2016 has arrived and once again I failed to see in the new year. I just couldn't keep my eyes open and trotted off to bed at 11.30pm. I figure that it was going to happen anyway so I might as well go to sleep.
Some neighbours had fireworks which we weren't aware of but luckily all of our animals were safely tucked in bed and it didn't stress them out.
As mentioned in my last post for 2015 I have this year decided to make goals instead of resolutions so today marks a fresh page in this new year and as an added bonus we get an extra day this year to achieve them, being a leap year. I will chat about them later in this post.
Christmas day was a scorcher here at Brighton with 37 degrees which is Hot Hot Hot for us ! All of our children were home and we had a wonderful day together. Back row from left is Sam, Kaitlin and Amy and front row is Rod, myself and Josh.
I had the most stress less Christmas ever and enjoyed it so much. I think for the most part it was because I had shopped and handmade items throughout the year and only had a few fresh items to purchase in the lead up to the day. It made it such an enjoyable experience that I have decided that this year I am going to make at least 1 handmade item every week to add to my gifting pile and I thought it might be fun to do it on the blog and share a few little patterns, ideas and tutorials along the way with you. Sometime next week I will add my first handmade item for the year and share it with you. This will not only save you time and money but also the stress of the "silly season".
Rod and I were very spoilt with a Nespresso Coffee Machine and Milk Frother. We both LOVE coffee and it is one of the things I most miss being on a tight budget. We would often pop out for a coffee in the old "working" days but this little machine is the next best thing and has had a real workout in the past week.
I discovered some GRINDERS coffee pods which fit which are a little cheaper that we like at the local supermarket and I also ordered a pack of 60 online for $20 which I am waiting to arrive. Hopefully they will be nice too.
We did buy a trail pack of 150 Nespresso pods for $99 with some money given to us for Christmas, but the regular price of them will probably inhibit the purchase of too many of those in the future but I am not too fussy as long as I can smell the coffee brewing and it tastes okay I will be happy.
I have spent a lot of time in the lead up to Christmas and since reading frugal websites, blogs etc and also re-reading parts of the $21 challenge book. We do not have a lot of money left after paying the regular bills so it is important that I am especially frugal in the kitchen and home but still maintaining a decent life. I am not complaining at all and actually much prefer our life now to what we had 2 years ago when I had a highly paid stressful job. Life is much slower and certainly less stressful. I see living frugally as a challenge that I enjoy.
One of our biggest costs is groceries. We spend way too much and become way too lazy in food preparation because of the convenience of cheap processed - Excuse the language - CRAP. So I began a new budget and journey on Monday of this week.
Our budget is $70 per week - Or $10 per day which has to cover everything including cleaning products and toiletries.
I have a little notebook in my purse which I write down what I need and what I have purchased and how much is left. Every week I will be accountable to myself and will use lots of information, tips and tricks gathered in the past 2 weeks to help us achieve a good result.
Just last week I have made Satay Chicken for a meal and made enough to freeze 2 containers worth for a later time. I have been trying to do that as much as possible. Rice and Pasta are great for stretching out meals with a lovely sauce, a little further and freeze really well.
Our freezer is looking very healthy at the moment and it is mostly due to freezing left overs straight away instead of leaving them sitting in the fridge uneaten and eventually being thrown out.
The Christmas/ New Year period is always a busy time in our household with lots of visitors popping by. In anticipation of this I spent some time baking this week and made a lovely batch of Anzac biscuits.
And a loaf of Banana Bread from some bananas that were on the turn
And a batch of my signature biscuit "Kiss"biscuits.
Banana Bread is wonderful when cooked and not too bad the second day but sweats really quickly and doesn't keep well fresh so I cut one third of it off straight away and popped in the freezer for another time.
I feel very proud of my efforts in this first week. We have eaten well and have eaten home made food and have entertained our guests for little cost. So much so that I only have a few anzacs left and need to spend some more time baking in the next few days.
There has been no action on the sewing front. I haven't felt like sewing so haven't pushed the point with myself. I have made no promises about finishing off UFO's or not beginning new projects until others have been finished but will instead just stitch what I feel like when I feel like it.
So today I will spend some time preparing meals and baking as well as some time in the orchard picking a little fruit . I am going to have a go at making our own cordial in the coming days so hopefully that turns out ok.
Happy New Year to you all.