Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Around Here

Around here it's the end of May and that means Sienna and I take photos of the one Autumn tree in our neighbourhood which happens to be on the main road.  We've done this the last weekend in May for years and it's a little ritual of ours.  I gave her the point and shoot camera for her to take photos however the battery was flat so she couldn't use it.  I get very envious of those places that get a true Autumn and love seeing everyone's pictures however we make do and enjoy our one big tree nearby.

I recently found out about a company called Social Print Studio and I ordered a small magazine style photo book of our farm stay pictures from last July and also some fridge magnets.  The magnets are 2 inches square and are beautiful.  You get 10 magnets in a set for $14 (USD) and they come in a lovely little bag with a draw string tie.  With the conversion rate to AUD and postage from the States I ordered a few things to make it worth my while and got the photo book, some magnets and a small metal print.  Here's a picture of the magnets which are glossy and well made I was very impressed with them.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Week in the Life 2018

I've written about my Week in the Life (WITL) project recently and my book is ready to be uploaded to Blurb as they have a 35% discount at the moment.  It's a great way to save money on printing your photo books.  I only order them with a discount and if you are on the mailing list every week or two they have some form of discount.  My last book I got 40% off however I'm more than happy with 35% off as well.  I just need to add one more page to the book and then upload it.  My daughter does a drawing of our family every year which I do on a double page spread and this is the last page I need to include. I have been doing this project for 10 years now and I love looking back on our life from a few years ago.  Here's a look at my book from 2012.

This year I uploaded the photos each day and dropped them into my templates and then the following week I just need to do the writing.  It seemed really easy this year with the way I took photos by picking a story for the morning, midday, afternoon and evening which only required 4 photos each.  I took less photos however they were more purposeful.  This sets a record for me getting the book finished within two weeks of the project.  Sometimes it takes months for me to come back to it, other times I need to save up to get the book.  Here's a few finished pages for our Week in the Life book for 2018. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Eat Well for Less - Final

Last night was the final episode of  Eat Well for Less which I loved.  As I've mentioned before I've learnt a lot about these things over the last 10 years however there are so many people out there that would get an awakening from this show. 

There was a young family with a one year old and a share house with 3 single girls.  We all know about the $30 or $50 food challenge where you shop from your pantry or freezer first and only buy the necessities like milk, bread, fruit and maybe a small amount of meat.  If you are spending $250 a week and only spend $50 you can put that $200 towards the mortgage, credit card debt or a bills account.  The young family had approximately $2,000 worth of groceries in their pantry and the freezer was similar.  They had 8 bags of frozen berries of all different sorts.  A single friend of mine used to buy 2 tins of this and 2 tins of that which were her regular items only to look in her pantry and it could have 8 or 10 tins of any one item and living alone you don't need this much particularly when you are at the supermarket 2-3 times a week anyway.  We can all get into the trap of buying a few things when they are on special and that's okay but some of the tins in the pantry ended up having to be thrown out because of the expiry date because you use what's in front of you rather than at the back of the cupboard.  In the end you don't save yourself any money.

One of the single girls was buying a box of $50 T2 licorice and they swapped it for a $15 box and she thought it was the same tea.  As I don't drink tea I didn't know you can buy a $50 box of the but there you go.  She was shocked at the difference in price and was going to switch to the cheaper version.

One of the things about the "young people" these days everything is done through an app and the Uber Eats got a run for their money.  They ordered $28 burgers and had them delivered when they were 2 km from the shop.  Walking there and getting it would save $5 on each delivery.  They showed them how to make a chicken burger and chips at home for $4.50 and it looked great and the girls loved it and are going to cut back on the Uber Eats.  One girl was ordering the burger 4-5 times a week.  Oh to be young and carefree however when they explained how much money they were eating in take out in a year between the 3 of them they were shocked.

The young family would get take away chicken and chips a couple of times a week which as new parents and a busy first time Mum with a toddler you can't leave alone for a minute the exhaustion sets in and take away seems like it solves all the problems.  Take away is fine on occasions but not as the norm.  The host showed them how to butterfly a chicken with herbs and spices and cook it on the BBQ along with cobs of corn and they made a batch of home made coleslaw.

I think one of the biggest take things we need to do is only buy what we need to eat for the week or fortnight depending upon how regularly you shop.  When I was single I used to shop once a month for canned goods, meat and only buy milk and fruit and veggies weekly.  I had a pretty good system and I would always cook a meal for 4 and portion it out.  One meal that night and one for the next night and 2 for the freezer.  I always had fresh prepared portioned food in my freezer so when I came home from work I could eat take away from my freezer.  On the nights I would cook I would have my 10 rice crackers and a diet coke listen to the news and then start cooking.  I always shopped for food even living alone.

Apparently the cost of food in Australia is one of the highest in the world in front of New York, London and Hong Kong which is crazy when you think about it.  We have great growing conditions, lots of space and great soil.

I think there should be more educational shows like this as all the participants were shocked and delighted that they could reduce their food budget without going without too much just changing brands and giving some things up regularly like take away and soft drinks etc.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Eat Well for Less

Last night Channel 9 aired a new show called "Eat Well for Less" and I knew it would be right up my alley.  The weekly food budget is one that is unavoidable however we can always do better and spend less.  There are different ways to save on a budget without giving up things.  For instance instead of buying a can of coke for lunch at the shop you an buy a box of coke from the supermarket and take on to work for lunch and save yourself approximately 50% or more without giving up coke or diet coke as was in my case.  I actually love budgeting and spreadsheets and recording things so this doesn't bother me and I know where all my money goes.

The show aired last night and followed families doing their weekly food shop to the check out.  The hosts were in the office watching via a TV how the families shopped, what they bought and how much they spent.  They say the average food shop for a family of 4 is $156 which personally is very lean however these families were spending $350-$700 a week food shopping.  These families didn't shop with a list, nor did they view their pantry, fridge and freezer before going shopping.  You can pretty quickly accumulate things if you just keep buying the same food items each week.  For instance one family purchased a tray of Italian canned tomatoes when in fact at home they already had 7 or more tins.  Unless they were having 50 people around for an Italian meal that is probably too much tins of tomato to keep in the cupboard.

In Australia we really don't need to stockpile food and if you ever run out there's usually 3 local supermarkets within 2 kms from your home.  We don't need to stockpile for the winter or have snow days where you can't leave the house so a few years ago my friends and I cut back on what we were stocking in the pantry.  We meal plan for the week and therefore you only need to buy food that you are going to have that week.  As far as specials go if you don't buy it at the supermarket this week the other supermarket will have it on sale the following week.  I would much rather that the supermarkets when they have specials 2 for 1 that they just lowered the individual price for the 1 item because it still forces us to spend more to save less... ah great sales and marketing coming into play here.  Spend more to save more.

Most of the families were shocked at how much their annual food bills were and how much they could save buy making some simple changes.  Firstly there was the one Dad who is a bit of a home brand snob and I thought he would have the hardest time making changes however he ended up being really good about it.  The weekly food bills they referred to included food, take out and alcohol.

I loved the show and even though I learnt all these tricks about 7 years ago I can still improve on my weekly spending at the supermarket.  This year I made a big effort to shop at Aldi 95% and Woolworths 5% and so far it's working and my food budget is going further however I do need to tweak it to save even more.

We all know that buying pre-packaged individual packets of biscuits, yoghurts etc. cost a fortune and I stopped buying the kids individual yoghurt about 7 years ago.  A 1kg tub is a far better option and all you have to do is spoon it out into a bowl.  Making food from scratch will always be healthier and cheaper for you.

If you didn't watch the show I encourage you to as I loved it.  I think it's a weekly show and not a once off.  With costs of fuel and electricity still so high saving money on food is a good place to start.  The only thing I hope with people saving this amount of money that they put it to good use like paying off mortgages and debt rather than a "wow we've got all this money now we can spend it".

Monday, May 14, 2018

Around Here

Well it's Monday morning after a busy week of doing my "Week in the Life" photo project for 2018.  It was so enjoyable and I'm so grateful that I get to document my life with my two amazing kids.  They made me breakfast in bed for Mother's Day of pancakes, ice cream and berries and gave me hand made cards which I treasure.  We went on a family BBQ for lunch with my Mum and sister and her family.  One of my sisters lives in Perth and the other one who lives in Brisbane is travelling overseas at the moment.  Here's a few photos from the weekend.

My 10th year Week in the Life completed.  

Saturday morning coffee.

Coffee and granola, yoghurt & berries for breakfast.

Sienna made scones for morning tea on Saturday.

Scones in the making.

Home made and delicious with butter and Golden Syrup.

Family portrait.

Mother & Daughter photo.

A late night run to the supermarket to get ice cream as the kids wanted it for my Mother's Day pancakes for my breakfast in bed.

With the change in weather on Friday I sneezed all day long and went through a box of tissues so I need to restock.  I normally buy them at Aldi as they are cheaper however they were shut.

Sienna's beautiful hand made card using washi tape to make the flags.

James made an wonderful pop up card that opened with a bunch flowers, I was so impressed.

My kids made me breakfast in bed...yum.

This is what 14 looks like.

Sunday Mother's Day Bush BBQ and we love this place because of the wood fire.

Photo with my Brother in Law who was cooking for us.  The family were laughing because I grabbed the tongs for the photo even though I was not the one cooking.

So many lovely Kookaburra's

Lots of friendly Kookaburra's at our bush BBQ yesterday we had 6 of them around.

My sister made this cheesecake slice for dessert.

My son James took this photo of me at the BBQ.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Around Here

As mentioned in my last post that it's that time of the year for my Week in the Life Project which is the brain child of a creative scrapbooker and story teller Ali Edwards from America.  Here is a link to Ali's photos and words on Monday and Tuesday.  She puts her book together after however posts the words and photos each day and then includes those stories in her book.  Ali has 2 kids and her husband has 3 kids so they have the blended family with lots of different schools, after school activities etc. to document.

This is my 10th year doing this project and whilst it's a big commitment I just love doing it every year.  My days are divided up into morning, midday, afternoon and evening and this year I have made it even easier by working out roughly what I would document and then taking those photos of which I only need 4.  This morning it was ironing uniforms and making lunches, the other morning it was in the car going to school, dinners, cooking and coffee with friends.  I'm loving having Mother's Day included in this year also and I will take photos of the kids cards and include them as well.  Here's a few photos from our week so far.

The coffee shop I met up with my girlfriends at.

Warm coffee on a rainy morning.

Portrait for Mother's Day - Mother & Son.

 Making school lunches - wraps with cheese, salami, lettuce and BBQ sauce all from Aldi.

Lunches and water bottles ready for the school bags.

Coffee with Karin.

Karin enjoying her morning coffee in the sunshine.

This is a treat breakfast for me and so delicious.

Portrait of Sienna.

Breakfast avocado and fetta.

Dinner prepping.

Mother's Day Portrait - Mother & Daughter.