Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Photos of our garden

Our front garden is looking great atm - it's an odd combination of protea, kangaroo paw, oyster plants and hydrangeas, but it looks very colourful!

Family reunion

We had the 3rd annual family reunion of my Mum's side on Sunday - my grandmother, mum's siblings, their kids and their kids (and partners of all of the above!). It's a good day - it started off 3 years ago for my grandmother's b'day and has turned into an annual get-together at Norah Head. We take over the park above Hargraves Beach for a BYO picnic lunch, and then the adventurous climb down the hundred-odd steps (not sure if there's that many but it feels like it!) to the beach. My cousins rented the lighthouse cottage for the week as well, so we went back there for afternoon tea. It's a nice relaxing day and great to catch up with everyone. However my calves are sooooo sore from the steps - I had to climb up and down twice as we forgot to take Billy's bucket & spade down the first time!!

I won a book today - it's the 1st prize I've won for myself after the ballet tickets for my nieces and 4 tubes of men's facial cleanser for Pete :) I won Tara Moss's new one, Hit, from a New Idea competition. It was a 25 word or less competition too so I'm doubly stoked with it!

The Use-it-up challenge continues - so far I've removed from the list:
  • fish fingers
  • sweet rice
  • bread ends (now in the freezer as breadcrumbs)

Slowly getting there!

Friday, November 24, 2006

'Use-it-up' update..

I've managed to use up a couple of bits & pieces:

* the tuna & pasta from the freezer were lunch for Billy & I the other day
* I toasted some of the pine nuts and added them to a stirfry
* I made a loaf of pumpkin & sunflower bread using 1 lot of gramma and some of the sunflower seeds - not bad, a bit heavy on the cumin though

I'll dry the bread ends out in the oven tomorrow night while I'm cooking tea, so they're ready to make into breadcrumbs.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I've heard of a 'flea in the ear'..

I can't believe I forgot to write this about Monday morning - I woke up at 2:30 with a bug flying into my ear! Trying to get it out just lodged it deeper until I had to go up to emergency to get it out! The worst of it was it was still alive and flying around inside my ear canal - it was the worst feeling. I felt like ripping my ear off to stop it. I ended up tipping water in to try and dislodge it - at least that drowned it and stopped it moving in my ear! Anyway 2 hours up at Emergency of our local hospital and they couldn't get it out - it was lodged too deeply (it was right next to the ear drum). So I had to get a referral to the Newcastle hospital for yesterday, where they suctioned it out! My ear is sore atm, not sure if it's just where they were poking and prodding - hopefully it won't get infected on top of everything!

Monday, November 20, 2006

'Use it up' challenge

I'm following on from a friend's challenge - she's made a list of everything that needs to be 'used up' in the pantry etc. (http://lightening74.blogspot.com/2006/11/use-it-up-challenge.html) I'm very guilty of buying stuff for a 'gourmet' recipe and then never using it again. So here's my list - I'll report on how much I've managed to use up as I go over the next few weeks.

  • garlic lime chicken rub
  • berry flakes / banana bits
  • sunflower seeds
  • pine nuts
  • paw paw & tomato chutney
  • dragonfruit and chili sauce
  • dragonfruit dessert sauce
  • polenta
  • apple cider vinegar
  • white wine vinegar
  • red wine vinegar (see a trend here?!)
  • arborio rice


  • salsa x 2
  • capers
  • 1/2 block copha
  • hoisin sauce
  • tandoori curry paste


  • bread ends (make breadcrumbs)
  • puff pastry
  • capsicum
  • chilis
  • zucchini
  • pineapple slices
  • thai curry paste
  • soup x 5
  • frankfurts
  • sweet rice
  • pasta spirals
  • tuna
  • fish fingers
  • mashed gramma

Any suggestions gratefully accepted!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Billy's sunflower

Baking day & assorted bits..

We made 4 lots of biccies yesterday using a bulk recipe from the Savings Vault - 1 lot of jam biscuits, 1 lot of cocoa & peppermint, 1 lot of hundreds & thousands, and 1 lot of sultana & cinnamon. I even found out how to make your own condensed milk! The biscuits are very yummy - I've frozen most of them so that will do us for treats for a while.

I have some tiny shoots coming up in the vege garden - not sure what yet, but I'm pretty excited :) My herbs bit the dust - the pots blew down and broke in the strong winds the other day. Bummer..

I finally listed some more stuff on Oztion in the hope of making a bit extra before Xmas. No nibbles yet but still 5 days to go. Hopefully I'll find some more time to list this week too.

My teaching has finished for the year - I'm quite relieved about that. I don't think I'll be doing any teaching next year for the main college I've worked at for the past few years - the timetable doesn't look like it will work out for me. I'm not sure if that's by design or not, but I'm not really worried. I'm planning on doing the Cert IV of Workplace Training and Assessment qualification next year which is on Wednesdays - I'd told the guy who was doing the timetabling that I couldn't do Wednesdays anymore and that's when my courses ended up... C'est la vie..

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home Scan

I just got a phone call from AC Nielsen inviting me to join their "Home Scan" program where you get a little gadget and scan everything you buy - groceries, fruit & veg etc - for market research. I'm not 100% certain how the rewards bits works yet but you earn points for doing it that you can redeem for vouchers, gifts etc. I'm strangely excited by it :) It should tie in well with me wanting to get back to keeping track of what I'm buying.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I finally got motivated enough to do some planting today. I have a big garden down the back but I have to admit to letting it get over-run. I get keen, clear it out, plant and then because it's either too hot or too cold and too far away, I don't get back to it. I'm not a very consistent gardener :(

So I got a foam box from Aldi (discarded fruit box), and have planted some salad vegetables at the back door. Tomatoes (cherry & Roma), carrots and spring onions. It may or may not work but it's worth a try! I'll get some lettuce seedlings once I see how these go. I also replanted the parsley and oregano in my hanging baskets, and Billy planted some flower seeds in another pot - I'm pretty sure the seeds were waaaay out of date so I'd be very surprised if anything came up but at least he felt useful!

Time to get serious again

We've just been coasting along financially lately, not really getting into more debt, but not really getting too much ahead with paying it off either. So plan of attack:

* redo the budget for the latest interest rate rise
* update price book with Aldi prices
* stop frittering little bits of money away - it's "only" $2 here, $2 there but it adds up
- start taking snacks again when we go out rather than buying,
- empty purse of money each day - only take what we will need for the day,
- go back to recording what we're spending

I only have one more week of teaching - when that's over I will have reduced income, but it will also give me more time to be organised and is the major cause of the little extras - buying a can of coke and/or packet of chips, tea on the nights I work etc.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I did another shop at Aldi today. I need to restart my price book - I know most things were comparable in price to Bilo from memory, but some things I think may be slightly dearer. There are a couple of things I can't get at Aldi (like wholemeal flour) so it will mean the occasional shop at Bilo as well, if there are things that are cheaper there I may as well pick them up at the same time. I think I must be on version 6-million of my price-book. One of these days I'll find something that I will stick with! If only the prices would stop going up all the time :D

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A flash of sunshine..

I just looked out of the window on a drizzly morning to see a sunflower growing in our vegetable garden! What a cheery sight! Billy had "planted" some seeds some time ago (I think he just lay them on top of the soil) - obviously the birds had missed seeing it :)