The YFG had a day at home yesterday with a cold; she could cope with the cold but the problem was the severe headache she was getting from her sinuses. A day of pampering was in order - some breakfast eaten on the sofa snuggled under a duvet, cuddling Mum! Then watching a favourite DVD for an hour or so, some lunch - macaroni cheese, her favourite - a neighbour dropped by for a recipe and a chat, and then she did some painting with the FH. Soon after that, the EFG was home from school and things soon dropped back into the normal after school and evening routine.
The hens laid seven eggs between them yesterday, although they have been less productive today! I have put a good layer of straw down for them in their runs, so this afternoon they were ecstatic, scratching and pecking away and really enjoying it! The weather is forecast to be dry but cold for three days, so I am hoping that the mud will dry out a little for them.
Thinking about the "reduce, re-use, recycle" mantra, I wanted to share my washing powder ideas. There are better ideas out there but this is what I am using at the moment. To start with, I use less that the recommended amount whenever I can; the manufacturers obviously have an interest in the consumer using more of their product, so I take their instructions with a pinch of salt. I used to use normal washing powder, usually a supermarket own-brand product. After some reading, I have now got a mixture going which is working very well - the clothes are clean and fresh so aim achieved! I mix together two bags (one kilogram each) of washing soda with a big box of Tesco Value biological washing powder (the last one cost £1.41 although it has probably gone up since then) and a big box of the own-brand powder. All this is mixed together in an old insulated cool box which my father threw out. I use this because it is big enough to hold all the powder and it has a tight fitting lid. One batch of this mixture lasts about six months, so it is quite a saving on my past usage of normal powder. I know that other people use vinegar for fabric softener, but I am using some watered down cheap stuff and will maybe try the vinegar when that runs out - or maybe just go without!
Using less than recommended is a valuable exercise - it can be applied to all sorts of items from washing powder as I said, to shampoo and toothpaste! Another similar challenge is to mark the date that a box or package of something is opened actually on the pack and then to work out how long that pack has lasted and try to make the next pack last longer. All these little ideas build up to a big sense of achievement if successful and having something to aim for makes all the difference sometimes when dealing with relatively mundane chores!
The FH and I had a good sort out of the freezers this afternoon. There are loads of bags of frozen apples, plums, green beans, tomatoes, some bags of peas, asparagus, broccoli, blackberries, homemade ratatouille and soup made from scratch and just frozen. There is some meat but less than usual. In the smaller freezer, I keep my homemade bread and baked goods, of which there are plenty so no baking needs to be done this week.
As to the eating from stored food challenge and only spending £100 for the month, I feel that I have achieved it. I have not spent anything on groceries since the last update earlier in the week, but I have done an online order from Asda to restock the cupboards. This will be delivered tomorrow, which is before the end of the month, but there were several really good offers which expire on the 31/1 so I couldn't wait until February as those would have been unavailable. I took my time and loaded the virtual trolleys in the Asda and Tesco websites with as near as possible the same items - it took me an hour last night as the Asda website was slow - but it was worth it as it was about £11 cheaper in Asda. This will be my first Asda delivery so I will see how it goes in terms of quality and service, but I am pleased with the prices.
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