Try and try again

Posted April 19th, 2010 by Penny Wise

Apr 19, 2010

The Easter holidays have seemed endless but the boys have finally gone back to school today! I always say 'hooray!' but to be honest if I could I would keep them at home all the time, I always miss their company terribly! They are both growing up so fast at the moment it's just plain scary. At 13 Liam is now able to look his dad in the eye and has just had to buy himself new shoes and rugby boots as he has already grown out of his size 11's. His voice is also breaking and last week he had to start shaving! While he is very proud of his new stubbly moustache I found it all too emotional when Noel was giving him his first shaving lesson and had to leave the room before I burst into tears! So now my big 'baby' has his very own razor sitting in a little dish of olive oil, just like his dad's. Ali, while not yet shaving (but fervently wishing he was) is also growing at an alarming rate and I can see it's not going to be too much longer before he is also taller than me!

We had a lovely surprise last week when a dear friend of mine came to visit with her children. Back in my earlier blogs I used to talk a lot about my friend Rochelle and her four children. She was the one who first got me into running and is the most wonderful, warm person you could ever meet. Unfortunately she moved away four years ago and as we all know, life gets busy. Somehow we never got around to catching up properly and before we knew it, almost three years had passed since we last saw each other. But as Rochelle often says, 'Just 'cos I don't see ya doesn't mean I don't think about ya!' and she turned up with the kids for a visit. It was so lovely to see her and the timing was particularly serendipitous following my recent School of Ken vow to surround ourselves with the people we love. She hadn't changed a bit and our kids soon overcame their initial shyness at not seeing each other for so long and had a ball. One thing's for sure, there's no way I'm letting another three years pass before we catch up again!

We were all excited at the thought of visitors but there was just one small problem - we had no food, not even a loaf of bread! With my car at the mechanic's once again I couldn't even drive to Mr Patel's. Somehow I had to come up with enough food to feed eight people. With only an hour before our visitors were due to arrive, I grabbed my trusty $21 Challenge book and started flicking through for inspiration. I defrosted a pack of sausages and squeezed the sausage meat out, then used it to make home made sausage rolls. I dragged the breadmaker out of the cupboard and threw in everything I needed to make a loaf of bread, then switched it on and let it work its magic. Finally I spotted a box of Weetbix in the pantry and used them to make the Budget Bix Slice, which everyone always raves about. By the time Rochelle and her family arrived, the sausage rolls were done, the chocolate topping was setting on the Budget Bix Slice and the breadmaker was filling the kitchen with the unmistakable aroma of home made bread. Rochelle was impressed - and I had to admit, so was I!

Last week was supposed to be a $21 Challenge week but apart from my economical lunch for eight, the rest of the week went a bit pear shaped! Just as the book says, 'Sometimes it feels as though the whole universe is trying to put the cobblers on your $21 Challenge!' and so it was that week. Twice I couldn't cook properly because my kitchen ceiling was being painted. I had to take not one, but two dogs to the vet, both with sore feet and the other half of the week was spent driving the car back and forth to the mechanic and even the panelbeater. I'm happy to say that the third mechanic finally discovered what was wrong with my car - it needed a new alternator! This was good news as the repairs were only going to cost $300; a significant saving compared with the cost of a new car. Unfortunately whilst on the way to get the aforementioned alternator, a tanker truck drove past, flicked up a large stone and smashed a huge whole in the windscreen. Thank goodness there was nobody sitting in the passenger seat the the time, there was glass everywhere! No sooner did I get my car back and running smoothly than I had to take it to get a new windscreen. Fortunately this was at least covered by insurance but with one thing and another, my $21 Challenge went flying out the window.

Still, as the book also says, 'if at first you don't succeed, try again when things have settled down' so that's what I'm going to do. We've all agreed that next week will be our Challenge week and are looking forward to it. And I've finally got my car back! We still have to pay for the repairs though, not to mention the vet bill for Nushka (who broke one of her tiny toes) and Minnie (who picked up an athlete's foot type of infection - rather ironic as I've never known a less athletic dog in my life!) so the $21 Challenge is going to be a real lifesaver. Even though our family will only manage to participate in $21 Challenge Month by the skin of our teeth, it's always really nice to know that you're not alone; that somewhere out there other households are doing it this month too. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's photos in the 'Before and After' pantry competition!

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