Rock and a hard place

Posted September 26th, 2007 by Penny Wise

I don't mind admitting, I've been feeling down. Down doobie-doo down down. My 'No Spend' week didn't exactly turn out to be spend-free but at least I made it within my $200 allowance - by the skin of my teeth. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel by Thursday and with no more coming into the account until Monday, I was pretty chuffed, not to mention relieved to make it to the end of the week. Unfortunately when the end of the week came around it was time to take care of the bills and by the time I had spent the afternoon paying every man and his dog, I just about needed therapy. I knew it was going to be a 'big spend' month but egads I hadn't realised how much! Every invoice from council rates to environmental preservation seemed to have stuffed itself into my little bill holder. I was none too chuffed to see how much it costs to service Noel's beloved boat either - for all his talk about saving us $32 a kilo on fresh snapper, I still don't think I could possibly pay out as much on fish over the course of a year as we do for him to go and catch them! Of course I wouldn't dream of mentioning that to him though, he would be bound to have an answer - I don't know how he does it but he always manages to have the last word. Even last week, when I called him pigheaded in a moment of total frustration he came back at me with 'Yes I am - but I'm right!'

Anyway, writing out the bills had put me in such a black mood that when one of Liam's friends called to ask if he wanted to come over, his answer was 'Yep, Mum will drop me round at your place as soon as she's finished banging her head on her desk'. Unfortunately, to add insult to injury it immediately became apparent that we needed food as my pantry is still full of wheat-loaded stuff that half of us can't eat. What to do, what to do? I didn't want to spend a single bean more after signing my life away along with my cheques but the bottom line was, we had to eat. We were just going to have to live off the smell of an oily rag for the next month. So I dropped Liam off at his mate's house and Ali and I headed for the supermarket. I love our new local Countdown, just about everything is on special and I can turn the whole experience into a game, trying to create the emptiest, most boring looking trolley. I stocked up with the idea of hopefully having enough to last us over the next month with the exception of fruit and veges and treated Ali to McDonald's, telling him that it was his last one for quite a while. Mind you, since we no longer eat wheat it's got a lot cheaper as all we can have are the chips and an ice cream sundae without the syrup! On the way home, Ali took note of a sign on a building and asked 'Mum, what does WOF mean?' I explained it stood for Warrant Of Fitness and was a safety check on your car to make sure everything's working properly. I then pointed out the sticker on my windscreen to show when mine was due and was mortified to see it had expired back in July. Oh joy, another bill!

School holidays are here again, the weather's crap, the boys are fighting and I'm sick with a blah virus from hell. On the plus side, it's made me slightly deaf so at least I can't HEAR the boys fighting. They're very good about 'being broke for the holidays' and are keeping themselves occupied while I blob around the house in my penguin pyjamas feeling sorry for myself. I was so impressed yesterday to hear them (albeit muffled!) actually working out their own Simple Savings alternatives to going out or eating out. Bless 'em. I'm not remotely concerned about finding free things to do for the next fortnight, there are heaps of ideas in the Vault. Having kept ourselves busy with the Alphabet Holiday program several times now, I'm on the lookout for something new to try. I just need to be well enough to try them out!

Still, every cloud has a silver lining - since I have cut out the wheat along with the boys, I have lost three kilos in the last ten days! For someone who is sick, I'm actually feeling quite fabulous! Even Liam has noticed. 'You've lost weight Mum!' he said. 'Oh thanks Liam, do you really think so?' I replied, chuffed. 'Oh yeah, definitely - your tummy used to stick out way further than your boobs!' Charming! Since my supermarket visit I also have the best smelling toilet in the neighbourhood. I have heard so many great things about Ecostore products from Kiwis and Australians alike that I decided at long last to buy a bottle of their plant based toilet cleaner. I have been so impressed, not only with the lovely fresh smell but also the cleaning power. You only need a tiny amount and it's so much nicer than all the other over-the-top 'Pot Pourri'/'Spring Garden'/'Ocean Fresh' ones I have ever tried. Will definitely be trying some more of their products in the future. I also found the perfect bestest floor cleaner ever for my wooden floors! I used to use methylated spirits in hot soapy water but found that Noel and I would spend the next day or two going round the house sniffing, as it made the house smell like cat pee! I wish I had known that when the Campbell Live crew turned up a few weeks ago, it would have saved me a lot of stress and rushing around! So I replaced the meths with half a capful of Eucalyptus oil in my usual bucket of hot soapy water and it works brilliantly. Not only do I have the cleanest floor ever, but it works wonders for the sinuses while I'm mopping too!

I have found since ditching the wheat in my diet I am enjoying a whole range of tasty new foods, all made from scratch of course. Thanks to my cry for help on the Forum recently about my boring salad repertoire I have been making myself the most wonderful lunches and dinners, so thanks heaps everyone. Actually while I think of it, I have had so many requests for my edible wheat-free bread recipe for the breadmaker, I might as well post it here:

Liam's Favourite Edible Rice Bread :-)

Liquid Ingredients:

450ml Water

3 tbsp oil

3 eggs

1 tsp vinegar

Dry Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups white rice flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 1/2 tbsp Guar gum

3 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp milk powder

2 teaspoons yeast

1. Mix liquid ingredients together in a bowl. (Do not use electric mixer as this will aerate the mixture).

2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Using a pliable spatula, combine liquid and dry ingredients. Mix to a soft dough, ensuring all ingredients are well combined.

3. Spoon dough into bread pan, pressing down with a spatula after each spoonful, to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake in bread machine at 'Basic' loaf setting, 1kg loaf size.

I have found it to be quite filling, I used to be a 'two pieces of toast' girl every morning but with this stuff I can only manage one! Hooray for my homeopathy home kit, I'm actually feeling quite human now. Just as well as I'm supposed to be going to the Deb Webber show tonight and there's no way I want to waste my ticket. Just as well I got it last month when I could afford it. Never mind, with a bit of luck she'll tell me to go and buy a lottery ticket!

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