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 February 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 20 February 2015.

Today I'm writing while the cyclone is coming into QLD and it is quite hard to concentrate. I have lots of friends in Queensland and some right in the line of the storm. As I write it is 50 kms away and looking shocking. So to everyone in QLD I hope you are safe and sound.

The week was really good and busy. I still had fruit to use up and make things with and now I am down to Quinces which I will use next week. For two whole days I had jam on all day. Today I am trying to have a general clean up and catch up day. (needed!)

So here are some of the ways I saved money and built up my next this week...

I had more figs given to my by my sister in law. This was wonderful as I thought I had seen the last of figs for the season.

So I made different things (last time fig and almond jam and roast chicken with roast figs).  This time I made figs stuffed with soft cheese and wrapped in prosciutto, then baked. These were beautiful! Very luxurious.

Also I sauteed some and served on a platter with cold meats and salad.

I had some very cheap zucchini and used them in several ways. One was to make zucchini fritters which we had with salad. These were really nice!

The recipe was 2 zucchini grated,  a packet of Haloumi chopped into little squares, 2 eggs, parsley and mint (fresh chopped), pepper and SR flour to combine to a soft batter. I think some corn kernels would go well in this too. Drop into pan and fry until golden. Andy took cold ones the next day to work as he seems to like everything cold just the same!

I coloured and trimmed my hair and painted my nails.

Andy went fishing and came home with several large crabs for a meal. I wanted to show you what a beautiful colour they are.

This was on the outside table and I sat down on my chair next to it and it moved! The big claws mowed towards me! You never saw anyone move faster. Luckily Andy was inside and missed this spectacle. 

I have the cot all cleaned up and am making over my craft room into a little nursery. Getting the nest ready for a baby is quite exciting! Also I have cot sheets, little rugs and all kinds of things that I have made in recent years. I have much more if the baby is a girl! But if it's a boy I will get sewing!

As a flow on from the pantry challenge I went through all my junk mail. I had not been doing that very well as I check my main store on line catalogues. Well, the ten minutes it took me saved me quite a bit of money. So I will make the time to do that every week again.

I have had beautiful flowers in the garden. I keep planting and things keep growing! I count my garden in my building up my home thinking as our garden is such a part of how we live and adds so much to our home. We spend evenings in the garden much more than evenings watching tv or indoors. (at this time of the year anyway) These are some lilies that have been out and I have white ones coming on.

How was your week and how did you save money and build up your nest? 

I hope all the Queensland ladies are families are ok and that everyone is safe!

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. Wow Annabel, I love how you use up your figs. I didn't many this year as they got eaten before reaching the kitchen:-) The cyclone has moved south to Rockhampton and is now a Category 3 after crossing land at a Category 5. It is tracking south west and we expect the rain and winds to pick up late this afternoon. At the moment we just have drizzle and a breeze. I am not sure what damage has been done further north at this stage so keep all Queenslanders in its path in prayer. Thank you.

    1. I have watched some news updates trying to see whats going on. I hope things remain ok there for you. Perhaps just enough to fill the tanks!
      I am much more adventurous with ingredients now that I once was. If I have heaps of something I type it into Taste or google and see what the suggestions are. Then I go for chefs I like and trust and think it must be ok... and Ive ended up with lots of new recipes I really like!
      Have a good weekend and I hope everyone is

  2. Those figs look lovely Annabel.

    I too have been worried and thinking about our Queensland friends with the terrible storms and rising water they are facing, it is such a worry.

    As you know I have not been in my house for long so I am working on the garden little by little I do enjoy the time I spend out there. My imminent plans include planting an apricot tree once the weather cools a little and an orange tree. Then when funds allow to be followed by a nectarine, plum, apple (maybe two apple trees) and some decorative plants. I will get there. I am thinking of getting the fruit trees a little more advanced than the normal stock there.

    This week I feathered my nest by
    *stocking up on toiletries via kogan
    *Did facials at home
    *My daughter gave me a pedicure
    *Cooked all meals from home including lunches'
    *shopped the specials from the catalogues and restricted myself to that
    *Worked 12.5 extra hours above my normal work hours this pay period

    I popped into Mitani (Central Grocers) today and they had six food grade 10kg buckets with lids for $10 I grabbed 6. All ready for bulk storage.

    Have a great week all and God Bless.

    1. Mel you have had a big week especially with working the extra hours. Also I think you have a very busy weekend... I hope it goes wonderfully well. And I hope you get some rest after that!
      Fruit trees really seem to thrive in Adelaide. They are a good investment thats for sure. Also its surprising how quickly they get going and producing. Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  3. What a beautiful week Annabel. Gosh figs and beyond belief in this neck of the woods. Figs are currently selling for $20kg at Woolworths. I'll pass thanks! Such gorgeous photos and what you share is so inspiring. My week has been patchy as I've had family events on with birthdays and such, so not as much happening here. But I've cleaned and shined everything, planted some flowering shrubs whilst the rain is around to water them, baked a birthday cake (for me!), made lunches for us all each day to save my daughter and husband buying lunch, and went shopping with a list and the exact amount of money in my wallet and no more. I had it down to within 45c! So I am happy. We are experiencing a lot of heavy rain, but are on high ground, so hopefully we will survive the cyclones heading our way this weekend. Fingers crossed. Mimi xxx

    1. Happy Birthday Mimi

      From Aly

    2. Annabel how exciting to be making a bit of a nursery. You must be getting very excited

      I have never tasted figs but I am not about to at $20kg here also. Think I can wait a little longer

      We were very lucky here as last night the cyclone was heading straight for the major town near us but changed direction. I too have been wondering how some of our other QLD friends have been coping with the cyclone. I do hope you are all safe and well.

      Mimi I am crossing my fingers for you. We only have had strong winds and drizzling rain but the sky here last night was very eerie

      I decided this year with DD4 starting to school to buy those "nudie food" lunch boxes to save myself on buying plastic wrap or zip lock bags so this will save me over the year. If I do happen to have to use zip lock bags for her I just wash them out if they are in good condition and air dry them. Doing tuckshop also means I save money on her lunch on tuckshop days (only one day a week) this saves me around $7.50 per week. I bought a massive jar of my favourite coffee and have put it into smaller jars and have hidden two jars just for me when I need an indulgence and then this should also stretch to when it comes on special again

      Wishing you all a wonderful weekend

      Aly xxx

    3. Happy Birthday, Dear Mimi!
      I was going to say figs were $1.70 each at one stage!!! I had to pass, too! I have had my nose down and tail up, working and eating at home all week. Eating rolled oats cooked with a little fruit is a lovely nutritious way to save and eat a great breakfast, too, this breakfast was one of my focuses this week.
      Annabel, the permutations of fig meals look delicious. Chuffed too, about your pending grand-stork arrival. Xx

    4. Aly that must have been so nerve wracking especially it being category 5. I saw that they changed where it was coming in. I am so glad you have not been cut off or flooded or anything.
      Now Mimi and you have told me the price of figs in QLD I am appreciating mine even more. My brother has a tree and so does my aunt hence my fig recipes!
      We have some of the nudie food containers. They are really good and have lasted and lasted.
      Good coffee is an investment in sanity! :) I like my morning coffee... and only some are nice and others are awful!
      Have a lovely weekend Aly, lots of love xxx

    5. Mimi I hope you had a lovely birthday!
      Also I hope the weekend isnt too bad. It looked like a pretty full on day and no one sure about what would happen in Brisbane.
      I am amazed figs are such a luxury but then here they sell them in packs of 6 for $4 something so that might not be far off. Its only that I am getting them free that we are dining like kings!
      Cleaning and shining and cooking sounds very good to me, I did a bit of these today myself.
      I like your shopping challenge. Its amazing what we can do if we make it a bit of a challenge or a game. Kaye did it stretching a $10 voucher and she did a great job!
      Have a good weekend without any major weather issues. Well, we can hope! xxx

    6. In reply to Flora...I love your simple nutritious breakfast and your nose down, tail up work ethic!
      Thank you so much. I am very thrilled about this baby and happy I will be trusted to help. So I thought I might as well get set up! So an excellent excuse to get out all my embroidery and blankets and cot sheets I've been making for years. It's lovely! Thank you Flora I will pst progress nursery reports! xxx

  4. We have passionfruit! Our vine is planted right next to our leaky water tank & it is so lush, I've been having orange & passionfruit juice, passionfruit on my muesli and the boys have been eating them too. I share them also & they always get appreciated.

    I bulk cooked pasta sauce & meatballs for my boys

    Replaced my bike with a 2nd hand one & we are looking at one for my son in the morning, aiming to spend under $200 all up for both, new that would be closer to 1k.

    I have done my mid month balance check & look like we can hit some more goals this month thanks to being frugal, love that.

    We are eating apples, cucmbers, herbs, silverbeet and passionfruit from our garden & selling the odd dozen eggs.

    You'v inspired me to have a stockpile of my own Annabel, I'm just going to have a 2 week supply based on our vegan plus fish diet, now to set it up!

    I have also been bottling tomatoes as hubby got me another 10kg box, my top shelf is heavy with them. They are delicious & such a staple here.

    I also did a hair treatment on myself with macadamia oil, that was lovely!

    Happy nesting for the baby! Such happy times,


    1. Passionfruit! I grew this successfully once against a shed and it thrived and Ive never had one since. I like your high tec irrigation system but it is working perfectly by the sounds of it. Maybe I should plant a passionfruit again. It sounds wonderful.
      I am so impressed you are bottling tomatoes. How healthy and yum. And the boys would love their meatballs and pasta sauce. What good food. Your garden is producing heaps!
      Im glad your are going to build up a bit of a supply. It can include food but also water, vitamins, toothpaste... anything you all regularly need and use.
      You have me wanting a good box of tomatoes now... I will try and get some and do the same. So many uses for tomatoes and so handy in the pantry. You have inspired me! Have a great weekend and many thanks! xxx

  5. Sneaking a Happy Birthday to Mimi too. Didn't know this, hope your day was wonderful.

    Annabel you have had the most amazing finds on naturestrips haven't you? Good to hear the cot is within the australian standards and i must say it looks lovely. Gee you are good with cooking and experimenting. Like your idea of googling the ingredients then finding a chef you like, very good idea. I have hundreds and hundreds of figs on my tree. I too haven't lived here long, just over six months. We have so many fruit trees but they have been a little neglected so i'm surprised just how many figs I have. Wish i could give them to you. As you know I welcomed a little grandson last week, my first one and I am so thrilled. Haven't done much but think of him really. I have printed out some a4 photos and stuck them on various walls in the house. Each time I see his little face I break into a smile. Can't not, he is the most glorious baby I've seen since I had his dad and uncle. You are so going to love being a grandmother also. Love reading your blog posts. You are inspiring.

  6. Hi Annabell;
    Sounds like you have been busy, I love the idea of figs stuffed with cheese and wrapped than baked! Yum..And Karen wonderful way to use excess tomatoes! My daughter makes the best spaghetti sauce, we try to keep some in the freezer. In the summer I grow several cabbages and make up stuffed cabbage to pop in the freezer. Its wonderful to have a meal at the ready to pop into the oven. (I put the stuffed cabbages in frozen.) Just great for busy days. Sending prayers for everyone, hope the cyclone passes you by. Have a good week end. Hugs, Nana

    1. Nana cabbage rolls and beautiful homemade spaghetti sauce... both sound so good! I really hope to get a box of cheap tomatoes and have a cook up as really spaghetti sauce makes so many things like lasagne and even pizza topping etc. Its very nice you have a daughter who makes this for you that is wonderful!
      For the figs you use the end of a wooden spoon to press a cavity into the soft ripe figs then fill this with cheese... I used mascarpone which was so nice! (in case you want to try it).
      Meals ready in the freezer are a huge help. Realistically we all have those days when we need something ready to go.
      Thank you for your comment! xxx

  7. Hi Annabel! I've been following you via e-mail for several weeks now and have yet to comment, but I do enjoy your blog very much. The stuffed figs look absolutely delicious and I will have to try this recipe in the summer when our figs ripen. I live in hurricane country in the southern US, and understand how devastating these storms can be; prayers for all in the path of this cyclone.

    1. Thank you so much Marsha and welcome!
      When your figs are ripe and soft, to do this recipe, use a wooden spoon handle and press that into the bottom of the figs. That makes a cavity to fill with cheese. It works really well. The cheese I used was mascarpone and it was delicious! Also I have a fig pizza recipe if you would like that let me know, if I get any more figs I will do this and post the recipe and pictures.
      I am amazed and frightened when I footage of the hurricanes you have had at times. This means to me you understand all about preparedness and emergencies. The cyclones have made a mess and so many people have no power etc and it is going to take a long time to recover and clean up. But no loss of life as far as I know at this time.
      Thank you so much for commenting. xxx

  8. Dear Annabel,

    What a busy week for you! Oh my the food looks absolutely de-LISH! The figs wrapped in prosciutto? I've never seen that! It has me curious! I LOL'd about the crab!! You are sooo funny! I'll bet you've never moved faster! Seriously I'm still giggling!

    Mimi, Happy Belated Birthday!! xxx

    I'm praying for everyone in the areas of the storms. Praying for safety and provision.

    I have had a tough week in some ways. Lots of interruptions (the way life happens sometimes, right?) and honestly it's frustrated me a bit. Still I kept my home, started a few cuttings from an indoor plant I have and we'll see how they go. Worked on the pantry, added toiletries, blanched and froze 12 lbs of asparagus to add to the freezer part of my pantry :) .88/lb amazing price point...although last year it was .77/lb. Today I am making cream of potato soup and will freeze some, and a wonderful cream of asparagus soup and will freeze some of that as well. I mean YUMMMM! I did reach all of my savings envelope goals and I'm real happy about that. Another small box for the domestic violence thrift shop which is so satisfying to give. Going through my daughter's jeans and cutting 3 of them into shorts which requires getting out my machine and putting in a nice hem. Did I mention I am not a seamstress at all? But I can do that. :)

    I would like to give credit to my kind and most wonderful husband Billy. For Valentine's Day he took the kiddos to our friend's house so we could have a date at home. (I think I might have mentioned previously we dog sat for these friends, so no charge on the babysitting!) He prepared curried butternut squash soup, mussels in a light, garlic-tomato broth, crab/cheese stuffed mushroom caps, herb grilled salmon with herbs from our garden, and to that he added a wonderful creamy caper sauce...roasted brussels sprouts in olive oil, and special little flourless chocolate lava cakes baked in tiny ramekins with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Of course no meal like this would be complete without a beautiful pinot noir. Where we live, this would have easily been a $400.00 evening including the babysitting. It was no where near that, well under $60.00 I think...I'm not sure because he did all the shopping, etc!! How blessed we are, how blessed I am for sure. I love that it was all his idea and all I did was sit down to a beautiful table setting and enjoy. No lines, no waiting, no bad service, just a wonderful evening at home. It was all served in courses, so in-between we sat by the fire and talked....without interruption...from our beautiful kids who were not at home :)

    Next to roses, Stargazer Lilies are my favorite. Yours are gorgeous, Annabel!
    Big hugs to all!! I look forward to all of your posts more than I can explain! xxx

    1. Colette your Valentines Day and everything your husband did and cooked for you was just gorgeous. I think that is very romantic that he planned it, shopped and cooked! I think he might like you (lol)
      Despite your interruptions you kept everything going plus met your savings goals, stored away bargain beautiful produce and made soup... and so much more.
      After the crab "incident" I have been cleaning out the trunk... first I really needed to wash it. It was really dirty. Anyway there was a small lizard inside it. You wouldnt believe it. (Just to make sure you understand it has been outside on the verandah) so anyway my swift movement when the crab frightened me has now been challenged :)
      I hope you are having a lovely weekend. Thank you so much for your comments and descriptions of life as they are a

  9. What a busy week you have had! Those baked figs look very delicious.

    This week I baked matrimonial slice and made a butter cake with passionfruit icing. The passionfruit were home grown. I made a shopping list from the specials listed in the junk mail. We had savings of $27.50 shown on the shopping receipt. I have been ‘filing’ records and receipts over the last couple of days, so I nearly have all that organised again. I have made further progress on my granny square's crochet project. During the week we tried Mimi’s Tuna salad recipe that she wrote about in the comments recently. It’s a keeper, thanks Mimi we really enjoyed it, and I hope you had a lovely birthday. As I write Don is removing the linen cupboard doors to take outside to sand down for painting.

    Unfortunately when we topped up the petrol in the car yesterday morning the price was $1.30 a litre. That night on the news we saw that there had been complaints of petrol price gouging due to the cyclone, and a lot of people had made complaints and by the afternoon the price had dropped to $1.19 a litre. Though we were in the cyclone warning zone and in one of the area’s where the cyclone could have crossed the coast, it crossed to the north and passed to the west of us and by that time was downgraded to a low. Our highest wind gusts were around 70km’s in the early hours of this morning and we only had about 25 ml of rain yesterday.

    1. Sherri you were amazingly lucky really (apart from the dodgy petrol prices!) but what a close call with the cyclone missing and going behind you sort of... but it must have been nerve wracking. Well, I am so glad for you.
      I hope Mimi sees you made her Tuna salad, Ill tell her. All her recipes are very good. Her recipes in four sentences or less on her web site are easy and wonderful.
      I love granny squares! I love crochet generally but I tend to get more done through autumn and winter which I am so much looking forward to.
      I hope your linen cupboard looks good when painted. I am about to do a big linen press clean out. Thanks so much for your

  10. I had a busy week with cleaning jobs on every day. Very glad for the extra money but I'm a little tired. I had to be super organised with easier meals. Thankfully the family pitched in to help. Here's what I did this week -

    * Kept the curtains closed on the warm days.

    * Picked raspberries, beans, tomatoes, corn and silverbeet from the garden.

    * Gratefully accepted some sausages left over from a charity bbq. I've frozen them and they will be made into sausage casserole at a later date.

    * Darren bought home more bread bags from the charity BBQ. I've decrumbed them, dried them out and stored them for future use as bin liners and for storing food.

    * Supermarket specials I bought this week were - Shapes biscuits for $1.47 a box ( IGA ), Grapes for $2 a kilo, Fountain tomato sauce for $1.19, Palmolive shower gel 500 mls for $3. The shower gel has been put away as Christmas stocking fillers for my girls.

    * Dried all the washing on the line and clothes horses. I can't remember the last time I used the dryer.

    * Made muesli bar slice for school lunch boxes and morning teas. It doesn't last long in my house as we all love to eat it.

    * Made a triple batch of Anzac biscuit dough for the freezer. I baked some biscuits as well.

    * Saved all water from the washing machine for the next load.

    * Saved the shower warm up water to water my mango plants and other fruit trees.

    * Refilled and diluted the shampoo and conditioner bottles in my girl's bathroom.

    * Made all meals and snacks from scratch.

    * We had a Valentine's Day dinner at home. Jessica picked a bunch of flowers from the garden for our dining table.

    1. oops Wendy my reply is below I missed the right box!xx

  11. Love to see your beautiful flowers. I confess I don't care for figs, but your photos of them make me want to try them once again just in case I might like them, lol. Here's what I did this week to save funds in my home:

    1. Terri your Daffodils were a great investment! Just gorgeous, I agree with getting more! Terri I dont like figs much raw. But cooked they are beautiful, sweet and moist. So that converted me. Also as jam.
      Have a lovely weekend!xxx

    2. I shall have to try them cooked. There is a tree on my granny's place that I might be able to get to come summer.

  12. Wendy you must be tired! But I know it is worth it to get a little ahead.
    The sausages will be so handy. Mel had good success with Kogan grocery and some amazing prices. She got nice brand body wash and things. I dont know if you know about this. It is $8 I think postage flat rate. So the first few savings need to cover this but even so I am doing an order as some things like Pringles were 5c a can! Many brand name goods $1 etc.
    Have a good weekend and a little rest I hope! xxx

    1. We had to throw the sausages and a few other foods out as one of our freezers started dying. We did save our stock pile of five legs of lamb. God prompted me to check the freezer at 12.15 am on Friday night.

      I'll check Kogan out. Not sure if I'd buy much as we buy ingredients only to cook our meals. I tried Grocery Run one time and it wasn't worth the $11 delivery.

      Only two days of work this week and a visit to see Cath Armstrong. YAY !!!

  13. I just discovered your blog through Sugar farmhouse. I love it! Congratulations on the soon-to-be baby. I am in the Midwest and we have had snow all week and today it has been all ice. The flower was refreshing because we are ready to think about Spring.

    1. Thank you so much CIndy and welcome! I love Aunt Ruthie and her entire blog. I especially loved the preparedness post.
      Just now it is 40 degrees here thats about 118 or something for you I think. Anyway its hot! Can you imagine!? I have been looking at the pictures on the news of the weather you have been having ! Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for your comment and I hope to get to know you! xxx

  14. Hi there Annabel, I have just spent the time and read through all the other lovely comments, before leaving mine (late sorry). I can always learn something from this little community of nest featherers :)

    I hope everyone managed to get through the cyclones okay. I kept thinking of you and your pantry challenge this week, how appropriate to be prepared in the event of a disaster.

    I have white figs growing here. They aren't as big and robust as the ones you have pictured. They look delicious! Blue crabs are the best, these are my favourite seafood. Lucky for us we have a friend who takes hubby fishing in his boat to get a feed every so often.

    Here are my efforts for the week;

    *Line dried the washing.
    *Used left over rinse water for watering trees in this heat.
    *Saved pre dishes water for pot plants.
    *Made two batches of yoghurt.
    *From my garden I picked tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, kale, beetroot, rhubarb, celery, spring onions and rock melon.
    *Stocked up on a heap of mince and chicken breasts while on special at Foodland.
    *Baked two cakes.
    *Bought three (boxes of 12) of almond milk (we drink this instead of dairy milk) for $1.79 instead of $3.59 each carton.
    *I am eating vegetarian meals using veggies from my garden so saving some money.
    *Cooked a couple of really frugal meals this week.
    *Cleaned out and organised fridges and freezer.
    *Closed the blinds to keep out the heat.
    *Sold excess eggs. (We are trying to catch a snake in the chook-house at the moment as he killed one of our hens yesterday :(
    *Cleaned the bathrooms using vinegar and water and miracle spray.
    *Cleared some more clutter from kitchen drawers and bathroom cupboard.
    *Made Wendy's noodle salad, a great hit with the family.
    *Saved leftover meals for hubby's work. They are now in the freezer.
    *Made homemade pasties for lunches.
    *Made leftover bread into breadcrumbs.
    *Dyed my own hair.

    Wishing you a truly blessed week Annabel,


    1. Tania that was really good especially considering the heat!
      Also that the chooks are laying in spite of the snake AND the heat! I hope you get that snake (and he doesnt get you)
      You have reminded me that pasties is something I havent made in a while. As soon as the weather is cooler I will make some and also they freeze well. Nan used to make pasties also as a slice or as a larger pie. I loved this!
      I am glad your almond milk is back in too. If they run out get a rain check so you can have that price for longer, its a good price.
      I hope this week is great for you, it looks like a nicer weather forecast!


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