08 January 2017

The Week that Was - 8th January 2017

Not a lot done around home this week, Wayne and I were away for five days.

We took a full thermos and lunch and snacks with us for travelling. We stopped at one McDonalds for coffee and drank it with our homemade Christmas cake for morning tea. We also stopped at a Driver Reviver station and gave the SES a $5 donation for a top-up of boiling water later in the afternoon. Seems a lot to pay for boiling water but it was cheaper than buying tea and coffee and it goes to a very good cause.

Thomas was in charge of watering the garden and pot plants while I was away. He did a brilliant job, I didn't lose a thing.

Hannah fed everyone from the freezer, no takeaway or grocery shopping done while we were away.

Mum needed some new clothes so I used a discount voucher from Millers, shopped online and bought everything on sale, saving her $117. She now has nine nice new outfits to wear.

My portable hard drive was almost full. It's the one I keep back-ups on so went hunting for a new one. Bought one from Kmart for $77, $1 cheaper than Big W and I didn't have to go to another shopping centre to get it or pay postage buying online.

I was able to share some zucchini from the garden with a neighbour. I grated the others I picked and put some in the freezer for cakes, bread, slices and casseroles later in the year. I've put a couple of the bigger zucchini aside to make pickle this week once the weather cools down. Some for us and some for gifts.

While we were in Sydney petrol prices jumped up 23c a litre. We worked out how far we'd get on the fuel left in the car and checked prices online to see where it would be cheapest to fill up and didn't spend an extra 24c a litre - it was actually even cheaper on the way home.

Called in to visit with family on the way home from Sydney, then had afternoon tea at the Botanical Gardens in Wagga. The gardens haven't really changed, although there is a nice new playground.

On New Year's Day Coles were clearing out fruit mince tarts for 37c a packet. Hannah bought 10 packets and put them in the freezer for later.

Kept the house shut during the heat of the day and opened it up once the sun had gone down. Saved the air-conditioning for hot days and used the fans if it was forecast to be under 32 degrees. Kept the fans on overnight two nights as it was very hot and muggy.

Late last year we looked at replacing the awnings on the front windows, but the cost was prohibitive (turns out our front windows are an odd size - go figure!). Wayne pulled one to bits to see what needed to be fixed and/or replaced then went to the hardware shop and spent $14, came home and was able to fix them both! Yay! The actual awnings are in excellent condition so it would have been a waste to replace them.

Took the hem up on some lightweight jeans to make capri length pants rather than buy new ones for summer. Saved at least $15 a pair, $45 in total, and I now have pants I can wear. Kept the cut-off pieces to patch work jeans.

Hannah made sausage rolls (36) using sausage meat I bought on clearance at NQR before Christmas. Total cost, including pastry, $3.40 or 9 cents each for lunch sized sausage rolls.

I've started making bread again. We go through a loaf of bread a day between the five of us for sandwiches and toast and it was starting to become a pain to keep up with buying it (my freezer space is too valuable at the moment to store bread). I don't like going to the shops everyday so bread baking is back on the agenda. My homemade bread costs around $1.20 a loaf, and is denser and much more filling than what I've been buying.

Caught the shower warm-up water for the pot plants, they need constant watering at this time of year.

Watered the back grass with grey water from the washing machine.

Made up a big jug of fruit water for the fridge yesterday. We had a top of 37.8 yesterday so keeping fluids up was essential.

The boys bought me (or all of us really) Chinese for tea and Hannah made a pavlova for my birthday. There were lots of leftovers, all packed into meal portions for later in the week.

While I was typing this up last night there was a terrific crack from outside. The apple tree lost a branch. This tree is at least 50 years old; where we are used to be an apple orchard and it is one of the trees from the orchard. I love this tree, for the shade it gives the house in summer and for the apples of course.
Too much fruit and the poor old tree branch couldn't take it!
We picked buckets of apples this morning from the fallen branch. They'll be stewed and frozen or dehydrated for winter.

What did you do to save money, time and energy this week?


  1. What a great frugal week you had Cath. Plenty of savings there.

    It is a shame about the apple tree, so glad you managed to rescue the apples though. I can smell apple pie from here yum!

    I have spent this week trying to get my sourdough starter to make bubbles. I am making one from scratch and tomorrow is the final day, so hopefully I wake to nice frothy bubbles. I am looking forward to making my first loaf out of the starter tomorrow. I think the humid weather is playing havoc with the mix as it is with me!

    I made homemade muesli using bits and pieces from my pantry. I put all sorts into it and stirred in some molasses. It is surprisingly very nice.

    Yoghurt is something that I make twice weekly and now I have my mum, and three daughters making it too!

    From the garden I am picking tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants, cucumbers, silver beet, spring onions, rhubarb, celery and heaps of zucchinis. I have planted out more tomato seedlings that came up on their own and also planted some more oregano and thyme. Finally the apricots are finished, I did managed to pick quite a few more after the recent storms. The nectarines are almost ready as are the grapes.

    Sold many dozens of eggs this week as they were starting to build up. The chooks are laying really well at the moment. We even have a couple of broody girls.

    And I made soap! I used your simple soap recipe after being inspired by Annabel's soap she made recently. I now want to try another method and then teach my daughters and a couple of friends how to do it.

    Hope you have a lovely week,


    1. How is the sourdough - I hope it was nice and bubbly this morning. I haven't tried sourdough, but I'd love to. I'd forgotten how satisfying making bread is - even the smell of it baking makes me smile.

      I'm so glad you tried the soap - it's not nearly as terrifying as you think it is. I made some glycerine soaps this week to add to the present box, and to use up some bits and pieces I had in the cupboard - I'm trying hard to use up my stash of everything this year. The only thing I'd suggest with the soap is to find an old stock pot to use just for soap making; I found mine at the op shop and it is used just for making soap. Oh, and I do it outside on the barbecue and use the side burner rather than inside. Gardener's Soap is another easy one to make, Wayne uses this when he's been working on the cars or had a messy lock job to fix too.

      Your garden is certainly producing well, you must take good care of it during this odd summer we're having and you just can't help but love those self-seeding veggies :)

      I forgot to mention I found most of the moulds I use for soap at the op shop too for 50c - $2, so if you're passing an op shop pop in and see if they have anything suitable. I've found flowers, sea shells, blocks, rounds, swirls, trees, dinosaurs, squares and hearts that I use.

      Have a nice week (and I hope that fly ash dissipates very soon).



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