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What's Growing in the Garden in October- a Video

Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

This months "What's Growing in the Garden" is a few short videos of my garden. I usually do a photo montage, but I thought this month, I would have a go at videoing the plants in my garden. We have had some wonderful rain these past 2 weeks, good, soaking, heavenly rain. Our tank is full, which is a blessing and all the plants have just come alive, there is something magical about rain and how it transforms a struggling garden into a healthy, green and robust garden.

Please enjoy the little tour around my garden.

What's growing in your garden at the moment?

Have a lovely day.

One Year Ago-The Best Homemade Tartare Sauce


My Clutter Magnet # 2

Monday, 30 October 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Following on from yesterday, I have decluttered the second draw down, in the kitchen, it was crowded and really messy, with doubles and triplicates of some items and I found, yet again, that it becomes a bit of a clutter magnet.

The top draw is always quite tidy, especially after I bought those bamboo draw organisers from Kmart, they were quite inexpensive and has made the top draw look really lovely. I first saw them at my darling Nieces home and I thought they looked so neat and tidy.

The second draw down before a declutter and tidy

And after

I have moved the 3 sieves and the 3 funnels that I kept, to a different draw with more room, that previous declutter had freed up.

I also keep a large container of kitchen utensils, that I use daily on the countertop, in easy reach. I love this system and it works well for me, especially when I am in a hurry, which seems to be all the time.

And these are the items going to the Op shop, I mean, how many sieves, serving spoons and funnels does a girl need? And yes, I did have two, nearly exact, plastic sieves, why? I will never know. 

I love this decluttering theme I have got going on this year, it is getting easier to let things go, after all they are just things and if I need to replace it, I will. I quite often look back over the "My Year of Less Stuff" page, and realise that there is not one single solitary thing I miss! Yeah!

Have a lovely day.


My Clutter Magnet

Sunday, 29 October 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

As you probably know by now I have been decluttering the whole house this year, I have already gotten rid of so much stuff, but have a long way to go. Yesterdays decluttering took me to the kitchen, the bottom draw, in the kitchen, to be exact. Now this has been a dumping ground for so much stuff over the years, I clean it up/out and then within a short period of time it is back to looking like this. It's my clutter magnet!


I think everyone has an area in their home that becomes very cluttered with all sorts of bits and bobs, you know the stuff that you think you will use someday, but usually don't, well the bottom draw of the kitchen is our clutter magnet, where we throw everything we are unsure of and eventually it becomes out of hand, just like it was yesterday. 

Some of this nonsense IS actually useful stuff, stuff/things that we occasionally use, such as the sticky roller refills, you know, for picking up the cat hair, tape gun, hot glue gun, 3M Hooks, batteries and the like. But there was some junk and triplicates and more of items that we simple don't need. I mean, how many iPhone plugs/cords do we need?

So, some things that went to the op shop yesterday from the bottom draw are-
- a useless brush that was supposedly great for picking up cat hair-ah, no it isn't, sticky roller wins every time
- numerous cords for outdated phones
- sticky dots for the bottom of furniture so they won't leave marks on the floor
- glass cleaners x 2, we always get them free with new optical glasses and then never use them
- ear phones we got for free on the plane when we flew to Vancouver, they are just so uncomfortable 
- 3 x iPhone chargers, again, how many do we need? I say one for each person in the house
- hot glue gun sticks that are too big for our glue gun, why did we keep them in the first place when we discovered they were the wrong size?
- a useless stanely/cutting blade, it's too flimsy
- old key chains
- an old and faulty European plug converter???
- a Christmas themed ink stamp
- 3 x tiny and useless allen keys
- a packet of electrode patches for an old foot massager that, have never, and will never, be used
- a tool for putting in replacement flyscreen, we have 2, we only need 1
- a plastic beach permit holder for the car, again we had 2, we only need 1


I know there is still stuff in there that probably won't get used, but it is better than it was. At least there is just one layer of stuff and I can see everything, at a glance now. Oh, and if you are wondering just what I am doing with and ear syringe? It is for puffing dust out of the lenses of cameras, supposedly...and the item to the left "Mr Zogs Sex Wax" is wax for surfboards, nothing weird going on here, just so you know. 

Do you have a clutter magnet at your place?

Have a beaut Sunday


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 28 October 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

If you are a regular reader you will probably already know quite a lot of what was eaten at our place this week from posts during the week. Sorry if it's a bit repetitive. We had our beautiful Daughter and her lovely partner visiting this past week to celebrate her birthday with us. It is always so wonderful to have everyone under the same roof for an extended period of time. Our daughter and son are best friends (their nick names for each other are Chief and Chubs) and they just pick up where they left off. To hear their hilarious banter always makes my smile big and warms my heart. They are great kids.

You will probably also recall the disaster we had with the fish tank. While lovely hubby was away a few weeks ago, the tank chose that time to start to leak. This is the second time this has happened and on this occasion, it was decided it had seen better days and to invest in a new tank. This new tank is smaller but more autonomous, meaning it should stay cleaner for longer, keeping the fish and corals in better health.

Our Daughters partner just happens to be an expert in setting up and maintaining salt water aquariums, so guess what he spent most of his time doing while they were down here? He was an absolute blessing and we now have an amazing aquarium to be proud of. Frugal? Definitely not, but it is something lovely hubby has always loved and by being frugal in other parts of our lives we can indulge in other interests that bring us joy.

As you can imagine, having extra family at home means a more expensive week, food wise, and it was, but so totally worth it. We did have one hiccup on Thursday, the kids had all planned on heading into the city to catch up with another couple for dinner (lovely hubby and I were going to have leftovers) and then travel onto the airport to fly home, but those plans fell apart at the last minute, so I stopped in at Coles and bought 2 BBQ chickens (they were the free range Lilydale brand, marked down to $6.92 each), coleslaws, rolls and mayo to have for a quick and easy dinner, not all that frugal but cheaper than takeaway for 6 adults. Now on with what we bought, spent and ate.

What we bought
Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn. Unfortunately, when I went to use the asparagus on Saturday (the day after it was bought) it was already past its prime, so I took it back and swapped it for some other green veg

Shopping from Aldi

Shopping from Coles

Shopping from Marjax meats, I didn't end up using the pork chops, (that was the night we had the BBQ Chicken and coleslaw rolls instead) they will be used this week in this recipe
What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$63.43
Coles-$70.95 + $31.68 for the Chicken and Coleslaw Roll dinner
Marjax Meats-$36.80

Total-$302.53, whoa! how do large families do it, week in week out?
What we ate

Sunday-Family dinner, Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup followed by

Char Sui and Sui Yook with steamed Basmati rice and bok choy

And dessert was a homemade pavlova with whipped cream, raspberries and passionfruit. The egg whites and passionfruit were from the freezer

Monday-My Get Ahead Spaghetti Sauce (I cooked it on Sunday in the slow cooker)with Fettuccini and heaps of grated parmesan 

Tuesday-My Easy Lasagna, using the other half of the Get Ahead Spaghetti Sauce, from last night, with steamed green beans with olive oil and balsamic dressing

Wednesday-Our Daughters Birthday Dinner-Tempura Whiting with steamed Basmati rice and Choy Sum and oyster sauce. My darling sister bought us some amazing Kim Chi on Sunday, it is so delicious 

And we had this cake for dessert

Thursday and Friday we had the Chicken and Coleslaw rolls, sorry, I forgot to take a photo on both occasions­čśĆbut they were easy, yummy and filling. 

So, a bigger week than usual, all I can say is I am glad I don't have to feed 6 hungry adults every week. 

How many people do you have to cook for each week? And how much on average do you spend?

Have a lovely day.


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 27 October 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

This past week has been wonderful, exciting and exhausting all at the same time. Our darling daughter travelled down for her birthday, arriving on Saturday and leaving last night. I am always sad to see her go, but for the present time, Cairns is her home. Both our daughter and her partner own a business in Cairns and have worked long and hard to establish and run a successful venture together.

She is such a level headed girl, buying just the bare necessities for herself, not minding wearing the same clothes week in, week out and spending very little on herself. Mind you, she always looks a million bucks? But all children look beautiful in their mothers eyes, don't they?

She must have inherited some of our core values, such as-use and buy less stuff, save every bit of money that you can and don't waste a thing including your time. Simple frugal values that, if done everyday, add up to saving you a great deal of money in the long run.

Now on with this weeks 5 frugal things

1. Saved money by eating at home for our big family dinner last Sunday, sure, we could have gone out, but to fill 9 adults and 2 children would cost a small fortune (there is my nieces husband and their two little girls just out of view in the photo) We had a Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup (there was one big bowl of soup left that my sister gratefully took home) Followed by Roasted Pork-Char Sui and Sui Yook with Bok Choy and Oyster sauce and to finish off I made a Pavlova from 6 egg whites I had in the freezer. You'll notice, in the photo, I left some of the Pav without fruit, as the little girls aren't huge fruit eaters.

We also had our daughters actual birthday dinner at home, at her request. We had Tempura Whiting with Basmati rice, Choy Sum and Oyster sauce plus this cake for dessert.

2. Dried all the washing on the line

3. Decluttered some more items from our home. Probably not quite in line with being frugal, but it always makes me feel good. Less stuff=less stuff to look after, freeing up my time. You can see the items I donated yesterday over at the "My Year of Less Stuff" page.

4. Watered the plants in pots with buckets of water, I left out, to fill up with water, while it was raining. There were quite a few inches of water in each one. We had some huge storms pass us by yesterday afternoon with just a few spits of rain at about 6pm. I will probably have to water over the weekend as the pots are starting to dry out.

5. Looked after all left overs and used them in a timely manner, love no waste!

So, that was my 5 frugal things from a busy but lovely week, over to you, I would love to know your 5 frugal things, join in by clicking the speech bubble at the end of the post and leaving a comment.

Have a lovely day

One Year Ago-Cleaning the Showers. Take 3

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake with Toasted Coconut and Lime Whipped Cream

Thursday, 26 October 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Our darling Daughter celebrated her 27th birthday yesterday and in her typical lovely style she just wanted a family dinner at home. That suits us down to the ground, always preferring a home cooked dinner to going out to a restaurant. We had an extended family dinner last Sunday which was just lovely, lovely Hubby made his famous roasted Chinese Pork-Char Sui and Sui Yook and I made a Chicken and Sweet Corn soup and a dessert of Pavlova. And last night lovely hubby cooked Tempura Whiting and I did the rice, Choy Sum and this cake for dessert.

 Our daughter had requested this White Chocolate and Coconut Cake, pictured below, that I had made a few years ago for her birthday.

But I knew I just wouldn't have the time to make that one, so I settled for a simpler one. I used this recipe from way back when I first started this blog and just tinkered with the recipe. I am not much of a cake maker/decorator, especially when I am short of time, preferring the mix and bake kind of simple cakes, with a whipped cream "icing" instead of the faff of traditional icing. The light lime and toasted coconut whipped cream is fabulous with this sturdy cake, which bakes and cuts beautifully. It is not a light airy sponge, rather a more sturdy, tender crumb cake, thanks to the yoghurt and raspberries.

Ingredients for Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake, clockwise from top left-
1 cup vanilla yoghurt, 1 cup oil (I use Rice Bran Oil for everything) 2 cups SR flour, 100 gram of white chocolate bits, 1 cup of frozen or fresh raspberries, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of white sugar

Grease and line cake tin of choice, I love this cute heart shaped tin, I picked it up at an Op shop years ago

In the Thermomix, blitz sugar for 10 seconds on speed 6

Add the vanilla yoghurt, oil and eggs

And blitz until smooth, 10 seconds on speed 5

Add the flour

And blitz for 10 seconds on speed 5

Throw in the white chocolate bits and raspberries 

And gently mix in with a soft spatula

Pour and scrape into prepared tin 

And bake at 175C for 55 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, you can see I had to try a few tries until the cake was cooked. Let cake cool completely in tin, then turn out onto cake rack

For the Toasted Coconut and Lime Whipped cream "Icing"

Whip 300 mls of cream, 2 teaspoons of icing sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence until soft peaks form and add zest from 1/2 a lime, mix well. Toast 1/3 cup of shredded coconut in a dry frying pan on medium heat until golden, let cool before sprinkling over cake

Pile whipped cream on top of cooled cake and sprinkle over toasted coconut. There will be some cream and coconut left over after decorating the cake. Serve this extra cream and coconut with the cake

Serve with extra cream and coconut

Have a lovely day.