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, 23 October 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Vicky's Victory Garden and Cellar.

My Vicky Challenge last week a bit quiet and I had a catch up week on ordinary things and cooking.
I wrote $350 in my savings book made up from $100 for lunches, mending clothes for Andy rather than replace them, things he bought from the op shop rather than new and all the cakes I made for upcoming Christmas gifts. So I am pretty happy with this.

This weeks savings subject is kind of two things.  Vicky and I were talking about how much we have done so far this year. We both think we encourage each other so much that we get heaps more done and it is much more fun as well as we report to each other how we are going with all our various projects. We celebrate with each other.
There is no doubt in my mind I have saved more all year because of the Vicky challenge and achieved more just because of her friendship and encouragement.
We really are as good as the people we associate with and it really makes a big difference.
Now it is not always easy to find such friends and they are thin on the ground sometimes as not everyone even values or understands the things we are talking about such as building up your home, building your pantry etc.
The thing is you can cast your net wider thanks to the internet. Vicky and I have never met but it makes no real difference to us. We met right here on this blog.
Having a savings buddy, someone to compare notes with and encourage you along really is wonderful. I know I have said these things before but this week I noticed it so much. I think this is because we are coming to the end part of the year and I am seeing how much Vicky has achieved and how much I have!

Now to show you what I am talking about the next part of todays post is going to show you SOME of what Vicky has achieved this year.

Over to Vicky:

I have decided to call this The Victory Series. 

For all of the regular readers this may be a bit of a repeat, but for anyone just joining in or starting out I hope there is a little inspiration and encouragement. 
Over several years we have had a lot of challenges thrown our way and history is rich with lessons and information for us to glean from as homemakers, mothers or career women. My husband's job loss and the doors still being closed on him has really opened my eyes that there is still so much to learn even if we are good at saving or being frugal and experience is the best teacher! And so comes The Victory Series...

The Victory Garden: 
During WWII women planted Victory Gardens to help on the home front so I decided that this year would be my Victory Garden. Although not the same set of circumstances we are at war with the economy itself. Some I know are having a hard time making ends meet so by planting and canning more my hope was to plant and can enough to help others as well. Which we did. It was hot and tiring and a lot of work, but I kept thinking about our foremothers who had to do the very same thing to have food to last the winter for much bigger families than mine. Who did it without indoor plumbing or electric. Who did it just to survive when there was no help from the government. During any war time it is truly amazing the ingenuity and fortitude that the ladies had and how they made do. From using carrots or plums to sweeten a cake because they couldn't get sugar or during The Depression the meals that were made with very little and very little money to be had. Could we do it? Could we today live like they did? So I challenged myself on this end. And glory be we had a great garden this year so my challenge started off right! 





The Victory Cellar:

My Victory Cellar really is a victory because with my Victory Garden and all of the canning I really needed space to store more. Having a well stocked pantry has gotten us through many uncertain times and emergencies and where there is a will there is a way. We had this cellar that I always overlooked because it was dark and gross and well when I had space under the bed why would I go in that spooky room! So I shut the door and forgot about it's existence. Root cellars were very common and our foremothers filled them up since it was cool and kept things well. I wasn't really sure about it? First I have to tell you that my husband is not the most romantic sort of fellow so when he surprised me with the fresh new cellar that he scrubbed and painted and put in a new bright light and shiny new shelves I was such a happy lady. 
Since the garden had done so well each day as I filled jars with all of the treasures we had grown I was in good company as I would think about all of the stories I had read about what women did to make and keep a household going. Not an easy task back in the day. 



I don't just want to say it I want to live it and experience it. I talked with my mom of how they did things when she was little and her love of picking tomatoes this year getting back to her roots. 
Everyday was involved with picking, washing, cutting and canning and you will see there are still spaces that is because at least 1/3 of what I canned went to others in need and just as much produce from the garden given to others who really needed it. I am also stocking water, oil, store bought sauce and things like that in there too so I am not completely finished and won't until every space is filled.


On a serious note though, being prepared and building a pantry is something all should consider. You can never know from day to day what is going to happen, but we can do our best to be able to get through the best we can if it does. The effort we put into things now can carry us through later and what is work now will be comfort later. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to some an expensive purse or fur coat is beautiful; to me rows of colorful jars filled tasty goodness is beautiful! 


And as soon as it is finished next will be Vicky's Victory Pantry! 
XOXO
Vicky

Well, I can't wait to see the pantry! I haven't seen it either but have heard about a lot of stages along the way. And you can see I am not kidding about A LOT of work and big things being achieved!  I can't tell you how much fun it is to see each bit of progress along the way but then also see the end result!

Vicky had a vision of what she wanted to do this year and it was huge and she did it!
I had a vision of painting my whole house myself and I have almost done that and will my niece helping me this week I think it is getting close!

It is funny that we both had a cellar that we ignored and never set foot in. I ignored mine for two years. I also thought it was scary and creepy. I never even went down the steps once!
And now we both have turned them into food storage and stocked them up and love them! What an asset!

With a step by step and day by day approach we can do great things! Friendship and encouragement along the way helps so much! Encourage one another! It works!

How did your savings go last week? As it is almost November ... have you had a big project or goal this year and how is it going?
Are you thinking about what your bigger projects and goals will be for next year? I am thinking about this.  Once I am finished painting I am going to have free time to tackle something else!

Have a wonderful week! xxx

90 comments:

  1. Wonderful article and pictures, Vicky. You do great work!
    My goals for the year are going very well. A lot is changing, or has changed in our home, and we are finally settling in to this new house and making it ours.
    We have a large food storage room and I am filling it up for the just in case. We don't know where this nation is headed or what unforeseen event might change availability of foods.
    I appreciate all the ladies on this blog very much.
    Love and hugs,
    Glenda

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    1. Thanks so much Glenda for your comment to Vicky. I am glad your goals for the year are going well. it takes a while to settle into anew house and get the hang of how everything works, plus the garden too.
      Vicky and I are examples of taking a while to even use our cellars and make the most of what we have! So glad we did though! I hope this is an excellent week for you, with love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Glenda,
      It is nice when a new home finally feels like ours! I know you are wonderful at food storage so I know you have been very busy with it and I agree 100%.
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  2. Dear Annabel and Vicky, you have both achieved so much this year, and in doing so, you've inspired so many! That alone is something of which you can be very proud. This has always been a subject close to my heart, having grown up in a family where there wasn't always a lot of money, but where we never felt we wanted for anything. I know now, that it was due to my European mothers lessons in being prepared, growing a little of your own food, keeping hens for eggs, and making the little things in life, special, that it was so. We had little, yet we lived abundantly. So much so, that the children of families who had far more in material wealth than we ever did, as well as those who had even less than we did, were drawn to our home, knowing they would be welcomed with open arms, a warm bed, a comforting hug, and a hot meal. This spirit of abundance lives on in my family, despite Mum being gone now for 14 years...gosh it doesn't seem that long! It's a legacy that we've strived to instil in our own children. Not everyone has had the life example that we did, and I think our circle of bloggers, fills that need admirably. It's a wonderful thing to be part of a group that fosters the old fashioned values of hard work, living sensibly and seasonally, and I think it's worth mentioning...providing not only for your own, but for the needy in the community. Our abundant cellars and pantries surely feed our own families, but that feeling of being able to provide for others in need, is so valuable. That's what life is about. Love, Mimi xxx

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    1. Dear Mimi, You describe both my Nans really in what you said. Neither had grown up with hardly anything but they kept chooks, gardened, baked and we very generous to others. They lived very happily. It was a great security to come from and good example as you say. And not everyone does have that advantage. The flip side is that we get to be that advantage to the next few generations by what we do and our attitudes etc. I think about that a lot.
      Thanks so much for your beautiful comment, with love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Mimi,
      It is a wonderful feeling to help others. A bit of comfort for someone and the care that goes with it is just the little bit that some need. And it is handed down as you said. Many a time my boys have asked me to send extra things for friends or brought them home for a haircut or even something as simple as homemade cocoa. They have always enjoyed the spirit of giving and it makes me proud that they do so whole heartedly!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  3. Hi Annabel, I believe this is my first time posting but have been a reader for a long time. You write beautifully and the topics are interesting, so I keep an eye on your blog everyday. Thank you for the information and encouragement. My husband and I are both mostly retired now and my challenge has been to learn to spend money more sensibly. thanks again!

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    1. Dear Hilogene, Thank you very much! There are so many ways to live well and with great happiness but not spending much. Having more time in retirement can mean you have so much more time for your own goals and hobbies etc. I think we can make life very simple and joyful and that is lovely. Many thanks for commenting, with love Annabel.xxx

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  4. Thank you Vicky for sharing your Victory cellar with us! How abundant it looks! Something that is overlooked in modern homes here is a cellar. Older homes like Annabels (and my husbands old aunts home) had them built in. With the heat extremes we have, you would think they might make a comeback? Most people would find them superfluous when the supermarket is "just down the road". We have all seen how unreliable that proves in a crisis or economic difficulty when money is tight! I am guessing under the bed is a good spot for storing them if one does not have a cellar! :-)

    All year I have been building up my pantry and lowering my grocery bill at the same time. Living out of the pantry also shows me just how well it can be utilised and how economically it can be restocked. Buying everything I can at the best price, i.e. Half price or less, and using bonus loyalty points to restock for free has been a fabulous way to build up a good (but useable) amount.

    So I thank you both, Annabel and Vicky, for the ongoing encouragement and motivation to do this, and even more in the days to come. Every one here adds to this through their comments. It is wonderful being surrounded by like minds.

    Helen and I have had a couple of months of a challenge to lower our food bills even more, and it has made me even more aware and resourceful!

    I can't wait to see the Victory pantry photos!
    Love, Kaye xoxo

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    1. Dear Kaye,
      I feel silly that there I was with a cellar and not using it! You are right... our heat is crazy and the cellar stays lovely and cool. Obviously excellent for things lasting much longer.
      If you could build up your pantry plus lower your grocery bill that is a great combination!
      I love they way you shop and keep challenging yourself. Trying new places and shopping when away on travels I know have both helped and I am trying to do that. Things have improved here with Aldi and Costco both arriving in town! Markets are really interesting too...
      Thank you Kaye for encouraging Vicky. Much love, Annabel.xxx

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    2. Kaye,
      Thank you! That is fantastic that you are building your pantry and lowering your grocery bill at the same time. That is excellent home economy and everyone has heard me say free is my favorite price! We can literally double our grocery budget by using all of the resources we have.
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  5. Great inspiration! I'm truly impressed that all that was done this year.

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    1. Thank you Debby! This makes it exciting to think what will we all be doing next year! xxx

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  6. What lovely rows of home-canned food, Vicky! Thank you for sharing them with us (and thank you Annabel for posting this)! It's so inspiring to hear what others have done so far this year. What a fun challenge!

    I suppose the biggest win this year for me and my family is that my husband and I re-painted the exterior of our home. We just finished up the major work yesterday. What a huge huge savings! I would have been tempted to hire out much of it, but knowing that you, Annabel, were also painting your home gave me inspiration to press through until it was (mostly) done! If anyone wants to know the color, it's the color of coffee with a good deal of cream mixed in. It also happens to be the color of the soil in my neck of the woods, so dust/dirt won't show!

    I hope everyone has a lovely, creative and productive week!

    Love, Teresa

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    1. Dear Teresa,
      I am going to call your paint colour latte! It sounds lovely. And boy do I know what a big job it is and how much work you have done! I think that is fantastic and thank you so much for telling me my painting made you feel like you could do it! It would have saved you a fortune. Well done!
      I found out the cost here of the whole house being painted, this was for inside and out and it was $25,000! So count what you think you saved in your earnings this year! Very happy for you! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Thank you Teresa!
      Painting is a lot of work and expensive to have done by paying someone you should be very proud of that accomplishment and that is very smart to paint it the color you did too!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  7. Very impressive achievements, Vicky and Annabel. But something else that I noted about both of you is your generosity of spirit...sharing a portion of what you have made with others. You are both a wonderful inspiration to others!

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    1. Dear Maria, Thank you very much. That is a lovely thing to say. Thank you for all your support Maria. I hope you have a wonderful week. Love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Maria,
      That is so sweet of you to say and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  8. Hi Annabel and all your lovely readers,
    This such an inspiring post and shows just what can be done when thoughts are put into action.
    Can I just say I have been encouraged so much by reading this blog - I have been given the confidence to gift more of what I have made myself (and learned a few new techniques along the way, I have been inspired to grow more in the way of vegetables and herbs, I have been encouraged to tackle more of the 'big' tasks which I had though were beyond me and have gone back to baking rather than spending too much on less than tasty store bought items. I have enjoyed doing all of these things, and the result is a fully stocked freezer, a fresh looking home, no hassles come birthdays and Christmas and a healthier bank account.
    I can't wait to read about and see Vicky's pantry.
    Thank you Annabel and Vicky
    Have a great week,
    Janine

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    1. Janine,
      That is just beautiful and I bet your household appreciates all of your endeavors! No task is too small to make a difference and you should be very proud of your work and a healthier bank account is always a good thing I am happy to hear that!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Janine, Thank you so much for telling me this! You have done so well! What a good position to be in as we near the end of the year. It is partly a confidence thing to give the gifts we make ourselves. I really have found that for myself. Once you get going it is great!
      Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  9. Hi Annabel and Vicky, you are both wonderful women who share such clever ideas. Not only do you share ideas, you also share practical ways these ideas can be put into practice. You both not only 'talk the talk' but you walk it as well.

    I grew up in a family where there wasn't anything extra. We had everything we needed and we always had enough food. My mother was, and is, a very clever seamstress. Between her and my Grandmother I learnt how to sew and to sew well. This is a skill I am now sharing with my DIL who is doing some wonderful things for someone new to sewing. My mother can bake but cooking a meal is not her strength. When I stay she and Dad enjoy having meals cooked by me. The veges are not boiled to greyness and both enjoy the different meals using what they have in their pantry and freezer.

    My goal with the Vicky Challenge, was to see just how much savings were being made in this household by doing things ourselves. Bluey has been on board with this all the way. He asks what I have been doing for 'Annabel's mob' whenever I see him. This goal of showing our savings, is being achieved, even if not being recorded of late.
    I see this blog as more than just a page of readings. I see it as a meeting place of friends who share the same values and ideals as I do. I grab a cuppa and sit down and have a read of the post and then the comments. Bluey and I feel supported here. It's amazing that there has been no physical meeting, but I know if any of you were to turn up in Hervey Bay we would enjoy hosting you very much.
    Bluey is doing very well and there is talk that he may be released from hospital next Sunday or Monday. Fingers crossed.

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    1. This is wonderful news about Bluey, Jane! I think your celebration will be bigger than Annabel and Vicky's put together!! Tell Bluey to leave the bulls and crocodiles alone, still!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Great news, Jane. Blessings. Cookie

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    3. 'Annabel's mob'..... Tee hee!

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    4. Jane,
      My fingers are crossed for Bluey coming home!
      Smooches for you Jane! And Bluey(unless that is unappopriate!LOL) That is so sweet that he encourages you he sounds like a wonderful man Jane!
      XOXO
      Vicky
      Vicky

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    5. Dear Jane, From now on we are to be known as THE MOB.
      This is amazing news about Bluey. That is way ahead of schedule I would think! Fantastic news.
      It is lovely your DIL is sewing. Your skills are amazing and the many uses for them is wonderful to see!
      Thank you for your very kind words and tell Bluey Annabels Mob is saying yay as it will be a worthy celebration when he comes home! With love Annabel.xxx

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    6. Yahoo, that is wonderful news about Bluey, Jane!

      Fond regards, Jeanette

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  10. Dear Annabel

    I have very much enjoyed reading Vicky's posts. This week has been one filled with celebrations in our family and some were expensive and others very cheap, we loved all of them. FOr my recent Birthday family bought me exactly the useful things I love. Gift cards for Bunnings so that I can buy more fruit trees and other garden necessities, a gift voucher for a local underwear shop where I was able to buy two new and very supportive bras. I received a gift of money and some DVDs that I have wanted for a while. SO I am all set for the next months. I have most of my Christmas gifts prepared and just need to finish making some knitted goods.

    For the first time I am working towards Once a Month Shopping with the hope of reducing the cost of food and other household goods. This takes a lot of planning and so I am putting in the leg work so to speak. I think planning is the way to make the most of the assets that we have.
    Praying you have a good week my friend and that the sun shines upon you and your family
    Love Mel

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    1. Mel, for most of my years with my parents, they did grocery shopping once a month. It worked for us. I hope it saves you more than money!!
      Regards,
      Rachel Holt

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    2. Mel,
      Happy birthday! Planning is definitely the key! If you find yourself a little short on something for some reason that is where our creativity comes in handy don't set things in stone per se. Have a great week!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Dear Mel, I am glad you got such good birthday presents! I know you love to add fruit trees. Well done on being so far ahead with your Christmas gifts too. I hope this week is going well for you. With lots of love and thanks, Annabel.xxx

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  11. Very interesting challenge, thank you. We have a fruit garden and always exchange with our neighbours, because there is a plenty of everything. So, your lyfe style is close to what I feel inside. That is why I'm happy to join the blog and read you.
    Szvetlana

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    1. Hi Szvetlana! A fruit garden is a wonderful resource to have!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Svetlana, Welcome! I am so glad to have you here!
      I love that you have fruit growing and that you share with others! Thank you very much for commenting. with love Annabel.xxx

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  12. Hi Annabel, whilst I think your post and vickys too is a great idea it doesn't take into account of those like myself who rent an apartment in Sydney with very little space not even under the bed and no space even for a closet and only 1 cupboard for storage includes food , plates etc. I have no ability to move as I need to stay in Sydney due to work part time which is all I can manage with a range of serious chronic health issues. I can't afford to rent privately because of rents around $500 week minimum ! I'm in department of housing and mum has helped me make it cost making curtains and such. Don't get me wrong I really want to move and really want to get out of department of housing and get more space but it's just not an option right now.
    Living alone with no partner is really hard with so many issues and a very difficult time for my family as nov 10 my stepfather passed tragically exactly one year in a corronial accident.
    I'm also in desperate need of some new recipes that are quick, tasty, and good for you. The plus side is I love to cook and can do so well !! If I do say so myself ! I'm just praying for a husband to do so for (if god can give Sarah and Abraham a baby in their old age he can give me a husband who loves god as much as me !) hope you are over the terrible storms and doing well. Can you think of posting a recipe section ? Lots of love, sonia

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    1. Dear Sonia, It is great you cook... take a look in my index top of page on right... cooking, use it up and save and crock pot cooking series. They all mostly very easy, things you can make extra and things that will use up specials or what you have. I will be adding too over time as I can.
      Sonia believe in miracles as I did not think I would ever re marry and I did. And a Godly mad too! The best thing if you can is to get into a church community as much as you can. Also there is a web site just for Christians to meet Christians that is really good but I am not sure of the name of that but if you google you might find that. (be careful as with all things online and real life though!)
      I think we all have to do what we can in the place we are with what we have. I do not have the kind of land Vicky has for instance so I will not have the same goals as her. But we can all encourage each other none the less to build up our homes wherever they may be and if they are big or small... this is less important than love and security.
      You set the goals that are best for you but in a flat sized home (which I have lived in when younger) I would aim for the best pantry I can manage, some pots of herbs, to make my gifts as much as I can, cook, build up my emergency fund as much as I can... things like that. Also pray. You never know what is just around the corner!
      This must be a very hard time with the anniversary of your step Fathers death. I am sorry to hear this.
      Another source of easy recipes if the 4 ingredient recipes. Some of them are fantastic. I am not sure if you are on Facebook but they post a lot on there for free. I make heaps of them like a great ricotta pie, simple quiches etc. Also go to Mimis blog A tray of Bliss and read her section called Recipes in four sentences or less. I think that is what it is called. Its fantastic and they are all lovely!
      With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Sonia,
      I am sorry to hear about the loss of your step father and I imagine that when you least expect it your soul mate will appear it seems to be the way of things sometimes.
      I have been giving some thought to your space issue and I will have some solutions that you may be able to get some ideas from. I know small spaces are a challenge so hopefully we can help you some!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Thank you Vicky and Annabel for your kind words and thoughts . I am praying and believing its just so hard to accept gods timing is different to ours ! I'm also praying about work if you could join me in this is be grateful. Love sonia

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  13. Annabel, this whole post just speaks to my soul and the comments are just icing on the cake. I am in complete agreement with yours and Vicky's thoughts and actions. Vicky, I can't wait to see more of your 'Victory Pantry!' Both of you are the best examples in word and in deed. Life has handed our area a hard hit from Matthew Hurricane and I can tell you that not having to worry about how we were going to survive ourselves and then being able to help others from our pantry has been a blessing. You just never know what life is going to hand you and being as prepared as you can makes a huge difference in the choices that are available to you when things happen.

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    1. Aww Thank you Patsy!
      Hopefully the pantry won't take much longer it is such a slow process! Your being prepared made a huge difference to those you helped and I imagine they appreciated your generosity very much!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  14. Hi Annabel!

    It's funny - I was wondering what you'd be tackling next, after your painting is finished, before reading your comments! Your arm will be so glad to let the painting go!

    I love Vicky's work! I love how she relates, with her mother, to the women of previous generations. I love how Rick provides so well for her industry, and I love that there is water enough for her garden to grow! (It would be interesting to hear how Rick approaches bartering and trading.) Vicky's work is one big miracle, and I am grateful that you two (Annabel and Vicky) characters are sharing this with us!!

    If I knew how my challenge was going I could tell you! I am finding myself doing important tasks that are not on my list!! All I know is that His timing is perfect; good things are happening; and I just take one day at a time!

    I have been relishing the interaction here! May all the Bluebirders in need find the Eternal's comfort and life giving ways!!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Rachel,
      LOL I will have to ask Rick to help me explain his trading and bartering he amazes me sometimes. Thank you so much for your kind words Rachel! Sometimes important tasks aren't on the list, but they do pop up and if good things are happening that is fantastic because you deserve good things! I hope your eye is very much healed sweetie and not giving you any trouble?
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Rachel,
      Well I am cooking up big plans for next year plus I will be wanting to help Lucy a lot with a new baby and Harper. I am trying to make it that I am fairly free for Nana duties!
      Rachel.. you are on to something here... yes it would be very good to hear more about Ricks bartering as he is very good at it and turns stuff he finds even into amazing deals. I think this is a good idea!
      And I like Bluebirders! We have "Annabel's Mob" from Bluey (or The Mob!) as well haha
      I hope you are having a lovely week Rachel, many thanks, love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Dear Annabel and Vicky,
    Thank you for so generously sharing your lives with us and for all of the inspiration and encouragement to do new things. Vicky, seeing your Victory Garden and storage area was awesome. I look forward to seeing your pantry.

    Participating in the Vicky Challenge has really been an eye opener to me, as no comparisons over all of the things we did ourselves versus either having someone else do them for us or buying things already made up. I've always baked, cooked, made gifts, had a vegetable garden, did food preservation, without giving it much thought as that's the way my parents raised me. Actually keeping track of the value of the things that were always just a way of life has been quite an experience. Part of the joy of life to me is learning new skills, new ideas, and to continue to grow.

    This week 6 quarts of beef bone broth were made and canned, 3 dozen muffins were baked and frozen, 2 dozen eggs were frozen, Christmas gifts were worked on, all meals were eaten at home, paper goods were stocked, the water softener and filter were serviced, deep housecleaning done, getting things moved from downstairs to upstairs as my husband will not be able to walk stairs for a while. Today, make some items to take with me so I don't have to depend on the hospital cafeteria. Surgery is next week. We will call Thursday to get the exact date and time. In the end while the wait has been somewhat excruciating, we're grateful that we were given the time to get things ready at home. Wishing everyone a beautiful and productive week. Blessings. Cookie




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    1. Cookie, it sounds like no bull riding for your husband either! May your testimony of the Eternal's ways bring hope!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Cookie,
      You are a true testament to an industrious household. And it is a real eye opener. There is a difference between where our money does and doesn't go and when we keep track and see that we can also tweak the part of where it does go and challenge ourselves to reduce that. I will be sending prayers that everything goes well for your husband.
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Dear Cookie,
      Thank you so much. You have done so well. I agree with Vicky your re always industrious and creative too.
      Well done on getting things sensibly set up for post surgery when stairs are not an option. Using this time for such thing sis very good. It is much easier to be able to be organised so that is sort of a blessing except for the waiting factor of course.
      Thinking of you and you are in my prayers. with love Annabel.xxx

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  16. Due to my declining health post cancer treatment I have had to go from a regular part time job to casual work with its uncertainty. I still have to pay school fees and all the associated bills ie mortgage and utilities. But by following your lead I know that if I give it a go I will save in the end.
    Thank you for your inspiration.

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    1. Janine,
      You can do it and we are behind you on that. I don't know where your at, but due to your health if there are any programs you can qualify for by all means utilize them and concentrate on your health. Hugs for you!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Janine,
      That must be really hard. I hope your health is gradually improving. There are so many little ways to save and it is very nice to have others doing the same as it doesnt feel so lonely then and you get lots of ideas too. Many thanks Janine, with love Annabel.xxx

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  17. Due to my declining health post cancer treatment I have had to go from a regular part time job to casual work with its uncertainty. I still have to pay school fees and all the associated bills ie mortgage and utilities. But by following your lead I know that if I give it a go I will save in the end.
    Thank you for your inspiration.

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  18. Dear Annabel and Vicky,

    What a wonderful post! It's fabulous to see your garden and how your pantry has filled up so beautifully, Vicky, and your hard work, determination, and generosity is wonderful to see. I also love your light-hearted way of writing, Vicky!

    Annabel, you are such an encouragement to me, and your house painting goal is just an example of how you motivate me to stop procrastinating or whining and just make small, achievable goals daily that miraculously add up! This is how I find myself with a bit of extra time compared to usual on the Christmas present front...I even have my fruitcakes done and aging, as I wanted to send one home with my Dad when he came to visit. So thank you so much for continuing to write each week and share so many helpful tips! And thanks to Vicky, too, for writing and sharing...it is truly encouraging!

    xx Jen in NS

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    1. Jen,
      My heart is so happy! To know that others can appreciate our hard work and find inspiration is such a wonderful feeling.
      I love that you are ahead of things like your cakes! Having a little extra time is blessing isn't it?!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Jen,
      With your amazing garden you are a lot like Vicky!
      Thank you so much! Well done on your fruit cakes and presents you have made and put away!
      I bet your Dad loved taking a cake home! It has been a good year! Thanks so much Jen. With love Annabel.xxx

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  19. Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing ladies! I am just drooling over that cellar space and am trying to think how to reclaim more in our home. I love that you challenged yourself Vicky and followed through! It is amazing to see the results. I agree, diamonds may be some girls' best friends but mine are rows of filled canning jars! They are jewels :)

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    1. Dear Jes, Rows of jars and preserves are my idea of beautiful too! I love jars full stop! Thank you so much! Love Annabel.xxx

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    2. JES,
      Thank you so much I am honored! Do you have a certain space that you don't love so much or just doesn't feel quite right? Maybe that would be a space to take a look at with new eyes? Oh yes those filled jars to me are one of the most beautiful things ever.
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Thanks! I did pour over an area with new eyes in the kitchen and I think I just inherited 2 more shelves of pantry space! :) Keep up the good work ladies! Love, JES

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  20. This is my first time posting but have been following the blog for awhile. Have found so many useful things on this blog just love it. I made my first batch of applesauce from apples given to us. Will never buy store bought again. Does Vicky have a blog and what is it? Would love to read it. Thanks again for all the wonderful ideas. joyce

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    1. Dear Joyce,
      Thank you so much for commenting! I am glad to know you are reading.
      No Vicky does have a blog, maybe some day she will but meantime she regularly writes here. Coming up is her Pantry post. She has written a fair few articles in The Vicky Challenge posts which are every Monday. With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Joyce,
      You made your first batch of applesauce that is so great! You better watch or you will get the canning bug LOL! No really adding things you have canned yourself to the pantry is wonderful endeavor and I hope you are proud of that first batch! Awesome!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. I was amazed at how simple it was to make and your right very proud. I just retired 2 years ago and trying new things. I get so many great ideas from this site. Love it Joyce

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  21. Bravo, Vicky and thank you, Annabel, for sharing! I agree with you ladies that shelves of filled canning jars are some of the most beautiful things a woman can own. My pantry doesn't look as lovely as yours, but I'm working on it!
    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Dear Leigh, Thank you! Jars of preserves are beautiful I think. I feel very happy when I have filled lots of jars! Thank you so much for your words to Vicky also. with love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Leigh,
      I am positive you will get there. Each week is a new week and each item added to the pantry builds it up! A pantry is such a wonderful thing!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  22. Vicky, your victory garden and cellar are so lovely, and you sharing with others is what life is all about. Can't wait to see your victory pantry.
    Since clearing out under the bed in the spare room I now have more space for pantry items, slowly this area will be filled as money is available. Once the wardrobe is cleared as well I will have some room for a yarn and fabric pantry.

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    1. Dear Meg, Under the bed can be a great storage space. I have shallow boxes that pull in and our kind of like drawers. Works really well! And a year and fabric pantry sounds wonderful! If you stash soaps in there it will smell lovely and you will always have a soap stash as well! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Meg,
      Slow and steady wins the race! LOL It is fantastic you have found space and under beds is a great place so good for you! A yarn and fabric pantry now that is awesome! And Annabel's tip is a great one too! A soap stash with your yarn and fabric excellent!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  23. Vicky and Annabel, this year has been such a delight as I've been inspired by your challenges for us! I have made it my personal challenge/goal to use up my food storage that I've had just sitting for more than a year while adding more at the same time! 100% Rotation is what I'm trying to achieve. I also want to see just how much I can make at home for meals without going to the store! Wish me luck!

    This week:
    Every time I was busy this week and considering just picking up take out for the 3 of us, I'd remember how much we had at home in the freezer and on pantry shelves and how quickly dinner could be ready to eat that way and I just used what we had! Saved tons of money and time this way! I made chicken pot pie in a big disposable foil pan when we had company for dinner and brought up spiced apple rings from the basement pantry that I canned over 10 years ago! I figured I would open them and, if they were no longer good, I'd toss them and have another pint jar available! Imagine my delight when I discovered that they were tasty and still keeping their shape and texture! Meals at home easily saved us $150!
    I am commited to using up and rotating our food storage so that we don't have things that sit on the shelves looking nice but never eaten! We had some commercially canned Chunky soups this week for dinner from our pantry along with sourdough bread too!
    I finished a product test and was given a $175 Visa card and today was called by another research company here in our city who want me to do a 1 hour survey next Monday at their facility about banking and I will be given $100!! That makes a nice side job! I received $6 in pine cone surveys this week too! So, that is $281 in extra income!!
    Canned 7 more pints of teriyaki sauce. Froze another 12 pounds of bananas and 6 pounds of hot peppers.
    Made a baby quilt for new grandson and another one for our new granddaughter ( born a week apart) and Friday I started a twin size quilt as a Christmas gift for one of my granddaughters. I will finish quilting and binding it tonight! The quilts were all made from materials in my sewing stash- fabrics, batting, backing, thread!! No OOP cost at all!!
    We've combined trips and planned routes to save on gas for the cars!
    I returned an impulse purchase to Sam's Club and was surprised at how nice they were and how easy it was! My budget was happier too!!
    Hubby bought and installed both side mirrors on a car we just got, which saved about $200!!
    Grateful for his skills and talents and willingness to work!
    We have been truly blessed this week!!!

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    1. Dear Gardenpat, Thank you so much! Next year I am going to aim for 100% rotation too. I will need to figure a way to keep track of it. I think I will write dates on top of everything new that goes in.
      Well done on using what you had and on using the apples! I think many things keep much longer than we are told. That was a good example!
      Wow the money for the product test was fantastic! What a good idea! And now the survey! Fantastic!
      You are always so productive. Your quilts have been gorgeous and I cannot believe how fast you are! And you are using what you have!
      Well done on everything. I hope this week will be another great week. Many thanks Gardenpat, love Annabel.xxx

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  24. Love this post. I wish I had a cellar - I think it would be awesome.

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    1. Dear Debbie, Thank you! Isn't it funny both Vicky and I had cellars we didn't use! But now they are filling up. Love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Debbie,
      LOL Annabel's right we both had one we didn't use! I overlooked mine for years are you sure you don't have one? LOL!!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  25. What a great read again Annabel and Vicky, lol about your cellar being gross and not a nice place, remember Annabel had the same thing with hers, it was not pleasant and she didn't use it or want to go down but soon got it cleaned up. I love the jars of gorgeous produce the colours are so rich. I'm very impressed. Our veggie garden took a huge hit recently, all the tomatoes, broccoli and beans chomped by something. Whatever it was left the pumpkin, watermelon, silver beet, parsley, lettuce and zucchini.
    Woohoo to Bluey going home soon. Great news.
    Have a great week everyone. Fi x

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    1. Dear Fiona,
      Oh no about the tomatoes etc... could it have been a deer? It sounds like something big...
      Thank you so much and it is funny that Vicky and I had the same aversion to our cellars and now look at us! Also when her cellar was painted it became light and lovely, not dark at all. I go up and down the steps in my cellar so often they don't phase me at all now. At first I thought it was the pit of doom lol
      I hope your week is going well! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Oh Fiona your poor veggies! Well if whatever leaves them alone they will regrow so you could still get something. If you have old pie pans hang them from strings on wooden rods in your garden and the noise from them if the wind blows may help scare it off. Thank you so much Fiona I love having those jars of goodies and eating it is the best part! I hope you have a wonderful week!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  26. Dear Annabel, Thank you so much for sharing Vicky's victory garden, cellar, and how, over time, we can all find creative ways to store our food storage and non-food items! Each week you accomplish so much! :)

    Vicky, you have worked really hard on this challenge and the results are spectacular! All the rows and rows of jars look amazing! I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of your pantry, also! I, too, love seeing full canning jars!

    We have been using a lot of our food/supplies this year. Lately, we have been helping family, and we have also been very blessed to receive "extras" from others, find bargain prices and are slowly starting to fill the gaps. I'm so grateful for all that I learn here as the examples of each of you ladies is simply amazing!!

    Have a lovely week, Love, Teri

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    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you! I thought you would love seeing this! Your pantry is still one of the best I have ever seen EVER! What an asset. You inspired me so much.
      I hope many good things come your way so you can refill the spaces. Patsy is the same... helping people when they need it... I think somehow it always comes back to you with abundance when you do that.
      Thanks so much for commenting Teri. You have a lot of prayers coming from many here. With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Teri,
      Thank you so much! Helping others is such a wonderful feeling and I think it is fantastic that you are able to refill the gaps in your pantry. A good bargain is always an amazing find and I hope that you find many of them to restock your pantry some!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  27. Annabel and Vicky, you both inspire me tremendously! Working full time, I have to confess to cutting corners more often than I should, but I've really reined in our spending on carry out meals and junk food. I'm back to preparing more and more food ahead of time that I then freeze for meals on nights when we're both tired and don't feel like cooking. I did this all the time when our children were young. My husband is always willing to help around the house and I so appreciate him for this. I do have a lady who comes in and does the big cleaning for me and I'm so blessed that my husband encourages this.

    A suggestion for under the bed storage is to find an old chest of drawers that is perhaps in bad shape but the drawers are still good. I did this when my children were young and put these drawers on wheels and used Velcro around the edges and sewed flat covers to put over the tops to keep dust out. We used these for their toys, but I could see this as an easy way to store extra foods/misc under the beds that would be quickly accessible without having to remove a good bit of the contents just to reach something in the back!

    Since I found your site, Annabel, I am spending a lot more time thinking about being more wise with my money and not spending willy-nilly on "stuff" that is just nice to have. My husband has noticed this and commented on it and I give all the credit to you!

    Fond regards, Jeanette

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    1. Dear Jeanette,
      You are doing well. Home cooking is so much healthier so that is a double win. The crock pot is really helpful and provided left overs. Even if its a lovely soup is is so good to walk into the house and smell that cooking.
      Thank you re the under bed storage. The drawers are a great idea. All the time I see thrown out furniture all the time. I think that is great, they would still pull in and out like drawers too!
      Thank you for telling me your husband has noticed the difference! There can be a lot of expenses associated with work which sounds mad but its true i.e. travel, clothes,shoes, convenience things due to lack of time, work parties and birthdays and charities, ad the list goes on. They all cut into the income you earn but once you are aware of it I think that makes a big difference. And having goals too they help us keep on track and get ahead. Thanks so much Jeanette, With love Annabel.xxx

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  28. Sorry I am late to the party - my friend had a major event happen in the property beside her Friday evening/Saturday morning and she has been left badly shaken. We have been on the 'phone a fair bit for her to debrief. I saw film footage of the event yesterday that was way worse than what the news reports had - oh my it was the stuff of nightmares.

    Vicky and Annabel I so wish that I had a cellar, even a manky, dirty one that could be primped and made beautiful but alas living in a house on stilts and not very high off the ground either means that i have to be inventive. What ever I do will never be as good as either of you have but that is due to climate and space. Still something is better than nothing and our daughter was impressed when I took her down to the storage area and loaded her up with some items to help her after she had moved into her flat.

    We have had a topsy, turvy year with serious ill health striking a family member, my husband being made redundant and some health issues of my own and that is not even taking into account being there for my friend and also my neighbour. The funny thing is that over 30 years ago I did all of that and people thought I was weird. The lady across the road lost her husband so a put together some casseroles so that she had to food to eat - it was the only thing i could do to help her out but she knew that someone cared. Now I feel like I fit in somewhere.

    I filled the pantry when I had spare money so that when the children were sick (which was often) I didn't need to worry about food.

    As for my friend she is now a convert to the cleaner and cannot get over how one cleaner does it all.

    What I wanted to do this year just didn't happen due to everything mentioned above - I decided that I was not going to put pressure on myself to get something half done when if I waited until things settled down I could get it done properly, thus saving time and energy. So next year, after the heat has gone the plan is to do something with the backyard - it will be tricky with sand instead of soil but I am thinking of ways around it and will hopefully find what I am looking for at the tip shop.

    We have a short break coming up and I have been thinking about the food for it, gathering items as I spot them. We will have another one around Christmas - our daughter will be overseas and last night suggested that we stay at her place while she is away. She lives down the Gold Coast walking distance to a main surfing beach. That means that we will be able to head to a huge ware hare house clearance place armed with a list of what is needed. No food lines though but I have one not far from here that I am yet to investigate.

    Have a great week everyone.

    Lynette
    XXXXXX

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    1. Dear Lynette,
      You have had a really big year and your brothers illness and husbands redundancy were enormous in themselves. I always notice you keep going and get things done and are very organised.
      I am sorry for your friend! That must have been someone very serious by the sounds of it.
      I lived in a home with very sandy soil, right next to the beach. It was also windy. If you can add some soil that helps but I noted what people seemed to be growing successfully and picked from those and it was surprisingly good!
      Enjoy your break and the Gold Coast and near the beach sounds beautiful! Hopefully these two times will give you a rest which would be good. Even though there were big things this year you still got heaps done and renovating, the investment place etc were a huge amount of work! I hope this week is going well for you, with love Annabel.xxx

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  29. Love your pantry!! It looks a lot like mine. Please put boards across the front and sides. Never know when an Earthquake could happen.
    Blessings
    Sue

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    1. Dear Sue, Thank you! I will ask Vicky about that... I never thought of it! With love Annabel.xxx

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  30. Good morning! Just a little note to let you know that this post has been *** featured *** today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! Thank you for joining us and have a lovely week! :)

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

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