Saturday, September 29, 2012

Interesting Conversations With Others that get me thinking

I will start off this post by saying that I love just how different people are - their views, their thoughts, their beliefs. Sometimes I want to hug them, but then sometimes I want to drop them in a very very deep well!! LOL

So in that light - I recently had a conversation with... let's call them D, shall we? It got me thinking...

As you all know, I am in that place where I am looking at changing directions, doing more with my life, yada yada - you get my drift.

Now, my one burning desire is to own my own home. When I was younger, I loved renting. I loved the freedom of it, the lack of responsibility - but I have always hated the control that others have had over me - Landlords seem to have nearly all the power in Australia, and tenants .... lets just say, not much :(

But for the most part, I liked renting.

But as I have gotten older and my mental health issues have become more a part of my/our lives, I have started to rethink renting. Then we had our 2+yrs of hard arse struggle and it solidified in my mind just how precarious life can be.

Now, all I want is my own home. I want the stability of our own home, that can't be taken away because someone has had a change of mind or circumstances.  I want a home where I don't have to stress each and every day that something will happen that needs fixing, or calling the Landlord to fix. Or any of that.

I want to be able to relax and know that the roof over our heads is there for however long we want it to be. I NEED to know that someone can't just come in and say "This is wrong, this is not acceptable, this is fine, why is that there, etc" or worse of all "Time to leave"

BUT..... we have had the past few years of hell - what with health issues, money issues, emotional issues - you name it, it has probably passed over our plates. So owning our very own house seems nigh impossible - and I'm not being dramatic. You need MONEY to have money - lol! 

That said, I am always looking. Whenever we HAVE managed to save a deposit and be able to start looking, something ALWAYS happens and we end up having no deposit. But now, after our years of hardship, we are skint and only just now starting to afford the things "normal" people can afford. So we are starting from scratch - again.

Anyhoo - I recently had a very very down day. I spent a few days thinking that we were forever going to be at the mercies of landlords and Real Estate Agents and getting very very depressed.

What has this got to do with conversations? Bear with me :)

So, after my few days of blackness, I did what I always try to do - look up and figure a way out.

And of course, after prayer and discussions with DragonPapa - we came to our solution.

As we will have no help with a deposit and will have to do it all on our own, we need to sort our budget. That's the easy part - we account for nearly every single cent we spend - we have to. At our rate of savings (pfft) we will have enough for a decent deposit in - oh in about a millennium!! LMAO

So we looked at what our criteria was and it turned out to be this...

We need to know that we could afford the mortgage even if there was a limited income coming in.
We need to know that we could afford to cover the upkeep and costs of owning our house.
We need to know that we weren't committing to a HUGE debt that we would have NO way of ever paying off
We need to know that we could see us paying it off in a short time if finances allowed.
We need to know that we wouldn't be living/working JUST to pay the mortgage and that the rest of our lives  wouldn't be shunted off to a very distant and stressful second place.

So.... we worked out what WE were comfortable paying and THEN we looked at what was available. Only after that did we adjust our requirements. Having worked in Banking, both of us had experiences with people who over committed because they loved their house, before they loved their budget - IYKWIM

And we found what we were looking for.

Here's the conversation bit.

DragonPapa and I were discussing our plans - we're talkers, we love to hash it all out and figure it out as much as possible THEN go for it if we are both in agreement - it can sometimes take a while before we are both on the same page. Well, someone overheard us - D. Here's how it went...

D - Why would you live there?
Us - Because it's affordable and gives us what we want
D- But why there?
Us - ......'s ... affordable...and we want??
D - How much?
Us - Well (total example here of course - if you can find a house for $100 BUY THAT SUCKER!! BUY IT NOW!! lol) to buy a house there will only cost us $100 and our mortgage will only be $10 a fortnight.
D - But its so far away!
Us - (feeling confused a tad) Not really
D- what about work? You'll spend SO much more on travel than you will save
Us - We are still looking into it, but public transport is only $XX a week and only takes XX time. We are still ahead by heaps.
D - well, I don't like it.
Us - (chuckling by now) Okay, you don't like, it, that's okay you don't have to live there
D - Did you know, I saw a house in XXXXX suburb that was ONLY $250!! That's cheap!!
Us - *confused silence*
D - What?
Us - Ummm, that's well over DOUBLE what we want to pay!!
D - So? It's in XXXX and it's only $250!! You really need to be thinking of the kids you know!!
Us - *now stunned silence*
Silence as D potters around - DragonPapa and I just look at each other completely confused - did D not realise what we had been saying? Or did they just not HEAR us?
Us - D..... you realise something? If we buy the $100 house, it's only $10 a fortnight and deposit is only $25. If we buy the $250 house, it's like nearly $30 a fortnight and deposit of $60 - that's a HUGE difference. That's like half our income on repayments alone! 
D -So? That's just what everyone does nowdays.

It was at that point we realised something. This person, this educated, very experienced person of the world, couldn't see our side of this conversation. They really couldn't understand why someone would buy a smaller house, in a less than salubrious area rather than the 'nicely done up', larger house in the much more acceptable suburb. 

We talked about it afterwards and came to the conclusion that in the end, it boils down to this - 

Debt is simply a part of our world now. Rarely do we have to save if we want something, there are plans and finance and credit - don't get me wrong - we TOTALLY use these things too - oh my goodness do we! lol

But it has become the point now, where it is a reflection of ourselves. To have the Big House in the Good Suburb. To have the Nice Car. To wear the Right Clothes and have the Correct Wardrobe. Mustn't be seen wearing the same thing too much - people will talk. Have the Holidays and the Trips - all that crap. Get it on credit if you need, work harder to pay for it all.....

And do you know what I hear the most from people like D?

I wish I had time to do xxx .... I wish I could retire... I wish I could work less.... 


Can anyone see a link? Or is it just us?

When you boil it down and look at the bones of this, this is what we get.

* IF * we can save the deposit needed and buy the house we want, we are getting a home that will be cheaper than our current rental - that's including rates and transportation costs and maintenance costs. AND we will still have extra in our pockets. If we put that extra we are saving BACK into our new home, we will have paid it off IN FULL in 10-15yrs - quicker if we pay more (as we are on a good rental wicket here $$ anyway) If we pay what we would have to if we moved out of here and rented around this area (the area D was suggesting), we would have it paid off in 6-8yrs. And we would have saved ourselves hundred of thousands of dollars in interest. Not only that, but there is an almost guaranteed increase in value there as compared to other suburbs.

But, the most important factor of all - the Main Point to all this - It Would Be OURS! Our Home. Somewhere safe and secure. Some time soon, not decades in the future.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Christmas Post - Take 2

Okay, let's try to get this one done nicely, yes? LOL

It is about 90 days until Christmas - yep, only 90 days!!!!!!

Now, we have already started planning and preparing for our Christmas Gifts to friends and family. Why? Because we have to.

If we don't, we run the following risks...

A) Running out of time
B) Running out of money
C) Running the risk of giving people crappy gifts (or none at all)
and the most important one of all
D) Totally NOT enjoying it and it becomes just another greedy ME ME MEMEMEMEEEEE day!

So, in this household, we do Hampers. We have been doing them for about 4 yrs now and we LOVE them!! I know not everyone we give them to does, but *shrug* you can't please everyone - lol.

For us, it started as a way to give to everyone, yet not spend too much money as we were desperately broke. Then, because we had so much fun doing it and the response was overwhelming, we decided to do it again (I won't confirm nor deny that money May have been a factor - lol) now, it's just what we do.

This blog started as a forum post - well several, so in the interests of being lazy, I will cut and paste those posts here.

So for anyone wanting ideas or hints, here are ours.

I love hampers. I have been doing hampers as Christmas gifts for about 4 years now. I have found that people really like the personal touch that seems to go with hampers.
We do the same thing - over the year, pick up bits and pieces as I find them that I think people will like (watch expiry dates)
DVDsBooksPhoto holders - coasters, books, mugs, etcPamper stuffAlcoholTreats
Basically, anything can go in a hamper - limits are only $$ and what the recipent would like.
I also do home made things
Bath Bombs (I can tailor them to suit the person getting them - generally I go very safe, no harsh chemicals, etc)Alcohol Soft toys/clothingFood - Rocky Road, White Christmas, Muffin/Cake/Slice/Hot Drink-In-A-Jar, Macaroons, different sorts of biscuits - sugar, coconut, chocolate, stained glass windows, different shapes, different colours, etc, Cherry Ripe Slice, Christmas Slice - tons of them.Christmas Decorationsand of course, the kids make stuff for those that want it - Grandparents, family friends, etc.
We have already started - lol, I love it
Quick Edit in - we are also even making our own baskets this year biggrin.gif

 Then followed by 

most of my recipes are now on paper format as I have juggled around with qualities and quantities, but I have linked some of the original recipes (and those I *think* were the originals or just damned near enoughlaughing2.gif ) and typed out a few from my computer folder/recipe book
Any questions, feel free to ask - and if you find any new recipes you think might be cool, please, share laughing2.gif! - for my In-A-Jar mixes - I do either a jar or make them myself. - more gifts in a jar sort of thing - this one is a favourite, but eewwwww I can't stand rolling the balls (so sticky and needs constant washing of hands so that mixture doesn't stick to your hands instead of together) so will sometimes cheat and make it into a slice. Not as nice, but still yummy as!! Also I like to use little patty pans as well - makes everything neat and tidy
Cowboy/Cowgirl/Christmas Cookies Mix from Bakerella - I just change the M&Ms to the Christmas colours and make the biscuits and wrap them in food safe cellophane
Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Martha Stewart's Biscuit Recipes for Stained Glass Window Cookies (and heaps more)
Old Fashioned Sugar Biscuits
Rocky Road Slice - sorta like my recipe - tweak until you like it
Mini Toffees - I prefer to use the tiny little foil cups/patty pans so that you avoid the tearing/sticking paper when removing them from their patty pans/cups- you also get a lot more out of the recipe that way.
No Idea where I got this one from - if anyone knows, please let me know as I need to reference it in my recipe book.But it is REALLY nice if you love brownies apparently (I don't, can't stand them personally) I have had nearly everyone ask for more of these

Double Fudge Brownie Mix
Jar Ingredients: 2 cups sugar 1 cup cocoa (not Dutch process) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup chocolate chips Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight containerTag Instructions: Double-Fudge Brownies 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 4 eggs 1 package Double-Fudge Brownie Mix Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 12 by 9 inch pan. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Double-Fudge Brownie Mix & continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth. Spread the mixture into the greased pan, & bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
White Christmas (a really common recipe, so find one that you like)
1 1/2 Cups of Rice Bubbles1 1/2 cups of Powered Milk1 1/2 cups of Desiccated Coconut1 1/2 cups of icing sugar250gms of Copha3/4 cup of chopped Glace Cherries3/4 cup Sultanas
Melt Copha, mix everything well, press into tray or patty pans or shapes and refrigerate until set
I also trickle melted chocolate (white or milk, doesn't matter) over the top or pour it into the patty pans first for a nice chocolately base.

Others I use that don't require a recipe - 
Chocolate dipped Marshmallows - literally dip marshmallows in chocolate, set on waxed paper to set, sprinkle with Christmas coloured sprinkles if so wish while chocolate is still wet. Kebab sticks work best for this so that you don't get tempted to lick your chocolately fingers after every dip roll2.gif
Chocolate Molds - pour melted chocolate into Christmas molds and let set - make sure you get cooking chocolate and taste test first - I also add, nuts, cherries, sultanas, M&Ms - all sorts
Chocolate/Sugar covered Mixed Fruit - get mixed fruit (or dried fruit of your choice) and place in bag with sugar and shake, then portion into food safe cellophane packets. Chocolate version - line a waxed paper tray, spread into a thin layer and pour/trickle melted chocolate over and shake gently to even mix out (then spend 1/2 hour after licking wax paper roll2.gif )

Everything I make gets put into it's own food safe packets/baggies with ribbon ties and added to the hamper. I usually give 4 pieces for everyone the hamper is intended for. Sometime the packets get quite big so make sure that you have lots of wrapping stuff and take the time to work out how it looks best to you.
To finish off - as many people don't know every singles persons food issues/needs/avoidances, I also print these off and tie them to the hamper as a little roll. That way people can check what is in each thing before they eat it. I also make sure that everything is washed and cleaned between each and every session.

I also make flavoured Alcohol, but its best if you know the people you are giving too and that way you can find the most accepted drinnk and do a few of those - heaps of recipes online.
I have more, but my Christmas Hamper Folder is packed away in the Christmas box and I'm not quite ready to dig it out yet (the kids will want to decorate the house....nnnnnnooooooo! grin.gif )
But if you hunt through the links I gave, there are heaps of idea to try - always try first if you can.
Good Luck and have fun!!! biggrin.gif


Ohh, I almost forgot - I also do these - 
Candles (scented, coloured, plain, containers, pillars) Soaps (scented, coloured, plain, smooth, rough)Salts - different flavoured salts and cooking rubs in little jars are always nice to get (example - get rock salt, lemon grass, pepper, etc in a grinder, grind until its the consistancy you want, put in a little decorative jar with a descriptive label - ta dah!! biggrin.gif)Home Made Jams
Sew (simple things as I suck at sewing - you might be a wizz biggrin.gif )
ApronsSoft toys (I just found Spoonflower , they have some pocket dolls that look really easy, I have ordered some and just waiting now! ddance.gif P.S. I don't get anything for referrals, just sharing the love biggrin.gif ) I used to just buy patterned cloth from Spotlight and cut and sew, but these look promising as well! There are also Felt toys that work well for people.Placemats/napkins/oven mits/table runners/ mini quilts/ whatever the person might like - no point wasting time on someone who will think "WTH?" if you give them a handmade tablerunner laughing2.gifCross stitch - raw stock vs kits are cheaper and easier to personalise IMO

lol, do you think I spend a lot of time thinking of handmade gifts to give??  

 LOL - so yeah - we like hampers here!!

Here's an example of one years worth of hampers - We had approx 50-60 hampers to give out. Overall, including the personal bits and pieces we bought for people, we spent approx $300 all up. That worked out to be approx $6 a hamper and those hampers were PACKED!!

I guess you can see why we like to start early here - and with the Hatchling due in Nov, I really have to have some idea of what I am doing this year...I think we might be lucky if we have a small hamper this year - LOL

If you have any ideas that you use and love, feel free to let me know - share and share alike :D

Can't Wait Until It's Over

I have a theory. It's a good one...

God decided that to make women WANT to give birth, regardless of the agony of childbirth, he would make the last few weeks of pregnancy SO horrible, that we would be wishing for childbirth.

Well..... I'm not going to go THAT far, but I will say this much.


I have explained briefly what's going on with my body and how much pregnancy does NOT agree with me - note, the next person to tell me that they LOVED being pregnant, will find themselves face down in a flushing toilet, have I made myself clear??? but this morning simply takes the cake!

I went to bed with the usual pains and agonies - back, legs, tummy, head, etc...

I woke up this morning to A SPRAINED WRIST!!

Well, that is what DragonPapa and I think. Swelling, pain, etc. All consistent to a sprained wrist.

How does one Sprain their wrist WHILE SLEEPING?? Huh HUH??

And Nnoooooooo - you lot are dirty buggers, nothing like that!

Dragonett Lass had a friend over for a sleepover last night and Dragonett Lad is currently co-sleeping permanently with us at the moment, due to the fact that I'm halfway through stripping his room/they having trashed it and I don't like the thought of him in there with ALL his toys on the floor - not safe. PLUS DragonPapa is on his first few weeks of a CPAP machine and I'm... well, I'm 8 months pregnant. So no. Just... No!

So yeah - that happened. :(

Did you know how hard it is to sew with a sprained wrist? Or brush your hair? Or dress an 8 month pregnant butt? Or even change a 3yr olds nappy?? Neither did I until this morning. Even though it is my left hand, I never realised just how much I use my leftie!!

And to add to all that insult and injury - here's the salt in my wounds, the lemon on my papercut, the pee in my wheaties - I don't feel safe driving. I have no strength in my dodgy left leg at the moment and feeling like this, I don't deem myself able to react in milliseconds that would need to be required to dodge the fuckwits that are South Aussie drivers. Add to that I have now sprained my gear stick arm...... *sniffs* SO I am now housebound for who knows how long. * sniff sniff*

So I am currently limping/dragging my feet (hurts less to drag than to actually pick up my feet and walk normally), clutching my back which is doing the pregnant bowing out thing + hurting because something is badly out, listening to it grind away with every movement (you know that sound, when you need to replace the brake pads in your car, like last month? yeah, THAT sound) healing from a stretched ligament on the side of my enormous belly, numb thighs, shooting pain in left leg and now, aching painful sprained left wrist... All the while, I look like an obese frail elderly woman hobbling oh so slowly around her home after she's broken her hip for the third time, refusing to go to the safety of a care facility, complete with daggy clothing and non brushed hair.

Can I please just go to sleep and wake up in 5weeks with all this behind me and a gorgeous seconds old hatchling in my arms?? Pretty Pretty Please???? I'm not asking for much..... really! :D

On that note, I am going to go do...... I have NO freaken Idea what! Thank Goodness Dragonett Lass is out with friends today. Dragonett Lad is wanting cups of Cold and Flu Herbal Tea (and YES!! That IS my review on there - heehee!! Go read and buy lots!!) which is good as he has a slight cough and runny nose, but means I have to keep getting up and making it.

*wanders hobbles off to lay down and play iPhone games*

Oh, if anyone in my area is going to Spotlight, can you please pick me up a metre or two of heavy weight interfacing? Ta muchly :D


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Little Artist!

Dragonett Lass has been discovering her artistic side during the downtime that has been this pregnancy.

It has been really great actually.

Tonight, she came up with this - 

All of her own making and imagination as well - that's one of the parts I'm most impressed about. We have been trying to encourage her to experiment and explore and with the pregnancy taking up a lot of our normal "hanging" time, it has apparently worked!

She has even signed it! Or as she says "That's my sing-ag-tune at the bottom" (under the time stamp)

She cut and decorated the pink fish, then pasted them on the blue paper. She has even got faint swirls on the blue paper for water movement!

Extremely impressed here!!

Updating the Blog

Okay, please bear with me. After refusing all this time to change over to Bloggers "fancy shmancy" new look, they did it anyway and made me. So I am having to work around their "wonderful new look and changes" - ie, figure everything out and discover what does and doesn't work now and basically hate everything for a while! So please bear with me. :)

At least it isn't anywhere NEAR as bad as their first run choice - *shudder* OMGoodness, that was HIDEOUS!

So, anyway, on with the show.

I recently got "into it" with some random on one of my forums and realised that all this "being stationary" was not doing good things for my mental health - lol. Since when do I care what some ignorant random thinks *rolleyes* So I started to try to move and do my "normal" stuff - hard when you are pregnant, in pain, sick and doing the slightest thing makes you feel like shit. 

Then, as I was trying to decide if it really WAS worth the pain to scrub the floor (I did that thinking while laying on my back on said floor, staring at the ceiling for 20mins while I tried to get up..... yeah the Dragonetts thought it was hilarious too!! LOL ) I realised that .....


Yeah....... that was kinda how I felt!!

I was DETERMINED to get SOMETHING done!! None of the baby's clothes had been sorted, nappies were still in bags or baskets, bits and bobs were scattered around.... you get the picture.

Let alone the house.... oh my goodness my House!! Let's just say that when you leave your house for nearly two months because you are JUST SO FREAKEN SICK YOU CAN BARELY MOVE, it takes a little longer than normal to get it back to it's original status. Added to that I have been trying for so long to get this place de-hoarded..... We'll just say that it's not in fabulous shape right now :(

So, with my bad back, pregnancy crap and general ickiness, I headed off to the master bedroom with the kids and we dragged out all the bags of baby stuff my extremely generous friend has bestowed upon us.

Can I just take this moment to say I have some really wonderful friends? I had met this woman and her family years before through someone else, but we were never friends. Then God granted me the absolute privilege of knowing her better over the past year and every day I thank Him for that.

She is one of those truly Beautiful Souls. When ever I have spent time with her and her family, The Dragons always come away feeling refreshed and renewed.

With the recent growth of her latest bubba (cluck cluck cluck!!), she passed on SO MUCH STUFF to us - I honestly feel very very blessed. 

 The pile closest is mostly cloth nappies and the pile at the back right is all baby clothes!!! I won't have to buy clothes until Hatchling is nearly a year old!! I am honestly Blessed. Thank you my friend!!  

So, after sorting and cooing over everything, I HAD to put it all away nicely, now didn't I? :D

I had been planning to move a small Queen Anne child's chest of drawers out of Dragonett Lad's room - he refuses to allow me to actually PLACE clothes in it - he prefers his sisters version of a basket in his room he can rummage through. So I removed the practically empty drawers (do Transformers count?) and carried it all haltingly to our room - as we cosleep with our babies -and THAT required moving MY dressing table/tallboy over a couple of feet. Then THAT required moving the bedside tables to new positions as they no longer fit in their old home...... LOL. 

Suffice to say, over half the room was rearranged - all that is left is to clean up now is the accumulated stuff at the side of my bed and shove the bed over to the cot..

So, as of bed last night, all Hatchling's clothes were sorted and put away in their new Drawers and Cupboard and baskets, the room was almost to my satisfaction..... and this morning, I couldn't walk.

Yep, I reckon I have pinched a nerve or something in my dodgy back and it is really really REALLY painful to walk - as in feels like electric shocks shooting down my left leg.....well, in the parts that actually HAVE any feeling.


LOL - you can never say that my life is dull or boring, can you??

*sigh* so when I finish here, I shall be off to attempt something/anything to combat the growing destruction that is a pregnant mumma with nesting desires, two kids and a dodgy back.... Wish me Luck!! 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ok, Moving On From Yesterday - I'MMA SQUEEEEEEEEING!!

Now, to explain the very very strange post from yesterday - I Have No Idea!

I had this post about Christmas and what we do for Christmas Gifts here and all that jazz and it was looking good - except for the quote HTML - so I went in to delete the quote HTML, did that, came out - it was all looking good. An hour later a friend messaged me to ask about my bug-arsed post...... and what you see is what I saw!


uuuummmmmm, riiiiiiiiiiight!

So, unsure what to actually DO - I decided to just leave it. LOL!!

I will redo my Christmas post another time.

But for now, I want to do a quick squeeeeeeeee!!!!

TARDIS Cushion From Spoonflower

My Spoonflower fabric has arrived!!

*happy dance with Kermit Flail*

I am making this for DragonPapa's Father Day Gift (yeah, it's late LOL)

I also got Dragonett Lad and Dragonett Lass some pocket dolls each, but I can't photograph them or the kids will see - lol

so here's the links direct to Spoonflower themselves

Skelly Babe Doll for Dragonett Lass
Space Station Dolls for Dragonett Lad

I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!

As I said on Facebook - 

WOOT!! My Spoonflower fabric arrived!!!! Lets just say, I am normally broke....from now on, I am crack-addict broke *happydance* I canNOT wait to buy more from them!!!

*continues happy dance and Kermit flail*

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Post Descended into Chaos