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, 7 September 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 8 September, 2017.

This hasn't been a normal week and it hasn't gone smoothly.  I reached tired and irritated yesterday!
I am really glad of this chance to have new floors and to make it a spring clean and a re organise at the same time but the mess started to get to me in the last few days.  I know I need to keep my eye on the end result!
Stopping to assess things is a good idea.

These are the things I did manage to do to save money this week:

With lots going on I was able to reach for a tin I had put away for busy times and open a brand new fruit cake.  I LOVE having things I can just get out when needed!

I made a batch of yoghurt and have been having this for breakfast.

I had a spaghetti sauce cook up and made dinner and 23 pasta dinners to freeze!

There are various combinations going on here but these have stocked up my freezer and emergency meal supply.

I also made Honey Gingerbread as Harper loves these.

The front of the house (that isn't a mess!) has flowers from the farm and I have lavender and bay leaves drying.

My menu planning and shopping have been going really well.  Once again this week I only shopped for milk, a few veggies and the best specials.  I added a lot of reserve meals with the pasta cook up.

As I move the contents of my pantry I am washing jars, filling things up,  labelling where needed and so on.  

Today the sun is out. This is after a week of rain and hail!  And flowers are starting to peek out in the garden.  Signs of spring! 

On the weekend I am working on my herb and spice cabinet.  I want to be able to set it up as soon as the floor is down and this is looking like it will be Thursday.

I hope that next Friday I will have so many good things to report and to show! 

How did you build up your home, save money and get ahead this week? 
Have a wonderful weekend! 

Our poor US friends have another hurricane coming in and this is impacting several of the ladies here.  One of them is Patsy who lived through a bad one not very long ago.  These times make our preparedness efforts seem very real.  Always keep on top of your preparedness as much as you can! 



  1. I am amazed at everything you got done in the midst of your re-organization! Do you sleep? 😀

    I forwarded Patsy's hurricane preparedness links to a friend of mine who is in the path of Hurricane Irma. She was very grateful.

    I heard a news article on the numbers of cattle killed by Hurricane Harvey, so I went out and stocked up on beef. The prices are sure to go up and what I got was on sale.

    Inspired by Rachel's ravioli I made some myself. It turned out great. I used a recipe from a cookbook from the 1940's. I even took pictures of the whole process and will post them on my blog soon, properly linked back here of course. Thanks for giving me the confidence Rachel!

    I potted up a bunch of coleus that I can now use as gifts (pictures on blog).

    There was a great sale on sugar at our local store. $.99 for a four pound bag. Limit 5. When I went to get it, there were completely out - even the warehouse! So I got a rain check and will keep checking back.

    Praying for all in harm's way. Stay safe Bluebirds and keep feathering your nests. You never know when you will need it!

    1. That's good of you, Cheri! I'll look forward to seeing your ravioli, and what type you made!!

    2. Dear Cheri, I hope your friend is safe. I am hearing it is coming in now.
      These hurricanes are bound to impact prices and availability, I know already this is the case for fuel.
      Thank you for your lovely words, I loved what you said about we Bluebirds feathering our nests! With love

  2. Dear Annabel,
    Your food pictures always look delicious!!
    The cake, for sure, made me hungry. Are those raisins or blueberries on the cake, along with the almonds?
    I bought bananas today, so plan on making a Hummingbird Cake tomorrow.
    The hurricane heading for Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas is very dangerous. Texas will be suffering for a long time from Hurricane Harvey. There are massive wildfires in the Western states and many people suffering from the smoke. Lots of prayer is needed and appreciated.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, The fruit in the cake is mixed but mostly sultanas. I have worked out they are not in the US or I don't think so. They fall between raisins and currants... but any dried fruit will work. I sold the fruits in sherry and pineapple juice over night so they are plump.
      I am praying as Irma is hitting now I think. With much love,

  3. Dear Annabel!

    This is a beautiful and down-to-earth post!! Thank you!!

    We haven't had rain for a long time, so we're in a dry, windy state!! Water micro-management is a subject here. The birds are singing about rain, and a carpet snake has been around, so I am wondering if there is heavy rain on the way. We can only admire your rainfall!!

    The honey gingerbread reminds me of the sweet little things that lighten the everyday! .... the way the little birds, and other animals, just give us a sense of appreciation, and even laughter!!

    Your pasta ..... Well, I love pasta!!!!!

    Mum gave me a large tin to keep in my supplies. I have been watching for them, with your tin painting and filling in mind! Your nest tin is beautiful, and your cake invitingly edible! What more could we want?!!!! Ha ha!!!!

    May those who seek wisdom find it and safety.

    Warm regards to you and your readers,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Well some weeks are just not normal. That is for sure. And this continues!
      I agree it is the little things.... for me the birds (also) a cup of tea in a pretty cup, clean linen, the smell of sunshine on line dried things, a bath... clean windows also!
      If you want to paint your tin I would be glad to send you a nest napkin that I used to get this image. I have plenty left. I loved this image! I just brushed on glue the brushed over varnish. Please let me know if you would like some. I love tins!
      Have a wonderful new week Rachel! With love

  4. Hi Annabel and beautiful Bluebirds :) .

    Annabel I am sure that all the effort and organisation for your new kitchen once the floors and other things are done will look gorgeous :) . I know what it is like and I hate mess and disorganisation too.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $315.77 last week.

    Last week we feathered our nest by -

    Purchases -
    - Bought 2 lge biscuit trays, 4 lge cooking racks, 1 spring form cake pan and a new set of measuring spoons and cups from Aldi on special saving $35.96 over local supermarket prices.
    - Purchased 4 x 12g lip balms for $3.90 total saving $19.15 over buying them in the local supermarkets.

    Groceries -
    - Increased our food storage by 8kg of flour, 9kg of raw sugar, 1kg of icing sugar and 5 x 500g butters and still remained within our normal budget :).
    - Saved $10 on groceries by saying yes to redeeming a voucher for buying our usual groceries anyway which was on our Woolworths Rewards Card.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Made a batch of tomato soup from tinned diced tomatoes in the pantry that needed using and onions picked from the gardens in the freezer, dried basil and rehydrated garlic granules.
    - Blanched and froze 20kg of organic sweet potatoes picked from the gardens saving $240 over purchasing them in the local supermarket.

    Electricity savings -
    - Only turned on our hot water system for 8.23hrs this week saving $7.98 in electricity.
    - Used our solar lanterns to light our home rather than turning on mains powered lights all week and boiled our kettle on the slow combustion fireplace saving another $2.68 in electricity.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone :).


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, I am behind on my replies and I was painting my spice cabinet this afternoon and also Harper has had a high temp and I had to run over there... and in amongst all this I thought I am so busy I don't even know what Sewingcreations did this week yet! Finally I am sitting down to read and catch up and reply!
      Mainly we had to get the rooms emptied as the tradesman comes at 7 am in the morning tomorrow. Its all done now. What a job!
      I am pleased you added so much to your food storage. You save a lot through your scratch cooking and the tomato soup sounded lovely. I love tomato soup!
      Your tactic with the hot water is good too. We are having to get pretty tricky with electricity. We look at everything now even how many times we boil the kettle.
      I hope you have another good week! I love your report and you are doing extremely well, with love

  5. Annabel I'm admiring your cake tin, which I presume you decorated. It is gorgeous & well done on all your prep.
    WE have been recipients of ham, cabbage, milk & cheese this week & lots of shampoo. So we have shared some & I've stored some for us now & later too.
    How lovley to get new flooring, you'll enjoy that!

    1. Dear Karen, Yes I made the cake tins out of really ugly thrift shop ones. They were biscuit and commercial tins. I used spray paint and paper napkins, how I did them is on this post here:
      I thought I would add this incase anyone is interested.
      It is wonderful about the food and shampoo! That was a lot! I know you will aka the most of it! Have a good weekend! With love

  6. Hello Annabel and fellow bluebirders,

    I'm glad you floor is going in soon, Annabel. I don't know if it's just me, but I really don't like having "strangers" in my home. I know its often necessary, but it's not something I enjoy.

    My DD lives in the Caribbean. Fortunately, she is home at the moment between contracts, but was due to back in the British Virgin Islands in 6 weeks with a new contract to work on a yacht charter ... this is no longer possible :-(. There hasn't been much coverage of the BVI's here, but Hurricane Irma has virtually wiped out the whole island and the yachting industry. This is such a tragedy and there's another hurricane follow Irma. Fortunately, her friends are safe at the moment. These small islands are going to take a long time to recover - most are poor and rely on tourism to keep going. Please spare a thought and a prayer.

    best wishes,

    1. Dear Janine,
      This time we are really lucky as the floor guy is the same one who did the bathroom and I feel like I know him. He was so nice and is married with three little boys. So this is lovely as it is no stress from this point of view.
      I am hearing the Caribbean took a terrible hit. I feel so sorry for people there. I am glad your daughters friends were ok. Irma is just coming into Florida now. It is a worry. So many people so severely impacted.
      We are praying as your quite right the people don't have much and the tourism will be suffering. It all has a domino effect. Have a good new week Janine, With love

  7. Hurricane Irma has been on my mind a lot today.

    I had one of those weeks where I feel I didn't get a lot done around the home. I did plant out some snowpeas that I grew from my own harvested seeds. I also planted out some more lettuce seedlings. I spent a bit of time watering the garden. It has been a bit of a funny old week, but still a good one. Hopefully I will have a more productive week next week.

    1. Dear Sherri, Planting snow peas was good! Hopefully you end up with heaps to harvest! Some weeks are bigger than others but they add up! I felt the same way about mine. Have a great new week! With love

  8. Oh Annabel I am sure there is an army of Bluebirders who wish they were closer to be able to lend you a hand. I know that I am one.
    You need to know you are an amazing woman, as with everything that you are going through, you are still maintaining a wonderful, frugal lifestyle. I take my hat off to you.
    I had to go and spend some money this week and I didn't like it. We have a very busy electrician, fitting us in sometime next week. We are getting all new ceiling fans. I have been searching for the right ones for us. I finally went into a specialist lighting and fan shop and found what I wanted. The man there was amazing and did me quite a wonderful deal.
    Bluey has been the Specials King and has come home with a number of pantry and freezer items, for amazing prices. He picked up 2 bags of 1.8kg frozen chicken breasts for $6/bag. This was the best of his deals.
    We had a good week until I went out for fans today.
    Life is good.

    1. Wow what a good price. The best I did on chicken breast this week was $12.50 for a pack weighing 2kg

    2. Jane,
      it is wonderful when they find good bargains isn't it? A full pantry is such a blessing!

  9. These storms and now earthquake are just awful occurrences. I shudder when I hear about them. Got a question for you Annabel, how would you suggest people prepare for these huge storms in terms of keeping their stash safe? It seems a given that power will be lost, of course some will have generators but what to do if the ceiling and walls blow off, or you become inundated with raging flood waters? I'm not sure what people will do.

    I'm also with you on renovating and repairing. I've been doing this non stop for longer than I care to say. I look forward to seeing the photos when you are all done. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      This is my worst nightmare. There is a point where we have to know when to evacuate. I know you set up grab and go backs in fire season. For us being prepared at home covers probably 90% of things but if we just have to get out then this is where having all your documents together, good insurance, photos or a film of your home and contents, savings etc come in. And the tremendous advantage of family or a place to evacuate to!
      It really is terrible as to me in a crisis you want to be home. This is where are comforts are. But lives are more important. Lets hope we never face this. If I was in Florida Keys now though I think we would have to evacuate.
      Renovating is great but life is not normal! I will be glad when this is done! Lets say next year we will do no renovations! Have a lovely weekend! You have worked so hard. Rest! With love Annabelxxx

  10. Add me to your list of in the path of...We're in mid-Georgia and there are a lot of evacuees in the area. The hurricane is expected, at this time, to come up through Florida and right through the central portion of Georgia. I have 8 people in my home who are from the south Georgia coastal area (in the path of the storm). Please pray that we don't lose power. I have a plan to draw up water as of Sunday (keeping my eye on the forecasts) and it's taken a lot of thinking to move from 2 people mindset to 10! I have a gas stove thankfully so there will be coffee to keep us adults sane and a way to cook meals. There's a chance my husband may have to work extra hours, too and my grandchildren's mom will be in one of the coastal areas working mandatory emergency state while my youngest son will be in his home in path of hurricane trying to get and give adjustors places to stay in the area so they can immediately go out to start damage claims. It is a minor detail but truth that these insurance adjustors are strained to the maximum. Samuel had four adjustors of his 7 regional adjustors head to Texas for Catastrophic Claims work. These guys too are working a load of hours just now and the ones left behind must pick up the slack places so prayer would be much appreciated on several fronts.

    1. Praying for you and yours, Terri!

    2. Dear Terri, You really have your hands full. I think mobilise everyone to have jobs to do and things to help. It is good for everyone to feel like they are helping too. I am looking at the maps. I heard someone from Atlanta say yesterday she didnt understand why the shelves were low on water. Im in Australia and I know! Use this last time well Terri, I know you will. Then settle in as you say with coffee and comforts. I will be praying. I am amazed now how many I know that are right in the way of this hurricane. Thinking of you! With love,

  11. Dear Annabel,

    You are getting so much accomplished, even amid chaos! Company arrives this afternoon for a few days, so I am running around doing last minute cleaning and laundry and blanching and freezing up the green beans that I have snapped. It will be fun to have a full house, but the prep work is a necessary whirlwind to preserve sanity later on! :)

    My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is experiencing a natural disaster at the moment.

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, I can get more done in 15 mins before someone arrives than in the previous two days! haha! Its true though...
      I hope it all goes well! With love

  12. Hi everyone,

    It certainly is a time when being prepared feels like a comfort.

    This week's efforts:

    Cooking: A large batch of freezer oatmeal, orange pork chops with rice, and pasta with marinara and homemade meatballs. I made some homemade waffles to freeze for future weekend breakfasts, saving us quite a bit over going out to breakfast or even buying prepared freezer waffles. I also froze some roasted chicken and mongolian beef in individual containers for future work lunches or busy evenings. All work lunches were packed and brought from home.

    We saved some egg cartons for a friend of ours who uses them to collect eggs from her hens.

    Gardening: I saved black-seeded simpson lettuce and purple ruffles basil seed from plants we allowed to go to seed, and rooted some more peppermint cuttings. Some green onion ends went into water to start roots so that we can replant them. Some of the last of our regular basil went into a big batch of yummy marinara sauce.

    My acorn squash has 3 beautiful squashes so far! (They are small, but they are there.) My Brandy rose is blooming again and providing us with lots of enjoyment for no money whatsoever. :)

    Home maintenance: Having a local company provide an estimate saved us $500 on the work that needed to be done at our home, and they did a beautiful job. (Thanks for the suggestion, Annabel!)

    My husband installed another wire organizer on the inside of our guest bedroom closet door; I cleaned out the closet and used the organizer to store gift wrap, ribbons, tape, and scissors neatly. I also straightened the linen/bathroom supplies closet, and moved some stockpiled toiletries to where they can be seen and used, also preventing me from buying one item again because I thought we were out. There is so much more space now and we can see what we have, which I am convinced will save money later on - "organization" should get its own category at my house!

    I tidied and re-arranged the bookshelves in our living room; everything looks much nicer now, and there were a few items that were added to the stack to trade back to the bookstore. :)

    Shopping: We took advantage of a good weekend sale to purchase a much-needed new mattress for the master bedroom. The sale gave us an additional $100 off of what had been the lowest price we could find anywhere. There were also good prices this week on canned goods, so we added some more fruits and veggies to the pantry. And, I found a beautiful pair of leather wedge sandals at the thrift store for $4.99.

    We used the library to borrow and enjoy a new-to-us movie and some novels.

    I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, Sorry I am slow on replies! I am so glad you got another quote and that is saved you $500! That is a lot! Im glad you are happy with the work too.
      You did well with sales as well as organisation! It was really a good week! I hope you've had a lovely weekend and the new week will be good. My tradesmen arrive 7 am and our rooms are empty! It has been a busy weekend getting to this point! With love,

  13. Love fruit cake and the fact your floors will be done. My mom and aunts told me, they never did spring cleaning. They did fall cleaning. This is not to say, they did not do a fluff up in spring though. Their thoughts were that in spring, summer and fall, the windows and doors are open, bringing in dust. The kids and adults always seem to have muck on their boots that again brings dust. The windows here stay clean over winter (we have snow). Because of all the prep for gardening and all the other outdoor chores, it seemed a better idea to not overload their time. Here we only can, dehydrate, freeze items till about mid September. By then the frost has come and the gardens are cleaned up an ready for the following year. Soooo, this is my excuse for not doing spring cleanup. Now I do it all in the fall. When the kids were little, I do confess to doing both a full spring clean as well as a full fall clean.

    On the savings front, I hit a store re-opening sale. I stocked up on chicken, beef and pork. It was all roughly half of what I normally would spend. Saved around $100. Saturday is the huge grand opening, and may go the extra hours drive to get more.

    Praying for all those in hurricane, fire, earthquake areas. It is a bad year for all. God has it all in his hands, he will see everyone through.

    1. Dear Jean,
      I really like the change of seasons. I think these are a great time to clean and refresh. It certainly doesnt need to be spring I agree.
      The re opening sale sounded really good! What a saving! I wonder if you went back again?
      You are right there are so many crazy things and I don't know where to look! Right now Irma is coming in to Florida I think.... we are praying. With love

  14. We will likely be impacted but our real concern is that most of our families live in Florida in the direct oath of the hurricane. They have refused to evacuate and we are really concerned. They could have come here but made so many excuses. My parents and sister could have 100 MPH winds for up to 48 hours where they are. Please pray for this monster storm to go out to sea and not make landfall in the USA. We can only pray for the safety of our families as we are too far away to help.

    1. Dear Lana, First of all I hope you are as prepared as you can be. I think you would be experienced in this and know what you are doing. It must be very stressful worrying about your family. I hope they are all as prepared as possible as well. I had a friend who did not evacuate and defied orders to in a cyclone in Australia earlier this year. He survived and so did his house but it was risky business!
      I am watching and praying. Use this last time well. Thinking of you, with love

  15. Oh, Annabelle, sending prayers your way! You are doing the work of two women at least!
    Hope everything comes together for you!

    1. Dear Megs, Thank you! You enjoy the weekend. By the end of next week things should be looking good! With love

  16. Annabel and Bluebirds,
    We kept getting heavy storms so venturing out for me was a no go so pretty much it was a no spend week. The days it didn't rained I worked on getting the ripe stuff from the garden and getting it canned. I got a few samples in the mail and a 2 boxes of oatmeal packets to product test. I dried some green beans for the seeds for next year's planting and ugh I have been still trying to use up more eggs!
    Prayers to everyone who is the path or has family in the path of Irma.
    Sit down for a few minutes and have a cup of tea Annabel!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      All these things add up to a lot even if the weather has been a bit of a hold up. Ok I will have a cup of tea! With lots of love and thanks,

  17. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    There certainly are a lot of natural disasters that have happened and are continuing or still coming. Keeping those going through this or having loved ones in harm's way in our prayers!

    Annabel, you continue to amaze me with all you get done! The pasta meals, fruit cake and honey gingerbread look delicious! My youngest granddaughter likes to make gingerbread men. I think I need to look up your recipe! Isn't it great being able to pull out yummy things prepared in advance?

    I hope the repairs continue going well and you are soon able to enjoy your new floors!

    My husband enlisted our daughter and me to make a trip to the hardware store with him to each use a 25% off coupon on some fairly expensive items. We also took coupons to each get a small item free. I've put aside the free 4 way screwdriver for one of the Christmas stockings.

    We found a new recipe for lemon herb chicken that is delicious and uses items from my freezer and pantry and made enough for two meals. I also made a big batch of chicken and dumplings. I was happy to pull a loaf of lemon blueberry bread from the freezer. I thawed some tomatoes from earlier in the summer to make a quart of tomato sauce.

    It was senior discount day at my favorite grocery store, making an additional 10% off. I bought sale items along with some things that we needed but rarely find on sale. There were several items that were free and some that were deeply discounted with coupons. I try to use this discount day to add extra items to my pantry that I might not get on a regular shopping trip. One of my favorite finds this time was an extra large vegetable tray for $3.59. It weighed nearly 5 pounds with a pint of good ranch dressing, cut up cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and celery. I think the ranch dressing would have been that much by itself at regular price.

    I was given a case of 24 cans of catfood and a bag of IV fluids for pets from someone who lost her kitty. I can use the food and my veterinarian was glad to get the fluid to use for rescue animals. She may also be interested in adopting from the small rescue group I am part of.

    Wishing everyone a safe and good weekend!
    With love from Arizona, USA,

    1. Dear Elaine, I love the way you built up your gift pantry with coupons!
      We used to make this gingerbread all the time when the girls were little. We would cut out the gingerbread men and some would be decorated as girls and some boys. With icing and lollies they would have dresses, hair, bikinis and jewellery! This took up hours! The recipe is
      It is a lovely say recipe.
      It was very nice to donate something to the vet and i hope your friend might adopt a new kitten.
      I think you had a very good week! With lots of love,

    2. Thank you for the link to the recipe for the gingerbread cookies! I may give it a trial run so I am familiar with making it before trying it with my granddaughter. She loves decorating cookies.

  18. Thank you for sharing this lovely post. I know I might over-use the following phrase, but it bears repeating: "you are so inspiring."
    I appreciate your ideas Annabel! And I love that so many ladies come here to share & encourage.


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