Waste not

I have jumped.on the nowaste bandwagon. Why? I noticed that in our home of just one adult and a 3yr old during the week and 2adults on a weekend im filling the kitchen bin nearly daily and the wheelie bins are full every week. How on earth are we using so much?!? Then i heard that plastic, never breaks down. The first plastic ever made is still on this earth somewhere. People may ask wgere it is and the answer is you are standing on it. When plastic crumbles it breaks down into small pieces that just sit in the earth. That dirt under your feet is part plastic. 

So i sat down and thought about what i was bringing into the house and in just one day i was horrified to realise just how much of it was single use plastic, grocery bags, produce bags, packaging, lunch drinks a bag of mushrooms. Even when i tried not buying bags everything i bought came in its own packaging. How on earth did we get this bad?! I believe that what happened was this. We devised to give ourselves more time, single use means no washing up, packaging means fresh for longer, less washing. But now that we live ina technological world we actaully have too much time and are struggling to understand why we dont feel forfilled. We go to work, come home and the house does all the work for us, cleans our dishes, cooks, freezes food, washes clothes and drys them. We dont need everything to be time saving now. We can use glass and metal dishes and put them in the dishwasher, no time lost, we can actually save time by using glass to bake then put straight in the fridge then into the microwave. Cleaning up is faster without waste because there is less to pick up, no packaging to throw out, no boxes to stomp into the bin. Our plastic lunchboxes used to be metal but the metal shortage after the war made plastic a better option. Not any more!

After watching several videos on youtube i realisd there are alternatives to most of it. They also opened my eyes to the fact that alot of things we buy can actually be made with no harsh chemicles. Did you know that the best makeup remover you can use, is coconut oil. Thats it. Just a piece of cloth and some oil. Store bought makeup remover contains a chemicle that can leave you blind if it gets in your eyes, a product made for use around your eyes can make you blind! Doesnt make much sense does it. 

So im going to be writing a series of posts explaining what i am switching too and why its better for you and our world. You might just save money too 😃 

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Single parent

no, im technically not a single parent but as my partner is only home one day a week it often feels that way. So here are my top tips to being a single parent (most of the time):

  1. Batch cook. You never know when something will crop up or your kid will throw a fit so cook in bulk and eat easy during the week.
  2. Have many snacks on hand. This comes back to batch cooking, muffins and cookies can be healthy dinners if you make them yourself.
  3. Teach your child to be self sufficient. As i was running out the house this morning i looked down and realised i had forgotten to put rues shoes on, thabkfully he had put his boots on himself.
  4. Keep spares in the car. Shoes, for when you forget them, changes of clothes for when you get to daycare and realise how dirty your kids clothes are. 
  5. Odd socks are fine
  6. Have some activities on hand for crazy times. These are things you can pull out and guarantee you a few minutes to wash the dishes. (Water frozen in a bowl, add salt and watercolors) 
  7. When sanity disolves, get out of the house. Take the kids for a walk or just go for a drive to drivethrough. A change of scenery clears the crazies.  

Sick sick sick no!

im really sick of rue being sick! In three weeks we had pink eye, croup, fever, still croup cough cough cough. Im exhausted and im not even the sick one! 

So new rules in this house:

  1. House will be cleaned every night including kitchen
  2. Towels and bed sheets washed weekly
  3. Bathroom cleaned weekly
  4. Rue will have a bath every night with soap (previously was every second night and i cant use soap so i didnt use it on him either)
  5. Rue will take yukult daily
  6. Rue will take vit c daily.
  7. He will consume at least 2 fruit at home including kiwi and strawberrys
  8. He will eat 2 veg a day including carrot and zucchini and broccoli

Frankly if this doesnt work i have no idea what to do next. Tired worn out, out of ideas 😭 

Aldi vs woolworths

i normally order my groceries through woolworths home delivery. I buy homebrand or shop from the half price specials. My fortnightly budget is $150. 

This fortnight i decided to try aldi. I have to say i was dissapointed and horrified at the cost because i ended out spending $192 and i didnt even get everything i needed.

Heres how it went down. 

  
Not shown are 2 boxes of nappies and a box of wipes ($41) and a bathmat as we dont have any and our new place has 2 bathrooms ($15) and a drying mat as it also doesnt have a dishwasher ($7). 

If it looks all over the place thats because it was. I knew what i needed but there was also alot that i grabbed when i got there. The makeup wipes, pizza base, yoghurt, sausage rolls, scent diffuser, hotcross buns, english muffins, cerial, were all impulse buys! Thats nearly half my shop! I also then had to go up to woolies because they didnt have cream of chicken soup and the mince looked questionable so i didnt get it at aldi. 

  
I also will have to go back because as i said i didnt get everything i needed. We need alot more fruit and veg. 

Can you see why im horrified. All up i think im nearly $100 over my budget, thats almost double! My verdict is that yes alot of things are cheaper at aldi but if you shop smarter than woolworths is cheaper by far and ordering online means that you can add it up as you go, adding and removing things and clearly see what you have in your basket at the end and make sure you have all you need. 

Ill post again to show you a meal plan for all of this and how many meals i can get out of it. 

Back to school

you might be wondering why im talking about back to school when my son is 2? Because even littles like colored pencils, glue and textas and these items can be costly later in the year. For example. My haul today would have regularly cost me $43. The price on the shelf was even wrong i realised when i got to the register. In the end i spent just $17! Which is a $26 saving. 

  
I am actually considering going back for more because i am getting into family daycare next year and all of these things will be in high demand im sure. Those rulers were priced at $2 and at the register they came in at 50c. The glue was half price at $1.26 a stick. Scissors were my biggest bargain. Rrp $3.50, price on shelf was $1.50 and at the register they came in at 60c! The textas arw normally $9 and i got them for $4. 

Even if you dont have kids at these prices go and get some for your local charity who can always give them to a kid in need. 

Hyperactivity

rue seems to be often hyper. Like not normal 2yr old energy, but seriously jacked up on sugar hyper. Only i know its not sugar because he gets it even if he hasnt had any. So i looked up other foods that might be the culprit. Tomato sauce jumped right to the top of the list, totally didnt know that, also pasta sauce and white bread, all of which rue eats daily. Crud. So new plan, switch to wholegrain bread (sourdough this weekend hopefully). No sauce, and i will can my own pasta sauce as tomatoes are in season. I will report back on how it goes. 

This is him collecting eggs with nan over the weekend.

   
   

Grab bag

with a fire looming and parts of my mums area being quickly evacuated she has been putting bags in the car along with her neighbours. Thankfully they have warning and time to pack up. But what if you are woken in the night by a smoke alarm? Or a bushfire strikes and you only have moments to get out? Would you be able to grab what you need? I watched footage from the 2009 canberra bushfire (which i was in) and the emergency services said that a number of people grabbed dressing gowns but forgot phones and proper shoes in their rush to leave. 

I have an emergency backpack by the door but thought i should double check what i had in it, and im glad i did because i had a shirt for each of us but no pants…can you imaging wearing a nightie out of the house and not having anything to change into even to go to the shop and buy new clothes? I also had not packed nappies or wipes. Essential if you have a baby. So i spent 10mins repacking it and also packed a second bag for Rue to carry, it has some more toys and a small book, more nappies, a sippy cup and some longlife milk and a small towel that he can use as a blanket also.

  • When considering what you should pack think about the things you use everyday. 
  • Make a list one day if its helpful. 
  • Rue wont sleep without a bottle of milk. 
  • A change of clothes,
  •  water, 
  • i packed 2 new toothbrushes, 
  • sanitary items, 
  • socks. 
  • If you are in an evacuation center bring something to read (that doesnt use power), toys for the kids or coloring pencils.
  •  A small photo album can store favourite photos. 

Some people carry photocopies of important documents but i find it easier to take pictures and email them. That way they are safe from floods also. 

Take a photo of your insurance companys phone number and your details so that you can call them straight away and start getting a claim through. Also take photos of large ticket items in your home that you would like replaced, like the tv or game systems, or my sewing machine 😁 this way you can show the insurance company and save some red tape. I lost the contents of my laundry to a fire once and it was very hard to remember and list each item.

If you are in a bushfire or flood prone area make a harddrive backup with these documents and photos also and give it to a friend or family member in another area. Ask friends and family if you do have to leave home can you stay at their house. Best to know if they have room before you come knocking on their door.

Think of pets also. Bring a zip lock bag of dry food for each pet and keep leashes by the door. Most shelters wont alow pets but often people will post on facebook that they will house them until you find somewhere to stay. 

If there is a fire in your area make sure you have enough fuel to get out! Power can go out which means pumps wont work, nothing worse than breaking down in the middle of a danger zone. 

And remember everyone, help each other. Pull your hose over the fence so others can reach it if they need too. Offer time on a generator to charge neighbours phones to call loved ones. Hot showers for those in shelters can raise hopes. 

Markdowns

after reading the large family finance facebook page i decided to check at my local woolies to see what time they mark down their meat and produce. The lady i spoke too said there was no particular time for the meat but they generally did the page of produce for $3 deal around 3-4pm depending on how much produce they had to clear. Considering you can get meat for around half price in markdowns it is defonatley worth stalking around to work out their schedule. 

I know from working at woolies many years ago that roast chickens go for just $2 right before closing time. I did the overnight packing shift so always grabbed 2-3 if there were enough to go around. 

The trick with the discount meat i have heard is to ensure you freeze it straight away and use it the same day you defrost. This is because the use by is generally only a day away to be marked down but freezing stops the agong process. Just make sure you label it to say it is imediate use in the freezer so you dont get it mixed up. 

Minimalism

i just read a story about a woman who didnt spend any money for a year and saved $37,000. Im not saying i could do that because i have a family but the idea has intregued me enough to start a mini challenge. Can i go a year without spending money on things i dont NEED? I made a quick list of things i buy that i dont need and how much they are costing me a month:

  1. Coke zero. One bottle a day 4 days a week = $44 a month
  2. Breakfast 4 days a week = $76 a month
  3. Lotto ticket once a week = $24
  4. Extra groceries about = $400 
  5. Movie channel = $20
  6. Excess data on my phone = $50

If i saved just this i would have $614 a month or $7368 a year extra! Then there are the things i buy rueben that he doesnt need, new gadgets and magazines. I think i could save atleast $20,000 this year by not buying things that arent absolutley essential. 

Anyone up for a challenge?? 

Felted playscape

i tought myself a new skill today. Felting! I got a kit with needles, roving and a foam board for $10 on ebay. The. Watched a few youtubes.

Heres a brief turorial on it.

Gently pull off lengths of roving ( roving is combed wool) and lay out onto a piece of bubble wrap (or you can needle felt it first like i did just to hold it all together). Build up layers, about three, of your chosen colors and design. I went for a field with a lake.

  
Then you can wet felt it! Squirt some dish liquid over the top. Then pour a little boiling or very hot water to cover it. (Not too wet). Then cover with more bubble wrap (or plastic like me). 

   
 
Gently press and work circles over the surface. You dont need much agitation to felt it especially at first as you might seporate your design.

Then cover with a towel and gently roll squeezing out excess water. Roll it between your hands back and forward a few times to continue felting. 

   
If you are using bubble wrap make sure he bubbles are on the felt this helps agitate it. Then remove your feted mat and rinse carefully in cold water pressing any excess water out. Then, put it in the dryer. This might seem odd but the heat and motion finishes the felting. 

This is it out of the dryer. Dont forget it will shrink. 

  
You can add more if you like, mine was a little thin in places i should have used more roving. I needle felted extra to cover the gaps.

Then needle felt your embelishments. I used small balls as rocks, needle felting them first on the foam block to get the shape then onto the playscape. Then felted some flowers. The cave is made by needle felting a flat brown piece with some green at the bottom on the foam block then felting it onto to the mat in my desired shape. 

   
   
All up i spent about $2 on materials (i only used up the dark green roving from the kit). And it took me about an hour for the mat and another 30mins for the embelishments. 

Technical note:

The process of felting is basically that wool has tiny barbs that cling to each other. So if you rub it together they bind kinda like velcro. Wet felting is helped by the hot water and soap which expand and shrink the fibers making them cling, needle felting is achieved because the needle has tiny barbs on it which pull through the other fibers to felt (a great reason not to stab yourself with one).