Archive for September, 2010


It’s been a tough day. One of those days you’d like to rewind.

If I could rewind – I’d change my behaviour, I’d control my emotions and allow myself time. Because its now evening – and the things that I was so distraught over … they seem small.

I don’t want to victimise myself because I was doing that all afternoon. I think its important sometimes to remember that often, the reason why we have bad days – is not because of what happens to us – but more due to how we feel or how we react when they happen.

This afternoon, in the midst of it all, I was angry at the situation, the people, the mistakes – the things that were ruining my day. Now when I replay it – I realise that had I behaved a little differently in a few different moments – the day could have been redeemed, gone more smoothly and relationships less fractured.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But hindsight is an uncomfortable thing. I don’t like what it does to me. Hindsight nearly always highlights my weaknesses.

Today’s weaknesses:

Overreacting over miscommunication
Blending old ‘frustrations’ with current mistake
Working myself up into a stress
Sulking and then getting off

The key thing for me now is realising that no matter what the mistake was all intentions were good. No one was out to get me. No one was trying to make my day difficult.

So yeah – – it was my reaction that really ruined my day.

How do you find a pleasure when you’re feeling this upset at yourself? You think hard.

Today’s Tiny Pleasure
I sang. Out loud. With others. An old song that I haven’t sung in years – and one that means a lot to me. How often do we do this?

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Simple Savings…

So… being a family on a single income is hard. I’ve discovered this over the past year. Harder than I had anticipated.

I’m still determined to be a stay at home mum – but having to reevaluate what this means in terms of our lifestyle.  The biggie for us is that we desperately want to have our own home. This means trying to save… which is the hard part.

I’ve tried to inspire myself buy joining a ‘savings’ website… which I love. There are so many little things that I do now to save money without even thinking – all ideas that I’ve picked up from this website.

The fun part is taking on monthly challenges. So far this year we’ve done:

No screen challange: No tv during weekdays
Double Dinner challange: Making double dinners for two weeks and then get two weeks off cooking!!
$21 challange: A spending no more than$21 for the weeks’ groceries
31 tip challange: Trying a new savings tip each day

etc etc

Its fun. Its tricky sometimes. But I like it because it keeps me focussed. Reminds me that I’m not powerless. That I can make choices that reduce our costs.

Just for fun…  I thought I’d post the result of our 31 tip challenge. Maybe you’ll find something useful in there… We didn’t quite finish because we took a trip to Christchurch to visity hubby’s family at the end of the month.

Day 1:
(a) Cleaned computer keyboards using vinegar.

(b)Substituted scoop in washing powder with a smaller one borrowed from a friend (from her baby milk formula – perfect size!) This way we’re not tempted to use more than we need…

Day 2: Had fish and lemon for tea – so I used the left over juice and lemon skins to wipe around bathroom and kitchen windows to repel spiders.

Day 3: Today I made lemon muffins using lemon rind – wrapped them individually and into freezer for hubby’s work lunches. I then used the lemon juice to make lemonade instead of buying more Orange juice (which I had finished today) . Yum

Day 4: We tried to make yoghurt using the slowcooker and a small starter of yoghurt – but our warmer setting was obviously still too hot – because we ended up with just funny tasting milk – even after we strained it. However (in the spirit of saving), I just reused it in the esiyo maker – and then strained it to make it thicker. Saved the whey to use as buttermilk in piklets – so yummy

Day 5: Topped up my spray bottle of white vinegar with water and left in warm place for 24 hours to turn the water into vinegar. I use vinegar now for a lot of my cleaning.

Day 6: Used Destitute Gourmet’s recipe for extending dishwashing liquid (1 tbsp washing soda, 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 1 cup dishwashing liquid)

Day 7:
(a) This evening Hubby made home made crumpets for tomorrow’s breakfast instead of sunday brunch in a cafe.

(b) We decluttered our bookshelf and took books to Buzzybees second hand book store (they pay a small amount for books) – got $10 for them which i would otherwise have just dumped them at an op shop.

Day 8: Made 7 jelly fruit pots. Used plastic pots I already had for baby food. Used tin fruit I got on special (2 cans pears for $1.40), cut the fruit up into small squares, used the juice with water and mixed with 5tsp gelatine = filled the jelly pots and now Hubby has snacks for his lunch.

I worked out that each pot is worth approx 21 cents. You can buy them for $2 each, or $6 for a pack of six. Yay for savings 🙂

Day 9: Got home from grocery shopping on Sat – and realised I had forgotten to get ham for Hubby’s sandwiches. I was determined not to do a supermarket dash because I know I end up purchasing all sorts of things on the way – so instead I hunted in freezer last night – found a lonely frozen chicken breast.

So this morning…. YAY for Mimi’s poached chicken recipe. Shredded chicken for Hubby’s lunches! And no supermarket dash for me.

Day 10: Visited Moshums (Indian market) Cheap avacados – 5 for $2.50 for Micah’s lunches. Whizzed up and frozen. Cheap bulk chickpeas and poppyseeds. Will go back with my price list to compare prices!

Day 11: This evening I made 10 min Butter chicken secret recipe – but used chickpeas instead of the chicken. Have installed a weekly “vegetarian night” to cut down grocery costs. This one was a winner! 🙂

Day 12:

(a) Popped two VERY ripe banana’s in freezer – cut off small chunk for micah for breaky each morning to add to baby porridge

(b) Defrosted some vegie and meat stew – had some old spinach in fridge, so tore it up and chucked it in the stew. There was too much for Hubby and I so I rolled out some frozen pastry and made six ‘muffin tray’ pies using the meat stew as filling – will freeze for emergency dinners later

(c) Have run out of OJ again (I’m addicted) and to tide me over till shopping day have made up a batch of Magic Cordial that I found online using sugar, water and citric acid. (I used quite a bit of the acid cos I like it strong!) – that way I still have a sweet drink available without dashing out to the shops and getting more (plus the other items I’d probably talk myself into buyin!!!)

Day 13: Made 36 mini banana muffins for Hubby’s lunches – had to share some though!

Day 14: Squashed toilet paper rolls (this makes it harder for it to “roll” and therefore Hubby doesn’t use as much toilet paper!)

Day 15: Put tinfoil under the cover on the ironing board – helps ironing to be quicker and thus reduce electricity usage

Day 16: Diluted Micah’s, Hubby’s and my body wash with water. Barely noticable. Also diluted the kitchen soap.

Day 17:
(a) Shaved off 120g from our mince (barely noticeable for us and I can just bulk it up with red lentils) to make dinner for Micah – bulked it up with leftover tomato puree in fridge which i would otherwise probably chuck, and a handful of butterbeans from pantry which have been sitting there since we got married! Easily made 12 meals for Micah

(b) Made Magic water again with citric acid and sugar.

Day 18. Vege night. Had left over butterbeans from making  baby food for Micah. Searched online for a recipe and used wilted veges in fridge to make a “vege crumble” http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/recipes/2007/july/butter-bean-and-vegetable-crumble <http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/recipes/2007/july/butter-bean-and-vegetable-crumble>

Didn’t have any cheese or pinenuts so substituted with walnuts and parmesan. Chucked in some soft tomatoes to use them up. Never used to ‘substitute’ before SS – always popped down to the supermarket to get the extra ingredients. This is now one of my FAVOURITE recipes… and highly popular with Hubby.

Day 19: let crusts of loaf of bread go stale by leaving them to sit in toaster. Toasted very lightly and then whizzed up to make  breadcrumbs for Hubby to use this week when he makes fish.

Day 20: Signed up for online account with our energy supplier. This increases our ‘early payment discount’ from 10% to 12% just for receiving our bills online.

Day 21: Started pouring Micah’s bathwater into washing machine to save time it takes to fill and thus electricity. Working like a charm.

Day 22: Saved the water used for boiling potatos and then used it for making bread in the breadmaker (nutrients!) – (you can also use it in any recipe that asks for water)

Day 23: Bought powdered milk for baking – much cheaper and doesn’t change taste of my baking/cooking at all! 2 heaped tbsp to one cup of water 🙂

So there we go. 23 saving hints. I have to admit that I haven’t been as diligent lately – but that’s what our challenges are all about really – to focus us…

Today’s Tiny Pleasure:
Made the most of Mikey’s nap time by actually resting for once!! Lay back and listened to “Blue Like Jazz” read by the author (Donald Miller) on CD. Been so long since I’ve listened to a book – probably years. It was blissful.


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Hidden Gem

Sun was out again today but the windchill was biting. A friend and I had decided last night to take the babes for a walk this morning – but as we set out towards the beach, our confidence dwindled. I just kept thinking that the southerly would only be colder at the beach…. we almost turned back home.

As we passed a small street that veered off to our right (thus blocking us from the wind) we made the last minute decision to turn and explore.

Only five mins up the road we found the most darling little playground – perfect for the boys. It was sheltered on all sides, bare winter branches reaching out over the ground and letting in the sun. Best of all – it was enclosed and quiet.

We let the boys loose and stretched out in the sun.

Funny how that made my day. Maybe its a bit sad that just finding a park with baby swings and a slide could make such a difference – but it did. Its a little extra activity for future slow or ‘bad’ days. And stretching out with a friend and chatting, watching the boys crawl around, it was what I always imagined being a Mum would be like. Doesn’t often happen.

The only thing to make it perfect would have been a good coffee! Well, we know for next time 🙂

Also – the blessed child slept for 2 hours today.  Whoop!

Today’s Tiny Pleasure
Treated myself to kiddie’s cereal and bluetop milk for lunch. Just a little indulgent.

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Fresh Air

When the sun shines, my world changes. My tiny, cramped house becomes a light and airy haven. The long lonely day ahead turns into a day filled with the outside – the fresh wind, the pram and friends.

Today was a good day.

I was energised for the household chores – Mum came and took the child, and I took to the house.

I don’t think I always found cleaning satisfying (I’m not quite sure that I always do even now) – but on the good days it feels natural. The choice between resting and working is easy. Spraying down the bench, sucking Mikey’s silver balls out from behind the dishwasher with the vacuum cleaner (posting is his new thing) and fluffing up a duvet into a freshly cleaned and wind-dried cover seems to leave me more refreshed than resting – which only ends up with me sprawled on our tiny couch, systematically eyeing up everything that needs to be done and feeling guilty for not doing it.

I also heard my son giggle far more than usual today. So yes – today was a good day.

Today’s Tiny Pleasure:
Opened every single window in the house! The sun and the breeze were marvelous.

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