Monday 30 September 2013

How to Make a Budget

So you want to save some money?! I don't claim to be an expert money saver but I have always been good with money and know how to make a dollar stretch.

Before my husband and I were married we talked about what our expectation were in regards to money and the life that we wanted to provide for ourselves and our future children. It was important to both of us that I was able to stay home with our children, so I knew that we would have to be smart with our money if we were to live off one income. I think it is important as a couple to talk about what your expectations are and find a middle ground. Things are just not going to work well if you have differing ideas in regards to money.

Now on to how to actually make a budget.

Find a time when you are rested, and have a bit of peace. I know, hard to find if you have a bunch of kids!

How much money do you bring in each week? work it out. Include your money you get from working sand any government payments you are entitled to. Add it all up. This is your income and the amount of money you have to work with each week. Write this figure down.

Pull out all your bills, power, gas, water, groceries etc. You need to work out how much you pay per month or quarter, which ever time period your bills come in. It is better to over estimate how much your bill will be then to under estimate.  Once you figure this out, break it down in to weekly amounts.


Our water bill comes once a quarter and usually no more than $100. There are 16 weeks in 4 months so I divide $100 by 16 which is $6.25.
This is the amount I need to allocate in my weekly budget for water.
It is better to over estimate how much your bill will be then to under estimate.

Write these amounts down

Now that you have all your bills out of the way you need to allocate a certain amount to savings. This amount should be as generous as you feel you can be. Think of it as a bill that you have to pay to yourself. You will be surprised how quickly it adds up.

Write this figure down

Add up the amounts from numbers 3 and 4. These are your expenses. Subtract your expenses from your income figure you worked out at the start.

The rest of the money left is your "free" money. It is money that can be used for everything else, movies, dinners out, clothes, the little things you buy during the week like extra milk etc.
It's good to know exactly how much you have to spend on these things each week so that you are not spending more than you can afford.
A good way to keep track of this money is to put it into a separate spending account. Some weeks you may not spend all of it, other weeks you might spend more. By having it in a spending account you know exactly how much you have to spend.

Later this week we will look at ways to reduce our expenses and other ways to find a bit of extra cash!

Sunday 29 September 2013

Let's Save Some Money!

So our month of fun is done and dusted. It was hard work but totally worth it. I loved spending time with my kids and actually getting messy with them.
During the month of October we will be focusing on ways to make the family budget stretch further, with cheap recipes, money saving tips, date night ideas, and fun activities for the kids that wont break the bank.

In other news, our Lili is FINALLY sleeping through the night! Unfortunately my body clock hasn't quite adjusted to the wonderful change. I am still waking up countless times a night. I also weaned Lili last week so now for the first time in over 3 years I am neither pregnant or breastfeeding. It's defiantly different that's for sure. I tried my "prebaby" dress on yesterday but my boobs are still to big to do the zipper up. I wonder if they with shrink back down to pre baby size? or will I just have to buy a new dress?

Poor Auron fell fast asleep during Church yesterday

She's so cute asleep. Note the towel by her head? she really likes sleeping with her head against the bars but keeps whacking her head at night and waking up

Saturday 28 September 2013

Month of fun day 27 - The Melbourne Show

We planned to go to the show yesterday when Aarahi got home from work. We were packed up already to go, we even made it to the train station before realising we were actually just plain exhausted. So much so that we didn't even make it out of the car. Well we had to go somewhere because Auron was excited, I had been telling him all day that we were going out somewhere fun. We drove over to McDonalds to get an ice cream, by the time we arrived Auron was asleep! Go figure.
He woke up, realised where we were and was good to go. After our ice cream we we out to the play ground. There were these two girls in there sliding down the slides on trays. Haha they were there with no parents. It reminded me of something my cousin Sarah would do, I was way too much of a goody good.
This morning my uncle dropped off my cousin Bronte for the weekend. We love having her here, Auron especially! After finishing making our picnic lunches we headed for the train. Gotta love cheap public transport on the weekends.
The show was lots of fun, you could easily spend $100's there. We learnt Auron is a bit of a daredevil. Aarahi and I were lining up for the rollarcoaster, Auron was adamant he was going too. He was tall enough, so aarahi rushed to get him a ticket. Once we were seated the the cart thing I was thinking "what kind of mother am I? Putting my 2 year old on a rollarcoaster!" It's not like it was a little kids one, it was a serious, super fast, high, big drops kinda rollercoaster! Anyway he loved it!
We did a few more rides, got some show bags, and looked at all the baby animals! Sooooo cute! They hand little lambs and goats just walking around in the arena that you could pet. Oh an the cows were so lovely, it made me a little sad when I ate my dinner tonight.
So yup lots of fun, now were are going to settle down and watch a movie.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Month of Fun - Day 25 - Slime Recipe

Today I stood at the pantry wondering what we could do today that would be new and exciting. Nothing came to me so I moved on to making breakfast. Later in the day, after Auron had flooded the kitchen and threw a tantrum when I pulled the plug out of the sink putting an end to his fun, I thought back to my time in Kindy/kinder/preschool whatever you like to call it. My FAVOURITE activity was outside in the messy play troughs. In one of the super long troughs was a mixture of cornflour and water. I swear they must've had to use boxes upon boxes of cornflour to make enough to fill it up.
Today we made a scaled down version. I wasn't sure how Auron would like it, he's weird about what he does and doesn't like. Lili on the other hand is always keen for a bit of mess!

How you do it


1 C Cornflour (cornstarch)
1 Teaspoon food colouring
3/4 C Water

Pour cornflour into a medium size bowl
Mix the colouring in with the water
Slowly add the water to the cornflour stirring until a thick paste has formed

Some cool things about this slime: 

If you mix it really slow the spoon moves through easily

If you try and mix it really fast it's almost impossible!

If you pour some on a hard surface it acts like a solid, pick it up and it turns into liquid.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Lemon Yoghurt Cake

We have been M.I.A. the past week or so, sorry about that.We have had been busy, exhausted, and making big decisions but I wont bore you with the details! Our month of fun has continued and I will try and update you all soon but for now, here's the most delicious Lemon Yoghurt cake I have ever had!

Lemon Yoghurt Cake

1 3/4 C Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (about half a lemon)
Grated rind of one lemon
3/4 C Oil
1 C Plain Yoghurt
2 C Self Raising Flour

In a bowl mix sugar, eggs, oil and rind with a whisk
Add remaining ingredients and mix well
Pour into a prepared tin 
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

I found this photo today, how cute was he!

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Month of Fun - Day 16 FINGERPAINT

This morning I was getting the milk out of the fridge to make Auron's breakfast, as I turned around I heard a horrible cracking sound in my neck. I don't know exactly what happened all I know is my neck is crazy sore and not feeling any better tonight. We have been camping out in the lounge since last Friday while Lili takes over our room and sorts out her sleeping (SO CLOSE by the way, last night only one wake up for 5mins!) I don't know if that has anything to do with it but probably. If it's not any better by tomorrow i'll go see someone. 

Today for our fun activity I made the kids up some Finger paint. Here's the recipe


6T salt
3T sugar
1/2C cornflour
2C water
Food colouring

In a saucepan combine salt, sugar, cornflour, water until well mixed
Continue to mix over a medium heat until thickened
Split the mixture into individual containers (I used four)
Add different coloured food colouring to each container and mix well
Once cooled you are ready to go!

Auron took a little while to get into this activity. I think he was a little confused about me wanting him to paint with his hands when usually I am trying to get him to use a brush or something. Once he got the idea that it was ik to get messy he had a great time. Lili had no hesitation but she was making waaaaaaay too much mess, getting more on her clothes than anywhere else. I put her in bed, and spent the next 40mins painting with Auron. I really enjoyed it too, quite therapeutic. 
I'm not sure what we will use our mural for, maybe wrapping paper? It's pretty cool. 

Saturday 14 September 2013

Month of Fun Day 13 - IKEA FUN AND MAGIC!

We've been a bit under the weather here. Well I have anyway, lets say it's probably due to the serious lack of sleep over the past 10 months...thanks Lili, but we are working on it and definitely making progress in that department. We spent the last 2 weeks night weaning her, now working on the sleeping.

We have done a bit of painting over the last few days, and just rediscovering the contents of Auron's craft cupboard. The stapler was a big hit! along with he hole punch. I'm still finding random bits of paper...along with some more important pieces of paper full of holes and stapled together.

Today we went to IKEA for breakfast. We haven't been there in ages and have missed it. The do cheap breakfasts and have cool kids play equipment and kids areas where you can try out the toys and furniture before you buy. It worked a treat as we came out spending $70 on stuff for the kids. A few things will be put away for Christmas though.

We arrived home just before lunch when Chris and Kim and my cousin Sotarah turned up for lunch and to spend the afternoon. Whenever Chris and Sotarah come over to visit, they always play cards with Aarahi. Not your normal pack of 52 cards, but their cards of choice are the Monopoly deal game and some cards called Magic the Gathering. It's a geeky kind of game that I have played on a few occasions but don't really get into. So Aarahi is always happy for Chris to come over and play with him, it's their hobby. As for Monopoly, I refuse to ever play another game of Monopoly in any of it's forms. It became a little too competitive and violent and often ended in people not talking to each other in our family. When Aarahi is playing cards Auron loves to play too, so they always give him his own little pack and let him sit and the table and play along side them.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Month of Fun - Day 10 AQUATIC CENTRE

Today we ventured out of the house to find our fun. Auron had been bugging me all morning wanting to go somewhere so we hit the road (or pavement in our case) and headed for the local swimming aquatic centre. We took the bus, so perhaps not soooo local but we arrived within 30mins. The whole day Auron was the epitome of the well behaved child. He used his manners, sat quietly on the bus, held the doors open for people, held on to the pram while we were walking by roads. It was a far cry from the tantrum we experienced last week out in public. I guess I must have done something right today. 
Anyhow on to the swimming part of the day. The place we went to was called WaterMarc in Greensborough. The had watersides for the little kids which Auron loved and surprised me with his fearless attitude and he went down with no hesitation whatsoever. Lili loved all the spray toys and water fountains. I think what she enjoyed most was being able to crawl around and get into mischief by herself. She even when down the slides a few times. We had been almost an hour when Daddy came to join us after work.  We arrived just before 12 and left after 3, as you can imagine the kids were asleep before we even left the car park. I think a refreshing family swim was just what we needed today. 

Month of Fun - Day 9 COLOURED NOODLES

Today started early as always. Lili is still waking at night, only once but she wakes screaming hysterically and takes a good hour to calm down. It's really strange. So we are still exhausted. Auron usually stands at his door and whimpers and whines until I tell him to come into our room just before 6am. I don't know why he just stands there and complains. I guess I should count myself lucky that he isn't one of those kids that constantly get up out of bed each night.
Once he comes in he's loud and wants to wake Lili up. That girl needs her sleep! So the last 2 days I've told him to go turn the tv on. This gives me 30mins extra 'sleep' before the images of him burning the house down cooking toast are too much for me to handle.

Now that is how my morning started.

For our fun activity today I made the kids coloured spaghetti noodles, the cooked kind.

Here's how to do it:

1. Boil your pasta noodles until cooked well

2. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process

3. In a zip lock bag combine 1-2 teaspoons of food colouring and 2 Tablespoons of water

4. Place the pasta into the bag and squish around until well covered

5. Allow to sit for 1 minute so the colour can soak in

6. Pour back into colander and rinse a 2nd time under cold water to remove excess colour.

Now Auron HATED this, he was freaked out by the texture, but it was right up Lili's ally. It went straight into the mouth and she thoroughly enjoyed squishing it between he fingers.
Since it only has food colouring and water added it is totally edible, if your kids are into rainbow coloured pasta for dinner...
I wish different colours but once I went to the cupboard I remembered an incident which occurred a few months ago involving a 2 year old, food colouring and our bed....

I have also made coloured pasta and rice using dry pasta. This stuff is great we have had it for over a year now and its still in use. We get it out about once or twice a week. You can find the instructions for that HERE

Monday 9 September 2013

Month of Fun - Day 8 FLOUR FREE PLAY DOUGH

Ok people I think I may have just found the BEST play dough recipe ever! We make play dough fairly regularly in our house with the usual flour and salt recipe cooked in the stovetop. It's good but I was feeling the need for a change.
The last time I made playdough was when I was back home last month. My the 2 year olds played well with it loved it and made a huge mess, as you would expect from 2 year olds. My 10 year old sister on the other hand was caught eating it. Her excuse "I didn't know that was going to happen!" The time i made it before that Auron put it in the washing machine then turned it on. You can imagine how that turned out. I am still finding bits of red playdough in my washer despite it being months ago and after multiple cleanings!

Ok so on to this wonderful recipe! It's gluten free if that matters to anyone. The original recipe came from HERE but I adjusted it a little to make do with what I had.

Gluten Free Play dough 

1 Cup baking soda
1/2 Cup cornflour
3/4 Cup water
2 Tablespoon paint or food colouring

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and mix together until well combined and smooth
Place on a medium heat and stir continuously until a ball is formed
Removed from heat and allow to cool until it is cool enough to handle
Knead the dough a little before giving it to the kids.

I swear this is the softest most silkiest playdough you will ever ever make! Auron must have thought it was a bit like pasta dough because he got out the pasta machine and is having a blast making blue pasta! Lili on the other hand did what you would expect most 10month olds to do (not 10 year olds) she tried to eat it, and was not please with how it tasted at all!

Sunday 8 September 2013

Month of Fun - Day 7 DIY LACING SHAPES

Woohoo we have come to the end of our first week of the Month of Fun. Today we went to church. One of my favourite parts of Sunday is having lovely babysitters (thanks Kayrooz family) who love our kids and pretty much steal them as soon as they walk in. It's nice because the kids love them and are happy to go with them. It also gives us a bit of a break, and I get to sit with my lovely husband and hold his hand without anyone else demanding my attention!

I had intended to make these lacing boards before we went to church as a nice quiet activity for Auron, but I decided to have a nap instead since I only got a few hours sleep last night. The idea came from HERE.

Here's what to do

1. Cut out the shapes you want on cardboard. You want them quite large.

2. Glue on some cute scrap-booking paper or card

3. After the glue has dried, use a hole punch to make holes even distances around the edge of the shape.

4. Attach a length of string to the card through one of the holes.

5. On the other end of the string attach a bobby pin or anything else you think would work well as the "threader". The original poster used a piece of drinking straw, I will probably do that once I find my straws...

Voila all done

These have kept Auron busy for 30mins so far and he doesn't seem to be getting bored yet

Saturday 7 September 2013

Month of Fun - Day 6 CHILDREN'S FARM

I had big expectations for today, but was somewhat let down. My husband later said to me that he really enjoyed the day because he had low expectations...perhaps I need to take his advice and lower my expectations so as to not be disappointed next time.

The place we went to was Bundoora Park Children's farm. We arrived around 10am and were excited to go see the animals. Paid our entrance fee. Then found our if you wanted to go on a tractor ride, or pony ride, or the train you had to pay extra. That was the first let down. The animals were pretty cute but they kind of freaked Auron out and he didn't want to go near them. We only stayed in the farm part for about 30 mins. Aarahi and I enjoyed the animals though.

There are lots of playgrounds at the park too so we set up our picnic in one of them and basked in the beautiful sun for the next 90mins. Lili loved stuffing her face with strawberries. Auron ran himself to the point of exhaustion and was fast asleep before we even left the carpark. We tried to teach him how to swing himself on the swing. I think we were about 80% successful.

Thursday 5 September 2013


I was hoping the weather might be nicer today but it's still grey and dismal. We were off to such a great start this week! Nonetheless I had another inside activity up my sleeve. I had read a few months ago about making prints on to tee shirts using wax crayons and sandpaper. I bought the supplies months ago and never completed the project.
I couldn't find the actual tutorial on how to do it so I just made it up from what I remembered.

1. Draw your picture on the sand paper in crayons. You need to make the wax layer quite thick. I had to go over Auron's lines a bit harder after he had finished.

2. Place a piece of cardboard inside you shirt so that the colour does bleed through

3. Place your sandpaper picture face down onto your tee shirt

4. Iron over the back of the sandpaper for about 30sec.

5. Carefully lift the edge of the sandpaper to see that the picture has transferred. If not iron a little longer.

6. Put the shirt in the dryer for 20 mins to set, or use a hair dryer if you don't have a clothes dryer.

Note: wash by itself the first time you wash.

What Auron enjoyed most about this activity was drawing on a different texture. Lili loved scratching on the sandpaper and rubbing it together to make noise.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Month of Fun - Day 4 GYMBAROO

Today was one of those day. You know the ones where the lack of sleep and pure exhaustion just catches up with you. I have been unwell for the last few days so haven't slept well then last night Lili and Auron were a tag team waking up non stop from 11pm til 6am.
I just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep all day. But as with all things when you are a parent, life must go on. Kids don't care that you're tired, they just want you to make them breakfast and play with them.
So I rang my husband to complain about how tired I was. He commiserated with me, then told me to get out of the house and I would feel better. He was right.
The kids and I got ready (I had to put a a fair bit of make up on to hide the signs of a mother barely keeping it together). By 930 we were on our way to Gymbaroo, the walk was just what I needed to wake myself up. It was half raining.
Auron and Lili LOVE to go to Gymbaroo. We go each week along with some other kids from our playgroup and lots of other kids around the community. Our council has subsidised the price greatly so we only pay $2 per family each week. It goes for 90mins and is a music and movement class for kids 6 months - 5 years. It works on coordination and using different muscles. The start the class with massages. Auron does not want anything to do with that but he comes over and joins in once we are all more active. He loves free time most, and doing the circuit with the instructor. Lili enjoys practising her climbing on all the equipment, and the balls.
Aarahi arrived just as it was finishing. We went and picked up the groceries and headed home. He was lovely and sent me off to have a sleep. I am feeling like a whole new woman now! I am so lucky that he is generally home by lunch time each day. Love love LOVE it!


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