to be repaid before it can be reduced. This seems odd to us as we would have thought the moneys going onto that would have been better deferred to the LOC or the Mortgage.  But no.

Why ~ because that is not what we set up. No kidding! We had been fine with the arrangements until August/September and this is why a reduced NIVA balance was requested. We didn't 'owe' on it as such, but apparantly until the balance (credit) in NIVA is $3000, it can't be reduced to $1000.  Now, there is $1800 there and this needs another $1200 before the limit can be reset. I do not understand...

On the spending, we've been pretty good at spending as little as possible - and only on the essentials - until last week.  Last week was 'bad'.  Not because SmallBoy had a birthday - all presents came in under the $50 mark and were things he 'really wanted' like a penny whistle ($15), the next books in the Shannara series (2 x $7) and a video game ($20) - motivation, enthusiasm and energy up'd and left the house. So there were 2 nights of takeaway dinners - pizza once and hamburgers once.  $60 we can ill-afford - and it didn't really taste as good as was hoped.

Christmas is getting closer and closer and closer - and we have not got a tree up, decorations up or presents bought. We've got a few bits and bobs - which I wont mention in case the recipients are reading *grins* but these are all under $5.

Any how ~ because I don't want the Mission to be a 'chore' or anything like that, we are adding some variety to the FaceBook page with ideas on keeping those outgoings down down down.  Like tonight's quick dinner.  Gotta love nachos ~ while the SmallBoy watered the veggies and the bonsai, Husband changed all the bed sheets and I tidied the kitchen and made Nachos for dinner.  This is one of the more 'expensive' meals, more so if the corn chips are not bought on special. Thankfully - these were :D

Nachos with sour cream and guocamoule

2 pkts plain corn chips
1 jar of spicy salsa (some of the supermarket brands are great!)
100gm of grated cheese (we do a little tasty, a little mozzarella, a little parmesan)

Set the oven to 180
Open one packet of corn chips into an oven proof dish (we use the pyrex casserole or lasagne dish)
Spread half the salsa over the chips
Top with a handful of cheese
Repeat it all again with the second bag of corn chips
Bung it in the over for 15-20mins

While this is toasting, melting and stuff, let's make the guocamoule

1 avocado
Sweet chilli sauce
Lemon or lime juice
* pureed basil is optional and lovely!

Scoop out the avocado into a bowl
Add a splosh of sweet chilli sauce
Squeeze in some lemon or lime juice
*pop in a teaspoon of the basil if you want

With a fork just mooshie it all up until it is sort of smooth but not pureed or creamed - a few lumps of avocado won't be a problem.

The corn chips, salsa and cheese will be ready
Top with a healthy dollop of sour cream
Add that guocamoule and chow on down

Napkins and cutlery optional *grins*

OK - back tomorrow with a weekly update and some more of the changes explained ~ we want your feedback, comments and - if at all possible - your spare change . . . 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giving up

OK ~ so we are having takeaway tonight.
Why? Because. Yes there is food in the pantry, yes the fridge holds the makings of a meal, yes we have stuff in the freezer. However, every now and then, that urge to get something made by another with the lack of need to wash up after is good for the spirit.

I know, we know ~ this is not the way to go. We're not talking Pizza Hut or Domino's because those pizza's are so 'mechanical' - 13 pieces of pineapple, 25gm of bbq sauce, one sachet of pre-cooked chicken - we are going to get them from our local pizzeria, keep the local businesses trading and have the 3-for-$21-and-soft drink deal. 

So, we will be spending. It's almost ridiculous spending the same amount we could use over a week on one meal but pffft ~ let's just call it the weakness of being human and having desires. It's not like $400 for a pair of shoes, or more on a handbag or $100 on gamer games. 

Yes - it's been a difficult week and still waiting for a final pay to hear 'something' still needs checking to verify I've done what I've charged for. August to December really is not good enough after all the copying, calling and postage paid to get this sorted. So not happy.  Wrong week/month to give up me smokes!

Still - nothing (aside from the pizza) spent today.  Mowed before the storms, weeded a little, collected the eggs and tidied up the lounge room. That'll do :D

You were always welcome
You always were there
I thought that I needed you
With me everywhere
But ultimately you only
Ever brought me down
You used all my money
Made my life unsound

Oh to throw you out, to give you away
I like you around me, I want you to stay
But you are the poison bringing me down
I feel so much better when you're not around

Since I can remember
You've been here with me
Inside me, beside you
It's time to break free
There's memories you've taken
So false, they are yours
When the cloud haze fades
They're the ones to ignore

So please don't come knocking
Back at my door
No calls on the mobile
I want you no more
As much as I love you
And wish we could play
You're all too controlling
Far away you must stay

Actually thrown you out, I gave you away
Can't have you around me, still others can stay
Found you were the poison, pushed me to the ground
I feel so much better when you're not around

Breathing the air
Clean, fresh and true
No more of the smoke screen
Set up by you
Singing a new song
Comes up from the heart
While I still want you
I've made a new start

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Birthday ~ here's some lambs' fry

We ate strawberries ~ delicious ~ more coming!! 
Last night SmallBoy left 10 behind in his sleep and was up this morning more alert and earlier than usual - as an 11 year old ~ time just flies.
Finally his Birthday Day has arrived. Thought he'd be up for hours to come last night with the way he was brimming with excitement. He has been like a jumping bean, bouncing all over the place ~ just could not find a box to contain him! 

He went shopping with NannyD on the weekend and got some cool clothes, a figurine and, because he knew it was coming for his birthday and he wanted to show NannyD, he got his penny whistle as an advanced present - only because the bouncing had already started.  There was a particular game for the Wii he has been wanting, asking for to the point of nagging. We had it, plus a new controller so he has 'his own' now.  Plus clothes and some collectible spoons - he has a great collection going, this set had a place with his name in it so that was a bit special *laughs*

We had offered SmallBoy his choice of meal for dinner - hoping not to be lumped with a KFC or Maccas type order. Oh yum *not* It's the kind of food when you see the advert on tellie over and over, then think gee its been ages since we've had that - sure there was a reason, but not exactly what - we have finally got to the point of remembering it just doesn't taste that nice. Not when we are used to our secret herb and spice mixes

At eleven, well he's not really up to remembering what it is about the fast-food which makes it so not worth the excitement of the get it over the counter and the wrapping.  But no.  SmallBoy requested, and got, lambs' fry with bacon and onion, roast pork crackle without the roast and a coffee flavoured Birthday Cake with mocha icing.  So that is what we had! Even MudGuts has left feeling not just sated, but on the cusp of full

What is with the price of offal and off-cuts?  
Can you get over how much is charged for pork crackle and lambs' fry these days?!! Used to get 3 for $1 and the pork fat free! - now it's $4-$6 for some rind and a lambs' fry can set you back well over $3! Any way - none of the supermarkets visited, for the sole purpose to get a lambs' fry and pork crackle, had any available. So bit the bullet and saw an old friend who is a butcher.  He is such a gentleman, funny and caring. He asked how the back was, I asked how life was treating him - mentioned this was the SmallBoy's choice ("better than pizza an' half the cost") ~ bought 3 lambs' fry for $3 and a how to freeze, defrost lesson, then 3 slabs of crackling for free and another lesson in freezing, defrosting to use.

There has been a little spending ~ but it has covered all the birthdays for before Christmas, and a lot of Christmas itself!  Impressed ~ spent $100 at the op-shops and most of the clothes are still tagged so not even worn. There is some of the clothes for SmallBoy (birthday and Christmas), MudGuts, a t-shirt for Husband, me and some of the nieces and nephews. Spent $103 and got 34 items of clothing in excellent condition. 

There have been a few gains as well - eBay sales are up to almost $100 toward to the credit card. There are sales that ended last night and have been invoiced and paid today - so off to the mail tomorrow. Mystery shops have been undertaken - Sure its $10 here and $25 there - but that's how we got into debt with a little here and some more there, so the reverse seems to have a better outcome! *beams*

Apologies for the scattiness of the updates this week ~ we've had some awesome storms, a little flooding and it's all been all over the place. Even now we are getting the most amazing lightening display from afar - you can hear the thunder rumbling in the far off - not sure where though, it's that far away. Tried to take pics but its too far away so Husband and I have been standing at the back fence, just enjoying the show.

I never posted last weeks ramblings of the Daily Update ~ had it ready to go but didn't in the excitement of the audit result no doubt. *grins*  So it is below and we are back into the swing of the daily report.

Until tomorrow ~ here's all that catch up stuff from before the audit.  You may have already seen this :D

The week that was ~ and a bit...

Wednesday 24 November 2010
Well, hello...
As you've probably discovered we are back online and mobile with a lot of catching up to tell. The last entry was Thurs 11 Nov ~ almost two weeks ago. All that newsy waffle is on the main page ~ bit about the daily stuff here. Ahhh ~ accountability ~ how I have missed thee :D

Today there was a shop at the supermarket, which gave 8c off on petrol, desperately required. The last shop was on Saturday 13 November - its a long time between fresh fruit n veg. The grocery budget allows $100pw.  The total spend was $110.62, however we got everything we had budgeted to buy - including meat, dairy and a magazine!! *gasps* If we had paid full price for our shop, it would have been a $152 shop. The weekly shop for 33% off.  Plus the docket saved $5 on petrol - laughin'...

Took the fax to the Salvos Community Centre and had the additional pay details, doctors' notes and other rah rah the 'capitalisation hardship application' required. There are several agencies that offer similar services - if you ask, are polite, patient and grateful for the service provided. You can even get a free loaf of fresh bread if you go in at the right time ~ sometimes special grainy types, raisin toast or crumpets! Bonus!! *grins*  One thing less for the shopping budget and not the 'basic plain white' variety! Seriously, have you seen the price for a loaf of bread these days???

What an exciting experience our Mission is turning out to be ~ *our Mission*
Sure love to see some coins in the Spare Change Jar (up on the left - under the 'Home' tab) ~ *the Plug*

Thursday 25 November 2010
Still a little 'disorientated' - went to write Tuesday, then 1967 - back in the 'now'.
Today we had an OHS manual handling course to attend as part of our community service for unpaid fines. Sadly, I was out at lunch time ~ sitting was painful, standing was tiring and kneeling just looked wrong. Plus the painkillers had worn off and, likely tomorrow was not going to happen, I was asked not over-do it today. Took a call from the lender about our application and clarified one issue - its in the process of review now, hopeful of a good outcome.

We had a park in the metered bay - paid $2 for 2hr, got 4hrs on the meter covered. Saved $2.  Took thick buttered slices of banana bread made earlier in the week, left over stirfry to share. Yummy and cheaper than the 'city' cafes in walking distance from the training room. Saved $10-$15 on lunch. Drank crappy instant coffee in a styrene-foam cup (Husband had tea) but it was there and it was free. There is no price on sanity gained from caffeine...

Using some of the marked down potatoes, the marked down steak, frozen green veg from a Salvo's food parcel, some of the marked down mushies and others 'herbs n spices' to make a beef casserole ~ a fabulous $5 meal to serve the three of us stuffed full! Had I thought about it earlier, it could have become a pie - but I didn't so it is beef casserole and mash.

The news tonight indicates Centrelink payments through the NAB will not be getting moneys on time tomorrow. At least one payment goes to the other bank connected to our mortgage so we can cover payments due Monday/Tuesday. Panic, stress and/or anxiety attack averted ~ we know we have funds available and the rest will be coming. This will affect MudGuts however, as we about to sit and discuss/plan his Christmas financial status and requirements this weekend, the timing is very good.

Spent $4 on parking.
That's it... Pretty good, hey?!

Planning ahead a little, keeping costs low ~ *Our Mission*
Got a spare 50c, see how far we make it go ~ *The Plug for your spare change*

Friday 26 November 2010
Shhh ~ listen : ~ *hear that?* ~ lots of BIG rolling Thunder...
*grins* Love a good storm! Woke up at 6am to a glorious sort of day through the curtains ~ contemplated putting a load of towels in the machine and decided to read until the 730 alarm, and dozed off at about 715am. Throws you out of synch when you dream you're already ready - to wake up and discover you're not!

SmallBoy has a new favourite sandwich filling ~ ham and sauce. As we still have 2-3 tins of canned ham ~ this is a good thing *cheers* Had a 'second' bowl of cereal, got organised for hydrotherapy and fell asleep. Lucky really ~ I was woken by wall-shaking thunder and torrential rain pelting from the sky above. That "gee I wish we had another water tank" kind of storm. Really massive with the rain almost to the door.

Spent no money today but will need to get grain for the chickens. Also need to give each of the neighbours a dozen eggs, just got some more cartons!! If it is not raining over the weekend, we might put an "Eggs 4 Sale" sign out and aim $40-$50 from a dozen dozen eggs ~ and 'make' three little roosters into two plumb, plucked roasts and one for the pot. If Skippy continues to be a dork, we might get two for the pot and have enough feathers for a pillow *chuckles*  As if...

Can't provide all the financials as the NAB has had a 'glitch' and pays/payments processes are delayed. The Carer Partner Allowance has gone in and payment into the Line of Credit transferred straight to the NIVA. Hopefully this will stop and repay to LOC when the NIVA limit is lowered. Don't know what is where for the VISA as its with NAB and its had a 'glitch'. Not stressing or concerned - everything that needs or might want covering is manageable until Tuesday and beyond even. But we have every faith things will be all balanced by then. It's not really denial when there is nothing to deny!

~ Can't fix it until you know where it is broke ~ can't know until its seen, fixed and updated ~ can't get anxious if I don't see a problem ~

The $30 question then is, do we use what's in the pantry and make a tuna mornay or do we not deny ourselves the ability to slurge on take-away 'like we used to' from the Green Parrot Fish and Chip shop. Do we enjoy an hour of delicious tastes at the expense of a day's mortgage payment. We'd rather not spend it but transfer the money available and accessible in the bank over to the bills debt.  It's still early enough to change our mind and go the take-away, but for now we are getting ready to make Tuna Mornay and rice for dinner. And this is how we reduce our 'normal' weekly outgoings to free up to make actual reductions through increased cash available for repayments. *re-reads slowly*
There is a very powerful tip hidden in that waffle!

'Chip'ping away at the debt every day, being creative and sending tips your way ~ *our Mission*
You can use PayPal or Account Transfer to add funds to our Spare Change Jar ~ *the Plug*

Saturday 27 November 2010

Today we spent ~ bought grain for the chookies, but didn't get the 'Eggs 4 Sale' sign out long because it didn't stop raining. It was a mess of black marker in no time.  We also spent a little on some nice steak when getting dry cat food, oil and dishwashing tabs. Just under $50.

Lots of woe, angst and anger at the banks for the stuff up on pay transfers ~ we're ok and know where all our cash is(not) for transfers, debits and such. Not panicking at all thank you. :D  All is good.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Nothing spent today. Actually have the whole week menu planned against items already here in the fridge, freezer and pantry. Too easy. Hoping to 'find' a cabbage because there's been a hankering for chow mein, all we need is a cabbage but we don't really need it enough to warrant a shop.

Went wading through the garage to find items for eBay ~ Tupperware galore people! Might just stick to getting the items that pay up good than clothes where you can hit or miss. Don't mind people getting a good score because it means its gone, along with one of the zillion post bags kept for 'just this type of occasion'. So OVER clutter!

Not much more to tell ~ still no access to payments from Centrelink via the NAB but so not stressed. We've decided we will dip into the emergency funds, but that's what they are there for and it will be repaid in full when deposited.

Monday 29 November 2010

Bill payments made today ~ and no need to transfers funds from the emergency account as our Centrelink payment is now available and accessible via the account. Yee-ha! We didn't need to use it, but we have a valuable emergency money plan that works. Transferred $250 to VISA debt ~ because we can and its there now. Not using funds set for groceries for the last few weeks and any shops were under-budget allowed it *grins*

Moving into the routine of 800am to 400pm of daily activity on a productive, proactive side ~ be it the mess, finances, de-cluttering, the garden, clothes, stock-taking, focussing on different rooms ~ with a nice after-school family time balance before getting into the dinner preparation and homework time. Getting closer to eating at 630pm - we had omelettes tonight and SmallBoy was eating his before 700, Husband at 7pm and myself just after.

Sent the outstanding eBay sales ~ had fun sticking on stamps! Love the 'entertainment'. Was a real pain being off-line and not having information at hand. Husband is taking pictures of items to post up. Only the iPhone for now ~ he will email them to me to upload to eBay and list for sale. Aiming for an early night ~ bit pooped!

Reducing our outgoings free'd up more to pay the debt down ~ *our Mission*
Welcoming contributions in the Spare Change Jar or bid at eBay ~ *the Plug*

Tuesday 30 November 2010
Farewell Spring ~ you've blown lots of change(s) our way with the pollen and dust!

Today we spent ~ $3.20 on milk. It was needed because I had muesli AND porridge this morning ~ it's been a long day. Got the finer details for 'Bill's Budget in a Box' personal finance planning kit and now seeking guinea pigs to offer (say) $5 for the basic details to see if it works for them too. Got two one CentreLink payments giving it a go and by rights both can live under budget by $100 a fortnight - or more entertainment dollars as one girl realised very quickly and vocally!

In the garden, in the laundry and in the kitchen today - making good progress. And more stuff up on eBay! Hopefully we will get lots of action and good sales. It's good quality stuff and all brand new. Plus, on the main page, you can see the recipe and resulting Ice Cream Christmas Cake using one of those old cakes you got last year, or was it the one before? It all works just fine :D

Sharing our actions, giving you ideas to save or bring down the costs ~ *our Mission*
Hoping readers will give us Spare Change to help get our debt down ~ *the Plug*


And here is where we had left you... :


Wednesday 10 November 2010
Mwah ha ha ha ~ oh you need to read the main page!  Removed over $600 in monthly outgoings with only a few calls yesterday. Still running on the high of Tuesday's success!
Lots of appointments today and a crapping out of laptops so this is short, sweet and very late in the night (or early morning to be precise).  As we have no car at the moment although we hope to get it back tomorrow with a new (old) engine, getting around on public transport has been fun - I guess.  Thanks to a wonderful girlfriend, I did get a lift to some places a little on the too-far-to-walk side and SmallBoy was carpooled to and from school.  Hoping to get the printer printing tomorrow so all the bank paperwork can be completed and returned.  Arrgghhh - modern technology - great stuff until it craps out! *groans*  Will catch up with the Financial Report in the morning.  Until then...

Onward and upward (or downward for the debt!) ~ *our Mission*
Like us, follow us, encourage your parents to put 10c into our Treasure Chest ~ *the Plug*

Thursday 11 November 2010
Spent money on a few groceries today - $20.01 (but rounded that's $20 - saved 1c woo hoo).
Had no milk, barely got enough for the morning cuppa *pouts*  SmallBoy had enough for his weet-bix and that's the important thing!  Had a green smoothie for brekkie which certainly kept me satisfied and used up some of the not-so-pretty fruit and veg on hand.  Will post the recipe and pics so you can see what a green smoothie is. Trying to be a lot more healthy. We had baked beans on toast for lunch.
No spending on the car - yet.  Still not repaired however we have been assured we will have a car for the weekend, even if it is not our own.  Thank goodness for mechanics with loan cars!  Might even be a car less than 10yrs old which would be swish compared to the old Mazda!  If it is, we'll have to visit people and pretend we don't have a 30yr old beast machine.
Still doing the financial tally - while we cut the need to come up with $600 each month, its not really freeing up actual cash, more lowering the outgoings and getting closer to balancing against our incomings.  Husband might have a days work next week ~ this would be handy :D

Looking for the cheaper option everywhere we shop ~ *our Mission*
Hoping for a few Cafe Memories in the Treasure Chest this weekend ~ *the Plug*

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Not sure where this one is going...

Man we are having the most amazing storms.
It is summer, only just ~ and the weather cannot make up its mind which way to go!  The only consistent is there is a guaranteed torrential downpour at school pick up time ~ has been for the past week or so. Full of crashing, rumbling thunder vibrations and flashing sheets or random bolts of lightening! And the wind!!  Each morning seems to start warm, high teens moving into the low-mid 20s before big, blue-black storm clouds materialise across the sky ahead of a massive temperature drop. 

The heavens open, natures' symphony drum-roll hits is crescendo ~ occasionally throwing in hail to add to the varying and contrasting size, weight and pitch of the rain-drops ~ before we have a brief intermission of tumbling thunder, light, pattering rain and great sheets of lightening intermittently before the neighbours' dogs start up a new chorus, usually signalling a repeat performance of the stormy session!

At some point the temperature rises as Mother Nature composes her musical of sound, colour and light in a flurry of inspiration, often stopping and starting or focussing on a particular aspect of her storm. Just now there has been splatters of the rain, heavy, slow rhythmic drops moving into gentle with small needle point drops. As the wind again picks up sending her musical drops into hurried waves of off tempo arrangements, there are definite signs of more changes and possibly sunshine before sunset. *sighs*

We love storms ~ such a wonder, truly delightful, totally unpredictable and never the same experience.  To follow up today's blackened performance we have now been blessed with the bluest of skies, flecked with white fluffy clouds racing on a mild breeze in front of a blazing sun ~ well!  The setting skies have pink and orange hues so we can be led to believe tomorrow should be a rather glorious day.  At quick check at the Elders Weather page has set off a cheer - because its going to be 29oC tomorrow and 26oC on Sunday ~ what a lovely sounding weekend!!

Raising Funds to Reduce Debt
More items up on eBay ~ still of the Tupperware variety but other stuff is getting photographed at the moment. 
We really do hope to get a fair bit to refund the debt these items originally created on the VISA.  At one stage, a good $1000 of Tupperware was on this card so if we can raise even that through eBay it will be a worthwhile effort. I just don't know what else to put up which will sell - going to screen-doh eBay - an online version of window shopping, and just as inexpensive!

Staying on the 'not spending' track ~ nothing spent today. Ordered SmallBoy's Grade 6 "Bomber" jacket tho - $40 bucks!! All quiet from the wallets.  We did get firewood yesterday and Husband haggled with the price as it was red gum sleeper offcuts and scraps. He got it for $10 a metre less, and kept our usual $5 delivery discount. $280 - Good job. Boys stacked that up - well that which was not wet!

A Brief Distraction 
Well, my horoscope indicates good things for tomorrow:
SCORPIO (03 December US/Canada/UK/Europe - 04 December NZ/Australia)
A lot of things are falling into place, with the Moon in your sign as you settle back into your Venus return and as forces slowly come to a head on the income front. It’s the Moon’s position in your sign that is giving you an intuitive read on your heart, at a time when your heart has a lot to say. It was the 2 months Venus spent in your sign, combined with the 22 days that she steps back out, that has given you a clear sense of what you want and what’s a priority

Husband's is reasonably compatible, in synch almost:
VIRGO (03 December US/Canada/UK/Europe - 04 December NZ/Australia)
Whatever your plans are for the coming days, communication and home and family matters need to be high on your agenda. With the Moon spending his last full day in your communication sector before leaving Venus on her own, this creates an opportunity to speak from the heart. As you've reached an important point on the romantic, relationship, work and home fronts, the key to succeeding on all fronts and having it all is communication. 
Visitors up for the weekend, plus SmallBoy is hyper scatting as it gets closer to his birthday. Already we are getting some of the tears from the "fear he might not get..." knowing he really should be grateful for any gift received, knowing he is getting gifts and visitors and that overwhelming excitement and anticipation, even if just the presence of a relative, possibly without presents. Knowing doesn't make it any less emotionally unsettling when you're still 10yo. *shakes head a little sadly*

Time for sleep - can't spend while asleep.  Sadly, banks still apply interest while we are sleeping ~ some every night while we try to find peaceful slumber. Bit of a catch-22 for some of us, isn't it!?!