16 August 2015

The Week that Was

Hannah made double choc M&M biscuits and chocolate M&M muffins for dessert on Sunday

Life has been hectic this week, with a trip to the airport on Tuesday, getting ready for the Adelaide workshop (which was a huge success and so much fun), a trip to the doctor, and of course actually travelling to Adelaide for the workshop!

In-between all this I've managed to come up with a workable shopping list designed specifically to boost our stockpile and fit within our grocery budget, a huge weight off my mind.

This week's tasks that saved us money, time and energy are:

Made a batch of Miracle Spray to use in the laundry. It is great in the washing machine for really dirty clothes (think sports uniforms, dirty overalls etc). Two pumps and three teaspoons of Cheapskates Washing Powder and those erky clothes come out clean and smelling fresh.

Miracle Spray in a pump bottle, just for the laundry

Patching the knee of a pair of Wayne's work pants saving $50 on new uniform pants.

Used MOO Cream of Chicken soup to make Tuna Surprise for tea on Monday night (another meal plan change!).

Gratefully accepted milk, eggs, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and apples from my aunty who was going away for two months, a very welcome boost to the pantry and fridge.

We were blessed with apples, potatoes, onions, eggs, tomatoes and milk this week

Made some flan bases to freeze. We have a couple of birthdays coming up and strawberry flans have been requested for dessert. I know I will be busy in the days before they are needed so while I had the baking ingredients out and the mixer going I made four shortcrust pastry flan bases, par-baked them then froze them when they were cool in a container (so they won't get crushed). When I need to use them I can finish baking them from frozen then fill them.

Shortcrust flan bases, pre-made for some birthday celebrations we have coming up

Kept drying the washing by the fire.

Bought three kilos of pickling onions for $1.50. They'll be made into pickled onions ready to add to the Christmas hampers. I'll use some lovely jars I've been saving and cut jar toppers from some gingham I have in the cupboard (leftover from one of Hannah's school sewing projects) and print off labels to finish them.

Made a batch of yoghurt, using frozen starter and powdered milk from the stockpile. Flavoured it with some frozen blueberries to eat with our breakfast muesli.

MOO yoghurt - less than half the price per litre of commercial yoghurt and nicer

Worked on a birthday present for my niece - a little personalised sewing kit to go with the sew-your-own teddy bear I have for her. Made her birthday card using card, paper and embellishments from my stash and a lovely gift bag to hold it all.

Used a  roll of wrapping paper I bought for $5 years ago at a warehouse sale to make gift bags seeing I was on a roll. They'll be used at Christmas to hold the hampers I make as gifts.

Had a wonderful day in Adelaide with some lovely Cheapskates Club members and some new Cheapskaters. Brought home the pens and notebooks and the lollies from the tables that weren't used at the workshop. Also accepted the bottle of water offered on the flight home and put it in the fridge for when I go out. It is a half size bottle and fits perfectly in my handbag.

Ready for the very first Art of Living the Cheapskates Way workshop in Adelaide

Met Tania from the blog Out Back   and of course Annabel from The Bluebirds are Nesting. It is so nice to be able to chat in person. Even if we "get together" via blogland regularly meeting face-to-face is special.

No roast for tea tonight, I'm too tired to cook it and no one took it out of the freezer to thaw. Take away was tossed around but it just doesn't fit our new budget so I made Mexican Meatballs (which were last night's tea that didn't get used) instead. Everyone fed, no extra money spent and I'm happy :)

Wayne picked Wendy and I up from the airport and we came home to a lovely lunch of freshly baked sausage rolls, mini quiche and M&M muffins Hannah made to share with Wendy's family when they came to pick her up.

How blessed I am to have a family who helps and supports me so I can spread the Cheapskates message.


  1. Hi Cath,

    sounds like you have had a hugh week but very productive.
    Can i ask what is the lacy thing underneath the notebook and pen in the photo at the workshop?
    Isn't it peace of mind when the family are all on the same page, that's lovely Cath.


    1. Hi Maureen, it was a huge week, but I was so excited about going to Adelaide that it just flew by. I didn't get half the things on my list ticked off :)

      The lacy thing under the notebooks is a placemat I made. I'm never sure of the condition of the tables and I usually have tablecloths but they were too heavy to take (I was half a kilo under the weight limit!) so I made these instead. Just rectangular paper doyleys that I laminated. I like everything to look pretty and I wanted something smooth for everyone to write on. Just me being fussy I guess :)

      I am blessed that I have a family who make think I'm a complete fruit cake but are kind enough to not say so, they pretty much go along with my wild and weird ideas, there have only been a couple of times over the years that anyone has objected. I think for the most part they can see that we are so much better off. I know the kids loved having a mum at home, to pick them up from school, to be able to go on excursions, help in the classrooms, be home with them during school holidays and so on, and they still like it when I'm home when they walk in the door. And Wayne is amazingly supportive - I must tell you the story of how I started the website one day, it's very funny.

  2. What a wonderful week again Cath! I really enjoy reading along with all you have done. The Adelaide workshop sounded like a huge success and how nice to meet lovely Annabel and Tania in person as well as other cheapskaters!! One day I might just come down to a Melbourne workshop if I can manage the travel costs! xo

    1. Hi Kaye, Thank you! We had a ball in Adelaide and I know I can't wait to go back, and I'm pretty sure Wendy feels the same. It is so nice to meet old friends in person and just start chatting like we've always done it. The internet can be such a blessing when we use it for good I think. Maybe one day we could come up your way for a workshop, you never know what the future holds :)

  3. What a week you had Cath! Busy, busy, busy!

    I really enjoyed the workshop, it was such a fun time and I will definitely come to the next one about shopping at Aldi. Eventually we are supposed to be getting an Aldi either here or in a town near to us. You have re-inspired me to tighten my purse strings further. I really must organise myself so I can blog more about my efforts.

    Have a great week!


    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the workshop, I would've loved to have had more time to chat with you. When I look at what you do in your garden and how productive it is I am just amazed and so full of admiration.

      I hope Aldi isn't too far off for you, it will make an enormous difference to the way you shop and even how you think about shopping, as well as saving you a lot of money.

      I've just started actually writing down what I do during the week, inspired by Annabel, and I'll admit to sometimes being shocked that I've done so much. A lot of what we do just becomes habit, little things like drying the washing by the fire instead of in the dryer, catching the water from showers and the kitchen sink and tipping it into the washing machine or bucket to wash the floors, putting the extra serves from a meal into the freezer for freezer meals and so on that we don't realise just how thrifty we really are until we write them all down. It's good for us to see our efforts and to have them acknowledged, if only by ourselves, it keeps us motivated to do more I think.

      Hope you have a great week too, I hope it's not too cold.


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