18 September 2008

Someone let the cat out of the bag

Today has been so exciting for me. I have literally been bouncing around I am so excited. This morning I had the privilege of speaking with Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon program for 30 minutes. I was going to just talk with Kathryn and if any of our New Zealander members heard me and let us know I would have been thrilled. Instead, unbeknowns to me, Julie let you all know. She even posted a message in the Member's Forum!

Oh my goodness! Since 9.50 this morning we have been absolutely flat out welcoming new members from New Zealand and of course Australia. I was so excited to be spreading the Cheapskating message in New Zealand that I hardly stopped talking to draw breath. Kathryn was very patient with me and let me go on and on and on about how great living the Cheapskates way is and really how easy it is to get started. Kathryn is so good at her job she even had me confessing just what a terrible cook I was in the beginning and how I had to learn how to sew on a button. The family has survived so perhaps I've improved over the years :)

I really just want to welcome all our new members and I hope you have as much fun living the Cheapskates way as we do.

16 September 2008

Tumble dryers: for drying clothes or extra storage?

I mentioned in today's newsletter that I use the clothes dryer for storage (at the moment it's full of pasta). Heather Hanneman sent me this message:

"Hi Cath. Just a quick message to you. Really enjoying the quick recipes. It's not good for your dryer to sit idle for too long as (so I've been told) the belt which drives it goes hard and stiff and develops a kink where it bends. Best to use it on warm about once a month."

I have a confession to make: I can't remember the last time I used the dryer. I may have used it since we've been in this house but I am not sure so it is probably too late for those belts. There is a four strand clothesline under the back verandah and unless it's really damp cold the clothes go out there. If the weather isn't the best I have 6 clothes horses, one for each of us and one for the towels and sheets etc. Each of the kids have a clothes horse over the central heating vent in their bedrooms. Wet clothes go on in the morning and they can take the dry clothes off and put them away the next morning. We do the same thing and it works a treat, well as long as I keep the washing up to date anyway. I usually put jeans and heavy things on the big racks and stand it over a vent or in front of the wood heater and they are dry in no time.

It was really kind of Heather to take the time to warn me so I thought I would pass it on for those of you who have a dryer and only use it occasionally.

01 September 2008

My little girl looks like a pirate

My gorgeous girl has a patch over her right eye! She was hit in the eye at tennis last Thursday and by yesterday morning it was so swollen she looked like she had a golf ball under her eyelid. We live in a great country with a fantastic health system really. I was able to ring our doctor's surgery and get the after hours number, make an appointment and have her eye checked out and it was all bulk billed! I was amazed, I thought for sure a Sunday morning emergency visit would cost something, but it didn't. And the doctor was so good with her, she was very upset and in a lot of pain. As it turns out the ball that hit her eye actually tore the inside of it and it had turned into an abscess. I felt so bad until the doctor told me that even if I had taken her to get it checked out of Thursday that he wouldn't have done anything different to me. But I still feel bad, you know that awful feeling that comes with motherhood when one of your babies is hurt. She's off school for the week, with ointments, drops and antibiotics for the infection and a patch because the light hurts it. When I rang the school to tell them she would be away (and arrange some work for her hehe) they reminded me to keep any receipts for treatment and medicines as this accident is covered by her school insurance. Yay! Depending on how much it all ends up costing I may be able to get 70% of our out of pocket expenses back.

Spending the afternoon at the doctors meant that I didn't get the roast on yesterday so dinner was baked vegetables and left-overs. Went down a treat and it was a good way to use up the odd bits and pieces from the last few days. I guess gravy can make anything taste good after all.

Our neighbour on the left has two huge and very fruit laden orange trees in his backyard and he doesn't eat oranges so we have come to an arrangement. I'll pick the fruit and make marmalade and orange slices in syrup and some orange poppy seed cakes and share some of them with him for sharing the fruit with me. I'm so pleased because oranges have been rather expensive lately and these two trees have enough fruit on them to keep me in the kitchen for a few days. There are so many oranges I will even be happy to juice some of them and put it in the freezer for summer drinks and jellies.

On that note, with the warmer days on their way, I have started a new ginger beer plant and have made some lemonade and put it away to bubble up. If I get enthused I'll make some orange and lemon cordial with some of the lovely free fruit and bottle it for summer too. Which reminds me to let friends know to save their bottles for me.

It's been quite a frugal few days here, no spending other than the ointment and medicines for Hannah, so I think I will move what's left of this week's budget over to our holiday fund and give it a boost. Holidays will be here before we know it and it will be nice to have a little extra money to splurge on a surprise treat or two for everyone.