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.

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Vicky Challenge 25 April. 2016. Investing.

Because I had a really busy week last week and then busy weekend I had a lot of savings for The Vicky Challenge!
Also we have a long weekend and so today is still a public holiday. We have worked all weekend.
Andy had extra work to do and has worked in the office and I kept painting, gardening, washing etc.

So it has been a big week.

My Vicky Challenge is:

A $5 voucher from Spotlight that I will use this week.
A $20 voucher from Coles that I will use to add to my pantry.
Plus I have my vouchers lined up in my diary to repeat this.

We do not have coupons here but some supermarkets offer points rewards that you can turn into dollars. This one is working well for me.

Lots of painting. I have almost finished the front fence! It is a huge transformation. I love it! Hopefully this afternoon I will finish it.
I will count $300 saved but I think if I hired someone to do this it would be much more.

This is a work in progress photo. You can see the creamy old paint on either side and the white I am painting. Hopefully soon I can show you finished pictures!

I made a picnic for fishing and saved $50.

And the boys brought back about 5 kilos of salmon which would be worth about $125!

This gave us a meal,  frozen meals and some to share.

I made an inventive dinner of left overs and frozen things.

The notebooks I made gave me eight gifts which in the shops would be $20 or so so I will count $100 saved there.

I picked mint from Mums and saved about $4.

The cakes I made saved about $50 for two gifts and a spare.

Lucy had a bit of a disaster. She has a good floor rug that she just loves and it was reasonably expensive. Well it had a nasty accident! And the more she "fixed" it the worse things got! She was upset and fear it was ruined. But Mum came to the rescue. It's not finished yet and drying but I think I have fixed it. If so I don't want to guess how much I saved her but lets say $100 plus for professional cleaning. (probably more I think)

Lately I have really noticed I have saved a lot by going through my junk mail faithfully. I found something Mum was looking for and having trouble finding, a voucher, several special sthat were fantastic that I would never haven known about otherwise. The Aldi catalogue is positively exciting!
I don't know how much that has saved this week but it's worth mentioning as I keep saving money by studying the catalogues.

$100 on all packed lunches and coffees.
So my Vicky Challenge came in at around $760.

And next week we can add up another month! This will give me a burst to have another good week!

My subject to add this week is investing. My kind of investing is thinking of something you pay for regularly that you could possibly find a way around and investing in what you need to make that happen.

I was trying to think of a convincing example to show how much this can save. So I picked Andy's thick ceramic coffee cup that has a lid. He takes it in the van every morning. It holds two normal coffees at least. I bought him this about five years ago. It keeps the coffee warm for an hour or more. He loves it!  I paid about $8 for it at the time.
When I worked out how much this had saved over five years I thought I had made a mistake. So I did it again and again!
This coffee cup has saved about $10,000 in coffee! I can't even believe that but at two coffees a day, five days a week, most weeks of the year then that is what it has saved.
So that was a pretty good investment!

Don't underestimate the potential savings. Think in terms of what you spend per year on this or that.

My other best ever investments are my crockpot. I never need takeaway food because of it. I pop something good in it in the morning...

(I have a whole crock pot/slow cooker series in my index.)  This was just a pot roast I just started.

For times I am not expecting to be unable to cook dinner I have numerous meat pies in the freezer made from crock pot casseroles and puff pastry.

Also so many scraps get made into stock. That saves me money too and uses up so much.

I have a colander that fits inside my crockpot so that I just life that up and the stock is already strained. It is so handy!

I won't even try to estimate the savings I have made from a crockpot but they would be many times the savings made by the coffee cup!

Another is my back door herb stack.  I have two of these. The pots were free, I purchased the soil and seedlings from time to time. This was a great investment! I pick herbs daily and give away many bunches. I pop a bunch of herbs into many foodie gifts too. I always have herbs on hand and never buy them.  The savings must be heaps!

I notice all of these investments are also investments in health!

Andy has made some great investments. Most of his tools have saved us a fortune. From hedge trimmer to power drill the amount they save is staggering. I have to say his fishing gear was a great investment!

Other great investments I can think of are fruit trees, a rain water tank or barrels, a clothes line, an outdoor cooking area, hair dressing scissors and clippers., a freezer...
The list is endless!  I think if we pick an area that is a leaky spending problem that is a good thing to try and invest in.  Finding that solution might save a huge amount.

How did your Vicky Challenge go last week?
What are some money saving investments you have made that paint big dividends?
What is a leaky area for you that maybe an investment could overcome?  If you have a financial leak but cannot think of a solution maybe we can all help you to find one.

As we go along each week hopefully we think of new ways to save and do things. All the ideas coming in have been amazing! I have implemented so many from great comments here and on Facebook. Thank you!  So my Vicky Challenge continually improves and is well beyond anything I imagined!

Have a wonderful week! The sun is shining and it is a lovely day. I am heading out to finish this fence! xxx


  1. Hi Annabel, I was just talking to hubby about The Vicky Challenge and we were listing off all the ways we save each week. I just finished painting and distressing my kitchen table and chairs (photo is on my blog. The table we have had for 10+ years and the chairs are 5+ years old from Ikea I made my own chalk paint using white ceiling paint and tile grout. It only cost me about $3 in carnauba wax. I've seen similar table sets in stores for $400! I might start writing it all down for motivation. I love your herb pots, and the fence looks great! The investment idea is a great one, homemade coffee is a big saver here too with coffee being around $5 a cup in Perth! We invested in a coffee machine several years ago and this saves up heaps of money. We rarely buy food out, so any tools in the kitchen to save me time and money is great. I invested in a pair of hairdressing scissors last year to trim my fringe, they were very cheap on ebay and I cut my teens hair too. We pretty much do all the things you've listed, and our vegie garden saves lots of money as well. I use silverbeet instead of lettuce as a salad green. Have a lovely week. xx

    1. Dear Mel,
      I really think you did a great job with the table and chairs! Well done. Also on all you bargains, cooking, preserving...
      Your coffee is even more expensive than ours! Its crazy and adds up so fast. not to mention all the plastic cups floating around we avoid those too.
      Scissors is a good one. Heavens knows what I have saved... I cut the girls hair from birth! And they still don't go to a hair dresser and Chloe just turned 30! (and their hair is lovely too!)
      The veggie garden is a big investment. Skills are too I think i.e. when we learn a new recipe or tip.
      Have a great week Mel. With love and thanks,

  2. Annabel I love your herb towers, at least one is on my 'need' list.

    My husband has been busy around here apart from going to interviews. The first 4 rooms of the house are nearly complete - the 2 sets of French Doors on the side veranda have been taken off and sanded or had the paint stripped off them this weekend - now they are ready for undercoating and painting.

    I have also had some vouchers arrive from Coles - mine are spend $60- for the extra 500 points, I also have 2 weeks of a previous offer left that will net me another 10,000 points. I am bumping my points up by checking the previous shopping docket for extra points.

    Last week I found the local garage sale facebook page - I have been seeing how it works so will be able to list things soon. This means that I will not need to store them for a garage sale in the future.

    My leak would have had to have been the freezer - we had a small bar freezer. It didn't hold a lot and I found it hard to adjust after having larger freezers since we were first married. Even though it was an expense to buy a new freezer it has already started to save us money. Not just with the monthly shop but also being able to cook up large quantities so that I have extra for freezing. Sometimes it is soup, sometimes like yesterday it was a pot full of vegetables to make ratitoulli(SP?) - later today I am making a double sized spinach and fetta impossible pie which will also find its way into the freezer.

    Last week my neighbour gave me some lemons from his tree, I am looking for an easy lemon jam/marmalade recipe to use some of them in and then the rest will make an appearance in some baking. I made lemon butter/curd early last week from some lemons I had purchased from the fruit shop.

    Today I am giving the sitting room a deep clean - the heat and humidity appear to have gone now so it is time to catch up on things and have a nice clean space.

    Have a great week everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette, Thanks for the reminder about the dockets as I had forgotten about that!
      We also have french doors that need undercoating and painting. This weekend though I did the front fence. It is finished! I will put up some pics later in the week. I am glad thats done.
      Lemons are so useful. I am no good at marmalade but love the curd. I really could do with some lemons right now so i will have to go looking. Winter in Adelaide is good for citrus.
      You are making great progress on the house. There are two photos I have of your place that I look at often as I love the colours and it inspires me to keep going!
      Have a great week Lynette and I hope the interviews lead to something really good. With love,

  3. Your front of house is going to look amazing! It has been so much hard work but will provide you with so much pleasure and satisfaction of a job well done.
    I like looking at some of our big spends as investments. I have spent some money recently on small fruit trees and a load of potting mix. The trees have been potted up into the pots hubby made out of the old pool filters. This week I added another tree, a weeping form of mandarin to another pool filter pot. The saving on the pot itself is $100. Other savings are Lunches and coffee $65. Used up over ripe bananas to make cake,$10. Baked up zucchini slice using our garden produce and what we had in the pantry, $20. I fertilised my garden using worm tea, $10. Hubby found some pipe at the tip which he and I have converted into 8 worm towers in the garden, $200. I made 2 essential oil reed diffusers, $20. I have completed two owl coffee cup cosies, $20.
    This week I have given away several bromeliad pups. I saw these bare rooted and on sale for $20 each. Like you I have all the herbs we use on hand in our garden. This is a massive saving. I also dry these herbs so we have herb mixes ready to go in various recipes. I consider my small and relatively cheap dehydrator an investment. I dry rosellas for tea and other fruits for treats.
    $445 worth of savings for this week. Life is good

    1. Dear Jane,
      Fruit trees are a wonderful investment and I loved your recycled pots!
      The cooking is beautiful! I have seen potted Bromeliads that are very expensive. They are spectacular. Well I think you have a lot of good gifts from baby ones!
      The dehydrator is an investment for sure. mmm I need to check... are rosellas rose hips? I will go check on this as it sounds very interesting. I am thinking full of vitamin C.
      I love all your savings and activities and hearing about your husbands creations too. I said somewhere before how industrious you are... and you are! I love it! Many thanks Jane, with love

    2. Hi Annabel!

      You will find that rosellas are rosellas, and roses are roses, as my Mum would say! The rosellas grow on a plant similar to cotton, and parts of the rosellas are typically used in old fashioned jams. They, too, would be a source of vitamin C. You'll see when you check on them!! Thanks for making me smile!! After all, how would you know until you'd met them both?!!
      Rachel Holt

  4. Dear Annabel, thank you for another great post today. I was thinking about what you said about investments and I consider my sizzix big shot machine an investment as it has improved my cards and to buy an embossed or die cut card would cost a lot of money. I have made many many cards now. My Vicky challenge week has included. $25 savings on groceries, $36 on subsidised cleaning, $50 approx on savoury muffins, $60 approx on taxis by getting rides with my Dad, $35 a month by changing phone and Internet deals, 4 meals from my parents $30 savings approx. made 10 cards for a gift for a friend $50 savings approx. saved $12 for myself and $12 for a friend by buying half price blank cards for card making,I will only count my savings though. My sister gave me a loan of some DVDs , saving me $40 on buying them , received 5 cards as a part of the cheapskates club swap , saving at least $25 , I think that might be it for this week Annabel , a quiet week for me. A saving this week of about $363 . I love your herb garden / stacked pots of herbs Annabel and your painting looks great, can't wait to see it all finished!. Thank you Annabel, have a great week . with Love BarbW.

    1. Dear Barb,
      I think craft supplies and tools are all a great investment. Which also reminds me of sewing machines etc. All make potential gifts and lots of great savings!
      Your cooking is great! Having things in the freezer too is so good.
      Barb every week you have great savings and we all have some bigger and some smaller weeks but over all it adds up so much over the months and the year. Have lovely week! With love,

  5. I'm in California helping my daughter with her new baby for a week but this week, before I left, we planted and pruned our 10 new fruit trees! We had researched a lot and saw a book called "Grow a Little Fruit Tree" that sounded good but instead of buying the book, I looked at our public library's online catalog and reserved it to borrow. After I picked it up from the library and started reading it, I quickly realized that it would be a good investment as a reference book for our home so I bought it!
    The trees themselves are investments- they were on sale for about half the price of other home stores/nurseries! It will probably be three years before we start getting a harvest, but it will be worth it!
    While I am away, hubby and son have been eating the freezer meals that I prepared ahead of time so they saved by not buying take out food!
    Won't be able to total this week's savings until I'm home in a few days, but I'm hopeful and inspired by your posts!

    1. Dear Gardenpat,
      I am so glad you are there helping with the new baby! Congratulations too! How lovely! That time is the best investment of all!
      The fruit trees sound great. I am improving at pruning. I was never keen or good at it but notice things look much better and produce much more if I do prune. Right now I am starting on the roses.
      The meals in the freezer are great too.
      Enjoy your time with your daughter and new baby! That is wonderful! With love

    2. Hi Annabel and Gardenpat, your comment regarding the book rings very true for me. I have invested in a couple of great books on frugal living. Caths book Debt free cashed up and laughing and Amy Daczycyns Tightwad Gazette. Both books have provided much inspiration and countless dollars over the years. Also investing time in reading blogs such as yours Annabel, Wendy's and more recently discovering Mels blog have also helped further my frugal journey and also add to my happiness each week in visiting these lovely encouraging sites. Thank you. Lisa xoxo

  6. I have been wanting to do a herb garden without taking up precious vegetable garden space. I love your idea! Looks perfect.
    I've started a spring garden (we live in Michigan) in my mother's old washtub. Our garden is just too wet in the spring. It won't be long until it's dry enough to plant though.
    This past week I got a lot of deals. I'm able to go to a drugstore (CVS) now that we have to go to appointment in another town. Our town doesn't have one. So I'm able to stock on a deals every week with coupons. Excited for that!
    I also made a sofa pillow from material that I had on hand. I used stuffing from an old pillow.
    I've been reading your posts for the last few months and you are an inspiration!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      When I first made a stack of pots and planted it up I was amazed how much soil it took plus how many plants easily fitted. I put a think dowel/stick down through the holes of the pots so they still drain but do not topple. It has been amazing the massive volume of herbs these produce and they take u the space of one larger pot on the ground and that is it!
      I love the sound of your others washtub as a planter.
      Your pillow sounds like it was totally free! That is great! And I know about CVS from Rhonda on If you do stuff, stuff gets done. It sounds like you can get amazing deals! I would love that! Ill come with you!
      Thank you so much Vickie, with love

  7. Hi Annabel!!

    I'm wondering if there is another inexpensive investment that saves as much as your insulated coffee mug!! Isn't that incredible for the savings department!!

    I'm not certain that I can yet think of anything inspiring for city dwellers. Does anyone out there have some more ideas?!! Our investments tend to be oriented towards surviving in the bush when things let us down. For instance, combining the climbing electricity prices, about five years ago, with power outages in storms, we invested in a slow running diesel powered generator. When our power pole fell this year, the generator went straight into action, since we had previous practice using it. Then, when the man with the golden truck quoted $1500 for a new pole, and a grand total of $3000 for an electrician to, essentially, move the meter box from one pole to the next, we had the freedom to fall back on the generator. We are now off the grid, and have no need to waste productive time waiting for the meter reader!!

    A small investment I made involved a fire steel. I learnt that matches don't work well in prolonged wet weather, and the usual ones we buy are no longer stocked, anyway! Gas lighters play up after awhile. With practice, the fire steel is what lights the fire when other modern methods fail.

    Maybe crochet hooks and knitting needles should be considered for their great investment:savings ratio, in dollar terms!

    As for city living, ..... I have learnt to think of investments largely in terms of food and tools (even hand tools). For some, this could be a grain mill for baking savings. For Aussies, even though we don't have deep winters, I'm thinking that a US pressure canner for non acidic food preservation could be worthwhile. For me, a simple thermometer enabled me to make outdoor potato chips, and helps me manage wayward temperatures on my electric oven. Instead of dollar values, this is the difference between having and not having!

    Thankfully, too, my investments are more based on time and effort. My sewing machine was free. I've just had to work out its problems to use it!! This mends our clothes. In winter, we work on the weeds. That is an investment for, hopefully, future food production.

    By the way, I'm thinking of your garden as a ravioli garden. Future eggs, with parsley and ricotta sounds like a ravioli filling to me! This might be your long bedtime reading, anyway!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, Thank you for telling me about Rosellas! I didn't know of them.
      You have added some great ideas here. A generator is an excellent investment! As well as knitting needles and other tools and supplies that could really end up producing so many things.
      Also the canning equipment and then I am thinking jars! How could I forget jars!
      Somehow also I forgot chooks! What good investment they are!
      Eggs, parsley and ricotta sounds good to me! Yum. I have such a lot of parsley, its endless!
      I have loved in the country and the city and I pretty much do mostly the same things either way... chooks, herbs, veggies, clothes line dried, cooking and gift making etc. the exception is the wood fire and gathering wood, unfortunately. But we do have a little outdoor fire...
      I am thinking too of your future spinning and how a spinning wheel would be a great investment which could produce so much! After all yarn can be sold, make into garments for the family, gifts etc as well.
      I look forward to one day seeing hand knitted socks from wool you have spun! How lovely will that be!?
      Thank you for your thoughts Rachel. With love

    2. Annabel once the weather clears I will take a photo of my rosella plant and its fruit and pop it on FB. The vitamin C content is very high and the citrus berry flavour of the tea also makes it quite delicious. I not only dry the fruit for tea I also use it fresh for jam and for cordial. I still like the tea as a preventative measure against winter colds.

  8. How wonderful to have all that delicious salmon in your freezer! The fence is beautiful. My late MIL always wanted a white picket fence and finally got one for the last few years of her life.

    I over wintered 45 pots of flowers and herbs in my garage. Some of these are 8-10 years old. I don't even have an idea of how much this saves each year for pots of flowers on our property but it is surely hundreds since many are large pots.

    We get fuel rewards at one of our grocery stores and I used 90 cents off on each of 20 gallons to fill up my van last week.

    1. Dear Lana,
      Not having snow here it is only more recently that I have really understood what you go through to re start a garden after a long winter. Keeping all your pots going in the garage would be a big saving.
      Today I finished painting the fence! I am so tired tonight! But happy tired!
      The white looks lovely and fresh. Also I should think the paint job will keep this fence going many more years.
      Have a lovely week Lana, with love,

  9. Dear Annabel,
    Everyone is doing so great saving. I love to see the totals.
    We are investing in future food. Although, we are spending now, we have planted four apple trees, nine cherry bushes (to be planted but already purchased), 50 strawberry plants, and two more currants to add to the three we already have.
    Last year, we invested in Saskatoon Blueberry bushes, Aronia bushes, plum trees, apricot trees, currant bushes, and elderberry bushes. I, also, planted a wide variety of perennial herbs last year, which are looking great this year.
    John is building three vegetable beds, 20x3, so those will be done shortly for planting this summer.
    The entire back and side yards were torn up recently, trees removed, new soil, and the yard leveled; new sod will be placed where fruit or vegetable beds are not going. We have spent a lot right now (although we were blessed with excellent workers and nice bids) to save more in the future.
    In other ways, we eat most of our meals at home as we just don't enjoy restaurant food much. I am using up fabric I have had for some time making gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
    This past week we purchased the fragrance free soaps for dishes and laundry we normally buy (always on sale) and saved 50% per container with a sale and coupons.
    I don't have exact amounts that we saved, but it has been our lifestyle for almost 50 years; we always either save when purchasing or invest for the future.
    I love your white paint. That looks really bright, clean, and fresh. Looking forward to the finished pictures.
    With love and a big hug,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      You have made wonderful and significant investments for the future. Personally I like these kind of investments more than money in the bank!
      It is a lot of work but it is setting you up for the future. Also our families benefit from all of this, their households end up benefitting too.
      You remind me of what a good investment a sewing machine is. And sewing skills.
      Thank you re the fence. I finished it yesterday. I have sore arms! But it looks lovely and I am thrilled to have completed this as it was a big job and now its done!
      Have a great week Glenda, with love

  10. Annabel, as usual, you come up with so many great savings ideas. The fence is beautiful! Your take on 'investments' brought to my mind many things, such as the hand and power tools that my husband owns. Over the years we have been married (and many years before) he has built homes, done plumbing, electrical work, lawn care, house painting, tree cutting and removal, and some car repair. I couldn't imagine how much money that has saved us, but many thousands of dollars. But here is a small example of an 'investment'. Last year he paid a young man $20 a half hour to come once a week to cut our grass. We provided the mower, the fuel, and my husband even did the trimming! What a deal for this young man! Well, our 'worker' only showed up twice, and then we never saw him again! I told my husband, geesh! Sell our large mower that I wasn't strong enough to handle, and buy me a smaller push mower (we have a small yard)and I will cut the grass! He sold the mower this spring to a co-worker and with the cash, bought a smaller and more manageable for me lawnmower--it's a little cutie--if a lawn mower can be cute! I mow the yard, save money, and my husband doesn't have to do it when he comes home tired from a long day of work. Besides, we both like seeing a manicured lawn!

    I learned to sew as a teen and that skill has saved lots of money over the years, and has been a wonderful avenue for lots of enjoyment making items for myself, others, and many repairs. 'Domestic' skills really are valuable!

    1. Dear Joy,
      Thank you! Your husband and all the odd jobs and skills are like Andy... he has lots of tools. Some were his Dads and Grandpas! Well what they have saved over the years if we could ever work it out would be incredible! It is great. And we have had this "turns up once and never seen again" thing here too and have given up. My neighbour has hired three different mobs to clean his gutters. NONE of them has ever arrived!
      Your solution of a cute little mower was brilliant! I can do things if its a manageable size too and thats a good idea to get something you can comfortably handle and then its fine! Gee this could be applied to many things. Brilliant.
      Sewing is another one. Just taking up jeans etc, mending and so on are all huge savers.
      Thanks very much Joy. Have a lovely week! With love

  11. Look at your beautiful, fresh gate! Painting is so satisfying because you can instantly see progress, and it's relatively inexpensive when compared to other ways of giving the house a face-lift.
    I love the idea of investing! I have a big turkey roaster that I can use to cook larger things without heating up the oven (and the house, in summer). I pulled a turkey from the freezer this week, cooked it in the roaster, and we've already have three meals from it, two for company, with lots more to come. I need to pick over the bones and then make stock in the crock pot. The turkey reminds me that our big upright freezer is another good investment because it allows me to bulk shop when prices are low and take advantage of clearance sales.
    Have a lovely week!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      I finished the whole fence yesterday! Very happy!
      An outdoor cooker is a great thing. Actually the turkey itself was a good investment as you are getting so many meals out of it and then stock!
      And a freezer is a big investment. Between a pantry and freezer really we never have to pay full price for anything. This makes a massive difference!
      Many thanks Leigh, with love

  12. Your fence is beautiful Annabel! To pay someone to paint in my area is very costly also salmon is quite expensive so that is wonderful that Andy can catch so much to add to your freezer. I like your vouchers too! You use them so wisely and the more free stuff we can add to the pantry/household keeps our dollars for other things! I did not add my totals for the week, but we saved $39 on gas using fuel rewards, my chickens laid 5 doz. eggs $10, hung out 3 loads of laundry, paid bills over the phone, used over ripe bananas and made a cake, I got $56 in rebates and that will go in the bank, I made more gifts using just what I have here and will add those up when I get it all done, I got store rewards $1 off this and that type rewards that netted me free bread, free carrots and a cup of cat food and I saved another $50 with coupons. I got a box of stomach meds (Nexium) free in the mail and a coupon for a $10 off $10 or more purchase for a shoe store so if I go and I can find something around that price I can get a pair of shoes free or cheap. I usually use those kinds of deals to add to my gift trunk and have gotten the grandbabies outfits and toys to put up for Christmas with them. Rick got a turkey! half is in the crockpot the half going to Coty's and the legs we made into dog food. One of my best investments is my pressure cooker/canner. I paid $5 for it new years ago and have canned countless jars of goodies with it! Also my stainless steel stockpot! We got that about 12 years ago and the woman at the restraunt supply store gave us a discount since I can and it $100, but it will last until my grandkids start canning it also saves me time since I can make so many quarts of juice at once instead of little batches! I better stop for now or I'll go on and on LOL!

    1. Dear Vicky, Tradesman here are very expensive here also. Which reminds me so are eggs. Here 5 doz eggs is worth at least $25.
      Wow what a bargain was your canner! And a stockpot is another one I didn't think of. Doing decent sized batches of things is good too.
      Another one I thought of is my stick blender. I have had a stick blender since the girls were babies as I used it to make baby food. I couldn't be with out one of these. I am always pureeing soups as I like smooth soups... anyway the stick blender is one of my good investments!
      I keep thinking of more.
      Have a great week. I hope it is still good weather there. It is lovely here and it helps get stuff done as I think energy is better.
      With lots of love

  13. Dear Annabel,
    Hooray for your beautiful white picket fence being finished! I know that must be a good feeling to have it completed, and just think, you will see it every time you drive up to your house! I also really like your herb towers, they look so lush.
    I love what you say about investing (wow on the coffee!). I am used to not spending much money, so letting go of a large amount at one time can sometimes be difficult, but I do it when I know the result will profit me in the end. For example, the vast majority of the meat we eat is from what my husband hunts, so we invest in a hunting license each season. This year we also invested in a meat grinder so we can process the meat ourselves. What we save by not buying meat greatly outweighs the expenses involved in harvesting our own, and the equipment should last for years. It is hundreds in savings, not to mention healthier than store-bought meat.
    Well, I did not report my savings last week, so I will be reporting for two weeks in the Vicky Challenge. We went away to attend a wedding and we saved by staying with friends, as opposed to staying in a hotel. I made the wedding gift and also a hostess gift. While there, we went to a couple thrift stores and I did very well purchasing a table cloth, an expensive pair of shoes (only cost $1!), two embroidered pillowcases, a vintage table runner and doily and a few other small things for far less than what I would have paid retail. When we returned from our trip, we found that one of our ducks had hatched 13 ducklings, and a few days later our other duck hatched 6 more! That was a very exciting thing to return to! I also did the usual laundry and packing at the ranch, made breakfasts and packed lunches and coffee on workdays, and shopped grocery specials. Also as I mentioned, I was given a huge stack of magazines from the ranch. This saved money as I didn't have to buy them and will continue to save money as that gives me card making supplies. In total, I saved $656.26 in the last two weeks.
    Another thing is a man my husband works with gave him a jar of honey. It turns out that he has bees on his place and the beekeeping company he leases the land to pays him in jars of honey. He says a he has more honey than he knows what to do with. Well, I was jumping for joy at this news! This means I may have a source for raw local honey, which is best for health! My husband is going to try to work something out so we can trade eggs for honey or at least buy it from him. My husband asked me how much I wanted and I laughed and said, "How much does he want to get rid of?" I am thinking that not only can I use this, it would make great gifts if I can get enough of it. The man had so much he was giving it away, so I am very hopeful and excited!
    I hope everyone has a good, productive week! With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      You have had great savings! I love the ducklings! Now I am so excited about the honey! Here honey is very expensive. But also it is a wonderful thing and in your party it will basically keep forever. I use honey in this recipe constantly...
      That is my honey gingerbread recipe. When Lucy got married the wedding favours were little jars of farm honey with pretty tops. Jars of honey are lovely gifts!
      There are lovely honey labels you can print or you could decorate jars with pretty images. Also so many uses and recipes! Honey bubble bath, face masks etc too! Well this is a big asset to you! It is fantastic! First you had all those magazines and the Victoria magazines which is a huge bonus, then ducklings and now this! I hope the man with the honey would like some home cooking, ducks or something you have that you can trade with him! I will be thinking of more honey ideas!
      This made me so happy to read Kelsey! With lots of love,

    2. Oh Lucy's wedding favours sound so pretty. Would you be able to post a picture of this (with Lucy's permission of course). The whole wedding just sounded divine. Lisa xx

    3. Dear Lisa, thank you! I am not sure if I have pictures of the jars of honey. The honey was from the farm. Lucy got small jars and each had a label which said the honey was from the family farm... a little white ribbon around the top of each. They were stacked on a table with sign to say please take one home but I can't remember the words! this is a post with some wedding photos...
      We made a lot of things ourself. Chloe even make Lucys head piece.
      You might have already seen this if so sorry! With love

  14. Hi Annabel,

    I've enjoyed reading this piece on investing, and also the comments from others here on their investing.

    For me, by far my best investment piece is my sewing machine. I have made all my window dressings (including the blinds), cushions, tablecloths, placemats and serviettes. Until my son and daughter were teens, I made all their clothes, school uniforms, plus my daughter's dance outfits, formal dresses and her wedding dress. I've sewn shirts, trousers and sport coat for DH. Now, I make all my clothes (far quicker than shopping for something that won't fit and I'll have to alter). I even made the awnings for our west facing windows when I couldn't purchase exactly what I wanted.

    My other great investment was the freezer - it was bought as a factory second (small dent in the front) in 1978 and is still going strong.


    1. Dear Janine,
      Thank you! All your window dressings and soft furnishings must have saved you thousands. Then dance outfits to wedding dress! That must be many thousands. That is amazing. I am very impressed you even made awnings! That is truly wonderful.
      And the freezer! You have had good value out of that! this things have saved you something staggering. Plus your skills too, to make such things.
      All the comments have made me think about what could I invest in now that would have this effect? And what skill to learn? Also to use all our assets as much as we can as with the simple coffee cup its getting into the habit.
      Many thanks Janine! With love


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