04 May 2015

The Week that Was

I picked a handful of these pretty roses that grow along the driveway for our bedroom
Last week was such a busy week, and this one is already shaping up to be the same. All the usual homemaking jobs of course: washing, dusting, vacuuming, beds, bathroom cleaning, ironing, gardening, bill paying, meal prep and cooking - you know how it goes.

My mother told me years and years ago, before we were even married, that once you have a home and a family you always have something to do and it is so true. Even if I didn't have Cheapskates I'm sure I'd have more than enough to do in and around our home, looking after my family to keep me busy.

There have been a few extra things on this past week. The fun stuff has been making the samples for the Mother's Day Gift Ideas series. I love handicrafts of any kind and would happily spend hours knitting, sewing, working on tapestries, making cards, quilling and trying other crafts so "having" to spend time doing these things has been a real hardship as I'm sure you'll understand, especially if you love crafting too.

I'm also working on the materials packages for the Art of Living the Cheapskates Way workshop. Only two weeks away, I'm hoping to get everything finalised early this week so I can be sure the workshop will run smoothly and everyone will not only have a great day but learn some of my secrets for living on a tight budget.

On SaturdayI had the absolute pleasure of going to the Hampton Park Library here in Melbourne and spending almost two hours talking to  the loveliest group of people about the Art of Living the Cheapskates Way.

It was lovely to see my friend Tracey come in. I've known her since I was 12, so a long time, and while we haven't seen each other face to face for about five years, she has been a member for a long time and we keep in touch via facebook. And it was fantastic to have Wendy sitting up the back offering encouragement too.

Apparently I was invited to talk at the library because I have a stalker! Deirdre and her "plus one" sat in the front row and I think she was like a bee in a bottle with excitement.

The questions came thick and fast as we went through my presentation, and then for almost an hour after. It was so nice to be able to share ideas with like-minded people and offer encouragement. I'm sure there is a young man went home and sat down with pen and paper, to work out how he can pay cash for the new care he wants in four years after I explained how we save to pay cash for everything and some advice from Wendy.

Then there's the young mum with four daughters who wants to learn to sew. Like me she worries about the fashions for little girls these days and struggles to find clothing she and her husband feel appropriate without having her daughters dressed like dowdy old ladies. I had some suggestions for her, having been in the same position when Hannah was small.

And it was thrilling to have a Tip of the Week winner in the audience too, encouraging everyone to share their tips for their chance to win a one-year membership. I love reading the new tips that come in and adding them to the Tip Store and the Journal and the newsletter. On that note if you have a great idea for saving money, time and/or energy share it! You might just be a lucky winner too!  http://www.cheapskates.com.au/contactform/default.cfm?form_id=125

Here's my tip for today: keep an eye out at your local library for guest speakers. Library events are (usually) free and they have some fascinating speakers (and you never know, I might just be one of them!). I'm at the Knox Library on Wednesday 13th May, you can contact the library for bookings, and I can't wait. Meeting so many lovely folk who don't think I'm odd (or are too polite to let me know if they do) is pure joy.

Then, to top off a perfectly lovely day, I followed Wendy home for what was to be a quick cuppa and chat. Two and a half hours later and we were still chatting even as I was getting into the car. Afternoon tea with Wendy and Darren is just wonderful. Beautiful china, a lovely table setting and the most delicious homemade treats.

Darren blessed me with two bags of coffee grounds for the compost! Oh the fragrance in the car on the way home, to a coffee lover like me it was perfume indeed. Wendy blessed me with a beautiful pad of printed papers I can use for making cards and a big bag of lemons, picked off her lemon tree that day. I've already used some of the paper and the lemons have been juiced and zested for lemon butter and cordial later in the year.

A gift of fresh lemons, picked straight from Wendy's tree
It's not like  Wendy and I don't talk or email reasonably often but when we are together we never run out of things to say. Having a friend who has had an almost identical life path, with it's up and downs and the odd test or two, is a rare and wonderful blessing, one I am thankful for. To the lady at the bread shop who told Wendy about Cheapskates, thank you. If you hadn't been brave enough to mention us, Wendy may never have subscribed to the newsletter and then eventually joined and I, and everyone else at Cheapskates, would have missed her beautiful friendship.

Now onto more mundane things.

This week my meal plan is out the window, and it's only Monday. I think about the only meal on the plan that will actually be made is the pizza on Thursday. Last night we had beef ribs instead of roast beef. AJ asked for ribs last Thursday and I said no, then the Tasman email arrived with weekend specials and low and behold, beef ribs were on sale for $5.99 a kilo. Off to Tasman I went, and was strong. So many great markdowns but no room in the freezer, so a tray of ribs was the lonely occupant of my basket when I went to the checkout.

And tonight is supposed to be bean and vegetable casserole, but there are some tortillas to use up, a little mince in the fridge that has to be used and half a tub of sour cream I don't want to waste so tacos it is.

And tomorrow night instead of chicken tortellini we'll be having MOOed chicken kievs. I want to try a new recipe and I have all the ingredients. Tomorrow night is the only night this week we'll all be home at the same time for a meal so the tortellini will have to wait.

It just goes to show that no matter how well organised you are, life can get in the way. If I wasn't so organised chances are we'd have a lot of wasted food (and therefore money) and we really can't afford to waste either thing.

Today has been glorious. It started out cold and foggy, but it wasn't long before the sun was shining. I've dried a load of washing on the line, picked some egg plants, capsicums and pumpkins; whizzed some dried bread for breadcrumbs, grated blocks of cheese and vac sealed them in 500g lots for the kids to use while I'm away; done my Monday cleaning jobs; taken three bags of towels to the op shop and tidied the laundry cupboard.

Pumpkin, egg plant and capsicum straight from my garden - can you see I need to beat the possums and birds?
Now I'm going to enjoy a cup of tea before it's time to start the tacos and get ready for whatever tomorrow brings.

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  1. Cath I can just image you and Wendy together! It is so wonderful to have a friend on the same page as yourself. Encouraging each other is such a help. I am sure the people at the library went home inspired.
    I have found the internet has let me cast my net wider and I am surprised by the wonderful friends Ive made!
    We can build each other up and learn so much. It is also so much fun. And I am craft mad so I understand your love of all things crafty. I always feel I can have anything I want as I can probably make it! xxx

  2. Thankyou so much for your kind words Cath. We did have a great time on Saturday. It's lovely to have an excuse to get out the good china and use it.

    Cath and I have been known to talk for 6 hours straight. There is so much to talk about and it's wonderful to have a like minded friend.

    1. Wayne says it's a good thing we don't live next door to each other, we'd be so busy talking he might have to wait for his tea more often :)


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