For most of us December is very busy and an expensive month. I love it but it can be too busy and the budget can really take a hit. On the other hand it's a huge opportunity with some thought and planning to save a fortune!
Even if you have not made a present it isn't too late to make some homemade gifts instead of buying them. This would be one huge saving. I tend to do things in big batches, like my Coconut ice which I package into about twenty pretty little gifts. Also I make up several hampers of some of each thing I make. It also allows me to give away lots of small thank you/Happy Christmas gifts.
This week I saved money and built up my home by:
Picking lots of flowers and filling big vases.
Putting up our Christmas tree, decorations and fairy lights. It's created a lovely Christmas atmosphere. Setting the mood is a big thing. It FEELS like Christmas. And we began the Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar. This is so much fun and much of our evening conversation is about what happened in the day and planning ideas! Well, it makes a very happy atmosphere.
Mum gave me a bag of oranges from the river land. Beautiful huge juicy oranges.
A friend who knows I take things to the op shops gave me a couple of bags of things to take with my next load. She had put aside a black leather bag she thought I would like and other things for me to consider and then take whats left to the op shop. Oh my goodness... this is what I got given to me as a result...
A beautiful black leather hand bag, an Oroton card holder, a mesh evening bag, a Jimmy Choo clutch bag and a sparkly carry all bag. I LOVE them all! I don't know what this haul is worth but something staggering.
Well, that was so much fun and it is all my style and colours and I will use everything. I couldn't stop looking at it all. It was like Christmas came early.
Andy brought home a lovely bookcase for his office. Side of road find. He is so pleased with it!
I made Lemon Slice. I love this slice. It was for some neighbour gifts, the nursing home and random acts of kindness gifts (and to go with coffee at home)
This is the recipe...
2 packets Marie Biscuits. (or plain sweet biscuits)
1 tin condensed milk,
1 cup butter. (melted)
2 cups fine coconut,
Juice of a large lemon.
Crush or process the biscuits. I put mine in a large snap lock bag, squeeze the air out and seal. Then beat it senseless with a rolling pin, then roll that to make it pretty fine.
In a big bowl add your crushed biscuits, melted butter, condensed milk and lemon juice and stir all together.
Press this into a lined (I use non stick baking paper) tin. I use a medium cake tin or small baking tray.
Refrigerate. Ice with icing made with some lemon juice included so it tastes lemony.
Let set and cut into small squares. It is so delicious. My favourite slice. It keeps quite well. I would keep it two weeks although it would be a miracle if it lasted that long.
I took some cuttings of plants I really liked. I have had good success the last couple of years with cuttings, some are now huge plants. One of these is a pink hydrangea.
As I have wrapped presents I have found something for everyone in the collection of things I've made this year. Then add cooking and I have plenty.
The things I am needing for my cellar pantry I have been finding or re purposing. I need a sturdy basket to take up and down and I have used one intended as a hamper gift basket by just using a box instead for the gift. The basket was from the op shop. It's just perfect for this job. I often find that... needing something then with a pause to look around you find the solution.
I hope you had a good week with some savings and that you count all your work as building up your home. Much of our work is KEEPING what we have already built up nice and fresh and clean. Today I am cleaning and tidying. All the cooking and wrapping etc has taken it's toll and I need to have a bless my home with cleaning day!
Some pictures... some of our climbing roses.
Our streets around us just now are lined with purple. If you park you car underneath it is purple the next morning and as the breeze blows it is like confetti. Just lovely. Adelaide is well known for thousands of these. They are Jacaranda Trees.
And this is for Mimi. This is a neighbours yard to show you the Hollyhocks. If you look you can see in the middle and at the back how they are around the garden and very tall.
I really love the beautiful streets and gardens. Going anywhere is a joy, walking around is beautiful.The bird life is amazing. In winter even ducks and ducklings walk past. I was amazed at first as there are more birds here in the city than there were where I lived in the country. We wake often to Kookuburras' laughing. All these things add to the joy of everyday. At times there are pink Magnolia trees on the streets around us, just now hydrangeas everywhere with huge blooms and agapanthus blue along the sides of many roads. It really makes our surroundings lovely. I am thankful of this, it is beautiful. I try and soak in the lovely things I see, watch less news and be grateful.
Have a wonderful weekend. We need some time to refresh and restore. There can be so much on and to do in December that we miss the joy. Feel free to say no to some things. If you know what your number one mission is then it is easier to sort out what to say yes to and what to say you cannot manage this year thanks. We have to do that. If we say yes to everything we can lose everything. Some time to rest, relish the time, plan and sleep gives us a chance to see how beautiful things are.xxx