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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Homegrown Frugalities



Made using some new and some salvaged ribbon.  My Mum had given me a large collection of hairclips from her crafting days of my childhood to attach the ribbons to.

Ginger's presents from us: New items (in addition to a scooter) Alphabet Floor Puzzle (ALDI, $8 I think), Peppa Pig Puppet and Bubble Bath (ALDI discounted to $5) and Stickers $2.  Secondhand Djeco puzzle ($2), Bike basket (50c), Doll bike Helmet (20c) and Fairy book (50c).  Having kids does not have to break the bank!

Finally finished.  Pattern is from The Gentle Art of Quilt Making by Jane Brocket.  It was backed with a thrifted fairy sheet.


Frugal is probably not the word you would use to describe our spending habits over the last week.  Just putting that out there before I begin:)  But, everything is relative as we did pick up some long sought after items at a bargain price.

We bought floor rugs for the children's rooms.  We had seen these on the Pottery Barn website some 18 months ago when we were first moving to the Southern Tablelands.  However the large size we wanted, as the children have large rooms, was too expensive and so we compromised on a smaller sized rug.  They didn't have any in stock the day we visited Sydney so we proposed to order them when we got home, but between one thing and another we never did.  Recently I had to go to DFO in Canberra in search of a particular bathroom fixture and I discovered a Pottery Barn Outlet which had the large floor rugs we had eyed of earlier significantly marked down.  Then, last weekend we popped in to check more bathroom fixtures (we are trying to do a cosmetic alteration to our bathroom) and discovered they had 25 per cent off at the Pottery Barn Outlet.  Mr Provincial took our sedan (he drives a little two seater) in on the Monday, confirmed that the discount was still valid and picked up a floor rug for each child's room.  To say they love them is an understatement - they have been playing so much better in their rooms with a little cushioning of the wood floors.  They should also make a significant difference to the heat loss from their rooms over the winter as the wood floors here leak cold air!  We are debating now whether we pick up another to put away for the baby's room - I think my future self might appreciate it.

Ginger's wish was to go and see Cinderella for her birthday.  It is five years (notice the chronological significance) since we last went to the movies and boy are tickets expensive these days!  Managed to find a deal at Dendy though, called "Family Tix", which were $9 a ticket and included a large popcorn for each booking.  Ginger loved the movie!

We bulked out Ginger's major gift (a scooter) with a handful of homemade presents.  I finished the quilt I started for her (cough) two years ago, and made some hair ribbons for her using this tutorial.  She also received some secondhand items from us (obviously they look in good condition).

Made the cake for Ginger's birthday.  The recipe was Mimi's from A Tray of Bliss (truly it is scrumptious). I used this idea for decorating it, using a handful of Schleich animals we bought in bulk off Gumtree a few weeks ago.  I also found some flowers at Aldi marked down to half-price (I paid $7.50 for three bunches) to decorate the table.  They have lasted really well and most blooms are still holding up a week later.  It has been a lovely treat for me as well as I don't usually buy flowers.

Did an epsom salt foot treatment.  I read about this a couple of years ago and my post-summer feet are in need of a tidy up.  I used some epsom salts Mr Provincial was given by a work colleague who was closing her side-line beauty business!

Hemmed some maternity jeans I purchased for $2.50 a couple of months ago.  I had used the iron-on hemming material but the hem kept falling down.  I figured five minutes on the sewing machine was usefully spent to avoid the ongoing annoyance.  Now if I could just work out how to keep them up - the elasticated denim seems to have lost its spring:)

Made dukkah for the first time.  This has been on my MOO (make our own) list for many years as purchasing it at market stalls you pay a significant mark-up.  I used this recipe.  It was very simple and delicious.  We have a large jar left to use other weekends.

Have been combing the Cheapskates website for money saving ideas, and have a few new to me recipes to trial.

Ginger is 5

 
Waiting for her homeschooled friends to arrive at her birthday tea.  Wearing another Geranium dress - thrifted corduroy ($3) and some leftover from another dress for the top.  Neither Lincraft nor Spotlight had their corduroy in for winter yet.  Arghh!


Well our baby girl, Ginger, turned 5 this past week.  I can't believe I have had my right-hand girl for 5 years.  I am going to miss her like crazy when she goes to school next year - we are still having the homeschool, conventional school debate around here but we did put in the application form for Kindergarten 2016.......

Ginger on the cusp of 5:

- I love watching you working out the rudiments of reading.  You have worked so hard over the last couple of months learning all your sounds and now occasionally I see that light-bulb moment when you blend the sounds and you can work out what word you have read!

- I love how caring you are of your little brother and how eager you are to be a big sister to the new baby.  Yes, you and Tom Kitten do fight but you always apologise to each other and make up with big cuddles and telling each other how much you love the other.  I love that so often you will sacrifice yourself to make Tom Kitten happy "Tom Kitten you can go first" or "You can have the toy Tom Kitten".

- I enjoy watching your confidence growing at Preschool.  You have handled being one of only five girls, to twenty boys with aplomb and without your best friend in your class either of the two days you attend.

- It is exciting to see your ability to write your name take off.  Now rather than being reluctant to write your name you enjoy showing us how easily you can do it. And, it is getting neater and neater.

- I love seeing your creative play emerge.  You and Tom Kitten will sometimes play for hours very elaborate games involving rescuing or being Mummy and Daddy (actually often it is a combination of the two to satisfy both parties!).  No matter what game though, it always seems to involve transporting large amounts of your belongings out of your rooms and into the loungeroom to build a den!

- You make me laugh so much sometimes.  You come up with the best one-liners, often unintentially, like the time Daddy concluded some statement "one day when I'm King of the world" and you responded "We're doomed".

-You love handbags - you always have to carry at least one bag with you (often filled to the brim with assorted flotsam) and Baby Beth, your favourite doll which is looking increasingly worse for wear.

- It is a joy to share an increasing range of books with you.  In the last sixmonths you have shown an intensifying interest in chapter books - we have particularly enjoyed Little House in the Big Woods.  I enjoy spending a few extra moments each evening reading a chapter to you and having a snuggle.

- Your drawing and colouring is taking off.  It is wonderful to see the increasing care you take in your work and the detail you are able to capture.

- Dear one, you are exquisitely sensitive and a real barometer for the feelings of those around you.  You show a compassion and depth of feeling well beyond your chronological age.  This has been both a blessing and a curse because when people treat you harshly it cuts right to your heart - and dear one I would love to protect you from all life's cruelties but I can't. I trust though that you know your Heavenly Father's everlasting love for you and that will carry you through hard times.

- Gosh girly its wonderful to see your absolute faith.  One day when we were driving along recently you told us that the pictures the clouds make are God's colouring book.  Your prayers are so simple but direct and you are confident of their fulfillment.  It is a joy to see. 

- It has been so impressive to see your gains in self-discipline over the last 6 months.  I know you are still such a small girl but you are increasingly able to control your temper and carry out commands, even when they are not enthusiastically received.  That said, most of the time you are a willing helper but you do need routine and rhythm to keep you happy.  Rather like your Mama!  You are certainly a homebody, having very limited interest in attending  extra-curricular activities and even preschool is met with a "I'd rather stay home today".

It is so wonderful to hear you say "I love you" to me, because baby girl I love you very much too!  Happy 5th birthday

Sunday, April 5, 2015

If you teach nothing else, teach hope



The texture of our universe is one where there is no question at all but that good, and laughter and justice will prevail.

- Desmond Tutu

To me that is the Easter message.  Through Jesus' death and resurrection we know Goodness will triumph.

Happy Easter 2015! 

*Easter outfits made from op-shopped Corduroy ($4 for 3m); a Geranium dress and Trevor pants (altered slightly for length and to be one colour).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Homegrown Frugalities Week Beginning 22 March 2015

Helping to make pikelets

Sunday afternoon tea - Ginger commented on how much she liked the tablecloth and china!

Enjoying a library book with all 3 children - the bump is making itself felt!
Harvested potatoes and tomatoes from the garden.  I made the tomatoes into soup using homemade chicken stock, from a chicken I had roasted the week before.

Picked up a handful of useful clearance item:
muffin pans (50c for 50), 
-4 sippy cups for the new baby at half price ($4.50 each) - great because these always go moldy in the straws and need to be tossed
-Children's suncream(has a 2017 expiry)
-2 x 400g honey bottles reduced to $1.34 each!
-Some clearance stationery.  In particular Faber Castell crayons ($2.65), Faber Castell pencils ($1.85) and a 12 pk of oil pastels ($2.50) which the kids have had a blast with.  Actually, I might dig out the pastels again for the kids after preschool today!
-A packet of nursing pads for $2.50 (reduced from $10) - I was excited to find that as I have just started stocking my hospital bag for the baby and this was on the list.  I normally use reusable fabric nursing pads but when I first have a baby I have a lot of milk so they are not an option!

I got a raincheck for pregnancy multi-vitamins which were advertised at half-price but my Woolworths didn't stock.


Made our own ant-rid using a combination of warm water, borax and sugar.  I will post soon about the efficacy of that particular solution (LOL).

Made bread.

Repaired a skirt of Ginger's.

Gratefully received 2 x 500ml bottles of sunscreen.

Took Tom Kitten to a free music time at our library on the day Ginger is at preschool but he is not.

Stumbled across 3 wooden bowls on clearance at the op shop for $1 each.  I have been on the hunt for so long for them to do a water play activity with the kids.  Also found two hand knitted jumpers for the kids (1 each) both priced at $4.

The kids borrowed a supply of DVDs from the library to enjoy while Ginger nursed an ear infection.  The supply of medicine we had to purchase was not so frugal, nor will the referral to see an ENT specialist about having grommets inserted likely prove so!

Mr Provincial and I had a date night to watch The Guns of Navarone also borrowed from the library.

Monday, March 30, 2015

This Past Week's Homegrown Frugalities

I realise I am running two weeks behind with these records, so in an attempt to catch up I will post two Homegrown Frugalities this week and hopefully get on top of it for next week!  Is anyone else the same as me? I have no problem with creating the text for a post...it is downloading the photos and editing them that creates the holdup!

I picked up this mat for $1 at the recent St Vinnie's Warehouse sale - the blocks, Tonka truck and basket are also op-shop finds from over the years!


Yes - $2!  I couldn't quite believe how nice it was, only the plain blue wool was sticking out of the shelf.
 
I picked up a couple of items from the clearance trolley at Woolworths - Licensed Character sandwich boxes marked down to $1.40.  They contained biscuits (made in China and sickly sweet) so I threw the biscuits out and have put the boxes in the present cupboard for Christmas stockings (I will probably fill them with Christmas sweeties).  Also, picked up 6 jars of Jam that were marked down to $2.99; while I know this is not the cheapest jam you can buy these were Australian fruit (and after the recent Hepatitis scare I am being careful).

Made a double batch of Granola and pita bread crisps.  We had the pita bread crisps for a picnic lunch on Saturday along with homemade hummus.

Sold one item on Gumtree.

Finally completed, and sent off, some private health fund and Medicare claims.

Purchased a container of Schleich (and some misc Chinese; though I note Schleich is also now made in China) animals secondhand on Gumtree.  Some of these will be used on birthday cakes in the next month (this idea) and some will be for future presents (yes, I am determined those stockings will not be a labour come December this year!).

Had some success at the local op-shops:
- a $3 piece of Corduroy (unfortunately more dark green - but Beggars are not Choosers!),
- a pair of size 3 Jeans for Tom Kitten ($3)
- a Djeco Mermaid puzzle for Ginger's birthday ($2)
- a flannelette cot flat sheet which I will use for a nightie Ginger wants made since she simply refuses to wear PJs ($1)
- a pink fitted cot sheet ($1) since our others are now in preschool nap bags circulation.
- a beautiful hand-embroidered cot blanket ($2)
- a children's day of the week and weather calendar (50c) - I have wanted one for ages; just need to redo the years as it 'ran out' in 2014!
- a doll's helmet (20c) for Ginger's birthday.

Dehydrated bananas after picking them up at Aldi marked down to $1.50 a kilo.  They were quite bruised so I think they were Cyclone victims (LOL).

Borrowed and watched season 4 of Downton Abbey from the library.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Baby News

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:7


As Pom Pom commented on my last post querying pregnancy, we are expecting another baby at the beginning of June.  A wonderful blessing as we had almost reconciled ourselves to having only two children as it has been a long wait between pregnancies.

This is my most unusual pregnancy so far.  I was two months pregnant before I got a positive test - that was despite five home pregnancy tests in the first month and the GP doing a blood test.  Seriously odd.  Apparently the blood tests are 99 percent accurate so I don't know what was going on as I was well past the stage I should have got a positive result - the GP was very surprised when I came back a month later and said I had had a positive pregnancy test that morning.  Ha ha. What makes it odder is that I had all the pregnancy symptoms in that first month - I was so sick with morning sickness that I thought there must something really wrong with me!  

Anyway, all is well with baby girl.  We will now have a real birthday season in our house.  Ginger will be 5 at the start of April, Tom Kitten 3 at the start of May and new baby due at the start of June.  I better start budgeting now for future years:)


Friday, March 20, 2015

Homegrown Frugalities Week Beginning 15 March 2015

After preschool snacks - fruit skewers.

Tom Kitten helped me make the skewers - he was very proud to tell his sister that!

On Sunday afternoon the children and Mr Provincial made scones.

A small haul from the op-shop all destined for various Christmas stockings - My First Paddington was 50c, Hot Wheels car 20c, Candles 20c (turning 5 and 3 in the next month so the perfect number of candles in the packet), Flower Hook 50c,  finger puppets 50c the pair and Pirate Hoodie Towel was $3.
 
Harvested potatoes and tomatoes from the garden.  Had 3 meals which used these potatoes and chopped and froze the tomatoes for cooking soup when I next make chicken stock.

Mended Tom Kitten's toy rabbit which had stuffing leaking out of it.  My husband repaired three of the children's wooden toys.

We washed and clipped Monty our dog.

Mended 2 pairs of Mr Provincial's work pants.

Watched a season of Downton Abbey borrowed from the library, as well as reading an Inspector Montalbano mystery borrowed there.  

Made chocolate chip muffins to use up some bananas which were past their prime.

Saved stamps off a letter that came unfranked.

Removed stain off one of my handful of maternity tops - I always seem to cop stains on my extended stomach during pregnancy!  I couldn't soak the top this time because it was elasticated fabric so I used my Mum's suggestion of applying stain removing powder directly onto the wet fabric.

Picked up various supermarket specials - Cadbury choc chips at Coles (per Wendy's suggestion), Mayver's peanut butter at Woolworths (only contains peanuts, no added oils) and honey which was half off on the clearance trolley at Woolworths.

Dried all washing on the line.

Attended the annual warehouse sale at St Vinnie's in Canberra.  I was able to purchase a handful of presents for the kids, nieces and nephews for 50c to $1 each.  The presents for our kids will be used for their upcoming birthdays or put away for the christmas stockings.  Also found two single bed girl doona (quilt) covers.  One matched a pillowcase I had already thrifted for Ginger years ago (with fairies on it) so will give her the matching quilt cover for her birthday, the other will be put away for the new baby when she is old enough.  In addition I picked up a 3m panel of green corduroy ($4) and 2m panel of blue corduroy ($3) - both of which I intend to put straight to use for children's winter/birthday outfits.

Had success at our local op-shop with the above haul of children's gifts.

Listed 6 items on Gumtree.

Baked bread.

Made some hair ribbons for Ginger's birthday.

Purchased two crates I had a raincheck for at Woolworths.

Made bread and butter pudding to use up some stale bread rolls and squishy peaches.

Have started putting butter in the butter dish in the pantry again now the weather is cooler - much cheaper than buying buttersoft!