Monday, July 25, 2011

The End Result - I even surprised myself!

$116 under budget.... yup that's the result for this fortnights shopping.

Albeit it may not be a very true reflection as there are four days completely removed from the equation. But hey it makes the bank balance look good, and makes me feel like the extra work I put in is worth it!

A note on my satay from last night, it tasted pretty good - not very satayish but yummy just the same. when I told my sister what I'd put in it she yelled down the phone "WHAT! Where did you get THAT recipe?" response "my head..?" she then proceeded to give me a true Indonesian Satay recipe which she is going to write out for me on the weekend...then I shall share it!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Attempt :: Satay Chicken

A slow start to my shopping day that resulted in only half of it done. Hubby is picking up a bit on the way home from his sporting match and I guess I'll finish it tomorrow. Nearly too buggered to bother preparing the dinner that is planned, but hitched up my pants (literally, my jeans are always slipping!) and got on with it.

Diced up the mostly defrosted chicken thigh and rummaged around for the ingredients that I assume go into a I say first attempt which isn't quite correct, I have attempted satay once before many many years ago but cannot remember the outcome...this and the fact I've never made it again probably mean it was bad...this one WILL be better...positive thinking always works.

  • peanut butter...smooth (we don't do crunchy)
  • cashews, they just happened to be in the cupboard, already opened and probably forgotten about. Figured they'll add some texture. Put them in the happy chopper then into the sauce.
  • soy sauce - which I had to add more of at the end.
  • a little sugar (masterchef has taught me it's all about balance..lots of soy means lots of salt so I added sugar!)
  • dash of fish sauce
  • two cloves of garlic...yes two because my garlic crusher tends to eat most of it!
  • sliced an onion
  • decided AGAINST adding chilli as Master 18months will be eating this too!
Whisked these ingredients together with a fork and dumped them in with the chicken, stirred it all around and now it's in the fridge marinating.

Was supposed to cook rice yesterday for fried rice and forgot, husband was going to do it this morning and forgot. So I'm going to cook it now and it will have about two hours in the fridge, she'll be right mate!

Price Comparison :: Bio Zet Laundry Powder

Further to what I've previously written about checking Big W out for bulk grocery prices AND checking catalogues for good specials on items you would normally buy....

Bio Zet Laundry powder averages a retail price of $9.99 for a 1kg box at the supermarket

At Big W the every day the price is $37.98 for a 6kg tub - this equals $6.33kg - this is their EVERYDAY price...not a special.

So you can see that if you bought at Big W at any time you're paying less for the product. BUT checking the catalogues pays too because this week at Coles, a 1kg box is on special for $6!

For me this fortnight I've saved myself an extra .33c kg on laundry powder as I was going to head straight to Big W and buy the tub - but now I'll buy it at Coles instead :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meal Plan :: 21st July 2011

This fortnight is a bit out of the ordinary for a couple of reasons - A) I shopped from my freezer first... because it was quite full from buying in bulk I need to clear it out before I can buy anymore, so my meal plan is based around the meat we already had B) for four nights out of the fortnight I will have guests! So I won't be including the meals for those days!

{meal plan}

> marinated chicken thigh (possible skewers) w/ fried rice
> chicken wraps
> home made hamburgers
> butter chicken with rice & pappadums
> crumbed chicken breast & stuffed potatoes
> Hubby's curry
> Steak & gravy w/ mash
> Potato & Cauliflower curry (this I've never cooked before so is likely to be made as a side or additional to what I'm already cooking!)

Now all the meat I'm using I already have, and as you can see we have lots of chicken & mince in the freezer! Also all of those meals are made from scratch, except the butter chicken - because we just love Patak's!!

Aside from a few key items like the wraps & buns I have most of what I need in the pantry already.

By cooking this way the bulk of my shopping budget is put towards fresh fruit & vegetables and staple items. This reduces your grocery bill in itself and frees up the cash so you can afford some of lifes pleasures like a nice cheese or chocolate.

Think back to what you ate when you were a kid, what your Mum / Dad / Grandparents / Caregiver cooked and start from there, you'll be surprised what you remember and how easy what they made is to replicate.

Happy Planning.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Toy Sale Madness

It comes but once a year. 

The BIG one.

well the BIG one times four.

Toy Sales.... Big W, Kmart, Target, Myer.

They release their catalogues online as a sneak preview, deliver them to your letterboxes weeks before and then cram every bloody last nook & cranny of every store with toys...random toys, new toys, sparkly, shiny toys (and personally I think some that are left over from last year too)!!

In my opinion this is the PERFECT time to put on a layby, a large one, and pay it off for the next 6 months. They all offer NO DEPOSIT!! and store it until CHRISTMAS EVE!!

Now our little mr 18 months celebrates his birthday in January. Just a week and a half after Christmas. In theory that could put ALOT of strain on the wallet. But by shopping around the four major department stores, collecting the catalogues and then racing out like a crazed imbecile on the opening day.... it doesn't :)

This is our second year of doing this, last year it worked, and this year it will work too. We just pick up whatever we think he will like, dump it in the trolley, make sure it's on sale at the layby counter and then slowly pay it off over the 6 months. If, when I pay it off I no longer want the item - I return it! Easy.

So now the confession...this year I wasn't as organised as I'd wanted to be. Kmart & Big W got their catalogues out EARLY! and they were fantastic my head over the past two years these sales have always overlapped Target - by a few days at least... so I didn't act... I just waited for Target...and lo & behold missed the bloody sales at Kmart & Big W!!! fool!!!

Tonight we 'did' Target & Myer.. Myer finishes Sunday, and their sale is good - check it out if you haven't already, bargain of the Myer sale is the VTech laptop for half price -  just $39 The Myer toy section was a mess and we were overrun with teenagers acting up as there was no staff member..but I just told them to shift a couple of metres down so I could look at Buzz Lightyear... they did :)

Target we thought was a little disappointing in comparison to last year but are unsure if it's the age group we were buying for this year or their sale! In any case we picked up the stuff we wanted to and some extras that we wouldn't have been able to afford had we left the shopping until the last minute...and bargain for the Target sale (for us!) is the Cars pop up play tent... so much fun for fifteen bucks!!** Can't wait to put all the Christmas gifts in that for Christmas morning!!

So that is pretty much us done for the bulk of it. There are a couple of 'little' items that we are going to keep an eye out for and add to the grandparents shopping list, as you do, but aside from that no stress! I even have my Christmas wrapping paper ready - buy it up big in the sales at the end of every year :)


**couldn't find a link for the Target site with the tent...but if it's $19.95 on Deals Direct WELL $15 at Target is freeaakin awesome!

Cold, Cold, Go Away, Come Again Another Year.

This week I have been struck down with a cold. Thankfully not the flu. But still a yicky very {snotty} cold!!

It has put a dampener on organising my shopping trip for the weekend, cooking meals for my boys during the week and in general being on top of everything.

This means the last three menu items for this fortnight haven't gone to plan. Honey Mustard Chicken that was meant to be served with rice - so Fried Rice could be made - was had with beautiful curly pasta hmmmmmm tasted good with my sore throat!

Fried Rice is out the window now until Friday night. And the last menu item of lamb chops, vegies and pasta was replaced last night by KFC.... O_o .... :D

Now we don't do the takeaway thing very often at all and even rarer an occasion it is that we resort to KFC of all things, but I tell you what when it comes to takeaway that was value for money! 9 pieces of chicken, 9 nuggets, large gravy, four breadrolls and two large chips - $24.95. Plenty of food for 2 adults and one little guy (oh the shame of my under 2 year old eating nuggets!!) and leftover chicken for the husband's lunch!!! As a treat, you really can't go wrong and you'd easily feed possible another two children with what was there.

So, if you're sick, it's late and you're fortunate enough to be able to spare the $$ don't beat yourself about getting takeaway occasionally, it won't hurt.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Delish Chicken Sandwich Filling

  • BBQ chicken broken down for sandwiches
  • whole egg mayo (or any mayo you like the taste of)
  • celery finely diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dill if you have it or chives
  • sour cream
Mix all of this together in a bowl and use as a sandwich filling - this is a great one for parties / guests etc as it has a yummy taste, isn't just chicken and mayo AND the chicken will spread a lot further.


The Biggest Change I Ever Made...

...and the word change in this sentence has two contexts - I made a change to my life and consequently now receive MORE change at the supermarket!!

There are many age old theories and also plenty of new ones regarding how to save money with your groceries.

One that I have never applied nor followed is the art of making a meal plan and thus a shopping list....and then sticking to it.

For the last 2 - 3 months, that is exactly what I've done and by geez has it worked. Combining the meal plan and shopping list with some other tried and true shopping tricks I have kept my grocery budget and we have eaten beautiful, yummy food every day and every night.

This week for me is shopping week so as I complete each step I'll blog it and hopefully you'll see how it actually works. Before we begin, below are my KEY shopping tips to save money that I undertake every shop (for me this is fortnightly)... and because I'm all about sharing my personal grocery budget for a fortnight is $350 - this is for 2 adults (both working), 1 little boy (18 months old, still in nappies) and 2 little dogs. That figure is inclusive of nappies, wipes, dog food, meat, fruit & vegies and all our treats. We allow an extra $20 for a quick supermarket trip throughout the fortnight for additional milk / bread / treats (i.e. chocolate or ice cream!)

  • Make a meal plan for your shopping period, include enough dinners for every night you'll be cooking.
  • Shop from your pantry first e.g if you have a lot of mince leftover from a previous shop include meals with mince as the meat ingredient
  • Go through the specials catalogue from your local major supermarkets and circle anything you need / want (for me these are Woolworths, Coles & Kmart)
  • Take the time to buy those items that you need that are on special at each supermarket.
  • Read the BIG W and Kmart catalogue if you receive them - they sell some grocery items in bulk
  • Shop at ALDI for as much as you possibly can - if you're buying home brand at the other supermarkets, Aldi WILL be cheaper and 99% of the time tastes better
  • Buy your meat from a butcher (bulk / budget if possible) and your fruit & vegetables from a fruit shop or market...YOU WILL SAVE $$$$$$ JUST BY DOING THIS ALONE
  • Check Big W for their bulk items - dishwasher tablets, toilet paper and washing powder, be familiar with their prices. These items work out cheaper everyday than buying smaller amounts at the supermarkets.
I know this seems tedious, but once you start and get into the rhythm and routine it won't feel like extra work.

Once I have created my meal plan for the coming fortnight I will post it so you can see how it works!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Be Kind To Yourself...

Sleep when the baby sleeps
Eat to keep up your strength
Make time for yourself
Have someone else feed the baby so you can have a break

You hear all of that and more when you're a new Mum, all of it with good intention however it often seems like hounding and honestly how many of us heed it?

It all comes down to this... Be Kind to Yourself.

Recently I have learnt from a medical professional how important it is to be kind to yourself. If you are not then you will suffer for it. Maybe not straight away, maybe not in a dramatic way but you will feel it.

You may feel depressed, anxious, cranky. You may put on weight, your skin my appear dull & listless. No doubt you will be tired to the point of exhaustion. And you will say to yourself and others... I'm just tired, you know having a baby is tiring...or any excuse along those lines.

Be Kind To Yourself and you WILL feel better.

  • Get some sun - just 10 minutes in the morning before it gets too hot. Have your cup of tea on the grass in the backyard while the kids run around. I promise you it won't hurt and you won't ruin your day's schedule.
  • Have a nap when the baby does, lay in bed for an extra 10 mins in the morning or go to bed a bit earlier at night. This won't hurt you or your little one - if they're not hysterically screaming the house down, take advantage of it! They're safe in their cot or their room if it has a gate on the door right? So have your shower in peace or make your cup of tea BEFORE you get them up!
  • Eat well. We ALL know what it's like to hoover your food because you have children to feed / bathe or they won't stop screaming long enough for you to eat. That's fine. Just make sure you eat and you eat well. Enjoy your food, rekindle your love of cooking your favourite meal. And supper doesn't hurt either. A cup of herbal tea and a bikkie will do wonders for your soul at the end of a long day... and it's another 5 minutes you're treating yourself.
  • Make time for yourself. You know those moments when it feels like you're being blasted on all sides and you feel like your head is going to blow off or you lash out at whoever is closest? Take a deep breath and walk away. Go into your bedroom, the bathroom, the toilet. And BREATH. Take time to breath. Take the time to 'smell the roses'. There is no rush.
  • Lastly.... the dirt can wait. As in the housework will be there when you get home / get up from your nap / finish your cup of tea. Does it REALLY matter if you haven't cleaned every last nook and cranny of the house? nope. Is your kitchen & your toilet clean, your beds made and the house is tidy? That'll do it. Break all your other housework up into manageable pieces so you don't feel overwhelmed. Vacuum the dining room one day, the lounge the next.
All of those cliche things we're told when we are a new mother mean this ...
Be Kind To Yourself...
It's Okay.

Friday, July 15, 2011

And So it Begins…

Today is the day Mumma Daze begins.

Well not truly, as the daze of motherhood for me began on the 8th January 2010. But this is where I will begin to share with other Mums or anyone who is interested in reading, my ups, downs, sideways and diagonal traipses through what is the daze of being a Mumma.

In this blog you will see..

· random thoughts that may or may not relate to children

· the rants and vents of a mother at the end of her tether

· reviews of ‘products’ that I love or hate…and if I hate them you’ll know it

· my hints and tips on saving money in your grocery (and other) shopping…because as you’ll come to learn.. I love a bargain

· recipes that I’ve tried, tested, probably failed, then tried again and again

· you will also hopefully, quite plainly, see the adoring love I have of being a working housewife and a mother to one precious little boy

so, enjoy, relax, provide feedback, stay a quiet follower, join in… I’ll be here J