Tuesday 31 March 2015

End of the first quarter of 2015

Hello dear readers (if there are any).

Well bad news out of the way first.  I failed the exam that I took on Friday.  I needed 700 and got 609.  I'm lucky enough to be able to resit it and in my own time frame so I'm going to do that around September mark which leaves me 5 months after holidays which should be enough time.  I know what to expect now.

In excellent news though, my lovely parents have bought us (well me) a new bread maker for Easter.  It's a Panasonic which was reviewed to be the best by MSE users.

I've got a huge list ready for the great big spring clean and will try to transfer it over to the website tonight if I get time.

GH has taken up a fantastic new addition to his love of wood hobby.  More to come with pictures soon.

Tomorrow and Thursday are work days for me then I'm off from Friday so I've got a few things to pack into work before I finish then I can concentrate on the great big spring clean.  I can't wait!

Sunday 29 March 2015

4 more sleeps until The Great Big Spring Clean and 10 days off work

We're on the countdown to the Great Big Spring clean!!  To me, that's 10 precious days off work with my family and animals.

Lots of cleaning, cooking, baking, time out, family time, organising, taking stock, selling, walking, riding, mucking out, hacking out and anything else we feel like adding.

A quick update as I need to go and menu plan.  My bread maker has given up the ghost so I'm gutted and I also didn't pass my exam, double gutted.  The third thing was I handed my notice in for the second job as I just can't keep it up.  They were fantastic about it and I'm sad to leave but glad I did.

Today made up for it though, we had a lovely family lunch courtesy of moi, slow cooker beef and all the trimmings followed by crumble and custard.  Seriously yum.  Then horses fed and dog walked and now we're both flaked out and the kids are in bed.  Losing an hour last night played havoc with them and they have been very short tempered all day but we did enjoy the lighter night whilst we had it.

Happy Sunday and have a lovely week ahead.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Gorgeous husbands shenanigans!

It seems that our pace of life is super sonic at the moment.  The days are just whizzing by.  As we speak GH is busy cooking veg for the coming days lunches that he takes to work, as he is starting his health kick / training again.  Grace, our daughter is in there too making herself busy by talking a lot.  My son is sound asleep in bed and I'm about to start another hour of study for the exam I have coming up on Friday (which I am dreading and feel thoroughly unprepared for).

Catching up on the last couple of weeks, GH has made a wine rack for the kitchen.  It's only supposed to be a design/draft piece but I told him it was that good, that he should put it up in the kitchen whilst he worked on the "proper" one.  I think it's fabulous.

The chicken shed project is now finished and included a re-spraying of the 2 sheds and the fence in between them.  We decided to keep the old shed instead of buying a new one and just repair it.  Total cost was £15 instead of £350 (minimum) that it would have cost us.  All money that is better in our pockets than the shops! 

GH has had a week off work recovering from his operation and made good use of himself (his choice!) by redesigning the big cupboard too.  This was it before and after. 





He also bought himself a new toy - £2 - cheaper than a new computer ;o)

 
I have my great spring clean week coming up soon so once my exam is over I will be preparing for that and keeping regular posts along the way.  It won't be just cleaning but preparing, cooking, baking and pondering too.  Bliss.



Monday 16 March 2015

Halfway through March already!

Happy Monday :)

What a lot of activity has been packed into the last couple of weeks.

Project chicken shed is complete.  GH has relocated them from the shed on the right, to the shed on the left - that's how we know it anyway.  The shed on the right turned out to be rotting and have mice, possibly rats, so it had to go.  We had a nice newish shed which GH built a few years back and with some new roof felt and some changes inside, it's a brand, spanking new chicken home for our 7 girls.

The shed on the right and the shed on the left and the reamains of the trampoline!



The new pully system to open the hatch and save me getting filthy when I let them out on a morning in my work clothes.

The first night they weren't sure what to do as they kept wandering over to their old place, despite having been shown the new place.  Understandable as ideally we should have had it ready for first thing on a morning and locked them in for a couple of hours to get used to it.  That's what our local farmer says anyway.  So after much chasing and slipping, we managed to catch them and out them in their new home.  A week or two on and they figured it out and now roost where they are supposed to and to top it off we have started seeing the first eggs of 2015 from them. 

In the process of doing this we decided to get rid of the trampoline as it was huge and took over the bottom end of the garden.  It looks a lot bigger without it and when we come to sell the house, it's one less thing to tackle for us and a huge benefit for the buyers/ sale photos point of view.

I also took the time to start the big declutter - I listed one of the kid's toys on ebay and got £16 for it so rather pleased with that too.


The finally got it.
Then came the busy week!  I had to travel to Belgium for work meaning chaos ensued at home.  The kids have to sleep out when I do given GH is out far too early and they need someone to take them to school etc.  Also the horses, dog and chickens need thinking about and taking care as required.  So we set the wheels in motion and it ran smoothly. 

Then came the weekend away - only thing was that GH had an operation on the same day we were to go away - talk about bad luck of timing.  He managed to come away with us still, given that we were not going too far.

Before we know it, here we are at Monday again.  I've started my healthy eating again today, so porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch then chicken and rice for tea.  This benefits me twice over, all frugal and cheap, easy to make plus the added benefit of healthy. 

I did this the year before last and lost 1.5 stone so I hope to do the same again - well I have 1 stone 11lb's to lose to get to the weight I'd like to be.

More on that next time as I will maybe have some progress to report.

In the mean time, I'll continue to overpay the loan and live our lives to the full.  Have a great week if you're reading this :)

Monday 2 March 2015

A frosty start to March

There was a coating of frost everywhere this morning, with some local reports of snow but I didn't see any.  Now I do love snow at Christmas time but once January and February are done, I'm looking forward to Spring.  New shoot, new grass and a healthier glow.

Today my son is off school poorly so I'm working from home in between looking after him.  We are going to have the home made bread rolls for lunch which I must say look fabulous.  The test will be in the taste later today so I shall report back.  For now this is what they looked like when being made then after baking.


Not bad for a first attempt?

The cookies are going a bit too quickly so I've stashed them away - if they are not on display then they should last the expected 3 days.  Flapjacks are the same too.

Shopping came to £35 on Saturday from Aldi and that should last us for the week.  Tonight is chicken and pasta and tomorrow chicken in the slow cooker.  I have a budget of £150 for the month which allows me to make overpayments to the loan and keep the date planned to make the last payment.

I have decided to do a huge Spring clean when I am off work over Easter.  This is going to be a mini project and will be update regularly on the blog.  There are two reasons for this Spring clean, one because it's desperately needed as the house is grubby from the winter and two to de-clutter in preparation for the big move.  There will be another round of de-cluttering too but this is the big push.  So plans are a foot for the great spring clean.

GH has been partaking in a project at the bottom of the garden too, for the same reason of being ready to sell.  We have chickens and their shed has seen better days so we are getting rid of it and moving them into the other shed we have.  We'll have a little move around and get it looking better for when the time comes.  We need to turf and things so I shall post before and after shots in the coming days/weeks.

Happy Monday :)

Sunday 1 March 2015

Goodbye February, Hello March

Spring is definitely in the air and it's lovely to feel.


Today I have been to the stables with my daughter and enjoyed seeing her ride her pony and a friend's pony too.  Following this we all went to the father in laws for a lovely Sunday lunch.  This afternoon has seen me take inspiration from notjustgreenfingers' blog and whip up some chocolate chip cookies, flapjacks and currently in the bread-maker is a dough to make rolls.  Following her advice I will slice them and freeze ready to make up for the packed lunches.  Great idea!

I've been making bread in the BM weekly now when we run out of shop bought.  At the moment, we rely on shop bought to see us through the beginning of the week and I top up with homemade.  Eventually I may get to homemade 100% of the time but for now I'm happy with the balance.

It struck me the other day how far we've come since our journey had it's initial, dim spark.  I say dim as it's taken me a long time to start living a more frugal lifestyle but the fact is, we've come so far.  We don't buy things that we don't need, we make do and mend, make the most of free activities and generally live a happy yet frugal lifestyle. 

So this coming week I have my meal plan done, shopped yesterday to get everything I need for it and have the treats made to fill up the lunch boxes and after tea requests.  I'm going to make some rice pudding later in the week.  I think I will use the slow cooker as I've never done rice pudding in the slow cooker before.  That will be or Friday's soup and pudding night.

Two years time we will have our house up for sale and the farm will be in our sights.

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