31 July 2018


There is an easy, cheap and energy efficient way to keep your washing machine clean and in tip top shape, and it works. It's the method I've been using for 26 years.

First thing you need to do is find out if your washing machine actually has a lint filter. My HE machine didn't, my new machine does, so check your handbook to find out if your machine has a lint filter.

If your washing machine is a top loader it should have a lint filter in the agitator.  Pull out the top of the agitator and it should have some kind of little bag or basket attached to it.

Gently take it off and give it a good clean. You may need to empty the lint out of it first. Then rinse it under hot water. If you use fabric softener then you will also need to soak it for a few minutes in white vinegar. Fabric softeners leave a film over the mesh that actually stops the water from getting through. You need to get rid of this build up.

Front loaders have different lint filters - check your handbook to find out where it is and how to get to it.

If you empty and rinse the lint filter after every wash you'll stop those black flakes of gunk that sometimes appear on your washing - that's the old muck out of the lint filter flowing back up into the bowl. Yuk!

While the lint filter is soaking, get a cloth and a bucket of warm water and add a splash of vinegar (about 1 cup). Use this to wipe around the top of the bowl, under the lid, over the outside of the cabinet etc. Don't forget the inside of the agitator and the fabric softener dispenser. If it's particularly grungy, sprinkle with bi-carb and use this as a scouring powder. Just watch your fingers - the edges of all those ridges and rims can be sharp (guess how I know!).

Put the lint filter back together and replace the top of the agitator. Then run your washing machine through a full cycle on the longest and hottest wash cycle (this is the only time I use a hot wash) and add a full 2 litre bottle of vinegar to it. Don't add any clothes or other detergents; let the vinegar work its magic. The vinegar will remove the scum and gunk and any hard-water build up in the bowl and hoses.

Wipe over the outside of the machine with a damp cloth and dry.

You washing machine will sparkle inside and out. Do this on a regular basis and you'll extend the life of your machine and save on costly maintenance calls.

My handbook suggests every 100 washes, for me that's about every two months because of the amount of washing I do. For my mother it's every six months or so as she only does two loads a week. If your family is larger you may need to do this more often. It may seem like a tedious chore but it is worth taking care of this most useful household appliance.

Think about what you'd do if you couldn't use your washing machine for a week - hand-washing, paying for the laundromat -and you'll see the benefit quickly.

20 July 2018

Meal Plan Week 30, 2018

On Sunday we'll be eating the last of the roast lamb from the freezer. This means I'll be watching for specials. At the moment the cheapest I've seen legs of lamb is $9.99'kg - double what I'm used to paying! My brother tells me that it's only $8.99/kg at Costco, so I may use their membership to buy a couple, I'll have to see how the meat budget is holding up.

The silverside is also the last of a lot I was able to get on sale a few months ago. This one is a huge piece, so it will easily do two dinners and perhaps the scraps on the carving tray will be enough to make Corned Beef Pie for the weekend.

Thank goodness it's nearly time for a quarterly meat shop.

Next week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Lamb

Monday: Spicy baked chicken pieces, potato bake

Tuesday: Spaghetti Bolognese

Wednesday: Crockpot silverside, cabbage

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Mexican Meatballs

Saturday: Hamburgers, wedges

In the fruit bowl: mandarins, apples, bananas

06 July 2018

Cath's Meal Plan

Next week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Beef

Monday: Mock chicken roast, baked veg

Tuesday: Refrigerator lasagne, salad, garlic bread

Wednesday: Stuffed chicken legs, baked veg

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Fish & Chips, coleslaw

Saturday: Hamburgers

Refrigerator Lasagne

500g mince
2 tins baked beans
250g grated mozzarella
250g grated tasty cheese
250g cottage cheese
2 tins tomato soup
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp dried basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Lasagne noodles

Brown meat, garlic, basil and onions; drain. Whizz baked beans until they resemble the mince. Combine baked beans, meat, tomato soup, diced tomatoes and simmer. Use 9"x13" cake pan. Pour just enough sauce to cover bottom of pan. Layer raw (uncooked) noodles, sauce, half mozzarella, half tasty cheese and cottage cheese until all used up. Cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 1 hour. Can be frozen after overnight refrigeration.

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01 July 2018


We're almost home, but the kids are still in charge of cleaning the dishwasher for this month. 

It's a simple household chore, that only takes a few minutes, to keep your dishwasher running properly, and that could potentially save you hundreds in repair and service costs, if not a new dishwasher before needed.

How to clean your dishwasher:

Step 1.  Place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with plain white vinegar on the top rack of your empty dishwasher. The vinegar will help to wash away the loose, greasy grime, sanitizes, and helps remove the musty odour.

Step 2. Sprinkle a cup of bicarbonate soda around the bottom of the dishwasher. The bicarbonate soda will help freshen the smell of the dishwasher as well as brighten up the look of the inside of your appliance by removing stains.

Step 3.  Using the hottest water available, run the dishwasher through a cycle – except for the cup of vinegar, the dishwasher needs to be empty.

Now that the dishwasher is clean and running right here are a few tips to keep it that way until the next cleaning.

Run a bit of hot water in your sink before running the dishwasher. You will get cleaner dishes if the water starts hot. You can collect the water you run and use it to fill the kettle or for watering plants or other purposes. Run the water until what comes out of the tap feels hot.

Make sure your water starts hot enough. Set the thermostat on your hot water service to 50 degrees Celsius. Water that is cooler than this won’t be hot enough to clean properly and water that is any hotter could scald.

A routine dishwasher cleaning is a good habit to get into. Mark it on the calendar to do regularly each month, the same day you do the drains and the washing machine.