Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Something Really Applicable......

Hi all, for tonight a bit of food for thought ;)

I got forwarded this email by my Aunty-in-Law and just felt it was to good not to share :) It speaks volumes in truth and it reminds me of when I was growing up, my parents especially my Dad held these practices true, if he was with us still he'd be 79 this year, and I know for sure there are many of you out there that can relate to this :) ...I know I never took a drink bottle to was the water fountain all the way!

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.. Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. 
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. 
But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. 
But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country. We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect that to be bucked by flying it thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad. 
But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service.. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person.

Remember: Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

PS - Help the environment and don't print this email unless you really need to!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Rice Bubble Cake with a twist - Monday : Baking Day

Welcome to my ''Monday: Baking Day'' Feature. Every Monday is baking day in my kitchen following a phrase over here in NZ from the old Farmbake Cookies adverts. So I thought it would be a great way to share some of my yummy baking recipes, some being my old faithful recipes and some new, but I hope they are recipes that may inspire you to create Monday: Baking Day in your kitchen :). I love to swap recipes so if you have something scrummy to share then please feel free to create the recipe post on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your post for us all to share. Just remember though if you have a recipe to share from another blog, that's great, but please do the right thing and provide a link back to the original recipe, this is also a great way to share our blogs :). HAPPY BAKING ..... and enjoy!

I remember having Rice Bubble cake as a wee one, oh so yummy! Gooey stickiness heaven :) Last year my neighbour introduced me to this idea, and now I have adopted it as the way I make Rice Bubble cake in our house - with a bit of a (somewhat healthy addition) twist. Thanks S!! I like to use it as an alternative Muesli Bar in the kids lunchboxes as well as a general sweet treat :)

Rice Bubble Cake - With a Twist

125grams Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
2 tablespoons Honey
4 cups Rice Bubbles/Pops
Twist additions - Add any or all of these:    Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Cranberries, Coconut, Linseeds and anything else you might like to add (a small handful should do of each :))

In a pot melt together the Butter, Sugar, Vanilla Essence and Honey.  Bring to a slow boil and boil for approx 5 minutes.  You don't want to let this burn at all so I stir it constantly at the boil.

Take it off the heat and mix through the Rice Bubbles and Twist Additions and mix until it is all coated in the Honey and Butter mix.  Push it into a lined slice tin and let cool for about 10-15mins, then cut into squares or bars.  Bob's your uncle, you're all finished :) I then place the slice when totally cooled into a container and keep it in the fridge.

N.B - The honey mix gets very sticky so you want to fill your pot straight away with hot soapy water to make cleaning easier.

If you have children that like novelty bars like LCM's this is a slightly better version for them and if you desire you can melt down some white or dark chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the bar.

Enjoy :)

The base recipe comes from this link here , I have just altered it to suit how I like it :)

Living Series - Savings in the Grocery Bill (Part 3)

Hi All,

I woke up super early this morning (must have been my nap yesterday that caught me up on my sleep!) so I got up to make a hot cup of tea for my scratchy throat, and got to thinking that I should make the most of this time where its just me awake and write up Part 3 to the Living Series - Savings in the Grocery Bill.

I know it has been a while so to refresh your memory you can find the Intro, Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Last time was focusing on setting your budget for your groceries and thinking about your goals for your grocery shopping, what drives you in your shopping (i.e being super frugal or being Green conscious) and how much you are wanting to spend/save, plus a few other things.

This post I thought I would touch on the stockpile.  This is what has kept us going over the tighter times in the last wee while and also while I have been so busy, I have been relying on my stockpile to stretch things out.  I just wish I had started stockpiling a long time ago!

I first read and became enthused about creating a stockpile through Rhonda Jean's Blog Down to EarthHere, here and here are a few of Rhonda's posts on stockpiling, but there are many more that she has written about also which you can find on her blog.

Every cook is different, every kitchen pantry is different thus meaning every stockpile will be different.  You can look at my stockpile and see that it is different to Rhonda Jean's and will be different to even my closest two friends who also live simply.  So where to start? Well I pondered on this point for a while when I first started out with our stockpile, so your not alone if you are doing this, it can be a daunting thought. Before I started mine I had hauled out my pantry contents and cleaned it all up and sorted out new containers that I needed and labelled everything so I could see exactly what I had on hand easily (I discussed this in Part 1).  

Then I decided how I was to start my stockpile.  I shop fortnightly but often come home with a good surplus (although recently prices have risen again! as less is coming home even though I have not changed the way I shop), so using this surplus I decided to set my stockpile up straight away and set it up with a months worth of ingredients to supply my pantry. At that time I also decided I wanted to try shopping monthly.....long story short, I tried a few months shopping monthly and then reverted back to fortnightly simply due to a monthly shop seemed to take me ages in the supermarket and I will confess I got over that part! So my stockpile I still stock to a monthly quota as I had that available to me already but I shop fortnightly.  This works well as I am not buying everything at once to stock up, I have found I can really make things stretch and I can take great advantage of specials.  If you don't have the advantage on having some surplus on hand to do one big stockpile shop, then work it into your shopping.  Even if you decide that you can afford to buy 2 or 4 things (when on special mind!) to add to your stockpile then do so, it could be as simple as coming across flour on special and buying 3 bags instead of you have a small supply of flour.  By changing your shopping methods I hope that you will soon start having a grocery surplus fund in which case building your stockpile will become easier, and as you stockpile you will begin to spend less in your normal shop.

Next is the question of where to store your stockpile? I decided with the help of MrW where to store our stockpile.  I will confess here..we don't own a big freezer....(I'm working on it!) so we couldn't follow what Rhonda Jean does, but we did have a little cupboard that is built into our kitchen bench on the outside of it (like something you'd store phone books in or in our case had loaded up with the kids art supplies). Maybe you have space at the bottom of your pantry to store goods, or in a hall cupboard.  Wherever you decide just ensure it is dry and no rodents/bugs can get into it.  

Following on from here, I was stuck on how much I needed to I created my own kitchen inventory level list.  Crazy I know but hey it worked for me! I separated it into groups i.e baking goods/canned goods/cleaning goods/cleaning goods etc.  Then I worked out how much of each item I would expect to use in a month. This may seem a hard task, but if you are unsure then think about what you would normally buy in a standard shop (how many flours, sugar etc) and multiply that to make it into a months worth.  I know I go through 3 high grade flours in a fortnight making bread so I keep a stock to either a 5 kilo of flour and a bag or two extra or 6 x 1.5kg bags of flour, depending on whats on special at the time. Then you want to make sure with each shop that you are stocking up to or above that amount.  You can always adjust your inventory levels once you get a feel for what you are using.

So after making this list up, I was able to go out and create my stockpile shop.  It was a great feeling loading up our little 'larder' with our stockpile :)  Once something has been used up in the pantry, it comes out of the stockpile to replace it. 

When I go shopping now, I use my inventory list to make my shopping list, which makes creating it super easy as I am no longer guessing as to what will last through the fortnight and what won't! and I also don't miss items off the list!  By stocking to a months worth, it enables me to really take advantage of the specials, and my list is flexible so if I need say canned peaches, and I know I have two in the larder already, if they aren't on special I don't buy them. However if they are I will buy another 3 or so. I am then set for peaches for a good month or two.  If I am tight on my budget that fortnight I will work my stockpile to my advantage and will only buy the items I KNOW I will run out of by the next fortnight or I use a lot of and can leave stocking the larder back up until the next shop.

I tend to browse the isles for specials, but ONLY take advantage of them is a) I can afford to and b) they are a really good special and c) they are actually something I stock (so I am not meaning potato chips on special!).  If flour is on special for only 10cents off, but I only need 1 bag in the shop, I will only buy 1 bag and not extra as the special isn't worthwhile, I will have other items on higher discount that I can stock up on instead. But if it were 50cents+ off I would more than likely get 2 or 3 extra to take advantage of the discount and won't need to buy any for a couple of shops.    Anyway I'm sure you get my drift! :)

If you are building your stockpile a little at a time, I feel it is still a good idea to write out your inventory stock level list.  Then take this with you, and you can then buy what you can afford according to your list.

Well I think that is all for now on the stockpile, there is plenty of information on the net regarding stockpiling, and your always welcome to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions.  I best be off, it's time for school and kindy now ;)

I hope this has given you some tips and ideas of where to start with creating your own stockpile - I have found it's been a saving grace for us!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hi Everyone!

Hello There! 

Well as I lie on the couch with a sore throat and feeling quite blah really, I thought I would pop into my blog and say a quick hello!  Things have been very busy here in The House of W, lots of sewing, school and kindy happenings and the general day to day duties. 

But we are all enjoying life :)  The sewing machine has given me some issues of late (I think I've been pushing it a bit much recently :( ), but luckily for us, MrW is a good fix it man so was able to repair my machine with the last break down for very little. Unfortunately the machine has had another wobbly since, but this time it's my older sister coming to the rescue :).  She has a brand new domestic sewing machine that she has only used once and probably never will again, so she is very kindly putting it on a courier to ship up to me - am I lucky or what!!  So our little business we are creating here can continue :) Thanks to my lovely sister!! Love you A xx

The garden is a bit worse for wear, we've suffered a very wet summer this year (as have a good portion of New Zealand) and when I have been ready to get out and attack the weeds the rain has the weeds remain.  I did have a bit of a go at the vege garden a few weeks back which has made a vast improvement to it, although the tomatoes in the garden are shot and the courgettes have powdery mildew we are still getting enough to make savings on the fruit and vege bill which is great, and I have sown some more carrot and spring onion seeds.  The potatoes have just come ready so thats a bonus! Our first attempt at potatoes and I have loved it! they have pretty much taken care of themselves which has been a big help! Our neighbour has a really awesome vege garden and fruit trees so we have been very fortunate to have had some yummy goodies swapped over the fence :) Love thy neighbour I say! Thanks S.

Our stockpile is sustaining us, which has been awesome as we have had to use some of our grocery allowance towards other bills recently so by having our stockpile on hand we have been able to do so easily.   Have you got your stockpiles started?  I love ours :)

The boys are very busy settling back into life at school and kindy.  We have 1 1/2 terms left to go and then Master 4 becomes Master 5 and starts school! oh my where have these past years gone!!  Master 5 is doing really well at school and is responding really well to his new teacher he has this year.  His writing and reading is coming along in leaps and bounds.  I am able to give a little time to the school with Master 4 at kindy in the mornings so I am in at the school once a week for a morning to parent help in the classroom and assist his teacher.  This has been fantastic for me as I get to see the inside workings of the classroom and Master 5 is loving it!  

MrW is busy busy at work as per normal, they have had a shift around with a member of his team leaving so MrW will be needing to put a little extra in at work until he finds a replacement, so we will all support him as he does this.  On the plus side MrW has a hobby to get into now, our neighbours race at Dirt Track and we have gone along a few times to watch and it's something all four of us enjoy.  MrW and I have always had a love of cars and MrW has always wanted to get into Motor racing, but obviously there is big costs involved with this, so we think we have found a solution to this with Dirt Track, as you don't need a big fancy or even totally fast car to race at Dirt Track...meaning it's obtainable for MrW by saving his personal allowance and using that.  He is also very capable of anything mechanical and has a lot of friends in the right places for the other things that may need to be done, so it's a win for him really and who am I to stand in his way of his dream?? we all need a hobby right?? I'll just be closing my eyes when he gets out on the track lol. So this coming winter I think I will be supplying lots of hot cups of tea out to the garage as MrW tinkers away on his new project....just need to find him an old car to start :)

As for me, well I'm just trucking along running the things behind the scenes in our house :) We are continuing to make good savings and being as frugal as we can.  I have had a few custom orders for Back Pocket Designs NZ with the sewing machine playing up though, it's been a bit tricky but I'm managing.  I'm looking forward to this wet summer being over I must confess, and I'm looking forward to late March when I can start tearing out the vege garden and preparing it for winter.  I'm enjoying pottering around these days (well I like to call it potter but some days it feels like a mad race!), a little bit of knitting here and there, preparing nourishing meals and lots of yummy baking for my beautiful family. Of course as much as I can, I take time to slow down, enjoy life and Smell the Roses :)

I'd love to hear how you are all going?? I am still popping onto all the blogs I follow and continue to come across new ones, but I have been missing the special people that read my fact I have been missing writing my I shall try to,when I can manage it, come back and write a few posts.

Take care, and blessings to you all 
xxx Ruth xxx

Master 5 testing out the Dirt Tack car of our neighbours

A little hat I knitted for my friends new baby that arrived a few weeks ago

Master 4 off to morning kindy....I made both the boys new school bags, Master 4 loves his new 'Army' bag :)

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