Being organised saves money: menu planning.

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(image credit: I used Canva  to create this image)

A Happy Suburban Chick likes to enjoy her life, and she doesn’t have money to throw a way. So its time to get serious about saving.

This week I am exploring the idea of being organized saves money.

I watched the show War on Waste and it showed that Australians are throwing out a lot of food. I have been noticing my own house hold and I think I have a problem. Every week I throw out food. Our food purchases are the first area we can save money in.

I am going to start with planning my meals and monitoring my food shopping costs.

Menu Planning

This is how I am going to do it.
Plan meals weekly – Monday to Sunday, breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Create a shopping list.
Checking my pantry and fridge for the ingredients I already have.
Take into consideration what is happening during my week to plan my meals better.
Most  follow the plan.

I have spent some time decorating my folder called, Homemaking: The Organized Home. After all I need a really pretty colourful folder to motivate me on this getting organised adventure. The first section I am working on is Menu planning. I have found some printables that are beautiful and simple to use at Blooming Homestead. This is where I am starting. The hardest part is the final point following the plan. It has to be simple to follow, fit in with my life especially the busy evenings, and include at least one cooking adventure.

Now I still want to eat well, I still want to enjoy my food, and try out new dishes. I still want to drink my wine, and enjoy a treat or two. I just don’t want to be throwing out money, and the money I save could be going towards something really awesome like a camping trips away on weekends.

A Happy Suburban Chick likes to enjoy her life, and she doesn’t have money to throw a way. So its time to get serious about saving. It time to find fun effective ways to save money and still enjoy life.

What are some bad habits that you may be struggling with that are costing you money?

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Do you have any tips on how being organised saves you money?

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

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Bookshelf Review~ A Table in the Orchard- My Delicious Life by Michelle Crawford

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When I walked past this book I just had to pick it up and with the title, A Table in the Orchard- My Delicious Life by Michelle Crawford I could not resist. Then when I flicked through it the gorgeous pictures caught my eye and captured my imagination, I had to take this book home.

This book is full of stories and photo’s of Michelle’s life changing move from Sydney to Tasmania, and her life looks and sounds delicious. Michelle left Sydney to live in Tasmania with her husband and two children. They now live in a Georgian Farmhouse on a small farm in the Tasmanian Country side.

The book is full of gorgeous photos of food, and life in picturesque Tasmania. Michelle has mouth watering recipes accompanying all her stories. It’s theme of home grown, locally bought, being resourceful whilst cooking from scratch and passion for food permeate this book.

Take- aways from this book:

Take time and hard work to grow your own vegetables and fruit, it not only results in a tasty crop of food, but a greater appreciation of that food. There is joy in the experience of growing your own food. For myself, this means getting out into my backyard vegetable patch.

Be resourceful, grow your own food, barter for foods, use good locally grown ingredients, and cook from scratch using what you have. Good quality food, home grown and home cooked result in delicious good quality meals.

Enjoy the experiences of your environment, and community, and make food part of that experience, discover the yumminess around you. For myself, as a suburbanite, this could mean visiting a Farmers Market, Local Markets or going for a drive in the country side on the weekend and discovering new foods.

It was quite clear that Michelle did not have a lot of money to spend. That she was patient and saved up for the important things they valued for their home like her wood stove and renovating her kitchen. She was resourceful using what she had to create amazing recipes. Her family enjoyed the simple things in life and the experiences of farm life and exploring their local community.

Richness in life also came from being connected with family and friends, and the way that food connected them, that celebration of gathering and food. Yes, I am thinking more family gatherings, friends over for dinner, BBQ’s, picnics and camping weekends.

Finally, understanding that richness comes through our simple daily experiences, the way we interact with family, food, home, and nature. It doesn’t take a lot of money to live a rich life, it takes a passion for life, appreciation of the moment, and current circumstance. It takes a dream of that delicious life we desire, and a slow moving towards it, enjoying the journey as we go.

More details about this book go to  Michelle Crawford’s website  Hugo and Elsa 

This book is a must read for all those Happy Suburban Chicks out in the world. A frugal tip, try borrowing it from your local library.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

Caring for indoor plants.

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It sits in the corner of the room, looking sad, with its limpy big discolored leaves. The reality is I am slowly killing my indoor plant.
The whole purpose of having an indoor plant was to bring nature into my house and to bring color into my house. Having a plant in my home makes me feel happy. My biggest struggle at the moment is not killing it.

Have you ever wondered how to care for your indoor plants and make them grow? I have which is why I have done some personal research to find some simple ways to help plants thrive. Here are four very basic tips that I am now following:

1. Sunlight.
2. Watering
3. Soil
4. Fresh air.

Sunlight: Is your plant getting enough sunlight. When you buy a plant it usually tells you how much sunlight it likes, this is helpful advice when it comes to putting in the right spot in your home. Also, sunlight varies with seasons, summer more sunlight and winter less sunlight. My plant likes partial shade, in the summer it thrives in the corner as the sunshine intensity bursts through my big living room window. In winter it was missing out on that sunshine in the corner. I have moved it in front of the window for the winter months now it is getting plenty of sunshine.

Sunlight: Rotate your plants to the light, giving them equal light so they will grow equally and grow straight.

Watering: Overwatering leads to root rot, and underwatering leads to plants drying out and limping out. It turns out I have been over watering, with the base of the pot full of water. My plant was on the path to root rot. Apparently, plants need a good watering and then they need time to dry out before soaking again. The simplest way to test is the finger test, by putting your finger in the soil to see how dry or moist it is.

Soil: Simply use proper potting soil, and that way the soil will drain well.

Fresh Air: Plants love fresh air and the air to be circulating. The easiest way to achieve this is by opening up the windows.

Now, these are just simple easy ways to care for indoor plants. Serious gardeners may be shaking their heads in disgust. Yes, I know there are more complex ways to care for your indoor plants. Whilst if you are like me, and can just cope with the basics these four points are a good place to start.

Now that I am implementing these four easy points to take care of my indoor plant I am hopeful that it will thrive and not die.

I would really like to have more indoor plants because plants make me feel happy.

Wishing you all  a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

Ten Blessings Of The Week

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Busy working the weekend and enjoying life. Here are my ten blessings of the week:
1. Feeling blessed for waking up to frothy espresso coffees thanks to hubby and the new coffee machine.

2. Feeling blessed for creating amazing yummy healthy meals thanks to Aussie Farmers Fresh box and recipes.

3. Feeling blessed for great music to bring me joy each day, listening to the best of Josh Pyke and just loving it.

4. Feeling blessed for my exercise bliss, now that my back is feeling better, back to Yoga Tuesday, and Friday Sh’bam classes.

5. Feeling blessed for rainbows, thanks to rain and the sunshine, just magical.

6. Feeling blessed for a fluffy puppy follower, who follows me around and spends hours sitting close to me.

7. Feeling blessed for Friday family movie night, and family dinner
enjoying a great time hanging out together.

8. Feeling blessed for walks around the lake spotting ducks and seagulls.

9.Feeling blessed for journal time at the local library and replenishing my book supply.

10. Smiles, laughs, lots of things to simply laugh and enjoy every day.

What are your ten blessings for the week?

FRAN DISHON

A Happy Suburban Chick Friday Thoughts.

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Fabulous Friday I can feel the upbeat vibe as I get further into the day. There is an excitement out there in the world of Suburbia, the weekend is coming. Here is a fun frivolous blog post for Friday.

I thought I share Fran’s Friday thoughts:

Friday gym class Sh’bam fabulous fun way to start Friday’s
Friday sipping tea Earl Grey so uplifting.
Friday magazines read- The simple things.
Friday music_ The Best Of Josh Pyke
Friday Quote: Friday it time to start making stories for Monday. (and no idea who to credit that one too.)
Friday annoyance: Went to Australian Hearing to replace shoe for a receiver and Roger Pen for my son- nope still not working.
Friday delay_ Dinner out to the restaurant can you believe it, they were booked out, date night with hubby postponed until next week.
Friday dinner gnocchi, garlic bread, and red wine. I am cooking.
Friday sads it feels like Sunday night as I am working this weekend. Postponing the weekend until Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Happy Friday!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

FRAN DISHON

 

Bookshelf Review~The Spy by Paulo Coelho

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Historical fiction I love. This author’s work I love. This book brought to life the historical story of Mata Hari (Margaretha Zella) who became famous as an exotic dancer and high-end prostitute to powerful and rich men. The character is painted as a strong and independent woman whose ” only crime was to be an independent woman.” She was betrayed, executed, and used as a Scapegoat to distract the publics attention from the brutal loss of young men’s lives due to the war at that time.

Immediately the book grabbed my attention from the very beginning starting boldly with the execution. It was engaging, easy to follow and told in the first person by Mata Hari and the Lawyer through letters they wrote.

It creates Mata Hari as a very strong character who had come from difficult circumstances. She was raped at 16, then found herself in a physically and sexually abusive marriage, she suffered the death of a son, whilst her abusive husband had custody of her daughter. I felt her desperation to survive and thrive. I felt her courage and strength to reinvent herself and do what she needed to do to survive. I don’t know that she had many choices however she chose a daring and controversial path.

It was a great read, although I feel it glamorized her position as a dancer and prostitute. I really wonder how much choice she really had, how much pain she suffered, and how difficult it must have been for her at the time. The book makes it sound like her time as an exotic dancer and prostitute were easy.

However, I liked that I could admire her for being strong, taking control of her life, and daring to think out of the box, use her smarts, looks and talents to survive and thrive. Whilst from the beginning to end she was treated unjustly, especially the final betrayal by men and her country France, and yet she never acted like the victim, rather with pride.

Overal it was an interesting and engaging read, I think I would like it more had it been a little grittier.

Wishing you all a wonderful day

.FRAN DISHON

 

 

My journal book adventure.

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During Journal Club by Jamie Ridler, I was inspired to grab a book off my self and start working through the exercises and prompts in my Journal.

 

The Happy Suburban Chick likes to journal, I am currently doing Journal Club and delving deep into the practice of journaling. The last week we explored using books off our shelves for journal prompts. This inspired me to get one of my books off the shelf.

Some books are really good for being part of the journaling process and discovering parts that you can apply to real life. I recently got Julia Cameron’s book Finding Water- The Art of Perseverance, this is the book I have chosen to do over the next 12 weeks.
Like Julia Cameron’s other books you need to know about a number of tools, Artist’s Dates, Morning Pages and Walking. You can find out about the tools in a previous post I did for Walking in this World.

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I have already done the Artist’s Way and also Walking in this World and have found the prompts and exercise excellent for exploring in my journal. Also each time I work through one of her books I discover a new perspective and initiating changes that make my life so much enjoyable and in a much more positive direction.

Today I have chosen this prompt from week one which is uncovering a sense of optimism. It is easy to focus on the shoulds, however, those shoulds can limit us and get in the way of what we really want to be doing. This exercise is about focusing on the coulds to discover new possibilities. This is about completing the following quote and doing it as fast as you can. It is important not to overthink it or try to rationalize rather for the answers to just flow on the page unedited.

O ften we do things because we should, what this is about the things we could do. Julia suggests we come up with ten answers to the following prompt.

Journal Prompt: I could try…………………………………………………………..

I love journaling and I love journaling with books I write more about this in my blog Living a beautiful life- journaling and walking.

I really recommend taking a book and not just reading it, but also live it and see what works for you. What book could you read and apply to your life today?

 

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

It is not that exciting! Suburban living.

fullsizeoutput_15c8Just another ordinary day, with the highlight being a walk around the lake.  It is a fine Winter’s day, a coat day because it is cold outside. Days like today just are not that exciting.   As part of the Ultimate blog challenge today I am to share blogs that I am reading.  Well I am tired and want to go to bed so I have only one to share.

Today  I have decided to just let you know about a Suburban online  social network to connect with your neighbours and find out what is happening in your neighbourhood it is called Nabo 

Nabo is an Australian social network where you can sign up and is relatively new but is growing. I love that it is suburban focused.

A great blog post on the site  to check out is How to fall in love with your neighbourhood again.

I love its suburbia feel and how it focuses on suburban living.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

Ten Blessings of the Week

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Sunday night and I am taking a moment to reflect on what I feel blessed for this week. I feel it is important to take the time to appreciate all that is good in my life, as the days and weeks could go by without me noticing.

This week 10 blessings are as follows:

1. I am feeling blessed to be able to access friendly and helpful people when submitting in my son’s complex forms.

2. I am feeling blessed to be in good health and able to enjoy my life.

3. I am feeling blessed for a cold chilly weekend, blue skies and fine days and no rain.

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4. Feeling blessed for a wonderful dinner meeting for the start of my Toastmasters Club new year.

5. Blessed with the arrival of a coffee machine, and all the yummy coffees I have been enjoying since it arrived.

6. Feeling blessed that my football team Geelong won on the weekend. Go Cats!

7. Feeling blessed for my Husband cooking dinner for me Saturday night and buying me some nice crisp white wine to enjoy with a lovely meal.

8. I am blessed for books for adding wisdom into my life and opening my mind to expanding possibilities

9. I am blessed for music for lifting my spirits and giving me hours of enjoyment.

10. I am blessed for a weekend off, it great to have time off when the rest of my family has time off. It great to be able to spend a weekend together. Appreciating weekends off.

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Sunday  afternoon drive to Gembrook in the Dandenong Ranges  and for coffee and cake.

Reflect. What are your Ten Blessings of the Week?

Wishing you all a wonderful day.

FRAN DISHON

 

Another day bites the dust.

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Saturday evening and I am sipping wine, munching on dip and biscuits, listening to some very strange chill out music. I have been trying to convince my husband to cook dinner tonight. He has gone to the kitchen and is making a lot of noise, so I am very hopeful.

The day has been spent organizing paper work for contests and trying to use easySpeak for my Cranbourne Toastmasters club. It is my personal project for the weekend to work on.  My new role of VPE ( Vice President of Education) requires me to set up the agenda for the meetings.  I am struggling with create a template for the contests.  There is always that one thing I don’t know what to do. Solution after some Couch Carol videos, and playing around, I find myself growling at my computer. It is at this point I grab my phone and make a phone call and ask for help. I find my fellow Toastmasters are always willing to help.

It Saturday evening, the chill out music and wine, give a real Saturday night feel. Still I need to get this blog post done as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, so here I am on my couch computer on lap, my fingers tapping out the words.

This is  a personal/lifestyle blog, I tend to blog about life. I love journaling, Toastmasters and personal develpment. My newest hobby is photography.  My biggest learning curve has been navigating the resources, funding and programmes for my 16 year old son with a disability. I am not an expert rather a Happy Suburban Chick trying to improve each day and be the best person I can be.

Got questions? Ask me anything!

Today I invite you to ask me anything and leave your question or comment in the comment box.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON