The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 20th July, 2018.

This has been a HUGE week!  First I will start with my savings and house building...

This week I made two batches of yoghurt.

Mum gave me a supply postage stamps which are so handy.

Mum is also coming to town today.  Last night I made up a batch of Gluten Free scones to take over to her when she gets here.

Most of my life I have been the worst scone maker. Once my Nan stood next to me and we did them together.  Because I had touched them they still turned out like rocks. She was amazed! 
Eventually I decided to ignore all the tips on scones i.e. handle lightly etc and I mixed the dough in my bread maker.  It turned out!  Now I do them in the mix master and I add an egg and half a teaspoon of baking power.  They work!   These are just GF self raising Aldi flour, milk, one egg, a couple of spoons of melted butter and an extra bit of baking powder.  I make a soft dough the gently press it out. 

I put them fairly close together in the baking pan...

The oven needs to be good and hot!  Anyway you barely notice they are Gluten Free so Andy eats them happily.

I also make GF pizza bases.... just GF flour, olive oil, sprinkle of salt, water... made a nice dough and rolled it out.  Thee worked great and no yeast even!

Chloe came to dinner after the wedding dress fitting.  For desert I made a cheese cake in the slow cooker.  It was delicious!

I mended a jumper for Lucy.

I made a batch of facial scrub I use all the time. It is just fine dark (soft) brown sugar and pure honey. 
Bend them together.  It is messy so I do it in the bath.  But despite trying many fancy and expensive scrubs this is the best of all.  The girls who also have had fancy brands to try and worked in cosmetics  ask me to please make it up for them.  It gives you the smoothest skin.

I made banana cakes and used some yoghurt in these in place of sour cream.

I took these around to the girls.

I found another bargain book for my present cupboard for $2.

Lots of bits and pieces were used up in my use it up challenge.  Many odds and ends in the baking and the pizzas used up bacon, bocconcini and half a jar of tomato sauce all from the freezer.

It was a very cold and wet week.  But there is sunshine today so I have the washing machine going!

So when I said it was a big week... this is because Dad rang me Saturday night to tell me that our farmhouse will be ready to go and look through within the fortnight!  For this to happen Dad had to go to a lot of trouble... he needed to move a man out of there and to do that he had to fix up another house.... so it has all been a lot of effort.  And finally the end is in sight!

We have seen the house. We have seen the setting... the location is wonderful. It is five minutes from Chloe's house.  Less than half an hour to Mum and Dad's house.  
There is small town half an hour away and a large town an hour.   This is the driveway...

I am showing this as it is the stuff of my dreams.  I wanted somewhere that is not on a road,  that is set back and private.   And this is exactly what I am getting!  💗

But we have not seen inside!  It has been occupied but Chloe is familiar with it so I have some information.  And in the next couple of weeks we can go see for ourselves what we have to work with!  I know it has wooden floorboards which I love.  It has a walk in pantry!  It has some kind of sunroom...

I will be so excited and nervous to go in and see!   We are right on the edge of a whole new life. 
Since I started the Pantries and Preparedness series I started to feel we would be better off back in the country.  Then as time went on we both found ourselves feeling sad when we left the farm from Mum and Dad's or from Chloe's.   The farm is home.  I am going home.

There is a strong chance Lucy's family are also going too!  We are waiting to see on that one.  Wherever they are you know how I am about the girls I will be seeing them very often.

We are packing up, getting this house ready to sell,  using up food from the freezer, doing everything we can so that once we have access to the house we can be working on that!

I will post during this time as often as I can then we will go over to Bluebird's Farmhouse. 

How was your week?  How did you feather your nest and save?

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 13th July, 2018.

Thank you everyone for the great comments on Wednesday's Home Pharmacy post.  I will try to catch up on replies over the weekend.   Also can Shirley who contacted Karen Morris  please re email her... Karen messaged me that for some reason her reply to you keeps bouncing back to her.  She does not want you to think she has not replied!

This week our new mattress arrived!   I was so excited!  It came sealed and wrapped in giant plastic bags which I kept to re wrap it when we move house.
From night one we both noticed the difference in our sleep and comfort.  Just wow!
While everything was taken apart I washed the wool underlay and amazingly got it dry on the line as we had a full sunny day.

Some of the ways I saved and got ahead this week were:

With my phone contract a few weeks back I was able to get a free upgrade to a newer phone.  So I always take that right away.  I sold my old phone this week and amazingly got $260!

I made a dozen quiches in king size muffin trays.   I use ham or bacon in place of pastry.  They are really nice for breakfast or lunch.

I still have a lot of lemons so I made up a batch of Lemon Butter.   It is quite quick when you make it in the microwave.

It is so beautiful with all the yellow ingredients of the lemons (9) eggs and butter.

I love citrus in winter I think it seems so bright and cheery.  I say these are jars of sunshine!

I made melting moments, half were gluten free and half were normal flour.

A tin of these were for Chloe and Luke...

These remind me of biscuits my Nan used to make. She always had pale pink icing in the middle.  My baking used up some ingredients in my use it up challenge.

 I made Harper and Scarlett cup cakes before heading around there to see them...

I found two huge bargains for the present cupboard. Two good gifts for $2 each, marked down from $30!   Into the stash they go!

Later I found another gift for a child also for $2. 

I made two batches of yoghurt.

This week we had a major plumbing problem but Andy fixed it himself thankfully!
I also cut Andy's hair.

I made up some essential oil roller balls as a gift.  I made one set up as relaxation, sleep and calming blends and another as cold, flu and immunity blends.

These are so easy to make and have a high retail value but now that I have supplies on hand they do not cost very much to make.   Also I find it lovely to have the oils out and it makes me feel wonderful for the whole day as I will dab on things I love! 

I think that is about it!   Today I am having lunch with Chloe then heading off to her wedding dress fitting.  The sun is shining too! 

How did you build up your nest this week? 

I found  this lovely quote this week but I do not know who to attribute it to.
I thought this is the Proverbs 31 woman!

She's a dreamer
A Doer,
A thinker,
She sees possibilities everywhere.

That is us!  There are possibilities everywhere.  Take every opportunity!  
Learn new skills and put the word out there for things you are needing.   One of my new skills (kind of!) is using the oven much less and small appliances much more.  Mainly to save electricity.  I have had a week of cooking dinner in small appliances instead of the oven and with great success!  A small appliance is also easier to clean than a dirty oven!  Bonus!

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Home Pharmacy. Medical alternatives when you need them.

Recently I have made a few curious discoveries that I thought might be useful to consider with our home pharmacies.
Firstly I heard a lot about an antibiotic cream available in the USA called Neosporin.  To my knowledge here in Australia we cannot buy antibiotic cream, this is a prescription item only.  But I thought this would be very useful to have on hand and I ordered some (I think from Amazon) and it arrived fast with no problems.  

Next I read that Zovirax cold sore cream is a very expensive thing in the USA requiring both a prescription and a lot of money.  I found this out when I saw (on a budget group)  someone saying they could not afford cold sore cream and what could they do instead as they were desperate.  I started checking into this and it turned out our cheap (around $15) over the counter cream is over $80 with a prescription only in the USA and this is if you have insurance otherwise it is something like $800!  I could not believe it.   At the time of writing this I am finding various prices quoted.   I am even seeing it is $1500 a tube without insurance.   But lets just say it is $80 in good circumstances with a prescription.  Surely not everyone can afford $80... just like the person in the group asking for help. 

So pretty obviously what is available over the counter and prices of items vary incredibly from one country to another.  Just much more than I ever imagined! 

Next I have heard several people saying the chemist has not been able to fill a prescription due to a shortage of a drug.  What do you do then?  It can be very hard to get ahead with prescriptions as they limit you so much. 

So I really started to think that as part of preparedness I should find out a few things.   First of all we have tried to get away from any unnecessary prescriptions.  Apart from health and costs all medications do have side effects.  And if there was a crisis or shortage I don't fancy on becoming unstuck because of a prescription I am on.   So if it simply a matter of losing weight, exercise, life style change, diet change then I would really rather do that!   
But as we all know when it is necessary medications can be life saving.   Andy has a stainless steel heart valve due to a replacement he had as he was born with a heart defect.  So he is lucky he has benefitted from modern medicine but he needs blood thinners for life.  
Because of this we have made it our business to know what to do if for some reason he could not get his hands on blood thinners.  Plan B, C and D! 

Homeopathic remedies tend to have mysterious names! 
I write on the back of each one what it is for and anything else I need to remember.
This makes my kit easy to use when I need it. 

Next I have spent this year learning as much as I can about essential oils and Homeopathy.  From this I have found several things that have worked better for me than regular medicine.  I did give myself 55 years to try everything possibly available for severe sore throats which I think is a fair test.   But it turned out Oregano Oil is the first thing that actually worked.  So essential oils won that round!   Now I would not ever be without oregano oil.

I asked Karen (who is kind of our resident Homeopath)  about this Zovirax issue and what to tell the poor person who could not get theirs.  Cold sores are so common and dreadful to have.   Karen said there is in fact an excellent  Homeopathic option that is very effective.  She even went off and formulated a special cream when I told her there are people out there paying $80 for coldsore cream! 
You can find this cream here and read about it's ingredients. 

Karen also suggested some natural alternatives to some common issues:

Poke Root liquid extract  -  for infections on the skin, especially with puss.
Golden Seal Cream -  for scratches, bites, rashes.
Homeopathic Aconite 30c drops - for the onset of a virus & as a shock remedy
Lavender essential oil - 1 drop on the pillow for anxiety and to help with a restful sleep.
Mullein liquid extract - for a dry cough
Thuja 30c - for warts
Aloe vera & cucumber gel - for burns and scalds
Comfrey cream - for sprains, strains and broken bones.
Marshmallow glycetract - for heartburn
Meadowsweet extract - for Bloating

Have a look at the homeopathic Emergency Kit 

Also the essential oil kit.

I have found it incredibly helpful to have a Homeopath I can ask anything.  You can contact Karen via any of the links above.  She can make you up custom blends and remedies.   Several Bluebirds have had absolutely amazing results with her help since I mentioned her in an earlier post.   One of these cases was a post traumatic stress issue.  I have heard that the progress they have now made (and after ten years of trying pretty much everything...) is life changing. 

As always I suggest doing loads of research on what ever your concerns are.   Ask your doctor what would you do in the event of isolation or a shortage?  And chemists/pharmacists are a gold mine of information.  Honestly I have found chemists to be incredible and so willing to give you advice. 
Our current chemist points out natural alternatives to almost everything as well.

Then consider possibly your much needed item is a fraction of the price elsewhere, there is an alternative,  or maybe there is a generic version at a lesser price?  I am sure there are a ton of rules and regulations too about what we all can and can't buy online, import etc.  I guess we better consider those!  

My life story really shows that things that regular medicine just can't figure out can still have an answer.   Never give up!  If something isn't working try something else!  I only tried going wheat free as an experiment and even though I was highly doubtful... but it cured 55 years of aching legs in four days. 

Also I have seen some amazing and some horrific things.  Even top medical professionals might disagree on a diagnosis or treatment.   A friend of mine called Wendy came to me utterly devastated with terrible diagnosis.  She was told by a specialist that she had a disease in the bones of her face and that literally her face would collapse as the bones degenerated. She needed more than fifteen operations and that her appearance would change.  Can you imagine? 
My Mum is related to a very famous cranial facial surgeon  (you can google him his name is Dr David David) and my Dad's life long best friend is a consulting physician.   I asked Mum to see if Wendy could get a second opinion.  She ended up going to see Dr. David David. 
Guess what?   While he agreed she did have the diagnosed disease he said she needs no surgery and there wold be no change to her appearance either.   This specialist is miles more experienced than the other Doctor.  She saved herself the drama of fifteen operations and the worry of how her face would look.  How could this happen?  Well it did.  Always get several opinions! 

Do your research.  Check everything.  If you feel uncomfortable with a treatment or diagnosis get another opinion and get more options.   If you are told you can't be helped take that to mean the person you are talking can't help you, it doesn't mean no one else can!  If a Doctors says he/she cant help you believe them and go somewhere else! 

I feel much more armed with alternative plans and options than I did before.  I have a long way to go! But recently I have been able to go to my own home pharmacy and reach for remedies and with success!   It is a very good feeling.  

If you have any good ways to get ahead with medications,  ways to reduce medication costs,  alternatives and back ups,  general first aid tips... please share.  Even something that worked for you when all else failed!   

Be encouraged and prepared! xxx

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 6th July, 2018.

Friday came around fast!  I am not ready!  It wasn't an all saving week as we spent money on a new mattress.   Our mattress looks good but is old.  In the last few months we both have woken up achy. Then I realised that at Mum and Dad's and also at Chloe's I was not achy! mmm   So it was time but we shopped in the end of financial year sales and got a wonderful bed for $60 off!

Some of the ways I built up my home and feathered my next this week included...

I potted up some mint from Mum's garden so I can take mint to the farm.

I have a half wine barrel it will go into so it doesn't take over the whole place!

I made a new cake.  It is amazing!  I am trying to build my choices of cakes with no flour.  This has no flour and no nuts.   Yet it is gorgeous!

If you are gluten free, grain free or know someone who is this will be handy so here is the recipe..

Preheat oven to 150 C
Butter and line a 20cm tin.  Then sprinkle it with cocoa powder.
Melt 120g dark chocolate and  120g butter. I did in microwave in 30 second intervals.
Stir in  150g castor sugar,  50 g cocoa powder, 3 eggs and a teaspoon vanilla extract.

Bake 30 mins.  Cool 10 mins before remove from tin.
They said to use a springform tin but mine leaks every time!

I also used mostly milk chocolate as I just do not like dark chocolate so much.
I also doubled it as I can't see the point of a 20cm cake.
This almost doubled the cooking time.   Now I know how it turns out I will remember as I slightly under cooked it in the middle and the edges are chewy and the best bit so next time I will cook more.  But it is delicious and it keeps well.   Winner!

I am sorry for those who need to convert it to USA measurements. If you use an online converter it will take a few minutes to convert but then you have it!

I also made Peanut Butter Cookies, no flour in these either...

I made Lamb Shanks in the slow cooker, I did a double batch and lots of veggies.
We also had sausages in gravy and veggies.

I did a batch of custards in the slow cooker.

This week I used up quite a few things from my use it up challenge.  I had a bag of dried apricots and a bag of dates.   I sat outside and cut them up with scissors and added them to other dried fruit I had.  I bought cherries and tins of pineapple and made up five fruit cakes.

This is the first batch ready to go in...

My thinking is that these will keep and be useful for when moving, feeding helpers etc. 

So I am really happy to be ahead with these and they are all double wrapped and stacked.

I added a couple of bargains to my present cupboard.

I made two batches of yoghurt.

At the craft store I saw stems of native flowers (fake) that looked so real.  Then I saw they were down for $7 each to $1 each and I got a bunch!  

I did some pruning in the garden. I have filled the green bin many times now and the pruning is done.

We have some rain and a fairly cold weekend I think!   I might work on using some lemons as I have quite a lot. 

I hope you had a good week!  How did you save, get ahead or build up your home? 

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The World Within our Walls. Easier ways...

With Chloe getting married in October I have been writing up recipes and tips for her.  Years ago I made the girls books containing all my best household tips and family recipes... but time has gone by and now I have lots more of both!  I have learned so much since then!

The books contained recipes from both Nans, Mum and me.   There were tips on all kinds of things and many photos, mementos and even Birthday cards given by my Mum to her Mother and so on.
So now I am adding to the books!

First I make some recipe cards and gave Chloe some of my more recent recipe suggestions, many of these are slow cooker recipes.  I decorated these with stamps given to me by Barb.
When life is busy and especially when you have a baby and little children nothing is a help like the slow cooker.
If you want to get started on Slow Cooking this is an early post on some slow cooking basics  Your number one handmaiden.
and part two Crock pot cooking series part 2.  After that there are lots of posts, see my index Crockpot cooking series...

So this is my number one helper.  Having soups, stews, baked apples, curries, etc going is so good and most of your work is done when that busy time arrives late afternoon, early evening.
These things are all good winter meals.  In summer I still use my slow cooker as who wants the oven on?  Even if we are having a BBQ I might have filled the slow cooker with corn or potatoes for an easy side dish in the evening.  And when there is fruit I stew lots and freeze portions and in the slow cooker.

All your winter stews/casseroles always add lots and lots of veggies!  Make it go as far as you can with sides like rice, mash, rolls, pasta... anything!   Your left over casserole will make the most beautiful meat pie fillings!   Pies seem to be a completely different meal and they freeze so well for when you need something fast.  Also you can make child sized ones in muffin trays or family sized ones.  Casseroles, Pies and Curries.

If your slow cooker is really baked on and messy oil it with hot water and a dishwasher tablet or some fabric softener.  Ignore it until the next day. Then it will clean so easily.
Actually this applies to most baking dishes.

This is my Grandmother (Dad's Mum)  Ivy. 
Harper is Harper Patricia (my Mum) Ivy.

 Meat is pretty expensive to VERY expensive.  I go between a few main ways to save on meat.  My husband loves his meat and I do too...

Method 1.  Buy the best deals and markdowns and know your prices.  Check the fresh meat section, the deli section AND the frozen section of your supermarket.  The difference across these can be huge. See if you have a wholesale butcher near by and sign up for the specials.  At the moment here the best buys are chicken, pork and roast lamb.  Lamb is really expensive unless you buy a leg and then I can get it at $8 a kilo.  Otherwise I can get port at $4.50 a kilo and chicken for less.  Yet it is also easy to pay $44 a kilo for lamb.  So it is not just the type of meat is it the cut.  Knowing all this I still watch for mark downs as well.
If you buy roasting cuts then you also have your own deli meat for lunches.  So you can buy a leg of ham for $8 a kilo and slice your own or pay $22 a kilo or more for shaved ham.  That is so much difference.  Small packets of deli meat are even more some up to $40 a kilo.

Method 2.  Serve meat with a ton of sides.  A curry it easy to do this, by the time you serve Naan, raita, salad and rice it is amazing how much actual meat you need.  This continually amazes me.
Our Nan's served a roast with many veggie sides, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, gravy... the meat itself went a very long way.  They knew what they were doing!

Method 3.  Use a small amount of a stronger flavoured meat to give the impression of meat but really there is hardly any.  Bacon is awesome for this a few bits of bacon in a salad and a man might like it lol or some chorizo in a pasta or some salami on a pizza..... it is just a bit but it packs a big punch.

This page is in Lucy's book.  It is a page about having a dress up box. 
Dress ups were a major hit at our place and I had enough for all friends to dress up too. 

Set aside or hide your left overs.  If you want this all to become tomorrows lunches, sandwich meat or a freezer meal make it disappear so it doesn't get hoovered up before you have a chance.  I hear this problem a lot!

Don't waste bread.  If you always have bread going stale divide it up and free portions.  Otherwise put left over bread to good use!  I have heard of people that buy a loaf a day and throw out half of it.

Here are some uses for left over bread... Never waste one slice of bread.

Use up all left overs.  If you keep a bag in the freezer for odds and ends for soup or stock then even the ends of a bunch of parsley or the leaves of a bunch of celery will be wonderful and almost free goodness for your next cook up.  Restaurants don't throw these out they would soon go broke!  The same with bones,  left over veggies etc.  It is all valuable.

When you make something make extra.  If I bake cakes, biscuits, scones, anything I am not just going to bake one batch.  Always double (or more) and freeze some.
If you are roasting veggies add a lot more and the next night use them in a pizza, frittata, salad.

If you have left over stone fruit this is a good recipe to use it up Economical and yummy cake.

This recipe is for sweet or savoury muffins and will turn almost any bits and pieces into lunch box fillers...  Miracle Muffins.  And they freeze perfectly!

When you are a bit low on food have a baking day.  Scones and pancakes are great fillers when the budget is low.  So is soup.  A little bit of ham or bacon is enough to make fried rice or a pizza.  You can extend a lot and seemingly make something out of nothing!   There are some cheap recipes here The Money Saving Baking Day.

If your home needs a brighten up a day of cleaning and re arranging makes a world of difference.  Clean windows do too.  It is amazing what a difference a day can make!

I use a timer all the time.  I will put it on to remind me about the oven but also for many other things like to put the washer on, bring clothes in, anything!   So many times that timer reminds me of something I have already forgotten.

If you can get more done in ten minutes when you hear a visitor is coming then use this technique to get lots done. Put on your timer for ten minutes and go go go!   Flylady has it that you put on your timer for 15 minutes.  She says you can do anything for 15 minutes.  And it works.  If it is something you really hate than put it on for five!  It will still get done!

Many times getting things done can be helped by thinking about the order we do things in. Some things are obvious like getting the washing hug out and it will be drying while you are doing other things.  But thinking about the order you do things can really be helpful.  There is a post here  The order of the day.

Another helper is to get your handmaidens working.  When I get up I like to get the dishwasher, slow cooker, washing machine and often the mix master going.   Get all your helpers working!  While these are working I can get on with other things.  This really gets things moving!

Both books have stores about the Great Grandmas and photos.
I also wrote up the family tree as far back as I could get. 

In school holidays we would have re arrange the bedroom days.  The girls loved this!  They would dream up a new place for the bed and furniture and we would shift everything.  It was a spring clean and total new look.  They loved it.  It was a win win for me. Sometimes this all took three days of activity and the end result was a "new room" normally it was just a zero or low cost makeover. 

Another school holidays activity was a baking day.  This was usually one or two days before school went back.  We would bake, decorate and package lots of lovely things for school ad some for friends.  It added to the freezer too.  As they got older the part they did became more and more so they learned a lot.  Decorating biscuits and cakes was the most popular though.   We did Gingerbread girls wearing bikinis and other mad things.

A fast and massive lift is to make your kitchen/dining room table loo beautiful.  Plus on a  tablecloth or runner,  some flowers or an arrangement of things in the centre and set it nicely.  This always looks so nice.

Keep bars of soap in your linen press and blanket box to make everything smell lovely. Dove pink soap is perfect for this and cheap!  It smells so good!  Then you always have spare soap and when you open the doors things smell heavenly. 

I am always hearing "my family won't eat leftovers" 
And "my family insist on brand name products"
When you go to a restaurant you are likely to be eating left overs.  They don't waste anything even the onion skins and celery leaves are used.  Left over roast veggies might become soup.... 
If you are inventive with left overs no one knows they are left overs!  And don't tell them either.  That casserole is now "shepherds pie" or "beef and mushroom pie"  and those veggies are now "gourmet pizza" ... you get the idea! 

This is along the lines of when someone says they will never buy thrift store linen.  They imagine the linen in a hotel is brand new every night!  No, it is just washed! 

I use decanters, jars and tins.  In go my Aldi (or other bargain) products.  No one has ever known what brand I am buying as packets are history fast and they have always just eaten what is in m containers.  No questions asked.   This can be a good way to save a fortune.

Keep a gift, card and wrap cupboard.  When there are sales stock up on all of these things or make them.  This will save so many trips to the shops and a fortune. 

When choosing a recipe think of what you have rather than what you are dreaming of.  Apple muffins are really just as good as blueberry and a fraction of the price.  

If there is something you run out of that sends you to the store regularly stock up on it.  We keep fresh milk but also long life, canned and powdered.  I am not going to the store for one thing.

Keep a good pantry and never pay full price for anything.  When you get ahead then you will be able to just wait for the next sale cycle.  Then stock up.  This means you are paying half price for all your regular items.  What a saving. 

Also know your substitutes or learn to use the internet to find them.  If you run out of something find something you can substitute.  

Stain treat things straight away.  I have soaking buckets so that anything with a mark is soaking until it is washed.  If anyone has a stain they can't get out guess where it comes!? 

Never put clean dry clothes in a basket.  A basket is a crease machine!  Even lightly creased things will come out of there deeply creased!   I dry things on hangers and fold from the line.  Never add crumples this defies logic!  It is making so much work! It is like punching yourself in the head. 

When you go from one room to another take things with you.  So much putting away happens automatically then. 

Ask and you shall receive.... if you are wishing for a slow cooker, a bread maker, anything... tell your family and friends.   Most likely someone will have one they never use and give it to you.  This applies to canning equipment, jars, fruit, herbs, veggies, yarn, fabric and pretty much anything.  Put the word out there.   You will be amazed. 

That is enough for today!  I already lost one whole blog post as my laptop seems to be playing up.

What are your best household tips?   I love to find new ones.  Sometimes ONE tip can be a game changer.  A couple of years ago one tip from The Cheapskates Club saved me $600 that year and has ever since.   These are the times you think WHY didn't I think of that!?

I hope you are having a good week!   Busy here.  I have three fruit cakes in the oven and the timer is on! xxx

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Feather your Next Friday, 29 June, 2018.

I am so glad of Feather your Nest Fridays.   Stopping to assess things makes a world of difference to me.  I helps me plan next week too. But sitting here writing I see wow the month is almost over and we are right in the middle of the year already.
Big things are happening!  The second half of the year is set to be life changing!
We have the wedding coming in October.
So much to do!

This week I continued working on my pantry.  I emptied and washed all my jars and put my new labels on.   I am ordering more labels as I realised some I missed and had not thought of.  Also I have kept many spare jars since Bluebirds Farmhouse Pantry will be much bigger.

I found I had multiple jars with the same thing i.e. four jars of icing sugar.   So I made up snap lock bags full of things that need using up. 

I have used a lot  of these this week in a kind of use it up challenge.  I can see I have enough random dried fruits to make a fruit cake too. 

I made baked apples with some of my hailstone apples from the Adelaide Hills.  I bought four bags of these in support of the farmers who were hit by hailstones.  They are beautiful apples anyway.

They end up caramelised and gorgeous. I had baked apples for breakfast too.

One of my getting ready to move jobs this week was to touch up paint in several places with marks or chips.  I did all those and they look perfect!

I made GF Melting Moments.  I just used GF flour in my regular recipe.  Excuse the wobbly icing but these few were for Harper...

They tasted good and gave me something when I was craving biscuits!

I also made Gingerbread biscuits with honey.  I make these for the girls and Andy.  

I made tuna mornays, a big Tikka Masala Chicken curry and even had a bash at GF Naan Bread.  It worked!  I just used Aldi GF flour, yoghurt and a little milk to mix a dough.  I rolled them out and fried the disks.   Well yum!   I used homemade yoghurt and mint from Mums garden to make raita to go with everything. 

Andy said to stop telling him things are GF as he honestly can't tell any difference and thinks they are great.   I was really happy with this as Naan sure extends a curry a very long way.

I made a pot of use it up veggie soup for the lunches. 

Our neighbour over the road had an extension built.  She came over and asked us if we wanted a pile of wood that is left over.  Andy went over and took a photo of this all and sent it to Luke.  Farmer Luke said YES PLEASE!  so it is all sitting on our front veranda to go to the farm.   I asked Andy to guess the value of it and he measured it up and said $180.   So that is $180 in timber for farm use.

Mum gave me two beautiful cardis, one navy blue and one a beautiful claret colour.  
Lucy gave me three litres of olive oil which I decanted into bottles. 

Then I went to see Hilde and do a further afield shop.   Each time I do this it pays off so much.  My one purchase of hair colour for 33c cents per box (instead of the usual $19) saved me $170.
I got a car load of beautiful fruit and veggies for a fraction of our local prices.  
I found a crystal decanter and the cups and saucers I love for $4.

The biggest bargain was an expensive brand pure duck down Queen sized quilt for $15.  Bluebird Farmhouse will have another double bed so I need more linen.   This is a saving of at least $200 right there.   I washed it up in my homemade wool mix and it smells beautiful and dried in Mums tumble drier for half a day!   It is glorious! 

The second biggest bargain was a velvet coat for Harper.  It is lined with navy satin. It is just gorgeous.

My picture makes it look faded but it is luscious dark thick navy blue.

Hilde gave me two big baskets of lemons. 

I drink the juice of a fresh lemon every day in my jug of water (thanks to Lana that is my habit now) and I have enough to get creative over the weekend as well.

When I got home and unpacked I had so many veggies I made up a basket each for Chloe and Dad as they were coming to Adelaide for a meeting.

Dad loves cauliflower and cabbage, I guarantee he is cooking them up today.    So I got to see Dad and Chloe briefly and give them cups of tea before they headed back to the farm.  Dad told me there is progress and if all goes well we will have access to Bluebirds Farmhouse in August!  Then it will be a matter of assessing what work we need to do before we could move in! 

Yesterday I made the girls cupcakes to take today since apparently all the biscuits are gone! 

Over the weekend I will take some time to add up my Vicky Challenge.  This week will be very good.  It all adds up that is for sure.  It all helped other households as well as our own.   Every week I put my list plus the dollar value into my Vicky Savings book.  I have no idea how I am going compared to the last two years of doing this.  But it inspires me a lot to see what an incredible savings it is to shop around, bake your own, pack the lunches and so on.  You can have a real income with savings! 

How did you get ahead, save or build up your home this week?

Be very careful how you live- not as unwise but as wise
making the most of every opportunity.   (Ephesians 5: 15,16) 
This is on my mind a lot!  Take every opportunity to build your home, your savings, your relationships, your knowledge, your pantry,  your skills.  

The wise woman builds her house.   She looks well to the ways of her household and eats not the bread of idleness.  
In a world of confusion and conflict we have clear instructions, thank goodness.  We have a guiding light and when things are confused we do not need to be.
There is so much joy in small things and the ordinary.   Yesterday I tinted the icing on the cakes the palest creamy pink.  It was so glorious I though how happy I am in moments like these!  Once time I said how I realised I would far rather be home making jam than jetting away on a plane somewhere. 
This week I have had my head hit the pillow every night tired and happy with good thoughts and gratitude.   When your hands are busy  your heart  is happy I am sure of it! 

Have a wonderful weekend!  I think I will get an extra post in next week as I have one half done! xxx

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd June, 2018.

It has been a good and busy week! We have had a lot of sunny days too.
This week Lucy and the girls were down at the farm.  It was painful missing out on this I can tell you! 
But the girls had the most wonderful time with Nan Nan Pat and lambs and the baby deer.

Mum had a big box.  I think something must have been delivered to the farm in it.  She put mats inside and pinned fabric to make a door curtain.   Success!   Happiness is a big box to sit in!

Harper helped Chloe collect kindling and she loved it!  Good little worker! 

This week I made Gluten Free scones.  As I am bad at scones I always add a teaspoon of baking powder and an egg.  This makes them rise much better.  I made three dozen.  Also no one notices they are gluten free.

Anything GF in the shops is a ridiculous price and when you can buy GF flour well this is the easy solution!

I made a big beef casserole as I found a massive markdown.  This made dinner then meat pies.  Really any casserole in your slow cooker can be used to make pies.   No one even seems to realise they are seeing the casserole again!   Also Chloe said to me that Luke doesn't like casseroles much.  I asked does he like pies?  Yes!  So there you go, you slap your casserole in pastry and call it a pie!  😊
Also pies freeze wonderfully so you have spare and emergency meals.

One time a while ago I bought a fast meal from Woolworths.  It was a Jamie Oliver meal of meatballs and you just baked it in the oven.  Since then I copy it.  I make or buy meatballs.  Very often I will buy hamburgers and cut each one into four and re roll them to get meat balls.  That is what I did this time.  This way too you can re roll them to what size you want i.e. for little kids you can make them really small.

So my copy cat recipe is to put your meatballs in a baking dish with lots of cherry tomatoes.  Bake this for about 15 minutes and roll them around at some point.   Then I pour over a jar of tomato pasta sauce and top with grated cheese. 
Bake until bubbly and golden.  That's it!   I made enough for a couple of nights.   Serve over noodles, zoodles or with veggies.

On the second night I served it with a potato bake.  While I was making that I also made enough for a couple of nights.  I use Hilde' recipe which is thinly slice potatoes,  sprinkle the layers with french onion soup,  pour over cream milk, evaporated milk or whatever you have and top with grated cheese.  For a big one I use about half a packet or a small scoop of homemade french onion soup mix. 
Bake until bubbly and golden.  I allow about an hour so it is beautiful and soft.   

I made honey carrots so these appeared a couple of nights also.

I put a corned beef in the slow cooker as Andy likes this for lunches.

I made a big pot of sweet potato soup.

This was my lunches.

And I made individual baked custards.  I love these!

In the op shops I found a beautiful cardi and a big thermo with two cups for $5. 

I ordered some pantry jar labels from The Little Label Co.  You can order the labels you actually want and need.  I ordered thirty and I love them.  I started putting them on my jars yesterday.  

This afternoon this is my job... to wash all my jars up, put the labels on and re fill them!

I finish a cot sized crochet rug.  It is going into the gift cupboard...

So that is my week!   While we have this sunshine I will get some washing out on the line too.

How did you get ahead, save, build up your home or pantry this week?
I hope it was good and happily busy for you!   All your efforts add up!  Things do not have to be prefect to be good!  

Have a lovely weekend! xxx