Over the Australia Day long weekend Mr E and I only left home for a quick trip into town to purchase coffee beans, then spent the rest of the three-day break pottering around the home, attending to various tasks, enjoying the tennis finals on telly during the evenings, and generally relaxing.
Hubby also had more time to work on his new hobby, robotics, and I could enjoy unhurried hours in the kitchen.
After monitoring my blood pressure six times a day for ten days on doctor's orders, we discovered my BP is lowest when I am in the kitchen. Isn't that lovely? So in between sewing more presents for my gift box, preparing new designs to stitch, and watching episodes of The Crown and Call the Midwife, I cooked!
For the week ahead I made Lasagne and Chicken Pot Pie. The lasagne makes up three dinners so we'll eat two and freeze the third serving. Hubby loves the chicken pot pie so much that it will only last for two evening meals...
For morning/afternoon teas at home and work I baked Matrimony Slice and a Pineapple Fruit Cake...
...and for a dessert which would last four nights a Lemon Meringue Pie was prepared as well.
As you can see we're two nights in already...
I also made two jars of Plum & Cinnamon Jam, which we've been having on toast for breakfast, along with homemade granola and berries.
I didn't need an excuse to play in the kitchen, but knowing it brings my BP down to normal is certainly an incentive.
Tomorrow I need to bake bread, sprout buckwheat for the next batch of breakfast granola, plus make more protein balls and a zucchini slice for Mr to take to work.
It's amazing how much lower our grocery bill is when I don't leave the house for a week and shop from my pantry instead. Most of the time this is normal for us, but when I need to run errands a few times in a week there's a tendency to drop by Woollies on the way home to grab a few things and those 'few things' turn out to be half a trolley full.
When Mr E was at University we had a very limited income to live on and small children to feed, so I loved doing the fortnightly grocery trip because I had a legitimate reason to shop and spend money.
I know this sounds silly but when you can't spend because there's no extra $ to do so, a leisurely two hour trip up and down the aisles of the supermarket looking for the best bargains and the most economical but nutritious ingredients is an absolute luxury and handing over the cash when you're done makes you feel rich and quite satisfied.
Because of the years living that way I developed a real joy for grocery shopping which to this day has not waned, so whenever I am out in the car alone I am drawn to the supermarket aisles and tend to linger as I wander them, but as I've not gone in with a genuine shopping list or menu plan the result is that I come home with things I did not need, those wasteful impulse purchases I regret as soon as the shopping bags are being unpacked on the kitchen benchtop.
I know I have this problem, which is why I've returned to making time each week to plan our meals and snacks before ordering my groceries online for home delivery. This one thing, along with cooking almost everything from scratch, has been the best decision for our budget, and the bonus is the money we save can then go directly into our house deposit fund.
Another way I'm saving is to use what I already have for making gifts.
Recently I'd been sorting through my large box of completed embroideries to find some smaller ones which can be used in simple gifts, and I also have a large plastic tub of fabric scraps collected over the past five or six years which I could incorporate, so over the course of this past lazy Saturday a few projects came to life.
These little stitcheries, Rest and Thrive, were backed with remnants of pretty Tilda fabric and filled with dried lavender flowers, becoming scented drawer sachets...
I have a box of cellophane bags purchased many years ago and they were perfect to store the sachets once finished. This is a good way to keep your hand stitched gifts neat, clean and ready to post or wrap...
I was gifted some Lemon Tree fabrics by the Tilda distributor, 2 Green Zebras, earlier this month, and used a couple of the prints to make more bookmarks...
The lace, ribbon and buttons were from my stash, and they have scrap cut-offs of Pellon in the centre.
My little tea pot stitchery became the feature in a tray mat, also made from a couple of the Lemon Tree prints. I made this up as I went along...
More fabric scraps were used to make some pretty gift tags for friends who came to visit today. I got this idea from Janice last year and have since made quite a few. So simple, but so lovely...
Brown paper bags, small lengths of lace, and a fabric embellished tag.
Everything was already in my craft supplies and I look forward to using more and more of those supplies as this year progresses.
I popped the little lavender sachets inside these bags and had them waiting on the table today when the girls arrived...
Choosing to use what I have in order to create something new, shopping for groceries in a way that prevents me wasting our hard earned income, cooking from scratch and following a menu plan...all these things give me immense personal satisfaction, and I believe they honour my husband and honour God.
My life scripture is -
"The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
so he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil all the days
of her life."
Proverbs 31: 11-12
Every year I discover new ways of living this out, and I hope that never changes.
What are you doing in your life to trim back on expenses, or to break a bad habit?
I'd love to hear. You may have ideas we can all glean from.
God bless you, always.