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, 31 December 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 1st January 2016!

Welcome to 2016! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  We did. It was beautiful.  I got what I wanted the most... Dad had a great Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed himself. I took a heap of photos of him nursing Harper and holding her hand!

Thank you for all the Christmas wishes! I truly hope everyone was as lucky as me this year and had many blessings.
The weather was hot. Andy came home and have me two extra days at the farm. He watered the garden and looked after the animals. This was a real gift as I got extra time with my family and time to think and plan.
I did true Vicky style "revisiting" the whole year and made a lot of plans and changes.
The new year presents this opportunity for such a review. Being away from home and some quiet time really helped me to do that.

I started my new planner and wrote in all the big things of 2015 and things I have to be grateful for. Then I start my plans for the new year. I have big and small things. Focus on my health is one. Paint the house is another!

Some of the ways I saved money since last Friday post are:

We had days of amazing food Mum made and ate too much. This was Mum's beautiful Christmas pudding...

Mum makes many of these and uses some as gifts. They keep a long time too. Next year I should make a tutorial on these.

Mum gave me honey from the farm. It is beautiful.

A local fisherman gave Dad a crayfish. He shared this with Andy who loves it. Plus gave Andy some to bring home for that night. He ate a ton of it I think. Then I found out it had been $118 a kilo! This crayfish must have weight well over that maybe two kilos so I told Andy had just ate a hundred dollars worth lol.

There were a lot of us on Christmas Day. I was the only one wanting to collect the left over paper and ribbons etc. You should see how much ribbon I got! Some of it was gorgeous glitter ribbon and metres of it. Plus some lovely paper suitable to re use or use on cards etc.

I painted and decorated the big jar my Aunt gave me to add to my collection.

We continued to pick about a cup of cherry tomatoes a day. I was able to give away some too.

Some of the ways we feathered our nest since last post are:

A beautiful Christmas all together.

Andy pressure cleaned the whole yard front and back.

I packed away the Christmas decorations and tree etc as I always do before Jan 1 and had a big clean.

Then I started on re organizing the lounge room, having a re arrange and re painting the coffee table. Its amazing how a re arrange freshens things up. (except I haven't finished this yet!)

Some ways I got ahead are:

All the jars my aunt gave me have got me ahead with jar supplies for preserves.

From all my hand made gifts and also bargain gifts I ended up with left overs. I now have several birthday presents already organized for January and February. I love being ahead with gifts.

From collecting ribbons, cards I made and wrap Mimi made me I am way ahead on gift giving supplies.

This year I am going to talk more about ways to get ahead as little by little this is a big help.

This is Mum serving the Christmas pudding with her assistant, Georga.

I am excited about the year. New goals and aims and things to look forward to.  Many families are facing big challenges. I already know of quite a few who know they have significant income loss or large increases in costs. Or both. It seems a common theme. If this is you I can tell you there are several ladies who comment here regularly who we all feel are friends and the first to help anyone. They are also going through this. You are not alone. I hope to create a lot of support and friendship that I hope helps in some small way.
Next week I am starting two challenges to get things going. There will be a few posts to set the scene for the year.

What are your goals and dreams for 2016? Last year my main one was to fill my cellar and shelves with supplies and I did it! Now this year I will keep on that but I have many new projects.

How did you save money and build up your nest?

See you on Monday! If you can use the weekend to think over what you really need to work on this year we can hit the ground running on Monday starting the Vicky Challenge. If you feel you want to do this challenge you will amaze yourself! If not hopefully you will still notice just how much your work saves your family and feel very proud of it!

Wednesday we will start the Christmas Challenge. I am making a Christmas present a week (or so) from next week. As I go along I hope to provide motivation to get making things all year and save a fortune. Also provide ideas, how to use materials you have on hand or available to you for free and how to choose suitable gifts, present them well etc. At the end of each month we will have a show and tell to share what we have been doing.

Have a wonderful New Year and weekend! It is really nice to be back!

Tealady if you are reading I have been thinking of you and praying. xxx


  1. Annabel, we had a lovely Christmas too as two of our grandchildren and their mommy and daddy were with us for a whole week. What fun we had with them! I am so excited about your two new challenges and am ready and waiting for the kick-off. Welcome 2016!

    1. Dear Patsy, That was a wonderful Christmas! I am excited too for the new year and I think your blog will help many people greatly. I look forward to all our new discoveries. Thank you for your support and friendship! We should be neighbors but this is the next best thing! With love

  2. I'm so glad you had a wonderful time with your family. We did too.
    That honey! Honey is expensive in the USA and seems to keep increasing. I can't tell how big your jars are but that much honey would cost a lot here.
    I am looking forward to your make a gift series and hope to follow along.

    2015 was a good but very busy, hectic year for us. We made our biggest goal of getting finances in order so my husband could retire early. We now have a lower income but we also have very low expenses.
    So in 2016, we need to enjoy retirement but keep careful watch on spending.

    Happy 2016 to you! I am so glad we "met" in this last year.

    1. Dear Rhonda, Honey is expensive here too. Its about $5 for a small jar? These were medium jars I would say. On the farm a bee keeper keeps hives. Every year he gives Mum and Dad a huge bucket of honey in return. It is excellent!
      I hope your husband enjoys retirement and this opens up a whole new world of savings and activities. Happy New Year to you too! Love

  3. Happy New Year friend. I am glad you had a lovely Christmas. We had one as well.

    I have done a few things this week. I cooked what I had in my pantry. I learned how to make a few things from scratch by doing this. I watched a video on how to groom my dog and I did that. I saved $40 by grooming her and she turned out wonderful. I have made several things for Valentines already (It is a favorite holiday in our home). I reused some blocks that have writing on them but turned them around and spelled LOVE on them with chalk and they look so cute. I rearranged some things after taking Christmas down and it looks fresh. I found some food storage jars and I am washing all my glass condiment jars to store food in. I am working on a pantry list to begin building it this year. I got a free online class about growing tomatoes and I am planning to take that in a few weeks.

    I am looking forward to your challenges!!!


    1. Dear Chrissy, That is a great saving on the dog grooming! I knew a lady who had little dogs and the grooming was expensive plus she had to travel for it so it took time too. She learned to do it herself and bought clippers. Next thing people asked her to do their dogs! It became a sideline income for her! You never know... but the savings in themselves are wonderful and will save you heaps over the year.
      I am working on the fresh new look in the lounge room!
      You did well. Have a very Happy New Year. I am so glad to have you on board with the challenges. With love

    2. Annabel,
      When I had my Malamute my husband thought to shave him in the summer after me repeatedly telling him you can't shave them! He bought special clippers that were over $100 and finally believed me when someone else told him you can't shave those dogs. Well we use them on Todd!! LOL His hair is so thick regular clippers get stuck! I thought it funny so thought I would share. Hey I made do! So I save a lot not having to take Todd to the groomers! LOL

    3. This is funny Vicky. Well, you are just being practical. I guess really they are all the same basically! The clippers i mean, not men and dogs. lolxxx

  4. Only 37 of us at our house for Christmas dinner, but for NYE tonight it was just the 3 of us! Ready to hit the ground running with your 2 challenges for the year!
    One question- how often are you updating your savings diary? Once a day or once a week? Thanks for hosting these!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, That was a big Christmas dinner! What a good gathering.
      Ok, I will post and update my savings weekly since I think it will be something to learn as we go and get good at. Then I will do monthly totals and finally a year total. We can also choose to share our totals or keep them private but post our achievements and discoveries. I am excited as I have a really good one to get me off to a good start! Anyway will explain and make it easy Monday. Thanks for joining in I hope it motivates us all, with love

  5. Annabel,
    What a lovely Christmas you had! I have been doing much revisiting and have many changes I intend to make. My nest is a coo-coo's nest! This year one of the changes I am making is I intend to feather my nest, it is much needed.
    I got a few bargains after Christmas and have a few things in my gift trunk already. I have a big bag of stuff to donate and still lots more to go through. We've been eating leftovers and I've reworked ham I don't know how many times?! I made my master list of things that need to get done and I hope to get done and as I get to them I will then mark it off the list.
    I hope you are putting all that honey in your savings book this year that is a wonderful savings! Honey is expensive here.

    1. You did a lot Vicky as usual! I am glad about the feathering... I am fluffing up the lounge room still but its so nice to have things lovely and enjoy them, all using what we have and a bit of re arranging! Very satisfying! xxx

  6. We spent Christmas with my brother and his family in Toowoomba. All my gifts to the family were made by me and very well received. We all shared the costs of our Christmas fair as well as the cooking and the cleaning. It was a wonderful family time. My son and his partner have told us we will be grandparents later this year. Woohoo! I have already crocheted a floor rug and a pair of cowboy booties, using yarn from my stash. I can see many more stash busting patterns coming along.I went to Spotlights sale and have picked up the makings of new bits and bobs for Bub. Since getting home we have eaten all meals from our pantry. Fruit has come from our passionfruit vine and our neighbours mango tree. I have used some mangoes and some chill from the garden to make mango chilli chutney. I put some of this in small jars to use as gifts. We've been down at the beach fishing each day and occasionally come home with dinner. Life is good. I'm looking forward to being a part of the Challenges coming up. I'm so glad your Dad's health has improved. Much love.

    1. Dear Jane,
      I am glad everyone loved your gifts but I had no doubt! It sounds like a great Christmas.
      Congratulations! How exciting to have a baby coming into your family. I can tell you it is wonderful and beautiful. So much to look forward to!
      Jane I would love to see the floor rug. I want to make some. I have a lot of stretch knit fabric which I think I will cut into thin strips (continuous like peeling an apple) and crochet into floor rugs. I have some suitable for baby singlets... some not so nice I will use for mats. Anyway I would love to see how you did yours if possible...
      Passionfruit and mangos! How nice and also that you are using things to make gifts.
      I am so glad you are in for the challenges also. Happy New Year to you. With love

  7. Annabel it looks like the farm was the place to be.

    I think the final count for those coming through the door and getting fed on Christmas Day was 34 - we had 3 little ones that I didn't count because they were either too young to eat or just picked at a little that was on their parent's plate. Everyone commented on the food - basic with pan gravy, hot things went out piping hot and the cold went out cold - we sit in the backyard there is not enough room in the house for everyone.

    We came home early from my mother in law's place, I had huge problems sleeping there and this time so did my husband. The mattress is a shocker and you feel like you are constantly falling out of bed.

    Since being home we have hung pictures on the walls, looked at prices of things needed to redo the rental bathroom starting at the end of the month, been to the new Aldi (I ended up putting a complaint in because it is far too dangerous to shop there if you are not very tall) and I did pop into the Spotlight sale but only came out with some ribbon to put on some hand towels to go with the tea towels that we are working on getting printed.

    We also went to the bulk butcher and picked up some more mince at $6-99 a kilo (they advertised that it was the last week of this special for a while) - our small freezer is bursting at the seams. (I keep track of their specials on facebook.)

    Today my husband has sanded down the front entry hall ready for him to start filling, undercoating and then painting. We are keeping to the lime white (cream so that saves money as does my husband doing the work).

    I have made the 3 ingredient fruit cake using dry ginger ale twice - used up some tired sultanas the first time. My mother in law was impressed with the cake and the latest one was dried apricots - this one will be cut in 4 and then popped into the freezer later today.

    I have also spent some time on pinterest looking at ways of saving money - most are not for those of us in Australia but some I know will work here.

    Have a great weekend everyone, loved reading about everyone's Christmas. Hope those in the US are all safe.



    1. Dear Lynette, That is a lot of people! Well done on all the work you did to make it happen. It sounds like a great success.
      Interesting about ALDI as I am short... I will watch out for this.
      Well done on your savings. I hope between us all we come up with many new ideas this year. I think we will... I know a few things that are coming!
      Have a very Happy New Year. You have done so much work on both your house and rental. I like the sound of the painting... I love cream or white.
      My husband loves apricot so he would like the cake that way. I did not know about making it with ginger ale! He would like that also, so would my Dad. Thank you for that!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

    2. Annabel you will have to thank Cath for the idea of using dry ginger ale. This was the first time I had made any cake this way so just used the 3 ingredients but next Christmas I am thinking the addition of some extra spices or ginger would change the cake to something more like a Christmas cake.

      As for Aldi, I think your ears may have been burning that day because as I was talking to the manager of the store I told him that if this was the store style that was going into S.A. then I know of some people who would only shop in there once and probably leave their trolleys where they were.

      Yesterday I had a call from someone higher than the store manager and the questions I had asked the manager came in very handy - the matter has now been moved up the chain of command to be addressed, the manager has been making up his own rules and of course that has placed the company in a vunerable position.

      Tomorrow morning I will be home alone for a bit and I will be doing some planning for the year - health issues overtook me last year and nothing else really got done other than the basics in most cases.

      This year I have decided to use a journal - it will be good to look back later in the year and see how things have gone. As I have never been a journal user I am looking at keeping it simple and letting things evolve.

      Tomorrow is 'J' day - I have to decide on which of the many notebooks I have here to use and then start to personalise it.


    3. Your comment about the bed made me smile. At my parents house we have the opposite problem. The bed sags so much to the middle that we have to each keep a leg over the side to stay out of the pit in the middle! We can't take more that 3-4 nights of that.

  8. Happy New Year, Annabel! I am so pleased you took lots of photos of your dad with Harper...and everyone else too, I hope! It is so important to capture these special times I think. My boys are taking off tomorrow to go camping, so I am looking forward to some quiet time. It's a wonderful time of year, not quite as wonderful as Christmas, but wonderful just the same xx Fiona

    1. Dear Fiona,
      It is wonderful that the boys are having Father and son time. Also that you get a quiet time as it has been a very busy stretch through Christmas etc. I need quite time to think and plan, it does me good.
      Have a very happy New Year. I hope it is a great year for us all and with lots of creativity! With love,

  9. Happy New Year to all.

    You have had a wonderful Christmas and I just love the beautiful honey and other things you have brought back home, Annabel. Andy would have had a beautiful feast of crayfish! That was an amazing saving.

    I love the photo of your Dad with Harper. Everything looked so wonderful and plentiful at the farm.

    I am looking forward to the challenges this year. I began my stash by putting some half price tea towels aside for this Christmas. I will line hampers with them. I also put a hamper basket aside (gifted from my daughter) to re use. It will be exciting week by week seeing what the challenges bring. I also put aside papers and bows etc to re use. I did not buy any boxing day half priced paper or cards, as we still have heaps to use up.

    1. Dear Kaye,
      Thank you! We had a lot of major blessings. That is for sure.
      Well done on already putting things aside for next Christmas. I love to keep baskets too and nice boxes etc. When you need to make a hamper you have the base.
      Have a very happy New Year. I hope it is a wonderful year and we learn lots of new things! With love

  10. Dear Annabel,
    Happy New Year! I'm so glad you had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was beautiful and I'm ready to get my after-Christmas-clean-up done! I don't feel like I've feathered my nest as we've been so busy. That's nonsense though as there are clean clothes, food, etc!
    I love the pic of your dad and Harper! Precious. Wow that's a lot of honey, what a blessing!
    I have been very reflective and revisiting for sure. I am thrilled for the challenges to begin. I have so many goals this year along with everyone else. My family has hefty financial challenges this year (a continuation from 2015). I know from discovering your blog over a year ago (along with Wendy's, Mimi's, etc.), I am in the right place to figure out what I need to do to stretch not only the budget, but stretch myself to do even better than last year. This year I plan on closing the wagon circle tighter. I must say no to some outside things so I can plan well for my family during these tough financial times. Also, saying no allows me to focus on the few activities I truly want to know, the ones that feed your soul but you cannot enjoy them if you are spread too thin. So I came up with...1. Close he circle tighter 2. Do better with meal planning, as this is the thing that makes or breaks our budget 3. Have a pause and revisit every few weeks in 2016. I plugged this into my planner on Saturday mornings. I'm convinced this little action will yield a big return! It is interesting how the word 'revisit' written as a task to complete has given me a better view. I know it's something that can easily be overlooked when we are just plugging away. I'm glad to be a part of such an encouraging group.
    Thank you for a lovely post, here's to a wonderful 2016 for everyone!
    Much love, Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette,
      I love what you said "close the circle tighter" straight away I though of in the movies when the carriages were threatened they formed a circle which they could defend from the protection in the middle. (Loved those movies by the way!) and what a good way to put it. Yep when times get tough we need to get our wagons in a circle and tighten them up!
      I do my review on a Sunday. Truly this helps. You can include a bit of a menu plan at the same time. One thing I love is to have a menu plan based on finds, specials, anything free etc. Then to also have a couple of frozen emergency options like really fast pizza or a ready made pie or whatever and also to have a couple of total pantry emergency meals like toasties or tuna mornay or whatever. So you have your plan plus plan A and plan B. Also that toasted sandwiches are ok sometimes or some similar basic thing.
      With time looking at my week and planner sometimes I can see how I can combine something or get rid of something altogether. Sometimes even once I see it on paper I decide something is ridiculous and to cancel it etc.
      I am so glad you had a great Christmas. Have a very Happy New year! I hope 2016 is wonderful for you! With love

    2. Oh now this is a post to get one thinking for sure. I revisit my monthly goals every seven days to be sure I'm on task and I'm learning to revisit my checkbook totals at least that often as well to keep me mindful of what I can and can't do. Thank you Colette for making me stop and think about what a powerful tool revisiting can be!

  11. Glad you had a wonderful Christmas, Annabel. Your Dad looks so happy nursing little Harper.

    A fairly quiet Christmas for us, just 5 of us plus our 2 dear grandchildren for Christmas lunch, though we do get together with my brothers, their wives and any of the extended family that can make it. This year my niece and her family were down from the country so it was lovely to see the excitement in her children.

    Yesterday, I made my first batch of yogurt. I'm really impressed. This is going to be such a big saving. Today I started on a couple of gifts, though the heat got to me and I ended up going swimming. This isn't a bad thing though, as I need to address some health issues in 2016 and this is a start.

    Looking forward to this years Challenges.

    Happy New Year,

    1. Dear Janine,
      It sounds like a nice Christmas and lovely to be with your Grandchildren too.
      Yoghurt is wonderful and when you have an abundance of it there are great things like the yoghurt pizza bases and the use it up fruit cake I make. Also adding some fruit or even a little jam makes yummy flavors! If you use much this will be a huge saving for you! What a good start you are off to!
      Have a very Happy New Year! With love,

  12. Dear Annabel

    Such an exciting time of year for so many of us, with the blank canvas of 2016 before us. I do believe it is up to us to decide what kind of a year we have. So many of us face harder financial circumstances and yet we are all here "rolling up our sleeves" and getting ready to make it a fabulous year. I am very excited to start the challenges next week (already taking notes). I am beginning the year with three birthdays in the next two weeks, I am looking forward to making something nice for my friends and family.

    Harper is such a blessing to your family and she will grow up in a heart beat. My self I am hoping there will be another little baby on it's way this year.....Exciting times ahead.

    God Bless you and your readers....2016 Here we come

    1. Dear Mel,
      We have the January birthday family also. I am a bit ahead with some presents which is helpful!
      I totally agree. The new slate of a new year is full of possibilities. I love a review. I also agree with what you said to me about what we focus on and think about. There is a lot to be grateful for and we need to focus on these things. However also at time life can get hard and wear us down! But new year, new possibilities!
      The possibility of a new baby is exciting! mmm that could happen (maybe!) in our family too!
      I will be so glad to have you aboard on challenges. You are a very hard worker and also make beautiful things. Mel this is inspiring to others! Happy New Year to you, with love Annabel.x

  13. Our big goal for 2016 is to get our house ready to sell and downsize to a smaller house where we can stay into our retirement years. We went yesterday to order the new counter tops for our kitchen and happened upon them being 10% off which was huge on such a large purchase. We also bought paint for the kitchen ceiling and it was on sale, too. Every bit of savings helps for this project of home improvement. We will save $500 by removing the old counters ourselves.

    Our sweet graandchildren brought us a cold for Christmas! Stuffy noses and coughs abound but we enjoyed seeing them so much that it does not matter.

    I am so glad that your Dad is doing well and enjoyed Christmas with you all. What a blessing it is to have those we love around us.

    Happy New Year all!

    1. Dear Lana,
      You have a great goal and plan. I hope the new year has you iff to a good start. I also am painting and we might do our bathroom if we can. It is all hard work! And messy! But really the effort can make a big difference to the home and in your case the sale price and new home. I feel I can handle things if I consider them in bite size chunks ie first I am painting the front gate!
      I hope you are getting better from your cold. Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  14. Happy new year Annabel and the same to all your readers :)

    I just love that your family all 'goes to the farm' for Christmas! I have always loved the idea that families have a base to return to at Christmas time, just like in the movies lol. I'm hoping that in time our home will become that base for larger family occasions. That photo or your dad and Harper is so gorgeous, how special.

    We have had a really enjoyable week, trips to the beach, bbq's, and just generally a very relaxed time. I finished my last Christmas gift on Boxing Day (!!), to be given on the 27th. My homemade gifts were very well received, including some onion chutney I made. That was what I was most nervous about to be honest, so was really happy when I got a message the next day saying my friend had enjoyed it with both her lunch and dinner!

    I bought some wrapping paper for 75% off, and some Christmas confectionery that has an expiry date well past next Christmas. On New Year's Eve I worked out that we had managed to pay nearly 10% off the principal of our mortgage last year, and this is an amazing feeling. And realistically I know we could actually manage to increase that with a bit more effort. I am really determined to beat last years figure! So I am definitely keen for the Vicky challenge!

    I'm also excited to take part in the present challenge, towards the end of last year I was starting to think it was just easier to pick up bargains throughout the year. But then seeing everyone's gifts in your show and tell series as well as your own, and reading a comment Mimi made along the lines of 'anyone can grab a $10 gift' made me realise how much I love giving handmade gifts. But I need to get a bit smarter with what I make too, nearly all the gifts I made last year were time consuming. I'd quite like a few 'bulk' gifts up my sleeve too!

    I've started a swatch for a granny stripe blanket, it will be my first major crochet project. I bought the wool over a year ago, but it just kept going on the back burner. That is also a huge part of why I want to make some less time consuming gifts, I have several big projects I want to make this year, but don't want gift making to take over.

    Anyway, this has turned into a novel hasn't it. I've missed you lol!!

    So looking forward to your posts this year and joint in with your challenges :)


    1. Dear Jen,
      I knew your presents would be a hit! Well done. I do both. Some bargains and lovely bits and pieces I see and my own work. Many times a combination. This works out really well. it seems to add up to a lot fast too!
      Jen the girls know nothing except for Christmas at the farm. Every single year. Traditions are strong. And we got it just the same and appreciated it more than ever. It is very good to have this. I am sure your home will become like this but also should you move that is ok because family can be anywhere as long as they are together.
      I will be so pleased to have you in the Christmas challenge. We will have a monthly show and tell so I need you in it!
      Thanks so much for your kindness. Happy New Year to you and your family. With love

  15. Hi Annabel,
    Happy New Year! I haven't commented here before but have been reading your blog for the past couple of months. I have a new daughter and have whiled away many breastfeeding hours reading your lovely encouraging posts. I have learnt so much, thankyou! I found your blog via Caths blog and you have both become my frugal gurus :)
    All the very very best to you and your family for 2016.
    Peach x

    1. Dear Peach,
      Welcome and thank you so much for commenting. Also congratulations on your baby girl! I remember the hours feeding and the night feeds. it is lovely to have something to quietly read and in my days it was Laines letters. I got so much help and encouragement from that reading!
      Thank you so much! I hope 2016 is wonderful for you. Rest when you can. These days won't last long so cherish every moment. With love

  16. Dear Annabel, I'm glad you had a wonderful family Christmas! Your dad and Harper look so happy!! And the gift of honey! Yum! :)

    We had a quiet Christmas. Our son made it up, which we weren't too sure because of all the snow. We spent the entire week shoveling snow and now our temps are very frigid.

    I finally got our two Halloween pumpkins cooked up. They were so sweet. I pureed the pumpkin and put it in the slow cooker to make pumpkin butter. I got 16 half pints! Plus a jar for the refrig. It's delicious. I plan to make mini pies with the butter as filling.

    I also got a "preparedness" lesson. We lost power for several hours last night (New Years Eve) and minus 9 degrees. We used our gas fireplace to keep warm but I found out several battery lanterns were dim and needed new batteries (which wasn't anything but an inconvenience). However, one flashlight takes triple A batteries, which we had run out of. I didn't realize our supply of that kind was gone. So, we will need to put that on our list. It is just a reminder for me to double check supplies! LOL

    We cooked a small beef roast the weekend before Christmas, froze leftovers and used it to make au jus sandwiches for Christmas Eve. We still had some extra meat, so day after Christmas we made a pizza for dinner. Homemade crust, sauce and cheese from the freezer plus a little pepperoni we froze earlier this month. We also add black olives and mushrooms. It was yummy and gives use a couple of lunches too.

    This weekend we will be putting our Christmas things away. So some cleaning is in order. Plus, I'm trying to set aside an hour each day to work on my "piles" of neglect away! I've recycled and tossed a bit this past week! LOL

    And I saved a lot by staying home for over a week. So that was nice. Happy New Year everyone! Love, Teri

  17. Happy New Year to All!
    In spite of some ups and downs, we also had a good Christmas. I ended up in the ER on Christmas Eve and in the hospital for most of Christmas Day. My husband, two daughters, son-in-law, granddaughters and a friend all either stayed with me or stopped by to visit me in the ER. On Christmas, my daughter and family brought homemade cinnamon rolls to us. We postponed our celebration at their house a couple of days, and then had a lovely dinner and celebration with them. We aren't sure, but it seems I had a seizure due to an antibiotic I was taking. They did a lot of tests and didn't find anything wrong. Lots of answered prayers, again!
    As far as frugal accomplishments---
    The rice heat packs I made as gifts were very well received.
    I made some little tree-shaped pumpkin breads for the stockings, which seemed to delight the recipients.
    My daughter replied to a post and "won" delicious BBQ pork, which we took to our belated Christmas Eve celebration. I sent a loaf of pumpkin bread to thank the person who made the pork. My daughter wrapped it in a clear cellophane bag tied wit red yarn---simple and pretty. She had been on her way to pick up the pork when I got sick, and the gentleman graciously said she could pick it up later.
    Our wrapping paper, bags and ribbons were all from my stock and the new ones we received have been saved.
    We gratefully received a tray of breakfast, a sweet potato pie and another tray of breakfast from our wonderful neighbors.
    Our older daughter gave us a big container of eggs from their hens.
    We picked a variety of citrus from our neighbors' trees. I intend to juice some of the fruit, have some to eat and share some with another friend.
    Several of the gifts we gave were purchased with coupons and points which really helped with the cost.
    I am looking forward to the challenges. I have a couple ideas for gifts I want to make and things I want to do to keep stretching our dollars.
    Thank you again, Annabel, for this lovely blog. I am so glad you had a wonderful Christmas with your dad, grand baby and rest of your family. Enjoy the weekend! Love from Arizona, Elaine XXXOOO

    1. Dear Elaine,
      I am so sorry about your medical fright. That must have been terrible. I am so glad you are ok. Your family sound wonderful.
      You had great savings and the bonus pork was great! Heat packs are a very good gift as really once you try them they are so comforting and soothing. Probably you will get requests for more!
      Thank you so much. I hope 2016 is a good year for you. With love ps I am trying to provide lots of gift making suggestions starting next

  18. Dear Annabel, it's nice to be back! I'm glad you had such a nice time with your family, especially your dad. I know you are very thankful for that. And all of that honey is such a blessing!
    I didn't write anything down for Feather Your Nest Friday, so I don't really have anything to report. We've just been taking the days slowly and enjoying family, which is nice.
    But 2016 is here now and it's time to get busy again! I'm so excited about the new year, especially doing the Vicky challenge. One of our big goals, as you know, is to pay off our house, and I think the challenge is extra motivation. I also want to have more freezer meals prepared so we eat out less. I want to make lots of homemade gifts this year, too, and be more generous. We don't really observe the holidays (I sincerely hope that doesn't offend anyone, it's just our personal choice and we definitely don't look down on those that feel differently as we are Christians too), so gift giving is a bit more random around our house, and hopefully this year it will be more frequent. I think the Christmas challenge will help with that, as it was nice to see everything that you and the other ladies made. Is it ok if I still join in if my gifts aren't for Christmas, per se?
    It's so good to be back, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what you have in store for the blog and what we are all going to accomplish this year :)
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I am trying to make all my gifts and so it will include birthdays and also random gifts ie gifts of help and so on. So that is totally fine!
      Paying off your home is a wonderful goal and I hope you do very well this year. Truly I have found sometimes one new tip we havent thought of can bring big results. And motivation helps too.
      Hopefully we will get off to a good start on Monday! With love and thanks,

  19. Oh that pudding looks so divine! Here's what I was up to over the past two weeks. I took time off from the blog but not off from saving!

    1. Dear Terri,
      I took some time off too (from the blog) and it was a nice little break. Well done on your savings. You are very consistent all year. And organized! Have a wonderful 2016! With love

  20. Dear Annabel!!

    I'd like to tell a snippet of my story up front - to encourage others - and explain why I like your blog site.

    Firstly, my handsome woodsman and I have been married for close to ten years now. He had been an authentic bachelor and I was (in US terms) a daughter at home. However, with thirty years difference between us, when we married, it was as though, all of a sudden, the whole world was against us. I am thirty- six now, & know well the challenges of making do on a shoe-string budget, working the forests, and crying out to the Eternal for justice and answers in seeking how to make things work.

    So here I am! We have been living in various stages of 'basics' mode and, now that my husband is retired on the age pension, we're enjoying getting our own seven acres going. We are taking our basic instructions from the bible. The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:) tells how our food comes from the Eternal. We give in accordance with His ways a part of any crop to people that we find in need. Further, I love the testimony of Job in chapter 31: when he debates in terms of an economy based on the Eternal's laws, rather than money....... Job cared for the needy - "and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep" verse 20. .... "If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing " verse19. It's beautiful. In that vein, I seek to follow the Eternal's basic ways. The shock is that this does not include Christmas. I think others of like mind are afraid of offending if they share a testimony like this. Yet, in hard times, it is also a burden that we have been glad to do without.

    So, I am being up front. It's funny where the Eternal has brought me - compared to what is considered the norm in modern society.

    To be continued ..... Learning to use this iPad!

  21. Now, Annabel, I'd like to tell you why I admire your work on this site.

    I like that you're an Aussie with wonderful Aussie 'make do' ways. Your parents' farm has provided with a rich heritage in all this. Your generosity obviously carries on down to your daughters, & it's lovely to see the next generation also being able to grow up with your influence. I am excited to find real recipes to match to the surplus/ingredients on hand. You're right. That golden syrup pudding and bread pudding are the kind of thing my husband likes. There's something about the old Australian dishes that he grew up with! I love how the US ladies have to figure us out, instead of the other way around! (After all, a singlet is part of our national dress, worn by truckies, shearers and the old style Aussie fella, with stubbies and thongs!)

    Yes, I like, too, how you manage your home. On the one hand, my husband says that it would cost more than a million dollars to buy all the bargains that are out there. On the other hand, he sees that a woman's value is best appreciated if she works at home as a house wife. After all, it costs a lot of money just to go to work!!

    I like how you save money, & my husband readily agrees that your readers should value their work against the going business prices. How we saved money in the last week ..... We're completing the 70m fence line done on Christmas Day. We're retrieving suitable strong wire from old trellising for the primary wires, to which we can add netting for small animals further on. We saved in wire costs and labour costs. I mended work clothes, & my husband glued my work boots. I gave my husband a scissor haircut, which saves some $20- and a trip 80 km away (fuel costs).

    My husband has recently put up a back wall on a white-anted old house for a lady in her 80s, while she waits to sell land to fund a new house. My sister had given us a mint plant, so I infused mint leaves in pure cream and made it into our version of ice cream, which is the single freeze semi freddo. It was wonderful, and my sister marvelled that mint ice cream didn't have to be green!! Giving is a wonderful privilege!

    I hope I am encouraging. For me, it's not about Christmas and numerical values, yet the giving and saving, I think, put us on the same track.
    Sent from my iPad

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you so much. I am replying to both your comments here if that is ok. Firstly welcome!
      I agree with what you said about trusting in provision and following the giving instructions. It is amazing what happens and the things that happen!
      I am big on Christmas but I understand what you say about the numerical values. They are secondary for sure to the other values of our work at home ( priceless and above rubies!) Many ladies are in difficult financial times and I also want to show that the worth at home is worth dollars and we are contributing financially. It is one of the great lies of the time that unless you go out to work you dont contribute. What a shocker that one is!
      I love your savings and your semi freddo. Yum!
      You are encouraging. I appreciate your comments greatly thank you! With love

  22. Dear Annabel, we are still on our break and posting from the phone is difficult but I just wanted to say Happy New Year. The photos are lovely, lovely, lovely. Mimi xxx

    1. I hope you are having a lovely break MImi! Happy New Year to you and thank you so much! xxx

  23. Happy New Year, Annabel! I love the picture of your father with Harper and the one of your mother serving the pudding. Those family moments are the BEST.

    We were still doing a lot of traveling and visiting last week, but I did manage to start a new batch of homemade vanilla extract. I used and gifted lots of vanilla over Christmas and needed to get the next batch started so it will have plenty of time to steep and get nice and strong before I bottle it.

    Our bigger project will be painting and putting down new floors in our living room and kitchen. My father, who loves to help paint, is coming from out of town to help for a couple of days. My son will also be helping before he returns to university for the spring semester. I can't wait to get started...and to get it done!

    I'm looking forward to following along with you and several others as we all work through our projects for 2016!

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      We are living in a parallel universe. Floorboards and painting. It is going to take me all year to paint but I am excited to get started!
      Also I LOVE vanilla and it is a lovely gift. Jes at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth has beautiful printable labels for your vanilla jars, in case you need them. This looks lovely!
      It is wonderful that your Dad and son are helping paint! This should help so much! I think its exciting. Paint works miracles!
      With love,

  24. Dear Annabel,Im late as usual in seeing this post and have just spent some time reading it and all the lovely comments that followed. I need to go and see what those challenges you are all talking about are , so that will be my next job.
    That's a lovely photo of your dad an Harper, to cherish for many years to come.I love the sound of your family farm visits, such memories....
    My week has been low key , relaxing with hubby, DD and DGC visiting most mornings, sometimes twice daily, and having easy dinners which we are enjoying in this summer season.I made a mince and vege pie with bought pastry (no brand sort) and that made enough for 3 foil containers, 2 in freezer and one we ate over 2 meals and DD had a serve for her late lunch yesterday.Today I made a picnic pie and the pastry for it,and the family scoffed that down. I must remember to use that pastry recipe again rather than buy, although we don't have pastry very often but this will be easy to make.
    Lynette has tempted me to look at the 3 ingredient cake again with ginger-ale.We are still eating and enjoying your Christmas cake recipe :-)
    Thanks you for all your encouragement and love shown through your blog and replies to everyone, we all appreciate you a lot. Much love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      Thank you so much! I know you have some changes this year and maybe new routine. I know you are a bug support and helper too to your DD and Grandchildren. It all amounts to being very busy!
      I love all the cooking. We tend to do easy summer meals too. It is a bit like time off. But when I have bargains or produce I cook. Also if its cooler for a few days I will have a cook up. It has been mostly really hot and then I dont want to turn the oven on.
      I hope you found the challenges but anyway I will explain them next week, Vickies challenge tomorrow! Oh my goodness I just reminded myself to keep working on that! lol
      Many thanks for your kind comments with love

  25. Happy New Year Annabel and family. So glad you got lots of photos to treasure. xoxo

    Here's what we got up to this week -

    * Made a batch of vanilla yoghurt using a frozen starter.

    * Picked a handful of beans every few days. I started freezing them for future meals.

    * Made a big batch of pita chips.

    * Made chocolate truffles to go to a New Years Eve party. I used homemade sweetened condensed milk from the freezer.

    * Gratefully accepted a bag of shredded paper for my chickens.

    * My family ate leftovers for dinner two nights running after Christmas. By doing this, we didn't waste any food.

    * Both the girls took advantage of the sales and bought some presents for next year. I was so proud of them for thinking ahead and saving some money.

    * I bought lots of hand towels from Spotlight for $4.19 a pack of four. I also bought some Christmas material at 60% off to sew on the towels.

    * Used scraps of material to make some other hand towels into presents too. I was on a roll and made 14 in one afternoon.

    * .Made two large dishes of zucchini slice with the last of the zucchinis from Cath. The slice was cut into single portions and frozen.

    * Picked a couple of handfuls of strawberries. Jessica enjoyed some with the homemade yoghurt.

    * Bought a Tupperware lidded container from the op shop for $4.50 It looks new so I'll give it a wash and fill it up with homemade biscuits to give as a present. Tied with a matching bow, it will look beautiful.

    * Megan got her ears pierced ( seconds ) and handed over a coupon she found online for $5 off. So proud of her for researching this herself.

    * I used a Spotlight gift card ( Christmas present ) to buy a big pad of 120 Christmas papers for half price. This will be great for card making.. I also found some craft ribbon at 75% off.

    1. Dear Wendy,
      I love the sound of the truffles!
      Excellent savings Wendy and good start to the year! With love

  26. Hi Annabel, your Christmas sounds wonderful. we had a quieter one this year as it was the year the Sons family go to her family, but all that were here enjoyed themselves, ate well and lots of laughs just smaller in numbers.
    this week we have picked and processed apricots, plums and potatoes from an elderly friends house - which lead to a full day of jam making 15 jars, stewing fruit and your lovely Any fruit cake 2 in the freezer.
    today was Zucchini day 5 x 2cup bags frozen, Savoury Muffins zucc, cheese and leftover ham and 12 x Texas Muffin size Zucchini Slice.
    about to start on the older Bananas begging to be made into a loaf with freezer Raspberries and some muffins with dates

    all this has to be done before I go back to work next week ( for a rest haha at least my work snacks will be taken care off saving about $4.50 a day for muffins alone! )
    I like the Christmas Gift Challenge and I'll be working on the Vicky Challenge.
    Again thankyou for your inspiration
    Cheers, Bev


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