The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 30th December 2016.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!  We went to the farm and it was beautiful. I love this time of year. The days between Christmas Day and New Years Day are wonderful to me. It is a mix of reflecting on the year that is just finishing up and planning and dreaming about the new one.
For me that includes what I will write and the blog for next year as this year was quite different from the last.  I have a lot to think about!

Here we have had heat followed by a massive storm (again) and thousands of homes without power (also again...) and whole towns without power for days (also again!) and quite a lot of hardship coming out of this. We have been so lucky and our electricity has stayed on. My uncle has not been so lucky and has lost all his food in the fridge and freezer plus suffered through some pretty terrible weather.

Some of the ways I saved money last week included:

I picked Bay Leaves to bring home and dry. I use these myself and for gifts. They are 50c per leaf in the supermarket!


On Christmas Day I collected up all the ribbons and bows, gift bags and boxes and saved them.

When we came home Mum sent us off with turkey and all kinds of left overs. I didn't cook for two days and it was beautiful and like a holiday! And yum.

Despite the mess of the storms the rain has been wonderful and the garden is soaked.

I have been following the catalogues. From this I found that the usual pain killer I keep on hand is $33 cheaper per 90 tablets if bought in a bulk pack vs the small 20 packs.  I was surprised by this amount. So now I have a massive supply and a big savings!
The same applies to vitamins. I take Vit B and Magnesium. Without them I have restless legs and a weird thing they apparently call "burnt mouth syndrome" for which they say there is no cure but simply taking these fixes it. Bulk packs save a fortune and better yet bulk packs on special from the discount chemist. Huge saving.

I did a shop at Aldi. There is a new one a bit closer to us. The prices on meat were amazing compared with the main supermarkets.

Also in the sales I got beautiful sheets at half price. I love good sheets and the way they feel when you get into bed. So this is how I buy them.

I made most of my Christmas presents overall and it was a success!


Mum's Garden. Very peaceful. There was a deer standing down at the bottom but she gets mad when they get into her garden!

We had a lovely week and I have felt tired! We ran toward the finishing line getting painting completed and lots of other things that were almost done. It has been a big year. 
Tonight I am adding up my Vicky Challenge. I know our savings were pretty big as the painting alone would have cost a small fortune to have done professionally.  When I declared I was painting the house last January it seemed a ridiculously daunting task to do myself.  But divided up into months it was better. January I did the laundry and then doors and windows.... each month was a different area.  The best bit is driving down the street.  I still turn my head and go !!!! how nice does our house look! It is so much better!

How was your Christmas?  I hope you are pleased with all of your saving and nest feathering for the year. Thank you for sharing so much of it with me and everyone here. We encouraged each other a lot!  This helps so much.  

Thank you for all your comments, friendship and support. It has been wonderful. There were some problems shared and a lot of prayer,  a massive amount of gifts made and pictures posted. This earned us a lot of nicknames, one was the Crafty Prayer Warriors! 


I feel we got  a lot done, made major home improvements ourselves, added to our emergency fund and significantly improved our preparedness. One thing was buying a generator which has been a great thing and it has been used in a power outage already. 
Learning new skills helped a lot and was so much fun! I only had to have a refresher course to make soaps and Nanna Chel got me started in sour dough bread. This is such a saver. I have dough rising right now.  
I think I learned a lot. Sometimes one little discovery is such a big help. I love a light bulb moment that changes everything!


Mum's Mulberry tree.

Looking back over the year there are so many blessings to count. I will post on Monday my plans for the new year. I am going to keep some things the same and some will be changing!  We have work to do!  But first have a little rest and enjoy the weekend! xxx







50 comments:

  1. Annabel, the farm looks beautiful. It looks like a place that I would enjoy living! We had a nice quiet Christmas and I too have been thinking and making plans for A Working Pantry blog and my husband and I have made plans for our continued renovating of our home. I look forward to 2017 and to hearing what you have planned for your blog. Happy New Year Everyone!

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    1. Dear Patsy,
      It sounds like your plans are already thought out. I look forward to the blog part very much!
      Happy New Year to you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  2. It sounds like you had a lovely week. Glad you all had a wonderful Christmas.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS!

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    1. Thank you so much Cheryl and the same to you! xxx

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  3. You Mom's garden is just peaceful and beautiful. I'm glad you had such a great restful time there. We have had a wonderful Christmas holiday too. I'm just putting up the decorations tonight and getting ready for the New Year. I have bought enough wrapping paper on sale this week for a couple of years. I also bought a few gifts for the grandkids that could be for anytime (birthdays or Christmas). Have a restful New Years!

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    1. Thank you Vickie! Happy New Year to you! You are already ahead in your present cupboard! Well done! With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. Annabel, you never cease to amaze me in your creativity, and preparedness. You are a huge blessing to me writing these posts. Today my light bulb moment was making your zucchini slice which will do me a lot of meals with salads for dinner as its also terribly hot in Sydney yesterday and today close to 40c ! I'm sorry to hear about your weather dramas. It has reiterated my training in girl guides to be prepared ! My mother taught me this too. I'm slowly filling my pantry although tiny with things like long life milk each week in case of power outage and stores shut etc. I also stockpile dry things and making more of my own things. 2017 I want to shed weight and make crafts. I want to make soap but how with lux flakes ? I find normal soap too drying and want to do one with goats milk. Enjoy the down time you have. Love sonia

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    1. Dear Sonia,
      Thank you so much. Have a very Happy New Year!
      Go here...
      http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/the-christmas-challenge-soap-making.html
      and here
      http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/the-christmas-challenge-soap-making_23.html
      It is so easy and beautiful. I think soap making is a matter of personal preference but for me I have tried several methods and probably a dozen recipes and I like this one best and so I don't need to bother with caustic soda or anything very complicated and it turns out so well. I will be making some soon for a new demo as making it in January gives you all year to cure it for gift giving. Oh it contains goats milk too.
      I am on health, fitness, crafts and things as well!
      Thank you so much for all your support. with love Annabel.xxx

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  5. Annabel, I can't wait to see what you have planned for next year. I must feed my Gertrude tomorrow to keep her happy as it is too hot to cook a couple of sourdough loaves at the moment as a heatwave has just started today and will go until Tuesday. Our kitchen is on the western side so it is much too hot to turn the oven on. Have a very Happy New Year and I hope that 2017 brings you good health and much joy as well as God's richest blessings of course :-)

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    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I am going to have an experiment with cooking the dough in the crockpot as an option when it is really hot. I will let you know how that goes. Also I have made dough and rolled it out and frozen it for pizza bases. I gave chloe six of those last time she was here. It is coming in handy so much!
      Have a very Happy New Year! With love Annabel.xx

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  6. This coming year will be my 2nd year following you and I am very excited to learn so much more. I have tried doing and making more by following your posts and have become so much more confident now in doing more myself. Happy New Year.

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    1. Dear Tealady, Thank you so much for telling me this! We are going to have a really good year! And happy New Year to you! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  7. Annabel,
    The farm is so pretty I can just imagine walking around and soaking up all of the beauty! I am excited for the new year and seeing what I can get my hands into. I am also excited to hear about everyone's savings for the year as well! Little things all add up. I have been so very blessed and I hope this next year I will be able to be a blessing to others.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Dear Vicky, Happy New Year! Thank you for all your help. I know we achieved much more together! With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Annabel such a beautiful post. Your Mother's garden is amazing. This year has been and up and down one for me. So many blessings and opportunities and some hardship but a good year for friendships. I am looking forward to working with you and these wonderful ladies to grow myself and help my family in 2017.

    Praying you have a wonderful New Year and God's blessings upon you and your family

    Love Mel S xxxx

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    1. Dear Mel,
      I think you did really well and you are a good planner. You also have a great attitude! Thank you for your friendship! It is lovely lovely lovely having an Adelaide Bluebirder! With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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  9. Dear Sonia, I can't find your non caustic recipe for Glycerine soap on your website. I have looked up the two links outlined above in a previous comment. I would be happy if you could point me in the right direction.
    Regards Robyne

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    1. Dear Robyne, If you red through the first post you will find a link to the original recipe and in the second post my notes on it and a few things I found that I loved about it. This is for the LUX soap. The glycerine is melt and pour and it was given to me as gift. It was lovely and easy. This would be quite expensive to make as gifts but was pure fun. You buy it from soap making stores. I hope that helps, love Annabel.xxx

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  10. I am so pleased you had a lovely Christmas at the farm, it would have been so restful after the busyness of your year!
    You were lucky not to lose power in the recent storms, I heard there were so many who were not so lucky. SA really has been having power issues this year! But you have done a huge job preparing your home and yourselves for these sorts of things happening.
    Wishing you a very happy New Year, and I look forward to hearing what you have planned for 2017!
    Love, Fiona xx

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    1. Thanks so much Fiona! Happy New Year to you and your family! With love Annabel.xxx

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  11. Dear Annabel, I am really looking forward to 2017. Your encouragement, energy, creativity and commitment are truly inspirational. You have nurtured an amazing community of supportive and friendly "bluebirds". Your efforts and dedication are really appreciated. Many, many thanks. Jo

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    1. Dear Jo,
      Happy New Year to you! I hope 2017 will be wonderful. Tomorrow we will be up and running! Thanks so much for your kind comments, with love Annabel.xxx

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  12. Dear Annabel!

    Welcome home!!

    I can't help really looking forward to learning what you've been cooking up! That's three more sleeps away!! I've been in training for it all - getting up earlier; reading early morning 'quiet time' scripture to ponder through the day (as my parents taught me, and a little like Laine); doing fencing work; sorting and tidying; learning about using what I have around me; watching some plants grow; improvising in cooking; fighting the pests and weeds; drinking plenty of fluid; ....
    I'm so pleased about it all that I no longer know how tired I am!!

    The farm looks restful. It sounds like South Australia is getting wilder than Queensland! It would be funny to see you adopting our habits. We much prefer to see you covered in roses and white paint!!

    I had a bag of parsnips to use, so I borrowed Jane's zucchini slice recipe, using a stack of grated parsnip in place of the zucchini, and the parsnip went down very well! Thank you, Jane!!

    It's so nice to see the Bluebirds gathering again! The friendship is highly valued.

    I can hardly wait!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt
    P.S. I am wondering about the plant 'butchers broom' for restless legs.

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    1. Dear Rachel,
      I love that you're in training! Well one more day to go! Yep Ive been cooking up plans!
      I am glad you are getting on so well with Laine! You cannot fail to be built up over time listening to her.
      Yes SA has had a beating weather wise!
      I love parsnip. One time I had pear and parsnip soup which sounds odd but it was beautiful!
      I will look up butchers broom I have not heard of it. Thank you!
      Enjoy New Years Day and I will see you tomorrow! With lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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  13. Dear Annabel,
    The pictures of the farm are beautiful. What a restful looking place your mum has created in her garden. I do understand about the deer, though. While they are absolutely beautiful creatures they can be so destructive to a garden.

    Christmas was lovely and quiet. The last part of the year was a little challenging but it's behind us, for which we are so grateful. I'm looking forward to the New Year and all of the good things you have in store for us. Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2017. Blessings. Cookie

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    1. Dear Cookie,
      Happy New Year to you! Yes you had some worries and thank goodness you both got to celebrate a beautiful Christmas! I hope 2017 will be wonderful! I have lots of plans! With love Annabel.xxx

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  14. Thank you so much for your thoughts and teachings on this blog! I read it every week and have learned a lot and had my enthusiasm improved ;). Happy new year to your family and best wishes for a great new year!

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    1. Dear Hilogene,
      Thank you for telling me this! I am wondering if you read Laines Letters? I am asking because these did me more good than anything else for my enthusiasm which was wonderful. But I really appreciate you telling me that reading Bluebirds has helped you, thank you! Happy New Year to you and I hope 2017 will be great for us all! With love Annabelxxx

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  15. Happy New Year, Annabel and ladies!

    We enjoyed a lovely Christmas and multiple celebrations with different groups of family and friends. The stocked pantry and freezer served well and I was thankfully able to replenish them at after-Christmas clearance sales. 2016 was actually a good year for my family and I hope to make 2017 even better.

    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Dear Leigh,
      Happy New Year to you!
      Well done on already replenishing the pantry! I hope 2017 is wonderful too! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  16. Im excited to see what you have cooking up for the new year! Im slowly catching up in my everyday life after a new very crabby baby last year along with moving our family of 9 out of state last year. I've been a reader for a couple years and would like to contribute more since I have gained so much from everyone here. All that to say I will be implementing your ideas from the last couple years this year:) To start 9ff running the trim has been getting slowly painted this week and I've finished two gifts for next Christmas also! Many happy blessings to all as we start a new year!

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    1. Dear Elizabeth,
      You have had a lot on your plate. Moving is huge in itself, more with a baby, more with a big family. Well done on all of it!
      I would welcome your contributions and there is a lot of support here. It sounds like you are off to an early start with he painting and gift making! You will love what I have planned for this year! I hope to see you tomorrow as we start off! Thank you very much! Love Annabel.xxx

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  17. HI Annabel,
    I'm glad you had a great Christmas and spent time with your family, I did too and enjoyed every minute.
    Your Mums garden looks beautiful and it would be so relaxing to walk around.
    Looking forward to your total savings for the year and what exciting things you gave for us in the New Year. Debbie xx.

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    1. Dear Debbie, Happy New Year! I hope 2017 will be great!
      I only added up my savings last night! I am amazed! Will report tomorrow! Many thanks! With love Annabel.xxx

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  18. Dear Annabell and lovely blue birds,
    We had a wonderful Christmas! Thanks to all the sharing of talent in food and crafts. This has been such a lovely uplifting place to come. We had Christmas with family. There was an extra family member at dinner that we did not know was going to be there sharing in the festivities. We had not brought her a gift oh No!" Never fear a Blue bird is here. We had extra wrap cards and things in the car we were able to come up with a cousin gift that matched the others girls. She got a wrap around scarf, a fluffy crochet scarf and a pair of socks to match the other cousins. No one was the wiser and it made for a very happy girl. It was so nice to be prepaired. We had wonderful food. Everyone pitched in so it was not too much on anyone. We took the pies. My little nephew is one. He was so cute hugging the stuffed cat we we got him. It was really funny he bit the ear off of the salt dough horse ornament that we tied on the package. He ate it before his mom could stop him. Now the horse ornament has one ear. It was so funny and it will be a great story for when he is older. It was really
    great to see family and enjoy a relaxed holiday. I am excited for the new year. It will be fun to see what new things will be happening on "Blue Birds"
    Blessings,
    Patti

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    1. Dear Patti, What a beautiful example of being prepared! You Christmas sounds just lovely! I really enjoyed hearing this! Thank you so much and Happy New Year to you Patti! With love Annabel.xxx

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  19. Dear Annabel and friends
    We arrived home just over 2 hours ago, I have been busy with catching up on the washing and having a late lunch since then.

    Our Christmas was quieter than usual - only 3 for lunch when normally we have at least a dozen. It wasn't the same and my mother in law proved to be a bit of a charleton because she didn't have a sleep at all Christmas Day (according to her she had been having one in the morning and afternoon). She was fine Boxing Day so my husband is going to have something to say to his sister next Christmas. Especially given that I do all of the cooking and I was not consulted.

    We have been at our daughter's place since Boxing day and I must say that I am glad to be home - I know that we will both sleep well tonight.

    Yesterday we popped over into New South Wales and picked up a few things for our daughter and her boyfriend so that when they arrived home this morning the could go straight to bed. (They were on an overnight flight from Bali).

    We called into my friend's house on the way home and my husband now has 40 or so pavers for the blind side of the house - he just has to make a few trips to pick them up.

    While we were at our daughter's place we took time out for a drive - went to what is now a very popular tourist place and noticed that their shop area is full of Australian products - jams and condiments, soaps and creams. The jams caught my eye - they had a 190 gram jar of Mulberry jam for $11-00. Now I just need to find that mulberry tree that is somewhere in the local area to make some jam. I did get a jar of Mango jam - same weight and price but I wanted it to taste and look at - there are many mango trees here that I am sure that I could get enough for some jam.

    It is going to be another hot day tomorrow so my foray into the shed to check my overflow pantry stock will have to wait a bit longer.

    Annabel have you checked the Asian shops for large packets of herbs and spices - I picked up quite a large packet of dried bay leaves for $4-00 when I was in Melbourne.

    I also love beautiful sheets - I managed to find some more for our new bed on sale - again a saving of over $300- a set.

    Christmas Day I astounded two of the nieces when they were talking about going to the sales - I mentioned to them the wonderful savings I had made when getting everything for the move into the Queen sized bed - they were both astounded.

    I am looking forward to next years challenges but first off I have some things to finish off here that I couldn't do at my daughter's place.

    Have a wonderful New Years everyone.


    Love

    Lynette
    XXXXX

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    1. Dear Lynette,
      Happy New Year! I can just imagine your nieces being amazed at your savings especially on that bed and bedding. I hope they are inspired!
      There is nothing like climbing into a bed of gorgeous linen. I think the first time I stayed t a fancy hotel I couldn't believe how divine it all felt. There is nothing like it! So fresh sheets and lovely linen is a luxury I am always working on!
      You had a busy Christmas! I cant believe jam for $11! I am glad you were looking at prices. Its amazing.
      I hope 2017 will be a wonderful year! With lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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    2. Annabel I forgot to mention the Manuka Honey - 1 kilo was $65-. Aldi have Manuka honey on special this week and it works out at about 1/2 the price of the one at the tourist place.

      Lynette
      XXXXX

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  20. Dear Annabel and fellow readers,
    wishing you all the very best for a wonderful New Year,
    keep up the good and creative works,
    Blessings to all
    Cheers, Bevo xx

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    1. Dear Bevo,
      Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful 2017! I am hoping there will be lots on creativity in 2017! With love Annabel.xxx

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  21. Never fear a Bluebird is here. I love this quote from Precious People Preschool's post!! A great slogan. One I hope to expand more in 2017 in the areas of gifts, pantry and preparedness. Happy New Year, Annabel and all!!! Shirley USA

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    1. Dear Shirley,
      I loved that too! We are a bit like prepared girl scouts!
      As it turns out your aims are the same as mine. Tomorrow we will get started! I hope its a great year! Thank you so much! With lots of love Annabelxxx

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  22. Happy New Year! I wanted to write and say thank you for the wonderful blog you write here. I have enjoyed getting to know you this year and you have encouraged me in my homemaking. Thank you!

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    1. Dear MamaHen,
      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that! I am so glad you have found encouragement here!
      Have a very god 2017! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  23. Dear Annabel , Happy New Year to you and all the bluebirds here :-)
    Im glad you had a good Christmas at the farm,your haven of peace, love and memories. The bay leaves look so healthy and big!
    I agree, this is a lovely place to visit and share with like minded ladies /gentlemen,so thank you for providing us with this place .
    I was apprehensive up to Christmas , but our day went well , we went to my brothers fr lunch and then the following Wednesday our daughter and her tow young ones came here for roast Turkey Christmas lunch .The weather was good and so today is wet windy and gray but that's okay in balance.
    My gifts were received well, and cards sent out were too.
    I feel Ive learn't a lot of acceptance and look forward to the year ahead,continuing to learn and improve.
    Love and hugs to all, Maria xxx

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  24. Dear Annabel,

    We had a hot Christmas but it was still very enjoyable. The weather over this period has certainly tested us lol!

    I am looking forward to this new year, the new things I will learn, and the new me I hope to become.

    I will continue to come here, to learn new skills and receive inspiration and encouragement from this little bluebird community you have created.

    Thank you for your kindness and friendship,

    xTania

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    1. Dear Tania,
      Happy New Year you you! It sounds like you have a lot of changes planned! I hope it will be a great year! Thank you so much! Love Annabel.xxx

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  25. Happy New Year Annabel & all your Bluebirds,
    Looking forward to reading about your plans for 2017. I've learned so much whilst reading here. I can't do everything that is shared here, it would be impossible. There is no one size fits when it comes to saving money or running a home but I am learning to adapt or rejig what I read here to fit my home. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and friendship around the world

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    1. Dear Kim, Happy New Year to you too! Yes we all have different homes and circumstances. Different nests and different ways. But the building up of and looking after of our nests is a shared pursuit. And it is valuable!
      Thank you so much for commenting! With love Annabel.xxx

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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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