Friday, July 15, 2011




You take your 2yr old overseas to a country such as Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, India on holiday. You are having a fantastic time seeing all the sights and meeting the wonderful locals who are always smiling and friendly, willing to go to extremes to make you comfortable.

One day you head out to visit a busy crowded place. Being a crowded place you decide not to take your pram so you take turns carrying your 2yr old. While looking at wares in one stall, both you and your husband think the other is watching your child. In the blink of an eye - he's gone.

For you - this equals terror. Panic. Sickness.

For your child - it's much worse.

The man who grabbed your child has covered his or her mouth with a cloth with some sort of chemical on it to put them to sleep. They jump into a car and ride off with him.

He wakes up awhile later, finding himself in a tiny room - no bigger than most walk-in closets. It's dark and he's scared. He starts to cry.

"Mum! Dada!"

He doesn't know where you are but soon his cries attract attention.

The door opens and in walks a talk figure who smells like beer. He hits your son, making him cry even more for you. The man starts to speak roughly in a strange language. Your child can't understand why you aren't there to comfort him and protect him.

Then the man starts to undo his pants...

What follows are several hours of your child being brutally assaulted by several people. All get sick pleasure from your child's cries for help, his cries for mama and Dada.

Your child falls asleep, exhausted from fighting back and nostrils full of mucus from his numerous tears. He hurts in places he shouldn't hurt. His eyes are swollen shut from the punches and the tears. But it doesn't matter - it's so dark in his tiny hole that he wouldn't have been able to see anything anyway.

Several hours later, the door opens again to a tall figure. He starts to cry for Mama again...

And that's where you wake up... to hear your child, safe in his room, crying out for Mum to get him a bottle.

How do you feel? Are you crying? What would you do if this really happened to your child? How would you cope? How would he or she cope?

Yes, it was just a dream... at least it is for you.

While in Cambodia 3 years ago, I had the privilege of meeting 5 young girls aged between 7-14 years old. Each of these young girls had been rescued from the sex slave trade.Snatched, stolen, sold by poor families in order to feed the other 8 children, sold by relatives who didn't care about them as long as their own children were safe.

One particular young girl, the youngest at age 7, caught my attention. She was the most beautiful young girl. Gorgeous long hair, happy shy smile. She was rescued 3 years earlier. That's right. She was 4yrs old when she was rescued. I didn't catch how long she had been a slave but for many of these girls it is from when they were toddlers, even infants.

Yet still, she smiles. We hand her a pretty doll with a special sparkly dress on. Her eye's light up and she spends the rest of the time with us just stroking the pretty dolly's hair and hugging her. She's just 7.

She's now safe. They all are.

No, they will never be innocent again. No, they will probably never fully heal. Yes, they will struggle with memories and the knowledge of what has happened to them for the rest of their lives.

But hey, it's not your child right.

But in case you do care...
Do something about it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frugal Food Challenge - Day 1 - Spaghetti and Meatballs

Having only decided to create this challenge at about 2pm today, I headed off to the supermarket to get our groceries - you can read about it here.

I must say - I was pretty excited with the grocery bill and I am very enthusiastic to complete this challenge with great recipes made on a low budget.

Tonight I decided to try a meal I have never made before - Spaghetti and Meatballs. After having a quick look in the Edmonds Cookbook I decided that I would base my recipe on this however with several changes.

2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
500g minced meat (I used mince beef but pork or turkey would work as well)
1T oil
2 carrots
400g linguine pasta
700g tomato puree
1 egg
3/4C breadcrumbs
1/2T mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Ok here are the steps....

My ingredients.

Preheat oven to 200* Celsius. In a mixing bowl combine mince, breadcrumbs,  1/2 the onion finely chopped, 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, 1/4C tomato puree, 2 carrots grated. Mix well. 

In separate bowl whisk egg and then add to mince mixture and mix well.


Using a tablespoon, scoop out some mixture and use your hands to form a ball shape. Now you understand why you need to remove your rings! Not pretty if you ignore that step! 
Cover 1 or 2 baking trays with baking paper and place balls on top. Place in the oven for 20 mins or until cooked through.

Take two pots. In a large one, bring approx 1L of water to boil. Once water is boiling, add the pasta.
In smaller pot, add 1T of oil. Once oil is warm, add remaining clove of garlic finely chopped and remaining half of onion, also finely chopped. Cook until clear and slightly golden. Mmm smell the yummyness!

Add to the onion and garlic pot the rest of the tomato puree and 1T mixed herbs. Bring to boil and then simmer for 8-10 mins. 

Take a quick break, find a cute kid and watch them play with the cat while stealing kisses and cuddles...

Back to the kitchen. Place cooked pasta in casserole dish and top with cooked meatballs. 

Cover with your pasta sauce...

Top with some cheese if you have a cheese loving family like mine and place in the oven for 10 mins before switching to grill for another few minutes until cheese is nice and grilled.

Now you can replace your rings - Doesn't my hubby have good style? I love my wedding rings :)

Ohhh doesn't that just make you want to eat right now! I already had a huge bowl and now want some more just looking at it!

Dish up and enjoy! 

Note: If you choose to make this dish - be prepared to eat it all in one night - there will be none left for tomorrows lunch!!

The Frugal Food Challenge

I promised awhile ago (I think it was my first post over 6 months ago!) that I would post on how I manage to feed a family of 3 on $50 or so a week. Well, with times as they are, this week I have set myself a challenge....

THE CHALLENGE: To feed our household of 4 adults and 3 children for $80 for 7 days.


The Money-Saving Mum - Me

The Handsome Husband

The Ticklish Toddler (comes with mouth full of mandarin...)

Our boarders:

The enthusiastic eight year old

The spunky six year old

Their Mum - the camera-shy sweet-heart
Our friend - the also camera-shy chicky-babe

Ok - time to head off to buy the groceries!

Ticklish Toddler and I in the car at Spud Shed - our supermarket of choice for this challenge due to their warehouse style premises and low prices due to absence of fancy fitting etc... 
Find them here.... 

Time to get a trolley... 

The reason I love this place is their insane cheap prices and no-frills policy. I can usually get all my groceries here including toilet paper (although only one brand available), meat, fruit and vege, milk products, frozen food, canned food, bread.... About the only thing I need to go to the 'real' supermarkets for are dish washing liquid, soap, shampoo etc and cat food!

5KG bag of carrots = $1.50

2KG bag of onions = $0.99

2L milk = $1.69 - granted I usually pay much more for it here - $1.79! Gee it's hard.... LOL

Great special this week - Pasta of many kinds = $0.69

Ticklish Toddler with our load - plus a bike and car toy - gotta have the car toy!

So here are our purchases! 

TOTAL: $66.45 !!


So I have $13.55 left in the kitty for extra milk and bread as we need it this week. 


Here are some of the standout buys:

  • Milk 2L - $1.69
  • Pasta - macaroni and linguine - $0.69 each for 500g
  • Cabbage - $0.99 each
  • Tomato Puree 700g - $1.49
  • Mince meat - $6.99kg
  • Carrots 5kg bag - $1.50
  • Bread - white, toast, wholegrain, multi-grain - $0.99/loaf

I will be posting one post per day telling you all how we are coping and giving you a 'recipe of the day'.