Week 6 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

Week 6 ~ The City you live in.

This week is all about being grateful for the town you live in. This one is easy for me as the town I currently live in, is the town I’ve lived in my whole life. Many people have heard of Bundaberg even if they have never lived in Australia purely because of the things we are famous for.

Continue reading “Week 6 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude”

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Grocery Budget Busting ~ Week 3

3 weeks ago, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. If you haven’t read my previous posts here’s the start, Week 1 & Week 2.

Money Spent: I’ve now gotten quite low on a lot of things thankfully. My regular shop has been able to be lowered to approx $100-$120 per week. However, I feel this was due to running out of a lot of staple items. Going forward, I will lower by regular budget from $180 per week, to $100 per week, with also putting aside $20/week for those items that don’t come up regularly (laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning items etc)

I’m hoping that I can lower this even further as I feel I have a better grasp on what my family actually uses and needs for a full, healthy diet.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Devilled Sausages – this was a delicious family fave!
  • Shepherds Pie
  • Nachos (bulked up with beans, which made it last 2 meals, even though the kids weren’t a huge fan of the black beans)

I also discovered The Healthy Mummy website. It has heaps of free recipes that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m glad I stumbled across this site and I don’t need to purchase a whole pile of strange ingredients that I won’t be using again…..

Food Wasted/Thrown Out: this week I went through my sauces. Some expired 4 years ago! Oh dear. But it’s freed up room in my fridge, and enabled me to rearrange it a bit – I like it much more now. Less is definitely more with my new grocery mindset.

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: I have 2, TWO jars of Red Curry Paste. Guess I better cook something with it….

I think this will be the last regular post in this series, as I have happily gotten my pantry, fridge & freezer down to a less cluttered, usable level. I have cooked more, my family has eaten out less and I have saved money, enabling us to use it on other things (like a belated Valentine’s Day experience, an Apple Slinky machine and also paid for new makeup and uniform staples for myself because I’m going back to an actual job that I need to get dressed for) that we otherwise would not have been able to afford.

I really hope you’ve found inspiration in my self-imposed challenge. I will sporadically do more challenges and report back once I’ve found my happy medium of a new grocery budget.

Christine xx

Wrap Up ~ February 2017

Today I decided to do a bit of a different post, it includes a wrap up from February of all things end of month.

First up, my planner set-up for March. I really wanted to do a seperate post on this, but didn’t get a chance as I was trying to format the layout to what I was wanting, so for April, I will go a bit more in-depth. However, I do want to offer a free printable planner-inserts that I used for my planner set up. If you print this double sided on an A4 sheet, trim and punch holes (or print single sided and glue into your journal), you have your A5 sized month all planned out (you will need to print an extra of page 2 & 3 to get your full month, my mistake!). If you have any suggestions or something you would love to see from a free printable next month, please let me know 🙂

Second, Social Media Update:

Blog:

  • Followers: 53 (almost doubled since January 1)
  • Facebook: 68 (up from 7 the start of January, this is thanks to Amy sharing on of my posts on her Facebook page. If you don’t follow her over at More Time Than Money, I HIGHLY recommend it!!)
  • Pinterest: 71
  • Instagram: 44 – Yes, I opened an Instagram account. You can find me @HappyLittleHousewifeBlog
  • Income: $0 (I’ve decided it will stay this way for the foreseeable future)

Little Cherry Owl:

Lastly, following on from my Books Read January 2017, I will continue with my updates and book count.

I started the month with a follow on from the last book I read in January.

  1. Nowhere Child by Rachel Abbott
  2. A Shade of Vampire 39 by Bella Forrest
  3. My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcroft & Rachel Olsen
  4. Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott
  5. A Shade of Vampire 40 by Bella Forrest

Half the amount of books this month, but I’ve been naughty and going to bed later then I normally would, so sleep took priority over reading 😦 Also, I will be expanding more on the book My One Word in a later post because it has had such an impact. I’m glad that I took the time to read it!

My grand total this year for books read:

  • January – 10
  • February – 5

Christine xx

Week 5 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

Week 5 ~ Something someone gave you.

This week is certainly a hard one to conquer (which is why it’s a day late) and to be honest, until I sat down and started to write, I’m wasn’t sure I had a clear winning answer for this, but what came immediately to mind was that for me, it’s not a physical item (even though I do love my Fitbit Blaze 😉 )time

I’ve come to the conclusion that the thing that I am most grateful for that someone has given me doesn’t come from a store, it wasn’t ever wrapped in pretty paper, it doesn’t add to the clutter that I’m currently trying to minimise from my house. What is this amazing gift? It is time. Time is such a precious resource, we all have the same amount, but we all spend it in different ways. Sometimes people are so busy that they just don’t have time to give, which is sad, but it is what it is.

Last year, I was that busy person, I had so much on my plate I couldn’t fit it all in, I was neglecting friends and family and not giving my full attention to anyone or anything because I was always thinking about the next thing on my never-ending to-do list.

Over the Christmas school holidays, I took a break from it all, no Facebook, no games on my phone, very limited distractions, and you know what I realised, time is so precious and I was wasting it – every single day.

So this week, I’m thankful to all of those people, who have given me their undivided attention and their time. The time to book me into their own schedules and have a coffee, a catch up, a walk. The time to connect or re-connect. Thank you!

In my effort to be more Intentional this year, I make a promise, to give a gift of time wherever possible. Because at the end of the day, the time you give or have received will last much longer then anything they can unwrap.

Christine xx

To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1 ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2 ~ Spouse/Significant Other
  • Week 3 ~ Family
  • Week 4 ~ A Family Member
  • Week 5 ~ Something someone gave you (This one)

My Top 5 Podcasts 

Podcasts are like blogging – still fairly new to me. I’ve had this app on my iPhone for god knows how long. I remember thinking why do I even have this on here. I never bothered to explore or discover, it was just “one of those apps Apple decided you need”.

Then I saw a question in a decluttering group about how people got inspiration to declutter. It certainly grabbed my attention and I started reading (because let’s face it, sometimes we need a little kick in the bum to stay motivated) and in those comments I came across a mention of podcasts, specifically A Slob Comes Clean & The Minimalists. I listened to these right from the first episode all the way through to the most recent – and I was HOOKED!!!

Right now I’m up-to-date on Intention, A Slob Comes Clean, Straight & Curly & The Minimalists, I’m currently working on Create & Thrive.

  1. A Slob Comes Clean – Dana White originally started her blog as Noni (short for anonymous) and has since moved to podcasting (as well as continuing her blog and has also recently published a book). This was the first Podcast I ever listened to and I generally listened to it while cleaning. She has a unique, honest view on cleaning and about her “Slob Vision” that just spoke directly to me.
  2. The Minimalists – These guys were my first introduction into minimalism. Now, my house is NOWHERE near minimalist. Not by a long shot. But I do love their message and it has encouraged me to keep going with the cleaning and decluttering. They have also made me realise that being a minimalist doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have anything out on display or you have like 30 items per person. There are all different “brands” of minimalism.
  3. Straight & Curly is for self-improvement junkies and was a recommendation in iTunes. They talk about a wide range of things and was the inspiration behind my Facebook hiatus over Christmas. I loved it so much that I think I will do the same thing every school holidays.
  4. Intention – this is only a fairly new podcast and I discovered them through Instagram. What really caught my eye, is that Intentional is my one word for 2017, so I HAD to listen to it. So far, I’m really enjoying it.
  5. The Create & Thrive Podcast – This year I am really concentrating on turning my hobby into a business and I joined Jess’ Thriver Circle. I’m giving my business my all this year and this podcast is full of hints and tips to help me on this journey.

So these are my favourite podcasts right now, I add new podcasts as I finish/get up to date on a previous one. Eg: I’ve just finished Intentional, now I’m moving onto catching up on the Create & Thrive one, then I will need a new one to listen to 😉 But I always pause my binge listening when new episodes come out of ones I’ve already gotten up to date with. So I’m always on the search of my next podcast.

What is your favourite Podcast and where do you listen to it? I’m curious about Serial, as I’ve heard it’s very good. But always open to something new 🙂

Christine xx

Grocery Budget Busting – Week 2

2 weeks ago, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. You can see how I went with Week 1 here, and now, I’m doing a Week 2 progress report. Who knew we had that much food in the pantry and freezer!!!!

Money Spent: I took out $180 (my usual budget) and have only used cash.

  • 3x 3L Milk – $9.00
  • Hot Roast Chook – $8.00
  • 4x Tins Dog Food – $9.60
  • 850g Green Apples – $4.90
  • 500g Cheerio’s (Frankfurters) – $3.50
  • 2kg of Chicken Drumsticks – $6.35
  • 500g Beef Mince – $4.00
  • Cornflakes (Coles Brand) – $1.80
  • Nurtigrain – $3.70 (half price)
  • 1.4kg Weet-bix – $4.50
  • 1x Box Macaroni Cheese – $2.90
  • Box of 24 Water Ice Blocks – $2.80
  • Box of 8 Lemonade Ice Blocks – $2.70
  • 12 pack of Chocolate yoghurt – $4.80
  • 5x Yoghurts for lunch boxes – $3.75
  • 1kg Carrots – $2.00
  • 1.4kg Royal Gala Apples – $3.82
  • 1kg Granny Smith Apples – $4.27
  • 700g Tomatos – $4.27
  • 2x Cucumbers – $5.00
  • Smooth Peanut Butter – $5.68
  • 1x Loaf of Bread – $3.00
  • 12 Eggs – $3.00 (we usually don’t buy eggs as we have chooks, but I needed to make some cupcakes for the class for a friend)

TOTAL SPENT: $103.35

As you can tell, I’ve started running out of things, so needed to stock up a little. My biggest expense this week was an Apple Slinky Machine. My kids go CRAZY over the apple slinky’s from the school tuck shop, therefore it’s worth it financially for this expense. Plus I saved this amount of money from groceries last week.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Hot Chicken & Macaroni Cheese – hubby & I had a date night / late Valentines Day Dinner Event and left the kids home with my 90 year old nan. We wanted something quick and easy for her to give to the kids that I knew they would eat without any fuss. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
  • I gave 1/4 of the pumpkin from last week to a friend, and then used the remaining pumpkin for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup. Yum. Also found 4 mini bread rolls in the freezer so had them with the soup. Again, this was 2 nights worth of dinner.
  • We had extra kids over one night, so we used the chicken drumsticks, but it only lasted us 2 meals instead of the 3-4 I was expecting, but that’s ok.
  • Hot Chook & salad rolls.

Food Wasted/Thrown Out: This week I come across an old packet of cranberry and nut mix in the pantry. Was fairly out of date and the nuts weren’t the right colour any more. Feeling a bit wasteful right now!

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: Room in my Freezer and pantry. I also discovered some choc mud scones in the freezer, so a morning or afternoon treat for myself coming right up 😉

Did you attempt this challenge? If so, did you make it to week 2? If not, are you inspired to try? Next week most likely won’t be the same, as I am starting to run low on things, but I’m hoping this changes my shopping outlook and moving forward allows me to allocate an extra $80/week elsewhere in the budget!!! Looking forward to next week.

Christine xx

Week 4 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

Week 4 ~ A Family Member

This one is an easy one. I’ve written about my hubby & my amazing kids. So for this week, I have picked another member of my family. My nan.

10209761761180479My nan is an absolute inspiration. She turned 90 last year, she still lives on her own, drives her car, and gardens. She cooks amazing things like Jam Roll-Poly’s (dessert), Syrup Dumplings, Lemon Sago, and a variety of Jam’s and Chutney’s.

She still takes an active role in my children’s lives and will often take one of them for a few hours or my daughter has a sleep over at her house.

Her garden is her pride and joy, even if it is starting to get a bit big for her. She grows pumpkins, watermelons, guava’s, oranges and has a beautiful array of flowers out the front.

I’m so glad that I have my nan, she’s always around if we need her and I make sure I show my appreciation as much as possible, whether it’s a trip to Bunnings, a Caramel Latte at the Coffee Club or just taking around something for her dinner or lunch.

10209761763820545
Celebrating her 90th Birthday Surprise Party.

Nan is inspirational and if I’m half the woman she is when I’m her age, well,
I’ll be pretty damn lucky.

Christine xx

To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1 ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2 ~ Spouse/Significant Other
  • Week 3 ~ Family
  • Week 4 ~ A Family Member (This one)

 

Grocery Budget Busting – Week 1 Report

Last week, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. 1 week later, here is my progress report.

Money Spent: I took out $180 (my usual budget) and have only used cash. When it comes to tomorrow (“grocery day”), I will take out another $180 to put in my cash envelope, and what is currently in my envelope has been moved to my “holiday” envelope.

  • 4L Laundry Detergent – $13.00
  • 2x 3L Milk – $6.00
  • 1x Cucumbers – $1.00 (my kids eat these like they’re going out of fashion!)
  • 500g Nectarine’s – $2.45
  • 680g Granny Smith Apples – $3.40
  • 1x Iceberg Lettuce – $2.00
  • 1x Tub Philly Cream Cheese – $4.00
  • 1x loaf of bread – $3.00
  • 200g Feta Cheese – $1.65 (purchased from the Deli section is so much cheaper then the packets)

TOTAL SPENT: $36.50.

My biggest expense this week was obviously my laundry detergent. but it’s always allowed for in my regular budget. My biggest eye-opener was the thought of how much I’m spending “just because that’s my budget”. My family didn’t starve. I purchased items that probably weren’t necessary (Philly Cream Cheese & Feta Cheese for example) but overall, I was more intentional with my shopping and saved quite a substantial amount this week.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Lasagne & salad (used a large lasagne in my freezer, leftover salad ingredients etc, this meal done us for 2 nights)
  • Mixed Berry Crumble (1 bag frozen mixed berries and misc baking ingredients from pantry) – this actually done us for 3 or 4 nights.
  • Seafood Marinara – we didn’t have any wine, so just left it out and substituted 1/4 cup water and used spaghetti instead. This lasted us 2 meals, with the kids having Sausages and salad the second night (sometimes they just like a picking plate)
  • Chicken, Pumpkin, Quinoa, Basil & Feta “Salad” – I forgot that there was a pumpkin in the shed, and also discovered some unopened, still-in-date basil with cashew and parmesan chunky dip. We were also given a roast chook from a tournament hubby was involved in over the weekend – Bonus! So I had to use it up. Plenty leftover for dinner the next 2 nights as well.
  • Last night, because hubby had enough of just having the Chicken & pumpkin dish, I got out some steak and we had that with the chicken dish as a side. We could have easily had no steak as there was enough, but 3 nights in a row was too much.

Food Wasted/Thrown Out:

  • One bag of something from the pantry. It was possibly Buckwheat. It seems to ring a bell when I look at it, but no idea what it is or what I would use it for and because of this, I had to throw it.
  • 1 and a half bags of Almonds
  • Half a bag of Veggie Crisps – these last 2 were full of weevils, which I didn’t realise until I packed some for hubby and he called to let me know. Oops.

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: Well, did you know we are apparently lolly hoarders. I have discovered a PILE of miscellaneous lollies as well as 6 Pez Dispensers – yes, SIX!!! For 2 kids. That rarely get Pez lollies. I have no clue why we have the amount of lollies we do, but I removed them from my pantry and after discussing with hubby, we tossed up between a) throwing the lot b) making ice cream treat cups or c) cutting up the chocolates etc and turning them into Cold Rock style Mix-in’s. We will be going with b I think and purchasing a 2L tub of ice cream and some disposable cups with lids, mixed-in the chopped up chocolates and put them in the freezer. Then I will throw out the remaining / not very nice looking ones.

Did you attempt this challenge? How did you go after 1 week? So far, so good and I’ll be going for another week yet at this stage.

Christine xx

Operation: Dream Sewing Room 1

If I make it small, you can’t see as good 😉 

Yep. My sewing room looks like I’ve been robbed. I need to seriously declutter, tidy and organise this room, but it’s soooo easy to put off. Yesterday afternoon – I made a start.

I started by getting organised a Donate section, a take to school section (craft items going to the school chaplains program), a bin bag and finally, I went against everything and I made a “put elsewhere” box and got started.

Of course, Once I’d completed the 1 hour I could dedicate to that task, and the kids had gone to bed, I sat down and tackled Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. Ohhhh a peg board! I want that! I knew I wanted to move my embroidery machine around to make room for my laptop and to set an actual “office space” up, but, I had one cupboard in my future office section, that I’ve been trying to keep clean or sort out ever since I moved my felt in there, off the bench – you know, to make it tidy (hahaha) – but I couldn’t come up with, or find a solution…..

This cupboard has felt sheets, postage stuff, office supplies and god only knows what else in there. I even threw out all my scraps a while ago in an effort to fix the issue. Oh dear. Pinterest and google searches weren’t helping at all. Until I come across a site that mentioned the sheets are “approximately the size of an A4 sheet or slightly smaller”.

There was lots of mentions and suggestions about hanging files and filing cabinets but I thought, they aren’t stiff like cardboard and will easily bend if not full (like some of my paper tends to do) and they will end up piled in the bottom of the folder – that’s no good. Plus my filing cabinet is the other side of the room, I don’t have room to move it, I don’t want to have to keep getting up (lazy much?!) – I need my stuff easily accessible when working. Maybe I could attach something inside the cupboard???

And then it hit me! I had 4-5 large folders with 4 D clips in, that currently holds patterns… I was going to declutter severely down to one or 2 folders (because I have them accessible to me at any time if I REALLY needed them, and most of the time I can’t find the pieces needed or it doesn’t occur to me I already have the pattern printed, so I re-print the pages as I need them anyway).

Inspiration hit – And guess what?? MY FELT SHEETS FIT!! I found a Felt Storage Solution that works for me. I can lay the folders down or stand them up. I can sort by colours, and place a different colour sheet in each individual pocket and they are neat, tidy, accessible and functional! I can even put a label on the edge with all the colours in the folder – easily accessible and I can view at a glance.

See the fluff that gets on the felt sheets usually?

I’m feeling proud I’ve come up with a Felt Storage Solution that works perfectly for me, using what I already have. I still have a looooooooong way to go for this room. But I’ve made a start – and that’s the important thing.

And I still want that pegboard 😉

Christine xx

 

Week 3 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

family 1.png

This one is an easy one to write about. Around this time 8 years ago I had not long ago had an Ectopic Pregnancy which resulted in the loss of 1 tube, this was from our first and only “successful” IVF round. I had previously lost a baby at 18 weeks many, many years before. Hubby and I weren’t far off coming to terms with the fact we wouldn’t have kids of our own and considered/started researching adoption.

We started to plan a working holiday in Canada while we were young and thought we would just spend some time seeing the world. 6 months later, 2 blue lines appeared, much to our joy!!
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After we welcomed our little girl into the world, imagine our joy when almost 2 years later we were so, so lucky to welcome a little man into the world, even though both deliveries were accompanied by drama and my husband missed the birth of both our children. We have our pigeon pair. They truly are the loves of our lives.

As for extended family, I am so lucky to still have my nan around (she celebrated her 90th birthday last year), and she takes an active role in our kids lives. Unfortunately both mine and hubby’s parents live a few hours drive away, they are supportive and the kids adore them, not to mention our many other members of our extended family (Miss S is the only girl grandchild on both sides). We truly feel blessed and overall very lucky, they are easy to be grateful for.

Christine xx
family-4To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1 ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2 ~ Spouse / Significant Other.