Yippee, a new week! I hope it's a heck of a lot better than the last one. Although you could say that Minnie and I have officially bonded. I admit, I thought it was much too soon for me to get another dog, we did it for Ali but I did NOT want another animal coming along and trying to worm its way into my heart yet. However, that's exactly what she has done bless her! She is a real little darling and mornings are once again full of noise. Tui is most definitely still in our minds and our hearts though and Ali has started a little keepsake bag, which contains things like the remains of her tennis ball, the last thing she chewed and even tufts of black Tui fluff. A very sweet idea which helps us to feel close to her, as does the little pomegranate tree - although I'm not sure how long it's going to be before the neighbours start thinking I'm bonkers for talking to a tree every morning when I feed the chickens!
The thing is, with all the cuddles and delight that a new puppy brings, you invariably get a lot of mess too. Along with all the joys of housetraining, my nice orderly lounge is now scattered with anything from plastic egg cartons (great to chew on) to unwanted squeezy bath toys and odd socks with knots tied in them (all puppies seem to love these 'sock-bones'). The Vault has been great for brushing up on pet tips, not to mention cleaning ones for puddles and whoopsies! A hint called 'Lactose free milk savings for pets' popped up just in time to save me spending a heap on posh puppy milk! I now have heaps of tips for cheaper beds, toys, food and health maintenance too. The boys have had a crash course in mopping up accidents using bicarb soda and vinegar and they now sprinkle both with abandon. When I think of all the expensive, appallingly over-fragranced sprays I used in the past, I cringe - the humble bicarb gives much better results! I am also extremely grateful for all the suggestions I received in my Forum request for an alternative to Toilet Duck, since I caught Minnie trying to drink out of the toilet this morning, I think the choice to switch to non-chemical cleaners is a timely one!
So, it's time to get back into my money saving groove and it feels great. The Pride Challenge did lapse there for a couple of days last week but am back into it now. I must have looked passable this morning anyway because two people asked me where I was going today when I dropped the boys off at school and looked surprised when I told them I was just going home. Mind you, if they're only saying that now, I must have looked blooming awful before! There are some great beauty tips in the Vault at the moment which I'm looking forward to trying out, such as using a dry body brush to save on exfoliating products and another one to make body moisturiser last longer. One recent hint proved to be a great memory jogger though and that's 'No need for cleansers with microfibre facecloth'. These are just brilliant! My mum bought me one for Christmas and I used it religiously but then washed it, put it away in a safe place and forgot about it. This tip reminded me to go and dig it out and start using it again! As the hint says, they are available for just a few dollars from manchester stores (Arbuckles have them for Kiwis) and even though I have only been using it for a few days my skin is looking better than it has in months! No cleansers needed, just water - it's amazing! This tip really is a HUGE money saver on skin products if you can get your hands on one. I will never put mine away again!
I was amazed to hear about bush fires in Queensland this morning; I'd be lucky to raise as much as a spark in our neck of the woods. The endless weather has really put the cobblers on a lot of SS projects we want to do at the moment. There are huge banks smothered with ivy that we want to clear and put into grass. We've been waiting almost TWO AND A HALF YEARS for a local painter to paint the exterior of our house. The only reason we've been willing to wait so long for him is that he charges less than half what everyone else does but the time frame got beyond a joke a loooong time ago - the place will have fallen down by the time he gets round to it! We've given him until September to make a start (hopefully the rain will have stopped by then - hopefully!) but if he's still a no-show then we will be heading straight to the Vault to take advantage of all the great painting tips in the newsletter back in March and see how much we can save by doing it ourselves. You're probably wondering why we haven't done that already? Easy - we've got a two-storey house and neither of us like heights! One thing Noel does love is gardening though and he's really fed up that there's not much going on in the vege garden at the moment. I never thought I would say it but I actually miss harvesting all those tomatoes and zucchinis a few months back! I was so looking forward to picking my first grapefruit too, but the possums have got to them first, darn 'em!
At least one thing the pesky rain isn't going to stop is my 'rainy day' project - decorating the bathroom! I have been going to do it for the last three years but keep putting it off. However, in order to make sure I did get round to it, six months ago I peeled off a load of wallpaper. I knew if I left it like that, it would bug me and bug me until eventually I wouldn't be able to stand it any more and have to do something about it. Revamping it on the cheap is the only option I have and I'm really looking forward to seeing how little I can spend, thanks to using Vault tips such as mistinted paint. Time to stop procrastinating and get back into the groove!