Ryan26 has had a friend, Marcus, ever since they met in Prep at primary school. Every now and then a group of ‘The Boys’ meets up for a night of gaming and other frivolity and they catch up on what’s been going on in their lives.
A week or so ago Ryan26 stayed over at Marcus’ parents’ house and he came back with 2 massive bags full of lemons. These lemons were as big as my head.
Emily, who like me has raised a houseful of boys, is so generous when it comes to sharing the produce from her garden. I still have HEAPS of chillies in the freezer that we’re slowly making our way through. Like me, she hates to see things go to waste.
So how did I deal with the lemons?
I put on “Mum’s Boppin’ Bangers” on Spotify and went to work juicing them up. I poured the juice into icecube trays and then, a day later, popped them out and into a bag.
That’s the lemon sorted for my summer gin and tonics!
Dad joke of the day:
I thought about going on an all-almond diet. But that’s just nuts.
Let’s be honest. I’ll bet we all have things tucked away in cupboards or on shelves that we bought, intending to use, but have somehow never seen the light of day again. Some would be practical, some for hobbies or for trips we’ve planned but never taken, but the end result is the same. We’ve spent money on things that are simply taking up space, both physically and in our heads.
The thing is – it’s not wasted money if you actually USE the thing you bought.
Me? I’m a quilter. I don’t know how to sew, even though I use a sewing machine. Quilting is the only thing I do. And yeah, over the years I’ve amassed quite the stash of fabric. Even when I took a 5-year break from the hobby because I was spending every spare second selling thermomixes, I kept the bins and boxes full of colours. I had an inkling that one day I’d come back to it.
Mix the “not wasted money if you use it” and the “I’ll come back to this hobby” ideas and for the last 18 months I’ve been making a concerted effort to use what’s actually in the house, rather than racing off to buy shiny and new items.
During Melbourne’s world-breaking lockdown, online shopping has been a godsend for most things, but honestly… some things you have to actually see for yourself in person. For me, fabric is one of these. So I decided to entertain myself in lockdown by restricting myself to only using the fabric that I have right here. Some I’ve had for over a decade!
Time to use it.
Some of these are gifts, some are for around the house and others are baby quilts, like the one pictured here, that I’ve put aside for the boys and myself to give as gifts when people we know and love start reproducing.
The boys are in their mid to late twenties so this time is definitely coming.
In fact, this baby quilt was made for a friend of Tom29’s. A little girl named Ava uses this quilt every single day. I was stoked when Tom29’s friend told him this. We quilters don’t make these things to be put away in a cupboard. We want them to be used and loved and wrapped around the people we care for.
These blocks were actually all sewn up and all they needed was to be assembled and sewn together. They were sitting in a box for 11 years, all because I was too scared I’d make a mistake and ruin them. I’m sitting on it right now – I decided to sew them together as a couch quilt. The Little Woofs love to sleep on the couch next to their Mum.
All from the stash. I’m running low on purple – you’ll notice there are 2 triangles with purple flowers. But I still managed to get the quilt top done without online shopping. Winning!
This one is a queen-sized monster. Yellows and greys.
Another gift for a friend. I’ve known her for over 40 years – thought it was time I made her a quilt… She has a cat, so I made sure there was cat fabric on it. I saw this pattern on a Youtube clip, so I gave it a whirl.
So many patterns, so little time.
Here’s another little baby quilt. The pattern was designed by Ryan26 for his older brother. David28 wants a queen-sized quilt so we tested out the pattern first. The queen-sized quilt will NOT be part of the stash challenge. He wants only solids for it and I don’t have the correct colours, so I’ve ordered them online. Eclectic Mumma has the best range of Moda solids I’ve found.
And I’m working on a huge quilt using crumbs and strings, some only 1/2 inch wide, for my parents. It’s a combined Christmas and birthday gift, which is fair enough, as it’ll take me way more than 40 hours to put this all together. I’m definitely using up lots of little scraps here, but after an afternoon of high concentration, I totter out feeling a bit discombobulated. When it’s finished I’ll share it on a future ‘Frugal Friday’ post.
I’m using up what’s here in the house and being vastly entertained at the same time. My brain’s hard at work designing and making hundreds of decisions with colour placement, I’m grooving to Mum’s Boppin’ Bangers on Spotify and my afternoons slip by with much fun, no money spent and a feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day.
Why not do as I did and drag those unused items from your cupboards and start using them? After all, you bought them for a reason. If they genuinely don’t interest you anymore, flog them off on Marketplace or give them away, but if you see them and smile, then get your money’s worth from them!
After making all of these quilts from fabric that I already had at home, I still have bucketloads of fabric here. So many hours of entertainment! I feel very lucky.
As I said above, it’s only a waste of money if you don’t USE what you have.
So use it.
Dad jokes of the day:
What did the grape do when he got stepped on? He let out a little wine.
I wouldn’t buy anything with velcro. It’s a total rip-off.
Melbourne’s still in lockdown. Yet September still needs a Little Adventure. Actually, Wednesday’s earthquake might have covered that, except I only jiggled around on my front verandah while the house swayed behind me and the earth was noisy. I didn’t actually go anywhere.
Mum and Dad live a fair way away, but when the travel bubbles were widened last weekend it meant that our bubbles crossed over into one suburb. So we agreed to meet up for a little walk along the beach at Mordy.
Mum suggested we meet at the Yacht Club. I’ve never been.
*gasp!* Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again.
My Little Adventure for September was saved.
After months of lockdown it was so strange to see so many people out and about. When we started to turn off Nepean highway onto Beach rd, Ryan26 gasped, “Look at all the people!” They were everywhere. Most were wearing masks, thankfully, but there’s always a few who think that the laws of basic biology don’t apply to them.
We arrived before Mum and Dad so we went down towards the beach to look for them.
The first thing I noticed was that the sand here is much more golden than on our Backyard Beach.
You also can’t see Melbourne from here. There’s a jutting out bit of land in the way.
After a little while, Ryan26 saw Mum and Dad making their way towards us through the crowd. I’ve never seen so many people having picnics in my life! (For those not in Melbourne, having a picnic is one of the few ways people from different households can see each other at the moment.)
There’s a concrete path by the beach that runs all the way from the city down to Mordialloc (I think.) We didn’t even consider going down on the sand, mainly because Mum, while she’s so much better on her feet than she was a year ago, is still not totally back to normal with her balance. We stuck to level, stable ground.
We were trying to remember when the last time we saw each other in person was, but we couldn’t decide. It’s been months, though.
After a little while, I saw a spare bench and we sat down. Mum was laughing at all of the seagulls congregating around that family. A little while later 3 kids from there started running along the beach, followed by a crowd of gulls. One of the girls was squealing in delighted terror while a boy kept throwing chips behind them to keep the gulls coming.
The foreshore was stacked with tea tree, with bees thrumming everywhere. I really love the flowers and would definitely have a tea tree in my front yard to help bring the bees, but I’m worried it might grow too ugly and scraggly.
There were also a couple of volleyball courts set up.
We turned and started slowly walking back the way we came. The place was full of family groups enjoying the sun, people walking their dogs and friends walking side by side, busily catching up on the goss. It was a real people-watchers’ delight.
Just to demonstrate that bureaucracy is the same the world over, here is a directive painted on the path.
And right beside it…
… is a drinking fountain for humans with a doggy bowl down the bottom. Talk about mixed messaging!
We didn’t bring the Little Woofs with us.
On the way back to our cars, Mum pointed and said, “Ooo! Look at the banksia flower!”
I don’t know if it’s a banksia or not, but it looked spectacular in the bright sunlight against the dark pub.
All up, this month’s Little Adventure cost us a bit of time, a smidge of petrol and that was it. Today’s weather is very grey and moody, with rain expected later on. It’s been nice to write about this day drenched in sunshine and good humour.
Everyone was happy, wherever we looked.
If there’s one thing that living through the world’s longest lockdown has taught people, it’s that there’s beauty in the simple things.
Last summer I grew pumpkiny things in the front yard under all of the brand new fruit trees. This is a photo of the haul after Ryan26 ripped out all the plants – there were plenty more where these came from! This was less than half of all we grew.
In the spirit of Frugal Friday, they came from seeds that I saved from the summer before. Those pumpkins came from seeds that I brought home in the veggie scraps from the school canteen and food tech room.
So they were TOTALLY free.
Unfortunately, while they were growing in the back yard last year, most of them crossed with some zucchini plants that I also had growing nearby. This set of pumpkins weren’t quite as flavoursome, so I didn’t save seed from them. But no way was I going to waste them!
We ate pumpkins A LOT. We gave away pumpkins up and down the street. I went to school with a shopping trolley full and gave them away to anyone who would stand still long enough in the staffroom. We kept the last 10 in the laundry and gradually worked our way through them.
And I froze some.
I had 2 recipes that I had in mind. One was a curried pumpkin pasta bake that I made up. This required the pumpkin pieces to be roasted beforehand.
I attacked a large pumpkiny thing and did around 6 batches at a time. One was used that night – the rest were tucked away in the freezer for Ron.
You know… later ‘ron.
If I feel like a quick, almost vego meal, I boil some pasta and make a bechamel sauce in the thermomix. I add some curry powder and the pumpkin to it. Mix in some parsley from the garden (always love fresh green!) and stir through the pasta and some chopped up ham.
You could serve it like this, I guess, but I like to add a layer of breadcrumbs for crunch and bake in the oven. So quick and easy. Great for when I’ve spent the day sewing or gardening and I don’t feel like cooking.
By having the roasted pumpkin already cooked, it saves so much time. By the time the pasta is done, the bechamel has finished in the thermomix and I can throw it all together in less than 15 minutes.
The other recipe I prepared for was this one. It’s one of my favourite soups and I serve it a lot when people drop in for lunch. This recipe doesn’t need the pumpkin to be cooked ahead of time so it was even quicker to prepare. I just weighed pumpkin and carrot into the thermomix, chopped them up and then bagged them for the freezer.
Oh! I always label everything in the freezer using masking tape. I learned after taking what I thought was a lunch of leftovers to school, only to find at lunchtime that it was actually 2 UNCOOKED chicken drumsticks.
Anyway, back to the soup. I put the bags of carrot and pumpkin into the freezer drawer, then completely forgot about them. Tuesday, after lifting out a bag of frozen peas, I rediscovered them. I was so happy! Past Frogdancer gave Present Frogdancer a gift.
I like it when she does that.
Mmm. So good. Especially when I added some frozen home-grown zucchini, some home-grown parsley from the wicking pots and some homemade coconut milk.
This batch of soup fed us for lunches over 3 days. Not bad.
I love my freezers! We barely waste a thing.
Dad jokes for yesterday and today:
Why did the coffee file a police report? It got mugged.
How does an Eskimo build his house? Igloos it together.
Look at this bunch of rainbow chard. Whoever grew these babies knew what she was doing!
We have a saying in this house: If we grows it, we eats it.
The only exception to that rule is kale. Ugh. I grew it one year and it was so horrible I let the cabbage moths swarm all over it. It was a fitting way for it to go. It also meant that it wasn’t wasted. It was a decoy for the moths so that other, more delicious veggies, could grow.
Now that I only have one other person living here, meals tend to go a lot further. Last night we had bolognese with sweet potato gnocchi. I’ve blogged before about the one tomato plant I had that decided it wasn’t going to go down to winter and death without a fight. It kept producing tomatoes until a month ago, when it dropped some seeds and turned up its toes.
I wasn’t going to let those tomatoes go to waste. I threw them into the freezer. There were 200g worth – not enough for a can’s worth but still useable. Last night I grabbed them and threw them into the sauce. I wasn’t going to let that plant’s heroic efforts go to waste!
The extra dollop of tomatoes made the sauce extra large and so there was enough left to make a lasagne for us tonight. My rule is that if we have greens in the garden, a lasagne must have layers of leaves and our pizzas must have lots of greens on them.
I picked enough rainbow chard to make a lasagne and a couple of pizzas for tomorrow night.
This is layered by tomato, pasta, tomato, leaves… then it’ll continue until I run out of sauce. Then I’ll top it with a cheesy bechamel sauce and into the oven it’ll go. I love getting extra greens into my kids. Even when they’re taller than me.
But I don’t like using the stalks in this dish. So what do I do with them?
Sometimes their fate is to end up in the compost tin where, over time, their elements will make more plants in the garden, but not today. I make my own stock pastes. It was the item that pushed me over the edge to buy a thermomix when I went to my first demo. I don’t stick to the exact veggies in the recipe, but use whatever comes to hand. I simply cut these stalks up and popped them in the freezer for when I make my next batch.
It won’t matter if they go a bit freezer-burny. They’re going to be chopped into a mush and cooked when I drag them out, so it’s all good. Just because they’re stalks doesn’t mean that it’s ok to throw them away. They still have fibre and nutrients, whether I use them for humans’ benefits or for the next generation of plants in the garden.
The soap recipe I usually use has 500g of copha in it. For some reason, I had 125g of it sitting in my fridge. I decided that rather than throw it out, I’d force myself to do some maths (sigh) and make a 1/4 batch.
When making proper soap, you have to stay strictly to the recipe, otherwise it won’t work. For prettiness, I threw some dried calendula and cornflower petals on top. I bought these a while ago and they’ll last me for YEARS. They don’t lose colour when the soap is curing and they add a touch of fanciness. They weren’t exactly cheap, but that doesn’t matter if I actually use them.
Only 6 bars of soap, but they’ll be ready to use when I finish using up my motel soaps. They’ll tide us over until I can get to Coles and buy some more copha.
And I got to use up the little block. No waste!
They’ll be sitting in the laundry for at least 6 weeks, curing until they’ll be ready to use.
My washcloths are finished. I sent one to a teacher friend who I know likes them, but I haven’t heard back from her so I hope I have her address right. Or maybe she just didn’t like this one…
I know there’ll probably be some people who’ll think that doing things like this and being conscious of not wasting things that I make and grow is an ironic waste of my time. I’ve retired early(ish), so why am I mucking around with things like this? For many years when the boys were kids, I HAD to do things like this to make our dollars stretch as far as they possibly could just to survive. But those days are over. So why bother to do them now?
A part of it is looking after the Earth and sustainability – though probably not as big a part as it should be, if I’m honest.
Mostly it’s to do with respecting the time and money I’ve put into things. I feel that buying something isn’t a waste of money if you use it. So that’s why I unpicked the bamboo top and reknitted it into washcloths. There was a lot of money tied up in an item of clothing that was never going to be used. This way – I get to make gifts and people will use them. The money spent on that beautiful bamboo tape won’t be wasted. Plus it kept me entertained for nearly a week as I knitted and listened to audiobooks.
We make sure we use as much as possible of the food that I grow. I’ll never recoup the money that I poured into setting up the food garden in the first place. But growing some of our food was never an economic decision.
The garden offers so many things to my retired life. Obviously, it gives us the freshest organic food that it’s possible to eat. But it also offers the chance to run experiments, to problem solve and to get outside and quietly while away the hours being productive. Poppy loves to steal beans from the vine. As I chop and drop, I kick the ball for Scout and Poppy to chase while Jeffrey snoozes on the couch on the verandah. Sometimes I listen to podcasts or audiobooks as I work, while other times I let the birds and the wind do their thing.
(Incidentally, I’d like to thank Nic for posting a comment this afternoon on my previous post. They mentioned planting potatoes and that reminded me that I had some seed potatoes and some grow bags that were still sitting in the laundry. They’d been there for more weeks than I’d care to own up to. Within 10 minutes the potatoes were planted and I’d used the potatoes and seed bags that I’d spent good money for. Plus I felt good that I’d ticked another job from my list.)
When I was working I used to look at the price of things I wanted to buy and work out how many hours of my life I’d put into teaching to get that much money. It was roughly $50/period. Then I’d think of my absolute worst class. Was this pair of shoes equal to putting up with 8K for 3 periods????
Sometimes it was; sometimes it wasn’t. But it would NEVER be worth it if I bought the shoes and then never wore them. What a waste of my mental anguish putting up with that group of kids for all of those periods!
This is why I try not to waste anything. Time, money and hours of my life have gone into the things I have around me. I respect Past Frogdancer and so I don’t want to ignore what she did to get to where we are.
Does that make sense?
Dad joke of the day:
After I posted a couple of days ago, I realised that I forgot to include a Dad joke. Sincere apologies to anyone who felt let down by such unprofessional Personal Finance blogging behaviour.
So here’s an extra one to make up for it:
I saw a magician yesterday that turned audience members into wind turbines.
In 2010 I fell in love with a knitting pattern and made a top out of hellishly expensive bamboo knitting tape. It had a drape and sheen that was amazing. I’d made a trip to Camberwell to a tiny shop called Sunspun and they had a pink top on display. I loved it. But the pattern book was $40. Yikes!
A blog reader pointed me in the direction of the Rowan website, where I found it on their ‘Free Patterns’ page. I bought the bamboo tape and made the top.
There I am in 2010 with the finished product.
Which, after only a couple of wears, languished in a drawer for the next 11 years.
It looked ok on its own … but it looked AWFUL if I wore anything with long sleeves under it and it was too heavy to wear in summer. Turns out, that beautiful top was a total white elephant.
“One day I’ll unpick it and use that bamboo for something else,” I thought. For 11 years.
Turns out that lockdown is a perfect opportunity to Get Things Done.
The sheen on these balls of bamboo tape is beautiful. Turns out I wasn’t able to salvage all of it – apparently I’m very thorough when it comes to sewing things together and I had to cut some of the seams, resulting in lots of reject bits.
But now I’m happily knitting washcloths to be given with the home-made soap I make for presents. I like having things like this tucked away that I can give when people pop by. The bamboo is beautifully squashy and smoochy so I think people will really like using them.
I’m pleased that I’m not wasting Past Frogdancer’s money by continuing to ignore this top. In 2010 I still had 3 kids at secondary school, I was paying off the mortgage and life was still very pinched when it came to finances. Buying this yarn was an expensive decision. Although I won’t be enjoying it, I know that people dear to me will be using them for years.
And the best thing? Once the washcloths get worn, they’re able to be thrown into people’s worm farms, compost bins or even buried in their gardens. The yarn is organic and the worms will eat them and turn them into fertiliser for the garden.
Though that won’t be for a while. I knitted 5 or 6 cotton washcloths for this place when we moved in 5 years ago. I use them in the kitchen instead of buying sponges. Five years later after continuous use – still going strong. The worms in my worm farms will have to wait a little longer before they get those tasty treats!
YES!!! Holidays! Teeny little shampoos, shower gels and conditioners. We all have them kicking around our bathroom cabinets.
In these dreary lockdown days, I’ve decided to use up all of these little bits and bobs. For a few minutes every morning when I jump into the shower – yeah babyyyyy!!! I’m on holidays!
I was amazed when I unearthed this one. I’m pretty sure that this was from when I took the boys to Thailand – back in 2007. (By the way – this is why I like blogging. I read through this blog post and there was so much detail that I’d forgotten. And yes; I still have and love the emerald ring.)
Once I get through all of the mini body washes I have quite a few little cakes of soap to enjoy. I’m currently on my last bar of homemade soap, so soon I’ll be mixing up a new batch for Christmas presents and working my way through the tourist ones.
But there’s also an over-abundance of hand lotion…
So many tubes of hand lotion. I’m ashamed to say that I always forget to use it, so gifts and motel ones have multiplied over the years. This one pictured above is the last of a pack of three that I bought in Pyongyang, North Korea, mainly to freak out the people in my staffroom. We used to have ‘Handcream Friday’ every week, so I thought they’d like a new and exciting option of Horse Oil.
Not all of them took up the challenge, especially the vegetarians.
Surprisingly, this is one of the nicest hand creams I’ve ever used. Its texture is lovely and the scent is beautiful. I’m going to go into mourning when my last ever Horse Oil moisturiser is gone.
After 3 weeks of consistently using hand lotion, my old, withered crone hands are looking youthful and dewy. I have tiny little scars on the backs of my hands from when I bred Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – puppy teeth are sharp – and now you can barely see them.
So if lockdown is getting you down and you have some little souvenirs like this, drag them out and start using them. It’s a little bit of fun. 🙂
Dad Joke of the Day:
Is it just me, or are nuts over-the-top expensive?
Oof. It’s hard when a state is only 9 days out of the last lockdown and then has 4 hour’s notice before being thrown back into the next one. I’m sure all 6.6 million Victorians would like to thank the family from Sydney who broke the rules and precipitated this for us all.
For the first time, I was caught on the back foot and didn’t have a specific project lined up to do. I spent Thursday driving to Moorabbin to get my car serviced, then a went for a walk with Tom29, who is waiting to start his new job next week. He jumped jobs and earned a 40% increase in his wage, so I’m very proud of him.
Then I went into work. I owed Alice a bottla champagne on a bet we had in the series finale of ‘Celebrity Apprentice Australia.’ I also needed to give my $2 to the sweep organiser for ‘Survivor.’ WHAT a cracking season it’s been so far! We have a Whatsapp group going so every episode we’re chatting away.
(I distinguished myself by logging on to chat one night and not noticing that I was on the wrong chat. I was making remarks about the show and wondering where all the others were, until I realised that I was actually sending these weird messages to James, my Irish friend that I met when we went to North Korea 3 years ago. He thought it was hilarious…)
I spent a lovely couple of hours chatting with people and catching up on what’s been going on. So many people would walk into the Danger Zone, the area of staff room 2 where I always lived, glance at me, then do a double-take when they remembered that I don’t work here anymore.
People kept asking if I was still enjoying being away from work. My reply? Something along the lines of, “Retirement is fucking fantastic!!!!”
Still, the general atmosphere was pretty glum. It’s hard on both the teachers and the kids when remote learning comes into play and they’re all pretty sick of it. The announcement of the lockdown hadn’t yet been made when I was there but it seemed pretty obvious that it was going to happen.
On the way back to pick up my car, I received a phone call from Mum. She and Dad were having computer problems. Ugh! But as luck would have it, I was 5 minutes away from them so I dropped in after the car was done and worked out what was going on. Lucky – otherwise it’d be ages before we could clap eyes on each other again.
Even though I’m fully vaxxed, I kept my mask on the whole day. I don’t like the sound of Delta… both the virus and Goodrum. (Just a little joke.)
So it was after 5 when I eventually arrived home. Ryan26 met me at the front door after the little woofs had finished their hysterical greeting. Fair enough – I was gone the whole day. Clearly, I was never going to come back and they would be all alone with only Ryan26 to love…
“You’ve got a parcel. Live plants.”
I blinked. I thought all my plants from Diggers had been delivered…?
Look at the picture at the top of the post. Six years ago when I fulfilled my lifelong dream of going to the UK and Europe, a reader of the Frog blog contacted me and asked if I’d like to stay at their place for a few days and she’d show me around. I spent 3 beautiful days with Deana and her family, and she took me to Hever Castle, Jane Austen’s house and Canterbury.
In the Canterbury post I mentioned shopping at a quilt shop there. Last year one of my lockdown projects was to turn some of that fabric into a quilt for Deana as a surprise. Anyway – she got me back.
She sent me a bare-rooted rose bush called “Lady Gardener’, which is the rose in the photo. Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again! Now I have a project for lockdown #6 – I’ll be getting Ryan26 to dig another hole in the orchard and I’ll plant it beside the fence. The blooms will look lovely this summer in front of the dark grey.
It’s somehow fitting that an English rose has given me an English rose. 🙂
Dad Joke of the day:
I’ve accidentally swallowed some Scrabble tiles. My next crap could spell disaster.
When we moved here I brought with me a big bureau-type thing that used to live in the lounge room and had the tv on top. It has shelves and also drawers which were perfect for storing DVDs and CDs – remember those things?
You can see how it used to look in this old photo. Look behind Jeff on the couch – the couch which now lives on the backyard verandah – and there it is.
Soon after we moved here I found a dining table and chairs that were on Gumtree. When I went to look at them, the people were also selling the strangest-looking bureau I’ve seen. It was all business on the top but it has the weirdest legs. I wasn’t sure if I liked it but I knew I’d probably regret walking away from it so I bought it.
It’s in my lounge room with the tv on top of it. I’m still not sure if I like it but I’m used to it and in an odd way I’m fond of my strange-looking cabinet. If it ever came alive like in nightmares, those spider-like legs would be impossible to escape.
So we moved the original bureau to the Man Cave, where it sits covered by family photos and, other than being dusted every now and then, hasn’t been touched by human hands since.
It has the family DVDs, the boys’ old games, computer cables and my CDs. We only have one device capable of playing CDs and I’ve packed it away somewhere. In the last few years, I’ve veered away from listening to music and am more a podcast girl. However, Ryan26 has an excellent Spotify account and he plays music a lot so I still get to hear some groovy tunes. If I want to hear something specific, Youtube is handy.
I’m a lazy soul at heart, which is one of the reasons why retiring early appealed to me so much. A couple of months ago I spent a couple of days sorting through tubs of my fabric stash and putting them into colours. I put them, all sorted, into the tubs and piled them into the wardrobe of the guest/sewing room.
There! All together! All sorted! Nothing can stop me now!
Who wants to go and lift all those tubs out if you want a colour from the bottom of the pile? Or worse – if you want to PUT AWAY a fabric that belongs in the bottom tub? Look at this pile of selvedges and strings. I’d have to lift out at least 3 tubs to put these away.
It’s such a hassle.
I didn’t retire just so my life can become so difficult.
I started looking at chests of drawers on the LKEA website, but we were in lockdown … then I remembered the old bureau. I mentioned to Ryan26 that I was thinking about taking it over for my fabric. He had a look in there and started dragging out all my old CDs.
“How about I make a Spotify list for you?” he asked. This is how ‘Mum’s Boppin’ Bangers’ was born.
We had the best afternoon! He put all of my CDs on there – except Michelle Shock’s album ‘Short, Sharp Shocked’, which apparently isn’t on Spotify. Pity, because that whole album is a banger.
After a while, he started playing random tracks and I’d try and guess the title and artist before they started singing. It’s amazing how many songs I remember, though Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’ had me stumped.
Then he called me in, sat me down and said, “What are the other songs you want to put here?” Now that was a gloriously fun rabbit hole to go down. I think it was 3 hours and over 3,100 songs later that we decided it was time to stop and make dinner.
That was two days ago. One of today’s tasks is to swap over the fabric for the junk in that bureau. I’m happy for never-used boys’stuff to sit in the tubs, but this Frugal Friday win is to utilise the space we have in a far more user-friendly way, without racing out to buy more furniture. I’m far more likely to use the fabric I have if I can access it easily. Lazy at heart, remember?
The monetary loss is, of course, once Ryan26 started playing ‘Mum’s Boppin’ Bangers’, I realised that I wanted to be able to hear it whenever I wanted. It’s got some damned fine… well… bangers on it.
So we’ve splitting a Spotify account between us. $7/month each is a small price to pay for hearing songs like this again:
I haven’t heard this song for I don’t know how long. Just imagine how many other excellent songs are lurking on ‘Mum’s Boppin’ Bangers’ waiting for me to rediscover them?
(Butapologies for all of the grammatical errors on this vid. Ugh. Maybe I shouldn’t have retired – the world clearly needs English teachers to help the Youtubers.)
Speaking of English teaching – one of the things I miss about teaching is putting up Dad jokes on the board at the start of each lesson. So guess what? At the bottom of each post from now on, I’ll put a Dad joke.
I know it’s not in the Financial Independence vein, but hey. Don’t you try and repress me! My blog – my rules. Besides, I have a huge list of jokes saved. It isn’t frugal to let them moulder and go to waste.
Today’s Dad joke:
I dig. You dig. He digs. She digs. We dig. They dig.
It’s not the most imaginative poem. But it’s quite deep.
Even without a thermomix, pizza dough is so easy and cheap to make. When the kids were really little, I used to cop out and use wraps as bases, but honestly… that’s a travesty. A good pizza needs a good base, so I love the pizza bases I make. Have a look at the ingredients – could it be cheaper?
2 tsps dry Yeast
220g lukewarm water
30g olive oil
1 tsp sugar (At the moment I’m using the sugar sachets I liberated from the motels I stayed in on my South Australian trip – SO EVEN CHEAPER!!!!!) heh heh…
420g bakers flour. (Though plain will do as well.)
1 tsp salt.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll put garlic, chilli and some fresh rosemary in there as well. (I freeze whole peeled garlic cloves and whole chillis and grow rosemary in wicking boxes – SO NO WASTE!!! EVEN CHEAPER!!!!!!!) Ok, I’ll stop now.
How thrifty is this? It costs literally mere cents to make this dough – enough for 4 or 5 pizzas, depending on how large you like them.
I keep the yeast in the freezer in the blue insulated thermos-y thing. It’s the yeast I bought a few days before our very first lockdown back in March 2020. Still going strong.
Oh! Did you notice the olive oil container? I bought that in San Gimignano in Italy on my 2015 trip. Another frugal tip – buy souvenirs that you’ll USE, not ones you merely look at. Nearly every day when I reach for the olive oil, I think of that trip.
Here’s the dough, just before I wrap it up in a silicon mat and put it near a heating vent. (It’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne.)
After an unfortunate incident when Poppy was a puppy, many years ago, we’ve learned that we have to keep dough that we’re proving up high.
There is a very strict rule in this house, brought in when the kids were little, that EVERY pizza must have green on it. No matter what else is happening in the garden, I always have leaves growing and so they must go on.
Edited to add – in the background is a ceramic tea caddy that I bought in Beijing when my friends Helen, Rick and I went to North Korea. Another useful souvenir!
Ryan26 is the pizza maker in this household. The toppings vary, depending on what’s in the fridge and the garden. This was last night’s effort.
Of course, I forgot to take a photo when he pulled them from the oven. I was starving. But we fed 2 adults an incredibly cheap, yet incredibly delicious dinner for 2 or 3 dollars at most.
And here’s the answer to Toni’s question in the last post.
I have a side-by-side fridge and freezer in the kitchen and the lowest basket is devoted to ice-cube sized portions of home-made pesto – which always goes on our pizzas – and balls of frozen pizza dough.
Ryan26 just divides up the dough after it’s risen and put’s individual-sized balls into freezer bags. They’re so handy if someone, such as an adult son who lives away from home, drops in and is starving. He can whip up a meal very quickly.
I also like it when it gets to around 5PM and I’m not in the zone for cooking. I just throw 2 frozen pizza dough balls onto the kitchen counter and by the time Ryan26 is ready to start cooking, the dough is ready to roll.
Some people recommend freezing them in flat discs so they’ll defrost quicker, but I don’t like the sound of that. How many times have you gone to the freezer to get a sheet of puff pastry, only to find that it’s broken? It’s a PIA. I’d rather it take a little more time to defrost and then you can roll it to to the size that you want.
Thanks, Toni, for asking the question. I got to have the night off from cooking last night. Love pizza nights!