Saturday, May 19, 2012


Today I did things. It was satisfying because I got to go to shops and I NEVER get to go to shops.

First I hit up my local Lifeline Supa Store, because one thing I learnt the last weekend I went thrifting is that by the afternoon, any good stuff is gone. I didn't have any luck - they had one Agee Pyrex casserole dish but it was badly discoloured. No decent Tupperware this week either! I ended up buying a camel coloured wool scarf for $2 and two floral pillowcases for a dollar apiece.

Next I was headed up to Westfield when on a whim, I decided to drop in to the Lifeline store at Strathpine. I'd never been in it before (always shut every time I go past) and blow me down if they didn't have a stack of Johnson plates on display! They don't have much bric-a-brac there so I guess what they do pick out to put on display must be the good stuff! I was so excited, because I've never seen this leaf pattern before.

When I got home I got stuck into the "present pile". This is what we have been calling the giant pile of boxes containing our wedding registry gifts, which were delivered about a fortnight ago! Well, I unboxed everything, and washed it all up... and frankly I was exhausted! I was flabbergasted by how much packaging goes into these items - cardboard, bubble wrap, plastic. This pile of junk is still in my living room, I can't face it right now. On the bright side, I have lots of boxes to ship my etsy store stuff to customers in!

After a little lie-down in front of the telly as a reward, I decided to christen THIS BEAUTY...

By making pumpkin soup! I had half a leftover pumpkin in the fridge so I chopped it up to use. I followed the 4 Ingredients book recipe, though I did saute the onions in butter with garlic first :) Is there a better smell in the whole world? I think not. It turned out amazingly. So good. I saw somewhere on the internets during the week some tip about freezing soups flat, so I bagged up some servings and they are now lying flat in my freezer, waiting to be consumed on a cold winter's day.

How was your Saturday?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Book review - The Alphabet Sisters

I have had this book sitting in my to-read pile for quite a few months now. I picked it up at a Lifeline Bookfest but had never actually gotten around to reading it. I have read a few others of Monica McInerney's novels and quite enjoyed them, particularly Spin the Bottle and Upside Down, Inside Out.

The Alphabet Sisters is all about family - the fights, the fury, the loneliness and the love between its members.  The beautiful Clare Valley of South Australia is the main setting, and the story that plays out against the backdrop of the family motel is one that I quite enjoyed.

The three sisters grew up singing as a trio - pushed into performing by their loving grandmother, Lola. But as they grow up, the group falls apart and the sisters become estranged after a shattering betrayal - Carrie has stolen Bett's fiancĂ©e.  The third sister Anna is pulled into the fight and everyone says something they later regret.

The story is set years after the fight, and follows the lives of all three girls as well as the mischievous and irrepressible Lola as she calls them all back to the Clare Valley for her birthday party. Forced into speaking again, can the girls put the past behind them and learn to get along once more?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found myself increasingly drawn into the dramas of the family. Recommended for fans of contemporary fiction.


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Thursday, May 3, 2012

How the day went

Get to work
Check email
Read entire Google Reader
Read the news
Read Demotivational Memebase
Check Etsy
Check email again
Surf some blogs looking for new interesting blogs
Read new blogs
Delete uninteresting blogs from reader
Make list of all the jobs and errands I need to do at home
Start next week’s meal plan and grocery list
Think about writing a blog
Google “bored at work”
Check out Lifehacker
Read twitter on phone
Check email again
Find new op shops to visit on the weekend
Check Gumtree for this weekend’s garage sales
Wonder again how to find out about deceased estate and collection house auctions
Think about Storage Wars and wish I could make money out of buying storage lockers
Worry about bills
Do some work
Take frequent bathroom breaks
Think about how to find time to do some exercise during winter when I get up and come home in the dark
Check Reader again for any new blogs
Discuss $70m lotto jackpot with co-workers
Contemplate buying a chocolate bar
Buy chocolate bar and eat it
Feel sick
Eventually I’ll go home

And in between, answer the phone and actually do some work. Let's just say - it was a very slow day.

How was your day?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The No Grocery Challenge

Husband and I have had to modify our game of "what would you buy if you had some money" in the last few years. Having a mortgage is tough y'all. Budgets are tightening in every area of our home. Instead of talking about upgrading my little 3-door hatchback we wish we had enough spare cash to go out to breakfast on a Sunday.

If I think about it too hard, it's kind of depressing. Anyways, one of the ways I try not to think about fiscal woes is to make a game of it. I see how far I can drive my car with the fuel light on. I test how long a lettuce can last in the refrigerator before becoming inedible. I forgo bathing and washing my hair to save on soap and shampoo. No, not really.

However this week I am making a concerted effort to stretch our precious dollars further. I had the crazy idea yesterday that instead of placing my online grocery order as normal, I would try to make do with what we had, for the entire week.

This task is made infinitely easier by the fact that before they went back home, C’s parents actually bought a crapload of meat for us. In fact they filled up one entire basket of our upright freezer with, admittedly, their favourite things: crumbed chicken, crumbed steak (I’m sensing a theme here), mince, sausages and rissoles.

Because we were so sick of the bland dinners that C’s mum cooked the entire time that she was here*, I have been using maybe one of these items a week and supplementing our diet with spicy things we enjoy – hot sweet chilli stir fry beef, Thai green chicken curry and the like.

Anyway, I’ve ended up with a freezer basket still half full of this wonderful meat, and so in the very best wartime era spirit I am going to “make do”. I still plan on going to the corner store for milk and bread, but the menu plan for this week looks something like this:

M – Savoury mince
T – Crumbed steak, mash & veges
W – Pasta & sauce
T – Crumbed chicken & salad
F – Rissoles, roast potatoes and veges
S – Cheese & Tomato toasties
S – Steak with packet Alfredo pasta

I’ve got just enough muesli bars to last me for morning tea at work, and I hope to take leftovers for lunch every day. I have one pie in the freezer and some 2-min noodles in the cupboard – hopefully, these along with sandwiches will be enough to feed C for lunch every day.

I’ll let you know how it goes. I absolutely hate going to the supermarket for any reason, and will do just about anything to avoid it. Wish me luck.

*I do not, in any way, mean to sound ungrateful. It was absolute bliss when I went back to work after our honeymoon to come home to dinner cooked every night. It’s just that C’s parents have a very shall we say, Georgian diet, comprising of meat, potatoes, veges and gravy. Every night. The only exception is beef stroganoff, which C’s mum makes by broiling beef strips for hours on a low heat before dumping in a bottle of sauce. She pretty much broils everything, come to think of it. They hate spicy or hot things and so when they left, C and I eagerly began consuming food with a bit more variety!


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