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.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Vicky Challenge, 4 July, 2016.

Happy 4th of July to all of the US ladies! I feel like celebrating with you as I think celebrating our countries and freedom is a really important thing.

My Vicky Challenge went quite well last week.

I made all lunches plus the fishing day food which saves $150 all up.

I did a lot of cooking! The weather was so cold and I had room in the freezer since cleaning it out.  Once again I checked what the stores charge for things and worked out my costs versus retail price. I enjoy doing this as it shows how much money is saved making your own food! It is huge!

This included 36 muffins plus 12 king sized ones.

6 pizzas.

36 sausage rolls. (large)

12 jam tarts.

A huge pot of spaghetti sauce.

Loads of it went into the freezer. Very happy with that.

I had glasses repaired for free so that was a bonus.

And the usual things, cooking all meals, no takeaway, using the heater as little as possible etc.

I wrote $555 into my savings book to finish off the month of June. I love to see these amounts and my weekly tally plus monthly tally adding up! It's still surprising to me and one of the best experiments ever (thanks Vicky!)

And now for July!

My savings tip of the week is not a new one. It is to remind everyone to keep a stockpile, keep your ear to the ground and be aware.  Several weeks ago I read about an egg shortage. I checked the story out and it was true. However we seemed fine and some states were experiencing it. But I got ahead on eggs and tried to keep ahead. With all my cooking I was getting low and went to stock up.

And this is what I found...

The few left were $7.80 per dozen.

In the last few months I have found many supermarket shelves that look like this! It has been in waves, chicken at one time, then lamb, then lettuce, whole areas of things like toilet paper and paper towel. At times I found it a real shock to find several areas like this.
Last week I wanted to make soup but all the veggies were so expensive I refused to buy them. I thought I will wait another week.

We don't have warming all of the time but an early warning can be very helpful! I had a couple of weeks warning on the eggs at least.

We take the shelves being full for granted! I have never really found empty shelves until this year. It is a reminder of how fast things go if there is a shortage or something goes wrong in the supply chain.
What is on the shelves is all there is. There is no "out the back" that is a thing of the past.
I have said this before... the 12 boxes of candles on the shelf are all there is! If there is a sudden need for something only the first few customers will get it, there are no more than the few on display.  This is why getting ahead is so important.
If we are not ahead we also have to pay the ridiculous new price! We are really at the mercy of what ever price they set.

Later today I will be shopping so it will be interesting to see what the shelves are like and check out the egg situation!

How did you save last week through your work and efforts?

I hope this will be a good week for us all! xxx


  1. Hey Annabel

    Heaps saved here this week. I roasted a whole pumpkin and tonight I'm using it to make pumpkin soup and three cakes (pumpkin and sultana). I made all lunches and dinners. Bought sale items at the grocery store. I scored free oranges at work so am making an orange cake and juicing the rest to freeze as well as the grated rind.

    I am looking for powdered eggs in the supermarket this week and matches to stockpile just in case.

    Busy sewing baby goods and loving it.

    God Bless my dear xxx

    1. Dear Mel, I love pumpkin anything so this all sounds lovely to me. And free oranges are a bonus.
      I think matches are a very good thing to have hidden away. Also egg substitutes. Or chickens! Although it is so cold and wet they are not keen on laying now either!
      I am glad you are enjoying your sewing. I am happiest when making something!
      Have a great week Mel. As I write this it has poured for several hours solid which you are probably getting too.
      Much love and thanks,

  2. Ditto on celebrating freedom and independence. This is something that evil people are trying to wrestle away. The egg situation and indeed any shortages is certainly proof that a well stocked pantry is important. My battery hens have not laid yet but I don't yet care because each couple of days I am surprised that their feathers are growing back so abundantly. they are becoming luxurious and fluffy and so happy in their behaviour. I love them. You have done loads of cooking which is great. I think I might have mentioned I printed out your winter sunshine cake recipe but have yet to make it. Maybe this week, but this week is a biggie for me so maybe next week. Andy must bless every day having you for a wife. Have a great week Annabel. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Yes I agree, freedoms we took for granted when we were growing up are sadly disappearing. Things are changing and its not for the better.
      Your chooks I think will be laying in spring and really healthy and happy! What an asset! You will be rewarded for your kindness in eggs galore. Get ready for lots of egg cooking! Knowing you also have lemons means many good things!
      Thanks for your kind words! And encouragement!
      I hope this week goes ok as I know it is a big one... and I hope after this week you can enjoy less stress and easier times.
      I hope you get to make that cake and like it. It really is like a burst of sunshine! Lots of love,

  3. Dear Annabel , what a great week you had . I had a very quiet week but have doing all my usual things such as no takeaway ( made fridge pizza instead ) , meals from my parents , free mandarines from a friend , used a gift from my gift cupboard , stayed home instead of going out ( saving on taxi fares ) , I got 4 bottles of pine o cleen for free because I had $10 rewards dollars to use , it was on special for $2.50 ( half price ) so effectively I saved $20 all up I estimate I saved about $145 so a very quiet week .
    I have a good stockpile of the things I use regularly , I buy what I can afford and enough to last me until the next half price special. I think it is very important in these un certain times to have a stockpile , I factor in a certain amount each fortnight to top up my stockpile and spend on specials I need. I certainly have areas I need to work on but I am doing well compared to a year or so ago. Have a great week Annabel and everyone . Love BarbW .

    1. Dear Barb,
      It is really great that you can see you are much more prepared than a year ago. That shows good progress. I love doing that and seeing that I have been getting somewhere. Little things help you get ahead so really this week was still really good!
      I saw Sue today who started me on Fridge Pizza. This has become famous practically! Anything that uses up left overs and tastes so good is a brilliant idea!
      Have a really good week Barb, with lots of love

  4. Annabel there is nothing better than cooking up a storm when the weather is cold, grey and miserable. Doesn't happen too often here but when we lived in Melbourne I would do as you did last week.

    Last week I managed to pick up some mark downs at the local IGA, instead of stopping in on the way home I stopped on the way out and that was when I found the oranges. My husband had asked for some as I was heading out to do a fruit and vegetable shop amongst other things and these were much cheaper than elsewhere.

    Friday was a big grocery day at Aldi - the trolley looked worse than it was because I picked up some bulk buys that were on special. Not that they are needed yet but with Aldi only having specials for items at certain times I decided it was wise to pick them up then.

    I needed tinned tomatoes and picked up 8 tins. My usual eggs were not there so I payed an extra 20 cents for the next size up. I always check the dates and open the eggs up to make sure that they are not broken, give the eggs a little jiggle to make sure that they are not broken on the bottom before I pop them in the trolley.

    No one made a comment about the shopping but I am certain they were thinking things.

    Yesterday I saw a reminder that it is 3 months until storm season so time to check to make sure that stocks are OK.

    I have updated my Aldi price list, since they no longer have the online one I like to keep a record of the prices and note any changes - sometimes things go down in price which is wonderful.

    I have been to craft this morning, today one of the lasses was on about her needing to get a job and then they can eat take away. I didn't say a thing - one of the others is in her 70's and she just looked at me. Probably expected me to say something.

    Our kerosine heaters have been on - we purchased a drum of kerosine last year quite cheap so running them is not costing as much as it has previously (when we could only buy the 4 litre plastic bottles).

    According to all of our bills that we receive there is only 1 person living in this house - we are not pedantic about things at all but are mindful of how the house is run. Getting my husband on the same page has taken quite awhile but he is just about there.

    Off to get a few things done while my husband is out at work - I have 3 days 'alone' this week but something on this morning and tomorrow morning so will only really enjoy a full day 'home alone' on Wednesday. Want to have some things out of the way so I can enjoy it and get a lot more done than normal.

    Have a great week everyone


    1. Dear Lynette,
      Oh how I would have loved to see the glance the older lady gave you about the getting a job to afford takeaway. lol. of all the lofty aims to have!
      The Aldi shop sounds great! I am getting the hang of it and yes, with special buys especially you need to get what will see you through until next time which in lost of cases is a year. I am learning. Mel C just said how there in WA theirs is open now. I feel so excited as I know how much it has helped me. On Wednesday I am meeting Hilde at Aldi as it is about half way between our houses. We will have a coffee and chat then shop. So combining a stock up with a chat!
      Also I am hoping for fruit and veggies as things have been a terrible price here the last week. No luck today either.
      Enjoy your solo days and I hope you get heaps done. It is great about your husbands work too, it seems to keep coming in which is wonderful!
      Many thanks Lynette, love

    2. Annabel I think you will enjoy your time with Hilde. Enjoy!

      I must add that this same person who will buy takeaway with her job money has all so applied for a job doing the census and while I have moved forward with form filling she had not heard a thing. If I had thought about it I could have applied to work on the election but having done that a number of years ago know just how exhausting it is and felt that was something I didn't want to experience at that level again.

      We are happy about my husband's work - there is more to come with this company too which makes for a good feeling. The lunch on the Gold Coast was all about the company that my husband is now contracting to - a new field that they have never been able to offer clients and the hope is that they will pick up more clients and my husband will be able to become a permanent employee - well that is the long term game plan at the moment.

      We have rain today - not like the weather that you have been having - well at the moment anyway. Disaster Management meeting last night - the last one never got off the ground, this time we have a really good feeling because we have someone who was involved with the major flooding in 2010/11 and knows what the State Government expects rather than the watered down local Government expectations. We have decided to do this in slow steps and not become overwhelmed (so far only 8 of us). No question has been ignored at all and we all know that we have very vulnerable elderly people living here and they are a priority.

      With no police etc here it makes for interesting times.


  5. Hi Annabel, I have seen the shelves in our supermarkets looking quite bare on more than one occasion. This has been due to road closures and trucks unable to get in or out. Cant say I've seen the shelves looking empty as a result of food shortages. Really does show the need for having a pantry that can withstand unexpected shortages.
    We've had a pretty expensive week her. Some low life germs have helped themselves to quite a lot of Bluey's tools up in the shed. He is all for setting up our rabbit traps to catch them if they come back. I hope to talk him out of this.
    Prior to the theft we had been going very well. Lots of kitchen work and home grown, homemade produce. I detailed the car interior and did a lot of yard work. Not the mowing but getting the garden organised so that when we go away it will be easy maintenance for the daughter.
    I'm including the cot in this weeks savings, which bolsters up the amount. This weeks savings come in at $1200. Pity we are going to have to spend a huge amount in order to replace the stolen tools. We have insurance but we still will have a $500 excess.
    I guess this gives Bluey the chance to upgrade his tools and to purchase those that suit his needs now. Nothing else was taken, turns out Bluey had left the keys in his landcruiser, so our losses could have been much worse. I hope the germs really need the tools and do something useful with them.
    The weather is now in a beautiful phase. It's cool at night and warm during the day. Loving life. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Oh no that is terrible and upsetting! Also unsettling and I hope whoever did this doest decide to come back for anything else.
      I am glad it is insured and hope you get a good amount back. But the excess is a lot to have to pay out too.
      When Chloe was burgled this year it shook us all up. We have really upped security. A scare can make you decide to increase security and I think its needed. We used to be pretty casual especially in the country. But times have changed. So we have sensor lights dotted around, shed locked up, beware of the dog signs, security system etc. There are no guarantees but this seems to be happening more and more and its awful. I am happy they didn't take Blueys vehicle!
      Now to your savings... that cot would be sold for a small fortune in the shops! Your weeks savings are excellent. Between the two of you so much gets done. You are a great team!
      I hope this week is good and your setback is quickly sorted out. We can't have Bluey without tools!
      With much love,

    2. Dear Jane,

      I was saddened to hear about the theft of Bluey's tools. I hope that the insurance company will settle sooner than you could have ever expected. All of the pictures that I've seen of what you both do are beautiful. You are both so talented. Cookie

    3. Jane I feel your husband's pain at having tools stolen. We had this happen when we lived in Melbourne, the so and so's not only took some of my husband's tools but also some of his father's. That upset my husband more than his tools being stolen.

      We had a fair idea of who took them but could not do anything about it.

      Karma did get them back though, even though it took a few years.


  6. Hi Annabel!

    Your baking and cooking still looks delicious! I had omitted to say, previously, that your enamel stock pot looks wonderful, too!!

    Poor Bluey! I hope he can find just the right tools, particularly if he had older, favourite tools that might be difficult to replace. A guard duck might be a good idea?!

    We've been spending in the last week, but all for a good cause - home living! Today, the generator ran long, while my husband used power tools, and I my power sewing machine! It was a productive day.

    I have been able to do quick weekly op shop checks lately, for the purpose of looking for particular wool, fabric and other specific items I have a use for. Today, I did not find what I was looking for, and when I showed my husband what I had bought, he said that I had Annabel in the back of my head! Mum tells me that there is a demand for second hand vintage lace tablecloths, and that people resell them for fifty dollars. Well, those people missed out on one - a circular crochet table cloth in the softest pink for five dollars, and in good condition. Wouldn't that be 'Annabel pink'? In the second shop, it was a little funny. I found a piece of fabric (which had caught my eye previously) that reminds me of your recycled vintage sheeting from which your kitchen towels are made. I paid one dollar for what looks like your recycled sheets!! I was really pleased! Then I left with a small box of free magazines. There are gardening ones to peek through and then pass on to Dad, and a few Country Style. I have hardly seen a magazine for several years, and I won't mind cutting them up for gifts and things, just as we did as children.

    I'm a bit short on savings.

    This month looks to be busy. I intend to collect photos of what I'm making as I go.

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt (& the weather is milder right now!)

    1. Dear Rachel, Oh my goodness yes! A pale pink crochet table cloth! That is a dream find! Yes you did have me in your mind as I would have loved that and left through the roof with excitement! Your husband has me summed up pretty well!
      And the sheets! This was very good op shopping! I love days like these.
      Yes please do take photos as you make things. I really love to see. Plus your photos are very good.
      I do hope you find the craft items you are after but in the meantime other good finds are very good.
      Have a great week. It is pouring here. An attack duck would be happy!
      Much love,

  7. Dear Annabel, love all that cooking - so comforting. We've had a mixed week here. On the positive side, all our meals have been cooked from scratch, I made a huge pot of veggie soup from items on hand, a friend kindly gave us some mandarins freshly picked from her tree (some of which were given to D2yoGS as he loves them so much), plus I was able to sew a pair of cargo pants for DGS from a piece of leftover corduroy. On the negative side, the dental treatment I have been having the past few months has been unsuccessful so I now have to have $$$$ surgery.

    Jane Allen, I am appalled at what has happened to Bluey - there are some real low-lifes around. Quality tools are expensive, and not easily replaced these days. I love that you've been able to put a positive spin on this unsavoury experience.

    Have a great week, everyone

    1. Dear Janine,
      The soup sounds lovely. And the mandarines, especially nice that your Grand Son loves them.
      Oh no about the surgery. If you have any doubts get a second opinion or alternative options. You probably have already but I have seen some huge variations in dental work. My dentist wanted to do an implant on a tooth of mine for $10,000. That is not a misprint! I said not thanks and I have a plate I wear. Saved me more than $8000. And nothing invasive. But I felt quite pressured. However this might all be useless information and if you have to have surgery then good luck with it It is not fun having work done at all!
      Have a very good week. With love

  8. Dear Annabel thankyou for this weeks Vicky Challenge , lots of savings at your house as usual cooking up a storm for the freezer and family :-)
    Ive been doing the same here with batches of Pumpkin soup,cakes,and slices.The freezer is full now so I have to stop making things lol despite the urge to keep doing so.Ive been adding to my stores here and there.Bought gifts at a local shop , she has such lovely things that fit my budget , so it works for me to do some gifts this way.She gave me a tiny jar of preserves today with my purchase, that was a nice surprise , something to go with cheese and I have a use for the jar afterwards.I made up a double batch of miracle cleaner.Another batch of a balm I use.
    Jane - My hubby would be same as Bluey re: catching the thieves, I hope it all ends well .
    Annabel , I meant to say I cooked your lamb and veges in the crockpot yesterday and we enjoyed it with mint sauce and gravy . I will have to cut some of the vege bigger so they dont burn though.
    Wishing everyone a good week , love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I love the mint sauce over the lamb! I think every crockpot is a big different plus the size and how much we put in. I tend to put in a lot of veggies. I should specify size as now that you mention it I put them in pretty chunky. Left over lamb is very good in wraps with tatziki and salad. Like a yiros.
      The soup and cakes etc all sound so good. I am pretty sure your goodies will get used up pretty fast on Grand children and visitors. I am sure they associate your place with yummy cooking!
      it is funny how memories stick but just saying this makes me think of my Nan's cooking and how I loved it! She fed us all so much and it was all so good! You never forget these things!
      Have a great week Maria. With lots of love,

  9. In the last couple of years I have noticed the low shelves at the supermarket. I don't think it is due to a shortage here, but the fact that it isn't delivery day and there is nothing extra in the back. I am in the US and I believe that when we had the recession places changed the way they stocked shelves so they wouldn't be stuck with merchandise. You are certainly correct that in an unusual event those shelves would be quickly emptied. That is one of the reasons why I am working to stock my pantry. Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. Another productive week for you Annabel! It really is cooking weather!

    I have been sorting through the long term pantry and today had a massive restock at the cannery and the wholesaler (who sells seeds, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, herbs etc) My husband had a rare week day off, so it was great having him along to haul it all into the boot! ;-) I also gained $20 more in flybuys points. It was an experiment really, I activated an online offer and also used a voucher from the last docket (aggregating 3000pts one transaction) It worked! Combined with a few leftover points, now have some more money to spend. I redeemed some of my points (from last promo) for half price items earlier in the week, gaining $72 value of free groceries! I do get some strange looks with a trolley full of half priced vita brits (husband loves these) and other items :-) Eggs were available here this week, but extremely low last week. I stocked up on my preferred brand.

    Another op shop trip yielded a pair of pants that retail around $120 for $1!! I have not done the math for my savings yet, but it has been a big savings week, as it was a big spend week with so much bulk buying also. I do this once a year usually as most items last around one year. I will be putting the vacuum sealer to use so they stay lovely and fresh.

    Lynette, I did laugh at the lady getting a job to finance take away! :-) Too funny.

    Jane, how awful to have to replace the tools for Bluey. :(

    It is good to read how everyone is going and what they have been doing each week. We could have our half year tally now that June 30 has passed. :-)

  11. Dear Annabel,

    I meant to say on Friday's post that that is a HUGE batch of spaghetti sauce!!! Makes my mouth water to look at it!

    We have been so busy here, and have thought of you lots! I am starting to notice similar "shelving issues" here at the stores, too, and it is disheartening. The stores themselves are physically huge, but in many ways, it seems they are carrying less and less variety, poorer quality, and have no one working there who knows anything about the products. Also, there are far fewer stores...many locations for the same few companies, so that price comparison shopping or brand comparison shopping is virtually nil. Shopping monoculture! So when a shortage happens, it really affects everyone.

    We just celebrated Canada Day on Friday by getting out into Canada...we went for a long, challenging hike in one of our provincial parks and enjoyed Mother Nature and each other!

    Will send photos for the Christmas Challenge tonight...hubby has the jump drive at work and I can't get the photos onto the computer to send to you until then.

    xx Jen in NS

  12. Annabel, we've been preserving corn and cucumbers this week which goes towards building back up our pantry. I'm also working on Christmas gifts, toddler quilts, for my grandchildren using what I have on hand. We are trying to get ahead and keep our pantry well stocked while eating almost exclusively out of it this year. It has been a challenge, but we are succeeding bit by bit. The empty grocery store shelves are a bit scary whatever the reason they are that way. As others have already said, it's just one more reason to keep a well-stocked pantry. I don't do much baking anymore as my husband is diabetic and it is too much of a temptation for him to have baked goods on hand, but your's looks delicious!

  13. Dear Annabel.
    Thank you for your sweet wishes for our Independence Day.
    What a tremendous week you had. The jam tarts keep calling to me and I have some cream cheese pastry dough in the fridge now chilling to make them sometime today.
    We have experienced shortages and just plain empty shelves here too, and our produce departments have really gotten smaller. Eggs are in good supply here now and I've been freezing some for the winter months. I also found that if a baking recipe calls for no more than 2 eggs that a great substitute is making "flax eggs" with about a Tablespoon of ground flax meal and 3 Tablespoons of boiling water. Let the mixture sit until it thickens. Double the recipe for substituting 2 eggs. I've never been able to tell the difference in texture or quality of the baked goods.
    This is my real first week of adding up the savings. Some of the things I did were: sharpening my rotary cutter blade on reclaimed aluminum foil saving $5 dollars for a new blade, pieced together left over batting (I think you call it wadding - not sure) to make a bat for a twin sized quilt that is a gift. Saved $25 by doing that and the gas to go to the fabric store. At the thrift shop, the vintage sheets for $2. I didn't count in the curtains yet because they're not made but I priced what custom curtains would cost for our windows and it was upwards of $200. The silk tie for a dollar, I checked with the men's haberdashery label that was on the tie and if bought new $50. On another quick visit I found a men's extra large blackwatch plaid Pendleton wool shirt, which in the catalog goes for $100. I paid 75 cents. I'm planning to either greatly alter it to make a jacket for myself or use the fabric in it for something else. My husband itches when he wears wool so the shirt is all mine. Made 24 sticky buns, saved $48 dollars, an iced carrot cake $25 dollars, 40 brownies with chocolate peanut butter icing which sell for $1.50 at the bakery, $60 savings, canned 6 jars of jam which would sell for $2.30 $13.80 saved. Did a big grocery shop at The Grocery Outlet and Aldis and spent a total of $95.41 on $261.94 had I shopped elsewhere. The grocery shop should cover us for 3 weeks and included a few stock up items to be added to the pantry. So far $945.71 saved for the week. This has been a real eyeopener.
    Thank you for your invaluable encouragement. I look forward to seeing what everyone has done so far for the Christmas Challenge. Not being much of a techie I never learned how to use the camera on my computer or do attachments but I'm going to. Cookie

    1. Hi Cookie!

      You've got my interest! You rang a bell when you mentioned sharpening with the use of aluminium foil. I had read that this is an option for sharpening my quality old op shop pinking shears. From your experience, is this a more temporary option, and do you use scrunched up foil, or folded, or .....? My cutting blade is about sixteen years old. It could benefit from this!

      Also, how do you go about freezing an egg; do you leave them in their shells?!! I am bewildered about egg preservation!

      Since the US provides such wonderful quilting products for us, I find the term 'batting' quite familiar. More confusing is a 'twin sheet', which I had not encountered until recently. I figure that our single sheets provide enough fabric to cover for the amount of fabric in your twin sheets.

      Good on you, Cookie!

      Rachel Holt

    2. Hi Rachel,
      A "twin sheet" is single bed sized about 70 inches by 80 inches. As for the sharpening my cutter blade. If I have aluminum foil that's not heavy duty I fold it up several times and then run my rotary cutter through it as many times as possible. The check it on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure there are no burrs or nicks in the blade. If I have heavy duty foil I just fold a piece in half once and do the same thing. I only do this sharpening when the blade is obviously dull. Once sharpened you will get many more cuts from one blade. I've done this to one blade as often as 3 to 4 times. It's not a permanent fix but one that is really cost saving. Blades here are $5 dollars apiece and not much less when bought in bulk. Hope this will help you.

      As for the eggs. I crack them open and put them in an ice tray or cupcake holder, gently break the yoke and freeze them. After frozen remove from the freezer and let sit out for a minute or two so that they will remove easily. After removed quickly wrap them individually and place the wrapped eggs in a freezer bag, or you could slide each egg individually in a small freezer bag. When ready to use defrost in the refrigerator. Use as you would a fresh egg. Eggs are now 59 cents a dozen here at Aldi's so I'm stocking up:). I've even read about dehydrating eggs but so far haven't done that.

      Warmest Regards

  14. Hi Annabel!
    I had a nice long comment, but my computer ate it! The display driver stopped working for a second and had to recover itself! So anyway we had a good week to the tune of $985. The best part was we were gifted a box and 2 bags full of new lids and rings for canning. That alone is a savings of at least $200 there are tons of them. They are all for small mouth jars so the gentleman that gave them to us said he would try to get some for wide mouthed jars and pass them along to us. What a blessing!
    Cookie excellent job on your savings!
    Jane I am so sorry to hear that someone stole your tools! It is a shame that people do that kind of stuff.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      What a massive week! The person who gave you the lids knows you well! What a good gift. This is timely!
      Sorry about your lost comment! Your week was really excellent, you have to be happy with that as I know you had a lot on last week and you still managed all of this! With love

  15. Thanks Cookie for that egg replacement recipe, good to have as backup.:-) Love Maria x
    PS you did heaps of baking yummies and finding great buys !

  16. Dear Annabel,
    You have done so well to put up so much food during your dreary weather. I agree stocking up and being prepared are so important. I was talking with my cousin-in-law the other day and she was saying how expensive groceries are. My husband was standing there and said, "You need to go shopping with Kelsey." Well, I took that as a compliment! Then I got to thinking about how I save, and I know the biggest key is to stock up when things are on sale. This saves so much money, not to mention the extra security. She also loved my pantry bench and said she never thought about buying flour and sugar in bulk. I'm thinking if the opportunity arises, I may be able to help her out saving on her groceries. She and her husband are building a house on the land next to ours (all used to be one ranch) so she will be our neighbor. That will be a comfort to both of us to have someone close by.
    My savings this week almost all have to do with cooking and baking. I cooked breakfast and packed lunches and coffee for my husband on work days. I also fixed lunch for Papa everyday and we had home cooked meals for supper each night. So Papa went from eating out every day to a week of no eating out at all, although he stills prefers to eat breakfast in town. He and my husband's grandmother did this every day, and now Papa will get his food to go and eat it at the cemetery in the mornings.
    I also saved by shopping grocery specials and I baked gluten free brownies and cookies from mixes on hand. I baked two cakes, one for us and one for a gift.
    Now that we don't have chickens, I am going to be getting eggs from a friend. She won't take my money, so I bought her a bag of chicken feed which I got on sale.
    I cleaned windows, trimmed hedges, and cleaned porches. I also transplanted a flowering bush from our house in town to the ranch.
    For entertainment this week, we borrowed a movie from the library.
    My savings for this week comes to $240.73. I am happy to start seeing my savings again, as the past few weeks I hadn't written anything down. This is encouraging, and I already have a good start for the new week! I hope all of the ladies have a good week to come!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Sorry for slow reply!
      That is very nice you will have a cousin as a neighbour. Good neighbours are a big asset. It sounds like she is keen to learn and save so the tow of you will be helpful to each other I think. That is great and she will learn a lot form you! And yes your husband was proud of you I think.
      That is heartbreaking about Papa eating at the cemetery. I am glad you are both there now as he must have been lonely. You will inject a lot of joy and activity back into his life.
      That is a good trade for the eggs. I am glad you can still get fresh eggs this way.
      Your cooking sounds lovely and much appreciated! Well done Kelsey! With love,

  17. Thank you everyone for your comments and support regarding the theft of Bluey's tools. Both Bluey and I are surprised and humbled by the lovely thoughts. I thank you all for your friendship. Thanks Annabel, my friend, for allowing me to pass this message on to those who visit.

  18. Annabel,

    I saw that someone posted that you could substitute flax meal for an egg. I have another one. I have been using it for years in my baking and have never been able to tell the difference, no matter how many eggs the recipe called for. One rounded tablespoon of soy flour and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water simply added to baking recipes works great in place of eggs. I love that soy flour is shelf stable, too.I keep soy flour in my pantry supplies, so I always have a way to make cookies or cake, even if I am out of eggs. (It's also great if you have kids that like to eat raw cookie dough, because there is no risk of salmonella.) You can find it at health food stores around here. Walmart used to stock it, but no more.

    It's good to have substitutes for things that you regularly use. That way when there are shortages, you can come up with another way. :)

    Thanks for the reminder about the stockpile. Another blog I read mentioned it this week, too.

    1. Dear Cristy,
      Thank you for this. I have heard of it but that is different to hearing from someone who uses it and says it works from experience. Its am amazing substitute as who would have thought?
      Build up that stockpile a bit every chance you get, it is like insurance! Many thanks Cristy, with love

  19. I was visiting the hospital and noticed that rugs like your baby ones were on sale for $25 -30. I stockpile but I was unaware of the egg storage. I buy my eggs from the local free range egg farm. But I guess it makes sense as my girls have gone off the lay due to the cold weather.

    1. Dear Janine, Thank you for that! Well it is so wet and soggy and cold here I can see why the chickens are less than enthusiastic!
      I hope your week is going well... ours has been MORE rain! With love

  20. Dear Annabel. A very late comment from me as I've been so busy with school holidays and having my four year old granddaughter here as well. Lots of fun, but not much time for contributing online! You had a great week. Love the jam tarts, and the! As for your handicrafts, well, they are always sublime. You have such a lovely way with everything. I had a great week last week too. School holidays can be an expensive time, but over the years, I've taught my daughter to enjoy being at home. It's actually a treat for her to be home as she's always so busy, so that's not hard. We've baked, we've sewn, we've crafted and we've watched movies. In terms of savings, I'd say up to $500 saved right there. We spent a third more than we usually would on groceries, because I've always had a policy of including 'fun food' in the budget when the holidays come around. So we didn't have to venture out for treats or treat meals, as we had all the makings of Cheeseburgers (gluten free!), fries, thickshakes, macarons, brownies, caramel popcorn, lavish meal type salads which we love, and Chai Latte's. An additional spend of $60 on the ingredients for all that, has actually saved us well over $300. It's a great strategy. So all up, I'll say at least $800 generated at home last week, which is a nice number. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      When the girls were home we shared your philosophy about holidays. We crafted, cooked, changed rooms around, had PJ days, movie marathons and crazy food! Yes we did go out sometimes but it was never expensive holidays it was just lovely and I enjoyed these times so much.
      I think a teenager and a four year old are a good mix. Little kids seem to adore big kids! That is really lovely. What a good week! Many thanks, Mimi, love

  21. Where do you find the information about shortages? Is this just in the news and so you pay attention, or is there a source you frequently reference for such things? Just curious. 😊

    1. The egg story was first in the news in another state so I noted it and kept ahead and then it happened here with no mention in the news. Earlier the baby formula I read about the need in China and the contamination they had and warned about this several months before the Australian newspapers said anything. I try and keep an eye on whats going on and not really any particular source. Somethings you can observe... i.e. a hurricane through a region might mean a shortage here in Queensland we had a cyclone some years back that destroyed the banana crops. So you can kind of see that coming. The thing not to do is just read your local news. They tell you celebrity gossip and rubbish mostly... take notice of different new services from different countries so you get a bigger picture. I think its being watchful and helps you plan and be prepared! xxx


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