National $21 Challenge - Day Four

Posted June 5th, 2008 by Penny Wise

Eek, things are looking a bit lean around here! Not because we don't have any food, we still have heaps. It's just that I need the time to put some more ingredients together to MAKE some of the things we need. Another early start this morning as I travelled up to the city at the crack of dawn to be interviewed on the”>More FM breakfast show with KM, Blair and Nick. As KM came out to greet me with a warm smile I knew this was going to be a lot different to my TV experience. I got to hang out in the studio with the three of them for half an hour prior to the interview and see how everything worked. From the outset I could see that they all totally 'got' the $21 Challenge concept and by the time I was ready to go on air, I was completely relaxed.

Perhaps a little too relaxed maybe! KM insisted I share the story of how 'Helen Clark wrecked Penny Wise's TV appearance' by hogging the make-up room and we were having a bit of a giggle . Unfortunately when they were asking me what she was like, I came out with 'Oh she's actually very nice. She looks a lot more feminine in real life!' Fabulous Penny – you just insinuated to thousands of listeners that you think the Prime Minister usually looks like a bloke.

Fortunately they saw the funny side and I ended up joining the team on air for around half an hour. It was an absolute blast! They are such a neat bunch of people and between us all I think we covered the $21 Challenge really well. KM, bless her had a good look through the Survival Guide and thought the recipes looked delicious, as indeed they are. We all agreed off air that people just don't cook any more and it doesn't help when the poor radio announcers are always being given new, exciting convenience foods as prize giveaways for listeners. Everyone thinks they are too busy to cook in this day and age.

I reminded myself of this conversation later in the day when I got home. The boys needed some more rice bread but we had rugby training again and I didn't have time to make any. The Anzacs and Snowdrops had all gone too but I didn't have time to do any more baking. The batch of Easiyo I had made a couple of days earlier had failed and while I fortunately had some more, I hadn't had time to make any more of that either.

Then I stopped and thought about what I was saying. What must it look like to my kids when they ask for something to eat and get told, 'Sorry, you can't have any bread/cake/biscuits/yoghurt, I don't have time to make anything for you'. What the heck are they supposed to eat then Penny? Are your kids not worth 15 minutes out of your busy schedule for you, their mum to make a batch of muffins or biscuits? What are you going to put in their lunchboxes for the rest of the week? You see that's the thing with $21 Challenge week. You can't go to the shop and take the 'easy' way out. Buying a packet of biscuits is out of the question – and so it should be when you already have everything you need to make them at home.

So I made a promise to myself. No matter how busy I am, or how tired I am, I will always find 15 minutes to make something nice for my family to eat. Life is busy, everyone's busy and sometimes you can get through a whole day feeling like you have hardly spoken to your kids, or your husband but every time they can reach into the pantry, fridge or baking tin and find something yummy that I've made for them, at least they know I love them and am thinking of them.

Thursday is here and the current spending total stands at $15.63. I live on grapefruit juice and did without it for two whole days until I couldn't stand any more and had to cough up $2.69 for a bottle. There's not much cheese left but it will be enough for the French Shepherd's Pie at the weekend, we won't need to use any more before then. Tonight's dinner was supposed to be Wine Braised Beef with Herby Dumplings but of course it's corned beef. I remembered to put it in the crock pot today!

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