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, 11 June 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 12 June 2015.

We had a short week as Monday was a public holiday for the Queen's Birthday. I always run short of time and Friday comes around so fast! But still it was a good week and we used the long weekend well.

There are always plenty of things to do on weekends. Some rest and relaxation and some doing things like gardening and jobs around the place. On Monday Andy built me a shelf for all my new jars. They are so nice I had the idea that displaying them would be lovely. On the reverse side of the kitchen island there is a ledge but nothing underneath that space. This has now become a shelf for a row of big jars. It looks great and Andy used all wood that was left over from our kitchen counter tops. So now I have a really long shelf and eleven giant jars on it already. There is room for ten more. So I am officially saving these jars! It was Mum's friend who gave them to me. I am hoping she will keep saving them and I will get ten more over the next few months. Now to make nice labels for them...

So that was our first savings this week as neither the jars or the shelf cost a cent yet produced a great amount of storage space for dry goods such as beans, pasta, rice etc.

Other ways we saved money include:

I made a giant slab of Winter Sunshine Cake because oranges were on a big special. This is so lovely. I made a baby cake for Chloe and put a rose from the garden on top and sent it around to her. She loved it!



The recipe for this cake is here.

I made baked apples in the crock pot. They were so good, rich and delicious.

Also made two huge baking trays of lasagne. We ate some for dinner that night then I let it all go cold and the next day sliced it up. It slices up so easily and neatly when cold.


I cut it into good sized serving sizes, wrap each one and bag these up. They go into the freezer for emergency easy meals. Doing it this way I got 14 single serves all up. This freezes and re heats so well it's wonderful. In busy times or sickness I bless the days I do things like this.


Made two batches of soup.
Mended a tiny hole in Andy's good jumper.
Made all the work lunches, all dinners and fed others too.
Froze stock I had made for more soup.
Found some good fruit and vegetable specials.
Used my health insurance to get new glasses.
Used Medicare to have total check on my eyes. This is free annually which is a great thing.
Dried all the washing in the sun, including sheets today as rain is coming!

I built up our home by adding to my pantry supplies, filling my jars, the shelf Andy built, the smell of lots of cooking and warm meals on cold nights! My trip to the wholesalers helped me add to my dry goods supplies and for very little money. That was a really worthwhile and fun thing to do. Sometimes just finding a new place that will help us save money in the future is a big thing that helps us build up our home. It's like learning a new skill... the potential savings might be huge. There are always new ways of doing things that we can add or learn!




How did you save money and build up your home this week? It is amazing how many things we do over a week! Overall I think a lot of little savings add up more than a couple of big ones. All the little things we do amount to great efforts.

I hope you had a good week! We are almost mid year! Can you believe that?
On Monday I have lots to add to the crock pot series. The crock pot has been on almost every day! xxx



24 comments:

  1. Oh, Annabel, I just love, love your jars!!! And the shelf Andy made! You have been quite busy building up your pantry - with dry goods and the freezer!! Yea for you :) And such a beautiful cake you made for Chloe!

    This week I stayed home as much as possible but one day I did stop at our local shop and the dog bones we buy were on close out price, so I brought home 6 big bags at 1/2 price, also added dog food, cat food and bird food. I'm grateful to have been reminded by several of you lovely ladies about adding pet food/treats to our pantries. I've always had a few weeks worth but will now work to stock more each time I shop.
    I also mowed and weeded my yard, hung clothes to dry inside, cooked all meals at home and when I was getting home right at dinner time, I used my "handmaiden" to cook our chicken. I first "marinated" the chicken in yogurt( I made) and dried herbs and onions. It was so yummy!

    When I was out, I also stopped at a thrift shop and found a few more candles and some ribbon for card/tag making.

    Have a good weekend! Love, Teri

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    1. That is a good week Teri! Your chicken dinner sounds delicious.
      Also good thrift store buys. Extra candles are always a good idea.
      I am thrilled with my no cost jars and shelf! It makes me happy every time I look at it! Have a wonderful weekend! Love Annabel.xxxx

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  2. Annabel, you just never stop. Love the jars all lined up on the new shelf. I often do lasagna and freeze too, but in containers. Does the silver foil come off neatly? Do you peel it off frozen or do you do it when it's defrosted. Would love to know the answer to that one. The cake looks great too. You'd love what my man gave me a couple of weeks ago. He had a huge tub of his grandmothers jars. They are all huge square jars with interesting patterns and there are some smaller ones too. Very vintage and very beautiful. I was like "have you got any more" when they came out.
    You would love them. The effort that went into making things then was great. I've just made black raspberry and vanilla soap this week. The aroma is wonderful in the house, whoever comes in says they can smell it. And this morning I've made hedgehog and chopped up a block of aldi rum and raison chocolate and spread it over the top. Because the slice was just made and warm, the choc has melted and i've used a knife and slathered it over. Very decadent. I cut that up and freeze in sets of about six pieces and then also freeze several sets of two pieces in glad wrap for the man's play lunch, oh and me too!.
    Have a wonderful weekend. Fi xx

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    1. Fiona the foil is not wrapped tightly and comes off easily either while frozen or defrosted. If the lasagne was cooked in the foil it would stick but it acts like plastic wrap really this way. I run out of containers and they take up too much room in my freezer which isnt overly big so I do it this way.
      Your soap sounds lovely. I am getting lots of soap making hints I think to do this again so I am collecting molds. It is a long time though since I made any so I will need a practice run.
      Hedgehog! Now that is an idea... and what a good idea to freeze batches. This is a really good idea...
      I really love the sound of Grandmothers jars. What treasures and how nice to be given them. What a lovely addition to your kitchen/pantry! I would love them Im sure.
      Have a relaxing weekend. I had a big play with Harper today and took her for a walk! It was great fun! xxx

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  3. Hi Annabel and friends,
    Teri was that a whole chicken or chicken pieces? It sounds so delicious. I know I should be keeping track of what I am doing, but a few things that I am doing are eating down my pantry, so I can tidy it out and restock it. I have been on this since April and I'm still going with it. My grocery shops are just topping up for making complete meals.
    Today was a day of victory for me, because I made my first successful thing in my wood oven. I was trying to do too much when I tried before and I was just burning things, so today I have learnt something.
    The last thing is for the last few weeks, unless I'm going to a bible study or into my ministry office, I haven't been to the shops at all. My husband is picking up the bits and pieces from the grocery store for me. This is saving time, and allowing me to enjoy our home, and keep our money in our pockets.
    Annabel, I am so excited by those jars. Are they Moccona jars? Fiona, your jars just sound wonderful. I can't wait to see them with the labels on dear friend. Thank you for a beautiful post.
    Love Helen xxx

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    1. Helen,
      This time I used a small boneless chicken breast I bought a few weeks ago in the mark-down bin. But I have done this with chicken legs and thighs also. I cut the chicken breast into 4 or 5 pieces, placed them in a boil, covered them with yogurt and the herbs and onions, then put it all in the refrig for about 4 hours. Then, at noon, I poured it all in the "handmaiden" and let it cook on low while I was away. Delicious!

      I have also taken the chicken out of the marinade and rolled it in my own version of "shake and bake" and then baked in the oven. This, too, is yummy.
      It sounds like you have a wonderful pantry, Helen!
      Love, Teri

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    2. Actually Helen and Annabel, I lashed out this week and I ordered on eBay chalkboard stickers. Looking at other blogs and things, I see that people use chalkboard contact in a roll and cut out their own stickers in nice shapes. So I looked into that but didn't want a huge roll and anyway my shapes would be all over the place, so I ordered 76 pre cut stickers, they are gorgeous. Haven't come yet but the total cost was around 5 dollars. I'll see if i can take photos when I get them up and running. However, I won't be doing that for a while as I hope to be doing a new kitchen with a butlers pantry and that is for later this year or early next year. Love the logic helen of staying in and not spending money. I love a car free day, like today. Fi xx

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    3. OOhh I want to see these stickers... that sounds a really good price! I would love to see photos when you can.
      A new kitchen with a butlers pantry!? Ok this is going to have to be featured here sometime in the future so we can all have a nosey! That will be wonderful! xxx

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  4. Hi Teri and Fiona,
    Teri...thanks so much for the recipe hints. I have some chicken breasts in the freezer that I can use!
    Fiona, wow, what a buy...we would love to see some photos when you have time. I'm really impressed with the price for pre cut . You can come across some great deals. Your new kitchen to be sounds absolutely lovely. You must share the progress with us all as you go along. I'm dreaming of two new shower screens before the year is out.
    Thanks so much ladies.
    Love Helen

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  5. Oh Annabel, your jars look fantastic on the shelf that Andy made. Sunshine cake, yum, yum!

    I bought some mince today so I can be like you and make a lasagne to put in the freezer for when we have busy times. This is something I need to do more of, so I am not always spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

    This week I have been feeling quite the homebody.
    ~I have been using my diary and home management folder a lot more and recording things. I put a "to do" list in my diary and as I completed the tasks I crossed them off. I am adding favourite scriptures as well with an arty touch.
    ~I have been baking bread daily this week and enjoying it with homemade soups, stews etc.
    ~I discovered recently that I could add citric acid to my homemade washing powder instead of borax and it brightens up the clothes. From what I can see it is working well.
    ~I have managed to get my washing dry this week. A couple of frosty mornings, but our days are lovely.
    ~I had to cover the veggies overnight to protect them from frosts.
    ~Picked the last of my pumpkins, looking forward to roasted pumpkin soup very soon.
    ~Cut and hung some herbs for drying outside.
    ~I put all my flour into jars and containers (I managed to find enough storage containers).
    ~I had quite a few no spend days, today was the first time at the shop for this week.
    ~I made some more homemade scones, and a delicious apple sponge pudding.
    ~I also made some vegemite scrolls and chocolate cake for my grandsons school lunches. He stayed over one night this week.
    ~Homemade pizza for tea tonight.
    ~Picked our first bucket of mandarins and have been enjoying them for our breakfast juice.
    ~I have been planning a new blog. I think my old one has run its time. I am looking to make a new one that is more homemaking based, which is where my interest lies.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend, and I hope you get some rain. Our fingers are crossed for some, as it is very dry here...

    xTania

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    1. Tania, your week was great! I love what you said about feeling quite the homebody. My thoughts exactly. I'll pray for your new blog plans, and looking forward to it! xxxColette

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    2. I will look forward to your new blog too Tania! I totally understand about feeling like a homebody. I always feel that "keeping the homefires burning" is the best thing I can be doing.
      Your Grandson would have loved his lunch box I bet! How beautiful! What a lovely Grandma you are.
      Your week was full of good things! Thank you so much for sharing it! I enjoyed all the sunny afternoons but we need rain too.xxx

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  6. I am so inspired by you all!
    A few ways I have saved is by making Kombucha. I made a gallon, for mere pennies. Here in the ststes it is $4.00 a pint.
    Made my own powder laundry soap
    Instead of buying foaming soap refill, my girl friend told me I could just put a 1/4 of soap, dish, Castile etc... In and fill rest with Water. - works great - again for pennies
    Our grocery delis and bakeries will give large. Pickle jars and 5 gal ails with lids for free. Picked some up and am using for the kombucha, storing beans, flours etc...
    My favorite saving is gerber daisies - they are $4.00 a stem here, and I bought a large plant for$9.00 and have been picking stems daily to put in little vases around the house! Windowsills, by the sink, etc... They re grow so quickly!
    Thank you for your lovely posts! I must take some time to
    Look at the archives for summer ones as we are summer now in the ststes
    Blessings~

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    1. Welcome tootles! You did so well and saved a lot! The foaming soap containers are so handy. They are easy to refill and really economical on usage too.
      It is a really good idea to try shops for used jars etc. So many good things are thrown out and I would much rather collect my jars and containers and use my money to fill them!
      I also love Gerber daisies and have cream ones and pink ones. My Nan always grew those too. They are very cheerful!
      Thank you so much for commenting, have a wonderful weekend.xxx

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  7. Dearest Annabel & friends,

    What a nice week! I love love love your new shelf! How sweet of Andy to build it for you. The jars are AWESOME! I love that they are so useful and were gifted to you! I'll pray you do get a bunch more. I love how you don't let grass grow under your feet, truly inspiring! Your cake pictures are always so pretty and make me want to go bake something LOL!

    Here in Arizona, US we are having the most unusually lovely spring-into-summer! We've had so much rain and that is not common for us at all. We've had clouds. We've had cooler than normal temps, and it's so refreshing (but here comes the heat!) It's been just great and my first summer garden is better than I'd hoped. I can't wait to report how many pumpkins we actually get when it's their time!

    I echo Tania's sentiment. I've really been staying close to home and feeling close to home. I'm happy to be here and feel like I'm finally having a catch-up after the mad dash of closing the school year. Here's what I've been up to:

    Today I put the first handmaiden (bread machine) to work quickly so my family has fresh bread today :)
    Caught up on the laundry; school vacation in my home means less laundry but MORE food preparation!
    Started de-sticky-labeling my jars I've been collecting, and ready to paint the lids
    Cooked all meals at home except for one
    made meals ahead for the freezer (2)
    shared veggies with my wonderful in-laws. LOL my home-grown cucumber seriously impressed them :) The taste is truly spectacular. Isn't that sweet? It's the simple things that are the best.
    Had a less-than-half-priced grocery week while STILL adding a few new items to the pantry! YESSS!
    Worked on our garage-we almost have room for both cars, one is in there now.
    Donated to the domestic violence thrift shop
    Donated to my oldest daughter :)
    Having a big eat-thru-the-pantry so I can reorganize it, I'm right there with Helen
    Reached all savings goal categories, in spite of some really tough months.*GRATEFUL*
    Huge joy: Surprised some friends with a dinner of homemade soup, bread and salad delivered to them. They've had a tough time recently and I just had to do something for them.

    Finally, I've begun organizing last year's photos, awards, holiday programs, etc. for my annual scrapbooking retreat in August. I've been going for about 8 years and I'm so looking forward to it! It's held at a local hotel over three days, Friday 4pm thru Sunday 4pm. We each set up our individual 6-foot table space in a large conference room and there your stuff stays for the weekend as you work at your own pace. It's with a wonderful group of ladies and there's so much inspiration! There is always a "free" table where you can put items you no longer need/want in exchange for items that you'd like to use. For some, this is the only time of year that they get an uninterrupted extended period of time to work on their projects. Some come to scrap, some to catch up on their card making, they bring their crochet, embroidery and knitting, it's really beautiful and refreshing. I always see ladies working on (traditional) paper scrapbooks, some bring laptops for digital scrapbooking, there are multiple hand-made baby announcements, shower invitations, cards for all occasions, etc. There is LOTS of laughter, chocolate, tea, and coffee :) This is my big annual splurge and it recharges me.

    I love everyone's posts and reading about your homes. Annabel I hope you're feeling better! I read in a previous post you were under the weather. Take care of yourself, and thank you for a wonderful visit :)

    Love to All,
    Colette xxx

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    1. Dear Colette, I feel excited for you with your scrap booking weekend! That would be fabulous! And to me there is a great purpose in it as well as fun as keeping all the records and photos in order is a big job. Many people have years and years of records in a mess. But they are precious and this way you will have them all up to date and looking so nice!
      And you impressed you in laws with your vegie growing skills!
      You had such a productive week and included kindness to others (as you always do)
      When you mentioned you bread maker I thought to tell you that I often used to take the dough out before it started to cook. Roll it out and fill it with cheese, ham, anything I had like onion, olives, capsicum (think pizza ingredients) then roll it up and slice and cook as scrolls. These were really filling and good for moveable meals. I did sweet versions too with jam and berries etc. What a useful thing a bread maker is!
      I hope you have a wonderful time at your scrap booking weekend and it is a break for you too. Enjoy! Lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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    2. Dear Colette, Oh the joy of reading your list! I am so happy for you that you get to go on your scrapbooking retreat. For ladies who have never been to something like this, it is simply wonderful!
      My sister and I use to go to a patchwork retreat for a week each year. She was the one who could patchwork, so she would be in the more advanced workshops, while I stayed in the beginners. The sheer joy of having a week together as adult sisters, with out having to look after anyone ( even ourselves) is what we loved.
      You are doing so much!
      Isn't it a joy to just stay home and get our nest in order?
      Lovely to hear from you,
      Helen x

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  8. What an industrious week even though it was a short one.

    We too had the holiday Monday, my husband is still working on getting the two rooms finished so that is what the weekend was spent on.

    I stuck to my unless I am out for something else I am not doing a big shop routine and did the grocery basics at Aldi on Wednesday after an appointment I had on the Island. I picked up pumpkin yesterday from our small IGA (69 cents a kilo) to make pumpkin soup in the slow cooker over the weekend. Mind you I nearly died at the price of leeks - $8-99 a kilo. They are my onion substitute so I need to find them elsewhere at a much cheaper price.

    The weather has changed to damp and dreary grey skies so of course you always feel colder when that sort of weather is around. Mind you it is great for getting some knitting done.

    Like Helen I intend working my way through the pantry and using up a few items that I know need to be used. Need to start working on a list, I have a couple of items that I purchased for 'just in case' that I do not normally use so they need to be the first to go.

    Talking about chalkboard labels - I picked up mine from a cheap shop that I have on my containers - I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter if the containers have a label on them or not because my husband decided that he was going to help me by putting a packet of skim milk powder away in the container - problem was that he chose the one that was clearly marked as plain flour (thankfully it was empty).

    I thought my labels were large enough but obviously they are not.

    Tania I hope you get some rain soon.

    Lynette
    XXXX

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    1. Dear Lynette, I am glad you are enjoying your knitting. This is the weather for it that is for sure!
      I must ask you why you use leeks instead of onions? And can you use spring onions? I see they are often quite expensive here too.
      Pumpkin soup will be on again here too next week. My last lot turned out the nicest one ever. I could happily eat that everyday.
      Have a lovely weekend. And remember the flour is powdered milk next time you go to cook something! lol that was helpful!
      Lots of love,
      Annabel.xxx

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    2. I have an intolerance to onions and even though leeks are from the same family I can still eat them - must just be a slight difference in their make up. I use spring onions in impossible pie (gives me a delicate flavour of onion) but if I am doing my spinach and fetta one I like to include some leek for a more robust flavour and texture.

      It has been a learning curve over the years - usually I see leeks and they are $4-00 a kilo, never $9-00.

      So even though I will come across onions for 9c a kilo I cannot take advantage of that sort of special. Just a tiny bit and I am in agony.

      I was going to sort out the powdered milk problem and when I went to do it my husband had already done it, mind you when I was originally asking him about it he declared that he hadn't opened any packet.

      Did get a beanie and size 2 jumper sewn together yesterday and continued on with part of a project I am working on - now need to sew it together and finish it off and continue with the second half of the project.

      Decided to make today my cooking day - yesterday the rain stopped later in the morning so I was able to see to sew the jumper and beanie together.

      Lynette

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  9. Annabel, it is summer here, our temps were in the upper 90's today, and I'm working overtime trying to get as much harvested and preserved from the garden before the heat and humidity starts taking it's tole on everything. I've been preserving herbs, squash and beets this week and adding them to my pantry. So much to do ... and I love it! I love your new shelf and jars, I can't wait to see your labels. Please be sure to repost a picture of your jars once you have them labeled.

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  10. My family is transitioning from the end of our homeschool year to summer break, with a birthday and packing for a week long conference/vacation in the beginning weeks of summer...so I really feel at odds with myself during times like these, when schedules and routines change...it makes it hard to know or remember whether I'm feathering my nest well or merely just getting through. Today I was able to whip up a couple meals quick this morning to take to a family from church from my freezer pantry, I am so pleased about this! We have eaten out of our pantry and freezer as much as possible this week to keep from having to buy a lot of food before we leave. Because we homeschool and I stay at home with our kids, some of us in the family don't have enough clothes to last through a week to 10 days of vacation (there is no need when I can just do laundry at home!), so we always do a bit of shopping before we go. I was pleased with the deals I want able to find. It is a store that sells name brand clothes for a fraction of the price. I was able to buy my husband two very nice pairs of khaki shorts for $35. If I had gone to the department store, I probably would have had to pay $70-$80 for the quality I got.

    Marie

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  11. I don't feel like I’ve done all that much but spin my wheels this week! With a short week and unexpected visitors, and a planned shopping trip out of town it just seems that way as it is out of my normal routine! ;)

    We all got new clothing on our shopping trip. So I’ve been busily laundering all of that and thankfully no need to use the dryer to get it along with the regular laundry dry. I also bought a lot of fruit and veg on our shopping trip at amazing prices. Some of the pumpkin as low as 38c kg! I find if it is busy I now just often freeze items and deal with them later. I read once where a lady put her tomatoes in a bag and froze them, then just dealt with making them into pasta sauce or something later. I get too caught up thinking of doing the final job rather than taking a little shortcut or help along the way! This just leads to frustration and overload sometimes otherwise for me! It is amazing how much little hints and suggestions from others helps so much along the way.

    Annabel, I remembered how you used leftover rice to make up rice custard in the slow cooker. I had some aside for fried rice (which didn’t happen) so am putting it into the slow cooker to make a custard now.

    We bought some Rio underwear bargains at Woolies of all places. 5 and 7 packs of undies or socks for $2. I used a voucher from Red Energy to get $10 off my $50 order from Chemist Warehouse of vitamins, supplements and foaming soap dispensers. Thanks to Wendy I bought some $1 Organics shampoo recently and I will use that to make up foaming soap for these dispensers for the future.

    I’ll be filling up the car and getting the 14c discount per litre later.. I had to hold off last week (just putting in $10 top up) as they’d put the fuel up for the long weekend! It makes me nervous running it to almost dry as well, but that is the best way to maximize the saving on a full tank. It sure is a relief the day I get a full tank!

    I used a $20 gift card to buy some dairy essentials at Woolies. I wanted to buy block cheese but it was all sold out! So I went around to Coles and bought their $6 kg block. We have frozen cheese, but it is all grated.(I bought it that way for $4 a kg) It was a lesson to me to not let the block cheese supply get so low to the point of running out! Not that I resorted to any panic buying or anything like that. It is easy to see how people do though if they are not prepared!

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  12. Annabel thanks for the info re the foil. It would be good cos yes, much more economical in terms of space in the freezer. I only have a 150 litre chest freezer.

    Tania will look forward to reading your new blog too. I think blog reading could almost be classed as a full time job!

    It’s funny, reading everyone’s replies how much we all love being at home and get so much satisfaction, peace and wellbeing. I remember when I first got married and left home it was not trendy to be a “homebody”. The fact that I sewed and cooked and gardened was looked down upon by most of the people I worked with and friends too, and in fact the inlaws. It was seen as sort of poor persons activities.

    Why do that, when you can race to the shops and buy everything, in fact, why not spend all your weekend at the shops???? That was how they saw it.

    To me it was putting nourishing and fresh food into the bellies of my family. I never stopped getting a thrill sending husband and children to work and school with homecooked lunches. I loved seeing my boys in my homemade clothes. And now when I am comfortable with my financial spot, my ex sister in law who was perhaps the biggest shopper of all, still has not been able to buy a house. Now I’m not being a snob at all. But she wanted to but couldn’t because as soon as a dollar came in it went out. At 54, she is still renting and being moved on every few years as the landlord decides. I have nothing at all against renting, truly. She never wanted to do the money saving things. I remember one time coming to our house for dinner and I served two mains – one was lasagna the other was meatballs in tomato soup. She sneered but smiled at the same time and said “was mince cheap again this week”. But the worst was always getting told “but you’re lucky to have a house” and I knew it wasn’t luck.

    A new week has begun and I’ve decided to do loads of cooking and top my freezer up a bit. I also am going to do some more potting up in my glasshouse. I hope you all have a lovely week, I’m a little jealous to read about the warmer weather in America, although I do love winter with a good fire. What do they say about the grass always being greener?
    Fi xx

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I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

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