And now I feel guilty for whingeing about going to work.

First time I’ve EVER requested an extra… especially on a 5-on day. But after receiving this email, how could I not?

“Hello Ms Frogdancer,
We saw that you have a free period 3 on Friday so I thought that maybe you could teach us in English for that period as Miss Taylor is away. We all miss you very much.
Your Former class 7L”

Friday period 3 is going to be fun!

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Labour Day weekend.

This is the end of a glorious long weekend and the photo is a pretty accurate summation of how I’ve spent the last couple of days. I started and finished a novel, (the third in the Neapolitan series by Ferrante), I’ve had a couple of nanna naps and I’ve thrown Scout and Poppy’s tennis ball for them about a million times. For the last two days I haven’t left the house. Yes, it’s an introvert’s delight.

On Saturday I had to go to school and open up the Lecture Theatre for my Theatre Studies class. This year we’re performing ‘Jasper Jones’ and they wanted to come in and start building sets. I brought the dogs with me, and the thermomixes, and made the kids lunch. On the way home I drove past the old house block and had a look at the new building.

I’m SO glad I didn’t have to go through with the build!

According to Goodreads I’ve read 17 books so far this year. I’ve set myself the challenge of reading 80 books in 2018 and I think I have around that many either sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read, or on my iPad, also waiting to be read. Between Netflix, podcasts and my books, I don’t have enough hours in the day!

And work starts again tomorrow…

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This came from a year 8 boy’s story. It was set in the army during a war:

“We were following the colon and were looking for landmines.”

I think he meant that they were following the colonel…

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Skinflint Saturday: Should I take up a new hobby?

The obsession America has with its guns is truly akin to a mental illness.

Posted in Skinflint, work | 4 Comments

Skinflint Sunday: Reduce your bills by evicting one of your kids!

There he goes!

Evan21 has finally decided to do tertiary study and is going to Federation Uni in Ballarat to do Acting for 3 years. Seeing as a  2-hourish commute each way isn’t the most viable of options, he moved into Res on Friday.

Here’s his room. Living in Res doesn’t exactly come cheap at 10K a year. Thankfully, he’s a good little saver and once he realised that he was ready for study, he started hoarding his wages. He should get the living away from home allowance from Centrelink, but the student allowance won’t kick in until next year.

We were halfway up the Western highway when he sighed and said, “I forgot to pack coathangers.” This was after starting to get organised at about 5:30 on the day before and packing my car to the roof with all of his stuff. Realistically, he’s not coming home again to live for at least 3 years, so it makes sense to take practically everything he owns.

We met another family in the lift, also carrying boxes and bags up to their room. The mother said that her daughter had started packing 5 months ago!

After a while, I mentioned to Evan21 that it was funny to see that all the girls had obviously taken such care with their appearance, while the boys were all bearded and scruffy. he looked at me, cocked his head sideways and said, “I give it a week!”

The mothering instinct kicked in and I put together a care package for him to take up there. I don’t want my little vegetarian going without his lentils and chickpeas. I was going to go to Aldi with him and put it all together… together… but he was out seeing friends all weekend so I did it alone. When he came home late on Sunday I showed him and he looked, then said, “Actually, all of this is perfect.”

I knew that I must be fond of him when I voluntarily put in a $20 bag of Costco chia seeds for his morning smoothies.

The apartments all share a couple of kitchens. One has 10 kids sharing, the other has 4. He’s lucky enough to have the smaller kitchen, sharing with 3 girls.

Some friends came over on Monday night before he left to have dinner and say goodbye. You can see how long Evan21’s hair is when it’s released from the man-bun. He’s the one in the hat.

He’s been with most of these friends all through high school. The only one who sees me taking the photo is Cho. He’s been one of Evan21’s mates all the way through. I taught his older brother EAL in year 12. I just adore Cho. He’s always so chilled and cheerful… a bit like my boy.

He actually posed for this one.

After we finished moving all of his stuff up to the 4th floor – why he has so many vinyls when he has duplicated them all digitally I’ll never know – I swept him off to lunch. Most kids had 2 parents to help them move. Halfway through, when we were lugging some extremely heavy weights to the lift, he looked over at me and said, “And this is why you should’ve stayed with Dad!”

He’s a funny fella sometimes.



Posted in Children., Skinflint | 2 Comments

It’s round 2 of the competition on Rockstar Finance…

Hi everyone.

Remember when I asked for your help for my blog post in the competition last month?

Yes, it’s now up for voting in the second round. The competition is live for 48 hours which, judging from the time stamp on the email they sent me to let me know I was in the current round, started at roughly midnight this morning. (Friday.)

Thos pesky Americans have had a head-start while we were all asleep, which means that when I zipped across to vote, I was behind. *gasp*

I’d really appreciate it if you could duck across and have a look and (hopefully) sling a vote my way. I’ll be unable to keep an eye on how it’s going for much of the day, as today’s the day I take Evan21 down to Ballarat to move into his new place to begin his 3-year Uni course in Acting. I’m proud, (following in his mother’s footsteps) and a bit sad, (3 hour’s drive is a long way away.) I’ll miss him being around the place. He’s so funny and he makes me laugh every single day.

It’s game 9 and my post is the one labelled ‘mistake’. It’s the same post as last time, just up against a different competitor. Thanks so much for taking the time. 🙂

I’d better go and drag Evan21 up out of bed and get us both on the road. I want to try and beat the peak hour traffic through the city, especially with the car loaded up to the roof with all of his stuff. Side mirrors, don’t fail me now!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Skinflint Sunday: Buy useful souvenirs.

I’ve talked about podcasts before and how much I rely on them to make my new commute bearable. Long-term readers will know that while I was paying the horrendously high bridging finance on The Best House In Melbourne for 18 months, I spent money on NOTHING. But when the deal went through on the old house, I was able to live a little.

I celebrated by buying a last-minute ticket to see k.d lang in concert. Front row in the dress circle. Since then I’ve seen Midnight Oil, Paul McCartney and bought 2 x seasons tickets to the MTC to take people with me to see plays all this year.

On Friday and Saturday nights I went to see 2 different stage shows by one of my favourite podcasts – ‘Welcome to Nightvale.’ Here is a Starter Page for anyone interested in seeing what it’s like. Unfortunately, the only other person I know who listens to this podcast is Spo and he’s in America, so I didn’t bother asking anyone else to come. I just booked 2 single tickets, like an independent woman would. *nods*

Cecil Baldwin plays Cecil Palmer, the voice of Nightvale Community radio. On Friday night I had front row centre seats. Saturday night I was 3 rows back. (Bummer.) He looks NOTHING like how I pictured Cecil in my head. When I got home I showed the boys and they all laughed, having the same reaction as I did. I have no idea what we were all imagining, but that’s the magic of radio.

Here is the woman who voices Tamika Flynn – a young teenager who is an avid reader and who also is the leader of a teenage militia. Click on the link to read more about her character. I imagined her as a Katniss Everdene-type of person.

Here is Cecil with Deb, who is a sentient cloud of haze. She reads the proverbs at the end of each episode. 

The writers of Nightvale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Craynor, were also there playing different characters. You can imagine how rapt we as an audience were to see them.

I didn’t buy the $20 poster pictured at the top of this post. What use would I have for a poster? However, when I saw this bag, I knew that it was PERFECT to use at work to carry my laptop, books, thermos and pencil case to class. Friday was supposed to be a no-spend day, but when I saw the crowds of people mobbing the merch tables, I had a funny feeling in my waters that I’d better play it safe and not wait for Saturday.

Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again! They’d sold out of the bags on Saturday night. It’s good when you make the right decision. 🙂 I’ll be using this bag for years to come, you just mark my words.


Posted in Quality of life, shopping, Skinflint | 2 Comments

Who says males aren’t romantic?

Before long-term readers get into a lather of anticipation, believing I’m about to make a big, soppy announcement, I’ll quickly say that no, this plate full of dessert has nothing to do with me.

#foreveralone  #happilysingle  #somedaymyprincewillcome  #thetvremoteismineandminealone

David24 is in love and a couple of nights ago he cooked a romantic meal for Issy, his girlfriend.

It was so nice. Fortunately, because he worked in a kitchen in the city for 3 years, he can cook, otherwise it could have been a tragic end to a beautiful relationship. He made a spaghetti marinara with home-made pasta… (he dished up a bowl for me too and it was DELICIOUS), and for dessert he made a salted caramel icecream to go with a couple of slices of mudcake, (sadly, from The Cheesecake Shop), but LOOK how he decorated them! The kitchen taught him how to present dishes beautifully. He bought her a rainbow-coloured rose and wrote her a card that took him ages to write.

He set up a table in the Man Cave, with the Christmas tablecloth, a candle, (that a kid gave me as a Christmas gift last year, but Issy doesn’t need to know that!!), and they had their dinner out there, while the rest of us made ourselves scarce. She’s a sweet girl who does the same course as he does. She’s a singer; he’s a keyboard player. I’ve only met her a few times, so she’s still a bit careful around me. Very smiley and nice… but David24 says she can be feisty and ‘take no prisoners’, so that’s good to know. A woman needs to have a backbone, after all.

It’s a lovely thing to see your child happy in a relationship. They were here on Boxing Day and I was in the lounge room while they were in the kitchen getting things ready for lunch. They were giggling, mucking around, hugging each other – I said to them, “Do you realise how nauseatingly sweet you two are?!?”

Issy laughed and said, “We hear that all the time!”

Ten years ago David24 had depression so deeply that we were extremely lucky to still have him with us. Today, he’s happy, studying a course that he loves, dating a girl who lights up his life…

Life and the passage of time is a beautiful thing. 🙂


Posted in Children. | 3 Comments

This post will be deleted in 48 hours. (Edited… no it won’t!)

Good news and bad news.

The good news is that The Other Blog has a post that was accepted in a competition. It’s like a tennis tournament… 2 blog posts get pitted against each other, people vote and the winner goes through into the next round.

I was stoked to be accepted into it. However…

I looked to see who I was pitted against. ONLY one of the most famous personal finance blogs in the world…


I was really hoping that my post would be read. Seriously. Just read. By people. My fear is that some people will look at who I’m against, say. “Oh, she’s fantastic!” and that’ll be it.

Make no mistake. She IS fantastic. She has a huge blog, a new podcast that I’ve started listening to and she and her husband (no kids) recently retired in their early 30’s. I first heard her speak on a podcast last month and I was really taken by her philosophy on life.

She’ll win the game. No doubt.


I don’t want it to be a landslide. I want to think that people have read my post as well as hers before making a decision. Could you please take 5 minutes and zip across to the site and vote? I want you to read Tanja’s post as well as my own. After all, I’m proud of what I wrote and the seeds that I hope I’ve sown and I’m sure that she’s proud of her post too.

Cheers. Here’s the link:

I feel a bit embarrassed to be asking. Like I said on the Simple Savings site… I feel like it’s a David and Goliath match and I don’t know how to use a slingshot.

Thanks again.


Thanks SO much everyone! We won!!!!!!

I honestly thought that the numbers would be around the other way. What a terrific way to end the holidays.

I’ll let you know when the post is in the next round of judging, but it won’t be for a while. Round 1 has a lot of entrants to get to.

Thanks again, everyone. I really appreciate the support.

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

No picture… it’s too dark out here.

I’m sitting on the old couch on my front verandah. It’s the night before Australia Day. The rain is beating down on the tin roof above my head and every now and then I feel a thin spray of water vapour from the rain. The dogs are beside me on the couch, asleep.

Every now and then the sky lights up with sheet lightning. Sometimes, just to vary it I guess, a forked streak of lightning comes down instead. The rain is hammering down, while cars drive past, their headlights showcasing the lines of driving rain heading for the road.

It’s warm. I’m sitting here in cotton Bali pants and a singlet top at 10.45PM at night. No mozzies, thank goodness. Just the dogs and I, sitting in the dark watching the rain.

To anyone walking past I suppose my face would be strangely lit up by the laptop. I’d probably look like those people you see in the movies when they hold a torch underneath their chin and tell ghost stories.

I’m pleasantly tipsy. Several wines over dinner and then I decided to taste the Kraken spiced rum that Ryan 23 gave me for Christmas. Tip a little of that into a glass of Coke and it’s delightful… OMG who knew.. I’ve been sitting here sipping the spiced rum and coke and watching the storm – feeling like a bit of a bogan because… you know; rum and coke… but feeling so contented.

Last year was a stressful year. I posted so rarely because my whole being was tied up in getting the development done and stressing about the property market. When I paid off my house in 2013 I thought I’d never be in debt again. It was such a liberating feeling. When I risked it all on the throw of the dice in 2015… I knew it would all work out fine… the property market in the McKinnon school zone is fail-safe… I hoped it would work out fine because prices can’t rise forever and they’ve been steadily rising for 2 decades already… but what if I timed my jump in the market catastrophically wrong….?  Smarter people than I have been caught out, and if I got it wrong it would ruin all the hard work I’d done to get us to where we were.

I had low-level stress eating away at me for 18 months until the sale of the property finally went through. I didn’t realise how much energy it had sapped from me. I’ve just had 5 weeks of holidays. I’m still taking a nanna nap every day. God help me on Monday after lunch when I’m in a meeting and the nanna nap impulse strikes! I’m sure it’ll take a few days before I get back into the swing of things.

The rain is pelting down now. It’s loud on the tin roof. Poppy just went out to bark at someone running past, but she intelligently realised after a couple of minutes that she was getting wet, so she jumped up and tried to rub herself dry on me. Yuck.

She’s now curled up next to me, having nudged Jeff out of the way. The lightning is scrappy and less frequent now. David 24 is driving home from work in this storm, so I hope he takes care. He’s happy and in love and it’s lovely to see.

It’s 11PM now and it’s very dark. The street lights and the occasional car headlights are the only bright spots until the sheet lightning happens. Thunder is still rolling over us. The dogs are with me on the couch still, but I think they are wondering why we’re out here instead of inside where it’s warm and cosy and Netflix is on. All I can hear is the sound of the rain on the roof and the sound of my fingernails tapping on the keyboard. Oh! And the thunder that just decided to make a reappearance.

My summer holidays finish in 3 days. I’ve been unforgivably lazy and I’ve achieved very little, but if I have any honesty in me, I’ve got to say that I’m well rested. My gamble with the property ended spectacularly well and I’m now coming to grips with the fact that maybe… just maybe… I don’t have to be a tightarse out of necessity.

Now, exercising my free will to choose to be a tightarse because I’m not an idiot and who would want to waste money if they have any brains about them because the more money you save the earlier you can choose to retire….. well… that’s going to be a path I’ll take going forward. I have a feeling that Skinflint Sunday won’t be disappearing anytime soon. On the other blog I’ve started Frugal Friday. It’s ingrained in the Frogdancer DNA, I guess.

Having said that, I’m looking forward to the seasons tickets to the MTC that I’ve bought. 7 shows, with an extra ticket to each that I’m bringing a different person each time to. We’ll meet in the city, grab dinner and catch up, then see a play. I think it’s going to be excellent. David24 and I are kicking off the season by seeing the London cast in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’. This year is going to be great. I’ll be taking another trip overseas in the term 1 holidays, so it’s all happening! Stay tuned. It’ll be like when I blogged by Europe and UK trip in 2015, except I won’t have internet while I’m there, so it’ll be April before I can share it all with you.

The thunder has moved away behind the house and the rain sounds like it’s slowing down. My drink is finished and it’s getting a little bit cool. Time to wake the dogs, move inside and get ready for bed. Thanks for sitting here with me.

Let’s see what 2018 brings us all.


Posted in Quality of life | 3 Comments