Thursday, March 29, 2007


Some days I just feel like I'm drowing in stuff. I think it has more to do with my mood on any given day than anything. However, it's always a good time for me to declutter. I tend to be more ruthless when I'm feeling claustrophic about how much stuff we have. So, today I have decluttered 4 grocery bags of stuff! It's only gotten as far as the laundry so far but hopefully will get to either the rubbish or the Vinnie's bin in the next couple of days.

*deep contented sigh* I always feel like I can breathe so much easier when I've done some decluttering. :-) Now I'm all enthused to do some more and really make a dent in it. Although I think decluttering is one of those jobs you almost need to be doing constantly, especially with kids bringing home piles of paperwork from school. I'm not opposed to keeping some of their work but the amount that comes home is just unreal!

I also got my 6 year old daughter's room a little under control. She loves to pull everything out when she's playing but isn't so great at putting it all back again. She's very creative too. When she's playing with her dollshouse or her Baby Annabell she loves to cut up bits of paper to make "food" and all kinds of "extras" to add to her game. We gave her a box of making things for her birthday in January which she absolutely loves but it sure does creative a large mess on the bedroom floor. LOL. It makes me feel so much better when it's tidy, even if it doesn't worry her one way or the other. It's not that she doesn't tidy it up herself but every few weeks I need to go in there and just do those extra bits of sorting out and decluttering that keep it from becoming a complete disaster zone.

The other areas I tamed today were the fridge and part of the pantry cupboard. I do have *homes* for most things but the rest of the family can't seem to remember where things go (DH in particular LOL) so it's a regular resorting job to keep things in some semblence of order. The fridge makes me smile when I open it now. DH reckoned it blinded him when he opened the door. LOL. I did wipe it out while I was about it but it wasn't really all that dirty. Perhaps now that it's back to an organised state, you can see more of the white interior.

Despite being tired, I must have been in a "go for it" mood today as I pulled the vents out of the rangehood while I was doing my weekly clean of the stovetop, pulled out and washed the racks for the oven while I was wiping out the oven and cleaned the microwave trays and turntable as well. Now everything in my kitchen makes me smile again.

Tea tonight: Thursday night's I try to menu plan a low or no meat meal. Tonight we had fried rice. Yummo!!!! Goes down well with the whole family. It's one of the only meals we have where the kids will ask for seconds.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Today's Challenge - Update

I'm back and I think I did okay. Spent $49.00. Phew!!! Just snuck in under the $50 mark. I didn't need as much fruit and veg this week as we still have some stuff leftover from last week. I wasn't sure how I was going to go as DH asked me to buy fritz as I was walking out the door. Hadn't factored that in to my workings. Also grabbed a tube of toothpaste on special and a packet of lebanese bread for next time we have pizza (also on special).

That brings my total grocery spend for March to: $442.86. That's just slightly higher than January's spend of $441.27. I'm pretty happy with that.

Today's Challenge

I am off to do my final grocery shop for the month today. Thought I'd put a quick post on here to give myself some accountability. I am hoping to spend less than $50 this week. Will post my results later. :-)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Permission to Potter

I was feeling quite tired this morning so I gave myself permission to potter for the day. I gradually pottered my way through folding several loads of washing that had backed up as well as getting 2 loads washed and dried on the line. Managed to get the ironing caught up in a couple of smaller session of ironing and got all of the clothes put away (everyone's drawers are now decidedly less "empty" looking). Just before tea I got the step ladder out and found the kids winter pj's given our nights are beginning to get cold. Some tidying up also happened as I "pottered" about the place. DS(3) was feeling a little clingy today so we enjoyed some nice cuggles together as well as sitting on the front verandah enjoying some cut up orange and watching our kitten play. He then decided he'd help me get the front garden weeded. In between all of that I had time to read some of my novel while resting on the bed and spent several sessions on the computer catching up with online friends. If you'd asked me this morning whether I thought I could accomplish all of this today I would have responded with a resounding "no". I think I might give myself "permission to potter" more often. :-)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Apple Cider Vinegar

OK, here we go. Promised post about my adventures with Apple Cider Vinegar. There seems to be no limit to the number of websites on the many and varied benefits of vinegar for all types of things. There seems to be almost no limit to the number of different kinds of vinegar available on the market either. LOL.

12 months ago I'd never even heard of Apple Cider Vinegar. Now there's a rarely a day when I don't pull the bottle out of my pantry. I still use white vinegar in the washing machine and for cleaning at times but to be honest, I prefer the scent of the apple cider vinegar. And for health, it seems to be the prefered one to use.

HAIR: I started by experimenting with apple cider vinegar with water in a spray bottle as a conditioner. From the first use I really loved it but wanted to give it enough time to be really sure I liked it. 6 months later I'm still loving using it. To my latest bottle I have added a few drops of rosemary essential oil. To be honest I don't think it's really added any necessary effect to the condition of my hair. If anything, I have had trouble with too much oil (I tend to have oily roots and dry ends). However, if you're the kind of person who really can't stand the smell of vinegar, it does cover the smell quite nicely (as long as you like the smell of rosemary of course). I tend to mostly spray it into the ends of my hair as my roots really don't need the conditioning. I also spray it directly onto my scalp underneath at the back which is where I can tend to get itchy. It helps with the dryness and itchiness of my scalp. If I have a particularly dry and itchy scalp, it's best to spray it in before I shower so that it can work on the skin for at least 10-15 minutes before being rinsed out.

Now if I can just get the rest of the family using it, I'll be able to strike conditioner off my shopping list for good! :-) At the moment I don't mind though as they're gradually using up all the different bottles of conditioner I had on hand. DH has really short hair and only uses conditioner very occasionally and the kids hair gets washed once a week so we're really not using a lot of conditioner anyway.

I'm currently experimenting with baking soda as a shampoo. I've been doing it on and off now for several months and haven't yet formed an opinion on whether it's something I'll continue with for the long term. Part of my problem is that I forget to put it in my hair before I jump in the shower so end up using regular (well a health shop, all natural ingredients) shampoo. I'll blog more on that down the track if I ever come to a conclusion one way or another. One thing I will recommend is using it at least occasionally as it does give your hair a really good clean. Depending on how often you wash your hair as to whether it's cleaning powers are too strong to be used for every single wash. Someone did warn me that it can strip any colour from your hair. I currently have foils in my hair and haven't noticed this problem but it's something to be wary of if you do have colour in your hair (that baking soda may strip it out).

COOKING: If you scroll down a few posts, you'll find a recipe for an apple slice using apple cider vinegar. The original recipe called for white vinegar but as I was converting it from a chocolate cake to an apple slice I decided it made sense to use apple cider vinegar.

SALAD DRESSING: I was using a fat free french dressing on my lunch-time salads but started to find it a bit too sweet so converted to a capful of apple cider vinegar. The health benefits of regular use of apple cider vinegar are many and varied (I'll list some at the end of this post).

HOT DRINK: One easy way I find to include apple cider vinegar in my diet is as a hot drink. Just add 1-2 capfuls of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey to a mug then pour in boiling water and stir. It takes a little bit to get used to but really isn't too bad as a drink. It's especially good if you're developing a sore throat to kill the bugs and help your body fight whatever is causing the sore throat. The last 2 times I've started developing a sore throat I've used this and gotten rid of the problem within 24 hours.


Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Provitamin beta-carotene, Vitamin P

Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Chlorine, Sodium, Sulfur, Copper, Iron, Silicon, Fluorine



Assisting weight loss by boosting a sluggish metabolism and helping with the healthy functioning of the bowel

Reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, reducing calcification in arteries

Assisting with fluid regulation in cells, reducing fluid retention, reducing excess sodium in the body

Magnesium and other minerals are important for good bone health and to reduce muscle cramps

Assists healthy functioning of the liver, kidney and gall bladder

These are just a few of the benefits that have been found. If you do an internet search on apple cider vinegar you're sure to find many many more. As with all things there are varied opinions and I have no medical background. I just figure a little bit in my diet certainly can't hurt.

Grocery Tracking

With 1 week left of March I'm just having a look at where I'm up to in regard to grocery spending for the month. I'm trying to keep the spending as low as I can without getting too tight (ie it becoming a stressful thing).

This is where I'm up to so far:

Fruit & Veg $138.56
General $203.53
Treats $ 36.84
Non Food $ 14.93

Total $393.86

Compare this to spending for:

January $441.27
February $398.93

If I can keep it to a similar level of spending as for January I'd be pretty happy (given February is a shorter month so would expect it to be slightly lower). I've overspent on treats this month (budget is currently $25 a month). It's not a huge problem as we didn't spend all of the budget in February however I will need to keep an eye on this area and make sure we reign it back in again.

If I want to keep March's grocery spending under $440 I have about $45 to spend next week. Knowing my luck there'll be heaps of stuff on sale that I want to stock up on and that'll blow my attempts. LOL. Will have to wait and see. I know I have enough food on hand that I *could* do this. So it's going to come down to how badly I *want* to make it happen. I didn't buy any meat this week so I really should buy meat next week so that I'm not keeping the spending down simply by using up what I have on hand. Just having a look through my receipts and so far for March I've only bought 15 meals of meat (we use about 5 per week) so it's a bit down. However, I did buy 28 meals of meat in February which is up a little on what I would have used so I'm not totally eating out of the freezer.

So we'll see how that goes and I'll post my results in a week's time. :-)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bad Blogger

Oooh. I'm a bad blogger aren't I? LOL. My intentions are good and I have a lot I want to share. My brain is just a little limited at the moment. Hopefully I'll blog more as it improves. I've been wanting to blog about my experiments with apple cider vinegar for months now. I'll get to it soon (I hope!). :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Well I was quite happy with our grocery spend of $398.93 for February, even if it is a shorter month. January's groceries came to $441.27 so that was good too. I feel like we've made a reasonable start to the spending for the year.

Today I made a spaghetti type sauce in the crockpot:

600g mince (cost $4.00)
large tin tomatoes (approx $1.00)
2 tins beans (usually used dried beans but didn't have any soaked or cooked and I've started keeping a few tins on hand for convenience sake - costs a little more than dried but still a cheap way to bulk out meat) ($1.60)
grated zucchini from freezer
2 large spoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
couple of handfuls of oats to thicken it a bit

This will do us for 3 meals so works out pretty economically. Tonight was Taco's and the kids couldn't gobble them down quick enough. I'll probably use 1 lot with spaghetti. I tend to use wholemeal spiral pasta rather than spaghetti as it's easier for the kids to eat - they love it. The 3rd meal with either be lasagna or a repeat of one of the other meals depending.

I love it when I can cook 2 or 3 meals of meat at the same time. Makes for an easier workload down the track. :-)

It will be interesting to see what March's grocery bill ends up like.