Since there's no running or exercise to be had, I've gone a little mad with the organising, throwing in more budgeting and trying to find different ways of being a frugal housewife. I had quite a laugh at myself yesterday though. Over the weekend, I'd been browsing Pinterest and pinned a couple of household-type things, such as making your own laundry powder and dishwasher powder. Great, I thought. I'd love to try making my own stuff and experimenting a bit to see if it's any good cleaning-wise, and trying different scents. So when I did the grocery shopping I bought a box of washing soda, a 500g container of baking soda and a box of Sunlight soap bars, then browsed Trade Me for the cheapest source of borax. I had romantic notions of pretty glass jars with a cute little scoop inside for the powder, and a wee blackboard-paint label on the outside where I could write 'laundry powder' or 'dishwasher powder' in lovely handwriting (which, by the way, I do not possess. But they always make it look good in the pictures and my imagination can be quite deceptive). Yesterday, when taking a break from household chores and study, I sat down to work out cost comparisons. It turns out that to make 2kg of laundry powder would cost about $11.14, which would save me about $3.86, and to make 2kg of dishwasher powder would cost $11.68. I can buy 2kg of dishwasher powder (the one I like to use) for $10 on special. So it would not actually save any money making it myself. And, there are cheaper options for both laundry powder and dishwasher powder. I sat there and had a bit of a giggle about it, marvelling that being frugal is not necessarily the better way to go, and decided to just carry on with the status quo. The baking soda will come in handy for killing all the weeds between the paving stones out front, and the Sunlight soap is good for all sorts of stuff. The washing soda... well, I'll find a use for it I'm sure.
The kids are getting into the whole organisation/routine thing too, with their own morning checklists. They have little 'jobs' that they tick off as they go - eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, pack school bag, make bed etc. They earn themselves $5 a week for ticking all the boxes, so they can save up for games and toys they want (current fave is World of Warcraft Megabloks. Don't know why, they don't even play WOW). Also, I bought a noticeboard and some ridiculously cute moustache pins. They think it's hilarious :-)
Aren't they cute?!?
As for budgeting, I have discovered (thanks to Rachael Herron, author of some pretty neat books, a knitter, and a blogger. She is made of awesome.) budgeting software YNAB - You Need A Budget. I'm currently trying out the 34 day trial, along with the lite version of the phone app, but I'm already sold on it and will most definitely be purchasing the software. It makes my little spreadsheet budget (which is actually pretty freakin' awesome if I do say so myself - it's all linked so when you enter a transaction it updates on the summary page, the budget page etc etc) look like a kid designed it. This budget software is the bomb! I'm all swoony over it, and can't wait to enter transactions each day. Yes, I am a nerd. I think we've covered this already. But seriously, OMG you guys, TRY IT! IT IS FUN! I believe I have fallen head over heels for budgeting. I have developed a bad habit over the last several years of just spending money willy-nilly. Now it's time to stop that and be more fiscally responsible. Hold the phone people... could it be... I have turned into a 1950s housewife! Well, Deane should be happy then. Oh wait, I think he is ;-)
My meal plan for this week needed a little tweaking when we discovered on Sunday night that the oven wasn't working. I'd done such a thorough job of cleaning it on Saturday that I must've jiggled something loose. Now only the grill element works, and the oven won't heat up past 150. We're in discussions with the landlord about repairs/replacement, and in the meantime all meals are being cooked on the stove top or in the crock pot. New-found appreciation for the crock pot happening in the kreachr household right now. Best invention ever! This does mean that there's no baking, so I didn't get to make any hot cross buns (I cheated and bought a bunch from the supermarket), and I think I'll have to either find a good stove-top or microwave cookie or cake recipe, or buy the kids some biscuits or something for school lunches. Which is a shame, as I was trying really hard to keep them well-stocked with mum-baked goodies rather than mass-produced junk. Mind you, they can be rather fussy and (not surprisingly) sometimes prefer store-bought to homemade. T has got to the point where he'll ask for not-homemade bread. That's a real crusher. Ouch. Hang on, I think there might be a crock pot cake recipe somewhere... Yes. Here's one! I think I'll give that a try tonight after dinner. Because, y'know, we have to eat the dinner then I have to wash the crock pot so I can use it again. Ooh, I love experimenting with new recipes! Hope it turns out good...
While I'm waiting for things to cook in crock pots, I'm still plodding away at the wedding afghan. Only one more repeat to go! Which is good, because I kinda need to finish it by tomorrow, so it has enough time to block before Saturday afternoon. I cast on the first sock for Sock Madness on Sunday too, since the afghan is too cumbersome to lug to knitting group now. I got this much done:
Yeah. Not much. Still, there's about a week or so left for the first round, and after this weekend I should be fine to get them finished before the cut-off. I've completed one of my assignments (although I am yet to submit it), and will probably be able to start and finish the other one next week. Neither are actually due for another couple of weeks at least, so there's no panic ;-) I am still waiting for the results of my (totally bombed) exam, sat a few weeks ago. Any day now... I am so bad at waiting!! I have no patience for it at all. I keep checking the website, even though I know they'll be sending me an email as soon as the results are updated. Hopeless. Well, I best get back to knitting this afghan, 'cause it ain't gonna knit itself! Then I have a load of washing to fold. Blurgh.
Enjoy the rest of your week everyone :-)