Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2 holidays + renovations + debt reduction = $40,000+ in 6 months!!

Usually I discuss finances on my other blog, but this is slightly different. Last night I worked out what we want to do, what we have planned and what we need to do. The total of all these things shocked me. I knew it would be expensive, I just did not expect it to be the price of a new car.

One of the first things on the list, well my husbands list, is Hawaii. My sister in law, L, my husbands older sister will be getting married in Maui in October, well that's the plan. Why Hawaii when we all live in Australia? L, my husband and the brother in between them were born there. They have lots of extended family there, such as their 80 year old grandmother.

My husband and I went in 2005 and got to do the beautiful trip the road to Hana (see above pic of one of the many waterfalls on this trip.) I can honestly say it was the most awe-inspiring, beautiful drive I have ever taken. The Great Ocean Road would come close, but as much as I love the ocean and giant rocks in it, I love tropical stuff more.

Anyway, flights, accommodation, passports, car hire, food etc... vary greatly depending on when L decides to set the date. It could cost between $8,000 - $15,000. So we are hoping she books soon, so we can work things out.

Initially I suggested my husband go alone, but he is adamant he wants us all to go, which is fair enough. I mean I want us to go to Tassie for my side, so fairs fair.

That's right, another thing on our list is a trip to Tasmania. Last time I lived in Tasmania this was my view

I lived on Tolmans Hill, next to Mount Wellington, over looking Hobart. It was awesome. I grew up right near Kingston Beach and I loved that. I love the beach.

Anyway, the reason I want to go down is my grandparents are not well so I'd really like to visit, plus there are a few babies I haven't met and another one which will be here by the time we go down.

Yes, both these things are more wants than needs, but I would rather stretch myself financially to do these things than live in regret for not doing them.

Now add to the list
- finish the house renovations
- some clothes for all of us
- some furniture and other things for the house
- repay car loan (we needed a new car recently, new to us, not NEW, our old car all but died)
- a personal, interest free loan

So to do all this I am going to have to get creative, which is why I thought I would blog about it here instead of Aspiring Millionaire. I'll be trying to make do with what we have, be crafty again and sew or make things we need instead of buying them, making gifts, menu plan and basically try adn do a no spend challenge in order to save as much as we can.

Add to that my husband is taking in over time when they offer it and I have a few things coming up which will make us money, so I am sure we can do it. We just have to put our minds to it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kitchen set back

I have been without a proper kitchen since October when we moved and had to rip out the one that was in our house. It was putrid. It needed to be removed instantly. Think cockroach and mice invasion so bad you want to throw up on the spot.

Anyway, things were coming along nicely. We did have to wait here and there for different tradesmen to come and do stuff but the hardest part has been the plumbing. We had been roughly quoted a price by some plumbers and finally got one to come out on Friday. He says we need to change the piping under the kitchen from steel to copper and he’d work out the price.

So we get a call that afternoon, the price is nearly 3 times the original price. Now, he is a friend of a friend who says he is doing us a deal, but we just can’t fathom that a price would jump by that much. Even after seeing the piping and knowing what he had to do, after the rough quote, he upped it a little, but said it wouldn’t be much more than that.

So we are looking at getting a few more quotes. Its frustrating as it sets the kitchen back and with the kitchen set back, the floors can’t be done either, so it feels like all the renovations have been pushed back.

I have slowly been working on the garden and have some ideas, but the main big things in the house I either need a tradesman or my husband around to do, as it is impossible with 2 little girls.

I did finally get to move the old wardrobes out of the house today. That’s right, even though we have had built in robes installed, the old stand alone robes were still in the room, because I just could not get my husband to move them.

Tomorrow I plan on removing more things I can do myself and putting up a painting. He won’t let me but it has sat on the floor for 5 months. It is beyond a joke and I want it up!

I am realising I want less and less in our house. We have too much furniture for my liking and I want a more streamline, clutter free home.

It is coming along really slowly.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Seeing what we really look like

I am finding my perception of what I look like is less and less what I really look like. I took a photo of myself in my favourite jeans and planned on posting about how our favourite jeans might not love us as much as we love them. I seriously thought I looked like a hippo in these jeans, where as in my other jeans I thought I looked much slimmer.

Oh, I know I look slimmer in my other jeans, but I do not look as fat as I thought in these jeans (fyi, my black top is super baggy, hence why my hand is in their weird pose, and the photo was taken by me, without a timer. I don’t know how to use that yet, lol)

It was quite an eye opener. These jeans are a size 12. As is most of my clothing now. I have trouble seeing myself as a size 12 though. I have been a size 14 for so long, I just sort of accepted it, despite the fact I could ‘dak’ (aussie slang for rip pants off) myself with my size 14 jeans. Literally. I need a belt with them or they start to slide as I am walking.

That is an amazing feeling. Knowing you are too small for most of your clothing.

I was a 10 – 12 when I got married. These jeans are pre kids jeans. I tried them on to see how much more I needed to lose and they fit!!

I know my weight has not changed, but obviously my body has.

I still struggle with the thought of being that size again. I know I am much happier with my size. I know my body is a different shape to before I had kids which is why I probably can’t fathom it.

Have you ever looked at yourself and gone “Wow! Do I really look like that?” In a good way, not the ‘gee I look tragic there’ way.

Women often have the worst opinions and views of themselves. Have you seen the movie ‘White Chicks”? My husband thinks its hilarious. Anyway, there is a scene in it in the dressing room, where one of the girls is trying on clothes and she looks great but she flips out into ‘I am a huge fatty with cellulite” psycho mode.

Now, its comedy, but the sad reality is, its just a very condensed version of what we do to ourselves every day. How often do you blow off compliments or put something on and go, “Ugh, look at my fat belly/wobbly arms/cellulite thighs/saggy butt!” Or worse yet, how often do we point these flaws out to other people.

Often husbands get to hears this on a daily basis about all our body imperfections/how ugly we are. You know what? They usually disagree. In their opinion you are beautiful. Same with friends and family. Most people do not see us the way we see ourselves.

I am not saying we need to run around telling everyone we are the best thing since sliced bread, but we could start with telling ourselves we are beautiful, thanking people for compliments and stop criticising our looks in the mirror and to our husbands/partners/family and friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free plants in my garden

Further to my recent post about feeling unsettled I have begun to make changes. Since I now realise and accept I will be in this house for another 6 – 12 months I decided to do a bit of gardening. I had this kumara (sweet potato) which had sprouted

So I cut it into pieces where there were sprouts and planted them along the back fence. I had recently weeded and it has been rather wet here, so I figured as good a time as any.

I planted them a couple of days ago and already they have shot up.

They are on one side of a palm tree and on the other I discovered a lone tomato plant the other week. I had throw some food scraps in that area a few months ago. Our soil is clay, so I wanted to make compost and make the soil better. I certainly did not expect anything to grow.

I am leaving the plant to fend for itself because every time I have tried to grow tomatoes I have killed them, so to have one grow up out of the clay and even have a flower on it is AMAZING to me!!! (I'll try and get a pic later)

We have had a lot of rain here, so I decided to plant some herb seeds in pots and hope for the best. They grew really well last time so I am hopeful.

I am also really happy because the rain has brought my aloe vera back to life, see...

I love aloe vera for sun burn, insect bites and a variety of other things. It is very healing, but I just can't seem to grow it really well. I got these from a friend a few years ago and can't seem to do much with them. I am hoping they grow more like my mums. Hers are awesome and busting out of the pot.

I have made a few other changes which seem to have improved things here. I am also getting the plumbing done this Friday so my kitchen is one step closer to finished.

Oh, and we are planning a trip to Tasmania in a few months and I have a weekend by myself planned in April for a friends wedding. Pretty exciting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Featured on Seven Cherubs - Mother Heart

Well today I am featured on Seven Cherubs as part of their Mother Heart posts, where Naomi interviews mum's. I was so honoured when she contacted me about it and love the job she did.

It was great fun answering and Naomi is really lovely.

You can check out the post here.

Another part of her blog I really love is her happiness project where she has listed things that make her happy and is setting about doing them! I think this is a great idea.

Anyway, go check it out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weightloss - Throwing away the scales

Back when I saw the pictures from my little sisters wedding for the first time I felt sick. I knew when we went to try on bridesmaid dresses that I was not as skinny as my mind was telling me thanks to the sizes I had to try on.

When this picture was taken I had already lost weight from when I had my 2nd daughter 5 months before. That didn't make me feel much better. I still felt HUGE!! When I got married I was about 68kg. In this pic I am 90kg. Thats a 22kg difference for what I wanted to be.

I have managed to get down to 76.5kg. That in itself is a huge effort, which I am proud of. I was getting a bit discouraged though as I couldn't seem to shift the extra 8.5kg I want to lose. Then I realised something.

I may not be losing any more but my shape is changing.

Over the weekend I went to Canberra and saw lots of family and people I hadn't seen in a long time. There were 2 people there I had not seen since about the time the above picture was taken. Neither of them recognised me, one thought I was a different person and couldn't believe it was me (according to my sister, it was her friend).

Lots of other people asked if I had lost more weight or said it looked like I had, which felt good. I hadn't lost anymore since I saw most of them last, but I have changed shape.

So when I got back home I decided to try on my pre pregnancy jeans.

Last time I tried them on I got them up sort of, but there was no way they were going to do up!

Yesterday they slid on like old friends. It was awesome. Only, they are so not flattering on me anymore. (I don't think they ever really were, but they were super comfy!)

I am soooo excited. And if I had been able to find the memory card for my camera I would have taken a picture. Instead, you'll have to use this pic I took 2 weeks ago to compare.

So as you can see, a little bit different. Its 13.5kg from when I was a bridesmaid at my sisters wedding.

I decided with the shape changing and the fact I would like to tone up more I am not going to bother with my scales. I will know how I am doing by how my clothes are fitting and how I look.

The actual weight I am is not going to bother me. I am pretty happy with my body now, so my focus is just health and fitness.

I actually started trying to change my focus a few weeks ago and since I have stopped fussing over my weight I have felt so much better about myself.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Will Smith - Inspirational words of Wisdom

This is a video I thought I would share about the law of attraction. I like the quotes Will Smith uses and how he explains it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Featured on Thrift Culture Now

I've been featured on Thrift Culture Now where I did an interview with them. They have done an awesome job on writing the article about both my blogs.

You can check it out by clicking here

Welcome to all the new readers. I thought I would share with you come of my most popular posts.
On my other blog I just set myself a goal to spend no more than $100 on Christmas so I thought I would share a few of my ideas of things to make first...
Felt Santa’s are really easy to make and can be filled with lollies or homemade biscuits/cookies. Tinsel Christmas Trees are really easy to make and look great too.

We are currently renovating our house as well thanks to tenants wrecking it. You can see a bit of what we have done and what we are dealing with by going here.

But most of all, you’re probably interested in my frugal living, so in the left column you can click on Saving Money which will take you to all the posts I’ve done about ways to save money.

I hope you check it out and sign up to my blog.

Have a great day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Changes from an unsettled life

I have been feeling rather unsettled lately and I could not put my finger on exactly why. I know part of the reason is that I am waiting to move so am in a transitionary period, but today after talking to my sister in law and reading a few cool new blogs I discovered such as Little Eco Footprints I realised just how much of my life seems to be on hold ‘until we move’ which may not be for another 12 months (I am hoping no more than 6, but realistically it could be more like 12).

I want things like a vegetable garden, fruit trees, chickens and a solar cooker, all of which I have been putting off until we move. If I am not moving for 12 months, there is no reason for me not to have a vegetable garden. I could plant some fruit trees in large pots. I can make and use a solar cooker now, nothing is stopping me.

I also realised we have not been on a family holiday or day trip for some time. We have moved here and have been so focused on the renovations and getting back to Canberra, that everything else seems to have slipped by the wayside.

We were discussing the other night how we need more of a routine here to be able to juggle my studies, my blog, my book, my husband’s work, me finding work and hubby staying home, family activities, date nights and fun stuff for the kids.

I realised that our life has been passing us by and we need to be living more of it. Yes, we really want the renovations done and I need to study and do things for my book and that, but if we were using our time better and planning things better we wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed with everything.

Part of this thinking was bought about by a thread I read in a forum today about sex education at a school and with 8 year old boys. I was not impressed with what the teachers were teaching and it just made me more determined to home school.

Really, I do not know if I can handle homeschooling. I am not a mum who loves being at home with her kids. I do love my kids, but I find being here day in day out hard. But after events of today, I realised I just need to change my attitude, change my routine and start enjoying my kids more. I want to be able to home school them and for all of us to enjoy it. Frankly, all stories I have heard about schools lately have me petrified about sending my kids to one.

I dream of traveling with my kids and letting them experience what we are learning about. I want them to not just read about things in books, but to go to the places and experience the food, the lifestyles, everything. I want them to have a passion for learning and life.

I am a real traveler. I love it and had I not married young would have spent years as a back packer quite happily. That was not to be. Instead I married an awesome guy who happens to have lots of international connections and has hooked us up better than I could ever have imagined when traveling.

I realised tonight, we need a family holiday! And I am not talking a visit to see family. I am talking going somewhere for a few days or a week and just relaxing. Preferably near a beach...

Its not really in our budget right now, so I will be looking into what frugal options we have.