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.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 3rd April, 2015

Happy Easter to everyone. I feel Good Friday is a somber day and very reflective. But the rest of Easter is a joy and celebration. I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family.

April snuck up on me and I still haven't written down my goals for the month. But I will over the weekend. I like to think about it.
It feels cooler, we had a little rain. Autumn is evident in the first leaves falling. We get gorgeous autumn leaves here and I always collect some especially the really huge leaves that are so stunning. A bowl full of them looks lovely.

I had lots of chances to do things to save money this week. It was go go go! 
I saved money by...

Planting more parsley seeds from my parsley covered in seed heads. In the end I pulled it up and sat and cut off all the seed heads and kept them in a container. During the week I planted these in all kinds of spaces in the garden and watered them everyday. The ones I planted last week are coming up. I have hundreds of babies!  Apart from being useful this will look wonderful as parsley is so lush and pretty. Plus everywhere you have a plant you don't have a weed!

I also planted out, because of the first rain, several cuttings that I had started in glass bottles inside. They all had root systems. This included pale pink geraniums and some different flowering ground covers. It amounted to almost a dozen free pretty plants. All are looking ok.

From Tumby Bay trip I had a bag of succulent cuttings. A walk is not a walk without cuttings :) I added these to my little succulent patch. And in there I noticed some little babies that can be separated for the succulents in a jar or teacup or interesting container projects. I have so many! They are really quick to multiply. I started most of these from bits from Mums garden.

We all had a dinner at Mums for Katos birthday. I asked Mum what to bring..  She was doing a roast and had made a chocolate cake. So I made a big tray of roast veggies. I included potato, sweet potato, Pumpkin,  zucchini, carrots, parsnips and onions. Everyone got stuck into the roast veggies with the roast lamb. 

I have to say I got this tip from Wendy in the $300 challenge. She said when going out and taking food it is easy to spend a lot of money. Don't! In this case a huge tray of veggies was a hit and not expensive. Other times a potato salad or a cake, scones (biscuits), a rice salad... You think of all the things you can make that everyone always loves but are not costly. Somehow this revolutionised my contributions and made them less expensive and just as much a hit. Perhaps we feel we need to take something flash? But really people love comfort wholesome food. This simple tip has now saved me so many times!

When cutting up the veggies I retained some of each, just enough for us the next night. Mum sent us home with left over broccoli so the next night I just added meat.

Mum  also sent us home with walnut bread and goats cheese. This went towards the next two days work lunches. It is amazing what you can a make into lunch box snacks. I would say Andy hasn't had the same lunch twice ever!

For the girls I made Easter baskets. Instead of a ton of chocolate they got one chocolate each and a little basket of practical but nice things...pretty dish cloths, detergent, scrub pads, relish, pantry foods etc to have some treats and save them money. I wrapped them up with pastel tissue and a bow. I had saved items for a few weeks to do this. Not really saving me money, saving them money though. Easter and other celebrations can be expensive and a bit wasteful. I used to give a little chocolate and as Easter for us is the beginning of the cooler weather I gave warm pyjamas, or slippers, or something cozy like a scarf. Eggs might be wrapped inside, to me that was better than a lot of money on eggs.

At the supermarket I found Turkish bread and Turkish rolls. The rolls were usually $5.75 a pack and the loaf not much less. They were all $1. I got five packs. That is ten meals for us with left over cheeses, Hama or other meat, salad... Well, left over nigh. Toasties, "pizza", open toasted sandwiches... Steak sandwiches, burgers...all of these things. I keep it frozen and there are many possibilities all yum, easy  and fast. This is much better than takeaway and much cheaper. So when I see mark downs like this I stock up.  Takeaway seems to be a problem for lots of people. If you keep easy and fast meals on hand then you have a faster alternative. When the kids are old enough they can be in charge and make assemble your own toasted sandwiches and make dinner for everyone.

I built up my home with a good clean and tidy up, adding to the garden, adding to the cellar and starting to get out so autumn things like a throw for the lounge and some candles.

I did all the usual things, made all the lunches, watered the garden with the laundry water, shopped for great specials and mark downs, the boys went fishing and I pack a full days lunch, drinks and snacks in an esky. We all have things we do that are really huge savings. But because we always do them we don't even think of them! Now and then it is amazing to work out how much that one thing saves. From one time the boys bought fishing day lunch and drinks on their own, and I found out how much it was, I know me doing this saves around $1000 a year. Plus they love what I send! Can you believe that saving! You will really feel good if you work this out. Then start adding the numbers together!  Laine always would show Art her work. Well, I will often tell Andy these things. The other day he said how great the packed lunch was and I said "thank you for telling me, do you know this is saving us $1000 a year!?" He was amazed! It just feels really good!  It is like what we are doing here... A little celebration of how we did to re energise us for next week. 

I know a lot of little things we do can just seem pointless at times especially if they are not appreciated. But when you see the whole picture and realise how important your work is then it changes everything. I read on another blog of a lady who said she didn't sit around watching soapies all day since she has an important job and works for the King! How lovely is that!

How was your week and how did you save money or feather your nest? I hope it was a good week. Have a wonderful Easter and long weekend as well. We are getting a few things that need doing done around the house and garden. The weather is just beautiful and I am trying to soak it in. Perfect to be in the garden as much as possible. Now over to you all.... Xxx


  1. Happy Easter Annabel, to you and the family xx
    Can I ask how you get your roast veggies looking so nice and roasted, mine never look good or really brown up....think I'm doing something wrong!
    Another beautiful and well written post..I so enjoy reading your blog...thanks x

    1. Jacqui your reply landed further down... My problems with blogging from iPad are never ending!xxx

  2. Happy Easter to everyone.xo

    I went op shopping for the first time in ages! It was dollar day for clothes. I bought a denim (sports girl) jacket for my daughter and a girly pastel dress (valley girl) she loved them! I also bought 3/4 denim jeans for me and a lovely pink tablecloth for us to use for our tea parties! All these were $1 each! Even though they are really cheap, I am selective now only buying what we need or love. You can even overspend in an op shop I've found.

    I was able to buy dozens of 411g cans of pears for only $3 a dozen. They are choice grade too. We have massive stocks in our storeroom now. If you can't freeze or can fresh (much nicer though) this fruit is so handy through winter for us.

    I also bought milk for 19c and froze it. Some were one and some two litre bottles. Natural yogurt we bought for 39c litre! I've frozen it all. I'm sure Wendy used some frozen yogurt as a starter for a new batch?? Correct me if I'm wrong on that Wendy!

    I've made up Easter baskets. What a great idea you have of including practical and foodie items Annabel. I included a movie for my youngest and PJ pants for my middle girl. A practical basket is a good option for my married daughter, but it was chocolates this year and a soft bunny and blanket for our granddaughter. ;-)

    I spent ages researching an economical option for a few nights away. My husband has one month of long service leave. We are doing long overdue maintenance work on our home. Keeping things orderly is also feathering our nest and makes life easier.

    Hope you have all had a good week. All of these challenges keep me focused and inspired! So thanks everyone who contributes by comments here.

    Thank you lovely Annabel (and Helen) a supportive little community has formed here xoxo

    1. Kaye I am in awe of this bargains. They beat any I have Ever seen! Was it Aldi?
      I would have stocked up big time too! I haven't made yoghurt in a long time but I only ever used fresh yoghurt as the starter as that's all you need. I
      The chance to use long service leave for getting things done at home is a great idea. It takes so much to maintain a home, there is always something. We have quite a list at the moment.
      I hope in a few weeks the weather is lovely for you, I think it should be. Now you can plan away fro your holiday.
      The op shops buys were fantastic! It is so good to have finds like these.
      Re the pears... I think there are so many options with canned fruit.... Crumbles are really good. I make a ginger cake which is covered in tinned pears that is gorgeous. Just very handy to have.
      You had a fantastic week! Your shopping trip is a dream! Thank you for sharing your week, have a rest over Easter! Xxx

    2. Frozen yogurt works nicely as a starter.

  3. Annabel, I just tried to comment and got an error message so will try again. Have a Happy Easter! I love the gifts you made up for your girls.

  4. Happy Easter to you and yours Annabel
    Love your post.
    I flew home from visiting my parents late Wednesday night and spent yesterday having medical tests and seeing doctors. I was so pleased to be able to pop in and see my son, DIL and have a peep of my lovely Granddaughter as she slept.

    Today I decided to get stuck in and clean the house. I have also begun cleaning and sorting the preserving jars for storage in the shed. I have decorated the dining room for Easter and am cleaning out the shed slowly a little by little.

    Cooking today is fried rice for the freezer, a chicken for lunches and chocolate muffins also for the freezer. I am not doing chocolate this year as Dear Miss Pamela is lactose intolerant so it is not fair to have chocolate everywhere. The big girls are getting slippers and the big boys are getting scratch lottery tickets. The little girls are getting pyjamas and slippers. Sweet Grand baby is getting a crocheted pram blanket and a small toy.

    Big pork roast on Monday for dinner but there is only five of us so I will have plenty left over for the freezer. I am drooling at the thought of it.

    God Bless and have a wonderful week

    1. Dear Mel, you had a huge week! I am glad it all went well.
      A big pork roast sounds wonderful!
      I really like the non chocolate gifts. I like chocolate but it gives me a headache so I really don't eat it anymore. Plus it's not like I need the calories. So while I think a bit of everything is ok I would rather give slippers and cute stuff like that to little kids. Plus it's more sensible money wise.
      I would really love to see the crochet pram rug if there is anyway to send a phot I will show all the girls! Have a wonderful Easter! Xxxx

  5. Thanks Jacqui, I use non stick baking paper under roast veggies and cut them about 4 cm chunks so not too big. Pre hear oven to about 180. I spray olive oil over veggies or a drizzle of olive oil. Sometimes some Rosemary. Bake an hour. It's the cooking time, even cut smaller like this it's an hour. But ever oven seems different so keep an eye on them until you know your oven and times. Also higher in oven rather than lower helps.
    My computer has died. So I am blogging on iPad... Hence my photos are not the right size! It is so upsetting but I have simply worn out my lap top.
    Have a wonderful Easter, I hope it is a great leisurely long weekend. I hope there's something in the veggie tips that works for you... I usually do at least double what we need and then use the leftovers in a frittata, impossible pie, lasagne or pizza as roast veggies just have so much flavour! Xxx

  6. Annabel, another great week for you! The succulents, the flowers, the veges, the hampers....all a triumph! I've made bunny rugs for my grandaugters....literally rugs with little bunnies all over, trimmed with baby blue ribbon. I also found some cute hooded robes and bunny slippers for them on eBay. This will be our tradition I think, rather than chocolate. They will love it and be reminded of it when I am long gone, I hope. Family traditions are so important, and it's a challenge in a family where there are two other sets of grandparents due to a divorce and remarriage, to be original! I've made two orchid bowls using soft touch fake blooms....remember we talked about those back in the forum days? One of white Phalaenopsis orchids in a faux tortoishell bowl and one of yellow Cymbidiums in a silver ice bucket. They're now displayed and looking very lush indeed. The rest of my week was spent chauffeuring my daughter from one rehearsal to another so not much else achieved, but I'm happy with that on top of costume making and real life stuff. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I hope you will show us the bunny rugs and bunny slippers, they sound just gorgeous to me.
      Also the orchid bowls ... This would make a wonderful tutorial! When you think what they cost to buy... And so spectacular. Thank you so much you have inspired me as usual! Have a great Easter, love Annabel. Xxx

  7. Annabel you can download an App called 'reduce' to resize your photos or you can email them to yourself and choose the size you want e.g small, medium or large and when you have received them click on 'Save image'. Also you can download the App 'Blogsy' to write your posts. That is what I use when I am in Mt.Isa and have no PC.

    1. I should have known to ask you Nanna Chel. Chloe is helping me over the weekend as well. I got this far but it is the phots plus in blogger I can not see blog stats or traffic or anything like that either. Thank you I will look into all the things. Have a wonderful Easter! Xxx

  8. Lost my post. Grrr. Just wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful Blog. I noticed a few Forum girls here and if appropriate, wanted to wish them and yourself, a safe and happy Easter.

    1. Thank you very much, it is very appropriate. Happy Easter to you too. Thank you so much for

  9. We are chocolating but that is because I have had a shocker of a week.

    Popped into the op shop near the chiropractor's office yesterday and found 2 flat sheets that are prefect to use as backing for curtains.

    My husband started work on the dining room today - will be a slow process especially when he will be in Melbourne next weekend. I made a start on the bookcases - the are ready for their gloss coat tomorrow.

    More rain today so we have a house in realestate agent's speak 'with water views' - we need a few days of no rain so that we can dry out again.

    Annabel I love the succulents, so many ideas for the garden that I fall in love with.

    Happy Easter to everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette at least you haven't lost your sense of humour... Water views lol
      The book cases will look lovely. And at least the dining room will be underway.
      I hope next week is much easier and that the long weekend is a bit of a chance to recover. And that it stops raining there and comes here! Love

  10. The hampers look lovely Annabel. As much as I love chocolate ( really I do ), a hamper like this is far more exciting. It looks like you've had a productive and busy week.

    For the third year running, Darren and I have had the pleasure of making our own hot cross buns. They are a labour of love but really worth the effort. It was the highlight of our week. Here's what else we got up to -

    * Sorted out the freebies from the flower show and stored them in my garden shed.

    * Ripped up some school notices to use as note paper. I bought a magnetic clipboard a few years ago from a $2 shop. It came with a note pad but once I used it up I started using school notices. It's the perfect size for a weekly shopping list or a "To Do" list.

    * Washed the dishes by hand a few nights this week when there wasn't enough to put the dishwasher on.

    * Made a few more birthday cards.

    * Picked the first crop of lemons from our tree for this season.

    * Gratefully received two big Queensland Blue pumpkins from my friend Cath. Megan has put her order in for pumpkin soup.

    * Picked 10 - 15 raspberries each day.

    * Bought a big bag of apples from the fruit and veg shop bargain table for $1. There were about 15 - 20 apples in the bag and they all looked good.

    * Saved lots of warm up water and shower water for the washing machine.

    * Froze three serves of left over beef stew and two of tuna pasta bake. I'll have to put freezer meals on the menu again as they keep piling up.

    * Darren and I made two dozen hot cross buns. We've eaten some fresh, some toasted under the grill and the rest are for the freezer. Our freezer gets fed well doesn't it ?

    * Planted out the broccoli seedlings I've grown from seed.

    * Gratefully received some fruit salad, sandwiches and small desserts.

    1. You inspire me Wendy as you celebrate every good thing. I am blogging from my iPad this week so I have a ton of mistakes sadly but did not want to just not blog.
      I am finding this mild weather and cool nights so good. I truly find life easier without the heat and I get much more done. If it will rain then not watering the garden saves me a lot of time per day as well. Then I get more present and card making done too which is a great help.
      Thank you for sharing your week. I think we all get encouragement from each other and all learn some tips too. Xxx

  11. Dear Annabel & others: Happy Easter to everyone!

    What a lovely post, Annabel! You've had a really busy week and it's so nice to read what you've been up to. I love the baskets, the succulents, and the roast veggies are my favorite! My kids are really enjoying those now so it's a big thumbs up on those here! It has been non-stop here this past week. I really need a rest. Tonight was very special as we had dinner with friends at our home, colored eggs, and baked & frosted Easter cut-out sugar cookies with the kids. This is the third year we've had our friends join us and it was just beautiful. This week I feathered my nest by: serving my family. There have been a lot of additional needs this past week in addition to everyone being home on spring break. It is 11:09 pm Friday as I post this with bleary eyes and a happy heart. I stripped bedding, washed & remade beds, swept the house, bought some excellent specials at the grocery store, portioned out meat in the food saver, planned three batches of soup to make and freeze before the weather gets too warm, started my spring scrapbooking catch-up, gratefully received more lemons from my neighbor, boxed up some really nice girls' clothing sized 7-8 that Kara can no longer wear to pass along to a friend who has 2 daughters, added some new recipes, planned Easter dinner (we are hosting family), reworked the grocery budget to challenge myself, worked on the pantry, picked up a game my kids saved and pooled their money for, and saw a movie with the kids and my mother-in-law. I'm happy to say my home is still very spic and span after my spring cleaning, it was pretty easy to keep it up this week. Thank you sweet Annabel for my favorite post of the week, and thank you everyone for your comments as well! He is Risen! xxx

    1. Your spring cleaning sounds like it had a great effect on everything. I am trying to do the same only its autumn cleaning, I did windows today!
      You did have a go go go week but full of good things. The Easter egg and cookie decorating sounds really lovely ... These things are good as each age can do their own thing and be creative according to their own style!
      It's so nice passing on clothes to someone with younger children. What a help that can be to someone. Every week your do nice things for others.
      I am guessing you also would get a longer weekend, or holiday break for Easter? This is giving me more time and the weather is gorgeous so I did windows and filled a bin pruning two magnolias and a rose. (we have a big fortnightly bin just for organic materials) next fortnight I will start on some more roses and fill it up again. Also I did inside windows and things look lovely and sparkly. Tomorrow my kitchen chandelier... I love it but cleaning chandeliers is a job and a half!
      Have a wonderful Easter and a bit of a rest if possible! Thank you for sharing your busy week! It was a good week. All spic and span for

  12. This is how I saved this week in my home. I also completed my kitchen 'do-over' which was budget friendly.
    I plan to start re-reading Laines letters this week, starting at the beginning and see what I can do to increase my home savings. I've already got my clipboard and pen handy to jot down ideas!

    1. Terri I am reading Laines a Letters too. I am amazed at how reading them now I see things so differently, I am at a different time in life. Well, they are doing me so much good. They are as good a Bible study as any in themselves.
      Taking notes is a good idea, I am doing the same!
      I am a lunch maker too sending Andys lunch saves us a fortune and is healthier for him.
      Happy Easter to you. Xxx

  13. Hi Annabel. I have found your lovely blog from Wendy's. What a great idea for the Easter hamper! Will do this next year for sure. What a great Easter weekend with perfect Autumn weather. Was absolutely blessed yesterday with generous gifts. Did lots of baking this weekend for the freezer with wholemeal bread and muffins (pear, banana & choc chip was the winning combo!). Also will get all my washing organised and ironed today. Doing the washing is my area of weakness! Have a good week - Tina xx

    1. Welcome Tina! I love Wendy's blog, we are on the same wavelength down to our love of jars!
      I am so glad you have had a great Easter. And that you have your washing all done. It is such a good feeling. I don't really love washing but I love fresh clean linen etc and the feeling of it so that motivates me. Also I avoid the bit I hare,meh in is ironing, by folding things from the line and hanging things to dry on hangers. Apart from business shirts that eliminates ironing for me. This has helped me heaps. Don't let anything dry go into a hamper where it gets all creased up, that's my tip.
      Your baking sounds wonderful! Thank you so much for

  14. Annabel dear, I wanted to tell you that you have a gift for homemaking and gift giving. Those baskets for the girls were so sweet. I found the image of them popping into my mind over the weekend. Our sons got food parcels as well. They really love good relishes and I pop a little bit of chocolate in as well. Thanks for a wonderful article, Helen xxx

    1. Dear Helen, I hope you have had a lovely Easter.And that the boys loved their food parcels, I'm sure they did!
      I am thinking a gift of food is always good and a little hamper is so sweet. It would be a big help to most people.
      I hope you are enjoying the holiday too with some quiet time, love


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