Monday, 30 September 2013

Wedding Anniversaries And Their Traditional Gift Guide

Have you ever wondered what you would've received for your Wedding Anniversary back in the old days like say our Grandparents, if everything was still old fashioned and traditional.

Its my sons 2nd Wedding Anniversary on Tuesday october 1st and I thought I would go back to traditional and see what I should buy them.

So here is the list and a few ideas to go along with it as well.

For their 2nd anniversary it was cotton so Farmers in the weekend had 60% of manchester/ table linens items, so I got them some Cotton Table Napkins, something special they can bring out when they have dinner guests, instead of a packet of serviettes that normally get chucked on the table still in their wrapping.

I've just celebrated my 22nd  Wedding Anniversary ( unofficially 28 yrs married 22 yrs ) so that would've been Cooper or Orchids for 28.

                                           Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gift List

4thFruit, flowers
7thCopper, wool
8thBronze, pottery
9thPottery, willow
12thSilk, linen

Saturday, 28 September 2013

12 Tasty Meals Without Meat - Tasty And Cost Effective Too

We all like a change now and then or should I say for better reason we could do with a meatless meal occasionally, its not only good for our health, but its good also if you're on a strict budget it certainly helps to save the pennies.

Here are a few recipes that I have previously tried and found to be worth placing on here for you.
These are not my personal recipes, but I can vouch that they are very delicious.

Vegetable Cobbler


1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into a 3/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups each of peeled and thinly sliced carrots, frozen peas, sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup each of broccoli florets, frozen corn kernels, diced pumpkin
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 vegetable stock cubes dissolved in 1 1/4 cups hot water
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon each of salt, celery seed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon oil,
1/2 teaspoon salt


Heat the oven to 400º. Place the potato, carrots, peas, broccoli, corn, and squash in a medium-size pot and fill it with enough water to cover the vegetables plus one inch. Lightly salt the water, bring it to a boil, then allow the vegetables to continue boiling for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse the vegetables with cold water and set them aside.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté them, stirring often, until they're soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook the mixture, stirring nonstop, another 30 seconds. Add the vegetable broth, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, and celery seed and continue to stir until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes.
Add the vegetables to the sauce and stir well. Add more salt and pepper, if desired, then stir in the Parmesan and bring the filling to a simmer. Thin it with water if its consistency is thicker than potato soup. Transfer the filling to a casserole dish.
Make the corn bread topping. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk, egg, and oil and stir until evenly blended. Spread the batter over the filling. Bake the cobbler until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbly, about 25 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly before serving. Serves 8

Orzo Salad Recipe
This can be eaten on its own or accompanied by a meat dish
1 lb orzo

1/2 cup canola or olive oil
2 avocados (if they’re ripe, they’ll dent slightly when you press them)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
juice of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
5 oz crumbled feta cheese (French, not Greek, is creamiest)
2 Tbsp fresh oregano


In a large bowl, combine half the oil, the tomatoes, garlic, shallot, jalapeno, orange juice, lemon zest and a few generous pinches of salt (maybe 1 Tbsp).
The salt will draw out the juice of the tomatoes to form a dressing.
Let it sit while you prepare the orzo and the avocado.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and orzo.

Cook for 8-10 minutes, until al dente (don’t overcook it!).
While it’s cooking, chop the avocado into small dice .
When the orzo is done, drain with a fine strainer and add orzo, feta cheese, and remaining oil to bowl with vegetables.
Mix everything well, being careful not to smash all the avocado pieces, add oregano and salt to taste.

Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


2/3 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped 11/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 (5-6" diameter) portobello mushroom caps
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
cooking spray
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Method :
Prepare the grill.
In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, mozzarella, 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil, rosemary, pepper and garlic.
Using a spoon, scoop out the gills of the mushroom caps and remove the stems and discard.
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil, lemon juice and soy sauce.
Using a pastry brush, brush the soy sauce mixture on both sides of the mushroom caps.
Grill the caps, stem side down first for 5 minutes on each side or until soft.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the tomato and cheese mixture into each cap, cover and grill for about 3 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Garnish with cilantro.
Serves 4.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Creating A Easy To Use - Economical Budgeting Folder

We have all been there.

In order to pay for the things you thought you couldn't afford, like a family holiday or new furniture, you are going to need to set your household budget. 
This Budget Binder will help you establish a budget, track your spending and teach you how to find the money in your budget to pay for your family’s dreams.
The Budget Binder contains instructions on how to set up your budget, worksheets to keep your budget on track and a place to track your fund so that you will achieve your financial goals.

And lets face it, sometimes when we have a goal in mind it makes us work a lot faster to achieve it, and it is absolutely no effort at all to complete.

The quickest way to save money is to see exactly where your money id going so this will be perfect.
Play around with it, adapt the things you would like to change, and you will be set.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Part 2 Of Taking The Hassle Out Of Organising A Child's Party - Games

Everything you need to know for Organising a child's party

We all dread organising a child's party, the headache of who to invite, what to make, what games to play etc etc, do we send out invitations or make the call.

So lets make a start,

What games to play

Every game deserves a prize, and we all know how children love prizes, Gather prizes from cheaper shopping places like chain stores or cheap emporiums where for $3.00 you can get 10 items, the more games you choose to play the more prizes you will need to give out, so plan carefully.

Pass the Parcel

What you will need:

Gift wrap, newspaper and music 

What to Buy: 

Small prize such as train whistle, bubbles, or book

Before the party, parent wraps a small prize as many times as there will be guests, but the layer that holds the present gets wrapped in party paper, the rest of the layers are wrapped in newspaper, add a lollipop to every wrapped layer, so that everyone receives a gift.
Children sit in a circle, Music plays, When it stops, child holding parcel unwraps a layer, finds out they haven't won, takes the lollipop and play continues until all layers are all gone.
Child to reveal the prize wins.

Part 3 Of Taking The Hassle Out Of Organising A Children's Party - Party Food

Party Food

Every party needs food, and it is the food that is remembered.
It does not have to be flash, just memorable.

Cater for your budget only, not the next door neighbours, or catty Jane down the road, who will tell her friends that you had the cheap fizzy, who cares, its about the children having fun.

Savoury ideas for children's birthday teas

This is the part of the tea you ease your conscience (a little) before the sugar feast that is about to come.
And so that when at going-home time some little treasure tells their open-mouthed mum, "It was great - all we ate was chocolate cake!", you can swiftly counter with, "No, sweetheart, we had sandwiches and carrots sticks, too, remember?"

Sandwich suggestions
  • Grated mild cheddar and ham. Nothing more than that. I have learned the hard way.
  • Doing food in party boxes? You need about five things to put in each box. A small yoghurt and plastic spoon. A cheese triangle. A homemade sandwich. Some chips. Grapes or carrot sticks, maybe. A fairy cake. Chocolate fingers. A pretty napkin. Maybe a hat to wear if you want to jazz things up a bit.
  • Small children do like sandwiches cut into shapes with biscuit cutters.
  • Or make stripey finger sarnies. Use one slice of white and one slice of brown, fill, then cut into fingers.
  • Open sandwiches, done like little boats - which is, basically, finger rolls, halved, then spread with things like cream cheese, or egg or Marmite and then a cocktail stick stuck in top with a little flag made out of a sticky note! Obviously, not advised for very small children who might poke their eyes out.
  • Just butter soft rolls, then put ham, slices of cheese, cucumber etc. out in little bowls. Easier than making sandwiches and the children get to pick whatever they like.
  • Fairy bread - white and brown bread slices, spread with butter/marg, with sprinkles on top.
  • I gave seven-year-olds a tortilla wrap each and put a load of different fillings – tuna/mayo, ham, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, mayonnaise, crisps and sauce, so nothing fancy – in the middle for them to make up their own wraps. It was a big hit and they all ate well.
  • Tiny pinwheel sandwiches, where you flatten the bread with a rolling pin, remove crusts, apply filling, then roll up tightly and wrap in glad wrap. Stick in the fridge for 30 mins, then cut slices so you get a lovely spiral effect.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Can We Make Our Own Drinks At Home.... Yes We Can

We all love a nice refreshing drink when it's hot, and something delicious when its cold, and they are so simple to make, we should practice making them.
It is too easy to just head off to the shop and buy them.

Grandma's Lemon Squash 

6 lemons ( grated rind of 3 and the juice of 6)
4 & 1/2 pounds of sugar
2 oz Tartaric Acid
1 ox Citric Acid
2 oz Epsom Salts
8 Cups of Water

This makes about 6 Bottles, Dilute to drink with chilled iced water or Lemonade or Soda Water.

Nana's Lemon Drink

6 Large Lemons
8 oz Sugar
2 Litres of Boiling Water
Ice Cubes
Lemon Slices for decoration

Scrub lemons, then dry and peel thinly with a sharp knife or potato peeler.
Put rind in a container, pour on the boiling water and stir well.
Cover and leave until cold.
Squeeze juice from lemons.
Then strain the cold liquid and stir in lemon juice.

This makes just over 2 Litres

Nan's Ginger Beer
This is a bug that does require feeding daily, but it is beautiful.

8 Sultanas
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon of lemon pulp
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of ginger
2 cups of water.

Mix together and leave in a sealed jar for two to three days on the windowsill, until it starts to ferment.
Then each day for 1 week, feed the plant
2 teaspoons of Ground Ginger & 4 teaspoons of Sugar then at the end of the week, the plant is ready to process.

In a large bucket put
4 cups of boiling water
4 cups of sugar
Juice of 4 lemons
7 Litres of cold water

Strain juice only off the bug through an old tea towel or piece of muslin into the bucket mixture, stir well and bottle into clean fizzy drink screw top bottles.
Makes 8 litres

Divide what is left of you bug into two jars reseal both jars and start all over again, give one to a friend and then they can have beautiful ginger beer to drink.

It takes about 2 weeks to be ready, but you will know as not only do the sultana's float to the top of the bottle but the bottle becomes that hard that you cannot squueze it.


1 cup(s) sugar
6 large lemons, seeded and juiced
Bring the sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan.
Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves completely.
Stir the syrup, unstrained lemon juice, and 4 cups of cold water together in a large pitcher.
Chill. Serve over ice.

Iced Fruit Punch

Freeze fruit juices in ice-tray molds in festive shapes. As the juice cubes melt, their flavors mingle to form a refreshing drink. Choose juices in a range of colors and flavors. Our favorites include orange, pineapple, grape, cranberry, and lemon.


6 cup(s) assorted fruit juices

3 cup(s) ginger ale

3 cup(s) soda water


Make the ice:

Freeze juice in ice trays.

When solid, release from molds and store by flavor in sealable freezer bags for up to 1 month.

Make the punch:
Fill an 8-ounce glass to the top with about 1/2 cup assorted flavored ice cubes, add 1/4 cup ginger ale and 1/4 cup soda, and serve immediately

Raspberry Spritzer

2 cup(s) Soda Water
2/3 cup(s) frozen raspberries
2 sprig(s) fresh mint
3 ounce(s) raspberry-flavored syrup, or Chambord
Ice cubes

Combine seltzer, raspberries, mint and raspberry-flavored syrup (or Chambord) in a small pitcher. Pour over ice.

Mint Tisane

There's nothing like the soothing digestive qualities of an herbal tea. Use fresh mint alone or in combination with lemon verbena. Once this tea has been sweetened and cooled, pour over ice and serve.
1 bunch(es) fresh mint
1 bunch(es) fresh lemon verbena (optional)
3 cup(s) (up to 6 cups) boiling water
Sugar (optional), to taste


Place 1 bunch mint and 1 bunch lemon verbena (including stems) in teapot.
Pour in boiling water and allow to steep about 5 minutes.
Add sugar, if desired.
Serve in small Moroccan or other clear tea glasses


Vanilla ice-cream
Creaming soda or Lemonade or Coke or Passion Fruit Fizzy

Shirley Temple

2 slices lime
2 maraschino cherries
1 tablespoon grenadine ( pomegranate) syrup
8 ounces ginger ale


Muddle two slices fresh lime and one maraschino cherry in a glass.
Add ice, one tablespoon grenadine syrup and eight ounces ginger ale. 
Garnish with a second maraschino cherry

Strawberry Lemonade

12 ounce(s) (2 cups) strawberries, hulled
2 quart(s) homemade or store-bought sugar-free lemonade


In blender, puree strawberries.
Strain through fine mesh sieve (you should have about 1 c. strained puree).
Stir strawberry puree into lemonade.
Chill before serving.

Cranberry & Ginger Tea Crunch

1 piece(s) (3-inch) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
3 cup(s) cranberry-raspberry juice
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) lemon juice
1 tablespoon(s) orange juice
6 slice(s) lemon
6 slice(s) orange


Make the ginger tea: Bring the ginger and 3 1/2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan.
Remove from the heat and steep for 2 hours. (Tea can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated.)
Mix the punch: Strain the tea into a large pitcher and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Serve over ice.


Limeade served in a full-bottomed pitcher easily accommodates a pretty garnish. Make the garnish tasty, too, using fruit-flavored ice cubes. Cut up the fruit of a honeydew melon into 1-inch pieces, puree in a food processor, strain, and freeze in ice cube trays overnight. Also try pureed watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, and mango.


1 1/2 cup(s) fresh lime juice
1/2 cup(s) lemon juice
6 cup(s) water
1 cup(s) caster sugar

Combine the lime juice and lemon juice with the water and sugar.

Serve over ice in a glass with a sugared rim and garnish with a lime wedge.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Milkshake

1 cup chocolate or vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whole milk

3 - 4 tablespoons chocolate syrup


Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend.

Berry Lemonade

We added sweet raspberries and blackberries to traditional lemonade to create this summer beverage, perfect for summer gatherings.

Add muddled fresh mint for an alternate twist.
8 cup(s) cold water
2 cup(s) sugar
3 cup(s) (from 15 to 16 medium lemons) fresh lemon juice
3 strip(s) (3 inches by 1 inch each) lemon peel
1 cup(s) raspberries
1 cup(s) blackberries
Ice cubes
Seltzer or club soda

Prepare sugar syrup: In 4-quart saucepan, heat 4 cups water with sugar and lemon peel to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.

Cover saucepan and boil 3 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat.
Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse berries until pureed.

Pour into medium-mesh sieve set over large bowl and press berry mixture with back of spoon to remove seeds; discard seeds.
Remove peel from syrup; stir syrup into berry puree with lemon juice and remaining 4 cups water. Makes 13 cups. Pour into large pitcher with tight-fitting lid.

Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Serve over ice.
Add seltzer to taste; garnish with berries and lemon slices.

Chunky Monkey Milkshake

3 scoops vanilla ice cream
2 tablespoons chocolate chips
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


Blend on medium for 1 minute.

Home Remedies To Common Household Illnesses & Problems

Please Read This Disclaimer Before Continuing:

I am not a qualified Doctor, Psychiatrist, nor do I have a degree in Biochemistry, these tips & tricks are things I have picked up over the years and I have used successfully.

The Common Cold or Flu

Nothing Could ever beat 
Mum's Lemon Honey Drink
It is hard to get dissolvable Disprin's now, so if you can't get them, just take 2 Panadol or Paracetamol at the same time as drinking the drink.

I Lemon, juiced
1 Teaspoon of honey
1 or 2 Disprin's
Boiling Hot Water

Add the boiling water to the mix and stir until Disprin's are dissolved.

Foot Soak
Soak your feet in warm water, it will help relieve any headaches or nasal congestion you get during your cold.


Crush some ginger and extract 1 teaspoon of the juice. 
Sweeten with honey and take this three times a day for four days


Everyone know to rub Vicks on their backs and chest, but fif you know that if you rub it on your feet and then put socks on that it permeates a heat from your toes right upwards towards your head.
You can actually feel it working.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Eggs Eggs Eggs And They Are Never Boring

How many times have we looked in the fridge and found eggs and thought to ourselves, I cannot possibly eat another fried egg.


They are so versatile, I will show you every possible way I know to cook eggs.

Scrambled Eggs


8 x  eggs
80ml (1/3 cup) milk
1/4 tsp salt
15g (3 tsp) butter
4 thick slices buttered toast

Scrambled eggs are made by mixing eggs together with milk, cream or water to produce moist, soft folds or "clouds" of egg when cooked. 
If you can get them Free-range eggs tend to have more flavour than battery-hen eggs and generally give scrambled eggs a richer yellow colour.
Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl. 
This is best done by first cracking each egg, one at a time, into a small bowl before sliding it into the mixing bowl, so that you can remove any blood spots or pieces of shell (to remove these, use the egg-shell half). Add milk and salt.
Measure the milk carefully, as cooked egg will only hold a certain amount of liquid and too much will cause the egg to "weep" moisture. 
Use a fork to whisk the egg mixture lightly until the ingredients are just combined. 
The eggs should be mixed through evenly to ensure a consistent yellow without streaks of egg white (which will result in white streaks through the cooked eggs)
There is one main rule when cooking scrambled eggs: do not cook on heat that is too high, as this will cause the eggs to stick to the pan and become flaky and dry. Heat the butter in a medium, deep heavy-based frying pan over medium heat on the largest hotplate or gas burner (to ensure even cooking) for 1 minute or until the butter begins to foam. Swirl the pan to lightly coat its entire base with the butter.
Add the egg mixture to the frying pan and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds.
Use a flat-topped wooden spoon to gently push the egg mixture, scraping the top of the spoon along the base of the pan, from one side of the pan to the other in 4 different directions. 
Soft folds of cooked egg will begin to develop.
Repeat the pushing action with the spoon every 10 seconds (or slow count to 10), including around the pan edge to prevent the egg mixture sticking. 
The important part of this step is to push the spoon through the mixture and lift and fold the eggs rather than stir, as stirring will break the egg up into small lumps. 
Do this often during cooking to prevent the egg mixture sticking and forming more of an omelette rather than moist, soft folds of scrambled eggs. 
Cook for 2 minutes or until about three-quarters of the mixture is cooked and one-quarter is still liquidy.
Remove the pan from the heat and use the wooden spoon to gently fold the egg mixture twice more.
The residual heat in the pan will finish cooking the eggs.
Spoon the eggs onto the toast and serve immediately.

Family Deception Is The Ultimate Target

My poor familyI've duped them for years

One of my favorite sayings in life is

''What the eyes see they believe''

In life you live by what you can afford, so sometimes as a Mum you have to tell little porkies to get through, or to get by as they say.

When you're living frugally, you cannot afford to buy the top brand, even if that happened to be your family's favourite.
So you have to be quick on your feet, and learn the art of Deception.

Here are my families top brands and how they were royally duped on many occasions.


Ok my family love quality Bakers or Natures Fresh bread, its over $3.00 a loaf, I would buy it for them when it was on special at 2 for $5.00 but if it wasn't no they would think they were getting it, but they were not.
So here is my story:

When i was doing my bakery training, part of it was I had to go to the Mania bread Factory,and see how the bread was made, and see the different steps that were taken in producing an end product.
It was extremely interesting and I learned a lot.
There were 3 brands that were coming out of the factory out of the one batch of dough, and you guessed it Natures Fresh was one, Budget Bread was another & I cannot remember the 3rd one but all the same dough, three different labels, the only difference was the cutting width was set differently for each brand
But due to what I've told you above, if I buy Budget Bread it sits in it budget wrapper and is avoided, but if I buy Natures Fresh bread its the best bread ever, and they rave that their sandwiches are the best as they are so fresh.
So I have save two Natures Fresh bags that are hidden away and I now transfer the Budget Bread into the Natures Fresh wrapper,  no ones knows, no one says a thing and its still the best bread ever, and everyone comments that they don't know why I persist and buy that Budget Bread cause its doesn't stay fresh.


It has to Meadow Lea margarine it just has to be, no other brand can compare.
Yep, you guessed it a 1 kg of plain brand margarine was about $8.00 and as I'M a collector of containers I would buy the plain brand and transfer into meadow Lee containers, like above they reckoned you can tell the difference in the taste, but obviously not cause this was done for years, and I used it for cooking/baking as well.


Skippy or Sanitarium all the way.

And yes you guessed it they ate Home brand  cereals  transferred into good old tupperware cereal containers, and no one knew the difference  just had to be a bit careful not to keep the packets lying around.

Sauces & Pickles

Watties tomato sauce is what we always eat, 

Sorry its Home brand placed into a Watties tomato sauce squeeze bottle, unless of course Watties was on special then yes it could have been that.

Pickles was a bit different, as they always loved Cerabus, but I used to make my own, then blend it and place it into their bottles, no one found out.

Plum Sauce, my family hate my sauce,cause I always put sultanas in it, thats how I like it so thats how I make it, every time.
Where as, my girlfriend, makes a great plum Sauce and she always gives my Husband a bottle or two of it, he thinks its absolutely fabulous  but what he doesn't know is, when her bottle is getting down, I blend my sauce and transfer it into her bottle, mix them up to combine them, and he thinks it's neat because she supplied him with more sauce and he just thinks she dropped him off another batch.


It abit hard to do this for bathroom products when they are very particular on what they like, but I will say that when there are 4 or 5 different brand of shampoo in the shower, that have about an eighth left in them, they do all of a sudden disappear and you have one full bottle of their favourite brand, but really its just a mixture of all of the shampoos together.
I was never found out for that one.
hair gel was always in their favorite jar and was always a cheap brand transferred, it just kept getting refilled.
And I've already explained that I use hotel's shampoo to refill my hand wash container.

I will add more if I think of it, but I guess what I'm trying to say, is that 

''We can't always buy what we want, but   we can be made to believe that we do''.