Thursday, November 24, 2011

A brand new bench top

Today the other bench top was finished! Soon we will make new cupboard doors, I'm thinking white french country look.

Oiling the new top

All the stuff back in and functional!

Nesting in the Island bench from post below :o)

I was nervous about doing the kitchen but I'm really happy with how it is turning out.  I have so much more bench space and things are easier to store and find. I'm thrilled that it has cost so very little. I did buy the woven baskets but they were quite cheap, $14 each I think. All the timber was from trees that fell over in the huge storm we had over a year ago. It is so much easier to do these this if you have the tools, thankfully DS does.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New kitchen Island bench

Ds made me this awesome timber bench from timber on the property. It was designed to fit my thermal cookers and large cooking pots. I'm yet to nest properly but here it is!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Illegal food activity? The Food Bill verses the other Food Bill

Garden fresh, healthy and keeping the family food bill down :o) 
Possession of these seeds could become as illegal as carry illicit drugs with the other Food Bill.

We are enjoying some of the fruits of our garden, we plan to keep the seeds and we'd love to share out of our abundance, but for how much longer will this be legal?

The US have already passed this Bill and NZ introduced it to parliament last year very quietly.
When is Australia's turn? When will this bill be quietly slipped in? Can you imagine it being illegal to grow and share garden produce, seeds, herbs and water!!!!

A normal person cannot even imagine this getting any air time, let alone being passed in the US and through the first round of Parliament in NZ.

Here's a snippet:

What are the problems with the Food Bill? From
- It turns a human right (to grow food and share it) into a government-authorised privilege that can be summarily revoked.
- It makes it illegal to distribute “food” without authorisation, and it defines “food” in such a way that it includes nutrients, seeds, natural medicines, essential minerals and drinks (including water).
- By controlling seeds, the bill takes the power to grow food away from the public and puts it in the hands of seed companies. That power may be abused.
- The bill will push up mainstream food prices by subjecting producers to red tape and registration costs. Food prices are already rising due to increased energy costs and commodity speculation, while effective disposable incomes are falling.
- Growing food for distribution must be authorised, even for “cottage industries”, and such authorisation can be denied.
- Under the Food Bill, Police acting as Food Safety Officers can raid premises without a warrant, using all equipment they deem necessary – including guns (Clause 265 – 1).
- Members of the private sector can also be Food Safety Officers, as at Clause 243. So Monsanto employees can raid premises – including marae – backed up by armed police.
- The Bill gives Food Safety Officers immunity from criminal and civil prosecution.
- The Government has created this bill to keep in line with its World Trade Organisation obligations under an international scheme called Codex Alimentarius (“Food Book”). So it has to pass this bill in one form or another.
- There are problems with Codex also. Codex will place severe restrictions on the content of vitamins, minerals and therapeutic compounds in food, drinks and supplements etc.
- The Food Bill means that non-Codex-complying producers can be shut down easily – thus it paves the way for the legal enforcement of Codex food regulations. Producers will be denied registration (which is discretionary) if they do not keep to Codex food production rules.

We need voices to tell our politicians that this is not OK for Australia

Thanks to Rob for the heads up on this.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kitchen changes

When were moved into our house nearly 10 years ago, there was no kitchen so we took the offer of a freebie. This freebie has served us well but it was a horrid shape and function lacking. Finally I had an idea to rearrange and gain better functionality.
So far it looks like it's going to cost about $50 for grout, shelf holders and some new drawer runners.
Sorry the pics are lacking, I lost the camera for a few days in the mess I made.

We pulled off the wall mounted cupboard from above the stove. Plastered and sanding it.
All sanded and about to paint.
Painted and Pooh putting up some shelves. Outdoor brackets and reclaimed timber.
Almost done, need to add cup holders and a basket for all the herbal teas. Need to grout the tiles too.
I'm hoping to get a range-hood to go above the stove.
We have to make a small bench for the left of the stove. DS made a small cupboard for the baking trays etc.
Here is the deep freeze hiding in the hall cupboard
Need to get the power point moved.
The fridge is at the end of the bench we cut off.
This used to have the deep freeze and the fridge in here. The cupboards are the the old island bench that we just pulled out.
We are going to put on a new bench top but for now, so we can eat, we are resting the old bench here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cheap books at

I have to sing the praises of Most of their books are $5 and a few are $10. I went to one of their stores and was thrilled to get a copy of Lola Workman's Gluten free and multi-allergy cookbook for $5

She includes a few recipes of her own flour mixes. I can't wait to get cooking :o) It should be so handy with a child with various food allergies.

How's this sign!!!!!!!

This was at Questacon, outside of the under 6's play area!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Big sister, little brothers

Written by sister

She is the BEST sister

Friend taking boys out

Dad and a few of the children enjoyed a lovely visit to the beach meeting up with another family. They played on the sand, the had a boat ride, played with remote control cars and found natural treasures.
Cost was only fuel.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A bridge to get to the craft room

Pooh and eldest found old timbers, off cuts etc and made this cute bridge so we don't have to get wet feet from the grass. Once the bridge was in place it screamed out for a pond underneath and that is in the making!

It has cost nothing so far and we even got to use the huge bucket of roofing nails we bought for $5 years ago, imagining that they might come in handy one day!

The bridge to craft room

The pond is being dug out

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homeschool routine

What does our homeschooling day look like? How do we get the 'domestic' side of home done?

The day starts the night before.
Go to bed with most of the housework done, try not to leave any dishes for later, have an idea what you are doing for school tomorrow.
We put a pot of porridge in the thermal cooker so breakfast is cooked and ready on rising. Put a load of washing in the washing machine.

Morning: Make bed on rising, ablutions etc, get dressed. While you are waiting for the kettle to boil for your morning cuppa, empty dishwasher from last night. If you don't have one, get one! LOL

Enjoy pre made breakfast with children. While children are getting dressed and making beds get washing out on line.

We tidy house together, vacuum, sweep or wipe down beaches and clean bathroom. Feed chicken and get wood for the fire.

School starts: By 9am we sit down to start school book work.

While the children are having morning tea I get lunch and dinner made. Lunch is usually something easy like tuna mornay. Dinner is something that can be prepared and reheated or put in the thermal cooker to delightfully stew until dinner time. Use time savers like the bread machine and/or slow cooker. Involve the children in the preparation if you like.

Keep working until lunch with children. 

Lunchtime: Shared lunch

Afternoon: Finish off any book work but preferably get into hands on stuff. Out in to the garden, craft or a trip to the park. Bring in washing from line, folded and taken straight to bedroom etc

Dinner: Enjoy the family meal together around 5 pm or 6 pm depending on the older working members of the family. Get dishes done, clean benches.

Children are bathed and can then have free time on computer, or watching some tv.

Bed: Story and bed by 7:30 for children

Mum looks over work for tomorrow, choses dinner for tomorrow if there's no meal plan etc.

Time out: Enjoy time alone with beloved, curled up watch a movie or just chatting with a cuppa and nibbles :o)

Before going to bed, put porridge on for next morning and washing in machine. Lights out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Maths grade 1

A very happy boy enjoying his maths work.

Part of My Father's World programme

Front door improvements

We didn't have a covered front verandah or porch, we had to walk straight into the house and traipse dirt into the house. So I asked Beloved to extend the eaves and add a seat so we could sit and pull our shoes on and off, also a place to keep the shoes outside but safe from a chewing dog ;o)

DS20 made me a terrific seat, the shoes hid underneath. I think it looks very cosy. DD16 sits outside to have her breakfast admiring the new day. It was all made from recycled timbers and cost virtually nothing. Even the mirror was old, the note the back said to the installer "here's 50 cents for a drink up at no. 47" LOL 
The paint was left over from the fence and the window was an old one from our "Steptoe and son" stockpile.
We still have to put the eaves and I think we will have to buy them. We have the screen doors to hang on.

Back to homeschooling

Our little ones have been really sick with Scarlet fever. They have missed over a month of school, so as they got well enough I started doing schooling work with them. I am pleased to have the boys home as their health improves, it is asthma season for our littlest and ds7 still has very itchy skin and suffering with dry eyes. I can't imagine a school being able to accommodate this so frequently. We are hoping it all improves of course.

I forgot how much I love homeschooling! The children are enjoying themselves so much, they even ask to do school work on Saturday:o-

I have applied for registration and eagerly await my visit. So here' s peep at what were are doing and where. Fingers crossed it ticks all the boxes and pleases the homeschooling registration man :o)
There is a lot of paper work to handle so I'm using a portable filing cabinet. So far so good. A section of the main curriculum, the work sheets and then each child's work.

Portable filing box

We have snuggled up for stories here

Nice view for the little ones :o)

New light

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saving with foamy soap pumps

A foaming soap dispenser 

We bought one of these commercial soap dispensers because we ran out quickly with 7 people washing their hands. So this was the least industrial I could find.

It came with a box of refills that were quite expensive but I hoped I'd be able to refill. I scarified many empty containers until I mastered it and here's the trick :o)

 Drill a small hole in the top and use a syringe to fill. I used the point of scissors to make the hole.

I used 150 ml of chosen shampoo and topped the rest with water. The containers take 1 litre but I couldn't fill it to capacity as they collapse as they empty in the 'real' refills. I got near enough and it mixed as I filled it so slowly. It works and feels as cleansing as the ready made real refills :o)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Craft room update

We are getting the pergola section of the craft room done. Slowly we gathered the metal and have welded and painted the bits ready to be set in place. Looking good, it will make a great outdoor area. If Pooh is feeling well enough tomorrow they might go up :o)

The craft room is going to share it's space and be a school room. I've been very busy sorting and I've run out of space :o-
I wonder if Pooh will make me another room? lol

LEGO in Canberra

We attended the Lego Exhibition in Canberra on the weekend. We waited in line for an hour, yes, one hour! The exhibition was so full, so hot and very hard to see :o( It would have been great if it had run for a week and the crowds were less so the children could get a good look. On the up side it was $10 a family and the money went to the hospital, pediatrics section.
Pooh giving advice

Advice not received

Then is true thrifty living style, we didn't buy lego from the exhibition at inflated prices, we popped over to Big W and found it to be a fair bit cheaper. We had promised the boys they could spend their money at the Lego Exhibition. Close enough and they were happy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Power House membership and reciprocal rights

For those of you in country NSW or 150km from Sydney and like to take your children to museums etc check out the powerhouse membership offer. We have one for our family and today we took the children to Questacon in ACT under reciprocal rights, so no cost :o) We found it cheaper to belong to Power house than to Questacon, but still can go unlimited times. Interesting hey. (However it doesn't work if you live in ACT, they don't let you go to Questacon  on a PH membership)

I confess this was an accidental discovery, we went to take the kids to the Lord of the Rings exhibition years ago and it was cheaper to get a membership than to pay individually to see the exhibit. We have had a membership since:o)

Powerhouse: $160 for 3 years. For "Country Household".
Questacon: $220 to join for only 2 years then $195 to renew. For a "Family" 2A 3C extra children $23 each for 2 year memberships.

Powerhouse membership
Reciprocal rights

The little ones had a ball today and it cost nothing other than fuel.

Friday, June 17, 2011

One lovely blog award

I have been awarded a "One lovely blog award" from Sammy
Sherrie from
and Peta at

They have gorgeous blogs and so worth making time for a coffee and a good read!

7 facts you might not know about me:

1. I love hand made gifts
2. I don't like cooking
3. I long to live Henry Thoreau style
4. I would have loved more children
5. I want to be a missionary once the children leave home/old enough to be left
6. The thought of sago makes me dry reach 
7. Pooh and I met under the shower

The cost of home cappuccino

We do enjoy a nice cup of coffee and we used to treat ourselves to shop bought ones. I though homemade one might be good but I was too nervous to buy a home coffee machine, when I looked at them I got over whelmed by the choices and did away with the plans.

However, we were blessed to recieve a machine from friends who didn't use one they were given. 

So how much does it cost? 90 cents!  *Obviously not including the cost of the coffee machine.*

We use Organic fair trade coffee beans. We had a grinder that I used for nuts. We use lactose free milk.

33c for 14grams of beans
50c for 200mls of milk -Bearing in mind it's expensive lactose free stuff
5c for power usage of coffee machine
1c for grinder usage
1c for chocolate dusting powder

I think it would be cheaper with 'normal' milk 

I honestly think they taste better than the shop bought in most cases :o)

Oh so yum!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tea Cosy

Just because you are thrifty it doesn't mean things can't be fun. I'm making a tea cosy for our tea pot.
Here's it being tried on the teapot for size.
I got the pattern from Wild Tea Cosies by Loanie Prior that I borrowed from the library. I also learnt to knit on a round! Here is a link to her blog and a free pattern.

Waldorf Steiner Dolls

This is my doll, Elsie, she was made by someone else. 
I LOVE these dolls so much. They are made from natural fibres, cotton tricot and filled with wool. I am making some for Christmas gifts but gee they are a lot of work!
I'll add a tutorial later but just thought I'd share what I am up too.

We had a birthday in the house.

We had a wee one celebrate a birthday! We made a Tissue paper star for the occasion. These are popular in the Waldorf world for brightening the windows in winter.
Here is a link to a tutorial if you want to make some.

I had got my knickers in a knot recently about the poor quality food that is often served up at children parties. While some argue that it is only a party, I struggle to see why we serve completely nutritionally defunct food as a celebration! My healthy suggestions were declared unappealing by some and tasty by others. So the pressure was on of course to serve edible food!
Menu was homemade pizza and blue fluff and cake.

I made pizza bases in the bread machine. I assume most have a pizza/pastry setting.
I made huge ones and tiny toddler sized bases.

I had ham, cheese, pineapple with carmelised onions and potato (oil, garlic, salt) for the children to make their own. They and juice and water to drink.
The adults mediterranean - chargrilled veggies, fetta, olives and pesto base
Tandoori chicken- 2 chicken breasts cooked and marinated in Tandoori paste and yoghurt. Yoghurt and cashews on top (I forgot the mint leaves) 

Then flummery and cake. Cappuccinos for the adults.  Big sister made 3 gollywog cakes From Enid Blyton's Three Little Gollywogs, a fav book at the moment with the little ones.

For a quick midweek party in the pouring rain, it was great and everyone was happy and full!

Saving money in Winter

Trying to save money in winter!

We don't go out much if we can help it in winter so there's a petrol saving, albeit small.

We have our fire going with wood from the property so it's virtually free.

As I am more likely to be home all day in winter I do simmer dinner on the heater. I initially cook it on the gas stove, brown the meat and bring to boil etc them pop the lid on and transfer it to the heater.
Wow! I've opened the door so you could see the nice fire as it didn't photograph with door shut and now I've added to the ash layering. I can honestly say fires make the house warm 'n cosy and dusty as!

The foods we generally eat in winter are stews and soups and you can get away with cheaper cuts and frozen veg. While our waist lines don't need it, we like puds for afters too.

We continue to have porridge in the thermal cooker each night, ready for the morning. I use quick oats from Aldi, a drizzle of honey from our bees and that's it. Yum.

I think the house might also be at it's messiest in winter, with an unrelenting ash layer everywhere, throws and blankets on all the chairs and lounges (for snuggling up under to watch a movie), we add to the look with the 'chinese laundry' each night. I'm not going to add a picture because you know what I mean! All the clothes that didn't dry on the line wait in turn to hang over the fire surround ;o)

Not much is happening in the garden so minimal out lay there.

Clothes, well I don't really like to be out in the cold so I don't shop but I do like to knit.

Did you know that even the hair on your head grows slower in winter, now there's another saving! LOL

We could be guilty of having longer showers in winter... no saving what so ever there ;o)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A quick catch up post

It's been a long time since the last post and life has been very busy!

Been to Melbourne a few times, once to take small children to see grandparents and again for mothers day. Children got diarrhoea and we were in a camper :o( Nasty. Reviewing love for camper ;o)

Learning form the master ;o)
The garden has produced beautifully. This year we only had a small garden but every night for months we had the loveliest beans and silverbeet. The beans have now finished and we have saved some to plant next next time.

Drying beans
The garden still producing, unlike the chickens!
We have had night time rain and puddles were left for day time fun! It's hard to remember it just washes off. Life too short to stay clean ;o)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Homemade sandwich wrap

My boys have been using lunch wraps and they are so handy, no more plastic wrap! 

They are easy to make, choose a cute patchwork fabric and nylon ripstop and velcro.
Cut both fabrics into 31cm squares and sew around edges leaving a small gap to turn inside out. Edge stitch and sew on 12cm of velcro diagonally as seen in pic, loops on rip stop side and the fuzz on the cotton side. Wash and all done! I wipe them each night and put them through the washing machine each weekend.

Outside fabric and you can see the velcro position

Inside wrap, the ripstop and again the position of the velcro

Folding the wrap around the sandwich, lining velcro up

Finished and sandwich is fresh for many hours!