Thursday, 29 September 2016


The three active ingredients and the bottle awaiting to be filled

FOR those of us that hate grating soap and standing around whilst it dissolves in boiling water (ain't nobody got time for that!), here is what I believe to be the simplest, quickest laundry liquid recipe ever.


1 x cup of dish washing detergent (the $1 stuff from Aldi is fine)
1/2 cup of washing soda (not bicarb soda)
1/2 cup of borax
10 litres of hot tap water (the heat helps the powders dissolve real quick)

Borax, washing soda and dish washing
detergent - that's it


Mix it all up till it dissolves (highly technical....please re read carefully!)

How to use:

1/4 cup per wash. Perhaps 1/3 cup for very large loads.

Someone had a birthday
and got flowers

Cost per Litre:

About 18 cents per litre

How many washes from 10 litres:

At 1/4 cup per wash  - 40 washes from this recipe.

Cost per wash:

4.5 cents

That ain't 'Surf' in that bottle.
Nice frugal effective DIY
laundry liquid instead.

Not convinced?  Make a small batch and try it out.  I promise you it will not break the bank! Ha.

Take care folks and stay nice.


More flowers for the birthday girl

Monday, 26 September 2016

Geode Cake by Thrifty Daughter

APPARENTLY  geode cakes are now all the rage.  The prices are exorbitant.

You could imagine my horror tonight as I walked in the door and saw a geode birthday cake on the bench in all its glory (ker-ching!). On closer inspection I realised it was on one of our white plates......aaah....clever daughter's first attempt at a geode cake for a tiny fraction of the price of a bought one.

See, you can have fun, be trendy and be frugal too.

A geode cake is meant to emulate the look of crystaline rock formations (you know the types you get in geology museums).

Check out the pic's from each angle (not the best photography as it is not picking up the sparkling effect of the crystals)

Take care and stay nice folks.


Oh, we had dinner too.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

My Simple Frugal Weight Loss - Week 1

RIGHT! OK! (clears throat) It's 'time'! (somewhat like Mr Badger from Wind In The Willows)

If indeed I am simplifying my life, if indeed I have the will-power and motivation to slay consumer debt, if I have the wherewithal to change my life as I have so far, then it is time to face the next BIG dragon in my life. My obesity.

I was a very thin bloke when I was married 27 years ago, probably borderline unhealthly skinny caused by general anxiety and being unable to eat much at all.  Over time this has now done a big back-flip and I now eat to dull the feelings of anxiety (which physiologically feel so similar to hunger for me)

So, I am sharing a weekly post with you all to keep on track.

I am no dietitian. I am not a doctor and am in no way qualified to give medical advice, dietary advice or exercise advise.  This is just a weekly journal to chat about, share and record my weight loss.

To be in keeping with my beliefs and new life direction over the last few years of frugality, self reliance, simplicity, peacefulness and anti-consumerism -  the following will be the premise of my weight loss regime:

  •   No weight loss programs that cost money
  •   No purchasing of weight loss products 
  •   No buying low calorie foods/meals from the supermarket
  •   I refuse to pay for a gym or gym equipment
  •   No gimmicks or crack-pot regimes
  •   Eating whole foods
  •   Eating fresh vegetables and fruit
  •   Fresh unprocessed meats
  •   Eschewing added sugars
  •   Natural exercise like walking, running and body-weight exercises
  •   No soft drinks or packaged juices
  •   No quitting even if I make a judgement error or fall off the wagon - straight back on.
  •   Embracing periods of hunger sensation
  •   No increase in food budget allowed
  •   Saying "no" to packaged and processed foods


This is my starting weight 120.8 kg

This picture was taken just moments before several springs
shot out of the scales and the display reverted to showing
the word FAT.  Hehe!

My ideal weight is approx 79 kg 

(according to the BMI and weight calculator from the Australian Heart Foundation which tells me I should weigh between 64 kg and 86 kg so I chose a middle figure of this range)

Weight required to be lost is 41.8 kg

At 186 cm tall the calculator says I am OBESE with a BMI of 34

For our non-metric readers 1 kg equals 2.20462 pounds other news, here are some pictures from around our place recently - I'll let them do the talking.

Last nights tea cooked from scratch.
Fluffy rice and sweet'n'sour sausages

Some of my hens...all healthy and happy

Tomatoes beginning to set.

Kent pumpkins transplanted at last

The aubergines have taken off like a shot

Eggs, eggs, eggs....and more eggs

Take care folks and stay nice.


Thursday, 22 September 2016

I Want My Money Back!

GET ready for a shock folks.

What if we got back all the money we ever spent on take away food (even the healthy stuff)?

I have done a rough, yet conservative calculation of an average office worker who buys a morning coffee every day and an egg'n'bacon roll for breakfast. They also buy a salad sandwich, muffin and juice for lunch on week days only and goes out for a cheap pub dinner once a week. They also do a round of beers at the pub on a Friday night to relax and usually also buy a bag of chips and a choccy bar each day.  Nothing unusual about this regime.

Here are the numbers crunched......staggering

week days
Pub Drinks
Weekly Total

Annual Total

Five Year Total

Ten Year Total

Twenty Year total

Working Life Total


........and that is just based on a single person.

Double that for a working couple and it is pushing pretty close to a MILLION dollars over a working lifetime.

I'll leave it at that.  The math is too shocking to contemplate.

Beats a pub meal hands down every time.

Take care folks and stay amazed (and nice).


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Reinvent Your Life - PART 1

The humble seed teaches us a life lesson.......
a huge new life is possible out of a tiny dried-up seed.

WE spend so much of our life climbing other people's mountains and making other people successful that it is way too easy to live an entire lifetime without actually having lived OUR life.

Life does not have to be awash with riches or assets, but it does have to be a meaningful and well-lived life. Much of our tiredness and anxiety springs from not living the life we were meant to live.

It is never too late to stop dead in our tracks, sit down in the middle of the dusty road of life, draw up a new life and start again. Sometimes this is forced upon us by a divorce or civil unrest or a major illness.....but, if we have the courage to reinvent our life voluntarily without the duress of a life event, then it is all the more powerful.

Homemade sourdough bread

There are many ways to begin the process to reinvent our lives - here is just one method to perhaps start the journey:


  1. STOP.  Just stop dead in our tracks, grab a pen and paper and get comfy
  2. REFUSE to be disturbed till all the following steps are properly completed (lock the door or walk down to the park if needs be - just ensure you are not disturbed by other adults)
  3. Write down how you would spend your days if time, money and people's opinions and expectations were not factors. Be quite strict with yourself about the premise here (ignore the critical voices)
  4. Calculate how many hours you currently get to spend weekly on each thing on your list of meaningful things.
  5. Calculate as percentage of hours available in a week (112 hours are available to all of  us after 8 hours sleep a night)
  6. IMPORTANT QUESTION: Are you really happy with the percentage of your life that you spend doing the things that are truly meaningful to you?

If yes - you do not need to reinvent your life (yippee!).
If no - then you urgently need to reinvent your life. 

The beauty of a flower starts with
a single dry and unremarkable seed

Here is an example of how to complete the 6 steps

Weekly Time Spent Currently
Vegetable Gardening
1 hour
0 hours
0 hours
Caravan Touring
0 hours
Family Dinners
2 hours
Writing Book
1 hour
Collecting Teapots
1 hour
Amateur Theatre
0 hours
5 hours
112 hours
Percentage Spent
Percentage Wasted

  • So we can see very clearly from the above example that this person only spends 4.46% of their waking hours doing things that are truly meaningful to them. 
  • We can also clearly see that 95.54% of their life is meaningless, mundane and largely pointless. 

The numbers do not lie (despite the 'very important' excuses that are now rushing into our heads) it time to fully or partially reinvent our life?  Do we now instantly understand why life can seem such a 'drag' sometimes?  Can we now see why we are always so tired?  Can we see why life can seem so meaningless sometimes? So many of us sense that we are running on empty - this profound little activity proves it.

Operating at a 4.46% meaningful life is a serious life flaw - it will certainly make us sick and stressed.

Homemade shaving soap

By the way, it is totally OK to be upset or even angry if your percentages came out looking bad (most folks' do). That is the whole point of this create self awareness and plant a seed that will shift a paradigm in our thinking.  Getting sad and angry about the poor result is just a healthy way to kick-start our grieving for a life that we are not living. Lean into the sadness as it will soon become a huge wave of power to create the change we need to self-administer

Toshi - our deeply trouble but
very loved cat.


In PART 2 we will chat about the powerful ways to reinvent our lives if the answer to the 6 steps in this activity was a wake-up call. We will also chat about making the change when all around you are not on board or there seems to be massive obstacles in the way. Watch this space.

After all, the true explanation of success is just to live the life you want to live. Simple.

Take care folks

Stay nice.


Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Saga Of TRYING To Close A Credit Card

Little Pan - the family bunny.
Completely useless creature but
provides love and laughs aplenty

Ha!  Ever tried closing a credit card account?  Here is a little story that will be of both warning and amusement value.

I am sure many banks are honourable and do the right thing - but this story shows what can happen and did happen to me.

Some of the girls.....

After joyously paying off a credit card in full, I skipped off to the bank in very high spirits to close the credit card account.  Here is what happened without a shred of exaggeration:

  1.   Bank ('which' bank I will not name  - hee hee) advised that there would be a final statement which would include any interest on the few days before my final payment.  Deflated a little, I agreed as this seemed logical.
  2.  When statement came out  three weeks later I physically went to the bank to pay the remaining $35.00 interest. Bank REFUSED to take my $35 cash over the teller and demanded I pay it by BPAY (them's the rules I was told)
  3. Was a good boy and paid the $35 that night by BPAY.
  4. Went into the bank the next day and asked to close the account. Bank REFUSED to close the account as they said funds had not cleared and could take 4 working days.  Now I am beginning to be not happy.
  5. Left it for a week then went back into the bank and asked for credit card to now be closed. Bank launched right into trying to sell me other products (insurance, loans, mortgages, investments....) "No thanks".  Cheery Bank employee then turned off the twinkling smile and fiddled around on the computer for a minute or two then tersely advised me that the account was now closed.
  6. Asked bank for that in writing. Bank REFUSED and advised that I would get a final statement stating this and the account would disappear off my  internet banking.
  7. Checked online when I got home, and yes, the credit card account had indeed gone. Woo Hoo!
  8. A few weeks later I got a statement -  credit card was account $35 in credit - what the!!??
  9. Rang the bank and was advised that I did not need to pay the interest that I had been previously advised I had to.  The interest had been credited back.  Bank REFUSED to give refund over the phone and advised I needed to go into a branch for that. Sigh
  10. Went into the branch a week later and explained the whole thing.  Bank advised that since then the yearly fee had now dropped in and I actually now was owing $50!!  I saw red.
  11. Asked the Bank how a closed account could attract a yearly fee and was advised that because there was a $35 credit on the account that the account could only be deactivated for further use but not closed - Seriously?!
  12. Advised that I would not be paying this seeing as the account was still active due to the Bank crediting the interest against their previous advice. Bank advised would look into it for me.
  13. Four weeks later got another statement still showing the yearly fee PLUS interest on the unpaid portion of the yearly fee! Now officially furious.
  14. Stomped down to the bank like a screaming banshee, slapped the statement on the counter and let rip.  Bank instantly sprang into action probably due to 20 customers in the bank rubber-necking to see what was going on. I was beyond caring.
  15. Bank has now assured me that the account is finally closed and all is settled.
I still await a final statement.....hmmmm.

A fresh hot loaf of bread made from scratch. to take my blood pressure tablet now. Even relating the story back makes me instantly emotionally unintelligent.  Meh.

Take care folks and stay nice (mostly!)


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Lunatics and KitchenAid

I swapped some freshly grown fennel for some of our eggs with a work colleague

Let me tell you about me and the moon.  All my life I have been affected by the moon.  I cannot explain is what it is.  At full moon I always, without exception pull an all-nighter. Our bedroom has double-backed curtains that block out 100% of light, but to no avail....I will not sleep at full moon.  It is the joke of the family of course with Dad up and about all night during full moon. I'm the family lunatic.....quite literally.

Full moon in the early evening.

But it was not the full moon that made us buy a KitchenAid.  Departing with $700 for a KtchenAid would be the last thing on earth I would do, however I do respect that they are a high quality product and will last a lifetime.  I am a big believer in buying the best that you can afford.....but not a new KitchenAid. A wonderful piece of serendipity appeared this week with us being offered a demonstrator model with a tiny scratch on it for $150. We are now grateful owners of a new KitchenAid (it came still wrapped in the box etc) and this will last us a lifetime.  Our family are all avid cooks and bakers from scratch so this machine will get a full and meaningful life.  My guess is that it will never be put away in the cupboard and will live permanently on the kitchen bench.

Our new KitchenAid.
Can you see the scratch? No, neither
can I.

In other news, the veggies are growing riotously, even the three poor capsicum plants which the chooks completely dug up roots and all in search of a worm.....I replanted them, they sulked badly for a week but have now bounced back - lucky. Chicken stew was on the menu for that week, but never eventuated! All is forgiven.

The tomatoes bushes in their
self-watering tub

Here are the same tomatoes a few short
weeks ago. Self watering boxes are
such a success so far.

Blackie the old blind hen has definitely started laying again.  It is just impossible to get 7 eggs a day out of 6 hens unless she is also laying.  I would be totally happy for her to retire, but no, she is not going to be out done by the new girls.  Poor Blackie, she is also getting a bit arthritic (do hens even get arthritic?) as she has lots of trouble moving faster than a ponderous walk and often sleeps in the hay rather than trying to jump up onto the perch.  One of the other hens however is very devoted to her and is always by her side showing her where fresh weeds and bugs are - a fascinating dynamic that I have never seen in hens before.

The new flat pack 'bar' now finally
assembled in the outside dining area

OK, so I had better toddle off and get the washing hung out in the beautiful spring breeze, get a cake in the oven for morning tea, do my once-a-week watering of the veggie boxes, I still have not transplanted all the Kent pumpkins so this must  happen today.  I swapped some eggs for some fennel this week with a work colleague and convinced another colleague to start making soap....ah, the word is slowly spreading.

Take care folks and stay nice.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Breakfast For Less Than $1

The simple beauty of a strawberry blossom

How much do we pay for breakfast normally?  If you are a harried worker grabbing breakfast at your favourite cafe in town, the minimum you would probably pay for breakfast is $4.50 a day.

In the interest of saving $1000 a year on bought breakfasts, here is a simple easy breakfast for well under $1 that is nourishing and only takes one and a half minutes in the microwave.

Pop beans into the ramekin.... crack your egg in too.....

....microwave for 1.5 minutes. Season. Enjoy.

Eggs and Baked Beans Hot-Pot

You'll need:
2 or 3 tablespoons of baked beans
1 egg
You'll also need a ramekin with a lid

  1. Ladle 2 table spoons of baked beans into a ramekin 
  2. Crack egg on top of the baked beans
  3. Pop lid on the ramekin
  4. Microwave for 1.5 mins
  5. Season to taste
  6. Enjoy!

Perhaps you have a favourite breakfast place in your yard?
This is mine - two old tea chests, a couple of resin chairs
and Cecil the cyclamen for company.

I am sure there are many, many nourishing breakfasts easily made for under $1 if we cared to think it through.

Take care and stay nice folks.


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Lifetime Debt - The New Normal

Preserving jars - time to take action me thinks!

Somehow or other, having consumer debt for an entire lifetime is now normal. How did that happen without anyone noticing? I know, right? Horrors!

My Fowlers Vacola set yet to
be used. 

Mobile (cell) phone plans seem to be the first debt that young adults cruise right into followed closely by a credit card. Both those alone are enough to keep a person in a lifetime of committed debt.

Next usually comes a car loan and later on a novated car lease. Car loans and leases are thoroughly sneaky things in that they can endure as a debt relay for our full working life.  Did you know the same amount of money thrown at  car lease/loans in a lifetime, if invested even conservatively, would amount to nearly $3,000,000.00 at retirement? Yep.

Some light reading before lunch p'haps.

Then there is the ubiquitous house mortgage where we pay top dollar for a fancy house to impress folk we do not even like and then redraw on the mortgage every 10-15 years to upgrade the kitchen and bathroom (all for resale value of course....snort!). Hopefully the mortgage gets paid by the time we retire  - fingers crossed.

Along the way we usually amass a second car loan, another credit card or two, perhaps a personal loan or two and maybe even get convinced to borrow money to invest in shares - lawks!

Extract of malt - puts hair on your chest according to my mother.

Some even scrape together a deposit for a so-called investment property and get a second mortgage and then brag about their negative gearing around beers and BBQ's - Ahem....pretty sure if you are negative gearing you are operating at a loss - (never mind me now).

It is so easy to get stitched up by the great consumer debt life-cycle without even noticing - it is the new normal.

Hot scones (biscuits) ready to consume with soup.

Simple solution for consumer debt folks - DON'T.

If you find yourself up to the eyeballs in consumer debt you will need to show real courage, make a plan, execute the plan and get out of debt as fast as you can.
It will be down right nasty to execute....but freedom is always worth fighting for hey?

Diluting hair conditioner

Again, very simply ... DDD.  (That means Don't Do Debt).

Take care folks and stay nice.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Fathers Day Food - Some Pictures

All cooked with love..........

Happy fathers day folks.

My girls cooked up a storm for brunch.  I'll let the pictures do the talking today.

Fried garlic mushroom chips
with fresh parsley.
Scrambled eggs cooked with cream.

The table groaning with food galore.

Brunch pastry

A plate of satisfying home-cooked

A steaming boiler of hot chocolate
ready to be ladeled out.

Sourdough bread awaiting
creamed cheese and marmalade

A pot of tea - just the ticket.

The best part of the morning was not even the food.  It was the loving company of all my girls with me around the table, conversations rising and falling and lots of happy companionship.

My cup runneth over.

Take care folks and stay nice.

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