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.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Setting the scene.

Here we are starting a brand new year! A fresh new year and a brand new planner. I love it!
On New Years Eve we went out to a special dinner. This has become kind of a tradition. This year I had gone through my diary for the year and I wrote a list of the main things we achieved month by month. You forget! In January we had pulled the horrible carpet up in the bedroom and revealed gorgeous floorboards! It seems like years ago! I went along month by month and Andy was amazed!
We achieved a lot!
I also sat and added up my Vicky Challenge for the year. Week by week I had recorded everything. Now this is personal how you might do it but I recorded all the savings we made by doing things ourselves etc. I didn't count things we just do anyway like housework.  But if you had a housekeeper then started doing it yourself you might like to count that in your savings.  Anyway, I learned a lot from this challenge! And my savings were $39,243. That is tax free dollars too!
We were both amazed by this but I could look up any week and exactly where those savings came from. It doesn't mean we banked that amount. It means we lived a lot better than if we didn't do all of this stuff. It means we added to our emergency fund, pantry, home improvements,  got ahead in lots of little ways and were able to invest in some really good things like a  generator.
This amount was greatly helped by painting the house myself. It was quite amazing to do this. Even I wasn't sure I could do it!
I have never had any doubt of the value of my work in the home as far as building a home, looking after children etc. But to see it has such a dollar value as well was wonderful. It built up my confidence, skills and was very motivating!
I have to thank Vicky for getting me started in this!

Bluebirds is all about nesting.  My mission has been to be a place of encouragement that the work you do in your home is not a waste of time. Looking after your family is not a waste of time. You are investing in something beautiful and your work will affect many generations.  The world tells us a lot of things and there is a lot of pressure to do this and that and even that having children and caring for them is not a worthy pursuit! We are bombarded with suggestions and many of them are negative.

You have to know your mission.  If you do one thing this week define your mission.
Define your mission and engrave the truth in your heart. With the world and the media you want to be thinking on the truth. If things don't line up with scripture they are not true.
There has probably never been a time that you need to hold tight to the truth more than now. If you are sure of the truth you are not blown off course by some dim wit trying to boss you around.

My verses on my heart are:

"Every wise woman builds her house"
and
"She looks well to the ways of her household."

Anyone who tells me otherwise isn't telling the truth!
That doesn't mean you can't work outside the home or do other things. The Proverbs woman is very industrious and enterprising. But your home and family and all the tasks that come with them are important.  Mostly we are pretty influential in the tone set in the house and making it into a home.  A place that is a safe sanctuary from the world. That's your nest!


My Mum gave me a brand new planner! I love a planner. This helps me so much. Writing things down is a big help!
Setting out your plan is a huge. A dream without a plan is only a wish. If you want something to happen you need your plan!



I have really discovered in the last couple of years two things:
The power of the daily routine.
And the power of the weekly routine.

Crafting daily stocked my present cupboard, taught me heaps of new skills, made me content at home, saved a lot of money, used things up and turned them into gifts!
Writing down our savings daily taught me a lot, motivated me to do more, motivated me to learn new skills and try many new things!

Building up my pantry weekly saw me fill a cellar full of supplies,  expand my pantry and preparedness greatly. I was shocked how much doing something or adding to something every week would amount to!
Painting weekly saw my whole house transformed!



The things we do over and over really add up. Little bits really do add up faster than you think! The good old slow and steady really does win the race. Whatever it is that you would like to achieve this year divided into 365 small steps is the way to get it done.

After a lot of thinking my gaols this year are set and in my planner. Whatever they are it is the bits we do daily and weekly toward them that determine if they actually happen. So you want to have steps each day and week right away!
A good way to get a new habit going is to attach  it to another habit you already have. i.e. if you want to remember your vitamins sit them next to your morning coffee.  This really works!

It is two years since I first felt that I must use my cellar, build up my pantry and increase our preparedness.  I have worked on it in different ways all this time.  2016 was the year of big storms, power outages, power shortages, computer hacks, bank and phone failures and for some of the ladies who regularly comment here it was also the year of sudden illnesses and surgeries, hurricane, floods, massive increases in expenses....  yep it was the year that said "be prepared"!

I am always saying "make hay while the sun shines." Seriously, if things are good and you can get ahead in any way then do it. Make hay while the sun shines!
This could mean a few things. The sun is shining when you have spare time, have spare money, spare resources, have a windfall like you are given a bucket of apples.... all kinds of things!

Saving all of this there are also seasons. When you are home with a new baby, sick child or a million other scenarios I can think of, then just keeping things going, getting everyone dinner and the basics are achievements.  At the end of the week you have to think of how well you did as you kept things going and did your best. These are not times to be frustrated and wanting to more. You are doing a good job just managing! There really are seasons.

So bringing all this together... this year on Bluebirds Mondays are going to be about preparedness, getting ahead and pantries.
Wednesday we will have the Christmas Challenge and this will include Show and Tell and all sorts of craft and gift ideas, card making etc.
Fridays will still be Feather Your Nest Friday which will be a wrap up of our week where we look back on what we did rather than what we still have to do! I will keep counting my Vicky Challenge. It has become a habit now and very easy to do. I will combine this into my Fridays post. My new Vicky Challenge note book is the journal that Bridge gave me...


There are several things from yesterday that I need to write in it! It is quite exciting to start again! 

I also have a new price book to keep track of best prices on groceries. Jane made me this cover for my book:


So I am organised! 

I have a few other themes written down in my planner.
One is "use it up" and "evaluate my resources"
One is "things to NOT do anymore!"
Another is " simplify and organise"
What I love is that many things can be grouped together and benefit several areas at once.  They are win/win situations!
For instance you might go through your craft supplies and work out what you could make as gifts to use these things up.  In doing that you will save money, fill your gift cupboard for free, declutter, maybe learn a new skill, use the money saved on the gift to build up your pantry or emergency fund. Win/win!

If you want homework (I was the kid who loved homework!)
Work on a mission statement.
Write down your goals and break them down into daily and weekly tasks.
Try and attach the tasks to habits or something that will remind you to do them or write them into your daily planner.
Write down your resources. This could be anything and everything from a fruit tree to a shed full of wood or old stuff, a cupboard of craft items. You know, I saw a lady on Etsy sells gum nuts and seed pods. She saw her gum trees as a resource and made a business out of them!  This could really get you thinking!  This list will help on Wednesday when we start re building our gift cupboards. Even if you cannot think of a use for something still write down your resources.

Sorry for such a long post! I want to get off to a good start. I feel excited for a new year and ready to hit the ground running. Rachel said she was in training for the new Bluebirds year! I thought that was really good! And Patti said she had an extra guest over Christmas and she thought "never fear a Bluebird is here!" and produced an extra gift from the cupboard! I love hearing these things. Thank you so much for all you share here!

I hope this will be a wonderful year! What is it that you would really like to achieve in your home?  What is your mission? You will get a lot of support here!

See you on Wednesday. We will get started on our depleted present cupboards!
Welcome to a new year! xxx














100 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Annabel, I hope it is another productive one for you. Lots of plans here for 2017 and much enthusiasm. I also have a list of things I won't do anymore and it is liberating. Some are timewasters or timestealers and some involve people who deplete my goodwill. It is OK to be selfish when it involves our health and sanity.

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    1. Dear Barbara, Well I think so too. My stop doing list is things I know have to go. These make room for things we do want to be doing or need to be! Some of mine are also stop buying certain things. I love that NY gives me a change to just re thing and re assess. As for people there are times we have to do that too. Good luck! I hope it frees you up and you have a wonderful year! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. As you know Barb I dealt with some of this in 2015 - December last year I heard that one of the people who had caused me much angst has been caught out and karma is coming her way. My husband has a theory that this person was afraid of me finding out what she was up to and that was why she was as she was.

      I agree with you when it comes to putting ourselves first when it comes to our health and sanity - sometimes there is a time and a place for us to be selfish.

      Hope that you have a wonderful year.

      Lynette
      XXXXX

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    3. Thank you Lynette. I hope your year is also a good one!

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  2. Happy New Year Annabel, 2017 will be a year of blessings for you - adding a new baby to the family must be the best one I reckon.

    Your words ring true, I have set my goals but they are not completely done yet. I have not made any that are unrealistic, nor that are too vague i.e. be happy or be slimmer or whatever.

    I want to make more things this year. I have not done what I want over the past year.

    Happy New Year to all the lovely people who read and post and comment on here. Fi xx

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    1. Dear Fiona, It takes quite a bit of thinking over! I hope you get time to sew more and make more. You make beautiful things and I love the embroidery! There is a lot of joy in it too.
      I hope 2017 is a much better year!
      Yes, the new baby coming is a big part of our year. Its exciting as it is getting close now!
      Many thanks Fiona! With love Annabel.xxx

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  3. Dear Annabel,
    Happy new year and thank you so much ch for a beautiful post.i loved reading it and I love the anticipation of a new bluebird year.
    I am very motivated to do the homework but not today as today is a special and tough day for me. It is two years today that I lost my gorgeous partner to cancer. I apologise for being a downer, I really just wanted to thank you Annabel for this inspiring blog post today as it has given me something to look forward to this year.
    I love Mondays theme and this will help me so much. I also love the fact that you are keeping Wednesday and Fridays the same.
    I am going to buy a planner this week and organise my year, which reminds me that I need to put my new butterfly 2017 calendar up.
    I hope 2017 holds a lot of happiness, special moments and heaps of crafting, pantry and gift organising ( I have been using my stockpile mostly for the last few weeks with minimal spending on groceries.i believe for me that meal planning is very important part of being prepared and building my pantry. I will continue that this year and I look forward to sharing my year and my planning, mission statement etc with all of you and I also look ahead in anticipation of sharing in your plans too and of course I am absolutely bursting to see more beautiful busy bluebird craft, cooking and fun.
    Love Barb W.

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    1. Barb prayers and hugs for you today. I read somewhere that grief is love with nowhere to go. Your partner was obviously a good man and worthy of celebration of a life lived well. I will be thinking of you today, not feeling sorry for you. but thinking of you as you remember a beautiful man.

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    2. Barb a huge hug for you and many thoughts and prayers. You are such a beautiful and kind hearted person!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Dear Barb, That is ok, today is an understandably hard day for you. Even so you still sound positive about the year ahead which is fantastic! I can't wait to hear your plans and goals. You did really well last year! And you did have a lovely Christmas which was wonderful!
      Thank you so much I am glad you like the plan! With love Annabel.xxx

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    4. Barb, big hugs and sending you love. Love, Bridge

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    5. Dear Barb,
      Sending hugs and prayers your way xo
      Love,
      Patti

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    6. Dear Annabel, Jane, Vicky and Bridge.
      Thank you all so much, it made such a difference to my day to know that there were people who cared about me. I am now ready to face a new year full of possibilities nod bluebird busyness !. I am working on my mission statement and will buy a planner or diary tomorrow. I need to put my goodies I bought with Christmas gift vouchers to good use and I have plans already for some lovely cards and crafts. I now have to sort out my craft area!. Happy new bluebirds year everyone and thanks again ladies.
      I feel much better today.love Barb W.

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    7. Dear Patti, thank you so much, your comment came through after I had thanked the other ladies. I am sitting out of my patio and listening to my wind chime and feeling the cool breeze and it is starting to rain, how lovely. I do not think we will get much but a cool change is refreshing.
      I need to finish working on my mission statement and I need to think about what else I can make this year. Thanks again ladies.i appreciate your kindness.love Barb W.

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    8. Sending best wishes and hugs your way Barb xoxo

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    9. With much sympathy and prayers for comfort and peace, I hope you have many happy memories to bring you renewed hope & joy.
      Blessings, Leigh

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  4. Hello Annabel, congrats on a job well done in 2016 $39000+ is nothing to sneeze at. Wow!
    I'm looking forward to your posts in 2017.
    I've got several goals like doing even more home cooking, doing some kind of stitching everyday and of course to walk everyday, spend less and being more regular with Bible reading.

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    1. Dear Rhonda, Thank you! Well I am trying to be reading scripture everyday. To help me there are apps you can have on the phone so that anywhere you are waiting somewhere you can read a little bit more. I am trying to do some study everyday and search verses in answer to questions I am thinking about. And reading Laines Letters... these serve well as a bible study I find.
      I love your goals! With love Annabel.xxx

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  5. I am not the least surprised at your total 'savings' for the year. I was asked a few years ago if I actually had banked that much money. I had banked some but the bulk of it expanded our mode of living. We lived BETTER than our income would have allowed.

    I am excited for this year as well. I've got a challenge up today that has already generated a lot of comments. I have a second challenge going up this week and what is even more exciting is that my husband is mostly on board with this. He understands why I want to do it and what my purpose is, so he said he'd join in with it and make the best! That excites me, too, lol.
    Happy New Year dear Annabel and may this year be filled with prosperous blessings and happy ones, too!

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    1. Dear terri, I love your challenge! I am having a use it up session too. I can go all year without buying many things! They include perfume, skin care, hair care, dish cloths, dish detergent, soap, hand cream etc. I started with the fridge and now trying to use up and rotate the freezer and pantry.
      Happy New Year to you too! With love Annabel.xxx

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  6. Wow Annabel, you have started off the New Year well with being so organised. I am currently decluttering as I think a lot of people would be at this time of the year. Some items will be repurposed and have a new life. I look forward to reading your posts during the year as they are always inspiring.

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    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Thank you! Happy new Year to you too. We both have a baby to look forward to also!
      I am going to be soap making maybe next week. And bread rolls are rising just now! How good is that!? Many thanks! Love Annabel.xxx

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  7. Annabel, we really do think alot alike! These are the very kind of thoughts I've had swirling around in my mind for the last couple of weeks. You said it so well! I've got my goals made for 2017 and have starting doing the baby steps that will help me reach each of them. I love the journal Bridge gave you and the cover that Jane made you just speaks to me ... I love it! I'm going to see if I can find some fabric similiar to it and stitch one up for me. I too have my planner all ready for 2017. I am so looking forward to another year with the Bluebirds! Happy New Year Everyone!

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    1. Dear Patsy, Well they do say great mins think alike! haha! that must be us!
      Thank you so much! I hope its a great year. I hope we can get a lot of pantries built up between us! With love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Annabel,
    Its been awhile since I posted here but Im still a card carrying Bluebirder. I was under budget for Christmas. My pantry is well stocked. I have February birthday gifts already in the gift closet. And I have an overall plan for the new year. We hope that this is the year we will be able to build our farmhouse and move. Our animals are all doing well. We currently have 7 adorable baby goatsies. Life has been full of blessings. Later this month Hubs and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage. So much to plan and do. Happy New Year to all the Bluebirds.
    Ginger

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    1. Dear Ginger,
      A card carrying Bluebirder! That made my heart sing!
      Everything you said follows this up too... under budget, well stocked pantry, plans made! Five stars I think!
      You have a big dream and goal! That would be so exciting!
      I love goats! Lucky you said goatsies as seven kids is kind of confusing!
      Well done on eighteen years of marriage also! I hope this will be a wonderful year for you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  9. I forgot to say what an amazing amount you worked 2016 out to be $39 thousand!!!! Fantastic.
    Also Barb W, anniversaries are sad days, sorry for your loss. Jane they are lovely words, I have been processing a loss too and I think it's so true that grief is love that has nowhere to go. Fi

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    1. Fiona,
      Sending hugs and prayers your way.
      Love,
      Patti

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  10. Hi Annabel and beautiful Bluebird friends,
    Bluey and I have been looking forward to saying goodbye to 2016. We are looking forward to a 2017 filled with reaching positive personal health goals.
    We made some amazing savings in our Vicki challenge in 2016. I needed to take on a carers role and didn't work for 6 months. Our finances got very tight living off Bluey's part pension. However we lived very well, and managed to pay all our bills on time.
    I have been going through my sewing room and taking stock of all that I have. I have a goal to use what I have this year, only purchasing notions and small extras that may be required to finish something off.
    2017 is full of wonderful possibilities.

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    1. Thinking of Bluey and of you Jane. You have done incredibly well on all fronts (both being a carer and living well when not being able to work). What an inspiration you both are. Love, Bridge

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    2. Jane you have done so well this year. Praying for you and Bluey. It truley is amazing what can be done
      step by step and with the Grace of God.
      Love Patti

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    3. Dear Jane, You did really well with all you had to deal with in 2016! I do hope this year is easier that is for sure!
      I am going through my craft cupboard and lining things up. I can make a lot! So we are on the same track with this.
      I hope the week is off to a good start! With love Annabel.xxx

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    4. Jane I hope you and Bluey have a much better year this year. I am impressed and motivated by your comment.

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  11. Opps! If my post disappeared it is because I accidentally deleted it! Sorry! Thanks Helen for letting me know!

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  12. I have followed your blogs for ages and enjoyed every one, but have never commented before. You and fellow followers inspire me and I love to try the many gifts suggestion made here. My gift cupboard is almost empty but hey, we have 12 months to fill it up again. I can't wait to start.
    Your thoughts on our worth in our own homes is so uplifting and this year I plan to keep 'an account' of my savings. I have a DH who values everything I do and that means everything to me.
    Last year was a crisis year for many of our family and friends, health wise, and I know that will follow through into 2017. We face some traumatic times, but knowing there are so many caring people on you blog is a huge comfort to me.
    Thank you.

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    1. Dear Marilyn,
      Thank you so much! I hope we can be a support to you especially with having health worries in your family.
      It is really lovely that your husband values the things you do! That is so nice. As a team we can do very well!
      Yes we are back to working on our gift cupboards! I want to be ready for the birthdays and occasions along the way as well. Thank you so much for your comment, with love Annabel.xxx

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  13. WOW! $39,243 is amazing,good for you. That is an incredible amount of money to put back into your home for whatever reason is truly inspiring. 2016 was not a good year for me health wise, 2 heart surgeries, kidney transplant issues but I am doing much better, This year I will also be doing the Vicki challenge can't wait to see what I can come up with. Thank-you for all the wonderful ideas.

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    1. Dear Tealady,
      I hope this year is much better for you too. You have been through an enormous amount. Just keep note of everything and take notice of prices in stores and for services, after a while I have found the vicky challenge very quick and easy to track. I am glad to have you aboard! I hope 2017 will be wonderful for you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  14. Gorgeous post Annabel, how awesome your efforts were in 2016 well done. I'm off to write my mission statement as I sure get lost at times & that shall be very helpful,
    Blessings to you!

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    1. Dear Karen, Thank you! It is surprising how often we are actually almost pulled so far off course we are doing something totally ridiculous. Well that applies to me! Re thinking really clarifies things. I hope you come up with a perfect mission statement and it helps your year! With love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Happy New Year Annabel and blue birds, I thought I was going silly because I was sure that I had read this post but it disappeared and I couldn't find it.

    I haven't started a planner yet - it has been way too hot and spending time writing things down on paper would have meant that my pages would have ended up looking quite tatty.

    We are on the way to cooler weather so I after formulating some ideas I will be able to record them down later in the week.

    I must let everyone know that our neighbour who we gifted a box of pantry items when he was not able to work decided he would repay us by mowing our yard while we were away. The only part he couldn't do was under my car and when Len moved it onto the driveway yesterday out came the mower and that section was done - it was annoying him.

    One thing I am intent on doing is using items up from the pantry. Tonight we had Annabel's rice salad with variations because I didn't have some of the things that you had in yours. My husband was impressed - he is not much of a salad eater and rice is not on his radar if he can help it. It went down well with some ham.

    I still have my $100- gift card that I am going to try and triple in value - we have a Golden Circle Factory outlet that I am sure will help me with that goal. Meanwhile I am going to work my way through the tins in the pantry and overflow pantry and come up with some recipes to use them up. Then I can replace them when I visit the factory outlet.

    This week is my organizing week - my husband is still on holidays and has decided to strip and fix up the last set of french doors. Of course that means mess so it will be a quick clean through and then a proper clean through next week when he should be returning to work.

    I also have the linen press to sort out. I would like to try the system where the sheets are stored in a pillow case.

    My priority is again getting healthy - after spending time at my mother in law's and our daughter's my back is not doing so good. Hopefully that will be addressed when I see the chiropractor that my husband has been seeing for the past couple of months. I decided that he could be the guinea pig this time.

    Annabel you do realise that $39,000- equals a wage for someone.

    I am happy with how I have pottered along making savings here and there. This year I want to record them down. Of course I cannot see any big ticket savings this year but you never know.

    I am looking forward to 2017

    Lynette
    XXXXXX

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    1. Dear Lynette, You had some massive savings last year like on the bed and the linen. So you never know. Now you need to get an idea of what it would cost to have those doors done professionally, hundreds probably. You can write that in.
      I have a lot of rotating to do with my cellar and pantry. Also craft supplies.... that is more of a use it up thing.
      Your neighbour must have really appreciated the help and kindness. Now you have a very good neighbour for life it sounds like. That was very nice.
      Good luck with the gift card. I love to stretch a gift card that way! Good idea. Also on the rice salad, I really think it improves with a day or two. And getting the amount of curry right for personal taste. It is a very handy salad.
      Have a great week. I hope your back will come good! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Lynette I store my sheets in their matching pillow case, it works really well for me.

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  16. Dear Annabel, I thoroughly enjoyed reading all above , what you achieved in 2016 and whats planned for 2017.
    I needed motivation to get planning and evaluating my last 12 months, but so far thats not happened . I will start tomorrow. But meantime I have been sifting through all kinds of old paper matter, and making slow progress with that , little steps.I feel so pleased Im making progress at all. Cards, statements etc going back 20 years .Helped Hubby clean out some of his hanging wardrobe today part 1 ;-).
    Barb W. sending you a big HUG XOX
    Fiona-Sounds like you need a hug too xox
    Onwards and upwards to us all , with love Maria xxx

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    1. Maria, I find it fun fuelling some outdoor cooking with pages I've kept too long!!
      It becomes edible that way!!
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Maria,
      I find I need peace and quiet to have thinking time. Sometimes that is hard to get. When you do you will clarify what it is you want for the year and what you need to do. Anyway you are off to a good start with getting rid of old paperwork etc. And even hubby's wardrobe!
      I hope 2017 will be really good for you all. With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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    3. Thanks Rachel!I love the edible slant hehe. My mum use to do that too, but we don't cook outside here , its too windy at our place :-)
      Maria x

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  17. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for your inspiring post and ideas. Your savings was amazing. I started the Vicky Challenge toward the end of our summer and it was an eyeopener for me to see the exactly what the monetary value was of the things that I have always done as a matter of routine.

    Some of my goals are continuations -- it's not that hey weren't fulfilled but that they are ones that I want to continue doing each new day. This will also be another "use it up" year for me in the way of fabric and other crafting materials. I have a little sign in my sewing room that says "Be a reason someone smiles today". While the author is unknown, the simple guidance it provides is priceless. And Laines Letters have been an important part of my daily reading for the last several months. Blessings, Cookie

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    1. The words on your sign are beautiful, Cookie! I am loving what you make out of fabric scraps!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Cookie,
      I too will not be buying any new things for the craft room but will be using what I have. Thank You for the encouragement for my brother Billy. I pray your husband is dong well.
      Love
      Patti

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    3. Dear Cookie, That is a lovely quote and a good aim. And Laines Letters are like vitamins. They do you good, build up up and encourage you. They are like a bible study all in one.
      I hope this year is wonderful for you both! And I cant wait to see what you are making! With love Annabel.xxx

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  18. Annabel, I feel excited about 2017 just reading your blog! Thank you! I love the sound of Bluebirds in 2017. It sounds wonderful. Your total was incredible! You have achieved so much. It is true about writing it down, I can barely remember today's efforts. I am so proud, (over the moon actually) that the diary can be of use. Thank you for being so kind about it. I need to have a think about the planner and what I will use, my phone and small diary, isn't quite enough and I need to re-jig my routines...We have been working hard on the kitchen. Actually DH has been working so hard. Such long days, so it can be done by the end of the holidays. We are getting there. I think it could just be the splash back to go! Can't believe it. While we have gone over budget, it has been paid through our savings and really we have saved a fortune by DH installing it. I put things in cupboards and thought of Bluebirds as I re-did my pantry...(technically in the dining room)...cleaning it all out. Now I can see every item! I kept saying, this will save us a lot of money now I can see everything clearly. Having culled so much, I think I don't need to buy anything...I don't want to clutter it up. On another note of the kitchen, I love your crocheted cloths Annabel, they wash so well! Lots of love, Bridge

    Thank you for your support on here, it feels so lovely to be encouraged and supported for our efforts in the home. It's hard to find that in the real world.

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    1. Dear Bridge,
      It is fantastic the kitchen is almost done! this will get your year off to a great start! Yes, you should estimate what it would have cost to pay for all this work your husband did and count hat as money you saved. it would be a lot!
      Knowing what is in your pantry and having back up meals etc is all so good.
      I have been excited to write in my new challenge book (thank you!) and this week has so far been really good! I will put all that in Fridays post.
      I hope 2017 is a great year for your family Bridge! With love Annabel.xxx

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  19. Dear Annabel!!

    This is a wonderful and pertinent post you've written! It was quite cheeky of you to delete it for a while, too!!

    Your grand total for your Vicky Challenge is exceptional! Right now, the sopping wet heat and humidity has been replaced by good, cool rain. I have enjoyed the pick-me-up value of preserved lemon cordial/syrup and lemon butter/curd in the pantry! I'm so pleased someone had put that together!!

    One variation of a thought for me was to consider that working at a task for an hour and a bit, over the span of a year, can easily produce the result of seven forty hour weeks - if worked strategically. So I aim to keep doing major weeding for an hour or so each day! (This is not garden weeding!!)

    I am a very good list writer - so much so that I had to stop them for a while because I was running years ahead of reality!! Have started them up again, I find that my direction is still the same, only with more detail of things to do as I learn surprisingly refreshing, simple ways.

    I purposely do not give all the details of my goals to those around me. I do, however, have goals!! I like to share the goodness in the results as they are found! Overall, though, my mission is to build a home based on a living foundation of the Eternal's ways. After all, unless He builds a house, he labours in vain who builds it.

    I wanted to add a couple more things. Firstly, it was a treasure to me when I was first introduced to a book called a concordance. In short, they are a little like a bible dictionary in that you can look up a word and find the basic meaning of its Hebrew or Greek origin. Then, in the same place, it lists the places in the bible where this word occurs - allowing you to study the word in context. (Concordances are matched to bible versions - Strong's concordance to King James Bible, and a little complicated; I use Young's concordance which is simple to use, and it generally works in okay with the Revised Standard Version Bible). For example, you could look up 'bird' (or particular birds) and read scriptures where 'bird' is mentioned.

    In sorting through books yesterday, I was reading about solar distillation of plant oils - from flowers, leaves and skins of fruit. I thought to mention it in case you have beautifully fragrant roses, some rain water and sunshine! All you do is sit the petals, say, in a tray of soft/rain water in sunshine for several days until an oily layer develops on the water surface. This oil is spooned into tiny vials and then placed under a plastic dome (I am thinking of a glass cloche!) in sunshine to enable the water to evaporate from the oil - leaving you with beautiful essential plant oil! This is my style of work!! Nonmonetary living beauty!!

    Thanks so much!
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Dear Rachel,
      I have written this down because it sounds like something I'd love to do. I'm wondering if the same sort of thing can be done with lavender or other flowers. Cookie

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    2. Dear Rachel, Thank you for telling me about a Concordance. this would be useful for me! Now I am thinking if there is an online one to start me off I will see.
      Nice essential oils are very expensive your solar distillation would be a great experiment! We are surrounded by resources if only was see them... this is something I am thinking about a lot right now. In many cases too what we think of as normal other people think of as exotic and fabulous. Depending on where we live and what we are used to!
      I hope the year is wonderful for you Rachel. I am such a list maker too. There is joy in it for me. And more in crossing things off! Ahh the satisfaction!
      Much love and thank you, Annabel.xxx

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    3. Cookie, I gather that any aromatic flowers, leaves and fruit skins would have oils. Obviously, some would be more successful than others, and some might require hotter sunshine than others. Lavender must be around for a reason - maybe because it has good results in distillation? I hope you give it a go!! I'll look forward to comparing notes!
      Rachel

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  20. Happy new year Annabel and everyone!
    What an incredible figure for 2016 - congratulations! And particularly for painting the whole house, what an achievement.
    We have a big change coming up in two weeks, we are moving to a rural town about four hours from our current home near Wellington. It will be a big change but one we feel so ready for. The move is being paid for as part of the new job, which is wonderful. But boy has there been some sorting! I was thrilled to see my present cupboard reduced to nearly nothing lol, and I also got fairly inventive using up gift wrapping supplies. In the three weeks before Christmas I became obsessed with getting through wool that I desperately didn't want to take with us, but also didn't want to just get rid of. So I made three chunky scarves and a throw. I have less than a ball of each colour left. The irony being that now I wish I had enough to make myself a scarf as they turned out really well lol. The people I gave the throw to have been a bit funny in the past with handmade gifts, so I thought this would be it, if this wasn't appreciated then I wouldn't bother again. They loved it! I was really happy with that.

    I haven't really worked out any specific goals yet, I think I will wait until we are in the new place. But I definitely want to sew more, 2016 was all about knitting and crocheting for me, and I would love to improve my sewing skills.

    Oh, and I almost forgot, the new house comes with chickens!!!

    Annabel, thank you so much for the time you put into this blog, it must be a significant part of your week. I really look forward to your posts, and always feel a bit more valued for what I do in our home having read your words.

    And now my comment is nearly as long as your post lol!

    Have a great week
    Jen in NZ

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    1. Dear Jen, Wow you will be so busy. thank you for still finding time to write. I hope this is a wonderful move for your family! I am glad your throw was a big success!
      It is amazing you also get chickens! This is going to help you with all your cooking. You will have to tell me how many eggs you are getting!
      It would be reasonable to make your goal settling in to a new place, building your pantry and gift cubed back up etc as moving really is a big thing.
      I hope it goes well and will be thinking of you! Please let us know how everything is as soon as you can. I hope 2017 will be great for your family! With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Hi Jen, all the best for your big move soon, from another kiwi :-)

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  21. Dear Annabel and Bluebird friends,
    I wish each of you a very blessed and productive New Year.
    I have spent a lot of time writing down goals for this year and prioritizing them. I don't want to have so many "to do's" that I don't have ALOT of time to do the things I thoroughly enjoy.
    "Use it up" and "Make do" are two of our goals for our household this year. We have plenty to use up in food storage, fabric, household goods, clothes, etc. We have a new system that anything we purchase to replace something will have an asterisk marked on the item, so we know it is new for 2017. That way we can accurately see how much we 'used up' at the end of the year. We never let our food storage get that low, so we will be using mostly out of it for meals and replacing with items that we strictly use regularly and things that can serve multiple uses.
    I have divided one planner into several sections where I have goals in each section. This is separate from my Household Planner and my Appointment Planner. I have goals in this first planner mentioned for Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual.
    In planning it works best for me to work backwards. First the end goal then the weekly and monthly steps to accomplish it.
    Your post was lovely and wonderful as usual, Annabel. I look forward to sharing 2017 with all the Bluebirds.
    With love and hugs,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glenda, It sounds like you have given your planning a lot of thought. It is good to have goals in different areas. I have already started with using things up. Several times I went to write something on the shopping list and then thought no... and went and found these things in various parts of my storage.
      Today I am going through craft supplies as I want to be using these up in my gift making.
      I hope 2017 will be great yer for you both! With many thanks! Love Annabel.xxx

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  22. Happy new year Annabel!
    Looking forward to more of your posts on preparedness and saving.
    Blessings
    Heidi x

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    1. Dear Heidi, Thank you! Preparedness will start on Monday. I hope there will be many aspects of saving starting tomorrow. I am hoping this will be a great year! Many thanks! Love Annabel.xxx

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  23. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds, I'm looking forward to 2017 and all the things I have planned and new things I want to learn.
    The savings you made this year were amazing and equivalent to an average weekly wage, you did so much and saved yourself so much you should be so proud of your achievements.
    I'm always excited for what a new year has in store for me and look forward to it. I need to declutter my home more and add a few more things to my pantry and preparedness. I know I need about 6 weeks off work this year for an operation so want to be prepared completely for that so I don't have to worry about food or bills.
    Looking forward to the year ahead and all that you and the Bluebirds have in store for all of us.
    Have a wonderful week. love Debbie xx

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    1. Dear Debbie, Thank you! Happy New Year to you!
      While surgery isn't easy it is an advantage to be able to plan for it and the time you need off etc. Just meals in the freezer and so on are such a big help.
      I look forward to seeing what you crochet this year and also to knowing the the things you re wanting to learn! I think de cluttering is a never ending process! Working on that here too! I hope 2017 will be great for you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  24. Thank you for your lovely posts! I haven't posted in the past, but part of my NYE promises is to reach out more. I tend to be very introverted which can be fine, but lonely sometimes. I feel you have created a lovely community that I would very much like to participate in more. I am working to donate a lot of our surplus this year. I tend to hang on to sentimental bits and bobs a bit too long. They may be a blessing to someone starting out. Thank you creating this "neighborhood" Annabel :)
    Donna
    Dallas, Texas

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    1. Dear Donna,
      I would love it if you join in so welcome! Thank you for stating off by posting this!
      Well I am sentimental and I have kept things like baby clothes and handmade items from my Great grandmother, Grandmother, everything Mum made for the girls etc! But many things I could not keep and some I handled by taking some photos of them. I am sure you will bless someone starting out and I think giving what we don't need always is good and blesses us in unexpected ways. I strive to not have clutter but then I collect all kins of things to craft with etc!
      I hope 2017 will be wonderful for you and am so pleased to have you here. With love Annabel.xxx

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  25. Dear Annabel, my what a wonderful year you had and all the savings really do add up!! Your house looks AMAZING!!! Thank you to everyone for all your support and kind words! This is a very peaceful place to come visit!!

    Happy New Year to everyone!! I'm looking forward to another year of posts and learning!
    Barb, my thoughts and prayers are with you. And I hope Vicky and Mel S are feeling much better!

    Love, Teri

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    1. Thanks Teri!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Teri, Thank you! Happy New Year to you too! I hope the new year will be good to you all.
      Vicky and Mel have both done so well thank you for checking on them.
      Thank you for your comment about the house. It was a testimony to doing a little bit at a time and I still got there! With such love Annabel.xxx

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  26. Dear Annabell and lovely Blue Birds,
    I have been working on putting things away from the holidays
    and sorting and getting rid of things that we no longer use. My daughter and I live in a 2 bedroom Condo without a garage. So we have gotten very creative about storage.:) We feel it is important to be prepared. So we will continue to declutter and also stock up.
    I also have found things that I will use in other ways. I have been through most of the kitchen cupboards and know what I have on hand and have rotated older items to the front of the cupboards.I am working on the freezer today almost done. I am pleasantly surprised how much meat fruits and veggies we have in the freezer. Today I am making turkey soup from the frozen
    leftovers from Thanksgiving. The house smells good and it is heating the downstairs as it is cold today.
    After I reorganise and take enventory of everything I will have a better idea of goals. Then I am going to try to write down a monthly menu from cupboards and freezer and loosely follow it. That way I can cook what sounds good for that day.
    Hugs and big blessings for the new year.
    Love Patti

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    Replies
    1. Dear Patti,
      I hope your brother is doing well, and that you were able to find some resources that would be helpful, especially in the way of transportation to and from appointments. Thank you for your prayers for my husband. His recovery is going very well. Blessings. Cookie.

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    2. Dear Patti,
      I think you are wise! We can be inventive and find ways to be prepared even in limited space. Decluttering is one way for sure as space is precious. Almost everyone has space issues. And clutter issues actually! We are going to look into a lot of small space preparedness ideas too coming up soon!
      I love turkey broth. I love turkey anyway!
      I hope your brother had a good Christmas. Like Cookie I also hope he is doing well!
      I hope the new year will be such a good one for you all! With love Annabel.xxx

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  27. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post ~ lots of inspiration. Thank you and happy new year.

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    1. Thanks so much Lynn, Happy New Yer to you too! xxx

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  28. Annabel.
    You did amazing! We had a good year as well. Rick was very happy too. I love your new planner it's so shiny! I love shiny and sparkly things! I also love the journal that Bridge made you very lovely! Good job Bridge! I intend on this being a very good year!
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Hi Vicky,
      I was so happy to see you post and hope that all is going well. Blessings. Cookie

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    2. Dear Vicky, You make a good team and what an advantage that is! haha! I love shiny and sparkly too!
      So far this week my new Vicky Challenge is already going great! Andy has saved us a fortune from the stuff he did over the weekend. And I tell him now "did you know if we hd to pay someone for that it would have cost $$$ ?" and he is always amazed but I think he feels good!
      I hope 2017 is great for us all! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  29. Dear Annabel,

    What an achievement! Your total was amazing but more than that, the amount of work you got through was incredible.

    I really like what you said " It doesn't mean we banked that amount. It means we lived a lot better than if we didn't do all this stuff" I think this has brought an awareness to us all that what we do in our homes week by week has value. Having to pay for these services that we render (in love) is equal to a good tax free income. And how can anyone really put a price on the value of the richness found within a home that a homemaker makes? Priceless!!

    Looking forward to your blog posts again this year. It is lovely reading everyones comments here also. Such a lovely and supportive community.

    Love, Kaye xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Dear Kaye,
      Thank you! You inspired me and taught me a lot of grocery shopping and bargains. Also being willing to go to different stores to do it.
      There are any benefits. I think just keeping the home nice etc is a big thing. All our efforts really amount to something lovely.
      Thank you for all your support Kaye! With love Annabel.xxx

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  30. Thanks Annabel. I did up a personal mission statement years ago. You have inspired me to revisit and update it if needed.

    The idea of being aware of the resources we have and of making use of them creatively was on my mind on the weekend. I have been talking to my husband about the idea of setting up a 'camp kitchen' outside. I am not talking about a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen with gas BBQ and wine fridge. No, my idea is for a simple camp style kitchen where, on the weekends, we can have a cookout with friends; enjoying the great outdoors and saving on electricity by drawing on our supply of timber from our property.

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    1. Dear Sherri,
      I think an outside kitchen is really an excellent idea. You are also set up then if the power is out. And the thing is we are better off if we already know how to use things and do things rather than trying to make them work when the power is out. Also as you say it saves on electricity and if you have a wood supply then that is awesome!
      Speaking of resources Vicky has been collecting ideas to do with slices of timber. there are so many! So even the wood you mention is a wonderful rescuer not just for heat but possibly for crafts!
      Have a great 2017 Sherri! With love Annabel.xxx

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  31. Dear Annabel and Friends, I feel that we are all off to a great start for 2017. I also think the amount of money that we don't have to spend by doing things ourselves is so valuable. It's more than money saved....it's skills that we either practice or we learn. I love that we can not only count the cost of our own contribution, but those of our husbands and even our children to encourage them! They can see that by helping out at home, it saves the family spending money needlessly. Here's to a great 2017 for us all. Love Helen xxx

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    1. It's heartwarming to hear from you, 'Helen T'!!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Helen,
      Having someone to work with is a huge advantage. A whole family pulling together even more so! All the skills learned really last a lifetime. Since I was talking to you last we had several other savings and I looked up the values to tell Andy. He has thrived on this. He is really proud of what we did last year and yet on the surface he used to get frustrated with how hard he works and doesn't lawyers make a lot of money. I think this is a way to see that overall hard work really does pay off. it all adds up.
      Have a great new year Helen! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  32. Okay Annabel, I am ready!!

    I have my journal and hope to get off to a good start this year. I have made up my mind that I am going to make time for doing these important things you mention otherwise I get lost and spend most of the year trying to catch up.

    Looking forward to a wonderful year with you and the bluebirds,

    xTania

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    Replies
    1. Dear Tania,
      I am glad for you Tania! You do a lot. Your green alone is a huge credit to you. there are aways things to do and people who want time and attention and a million things... but our job is just as valid as a 9 to 5 job. I hope you get your craft room all set up too, that sounds wonderful!
      Have a great 2017! with lots of love, Annabelxxx

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  33. Dear Bluebirders and Annabel,

    Happy New Year to you all! I have been working through my last year's stuff in order to try to set my goals. There are so many choices about the direction to set goals in that I have decided to write them all down and pray them out for the month of January. That way I complete the ones God the Father want me to complete and not just a random list of hurry-up-and-get-something done things.

    I have already gotten direction on some of these things and am really excited.

    I really loved your post, Annabel. I had to read it through twice as there was so much valuable information in there. I jotted some notes and will include these ideas into the possibilities for my new goals.

    I am looking forward to 2017 with great anticipation. :)

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    Replies
    1. Dear Cristy, That is a good plan. A few times I have felt strongly called to focus on an area even though it is not what I would have planned myself.
      Thank you so much! I hope 2017 will be a great year for you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  34. Wow, Annabel! You had a spectacular 2016 Vicky Challenge! I agree with one of the other ladies who mentioned that we don't always bank the savings, but our thoughtful homemaking allows us to "live better" than we otherwise might.
    Your new planner and price book are lovely. What is it about fresh, clean planners and journals and notebooks that makes one feel so hopeful and optimistic?
    Best wishes to all of the other "Bluebirders" for a productive and prosperous 2017!
    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Dear Leigh,
      Have a wonderful new year! Yes I love a fresh start, new pages to write on! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  35. Dear Annabel, I am so looking forward to this year with you and all of the bluebirders. I was very interested in your remarks 'the power of a daily routine' and 'the power of a weekly routine', and I wondered if you could expand on this in a coming post. This was a great post and makes me enthusiastic for the year ahead. Thanks Lyn

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    1. Dear Lyn,
      Everything I have had success with have been things that have become either daily or weekly routine. Little bits adding up and taking every opportunity. I am amazed by it! So I am trying to use this as an easy way to do anything... lots of little bits. It will be a theme I will keep mentioning as nothing is too daunting when its in little bits!
      Thank you so much and I hope you have a great 2017! With love Annabel.xxx

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  36. Wow! Thanks for the words of encouragement. I shared the part about having a mission and not being swayed by nit-wits with my husband and mom-in-law. They laughed. And she was impressed with the "Bluebirds".
    I'm looking forward to what this year holds too; not only for myself but for the other Bluebirds. Other topics I hope we discuss: "building up your man" -sharing what husbands/special man in your life did to save you money (once a month), and "little bits of time"- how you saved money bit by bit or in 10 minutes a day. So many women share that they don't have time to make a homemade pie or craft a gift. What do you think?
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. Dear Leslie,
      I am laughing as really it is quite often I think people that have no idea try to sway us and it can be really irritating... hence the "nit wits" haha
      I love your idea to include husbands and all they do. I think it could be a really building up type of thing. Also for children. Probably many teenagers work on projects and jobs around the house and it is very good for them to feel important and part of everything. This is a good thing and so encouraging! During the year I increasingly told Andy how much it would have cost to pay someone for this or that, he is always amazed. This year I am writing down all his savings as well as mine.
      Re the time issue. We all get 24 hours in a day. While during sickness, new babies and many things there can be no time. But mostly anyone saying this to me I will usually notice ok they play golf, go to the gym, travel or whatever. I have nothing against these things but it is the choice of how to spend the time. I had someone for years say to me "Oh I don't have time for things like that" after asking me what I have been doing or making. it was kind of a put down. She did have time but she spent it differently and thats ok. Many people don't use time either like waiting in the doctors surgery, while watching tv, in the car etc and I think oh yippee I can get some time to work on whatever it is Im on to! If I pop over to see Mum I take my crochet with me! All these little times add up. As for pie etc it is just as easy to make two dinners as one. So I just always make two! Then you have spare pie! :)
      Years ago I knew someone very industrious. When she visited at family event she had brought her mending and sat and stitched. She had her hands full with children and I admired that she sewed as everyone talked. I didnt think it was rude or anything I just wished I had brought mine! Since then I take my crochet with me. I can talk and crochet at the same time just fine!
      Sorry for the essay! Many thanks Leslie! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. I am agreeing with Leslie!! My thinking is that, when our men feel appreciated and their morale is lifted, everything is so much more worthwhile. After all, our men are the leaders supporting us! When the men are behind Bluebirds, we will know something really good is happening!
      Rachel

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  37. I love your blog Annabel. Looking forward to following lots of your suggestions this year. Happy New Year.
    Rosemary xo

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    1. Thank you so much Rosemary! I hope 2017 will be wonderful for you! xxx

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  38. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation. Love reading your posts!

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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

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.