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Reflections on past friendships

Saturday, September 29, 2007
Reading Lightening and Sonskred’s posts earlier this week has prompted me to write about my own experiences dealing with the past, and letting good things go. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I just might have to, in order to explain everything.

I was 13 when my mother died from cancer. It’s such a wretched age to feel alone, with those hormones running riot. I’d felt alone for such a long time before hand. I hadn’t told my mother when I got my period, because I was so determined to not worry her while she was fighting for her life.

But this story isn’t about my mother (I may go there another time), it’s about what happened after. As an only child of an only child, I was left with my father, and my grandparents, who were obviously devastated. I sought out other people to talk to. From friends parents, to people I knew who had been through a similar experience. Living away from home in boarding school it was easy to hide from my family, to lose myself in friends and to pour my heart out to them.

What wasn’t easy, was when, for whatever reason, they left school. It was really hard to let go. Like Lightening said: “When something or someone means a lot to me, they mean a lot to me for LIFE”. That’s what I felt when these friends who I had poured my heart out to left my daily life, and I had to let go of these people who have meant so much to me.

A perfect example is someone, whom I shall call Susan. Susan’s mother died of a brain tumour about 6 months after my mother. She is 3 years older than me, but for two years we were inseparable. We cried on each others shoulders, screamed to each other that it wasn’t fair, and watched out for each other. When she left school she moved home to be with her father and brother. We lost contact.

When Hubby and I moved up here it took me a while to realise, but her family owned the local furniture shop. It still took me a couple of years to go in there, and I saw her brother, and knew immediately it was her family who ran it. It was only earlier last year (3 years after moving here) I ran into her at a Whitlam’s Concert in town. Despite many attempts over the past 18 months, we’ve met up once, for a quick coffee. Did I mention for all of last year I worked less than a 5 minute walk from her work? She drives past my house twice a day on the way to and from work.

So why haven’t we met up? Why is it after 10 years since we last talked, and 5 years since I moved here, we don’t get together more often? The simple answer is we’ve changed. But the more complex answer is that we don’t need each other anymore. That isn’t to discount what we meant to each other, far from it. It simply means that we each came into each others lives for a purpose, and that purpose was fulfilled. Neither of us feel the drive to be involved with the other anymore.

The obviously hard part about this is letting go. I love her dearly, and tell her so every time I see her, as she does me. But to let go of those intense relationships that got you through such difficult times is hard. I honour her for what she meant to me, but I try not to recreate those circumstances. That time is past, and we can both move towards our futures knowing what we meant to each other. And I guess that is the gift being given by meeting again after all this time.

The nice lady

Friday, September 28, 2007
The nice lady came this morning, and she was wonderful. I have a list of things to do, but it's not as long as I thought it would be.

Basically, I have to pack. So I'm starting this weekend with the office. Yeah, the room I can barely step inside. I will probably do before and after shots too. Stay tuned for that one.

The nice lady will be back at the end of October to sell my house. I'm going to call this afternoon:

A removalist (to store our stuff)
A maintenance company (for a few external bits & pieces)
A carpet cleaner
An electrician
A pest controller

I will call on father-in-law for help with the gardens, and then just get my butt stuc into the packing. I already have 16 boxes packed for storage. I reckon I'll double it by the end of the weekend.

In other news I have 2 days work stocktaking at Woolworths in a week or so. That'll help cover the above costs.

A reason, a season or a lifetime

Thursday, September 27, 2007
Firstly this week Lightening posted about the past and it tugged something at my memory. Then Snos posted about saying goodbye to a good thing and I left a comment in the post about friends (or people in general) being part of our lives for a short time, or for a purpose. Cleaning out my often un-checked hotmail account today I found this, which was what I was trying to say. I hope to write more about what I mean by it over the weekend, but I think you'll get the idea.

A reason, a season, or a lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person..

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real.
But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
Author Unknown

And exhaustion sets in

Yeah, so I probably overdid it yesterday. 5 loads of washing done and away. Tidied the main living areas and 2 bedrooms (yeah the 2 easy ones, so what?) and vacuumed. Cleaned the kitchen etc etc etc.

Left on my "to clean" list is the office (gulp) the main bedroom, bathrooms and the laundry.

The nice real estate lady (hereafter known as "the nice lady" - she sold our last house in 48 hours and the kids think she's nice) will be coming around in about an hour to tell me what of my list she things we need to do before going on the market, and our timing, strategy etc.

But exhaustion has set in. I've hidden anything remotely incriminating in the bedroom, and she'll just have to understand my office and bedroom are a work in progress. I'll show her my list of what I want to do beefore we list and see what she says. I'm hoping she'll cross a few things off for me and tell me not to bother. I'm lying down in between mini pick ups in the bedroom. I'm ignoring the office because I plan to pack that this weekend.

The best part about all this is that the main part of the house is clean, and my new routines (stay tuned for those) seem to be helping me stay on top of it (so far).

Well that's number 4 off my list for this week done.

Are we glad that's over?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I am! I have given myself a "holiday" from study until Sunday, and to get the house in some sort of shape again. I started tonight in the kitchen and laundry. You know, those two places that fall apart if you ignore them for so much as a day? I have many plans over the next few days that involve organising quite a few things.

1. Moving - Hubby's work has a couple of units that are empty and will be for a while, so we're going to try and get the house on the market since we have a guaranteed place to live if it sells quickly. This of course involves major decluttering, packing and cleaning. I've made a list and will be calling a few places to help out starting tomorrow, including 2 or 3 real estate agents.

2. Office - Seriously, it's a disaster. It needs help. That is the first place I will "pack".

3. Finances - yeah, again. I can't wait to return to a cash based system. Speaking of which, keep an eye out for my "Managing Money for New Budgeters" post coming soon. It's something that's dear to my heart and I hope it'll help a few people out.

4. House - in general, it's a mess. Too. Much. Stuff. I'm working on it.

5. Garage - we did really well in July when we attacked it, but we literally have 30-40 empty boxes that are in a massive pile. I need to sort them out, and finish packing the rest of the stuff up.

Now, I don't say I'm going to be doing all this by Sunday, but hopefully by then I'll have the house in a "maintenance holding pattern" until a) we put it on the market and hire a cleaner or b) my exam is over and I can relax for 3-4 months, apart from the whole, having a baby thing. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find the time to attack these other projects.

$250 Savings Challenge - Update

Well, I've been keeping track of my savings for the challenge, but haven't had time to post them I've been spending so much time studying.

The savings from last week was:
From grocery budget: $30
From fuel budget: $5.70

Total savings for last week $35.70 bringing the total to $54.70. Well on the way!

Menu Plan Monday - 24 September

Monday, September 24, 2007

I decided this weekend our menu's have been a little dull and boring lately, time to spice them up a bit. I ducked down the shops for reduced meat, and for $20 got 2 meals of lamb fillets, 2 meals of pork medallions and a pot roast. $4 a meal - under target!

Now what to do with them?

Wednesday: Mince Pie

I'm actually inspired by that menu! Can't wait to get cooking!

For more menu plans head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie! and say hi to Laura!

Two whole days!

Sunday, September 23, 2007
That's how long I have to edit my essay. What a novel feeling! I've just finished the first draft, and am about to switch gears to Tupperware demonstrator for the afternoon. Then I'll have approximately 48 hours to edit, rewrite and stress about formating and referencing. Remarkable.

Why is it?

Saturday, September 22, 2007
When I make peace with myself about the level of work I want to do for Tupperware (ie none) parties fall out of the sky and into my lap? In the last couple of days I've booked in 2 parties, people who have called ME, and done a party that was booked from July.

I shouldn't complain. The money will be handy for getting the house on the market. I've looked at our weekend schedule and to get the house on the market before Christmas, I'm going to have to employ people to do most of the work. I'll be making phone calls on Wednesday (the assignment is due Tuesday remember!).

Speaking of uni, the assignment is officially 1/3 done, and all going well (ie I'm able to cope watching the Cowboys beat Manly tonight AND write my assignment at the same time) I should have 2/3 done before bed tonight. I'm so glad I spent the week doing the research, and organising the research. Putting it together is proving easier than I thought (though just as time consuming!)

M&M had a great day with her friend today, although Kiki missed her terribly, despite being occupied with Hubby for most of the day. How is everyone's weekend shaping up?

What a day!

Friday, September 21, 2007
Phew! Am I glad today's over. It probably wasn't a stressful day by most standards, but I don't "do" pregnancy very well. I whinge and moan for 9 months, bascially.

So we were out the door by 9:10. Only 10 minutes late. Hubby to work, M&M & Kiki to daycare. Picked up a present from Big W for M&M's friend whose birthday party she's going to tomorrow. Got my nails done. Did a 40 minute round trip to deliver some catalogues. Went to a lunch/meeting. Home for food, to the library to study. Pick up Hubby, pick up kids, collapse on the bed.

But did you notice in there? I studied at the library! How amazing is it than in 90 minutes at the library, I can get more done than an entire week at home? Must make mental note. I think the library opens at 9:30 tomorrow....

Anyway, tomorrow is looking nice for study too. M&M is getting picked up at 10 for the party, and returned..... "later" (*insert evil happy dance here!*) Hubby is taking Kiki out of the house (or maybe Mummy will be visiting the library until they close at 12:45....) and the assignment will hopefully be done by the time M&M gets home. I know that's wishful thinking, but I've got detailed notes of the first 600 words. And, . . . that's about it.

I have great faith in my ability to pull cr*p out of my behind when I need to when it comes to assignments, but I keep ending up on either one of two extremes. Too simple, or too complex for the assignment (1st year law remember). It's difficult to explain without going into too many details, but if anyone has experience that may be able to help, my email is in the left sidebar, right up the top. See it? Thanks.

I may have it. You never know. At this point, I just hope I pass. And thank goodness for leftover Pizza. Yeah, the menu plan is a bit slack this week.


Thursday, September 20, 2007
I shouldn't be let out of the house when sales are on. Target's Home Sale started today, featuring my favourite home item - 1000 count cotton sheets for $99.95, reduced from $249.95. Bargain. And trust me, once you've tried them, you'll never go lower than 1000 again! A couple of bathmats, cushions and a new dinner set later (oh, yeah, we kind of wanted a new one - hehe) and I'd spent $200.

Then on to Harvey Norman. I scored an absolute bargain. $769 for an upright Dyson with a 6 year warranty. Now I have no excuse for not vacuuming. Oops!

So all up nearly $1000 spent before 11am. Oops! (get the title reference now?) And there was so much more I wanted at the Target sale. Hubby and I are going back later tonight. Glasses and kids sheets are also on the list.

In my defence, these have been on our list for some time now. Our dinner set is nice, but very multicoloured, we wanted something white and basic and were keeping an eye out. We only have one set of nice sheets, so we needed another for when the kids, well, throw up in them. Our glasses are all mismatched again (when we moved here 5 years ago we had a matching set of 18, of that 18 we have 2 left!). The kids only have two sheet sets each - again not great when there's sickness invovled. A vacuum cleaner has been needed since mid-July. That's 2 months I've been without one. Thank goodness for tiles!

So I CAN justify it all. Honest.

And now I'm not going shopping (apart from tonight) for at least a week! Cause it's pay day next week *grin*

Study update

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I'll admit I've been really slack when it comes to uni work this semester. Well, I thought I had. I had read about half the readings, done a lot of the preparation for the on campus sessions, but still felt unprepared. Once in the room however, I realised that I was still far more prepared than about half the students, and still one of the more vocal members of the group.

I did realise, however, that I am now really behind in the assignment that is due on Tuesday. I took great notes whenever it was mentioned on the weekend, I've dug out all the instructions, and to be honest, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.

I've broken it down into parts, but it's still the getting started that's stopping me. Well, that and the list of 30 or so readings to do before I start. And I kind of have to do those readings before I decide on the angle of my essay.

Well, this isn't getting it done is it? Does anyone have any tips for getting started?

Menu Plan Monday - 17 September

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oops, a day late. You get that. Nothing exciting this week. Mostly what's in the cupboard and freezer and we'll see what else we can come up with. Chicken will feature heavily for the next few weeks after I got 6.5kg of chicken thigh's for $38 last week. Should do us for lots of meals!!!!

Tuesday - Meat Pie & Veg
Wednesday - Apricot Chicken
Thursday - Tomato Macaroni Cheese
Friday - Fish & Chips
Saturday - Chicken Fried Rice
Sunday - Toasted sandwiches

See, I told you it wasn't exciting. But my shopping list is short too. Mostly cause Hubby was home all weekend with the kids so was at the shops every day. Ah well, we'll have snacks in the house for a few days!

Flying is NOT for Wimps

That's right. Flying is stressful. Not the actual flying part, although watching a news story about a plane crash while flying doesn't build confidence.

No, the stressful part is the fact that a) there is only one flight a day to my local airport, and b) I did not have ONE FLIGHT leave on time the whole weekend. When you're catching 4 planes in 4 days, and have certain connections to meet, flights leaving on time is important. I've caught planes before, lots of times. It's the short connections that stress me. Anything under 2 hours is not long enough in my book.

My first flight was only a few minutes late. Congestion at Brisbane we were told. Oops! That's ok, I had a 50 minute change over in Brisbane, plenty of time to be 5 or even 10 minutes late. Which we were.

Second flight to Sydney, well. Apparently it was windy in Sydney on Friday, so one runway was closed. This meant certain flights were cancelled. Thankfully not mine. Although this did mean a certain amount of juggling was required to get everyone from the cancelled flights onto other flights, including mine, meaning we left late. And had to wait to land. Half an hour late.

Coming home the flight was scheduled to leave at 8:30am. To be checked in by 8am, I needed to leave the university at 6:13am on a bus to the train station. I thought I would have plenty of time, but I got on the bus, walked straight onto the train, changed trains and never had more than a minute of waiting on a platform before arriving at the airport and checking in by 7:55am! Phew, that was close.

Apparently not. Still windy, so one runway again, meaning incoming flight was 30 minutes late. Not to worry, we should only leave 5 minutes late.

Or not. Due to leave at 8:30am, we boarded the plane at 9am, which was when we found out what the problem was - lack of runways, so a delay. Oh and by the way it's really windy in Brisbane too, so landings are delayed, so we need to take on extra fuel (operational requirement of Brisbane airport - fair call I say. I've seen Die Hard 2). And as we're waiting, waiting, waiting, I'm starting to panic. I only had 40 minutes in Brisbane to change flights. Thankfully I had no luggage checked to worry about, but still, I didn't have a watch so no real idea of the time. I eventually was stressing so much, cause Hubby had told me about Kiki being sick, but I didn't know how sick, I asked what the plan would be. By this stage it was nearly 9:30, and even with a 60 minute flight, making a 10:35 flight would be tough. Thankfully there was nearly 30 people on the plane for the connecting flight. Holding the other flight until we made it would be cheaper than accomodating us on other flights and overnight (one flight a day remember). She did say that often if there's only one or two people they don't hold the plane.

Strangely thankful for school holidays, I relaxed a little, and we finally took off at 9:45. Not only had Virgin held the plane for us, but they'd moved the plane once all the other passengers were on board to the gate next to our arrival from Sydney, to get everyone (and luggage) on board quicker. Taking off 15 minutes late from Brisbane we were just 15 minutes late getting home.

But boy do I NOT want to go through that again. I'm also thankful next time I do that trip I'll just be going from Brisbane to Sydney. There's like 500 flights a day between Brisbane and Sydney. And I'm sure that's not much of an exaggeration.

So am I the only one, or does this sort of thing stress out other people too?

Look who's back!

Monday, September 17, 2007
Me! Well, I've been home for a couple of hours now, but resisted the urge to check out the high speed internet that Hubby organised while I was away until I managed a cup of tea, and putting a sick Kiki to sleep. Poor mite!

I couldn't believe I didn't have time over the weekend to find any internet. I had hoped to have time at the airport this morning between flights, but because it was "windy" in Sydney we were over an hour late, and I barely made the plane home. That would have been fun.

Anyway, I'll post more about my weekend later. I just felt lost without my daily therapy of email, blogs and internet groups. Now tell me you've all been busy while I was away!

Packing light

Friday, September 14, 2007
I'm off to Sydney today, and inspired by Monica's post "Tips for Packing Light" at the Clutter Control Freaks blog, I'm packing light. I was also inspired to make up a permanently packed bag of travel toiletries (interestingly enough I was able to do it mostly from things already in the house)

As an example, the picture below shows the bag I would usually take for such a trip (4 days, 3 nights plus uni work) on the left, and the bag I am actually taking on the right.

Yeah, that's a difference. Now if you imagine the size of the bag on the left as the carry on suitcase size, the bag on the right looks even smaller hey? Yeah, I thought so too.

It'll be a bare necessities weekend, but that's ok because I may end up sharing a room. It also helps that I only have precisely 7 maternity shirts and 4 maternity bottoms, so I could probably barely fill the small bag with all the clothes that fit me even if I tried. Back to the point: I really think this bag is the prefect size for these weekend trips of mine, and will help me not to pack piles of crap that I really don't need. I hope.

So yeah, I'm off for the weekend. I won't have my laptop with me (*pout*) but I reckon I can log in and post you all a little something while I'm away. If I don't, it just means I'm actually doing what I was there for and working really hard, and I'll see you all on Monday!

About Kin

Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'm well aware that roughly half my readers "know" me from other places; groups, forums and in real life, while the other half read just know what I've written. So, I've decided to share with you a little bit more about me. Nothing extravagent mind, just bits and pieces so you have a better idea about me. First, the basics:

I'm 27, my birthday is the 23rd July 1980.
I was born in Darwn, in the Northern Territory. Yes it was hot, red and dusty.
I went to boarding school in Brisbane.
I went to university on the Sunshine Coast and studied Business Management.
I married Hubby (who will now be known as Red Beard since he decided to start his own blog) in December 2001.
I have two girls, with another on the way. M&M is 4 in October and Kiki is 3 in December.
We have a dog, a white ball of fluff, known as Dusty.
I am studying Law externally throuh a university in Sydney. I'm in my 2nd semester at the moment, of a 6 year degree. Yeah, so it's a long term plan.

That's all I can think of today. If you have any questions you want me to answer leave a comment or email me, and I'll do my best to answer them.

Public Service Announcement

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
You may have noticed I'm making a few changes. I have quite a few plans in progress, so things will be changing for about a week I hope. I'll keep the public service announcement in the sidebar until I'm done! I've also changed the settings so anyone can comment without a blogger account. If you feel the urge, please leave a comment, or email me.

Thank you all for your patience. If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave a comment here or send me an email. I'm pretty much open to anything at this point.

The State of the Study

This Friday marks my semi-annual foray south to convince my lecturers I’m doing enough work to complete the assignments. This is rather an expensive proposition, between flights, getting to the campus, accommodation etc etc. All up I think this trip will cost me at least $500 in airfares, travel and accommodation. Now accommodation does include all my meals, but you can guarantee other expenses will come up. Like the fact I have to leave at 6am to catch the plane home – no self respecting university would serve breakfast before 6am on the mid-semester break!

The reason I add all the associated expenses up like that is because at times like this, when I should be studying furiously, I’m instead pondering my blog, and whether or not I like the new layout. $500 (on top of fees and text books etc) is a lot of money and I hope it would motivate me into trying to catch up. It doesn't seem to be working...

So in response to the title of this post, the state of the study is dismal. I have a ton of work to do and just no motivation. Basically 5 sessions left to prepare for (of a possible 8) and just not enough time, which means I don't want to start, cause I'll never finish - right?

I wonder what Hubby's doing for lunch?

Swimming lessons

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
In this country, especially this part of the country, swimming is a life skill. Like walking, drinking, eating or talking. Both houses either side of us have a pool. We live a mere 20 minute walk from the beach. The summer heat dictates that we do whatever it takes to stay cool. And yet finding swimming lessons isn’t as easy as it sounds. The local pool, a couple of minutes drive away, does not offer ‘learn to swim’ classes. Either there is a lack of private, local swimming teachers, or marketing is not their strong point (although I did hear of one last week – the first one I’ve heard of in 4.5 years living here). So, we look elsewhere. International visitors staying with family this week couldn’t believe that living so close to the spectacular calm waters of the Great Barrier Reef, we would take our children on a 20 minute drive inland for swimming lessons. Well, apparently a tourist area isn’t necessarily family friendly.

Finding swimming lessons for babies, toddlers and pre-school aged children is notoriously difficult in town here. Each week there is a mass migration to the next town where lessons are held. The other problem was the timing. When I was first looking for my eldest, when she was 6 months old (and I had just found out I was pregnant with #2) I discovered that a) there is no such thing as swimming lessons in “winter” (winter is a joke here, we basically have two – three months of autumn then spring arrives again) and b) swimming lessons on a weekend, or at a time when parents who worked could actually bring their children? Not likely. I was working full-time at that point, and read with mounting jealousy of people taking their children to swimming lessons on a Saturday. In June (“winter”).

When my youngest was 6 months, I tried again. The times were a little more flexible (two days a week!) but still difficult to manage with a 9 month old, and a nearly 2 year old (having to get in the water with both of them). By the time the youngest turned one, my mother in law put her foot down, came with us to swimming lessons, paid for half of them, and watched one child while I dealt with the other. After a while we realised that while we’d gotten in early enough with the little one, the big one wasn’t that keen on the water. Discussions with the teacher followed, and two lessons a week were planned.

Over time (well, the ten week sessions in which lessons are held for half an hour a week) she improved, and the following year began going in without me, and learning things like floating and strokes. I had hoped she would be allowed into the beginners class this year, which teaches actual swimming, rather than just survival. However as I began my research in early September, I soon discovered the previous owners of the swimming school had left, and the new owners were planning an open day for this past Sunday. Desperate for my children to finally master this skill, I packed up the family for the 20 minute drive to check out the new people and find out what classes they were doing.

Of course all the classes have changed, and now my eldest will have to repeat the class she did last season, because she’s “not quite ready” for the beginners class. Added to this the 140% price increase and I’m wondering if the effort is worth it? I mean for two (or three, depending on luck) days a week to pack the bags, snacks and traipse across the countryside, to share my ever increasing pregnancy body with the unsuspecting world, swim for an hour with the kids, feed them, shower them, dress them (again!) and scurry home to do an extra load of washing (so everything’s clean for next time) and deal with the exhausted kids on top of the regular housework, study, moving preparation and general pregnancy exhaustion. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Of course I’ll do it, and pay the extra money, because knowing how to swim is not a luxury, but a necessary survival skill.

It does help that the new swimming coach is a bit of a hottie.

$250 Savings Challenge

Monday, September 10, 2007

Well, I've done it. I've completed my first $250 savings challenge. Last week the grocery total came to $85, leaving me with $40 to add to the pot. In addition to the $3.85 I scrounged from various purses/wallets and hidey holes. So a total of $43.85, bringing the total to an even $269.00 After completing the first $250 savings challenge, I already have $19.00 start on my second. Excellent!
Over the weekend I bid on and won an ebay auction for an exercise bike, exactly like what I wanted. Including postage it was $232.40, so I even managed to save $17.60 on the purchase over what I had budgeted. I might shout the kids lunch one day this week with the leftover. Somewhere special, like a gormet pizza place, I'm sure I have a shoppa-docket around here somewhere :-)

Menu Plan Monday - 10 September

I've got so much to write about this week. Honestly I could probably manage 2 posts a day and not get everything posted. I'll try and control myself though and save some for the weekend when I'm away.
As for the menu plan - it was easy this week, as I'm away on the weekend, and as per Hubby's request I don't menu plan those days, and he "wings it". I expect I'll get home to a lack of fish fingers in the freezer, but that's ok :-)
Monday - Lamb chops, mashed potato & veg
Tuesday - Chicken kebabs, rice & veg
Wednesday - Meat Pie, mashed potato & veg
Thursday - Chicken Burgers (or maybe Turkey Burgers)
I'm off to a uni weekend this weekend, and the place I'm staying includes meals, so that's one less thing to worry about.
As always, head over to Laura's blog for more menu's

Favourite Posts this week - Sept 9

Sunday, September 9, 2007
Lots happening this week!

Lightening and her family started their electricity challenge. I'm waiting with bated breath for the first update. Lightening (full of good advice this week) listed 10 frugal things her family do. Also on the frugal bandwagon, JD at Get Rich Slowly posted Deiko's article entitled "How to feed yourself for $15 a week". And Kez posted about her Debt Journey.

Ali at Our Patch posted an important reminder about NOT pouring oil down the drain.

Snos posted an update on her move! And some awesome pictures. She also discovered a tasty cereal (I might have to try it!)

Kez's son Billy had his first homeschool project! It looks like great fun and I can't wait to do something like that with my girls. I don't think it'll be too long before we're ready either.

Meg wrote about losing your groove when blogging and Facebook's Boob-oo by removing pictures of women breastfeeding.

Phew, I think that's all. Hope you're all enjoying the weekend! And feel free to add any great posts you've read this week :-)

Great Service

Thursday, September 6, 2007
A while ago, Snos at Life in the Country challenged us to compliment good service we'd recieved. It's taken me a while, and even longer since I recieved great service, but I feel strongly in this case, and in many ways these people made our holiday much more plesant.

Imagine if you will, an exhausted couple, fresh off the plane from Australia, struggling with 4 suitcases, 4 backpacks, a laptop bag, a stroller, a 3 year old and a 2 year old through Reading train station. Running to catch a train. The last train for 3 hours that could take us where we wanted to go. Have you ever spent 3 hours at a train station with a 3 year old and 2 year old? Me either. And I don't want to.

We made the train. Except we ended up in the first class carriage. The train-manager (lovely lady) waited until the train was under way, enlisted the help of 3 (that's three) other staff members to carry our luggage until she found 4 seats together, unbooked for the rest of the journey. She stowed all our luggage, checked our tickets and where we were going, and left us to it.

A quick walk identified a shop on board, which not only sold food, but had FREE toy packages for the kids. They included: a train passport for you to fill in on each journey, a book (about 40 pages), a colouring book, crayons, a Fifi DVD (about 10 minutes) and some playing cards.

As we neared the station at which we were told initially to change trains at, the train manager came back to us and told us she was getting off at the next stop. She then suggested we go on to the next station and change trains there, as there were only 4 platforms, as opposed to 20 odd. We thought that sounded good to us.

As we pulled out of the big station, the new train manager came and introduced himself, and got our luggage together in plenty of time for us to get off easily. He even helped. Once off the train we began struggling towards the lifts when angels came in the form of two staff, who delt with luggage while we child wrangled to the other platform, just in time to make the train, which was a different company (they do things funny in the UK) and the service was much less noteworthy. We got off at our station without so much as uttering a word to anyone.

We had a similar experience on our return journey, which was completed in two parts. Except this time, not only did we have assistance on the platform, we had staff radioing ahead to our destinaton station and people MET US off the train and carried our luggage to a cab.

I have never, EVER experienced such service. In case you haven't guessed yet the company was Virgin, and while I do have friends who work for Virgin in this country, I have never been so impressed with ANY staff in my life. Any staff member I delt with from Virgin Trains is a true credit to themselves and their company.

A copy of this post has been forwarded to Virgin Trains, along with the dates and times of our journeys.

Weekly Planning - again!

It's only taken me 2.5 years, but I've finally realised there's one aspect of FLYLady that just does. not. work. for me. Laundry. The laundry thing, one load a day, just isn't me. I detest washing so much, I'd rather do it all in one hit than every day. I guess I've always known this. Even as a teenager living at home, I did my washing Saturday morning. First darks/colours, then whites, hung them out, brought them in, and ironed on Sunday night while watching the movie. Ok, yes, for one person that was enough.

There's four (soon to be five) people here, and apparently I'm the only person capable of washing. A fellow group member has indicated she is hiding a pair of undies and a pair of socks for her Hubby for when she gets really behind in the washing. I've now done that too.

But I like washing to be "caught up" regardless of the fact I know it never is. I would rather wash and wash and wash until it was done, then relax for a couple of days. Which is what I did this week. Feeling slightly overwhelmed because I hadn't washed for about 5 days, I had 3 nearly full loads of clothes to do. It wasn't overwhelming, in fact it was easy. I hang all our shirts up inside, which means I CAN fit 3 loads of other clothes on our tiny tiny clothes line. I can put that many clothes away in one hit. It's really not that many.

And then I thought back, the stories you hear of 'laundry day' and 'cleaning day' and 'shopping day'. I already have a shopping/errand day (Monday). And a study day (Friday). That leaves me with 3 days. Tuesday is my quiet, at home day. It will hereby be known as "washing day". Which leaves me with Wednesday & Thursday. Thursday has recently been my day for doing a kind of Weekly Home Blessing as the kids are usually at the most docile (read: exhausted). Ergo: Thursday will be now known as "cleaning day". Leaving Wednesday for fun!

What this also means is that, particularly as my pregnancy progresses, I will not (hopefully) be out more than one day in a row. I plan on scheduling the childrens swimming lessons this weekend for either Wednesday or weekend days (fingers crossed I can) and will try and schedule hospital appointments that day too (same town - saving myself a trip).

So now my rough weekly plan looks like this:

Monday - Library storytime, grocery shopping, errand day
Tuesday - Washing day
Wednesday - Fun day!
Thursday - Cleanng day
Friday - Study day
Saturday - garden & extra washing as needed

The primary focus of cleaning day is the floors and bathrooms, and I've allocated different rooms to different days. For example: Monday is grocery shopping, so my focus room for Monday is obviously the kitchen. Tuesday being washing day, the focus room is the laundry and main bedroom and walk-in-robe. You get the idea. As I'm washing I'm spending a lot of time in the laundry anyway, so an extra 5 minutes here or there will keep it looking tidy. Same with our bedroom.

What do your weekly plans look like?

$250 Savings Challenge - Update

Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Well, there was no update last week, because there wasn't much to update. My purse was raided by Hubby, no fuel was put in the car so I had to keep that money for when it did need filling up, and I spent the entire food budget getting stocked for this week (grocery spending so far this week is up to $60, minus about $10 that will be reimbursed). BUT today I had a win. Finally filling up the car for the last two weeks (budget $50 per week, so $100) came to $49.75 - leaving me with $50.25 to add to the savings challenge. That puts me OH SO CLOSE to my target, I can taste it. $225.15 is the new total, leaving me with $24.85 to find before my first goal is reached (exercise bike). I really think I can do that this week with the groceries!

The Things We Do For Our Children

Oh yes, if you have had children in about the last 10-15 years you'll probably recognise the character to the left as Dorothy the Dinosour, a good friend of the Wiggles.
Today we're off on an adventure, to a nearby town (only an hour's drive) to see the Dorothy Dance Party. We're leaving early, picking up the tickets and (weather permitting) stopping for a picnic in the park next to the beach.
Not exactly thrilled with the idea I didn't mention this to the children until this morning, now, as you can imagine, every second time one of them opens their mouths it's to tell me that we're going to Dorothy's Dance Party, or to ask when we're going to Dorothy's Dance Party. I should've known better. At least my mother-in-law is coming to help break the monotony.

Baby update

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Well, yesterday was the long awaited 18 week scan of baby #3. Everything is in the right place, measurements are perfect, and we will be welcoming a 3rd beautiful baby girl to our family in about 22 weeks.

It's scary how much she looks like her sisters at the same age. The same little button nose and longer forehead. As a plus, I've been shopping already.

Menu Plan Monday - 3 September

Monday, September 3, 2007

Well, I'm quite unorganised this week, believe it or not. But I managed to sit down for 10 minutes last night and throw something together.

Monday - BBQ
Tuesday - Meat Pie & vegetables
Wednesday - Chicken kebabs, rice & vegetables
Thursday - Crumbed Beef & vegetables
Friday - Tomato Macaroni Cheese
Saturday - Chicken burgers
Sunday - Lamb chops & vegetables

The best part of this? The grocery shopping this morning came to $25, the rest was on hand.

For more menu plans, as always, head over to Organizing Junkie

Apple Crumble

Sunday, September 2, 2007
As promised the recipe for Apple Crumble. This is always a hit, and the ingredients can be kept in the cupboard as a dessert for unexpected guests.

1 x 800g tin of Pie Apples
1/2 cup self-raising flour
4 tbsp margarine
4 tbsp shredded coconut
4 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 190 celcius. Place pie apples in casserole dish.
In a mixing bowl mix flour, margarine, coconut and brown sugar.
Sprinkle over apples and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and crunchy.

The best part is the crumble can be prepared in advance, and added to the apple as you sit down to the main course and it's ready by the time dessert's needed.

Favourite Posts This Week - end 1/9/07

Since Hubby finally convinced me to move my blog reading from plain old favourited sites to Google Reader, not only have I found about 5 hours a day, but I have this handy little gadget that allows me to mark my favourite posts, thus making an end of week wrap up easy to manage!

And what a busy week it's been on the blogs I read. Snos is moving house, and had the lovely
River write a guest post
that left me hanging for more!

Meg's son posted a very articulate critique of Christian Indoctrination at his school. The responses so far have left me in no doubt I wasn't the only one to think so.

Polly shared some lovely marmelade recipes I'm hoping I'll get to try one day, as well as a lemon butter recipe my Hubby is hanging out for me to make.

Lightening and her family are embarking on an electricity challenge, which I am sure will have me digging for my electricity bill before the month is out.

Meg's been very busy this week, also hosting the Carnival of Australia (featuring yours truly).

So thanks everyone for the informative and sometimes thought provoking posts. It's definitely inspired some thoughts of my own, and discussion in the household (always a good thing). So here's looking forward to another great week of posts.

And if you're wondering what I'm doing posting at this hour? Well, I have just 3 words for you. Father's Day Presents.