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Pocahontas (Vic) - 13 Sep 2018
For the nth time I have been off SS land again and now I am back. Lovely to be here again.
I had been unwell for quite a while due to huge fibroids that caused me so much trouble. . Finally I had abdominal hysterectomy on the 5th of September and I am trying to recover now. The fibroids was 20 cm long and couldn't be taken out via bikini line so I have a huge horizontal cut on my belly and I was told it takes longer to recover.
I am hoping that some of you lovelies can give me any tips so i can do the right things to heal well.
I have a lovely DH who is very hands on with our 2 children ages 3 and 8. He is also very good with housework which I am grateful. He does everything from laundry to cooking and cleaning but I feel for him because I feel that for the last week that he has been doing it on his own he feels that he is not doing things right. He is behind with folding and laundry and vacuuming is not done as often as I used to do. Every 2 days and sometimes every day. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment so it is not hard for me to do it before the surgery. I never comment on how he does things because I totally understand how hard it is for him and I don't want him to feel that he is not doing enough cause honestly I could never ask for more. He has always been supportive and helpful with household.
I think the problem is me. I just cannot resist the urge of wanting to do things like doing dishes and tidying up. I am organized and i love to be organized. In saying that I don't consider myself extremely organized as there are some areas I am happy to let go so our home is not as spotless like you see in the magazine.
So when I got discharged on Monday I started walking around our unit slowly and I make sure i stop after few minutes. Then on tuesday i started little things like washing the fruits for snack, drying them and putting them in the containers. I used to washed and prepack all the school snacks and cut all the veggies on wekeends. Then on Wednesday I cooked omellete but it only took like 10 minutes. Today I washed dishes maybe 3 cups and few plates. Took me about 5 minutes. DH is out to drop off the little one to childcare and I am sure that when he finds out that i washed the dishes he might be crossed cause he wanted me to rest and not to do anything.
My questions are: with those little thing that I have done so far do you think it would sabotage my healing process? Should i be literally not doing anything at all except for walking of course. i wanna do the right thing.
Since hospital discharge Inhave been working on few things like my bullet journal and organizing photos that I have been putting off for years. I also enrolled in free lesson in calligraphy and I have been doing household admin works like reviewing our finances and goals (personal and family). I will be off work until 18 of October but I am sure it will fly so I also want to be productive with the long time I was given off work.
Inwould appreciate all the auggestions yiu can give me and Thank you in advance.

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Kerry (Albany WA) - 4 Sep 2018

I have neglected our superannuation - and so have decided that has to be our priority until retirement - we are 9 to 10 years from pension age.

I have set goals for the current financial year. I am doing this blog post to keep track and keep me accountable.

I have opened a Hostplus for both my husband and myself. I have transferred his three funds into his Hostplus fund. I have transferred my main fund and the major balance of my other fund to my new Hostplus fund. I cannot close one of my funds as I'm waiting for a co-contribution payment from the Government. When that is received I will transfer the balance to Hostplus.

My husband receives his SGC to his fund, and I have salary sacrificed a % to come from each of his pays.

I am not employed, so not receiving any contributions to my fund. My plan is to contribute $1,000 member contribution and $3,000 spouse contribution to my fund throughout the year.

I am also going to make monthly payments to cover the admin fee and insurance fee taken out of both of our funds.

In August I made a $200 member contribution and a $400 spouse contribution to my fund for July and August.

I also paid $6.94 in August for the July fees for myself, and $7.97 for the July fees for my husband.

My husband had his June SGC and July SGC and July SS go into his fund in August.

I have today paid $100 member and $200 spouse contributions to my fund for September. I have also paid $27.21 to my fund and $32.34 to my husband's fund to reimburse fees taken out in August.

I scrounged up all the coins I could find to fund the covering of the fees for us both. Will have to come up with a challenge to get these funds each month.

I have set a goal for the financial year - with SGC & SS contributions for my husband (less tax) and member & spouse contributions for myself plus growth. So I will see how I go at the end of the financial year.

I will also have to try and get the equivalent of a few days work so I can be eligible for the co-contribution from the Govt.


This year is passing by way too fast! Welcome everyone to September :) spring has sprung, so nice getting out and about again in shorts and t-shirt!

For fathers day since we are now living in company supplied accommodation and DH is missing his flower garden, our woolies had Azalea's in store plus potting mix on special. I already had a long planter box in the shed, so pulled it out and put 3 different types of Azalea's in the pot and that was his present. He loved it we had to show him last night because he is working today.

We also bought him some flowers for inside the house, I always had these in the house before when we had our own gardens, bought ones are almost as nice :).

DD wants to make him a chocolate mud cake for dessert tonight and for our meal we will have roast pork & veggies, cant go wrong when roast pork is $6/kg. She has also made him a card and has some chocolates for him as well.

This month started off with a bit over $8k deposited into my account, I received my yearly bonus of $14,606, so by the time tax and super was taken out I was left with just over $8k, the odds when straight onto the mortgage for IP1 around $70. This money will go straight over into my savings. We do need to get new dining chairs and a lounge but that is about all we need. So will be nice to put that away.

This month I will also get my tax organised, I usually get around $8k back in tax each year, so will see how well I do this year now I have gotten rid of another IP, down to 2 now from 4. I am all up on my payments for everything (actually ahead on a lot of them) so this money will also be put into my savings.

This week I need to phone both banks for the IPs they both are out of their fixed term agreements in the coming weeks. IP1 I will more than likely fix P&I as the variable with that bank is way too high for IP. IP2 will keep at variable but need to negotiate new deal with bank and it will also go P&I, I believe this one will cost me an extra $500 a month on top of what I am currently paying. New tenant just moved in on Friday to this property so I will start to have money coming back in again after having it vacant nearly 2 months. I tried to sell it untenanted but no luck so need to get tenant back in and wish for a sale to occur, it has been on the market for 2 years now.

I also need to look at some of my insurances for the IPs I believe I am paying too much so will do a review and possible change of insurer on those. I need to review our health insurance policy also, I need to have the best possible hospital care I can get and we only use a few of our extras like chiro/physio/dental/optical, however I will need hearing aids soon so will need to see what coverage there is for that.

I still haven't made a decision if we should move or not. I received my phone call on Friday to say they were offering me the job, but did not provide me with it in writing but expected me to give them a start date. I advised HR that I can not accept the position based on a phone call, I can provide her loosely as start date, but this will be confirmed once I have the written offer. If she could not give me the detail over the phone how can I accept the position without seeing what is put on the table first. She was a little annoyed but was trying to get the CEO to sign off on offer on Friday to get to me. Have not seen it yet so can not make a decision.

So since I have been thinking that maybe the offer is not that good and we will be staying put, I have been thinking about how to make this house more homely. In summer we have a covered patio area which usually we like to spend a lot of time outdoors sitting around our patio table, however in this house the covered patio area is in full sun from just after lunch through to the evening, this is the time we would prefer to sit out there. So Kmart has these planter boxes and I am thinking if I plant either hedges or palms in these I can then create a private shaded area for us to enjoy through those hot months. The planter boxes are $45 each and I think for our patio area I would need about 6 of these to shade that area. Bonus is we can take them when we move. I am thinking rather than putting potting mix in the planter box to just put pots inside them so when we do move it is easier to travel with, less to lift. Will have to think about that, but it seems to be the best option for us to use that space which so far in 12 months has not been used.

I would also like to get some of these planter boxes for the backyard for a veggie garden, I think it is the best way with our dogs. I dearly miss my veggie garden since moving.

Our upstairs patio also does not get a lot of use, so I have taken the table and chairs from up there and put them currently down stairs, I am still working out where I should put these, maybe in our backyard we spend a bit of time out there but don't have anywhere to sit. Just dont want our big dog using them as beds, she has a habit of this so might have to tilt the chairs against the house in the evening.


Nicki C (QLD) - 14 Aug 2018

Well, this year has been a roller coaster of a year.

I started studying at the end of last year (Certificate 3 in Community Services) and it has been interesting as well as challenging. It definitely has been a stretch, not just in learning the content, but in managing my time and working under pressure when an assignment is due and there are crises happening all around me. I've learned a lot about paying attention to the little things so that they don't turn into big problems later.

My 17 year old lost his part time job at McDonalds last year and has been looking for work ever since. To be honest, I am not sure how hard he has been looking but that is another story. I have not been getting any payments for him anymore, so that has been a bit of a pain. But the financial stress I anticipated didn't really come to pass; we adjusted, and I am still saving.

And I didn't need to go back to getting fruit and veges from the community food pantry either. It is so liberating being able to afford to buy our own food and still save money.

I feel like my self-confidence has really taken off over the last year. And I am starting to hope, dream and plan for all sorts of new things.

This year I have saved $7000 to buy a car and get my licence. I NEVER thought I would be able to afford to do that, let alone learn to drive (okay, I still haven't learned to drive, but I will)

Now I have decided to save up for a house deposit. On the pension! YES I CAN!

I have set myself the ambitious goal of $40,000 in the next 3 years. Ive been looking at houses in regional Victoria and I have found plenty under $100,000. I figure with my deposit, the first homeowners grant (we can't get it in Qld for existing houses) I should end up with a mortgage that really isn't any more expensive than the rent I pay in Public Housing. And then some other family who really needs their rent subsidised can reap the benefit of us moving out.

At the moment, I am aiming to save the child support, and the family tax benefit. Which comes to a bit over $1000 a month.

That leaves $659 fortnight AFTER rent and contents insurance (taken through CentrePay)

My budget looks like this:


Church $20

Support Group $10

Food $120 (add extra if I have it/need it)

Chores $40 (I pay kids to mow lawn/do some cleaning)

Emergency money $30 (this has been used for taxis in the middle of the night and phone credit for a young homeless friend in recent times) Sometimes it isn't used and gets rolled over

Transport $20

Miscellaneous $20 sometimes isn't used


Bills and School $190

Christmas $40

Birthdays $20

Pocket Money (DD16) 80

My Pocket Money $40

Netflix $7

Leave in Bank $20

TOTAL $657

This budget is good for the rest of the year and I will look at it again in January.

I am really keen to get as much saved as I can while I have child support and FTB coming in. By the time that goes I hope I will be working at least one day a week.

As of today, I have $136 saved towards my house. The great Australian dream is alive and well!

I am so excited to be doing this. I thought that home ownership was totally beyond my reach until I found an SS who talked about buying in regional areas. Hopefully I will save what I need in 3 years, then I imagining finding somewhere in the next couple of years after that. What a great way to be spending my fifties! Thanks SS!


New post, old one got LONG

Purging and decluttering has been a major focus in my life for a long time. I am finally getting to a point where I struggle to find some things but as I tell others its a constant and revolving process.

I decluttered books fully over 2 years ago, we reduced from three huge bookcases to three shelves of one of those bookcases. However, I did put the picture books into storage and I have found over time more have crept in and as I went back to uni my textbooks would come in and have not left, some cookbooks have crept in.

Now textbooks was easy, I went through my booklists and took out the ones for the topics I have finished and passed and have them on my desk to post for sale.

Harder was cookbooks... now there is some irony here because I DONT USE COOKBOOKS! So far I have pulled out 7 books but there is at least another 5-8 I should get rid of.

Kids books, oh boy. I will go through those this week and see how much I can get rid of. Bubba has half of under her bed full of books and she sticks to the same 5-10. I will keep some but I think the bulk can go. My sister can take some for her son or they can go, we just dont need it all!


Craft.. ugh so hard to deal with. It creeps and creeps and then all of a sudden there is a box under the desk, an over flowing cupboard behind the desk and never time to do it all.

This weeks purge goal is to reduce the space enough to get rid of the box of fabric under my desk. I want nothing but my laptop case stored under my desk anymore, drives me crazy.


the playroom :( Such a hard area as I feel guilty getting rid of gifts but honestly bubbas favourite toys are my gadgets draw and our camping headlamp. I could easily reduce her toys by 90% and I dont think she would notice but then i feel guilty. HELP!


DUN DUN DUUUUUUNN the kitchen.

As my kitchen gadgets thread I need to clean out some gadgets. But not only gadgets but the pantry prob needs a quick purge, its not too bad in there but always pays to check.

The cupboard could use a quick clean through as well and reduce by hopefully 10%

My goal by september is to have my house and garden 90% of the way to where i want them.

I have a gardener who takes care of my yard for me now, he is on top of getting things cleaned up and contained. My job is just to source a really nice family table and chairs to eat at outside, we never have as a family since bub was born as I had to leave my tables behind when we moved here.

The house... is mostly there. Like I can safely say there is NOTHING in my lounge room to go, it is perfect just needs a couple of cushions for the couch and a new blanket.

Our house is set up with a sunken lower area. So when I say upstairs its literally 3 steps LOL. But downstairs we have our lounge/play room. The main lounge faces the tv and then off to the left in what used to be a bar area nook is now my kids play area. THen through the big french doors is a huge dining and kitchen.

Upstairs is the second lounge which is my 'office' it has my desk and craft cabinet etc. No couch or anything up here. Then off the entrance (other side of office) is 4 bedrooms, bath and laundry. My goal is to literally start at one end with the kitchen/dining and work my way room by room through the house removing as much as I can and get rid of it ALL by the middle of september when we have everyone come for bubbas second birthday

Lets get ruthless!


inches (Alice Springs) - 1 Apr 2018

March was a bit of a disaster as the solar hot waters system died and had to be replaced. Unfortunately I had to get a loan to replace but am now waiting for $1000 rebate from the power company which will go straight on the loan.

I now need to rejig the budget.

My savings and emergency accounts are small but growing slowly. Next emergency repairs I will hopefully be able to pay without a loan.

My holiday in December is going well with the airfares now paid (got a good deal). Just need to save the hotel money now.

My stashbusting of craft is coming along nicely and my wool has been condensed from 3 large containers to 1. I have ordered more wool online from my craft account. Next I will be starting on some UFO's with my fabric stash.

All in all things are good.

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I have been working on a large project. It has approx 30 full A4 pages of chart to do...I have done three pages and am working on the fourth. I am using 18 count AIDA. 18 count means there are 18 stitches to the inch.

The pattern is called Cavalier and Toy Soldier by an artist called Thomas Rivers Lovelace. The charts are no longer available for sale as he died and the family took the charts off the market. I bought the chart in 2015 from Heaven and Earth Designs. They sell heaps of quality cross stitch patterns.

I started this pattern on the 15th February 2018 so I have done a fair bit in just over a month but everyone keeps telling me how fast I stitch....I put a fair bit of time into it so that helps!


Wendy F ((Formerly Still Learning WA)) - 3 Jan 2018

So, another year. I have been blogging on SS since 2013 when I felt my world crumbling under family issues but I came out the other side stronger. It has been a constant struggle since then with everyday full of medical issues, juggling life, work, my own mental and physical health.

Emily, I loved your suggestion for a title but I did a quick search on Pinterest and saw Life is tough, but so are you and that is one of my long time favourites.

For those that continue to lurk, I feel blessed that you want to read about my whinging but some days there are wins too. SS makes me feel safe and supported.

For anybody new, my annual blog is about my daily struggles with DD13 who has always had sleeping and eating issues but was diagnosed with ADHD in 2013 and since Aspergers has become more apparent. We juggle medical appointments as we seek to get assistance and support and last year she had braces which was hard for a child that refuses to eat quite often and then we stick metal stuff on her teeth and hurt her teeth and mouth and give her more headaches. But we got through it and is down to a retainer. We thought DD10 would require orthodontic work later but has already started last year and is already draining us financially and giving her grief with sore mouth when ain appliance has not yet been fitted.

I have fibromyalgia so live in a daily world of pain and tiredness, but am grateful that most days I can push myself to get stuff done. I might pay the price afterwards and I am not good at pacing myself. I have tested to a high possibility of the motor neurone gene that killed my sister in 2014. And she was a rare case having fronto temporal dementia as well and I fear both. I have consult with her neurologist on 31st January when we find out what symptoms we need to look for and how to be prepared if I show symptoms. I am 46, she died at 46.

DH and I have been together for 25 years and married for 22 come this April. He is my rock but in recent years hasn't been able to always give me the support I need or ask for. Problems are ignored, I feel ignored. He works long hours, earns most of our income, has medical issues of his own, currently with shoulder bursitis and lower back pain. We find it hard to sit down and talk about money and joint issues. After a really rough patch before Christmas, we are strong but it only works when I take the load of this family.

New Years Eve we went to beach thinking it had been a hot day so would not be windy in the evening but we were wrong. DD10 paddled in the low water and I walked a bit up and down a small stretch of sand. DH and DD13 were cold so I sent them back up to sheltered grassed area and DD10 and I soon followed. Had picnic dinner but it was still windy and girls were cold and weren't warmer with layers of towels and blankets from the car. I couldn't eat most of what I had brought so told DH we might as well pack up and go home. I was craving toasted sandwich which I hadn't eaten in a long time. For many months, I have struggled with taste of food and I had to go off cheese and had hated melted cheese long before that. I recently found I could eat Bega brand. So DD10 and I had toasted sandwiches and it was good. So another thing back on the regular menu.

I am still on leave from work. Supposed to return next week but desperately want to quit. I do like my job well enough. I feel proud of what I do after it took me months to figure out a schedule and get to know what was what. I still hold a grudge that DH wanted me to return to work because he wanted to quit his job and not work full time but nothing changed there so I found myself juggling work plus home life. TI only work 15 hours per week give or take but that is enough to increase my pain and tiredness then I come home and try to deal with tired DD13 to push her to do homework and be the high academic, self-motivated student she is expected to be in the Academic Extension Program that she was in for year 7 and year 8. In reality, all she wants to do is sleep. Or play electronics. No self-motivation whatsoever.

Nothing changed with me working, but my stress levels as I tried to deal with the housework, paying bills, medical appointments, following up proposed treatment, shopping etc etc. I yell more. I had 2 panic attacks last year, which are a new thing. First one landed me in hospital and I was surprised at the diagnosis but second one I knew what was happening. I have another new symptom of my right arm begins to shake sideways back and forth. Just before Christmas, it was really bad and I had a day of 2 total meltdowns and crying because it scared me so much. I think it is more stress related that motor neurone but sitting in the car in heavy traffic with a left heel with plantar fasciitis that was hurting terribly and I started shaking and I couldn't calm it down.

So this week I am trying to stick to my routine of cleaning days. Monday was still a holiday with everyone home so routine was out the window. Tuesday did more money and paperwork than other days. Today is bathroom cleaning day but deferred that to tomorrow as we needed to find a receipt in DD13's room and DD10's bedroom is more of a mess so I made both girls clean up. DD13 realised receipt was in car but her room is tidier. Wasn't too bad for her usual standards. I sorted her wardrobe which holds linen and out of season clothes and found the usual pile of dirty clothes thrown in and dresses and cardigans fallen down but not hung back up. I have given up straightening her clothes drawers. Her problem, not mine. So hers was relatively easy. DD10's is overwhelming but she has more small toys and bits. She has one box of out of season clothes but that was overfull so I found a matching plastic box, washed it and filled it so she has 2. At 10, she is only in size 7, so there are boxes for size 8, 9 and 10 handed down from DD13 but currently only enough room for 2 boxes of size 8 and I plan to move 9 and 10 to another area of the house. Plans to vacuum might not happen today but I will go back into battle shortly.

Last year I discovered decluttering. I knew what it was. I knew the theory of it but couldn't put it into practice. Felt for years our large house was bursting at the seams. Last year something clicked and we have carted car boot after car boot to op shops. Still got too much but I am proud of how much I achieved. Still working on it and I find some days can't let go of something but a few days later I wake up and say yes, I am ready now.

I also wanted to create a business last year but lack of time and energy pushed that aside. Still want to. I became a Doterra consultant over 12 months ago and I could just keep going, using it for my own personal use with no pressure to sell. I am not a natural sales person but I have been a software trainer before and I want to run workshops and share these wonderful products. My cousin said to me on Christmas Eve, you need to believe in the products and I do. I have loved aromatherapy for many years. Not sure why I think essential oils help but my belief has been made stronger. Don't always find the right solutions and we still rely heavily on regular medications but I crave learning more and I love mixing up potions and my own cleaners and toiletries although I still haven't got that right. But I don't want to give up. I have pulled back the money I am spending on it but I still want to push forward and work at it and see what happens.

So 2018 will be a challenge of orthodontic appointments and expenses. Childrens hospital OT for DD13 whom we can give up if we want to but our paediatrician tried so hard to get us in to get extra assistance that she could not provide so I am pushing to stay. Go back next week. I also have day surgery next week for cortisone injection in my heel. At first, I did not want the injection, but once booked, I am wanting it in my right foot, my right shoulder, my lower back. DD13 began seeing a psychiatrist last year and I was horrified that my 12 year old needed to have a physchiatrist but she has been the best medical specialist of all. Not just looking at the food but looking at all the issues together. Sleep, stress, family life, I saw her for myself before Christmas when my anger was out of control but at $350 per visit with maybe $150 back from Medicare, I don't know that I can continue. I will be okay. It worries me juggling work with medical appointments. Both manaqers PA that I report to and other bookkeeper have thrown their hands up knowing which days I will be working. I am grateful for the flexibility. But family comes first for me and if I am not coping, then the whole family unit crumbles. I have to be the strong one in this family.

Should be trying to trying to get tax sorted this week while I am not working. Got one family trust that needs whole year processed. And new data file created. Emailed accountant before Christmas to ask if he could take over processing at his office but no reply. Not unusual. But if I am not working, I can do it. I can focus on DD13's medical issues. I might get more depressed because I am home dealing with everyone else's mess but if I carve out time for Doterra and get that moving, I won't be lonely and I will have another challenge to be motivated for. At the moment, I receive small comissions which I can credit against orders but can also choose for that to be physically paid so I should create a business banking account.

Okay, enough waffling. Girls have just disappeared down the road for a quick swim. I told DD10 yesterday, no more afternoon swims because she gets so tired but it doesn't seem fair to not let them swim. I have no idea of what to cook for dinner so am procrastinating on that. I had a rest and short nap before I got on here so should get on with finishing DD13's room, tidying kitchen, sorting dinner, but might yet duck next door if best friend is home.

Bye for now.

Luv W


leejay (vic) - 1 Feb 2016

I was very pleased to score a large bag of vine ripened tomatoes, chillies, spring onions and some fresh mixed herbs from a lovely person at work. Some of the basil has seeds on it and I cut the root ends off the spring onions and planted them. Yay more free food.

Saturday I sliced some of the tomatoes and made a salad with balsamic vinegar. We ate them with sausages and fried onions on bread.

Today I am cooking up most of the tomatoes with the basil, rosemary and chilli - the house smells fantastic.

Since eating the contents of my freezers last month, I now have room to start again.

It will probably end up as pasta or pizza sauce. So while I watch my therapeutic kitty videos and eat my breakfast I have added to my food bank.

With no effort at all.

So it got my thinking about scheduling into our meal plans an extra item every day for our stockpiles.

If a big cook up scares the living sauce outta you then maybe just one extra thing per day could be more your speed?

I'm thinking of things like:-

Cook a couple of cups of rice by absorption and freeze for quick fried rice or salad.

A pot of soup or stock from bones or vege stock using sad veg

An extra slow cooker meal

Double the cake mix or just measure out the dry ingredients for next time and store in an airtight container.

Tomorrows school lunches

Sausage balls - my favourite and dead easy. Squeeze the meat out of sausages to make little meat balls. I cook mine in a wok. Squeeze them straight into the pan. Then drain well and freeze in a zip lock bag. Great for snacks heated in the oven, add to a sauce for speedy pasta or stroganoff. On a pizza. Squeezing the meat out of the skins means a lot more fat is lost during cooking.

A batch of biscuits while the oven is on from dinner.

My point is that if you're cooking one thing say dinner, cook another thing at the same time. Very soon your freezer will be full and you can have a night - or a week off!

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Barb76 (QLD) - 12 Jan 2016
Well here it goes my first blog post here, here we are almost two weeks into the new year ( 2016) and I am aiming to tackle my grocery budget for once and for all, I am pretty good at sticking to a budget on my initial shop for the fortnight but it is the " top up shops" in between that I struggle with. I am meal / menu planning regularly but the things I generally buy are milk, fruit and veg, um.... dark chocolate, stationery items on sale , Christmas gifts on sale etc , it is the $2 here and the $3 there that really add up.
The thing is my initial shop for the fortnight could be improved and my budget lowered but I am allergic to fish/ seafood, eggs, nuts and pork and possibly lamb so I end up buying a lot of chicken breast fillets, sausages, mince and steak , it can get expensive but I am not giving up!.
My pension day is next Wednesday so I have been :
Going through my pantry , fridge and freezer to do an inventory of what I have on hand
Revising my budget

Thinking of snack ideas.

Researching new recipesusing what I can eat and what I have on hand

Writing a meal plan using what I have first

I am saving for my holiday for my 40 th Birthday this year, I have paid for my share of the accommodation and have a small start to my spending money. I hope to put any savings I make from my grocery budget into a slush fund but I hope to save more money overall not just on the grocery budget this is just the first step . I have tried before to cut down my grocery bill including once a month shopping but I need to work on it.

Thank you for reading this.

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Have you ever received an email which starts with "do you remember these", and goes on to show you a whole paraphanelia of old items such as kero lamps, wringer tubs, etc.

I have to tell you, that once upon a time was not that long ago! The last time I received this email I could recognise over 80% of the items, and I am only 66 years

The good old days were not that good at the time, but do we really need all that we have today?

What was good about those days was that they were simpler. You grew what you could, raised chickens, or in my Grandmother's case, goats, and if you didn't have something you traded before you thought of going to the shop, which was often quite a distance away.

Flour only came in two kinds, plain flour and cornflour. Plain flour became self raising flour by adding baking powder to it. Sugar, flour, rice, were all bought in 5lb bags, and if you got weavils, you sifted them Gravy was made with plain flour, salt, and water. The colour came from the pan juices, and sometimes a few drops from a bottle of parisienne essence, or a teaspoon of vegemite. BTW did you ever wonder how vegemite came into being? Look it up on the internet.

Dried beans were used all the time, custard did not come in a box but was made with eggs and milk, and you used gelatine to make your own jelly, or to make brawn to put on your sandwiches or for salad. Bought cordials were unheard of, you made ice cream from evaporated milk and vanilla, ginger beer and lemon drinks were made at home, and mushy peas were served with homemade meat pie.

There is an excellent eight episodes on youtube of a series called Wartime Kitchens and Gardens which you may be interested in looking at. There is also an interesting one on How to Cook a, and a gentleman who tells you have to make more than one meal out of a can of spam - I kid you not!

Tomorrow I will put up some of the old recipes for some of these basics.


A couple of weeks ago, we had friends come to stay and as I got ready to serve lunch, I reached in to the drawer for a tablecloth - on spreading it out, I noticed it was an old one that had belonged to my mother and was past its use-by date so I put it aside for future consideration and grabbed another to use.

In the back of my mind, I had thought to cut it down for the small table in the caravan, using the better parts of it and discarding the rest. This morning I found myself with a few spare hours and set to work - I measured the table, cut the undamaged part of the cloth and prepared to hem it on the sewing machine. I also had enough of the borders left to make a mat to throw on the top of the fridge in the van. Rather than waste the remaining parts, I fashioned four good sized tea towels from what was left - this is beautiful soft old-fashioned damask, which lasts for years and years so what do a couple of light stains or a few tiny holes matter. In all, I didn't waste a bit of it, and I'm very happy with my re-purposing.

As I sewed my memories came flooding back - this lovely cloth was used during my growing up years when we sat down at the dining room table, the cloth protecting the lovely polished oak surface. Many a Saturday evening roast was shared around this table, and many a Sunday lunch. My siblings and I all remember this tablecloth with affection - but for over thirty years it has sat neglected in my linen cupboard. We rarely used the dining room table after my father went to the islands for work, bringing it out only when he got home for the weekend every six weeks or so.

I recalled the joyous occasions when we would collect him from the harbour on a Saturday afternoon when he was due for leave, the excited chatter on the way home -the way he rushed in to the house to find my mum in the warm fragrant kitchen preparing the evening meal to welcome him home. Never an emotional or demonstrative man, he would pick my tiny mum up and crush her in a bear hug before kissing her lovingly - much to our teenage embarrassment. He always called her 'Toots'. Then the table would be set with this very tablecloth and we would sit down as a family again and share all our news.

This in turn brought back the memory of her death at the age of seventy six - his frantic rush to the hospital that night when he got the phone call telling him of the massive heart attack, the devastation that he didn't get there in time to say goodbye, that he sat up all night making lists and keeping his mind occupied. The morning after her funeral - New Years Eve - when I heard him out in the garden and found him savagely ripping out weeds, between cursing and sobbing - he simply said what was the point of going on. His grief was so great. That garden was weeded within an inch of its life!

Who would think that one item of linen could stir up so many memories - most of which I had forgotten or buried - it was a happy morning recalling the many joyous and sad occasions of times gone by. I will now use these items all the time as they were meant to be used - with love.

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Over the years I have introduced many different habits into the way I live my life. I have become very aware that in order to achieve 'real' success I actually need to be making small choices in order to see long lasting changes. There are many habits that sound great but once you have been trying to do the new habit for a while and the fun starts to wear off then the habit usually dies, unless there are outstanding benefits and even then you can give up if it seems too hard. A good example of this is changing your diet. In the past couple of years I have lost the 'same' stone three times now! All that hard work and I did achieve the weight loss but it was so hard to restrict my eating that each time I eventually gave in and put the lost weight back on again, so what have I got to show for it?

A fast way to weight loss always sounds so much more attractive instead of accepting a more realistic but slower rate of loss. If you do consent to losing the weight slowly it should be much easier on yourself as you can make a small decision each day towards your goal. This is much more preferable to the alternative of feeling like bursting into tears as you watch everyone around you eating things like yummy chocolate cake without even feeling guilty (!) after they just stuffed themselves with lasagne while you had to endure yet another (sigh) Caesar salad.

This is my reasoning anyway and that is what I am going to try over the next few weeks. I am going to try to make small choices that will influence my life in the long term, whether it is by saying; "no" to a chocolate biscuit (saving all those calories), walking for just five minutes (we can all manage that surely?) or saving money by staying home from the shops for an extra day rewarding myself by putting another pound into my savings account for being good (after all I would have spent a lot more than a pound if I had gone to the shops, right?). So many things in my life just need me to keep chipping away at them and over time there would soon be a remarkable difference!

This morning I bravely got onto the scales once again and found that I now weigh 12 stone 9 pounds. That's ok for a starting point but I would like to be a little lighter than that if possible. I am not prepared to follow a diet or starve myself for a quick result though, I love my food and I want to be able to choose what I eat instead of being told what I can eat and what I can't eat. I am going to make small choices to make a small difference in my weight over time but hopefully it will be consistent loss. I won't set myself a target for my weight loss but simply weigh occasionally to see if there has been any loss and if there has then rejoice!

This principle of making small choices could also be useful to remember in our relationships with other people, one extra kiss a day for your Husband could improve your relationship, or a hug or a positive word for your child or friend could make their day. I have many friends who are going through hard times at the moment, whether physical, financially or emotionally it would encourage them to know that someone was thinking of them as they struggle to keep positive about their life. A thoughtful text, email, letter or card in the post is something that I can send occasionally for those that I love and sometimes a small unexpected gift. All ideas towards my choice of how I spend my time, I would rather have 'less stuff' and 'more people' in my life!

There are far too many 'things' in my house and lots of things surely needs to go but I can't emotionally handle throwing out, or giving away lots of it all at once. So I will simply sort a bit each week and reduce my shopping trips at the same time to ensure that I am not accumulating more than I need. I have been donating lots of our unwanted things to local charities for a long time now but usually after surges of energy. From now on I would like my stuff to be sorted on a regular basis, each week looking in a different area of my house for items that I don't love or need anymore. I love 'space' and I want to welcome it back into my home!

Most of my shopping trips into town are for groceries but I have just recently replaced that habit with online grocery shopping on a pre-paid delivery system which only costs me £2.30 a week for as many deliveries as I need, while driving the car to town cost me £5 per trip in fuel alone. Grocery shopping online has released cash, time and energy for me. I am already seeing the benefits of just this one small choice and it means that I am staying at home more and so am now out of the way of temptation of buying more stuff from the other shops in town (usually charity shops).

Managing a large family as well as juggling a home business can get to the point where it feels overwhelming, especially if you are not well. I have been in that place over the past few months and it has felt very hard, impossible at times. When there is no energy whether physically or emotionally, simple jobs like hoovering or tidying may need to be achieved a bit at a time instead of doing the whole house in a day. If you only manage to dust one shelf you have made a difference to that room. Give yourself credit for that small achievement. I spent years not giving myself any credit for my small achievements just pushing myself to get big things done. Guess what I have found, small achievements can be the start of big ones!

I don't know if these thoughts of mine will help anyone else or not but I know that expressing them has helped me to get things settled in my own mind. I am looking forward to seeing more small changes in my own life over the next few weeks. Realising that I can make a small difference each day to my life, or someone else's makes me feel much more hopeful for the future and is releasing me to finally enjoy life!

Simply Blessed (Mum of 9).

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