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Our Pineapple Patch

Monday, 18 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,


Growing pineapples from discarded pineapple tops was probably my first foray into budget gardening, in the beginning I really didn't have a clue what I was doing (probably still don't) but it was fun and it was free so I thought why not have a go.


I wait until the fleshy bit that comes away when you twist out the pineapple top heals over and dries and then I simply screw in the spiky top like you would an old fashioned light bulb, into potting mix. I grow our pineapples in pots for ease of care. I screw it in up to the second or third row of spikes so that the pineapple top is well and truly secure.


And then you wait, you have to be quite patient, like 18 months worth of patience, but you are eventually rewarded with sweet homegrown pineapple that, except for time and water was absolutely free.

I picked out first ripe pineapple this season (the one in the above photo in the foreground) on Thursday morning and then on Friday morning the under ripe one at the back had broken off its spike, it must have been too heavy. I have it ripening in the fruit bowl. 

Have a lovely day,

🍍Fi

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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 15 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

How's your New Year going, has it lost its shine yet? Here we are already half way through January and I'm still holding on to the New Year feeling. I have been in my sewing room using up some left over fabric to make a scrappy quilt which is making me happy, the garden, while not much is planted at the moment, is humming along nicely thanks to intermittent showers of rain. The pumpkin vine has already covered one bed and has made a good start on the next one along. And the tomatoes are fruiting beautifully, but I need to beat Miss mouse or Mr rat by picking them quite green and ripening the inside. We have set traps but nothing has been caught yet. 

LH has made a start on one of our goals this year, to sand back and oil/stain our old, but still solid, outdoor setting. He started on Monday by pressure hosing off the table and chairs, getting into all the nooks and crannies, then he used an orbital sander, borrowed from our future SIL, to start sanding back the table, it's looking good so far. The only problem was that he didn't think to close the sliding glass doors that lead onto the patio nor the windows that face out that way. So now I have fine dust covering our bedroom furniture and every last shutter in that area along with the security screens. I want to cry as it has not been very long since I cleaned them all. So guess what I'm doing on tomorrow?

Here's how we saved money this week-

1. Grated and froze a half block of cheese that had been sitting in the fridge for a while, I froze it one cup portions. 


2. Made some golden chicken stock from the roast chicken frame, I now have four jars of lovely stock in my freezer to use. I just popped the roast chicken frame in the slow cooker along with carrots, 1/2 an onion and a teaspoon of turmeric, let it cook on slow overnight and this is the result. 


3. I forgot to put milk on the shopping list for the Wednesday grocery shop so I popped up to Coles on Sunday (wearing a mask as per Covid protocol) to pick up some milk and bread. I spied this great markdown and snaffled it. I used it to make vanilla yoghurt.


$3.57 for 1.5 litres of yoghurt...thank you very much.


4. An oldie but a goodie, used the toothbrush to squeeze the toothpaste to the top of the tube, using every last bit. I even cut the tube open to get to the residue, yes I'm that woman and I'm not sorry. 

5. Semi dried an abundance of our Lemon Drop tomatoes in the oven using the "Food Warming" function. Love to preserve home grown abundance to prevent waste.


How did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,
💛Fi

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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Thursday, 14 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

This is another regular post that I will keep going as I know I love to see what other people are buying and what they are having for dinners. Our current menu/shopping schedule runs from Wednesday to the following Tuesday so this post will follow that schedule too, although this week it is one day late, I will be posting this regularly on a Wednesday. 

I don't have too many photos for this weeks post either as I was humming and hawing over whether I was going to continue this kind of post but as you can see, I have decided to go ahead with it.

What we bought-





What we spent-

Coles-$48.32

Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$26.70

Aldi-$62.26

TOTAL-$137.28


What we ate-

Wednesday-Pan Fried Fish, Chips and Salad

Thursday-Pork and Maple Sausages, Easy Potato Bake and Upmarket Mushy Peas

Friday-Leftovers from last night

Saturday-Roast Chicken and Veggies


Sunday-Leftovers from last night

Monday-Smoked Trout Pizzas

Tuesday-Steamed Fish, Rice and Asian Greens


I really must get around to posting the "recipe"for the smoked trout pizzas as we absolutely love them, they started life out as smoked salmon pizzas but we have found that smoked trout is a very close second and cheaper, so smoked trout it is. Our son 'invented" this slightly weird but really delicious pizza combination. 

What was on your menu last week?

Have a lovely day,
💗Fi

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Look at This

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I found this freshly hatched butterfly on the same orange tree a few weeks ago.

Our citrus trees out the front are finally starting to look like more than twigs, they are getting bushy with lots of glossy leaves and new growth. We planted them about 18 months ago and they took a while to get going but they are well on their way now. I was inspecting the leaves the other day, checking for leaf curl and I found these on our orange tree.




Loads of lovely butterfly caterpillars munching on the orange tree leaves and I don't mind one little bit, I hope they stay and transform into cocoons then hatch out into butterflies. Such a joy to see in the garden.

Have a lovely day,
💚Fi

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Home Made Dog Food

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,


Today I thought I would walk you through how I make our little woofs food, it is based on Rhonda's recipe from Down to Earth but I have fiddled with the original recipe to add more protein and more veggies. This amount makes over 4 kg's of dog food. 

Ingredients for Homemade Dog Food-2 kg of beef mince, 500 grams of frozen veg of choice, 1 cup each of rice, red lentils and barely and 1 heaped teaspoon of vegemite 

We buy the 2 kg bulk pack of beef mince and also the Market Fare Frozen Winter Vegetables from Aldi as their price and quality beats Woolies and Coles. We buy the Basmati rice when it is on special usually for $9 for a 5kg bag and the red lentils and barley are cheap as chips anywhere you buy them. All the ingredients are basic, quite inexpensive and wholesome.

In a very large pot, brown the mince and then add the rice, red lentils, barley and vegemite

Mix well and then cover well with water, bring to a gentle boil and then pop on a lid and turn the heat down to low

Cook away like this for about 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the red lentils have started to break up

Now add more water, again cover with more water and continue cooking for another 15 minutes 

Add the frozen veg and let cook with lid on for about 10 minute or until the veggies are just soft

Let the mixture cool a little before portioning into suitable amounts for your dog/dogs and freeze till needed. We give our dogs approximately 120 grams plus a scoop of their dry food at night. They also get a small bowl of rice one morning for breakfast and then on the next morning they get a can of sardines shared between the two of them. They also get liver treats a few times a day, I take a couple with me when we walk and if they are good and ignore any other dogs we meet they get a treat, they are slowly learning not to lose their minds every time they see another dog. I give them a treat when I leave for work and also when I get home, they are in such a routine and won't let me forget that I owe them a treat. 

Have a lovely day,

🐶Fi

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Sunday Afternoon in the Sewing Room

Monday, 11 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,


Yesterday morning I had to do a few boring things like clean the air fryer, add the green waste, coffee grounds and shredded paper from the office to the compost bin and give it a good turn over, sweep the courtyard, strain and bottle the chicken stock that I had popped in the slow cooker overnight, then clean the slow cooker bowl. I try and get all the menial or boring tasks out of the way before I do the more fun things like cooking or sewing.


I finished all the above boring stuff by about 11am then I headed into the kitchen to make a batch of vanilla yoghurt and our muesli for the week ahead. We had a quick cheese and salad sandwich for lunch and once I had tidied the kitchen I headed into the sewing room for some mindful sewing. I call it mindful or should that be mindless because the kind of sewing I did was fun, not organised or planned in anyway, there was no measuring or worry about matching fabrics. So, what kind of sewing did I do? I did some strip or string quilting using a 6 1/2 inch foundation paper and lots of off cuts and leftover fabric from previous quilts.


I have been gradually adding to a "bits and pieces" quilt for about two years now, as I finish a quilt there is usually fabric or orphaned blocks left over so bit by bit they have been added to the quilt below. Sorry it's not a very good photo but I think you get the idea. Yesterday I added the bold blue geometric print squares to the existing quilt and started on some strip or string squares. I got five squares done before I had to give the sewing away, as it was almost 5pm and time to take the little woofs for a walk. 



I will probably need another 3 squares of the strip quilting blocks to be long enough to make another row, but that will have to wait till next weekend! Most of the fabric I worked with yesterday for the string/strip quilting was leftover from the last little baby quilt I made, I forgot to take a photo of the finished quilt, which I can't believe, but I will ask the new Mum if she can send me a photo of it soon. Anyway the fabrics were such a delight to work with, so cute and the colours are so soft and beautiful. I loved my afternoon of mindless sewing. 

Have a lovely day,
💖Fi

4

Three Day Lockdown

Saturday, 9 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,


Yesterday morning we woke to the news that parts of Brisbane, including Moreton Shire, will be going into a three day lockdown from 6pm Friday till 6pm Monday following the discovery of one person who tested positive to the new UK strain of Covid 19.

We had planned on having a little get together on Sunday afternoon to meet the new addition to their family, of a lovely couple, who are very good friends of my Daughter and SIL, within a few minutes of organising this, the news came out about the lockdown. Never mind better to be safe than sorry. There will be another time.


I didn't think much more of the lockdown until I left for work, I wondered why there was so much traffic going into our local Coles just up the road, I had to wait 10 minutes just to get out of our street, the madness of panic buying had begun.

We have plenty of food in the house so there was no need to top up with anything, we had leftovers last night for dinner and the menu is set for the weekend, so we are okay for the three day lockdown. I had intended to sleep in this morning but my body clock had other ideas, I got up just after 6am, fed Ninja, boiled the kettle for my tea, emptied the dishwasher, gave Lulu her heart medication and then headed on down to the office to post this blog. I actually wasn't going to post this weekend, but a forced stay at home order means a more relaxed weekend ahead. I did have a hair appointment for a hair cut but obviously that isn't happening, my hair is a mop at the moment so I was really looking forward to it, never mind, it will happen when it can. 

Today is overcast, blustery with scattered showers which is doing the garden and grass the world of good, at least I won't have to water for a while. After I post this I'll take the little woofs for their morning walk, they don't care about the rain, after breakfast I'll start on some washing, I'll do a quick vac including the lounges and door tracks, I want to finish the other dog bed cover, make a start on some baby bibs for the afore mentioned baby and for dinner tonight I am making a chicken roast. That should be enough for today. 

What are you doing today? Are you in lockdown where you are?

Have a good day,

💙Fi

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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 8 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

And welcome to the first 5 Frugal Things for this year. This year I thought I might just change things up a bit, blogging wise, before I had my blogging break last year I was blogging to a schedule, everyday was locked into a topic and I think that is maybe why I had bloggers fatigue. I'm finding it much easier to write everyday if I just let my mind run free. 

In saying that I really love this topic/post, it's a summary of how I've saved some money over the past week and is, after all, the foundation to this blog. So here is what we got up to on the frugal front-

1. Made new slip covers for the little woofs existing beds. When we inherited the little woofs we also inherited two soft beds and two sturdy plastic dog houses. Unfortunately Lulu is/was quite a destructive dog and she chewed all of the soft beds and hard plastic dog houses. We didn't want to buy anything new just for her to chew it and ruin the look of a new bed. A little while ago our Son and future DIL gave me some plastic backed curtaining that they didn't need anymore and I popped it in the sewing room thinking at the time the sturdy fabric would make nice dog bed covers. Last Sunday I finally got around to taking a pattern off the soft dog bed and have been doing a little bit each day, cutting out and sewing a slip cover. I finished the first one on Wednesday and I love how it turned out. Lulu hasn't nibbled at it yet, lets see how long it lasts.


The existing soft bed, I use a cheap Kmart pillow as the centre cushion (the original one is long gone from being chewed) and layer it up with Op shopped pillow cases (I use 3 pillow cases on each pillow as Lulu likes to chew holes in them too) I have to tuck the corners in other wise she has holes chewed in the corners within the day. 

The new slip cover

I know she doesn't really care but I think it looks nicer and except for time, a bit of paper for the pattern and some thread, it was free.

2. Kept the bacon dripping from the bottom of the air fryer after Sunday's breakfast. I use the bacon drippings when frying or sautéing something savoury to add more flavour. I keep the jar in the fridge. 


3. Made a batch of dog food, I haven't costed it but I'm sure it is a lot cheaper that this-


The final batch of homemade dog food weighed over 4 kg's, similar to the total weight of the 12 cans of dog food above. Here is what I put in the dog food I make-

Beef mince, frozen veg, rice, barely, red lentils and vegemite 

4. Washed the woofs myself,  I'm not sure how much a dog wash is, but I'll take free any day

I wash the little woofs in the laundry sink, it is the perfect height so I don't have to bend over

5. Did an inventory of the fridge before I started making the menu and shopping list for the week ahead, I try not to waste a thing. With the lead up to Christmas we had lots of food in the fridge and pantry, I get anxious and overwhelmed when I have too much food in the house just in case I miss something. This is this mornings fridge-


How did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,
💕Fi

2

What’s Happening in the Garden

Thursday, 7 January 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,


It is high summer here and of course it is very hot and humid, even though we now have more than enough water tanks to be able to keep veggies hydrated during our long summer we still chose, this year, not to plant too much. We have planted three different kinds of tomatoes, a butternut pumpkin vine and some mustard green.


The established fruit trees are doing well and there is still some big spring onions languishing in the allium garden bed, I have picked the potato onions and an old heirloom variety of red onion that were growing there too and they are hanging in the shed, drying.




A couple of weeks ago, while we were at Bunnings, I saw an oval herb planter that was on the clearance table, in the planter was a good sized rosemary bush, two oregano plants, two Italian parsley plants and two thyme plants, all for $7, it was too good a bargain to walk past. I have separated and planted out those herbs in some existing pots I had left over from when I gave our Fiddle Leaf Figs away. The Figs were becoming too big for the pots and had gone like leather from being in the sun. I popped the Figs on FB Marketplace and they were snapped up straight away.


On the other side (Ninja's side) the sweet potato vine is finally doing well, I don't know why, but it took forever to get going, I should have a nice harvest this year. Around the compost bin there are some self sown tomatoes and a pumpkin vine that I am ignoring because as I have learnt the minute I start fussing over anything self sown, it will turn up it's toes.



In the veggie pod I have two mustard green plants growing and three saw tooth coriander, again, learning from the past, two mustard green in that small space is plenty, a single mustard green plant can get huge.


I would like to say the tomatoes are doing well, but one of the vines is struggling, I'm not too sure if its too much or not enough water. The other problem is we have a Miss Mouse or Mr Rat nibbling at the almost ripe fruit, we have set traps but nothing has been caught yet. Our Jack Russell Terriers, Lulu and Pippa would sniff them out and have them in a flash if we let them up into the garden beds, trouble is there would be nothing left of the garden or plants. I have only been able to save a handful of tomatoes this season, I have been picking them quite green, bringing them inside to finish ripening, otherwise we will have nothing to harvest.







LH has plans for shade covers for the garden beds next Summer, so we can grow veggies without being scorched by the sun, he also wants to improve the irrigation we have. At the moment we have spray heads on spikes along each row but he likes the one that Bunnings have that irrigate from above so he is thinking of making a kind of cage for each bed and attaching irrigation lines along the top. Lets see how that plan goes.

Have a lovely day,
💚Fi
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