03 January 2016

The Week that Was

Catnip - ready to make "catnip tea" to make personal insect repellent
Well we've farewelled 2015 and welcomed 2016 and we're already three days into the new year!

The last week has been easy housework, garden and work-wise.

Wayne and AJ went to Sydney on Boxing Day to spend some time with Grandad and to visit Granny.

Hannah and I went to the Boxing Day sales, leaving home at 7am (and I'm so grateful we left early). Big W opened at 7am and it was so quiet and peaceful in there. Then we went to Kmart for 8am, where it was so much more crowded. And from Kmart we went to Target, where I bumped into a lovely lady I met at the Boxing Day sales last year. We spent a good 20 minutes catching up and eyeing off each other's bargains.  By then I'd had enough and it was home via Knox City where I dropped Hannah off and took my life in my hands trying to get out of the car park. Boy was it busy!

Nandos Gift Sets - $1 each, a great Boxing Day bargain.
Presents were wrapped, labelled and packed into the present box and crossed off in my gift book.

The week between Christmas and New Year is my spring cleaning week so cupboards were emptied, wiped out and tidied. Walls were washed. Curtains were washed. Carpets were cleaned. Lots of donations were made to our local op shop. I have no idea where all these things come from, I do this at least twice a year. I guess our needs and wants change and as they do the things we use change too.

I cleaned my car - really detailed it, inside and out. Now it's all clean and shiny and nice. The plan is to get back into the habit of weekly cleaning. I used to clean the cars every Friday without fail but for some reason this past year I didn't bother and it was showing.

Finally picked cucumbers from the garden. Of course now they've started there are lots.

Picked eggplant from the garden and diced, packaged and froze it to make moussaka in winter.

Some eggplant waiting to be turned into moussaka
Shredded some silverbeet and added it to a pasta sauce. Froze the rest to use later.

Picked the last of the beans, sliced and froze them. Planted more beans to replace them.

Picked more zucchini. Diced some, sliced some. Bagged and into the freezer they went.

Picked lettuce from the garden for our meals. Planted more to replace the ones that have been picked.

The catnip is in flower so I dug out my bug repellent recipe and am ready to make a batch.  And I hope to be able to catch some seeds from the catnip to share.

Used some of my new card making tools to make a wedding card, a birthday card and two general cards.

Bought some hand towels from Spotlight, $4.19. Two are to replace dowdy towels in the main bathroom, two are to make gifts.

Bought some pretty patterned hand towels and face washers from a local $2 shop to make into gifts.

Didn't buy crochet cotton from Spotlight or Lincraft - the colours are ugly and at $6.95 a ball it is far too expensive. I'll keep an eye out at the op shop or $2 shops.

Packed away most of the Christmas decorations. Still have the wreath on the door and the tree up and they will get packed away on the 6th.

Was so very glad to have Wayne and AJ home safely on New Year's Eve.

Gratefully accepted a wonderful gift from my darling father-in-law. He sent home my mother-in-law's preserving kit - complete with boiler, jars, lids, springs - even the thermometer. It must be at least 60 years old, if not older. It's just gorgeous and I can't wait to use it.

An amazing gift of a genuinely vintage Fowlers Vacola bottling kit from my father-in-law
And the most exciting and fun thing I did this week? Started filling in my new diary! I love new diaries and starting to use them always makes me happy. I just use a 98 cent school diary, nothing fancy, but they have plenty of room to write, lots of space for special projects, great pages for lists (gifts etc.) and all the school holidays and public holidays are marked.  I closed off my 2015 diary and added it to the top shelf of my bookcase.

My new diary, already filling up!

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  1. Hi do u need to blanch vegetables as you have said in blog,like onion, silver beet,eggplant and zucchini for eg
    Thanks Tracie Wallis

  2. Tracie I don't blanch unless I know the veggies will be in the freezer for longer than about three months, otherwise I just bag and freeze. Some veggies are better blanched - beans are one, but again unless I know they'll be in the freezer for a long time then I don't bother. The official stance is to blanch always so if you're new to freezing then try blanching and not blanching and see if you notice a difference in the quality of the produce when you use it. If you're only freezing for a short time you may find, like I do, that there isn't a change in the quality so the time, water and power isn't justified.

    1. Thanx Cath you have answered my quandary as whether to banch or not. It will be a matter of trial and error.
      Thanx for your inspirational blog, and yes I am a happy cheapskates and managed to go on two holidays with the money I have saved.I particularly love your week that was posts.regards Tracie Wallis

  3. What a bargain on those Nando kits! I've found most items at the shop to only be 50% off, which is not marked down enough for me! x

  4. Oh Cath I LOVE your gifted Vacola kit. You will have so much fun preserving from that beauty. The modern plastic look just doesn't compare to the older ones.


  5. Hi Cath, your 98 cent diary sounds perfect, just wondering how big it is and if it's small enough to fit in a handbag - A5 size? Where would I purchase one of these from? Many thanks, Deanne

    1. Kmart, Big W, Aldi, Woolworths, Coles - it's just a regular school diary. A5 size, a week to a double page, with plenty of room for notes/appointments etc. I love them because they're slim and light - I carry mine everywhere with me.


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