Saturday, February 29, 2020

Around Here

Around here we have had a semi-formal and a 14th Birthday which can only mean one thing...these kids are growing up so fast.  The weather in Brisbane has been so humid and hot and we've also had some nice late afternoon storms to cool things down.  As a kid growing up we would have hot days and an afternoon storm however as an adult the afternoon storms rarely come however this week they did and luckily it cooled things down a bit.

Yesterday I attended a 2 hour workshop run by Jo from Addictive Free Lifestyle at Oils for Life at Darra.  I've mentioned in this post about how I listened to their 7 podcasts, participated in a 7 day challenge and took their 4 week online course.  Jo and Tracey are sisters who live in Tasmania with their families and they are doing a tour at the moment to run these 2 hour workshops.  I appreciate the effort these girls are going to because in their IG stories they are always packing up again for a workshop or on a plane and away from their families.  Travelling for work is exhausting however they can spread their story and get in front of people which I know everyone who attended yesterday's workshop appreciated.

Tracey made a few things using the Thermomix and then made some DIY cleaning products.  I love that their cookbook has both the "Traditional" method and the "Thermomix" method of cooking so it's suitable for all families.  I can highly recommend their cookbook.

Jo from Addictive Free Lifestyle doing her cooking demo and notice the big bowl of Roasted Pumpkin Dip [OMG that was delicious] think roasted cooled down pumpkin, garlic, paparika, parmesan cheese, cashews....delicious.

I came home and made these Chocolate Coconut Muffins from the cookbook.

Sienna enjoying some colouring in.

Home made Fried Rice for dinner...I haven't made this in ages and it was delicious.  Rice, Bacon, Capsicum, egg, shallots/spring onion, baby spinach, pineapple, corn, water chestnuts and sprouts, soy & sweet chilli sauce and coriander.   A tip for the egg and schallots/spring onions...mix up your egg and chop up your spring onions.  Spread the spring onions over the pan and then pour the egg  over the top and make a big omlette then you can chop it up to go into your dish.  The egg then has the spring onion flavours and the spring onions throughout.

The birthday girl this week.  Our traditional Freddo Frog Ice Cream Cake [look away - lots of additives and preservatives here but it's twice a year cake for the kids.

I was going through an old hard drive the other day and came across this photo taken of Sienna in October 2011 when she was 5 years old.  The photo was taken across the road on vacant land that had beautiful flowers and a big Bougainvillea in flower and it was so pretty.  My sister and I walked over the road and took some photos of the kids and in 2020 the land has houses on it.  My photo was featured this week in this blog post along with other amazing talented photographers.

The theme was distance and I wrote - Tomorrow my little 5 year old pictured here turns 14.  There is so much time and distance from this photo as she is now taller than me [I'm 5'5].  There is no longer any baby teeth and making mud pies in the back yard and picking up insects which she loved to do every day.  It seems like a distant memory compared to our life today.  Whilst I didn't take this photo this week I found it on an old hard drive and edited with my knowledge and skills in 2020 vs 2011.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Around here - various links

I thought I would do a post with some links that might interest you.

If you aren't following Jo and Tracey [sisters] who Additive Free Lifestyle I recommend you do.  I first listened to the 7 podcasts on chemicals manufacturers put in our food and then did their 4 week online Addictive Free Made Easy course last year.  Manufacturers are tricking us into believing their products are better than the next product by using words like "natural flavours" etc.  Check out this blog post about "Quelch" 99% fruit juice.

I have been following Finding Harmony on IG for a while now and she lives in the Brisbane surrounds and shops at bulk food stores and farmers markets and is the queen of the weekend meal prep on her IG stories.  She has just launched her first podcast on composting.  Composting is one thing I'm not that good at in terms of the recipe for the right balance of brown, green and food scraps.  I do need to do more in this area myself instead of putting the scraps in the rubbish bin.

Staci from Life at Cobble Hill Farm has great blog posts about cutting down on your food budget which we could all do with some more tips.  Check out her other blog posts.

Jodi and her family have been travelling in a caravan in Australia's East Coast for the past year.  She wrote a blog post on travelling on a budget.    Five lessons from living one year on the road and Ten essentials for caravaning with kids.

Some favourite recipes from my blog.

I love visiting Gillian from Tales from a Happy House blog who lives on the South Coast of England and loves cooking, crochet, embroidery and getting out in nature with her kids and the dog.  She has such a lovely little cosy home and her photos of her spaces look so inviting like you want to pull up a chair and have a cuppa with her.

Have a great week and it's sunny and hot in Brisbane at the moment, loving the sun, not so much the humidity. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Around here - Veggie Garden

This week has been much cooler and the rain has been lovely.  The other day I emptied a huge bucket in the backyard which was filled with water and was at least 60-70mm.  The yard is very soggy however it made the weeds in my veggie garden really easy to pull out so that was a bonus.

I weeded my 3 veggie garden beds and planted, butterhead lettuce, iceberg lettuce, capsicum, tomatoes, cucumber, coriander and basil.  It's great living in the sub-tropics as we can grow lots of things here that you can't in the colder climates.  The third bed at the back of the garden doesn't get a lot of sun however I have thyme and rosemary in this one and I will sprinkle tit with flower seeds so that I get lots of bees visiting.  Today I'm going to clean up my flower pots and replant those as the hot December days the plants all shriveled up and died and I haven't done anything about them as yet.

Home made focaccia with home grown rosemary and sea salt.

Home grown carrots - it's not something I normally grow because they take a long time and they are so cheap to buy so I prefer to grow other things that are quicker.

My breakfast - sourdough toast with avocado and feta and a coffee.

First veggie bed planted out with two types of lettuce and capsicums.  It already had oregano which I cut back by 2/3rds and some spring onions and a couple of capsicums which I think possums got to.  Oregano is so easy to grow I had 4 seedlings and they ended up growing the entire length of the veggie garden and about half a metre wide.

Finally all planted, watered and mulched ready to grow.

The trellis at the front has cucumbers around it and at the back I planted 4 tomatoes.   The garden already has spring onions planted.  I also planted two coriander and two basil seed mats.   I love the seed mat because it grows a great bunch of herbs.  Think round make up pad with seeds inside.

The seed mats for the coriander and basil are where the brown dirt patches are.

The last garden weeded ready for some flower seeds.  It currently has rosemary and thyme growing.

In the little Aldi veggie box on the right, I have some carrots and spinach which I planted using the seed tape a while back.

The chicken coop area has been very wet over the past week.  That blue bucket filled to the top with rain in one day.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Around here - More on financing and investing, paying off debt and budgeting

We are now into February and I have already failed on my food budget for the month of January.  You only have to visit the supermarket 4 extra times in a month and spend $50 a visit [which isn't hard by the way] and you'll be over budget by $200.  It was school holidays so February should be easier however I will have to make a bigger effort this month because food is a big cost.  Given the recent drought, fires and some flooding the cost of produce is only going to increase in the coming months.

I recently wrote a blog post that linked to some great blogs about FIRE [Financially Independent Retire Early] and today I came across an Australian lady Tracey Edwards who has some great videos on budgeting, dividend investing as she is "FI" Financially Independent.  The "Retire Early" part of FIRE mostly means that you have the choice to work or not to work.  Once people become FIRE if they are in a job they don't like, they can quit, or they can choose to work part time 2-3 days a week out of enjoyment for the social connection and job satisfaction because they are not in a cubicle doing a job they don't like for 40+ hours a week to pay the bills.  What FIRE does gives you is choices. I have spoken about Frugalwoods blog  before.  Here's a 7 minute video about their journey.

Going back to Tracey Edwards she has written several books on investing in the share market, no spending and her Youtube channel has lots of videos on her monthly budget, how to pay off your credit cards or pay down debts etc including her share strategy which are great.

Here is a simple video on if you pay only the minimum monthly payment on a $5,000 credit card it would take you 33 years to pay it off which is more than most home loans.  We, as adults probably know this already however if there any young high school leavers who think getting a $1,000 credit card is a good idea show them this 11 minute video.

Having worked for an Accounting firm for over 12 years early in my career I learnt a lot about shares, property, negative gearing, interest rates [back in the day my first home loan of $100,000 was 14.4% interest and I was so excited because it had come down from 17%] - yes....who could afford a home loan these days with those sorts of interest rates however through the years no matter what the interest rate is people still buy houses.

From watching Oprah I learnt about Dave Ramsay and Suzie Olman along with Australian Scott Pape of The Barefoot Investor there are loads of great information about managing money which is one thing I want to pass on to my kids.   Everything I wished I knew when I was there age.  Soon they will have part time jobs while at high school and even more so when they have full time jobs after University.  Their first big purchase they will buy will be a car and after that, I will be encouraging them to start an "investing fund"  and "an emergency fund".  Good people get retrenched all the time and usually unexpectedly or if they are in a job they don't like they need to have 6 months of money saved for rent, petrol, groceries, car insurance, electricity, phone etc.  When you first move out of home, it's only then you realize how much "living at home" saves you.  Free internet at home for one, free electricity, free food etc. There are lots of expenses when you share a house with other young adults and no one likes to wash the dishes, clean the toilets or mop the floors.....

I will teach them about the share market and investing long term even with $1,000 savings like "The $1,000 project book.  I want them to have a better understanding of money than I did as a young adult.  We have a board game called Megabucks which is actually about the sharemarket and we have played it a few times and the difference in your stock when you have to buy high or sell low is a good visual thing for them to see.  Investing for them as young adults should be for the long term and not the short term.  You can still buy this game second hand and I can highly recommend it for family entertainment.  Think Monolopy however you are buying a "chair/seat on the board" of companies instead of houses and property.  It's a great game and my sisters and I have been playing it for years.

Tracey Edwards shows you in this video how to pay off 3 credit cards using 3 different methods the the benefits of each in time to pay them off and interest charged.  As she says the method is a personal one and if you are tackling debt what would get you most excited about.  ie paying off the smallest balance to get rid of a card and feel like an achievement or pay off the highest credit card interest rate.  Whilst the video is about credit card debt it could relate to any debt.  This video is 13 minutes long.

Tracey has monthly budget videos which she lists her income and expenses each month however I prefer to do mine a little different and I don't have $7,000 worth of dividend income however she shows you how easy budgeting can be.  I also don't know how her petrol is only $60 per month given it can be up to $1.71 per litre in Queensland although I have just filled up while it was $1.27 a litre.  She works from home however I would never have a $60 a month fuel bill and I don't do a lot of driving.  The point is she does a monthly budget with her income and expenses and if a $360 electricity bill is that month she includes it that month.  Personally I have found the best way to budget for the bills is annually [I have a spreadsheet with my bills listed down the side and the months across the top] and all the bills go into this spreadsheet and it's totaled up and then the figure is divided by 12 so that amount of money needs to be put into the bills budget every month.

I recommend you check out Tracey's videos as I'm sure you will learn something.  They are short videos so you can grab a cuppa and watch 1-2 videos at a time.