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, 5 July 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 6th July, 2018.

Friday came around fast!  I am not ready!  It wasn't an all saving week as we spent money on a new mattress.   Our mattress looks good but is old.  In the last few months we both have woken up achy. Then I realised that at Mum and Dad's and also at Chloe's I was not achy! mmm   So it was time but we shopped in the end of financial year sales and got a wonderful bed for $60 off!

Some of the ways I built up my home and feathered my next this week included...

I potted up some mint from Mum's garden so I can take mint to the farm.

I have a half wine barrel it will go into so it doesn't take over the whole place!

I made a new cake.  It is amazing!  I am trying to build my choices of cakes with no flour.  This has no flour and no nuts.   Yet it is gorgeous!

If you are gluten free, grain free or know someone who is this will be handy so here is the recipe..

Preheat oven to 150 C
Butter and line a 20cm tin.  Then sprinkle it with cocoa powder.
Melt 120g dark chocolate and  120g butter. I did in microwave in 30 second intervals.
Stir in  150g castor sugar,  50 g cocoa powder, 3 eggs and a teaspoon vanilla extract.

Bake 30 mins.  Cool 10 mins before remove from tin.
They said to use a springform tin but mine leaks every time!

I also used mostly milk chocolate as I just do not like dark chocolate so much.
I also doubled it as I can't see the point of a 20cm cake.
This almost doubled the cooking time.   Now I know how it turns out I will remember as I slightly under cooked it in the middle and the edges are chewy and the best bit so next time I will cook more.  But it is delicious and it keeps well.   Winner!

I am sorry for those who need to convert it to USA measurements. If you use an online converter it will take a few minutes to convert but then you have it!

I also made Peanut Butter Cookies, no flour in these either...

I made Lamb Shanks in the slow cooker, I did a double batch and lots of veggies.
We also had sausages in gravy and veggies.

I did a batch of custards in the slow cooker.

This week I used up quite a few things from my use it up challenge.  I had a bag of dried apricots and a bag of dates.   I sat outside and cut them up with scissors and added them to other dried fruit I had.  I bought cherries and tins of pineapple and made up five fruit cakes.

This is the first batch ready to go in...

My thinking is that these will keep and be useful for when moving, feeding helpers etc. 

So I am really happy to be ahead with these and they are all double wrapped and stacked.

I added a couple of bargains to my present cupboard.

I made two batches of yoghurt.

At the craft store I saw stems of native flowers (fake) that looked so real.  Then I saw they were down for $7 each to $1 each and I got a bunch!  

I did some pruning in the garden. I have filled the green bin many times now and the pruning is done.

We have some rain and a fairly cold weekend I think!   I might work on using some lemons as I have quite a lot. 

I hope you had a good week!  How did you save, get ahead or build up your home? 


  1. Dear Annabel, I have had a busy, lovely week. My little girl is on school holidays which I love. We have sorted through her room, my wardrobe and the spare room too. We had one day out at a town we had never been to finding opp shop bargains. I have made your baked custards in little ramekins and cups, jellies in jars (single portion size - works better with one child) and a triple batch of choc chip cookies ready for little girls about to visit any moment. Thankyou for continuing to post even though you have so much to do, you really help me focus on what is important. Clare

    1. Dear Clare, We loved school holidays! I miss those days. But today Harper is coming over and we are making jewellery with wooden beads!
      I think the girls will love the treats you made! Thank you for your kind words. I feel a bit bad I am not posting so much as usual but I will as I can and I cant wait to share my new adventure... Pretty excited! Have a lovely weekend! With love

  2. Matresses are very high but we'll worth it for a good night sleep. Annabelle I remember you bought a yogurt maker. Do you still use it and can you recommend it? We are on the low carb diet and we are eating more yogurt. The savings would be great...milk is just .99 a gallon..Thanks

    1. Dear Vickie, Yes I have an Easi You yoghurt maker. I am not sure if they are available there? Essentially they are just a thermos, no electricity. Try googling The Cheapskates Club How to make yoghurt as there are instructions for making it in a thermos. Or try the slow cooker method. It is cheap and healthy. My Easi Yo is what I use all the time. Andy said he hates yoghurt but then he tried homemade and now he loves it! Go figure! it is also a saving on probiotics I just get some going if either of us is sick or on antibiotics or anything like that. I hope this helps. With love

  3. Mmmmm Annabel I can almost smell the delicious cake baking smells from here. We have had really odd weather. The mornings are clear, bright and really warm. I got a sweat up today hanging out the washing. Then come about 11am the skies cloud over and we get passing showers. As a result the shed is full of drying washing. We are heading off in the van tomorrow so I really need all the washing to be dried and put away today. I may have to do a trip to the laundromat and use their dryers.
    I love having a well stocked pantry and a garden full of fruit and veg. I have filled the caravan pantry and fridge, 90% from our house pantry and there is still plenty left to keep Katie going. Today I vacuum sealed bak choy, tomato, green beans, parsley, cabbage and corned beef. The veg is all from the garden and there are three bags of cooked sliced corned beef. Two are in the freezer and the third in the fridge for cold meat sandwiches when we are on the road. The fruit basket has homegrown paw paw,passionfruit lemons and avocados. We have had to do very little shopping to fill the caravan. Having a well stocked van pantry means we are well set up as we travel through parts of the country where shops are few and far between.
    I will pop by when I have access to internet. Have a lovely weekend.
    Life is glamping good.

    1. Dear Jane, Oh my goodness you will have left by now! Have a wonderful trip! You sound well set up and organised. Yes please let us know where you are and how you are as you can! Safe travels! With love

    2. Hi Jane, have a good trip.
      Your story about the pressure cooker made me laugh as my Nan was just the same. She once made gooseberry jam in it . He kitchen was reall tiny, about 8 foot square, so you can imagine the mess. It really did go everywhere. My grandad came in to see what all the fuss was about and ended up with Jam on his head. If I remember correctly, It took ages to clean the kitchen up and the pressure cooker ended up in the bin

  4. Annabel, I loved your last post and always enjoy reading about your week. I will give the chocolate cake a go, based on the ingredients it seems like a winner to me lol.

    We have had a very busy last fortnight, and now it is school holidays. I am so excited! Two weeks of not needing to be anywhere. Bliss. I've stocked up on fruit and milk etc in the hopes of not needing to enter a supermarket any time soon, and have done a clean of all the rooms so we start the right way! I can see how tired the kids are so we will make a few day trips but largely I think we will relax at home as much as possible.

    Such a good idea to bake the fruit cakes ahead for helpers, I found that was an area that quickly became expensive if I did not have anything prepared.

    Have a great weekend everyone, Jane and Maria enjoy your trips :)

    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen, It is so lovely to hear a Mum happy to have school holidays. We loved them too! So many do not want the kids home or around. We made the most of every day! We did do things but also I let the kids rest and they used to have a growth spurt often in holidays.
      From farm life I learned to feed the workers. Now in the city I still always did, everyone works better and happier well fed. And I know I am going to need helpers at times!
      Enjoy the holidays and not having to rush around it will be beautiful! With love

  5. Another great week for you Annabel. We bought a bed 26 months ago - it was almost six thousand dollars but there was a 50% off sale. It is king size, luxurious and a treat to get into. IT is definitely worth the money. I am glad you are not achy any more. Staying in other people's beds and not being achy is a good way to determine that your own bed is past it. I have just written down the recipe, looks great. I'll make it next week. I have so much time these days, I am using it to learn and learn. This morning an order came from Plant Therapy. I got 17 bottles of essential oil. Just made up a purse size spray bottle of the tranquil synergy blend. Oh my it's gorgeous. I'd purchased a tranquil blend from somewhere else and it made me feel about as tranquil as a bee in a bottle. It's a pleasant enough smell but not tranquil, this one on the other hand, I'm breathing slower and deeper. I love it. I have got some really nice oils now, I hate to be such a slavish follower, but you brining the home pharmacy to us this year is exactly what I have had on my list to do. So I really appreciate the information you have put out there and the confidence to go and buy some oils and experiment. Thank you.
    Your fruit cakes look delicious.
    We have a huge fire going out the front at the moment. A massive gum was dead and my son winched it out with his 4wd. It came out roots and all. The root ball is taller than me. So today it's burning day. I have just come inside to heat up the meat pies I made from the slow cooker. Again thank you. I never would have thought to buy one if it weren't for you and the delicious meals we have so far had have been so worth it, and talk about money saving.
    Things are going along speedily here in preparation for our move too. I feel you will be there before I am though.
    Well, have a great weekend. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fi, I agree about the bed. What a difference. I hate to admit it but as we get older this all matters more! Ours arrives Tuesday!
      I love Plant Therapy. It sounds like you have already found some oils just right for you. It takes experimenting. It is weird... it is not just smell but how they make you FEEL. I am addicted to some of my oils now and use at least nightly. I have a few groups... the germ killing, sore throat preventing ones.... the help me sleep and be calm ones... the ones I use when I have aches and pains. I am still learning too.
      I love a fire! Wonderful to have all that wood! I am really thrilled for you with the slow cooker too. While you are doing other things your meals are cooking away...
      I love that we are both moving, planning whole new lives... many parallels here as both having to learn new ways with health. It is exciting, scary and busy all at once! Have a beautiful weekend! With love

  6. I need a new bed it is on the wish list. Pretty proud of myself this week with my planning forward my new work hours and pay have kicked in and im sure I will be able to cope okay.

    Took my partner to the movies with free tickets from doing surveys we took bottled water, chocolate bars and potato chips that I bought on special all up it cost $2.70 each. We had a lovely day.

    Four weeks ago I put $500 pocket money in my purse I was hoping it would last until 5th August. Well I haven't spent anything yet I have used vouchers and survey gift cards to buy enough shampoo to last over a year. pay pal cash paid for strawberry plants, blackberry and raspberry canes. I'm still looking for something new to me to take away on my holiday but by looking in op shops I know I will get a great deal and I am also donating to each shop when I look. I'm planning to get 300 things out of the house by Christmas. I have cashed in $80 of loose coins have eaten out of the freezer all week and life is looking good. Hope all have a happy blessed weekend. Leanne

    1. Dear Leanne, You did have a bargain outing and good day!
      Our bed comes Tuesday, I cant wait. I think maybe best sales would be mid year then after Christmas. We got 60% off. Sow hen you are ready shop around and wait for half price sales. Also the big places seem to have sales sometimes of the ends that have been on the show room floor therefore have been sat on etc... at INCREDIBLE prices.
      I like your challenges! This reminds me I have saved $2 coins and I am going to bank them... I cant wait to see what they come to!
      Well done! You had a great week! With love

  7. Dear Annabel,
    I just love your decorating style and never get sick of looking through old posts for inspiration. It sure is a feast for the eyes. I have been thinking about painting some of my timber furniture white to give it a bit of a lift. Do you have any suggestions on type of paint as there are so many shades of white available?
    I love the recipe journals you have done for your daughters. I have been culling a lot of my recipe books and just copying pages here and there that I use. I find that I keep going back to my favourites and never try the rest (love simple cooking). It is liberating, just stripping things back to what I use often, things I know and love, getting rid of all the clutter that slows me down and causes me to procrastinate.
    It is wonderful news that you will be moving to the country. I wish you all the best for your move and I'm so glad you will still be posting from Bluebird Farmhouse. It sounds like such an adventure.

    1. Dear Del, Thank you so much! I am always painting something white. I also have painted and sold furniture. Now you can get a lot of specialist paints and chalk paint is very popular for an antique finish. You can also easily make chalk paint, you can google how to do that. But all I have ever used is plain ceiling white. There are hundreds of whites but they are all tinted with a colour. I get white with no tint at all. Just plain ceiling white. It is perfectly flat/matte. Sometimes I water it down. It is scary painting something and generally the first coat looks AWFUL and you are wondering what have you done!? lol But I hate dark anything so I have nothing to lose. Usually I rub the edges with sandpaper to give it a worn look. I always used to use wax to highlight these worn bits. Chalk paint normally is waxed at the end too. It looks good but it is a nightmare to clean... as wax is somewhat sticky. So now I do not use wax except perhaps on a frame or candlesticks... not furniture I might really want to wipe down or scrub. Also my next tip is I never prepare the surface or sand anything lol some of my best effects have come from a slight crackle because of varnish underneath. People say oh how did you get this gorgeous finish. Complete lack of any effort to prepare surface is the sad answer.
      In my future from house I most likely will still have white, no tint. Chloe started with her house and tried several whites. She said one looked slightly blue in certain lights, one looked hello, one looked green. I told her to throw away hr chart and just get tins of plain untinted. Finally she had actual white that doesnt throw a shade of anything.
      We also tend to go back to basic recipes over and over.
      Thank you so much! I cant wait to go over to Bluebird Farmhouse! I am so excited! With love

  8. Hi Annabel and you had a good week and have started already to plan for your move with some lovely starter plants for the garden :).

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $1294.73 last week in savings.

    Here is how we feathered our nest and saved this week.

    House organisation -
    - Deep cleaned, vacuumed and washed the car and pulled out all the equipment from 3/4's of it and swept it. Still the other 1/4 to go through and organise.

    Financial -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit bank account bringing us to 26.38% of the way there.
    - Listed 23 handmade items and dried herbs picked from the gardens on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $37.95.

    Grocery purchases -
    - On 50% off plus another 5% off using our roadside assist club discount we purchased 24 tins of harvest long life tins of meat and vegetables, 13 tins of spam in various flavours and 1.5 kg of strawberries on special for making jam and received 5 free reusable bags saving $82.80 on usual prices.

    Other purchases -
    - At Rivers we purchased for DH 1 pair of ugg boots, 1 pair of leather ankle boots, 3 long sleeved cotton shirts, and 1 l/s t-shirt for me saving $201.06 or 61% off usual prices.
    - On eBay I purchased 8 pairs total (4 pairs ea) of leather and canvas high ankle work boots for $25.98 a pair delivered saving $912.16 on usual prices. Here in our country town we pay $140 a pair :O.
    - Purchased 6 led light bulbs on 50% off special saving $27 on usual prices. This will allow us to use our solar lanterns less and when we are only briefly going into rooms.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked and dried from the gardens we separated 46 g of French lavender, 28 g of English lavender and 21 g of marigold or calendula flowers saving $15.50.
    - Picked 1.215 kg of cherry tomatoes, 1.214 kg of beetroot and 500 g of carrots saving $21.83 on usual prices.

    All in all a good week of savings.


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, I also have some seeds saved from you for my new garden! I have been saving seeds plus cuttings and baby herbs...
      Your next big milestone will be getting to the 30% savings milestone! Not too far away!
      This is a huge saving on work boots. Yes they are expensive... Can you tell me what brand/type they were? Work boots are already an expense at the farm will be needing more.
      That is a great amount of cherry tomatoes, beetroot ad carrots! Lovely! I cannot wait to be harvesting like this!
      Your savings are just wonderful! Well done on a good week! With much love

    2. Hi Annabel and we purchased the boots for $25.98 ea without postage and then they added the $12.98 postage (probably after I purchased 8 pairs lol and that is including 10% import GST tax) for the first pair but free postage after the 1st pair which makes them cheaper than the others on eBay if you are buying multiple pairs hint hint :).

      Here is the link for you and they come in black and khaki and take note of the sizing as they are EU sizing in men's boots but do have a size guide which is pretty accurate so you just have to measure your feet.


      I hope this helps and they are really comfortable with cushioned soles too and we buy the ones in black and wear them out under jeans as they look like snazzy sand shoes or runners and the khaki ones are for garden and chainsaw work.

      Thank you for your encouragement :).


  9. You’ve been busy, Annabel!! Our summer weather is oppressively hot until a fast moving storm comes through with thunder and lightning and rain!
    I harvested another 20 cucumbers from our garden with more ripening on the vine and I made sweet pickle relish! I made a total of 18 pints of relish to put on my pantry shelves!
    I made up a big canister of basic cookie mix that will speed up cookie making!!
    I bought 24 packs of bottled water for $1.99 so I came home with the 5 cases that we were allowed! To make room, I rotated out about 25 recycled bottles of water in soda and juice bottles from 2010!
    A friend offered us 3 wooden pallets and some leftover construction sand if we could come and pick it up! We did (even though we don’t have a truck and brought home The pallets and 600 pounds of sand in recycled plastic buckets we have!).
    We already started using the pallets and have a client picking up 2 monogrammed wedding trays made from a small portion of the wood!
    We used some of the sand to sweep between the bricks that have built a new walkway in our side yard. After mucking our the chicken coop, I used more of the sand to add to the coop as clean flooring!
    I estimate that these two gifts (pallets and sand) have already represented about $200 in value so far and we still have more sand and pallet wood left!
    Our local county has a “community backyard” program to encourage recycling (water and compost) and landscaping with native perennial plants, bushes and trees! If you take their short on-line class and pass the quiz afterwards, you receive a $50 voucher to buy a rain barrel, composter or plants! Since we already have the two first items, we opted to use our $50 for plants! Someone online mentioned on the 4th of July that Home Depot had all of their perennials, bushes and trees on sale for 50% off!
    So we bought $116 worth of plantings that will live for years for only $8 OOP!! We are thrilled!!
    I made two quilt tops this week. These will be used as presents later.
    All the usual other things- eating from home, making mixes, washing ziplocs bags, etc.
    You inspire me with your clever and lovely feathering of your nest! Good luck with your preparations to move to the farm!! I can attest that it’s possible for anyone to feather their nest and become more self reliant no matter what their circumstances or where they live! Just opening our eyes to possibilities starts us on that path! Hope you have a lovely week!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, As soon as you said sand I thought oh the will be good with the brick paths! All your free stuff has transformed your yard!
      The cucumbers just wow to pick 20! I saw your quilts... I am amazed at what you get done in a day. More than me. You are a good example of what we can do.
      I so much agree with you... we need to open our eyes, learn learn learn, take every opportunity! We can do so much to get ahead and be prepared too. Make hay while the sun shines!
      What a great week! I hope the new week will hold lots of good things! With love and thanks,

  10. Good morning Annabel,
    I hope your new bed gives you sweet dreams and no aches.
    I love reading all your homemaking doings. ❤️ I’m frustrated with our busy summer and ready for some stay at home and do home things days.

    1. Dear Rhonda, I have to say I am enjoying winter. Summer is very busy here too. But I love the seasons for the changes too. I love home days and staying home for sure!
      Our bed arrives on Tuesday. I cannot wait! Will do us good I think! Thank you! With love

  11. Annabel,
    Your cake, cookies and fruit cakes look delicious.
    I make a chocolate cake called That Chocolate Thing, it takes a pound of butter, a pound of semisweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons flour, 6 eggs, a cup of sugar and 1/3rd cup water. I only make it on holidays, but it is one of the Family favorites.

    This week has been a week of no-spend, we were to already be in the middle of travel but plans changed instantly. So after already having been packed and house cleaned to leave, I took the opportunity to work on crocheting presents, I finished a kitchen set for one DIL and working on another. So it has been a productive week. We took my Son and his children out for his 40th birthday since temperatures were 100 degrees out, We all had a wonderful time and my Son showed off his afghan present to all at work the next day.
    We were able to make the leftovers from dinner out last for 3 additional meals, helping us stretch are budget and not heat the house up with our high temperatures.
    Now we are ready to leave for a work trip, unfortunately no thrift store shopping on this trip, but I will take the opportunity to work on Christmas presents while in hotel room.
    Prayers for a great weekend for you and yours.

    1. Dear Rosanne, I will try this cake and I love the name lol! I will just try it with GF flour as its only a tiny bit. Thank you! If your family like it I know it will be a good recipe.
      I LOVE leftovers. Three additional meals is good!
      I also love that you use your travel time so constructively, thrift shop, work on Christmas presents etc. I thought your sons gift would be a big hit. That was an heirloom creation!
      Have a great new week... I know you are travelling now! Have safe travels. With love,

  12. Dear Annabel,
    Your baking looks delicious. I make a version of the flourless chocolate cake and use semi-sweet chocolate chips. It's so delicious. Harper is going to have so much fun making "jewelry" with you. You've been building so any fantastic memories with her.

    We have been having a two week heat wave. I've jokingly said it's our Australian summer as temps have been 100 degrees F and above. Today we're supposed to get rain and a cold front to cool us off to the mid 80 degrees F.

    With all of the heat and humidity we've spent very little time, if any outdoors. As a result I'm getting a lot done in my sewing room. This is my second year of the "use it up challenge" I set up for myself and it's going great in using up fabric. The little upcycled denim and embroidered clutch purses have been a real hit with my friends to store their roller bottles of essential oil in for traveling or just to have in their larger bags.

    All meals have been cooked at home. With the heat we've been doing mostly cold salads. I do get up very early in the morning to bake scones, muffins and breads to go with these cold meals. July 4th was my husband's birthday and I baked him a grain free carrot cake with cream cheese icing, carrot cake being his favorite.

    The garden is doing well, even with the heat and more chard was harvested, some eaten raw in salads and some frozen for winter. More peppers got dehydrated, and we had your Nana's casserole last night using zucchini and tomatoes from the garden and baked in the toaster oven rather than heating up the kitchen. I have a large toaster oven, which is a terrific handmaiden, that will bake up to a 13x 9 inch pan in it. It's so handy.

    Lavender from the 3 lavender plants that were put in this year have produced and I harvested more and they're drying. It is the hope to have enough dried buds to add to soaps and make some small sachets this year. Next year I think the flowers will be more abundant and lavender wands can be made. Lots of basil got harvested this week as well.

    Wishing all a great weekend. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Harper is going to be crafty I think. She inherited the gene! haha! Well she did love making necklaces... we made one for her, Mummy, me and Nan Nan Pat. Then she started she wanted to go to the farm to give Nan Nan hers. Two hours later she was still saying she wants to go to the farm!
      The it is really hot Pretty much give up outside except to water in the evenings.
      I loved your denim purses and they would be perfect to keep roller bottles. Just lovely. That was maybe the most frugal craft ever!
      Even though I am doing so badly just now on blogging do still send me photos ok!? I love to see and will still use them as we will have show and tell sometime.
      I cant wait to show you our farmhouse. I think it wont be too long now before we can get in there and assess what we have and what needs doing. We know the location is great, the setting is great, the garden space is AMAZING.... there are trees all around... but we dont know the inside. So it is exciting and nerve wracking.
      I love lavender and basil so hearing about this makes me thing or warmer weather... even though summer isn't my favourite the fruits and produce are!
      Have a good new week! With much love

  13. Annabel, That flourless chocolate cake is wonderful. I had a slice in a restaurant years ago on a special occasion and I remember how delicious it was. You are wise to be preparing to feed the helpers when you move. Everyone will be starving with all the work. Thankfully you will not be moving in the heat of summer.

    We referred a friend to our A/C service company when they had to have a new heat pump installed and we were pleasantly surprised to receive a handwritten thank you and a check for $250 from the company this week. It was just in time to help pay for the repairs at the body shop from the big tree limb smashing into our vehicle.

    Our surplus grocery store has just started to stock coolers of dairy items and juices so a stop was made there this week. We saved 75% and more on most items such as orange juice for 99 cents that is regularly $5 a bottle. Milk is even 99 cents a gallon with good long dates. They also have a huge bread isle at $1 a package for the few bread items that we buy. We also found large boxes of sea salt that I use for bread making for 1/3 the price of the regular grocery store. This store continues to save us so much money because we are willing to go and take the time to look and bring home the deals.

    We only spent 30% of our eat out budget in June so the leftover funds go into our vacation budget for special getaways. etc. We have had many meals out for just $2-4 lately. There is so much competition that the deals and coupons just keep on coming. The vacation fund builds up over time for our anniversary or some other such occasion. We would like to do something fun like camp at Disney World in the new to us camper van. We don't care to go into the theme park area but love the camping there because there is so much to do. My family lives near there so we could just add that onto a trp to visit them.

    Tuesday evening we enjoyed a free outdoor concert with a brass quintet. We enjoyed a holiday meal for the 4th of July at home in our screen porch. One morning we ate breakfast on the porch swing watching a bluebird come and go from the birdhouse feeding her baby birds. It is the little things that make life enjoyable. We live in an area where we have Cicadas that are loud in the woods at night but to us it is music to sleep by and it means summer.

    Our tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes. They are really running late this year but at least there is the promise of a harvest now. The basil is finally big enough to harvest.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Dear Lana, Yes I really hope to have moved before the heat. Summer is full on a the farm too so we will be straight in the deep end!
      How wonderful to get that money as a thank you!
      You did great on bargains! Also on your grocery savings for the month of June! That was a big saving!
      You have a bluebird and babies! How I would love to see that! Our sort of equivalent is the Blue Wren. At the farm I am hoping we will have blue wrens in our garden. HOPING. Mum does and she is not too far away...
      The tomatoes sound promising! I adore basil. I will be planting so much basil this summer. I can smell it now! What a good week! I hope the new week will hold lots of savings and good times too! With love

  14. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, that cake and biscuits look delish!

    We have had a few days off at home this week as a mini-vacation. It has been really nice to just relax together, read, and work on some crafty stuff.

    I harvested butternut squash, peas, and herbs from the garden - and spotted my first baby melons! There are lots of flowers on the melon vines, so I am very hopeful. I baked some chocolate chip cookies and have been making big salads with grilled chicken and pasta for us to enjoy this week - it saves us $40 to eat at home each time! A plain side salad is $7-$9 now. I also cleaned both bathrooms and gave everything a good scrub.

    For crafts, the Black Hat Society Halloween cross-stitch is getting so close to done! I've also been working on a pair of socks, a laceweight shawl, and a fun scarf that uses two colors of gradient yarn and makes beautiful blending stripes - I picked pinks for one skein and lavender greys for another.

    I did a little shopping - my husband suggested we stop by the craft store to look for a magnifier to help me with smaller counts of fabric - I've been very near-sighted my whole life and my eyes do get tired after some stitching, even though I'm still relatively young. Well, the shop had 40% off the magnifiers and an extra 15% the day we were there, so I got mine for $13.99! I also got a nice set of piping tips with a case and practice board with lots of worksheets for $20 on clearance, and two chocolate molds for $1.47 each. My husband also had a $10 off coupon (he is a sweetie and put the craft store apps on his phone). Success! I can't wait to get better at decorating cakes

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Your mini vacation sounds so nice!
      Your garden sounds like it is going great! I cannot wait to be able to grow pumpkins... I have a thing about pumpkins and seeing the first baby ones forming would honestly be thrilling for me so I understand how happy it is to se baby melons!
      Your cookies sound amazing too. Rating at home saves a lot. In nice weather I often do a picnic and bake a quiche or something, make a salad. and go to the beach or a drive. There are so many ways to save and really this is healthier!
      I now find the small work on embroidery projects hard going. It sounds like I need a magnifier too. I am going to check into this as I really would like to get back to more embroidery. Thanks for that idea.
      You have also given me the idea to get watching some instructional videos on cake decorating... this is an area I really would like to improve on!
      That was a good week! I hope you are having a lovely weekend and will have a great new week! With love

  15. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds ,
    Thank you for another lovely glimpse into your life Annabel, you always have such great weeks savings and otherwise.
    The baked custards you make in the slow cooker always look so good , as does all your other cooking and baking.
    It's been another great savings week for me :
    I received two meals from my parents$20 savings at least.
    I received some more free craft goodies from my local news agency , they give me some craft items , they are allowed to give away the craftgoodies that come with the magazines they do not sell.i was given a clear stamps et and an embossing folder ( the embossing folder can be used with my sizzix big shot craft machine).i was also given a booklet of pretty papers and embellishments , I received more than one set of each thing . I am sharing these with friends. I would say I saved about $30 for all that I was given.
    The big saving for the week was when I received the wheeled walker I had applied for , I was given this for free through MASS ( medical aids subsidy scheme) , the walker I got are $300 to buy in shops so a $300 savings there!!.
    I bought some reduced to clear groceries yesterday and saved about $20 .
    My parents bought some bakery treats for morning tea one day and would not let me pay anything, my share would be about $5 .another day my parents paid for takeaway as a treat and again would not let me pay anything , my share would have been about $7 .
    I had my usual subsidised home help services, saving me approximately $170 compared to hiring private home help.
    I had a bulk billed appointment saving $70.
    I got my medication free ( 5 scripts) , saving me at least $30.i had other grocery savings of $25 .
    I bought a gift reduced , saving me $15 .
    I had free transport from my mum and dad , saving me at least $70 in taxi fares
    My savings this week add up to $752 , I am very very happy with that .
    I hope everyone has a lovely weekend .love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb, It is fantastic the newsagents will give you the craft items. I know the magazines with the free items and sometimes they are really good things! There sounds to be great card making supplies amongst those!
      Well done on applying for something you need and getting it! The MASS sounds like a good scheme to help people!
      Your parents are so supportive and all the little things they do for you are a big blessing. It is a financial help but also just the general help, love and company that must make your week so much nicer. You had an amazing week! I hope you are having a rest over the weekend and the new week will be really good too! With love and thanks,

  16. Dear Annabel,
    You have so many exciting happenings with the wedding and the move to the farm!

    The handwritten books with photos and tips will be treasured gifts! A couple of tips I thought of are to use extra buns or bread for making garlic toast, French bread or bread pudding. Also, check your receipts before you leave the store. I have had numerous times when a error has been made.

    Some of the things I've been doing: altered some shorts so my husband will wear them; made a big batch of meatballs using ground beef from the freezer and ground turkey purchased at 75% off; made a pitcher of peppermint tea with mint from the garden; bought only a few groceries at sale prices along wtth coupons, senior discounts and other savings; gave my pantry a bit of freshening and clean-up which brought to my attention a couple of things I had more of than I realized; read about it on-line and froze some cantaloupe we weren't going to be able to finish before it went bad.

    I am continuing working on getting photos in albums. I am using photo sleeves that fit in 3-ring albums so both the photos and pages can be taken out and rearranged very easily. My daughter brought me some stickers and sheets of scrapbook paper that were being given away that she thought I would like. I'll enjoy using them on a few pages.

    Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!
    Love from Arizona,

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Garlic bread is something I will add to my list! With toasting, drying, re heating most bread can for sure have a second run!
      Getting photo albums up to date can be a big job. I try to do printing and albums once a year. I think this is a good idea.... a whole generation will have no photos as they trusted "the cloud" and used memory sticks which deteriorate quite quickly and are so easily lost and not labeled clearly and so on. I already know people who lost all the baby photos as they were on their phone!
      You did a lot for the week, very well done! With love

  17. Annabel,
    LOL I don't care much for dark chocolate either and always switch it out in recipes. I know I am behind so some of this will be for the last few weeks so you don't think I have been lazy with saving. The garden is doing well so far so I am hoping it continues and we have lots of savings there. I saved quite a bit with mark downs and coupons I got several freebies with coupons like 2 bags of dog food, ice cream, juice and ravioli. To product test I got another bra this one $21 and 2 bags of dog food $20, 10 jars of peanut putter $20. I earned $60 in gift cards and used the Amazon ones to order a few pretties. I earned more Kmart points and used those to get another waste basket and 2 nice door mats one I put in the gift trunk. We got chicken legs on special for .49 a pound and bought enough to fill the big roaster and made the dogs food. Dry food is used just for some carbs. I always put some apple cider vinegar in it to get a good bone broth and canned that. I used the oven twice and filled it full each time not just baking one thing. I do have too keep an eye on things, but I get ahead on meals. I picked mulberries off our tree and made cobblers one for us and one to share. The raised bed for the strawberries is done and cost us nothing we were given the wood and I like it. I do need to amend the soil though. I was gifted 3 dozen canning jars. All laundry is hung out on nice days and Rick has been making sure I add his savings each week. By doing this he has also found ways that he can do a little better. I used a promotional code to get 20 free prints plus free shipping and had some photos printed $5 and I got several samples in the mail. LOL sorry to be so windy I wanted to catch up some.

    1. Dear Vicky, I know you have been doing a lot of work in your garden! I hope it is going to pay you back big time!
      I love that you have a Mulberry tree! I love Mulberries! They are hard work to pick though!
      It was great about the photos and also thatRick finds adding things up to be motivating. I feel the same about this. You have been doing very well and decluttering too! Have a beautiful weekend! With love

  18. I didn’t get ahead this week, but I am very greatful and happy that I had started to build up my pantry because my husband lost his job, and I be only had to go to the store for milk and eggs. I’m cleaning out/using up what’s in my freezer and pantry and have had no problem putting meals together. I’ve also got plenty of flour, sugar, butter and other baking necessities so I can bake some “comfort” goodies. I don’t have a huge stockpile, but enough to get us through for at least a month or so until he finds work or his business starts bringing in some money. You just never know, do you? A crisis could happen any time, and just a small surplus is a blessing and a relief! Thank you for all the information you share with us 😊😊

    1. Dear Kathy,
      I am so sorry to hear your husband lost his job! Well done on having your pantry stocked. This can happen to anyone anytime. The other day someone I know had this happen. She was so shocked too. But she was well prepared and her husband had a new job within a week! I could feel her relief. So I hope and will pray your husband also finds work again soon or else his business will take off with him having time on it.
      Many people live with no pantry, no savings, no backup. To me a well stocked pantry is like money in the bank! I hope this week has better news! With much love

  19. Hi Annabel,your chocolate cake looks so nice & easy to put together, this Saturday is chocolate day,and folk were giving out blocks of chocolate in the city,i wish i was there, lol Ways i got ahead this week i made up some miracle spray and put this into spray bottles for cleaning.
    cleaned my office space so its neat for the week, washed my car by hand last weekend, and now waiting for another sunny day to wash it again,i cleaned inside the car also so iam organized for work.
    transferred some more money into my savings account.
    for dinner tomorrow night iam cooking sweet n sour chicken its also gluten free from Caths recipe file,some will be for lunches
    have a wonderful weekend xo

    1. Dear Melissa, I am going to go find that recipe! I really like sweet and sour! You havee been really organised with your cleaning and car. I love a clean and fresh car. You just feel so much better. Miracle Spray makes everything small so nice.
      Well done also on your savings! Have a good new week! Love

  20. Dear Annabel, I am late to the commenting as we had a busy weekend, but had to say that your photos are glorious. What is it about food photos, that makes one feel so content I wonder? We've had a great few weeks, but a bit overly busy for my liking. Still that's life, I guess. We've saved a lot of money in June though, despite several significant celebrations, so you've got to be happy wit that. Well done to everyone this week. Have a lovely Monday! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      I notice on blogs, instagram etc I LOVE to see eggs, chickens, bunches of fresh produce, baskets, cooking, jars... even clothes on clotheslines! Cookbooks often have glorious images. So one day I realised somehow these humble things are inexplicably so beautiful! And yes content!
      I hope you have a great new week. I am off to a fairly good start so far! With much love

  21. Hi, this is a small tip, but I thought I’d share. We make pizzas on Sunday nights. I make a big batch of dough, enough for three pizzas, and put one third of the dough in the freezer. I have always put whole pepperoni on the pizzas, but recently I started using my kitchen shears to cut the pepperoni into fourths, like if you put them in a big stack you can cut them up real quick. We like the pizza better this way, little bites of pepperoni, and I am able to use less on each pizza, so I put the extra cut up pepperoni in the freezer along with the extra dough. It puts me ahead just a little, and allows for a quick pizza lunch sometime through the week if we want. -Amy

    1. Dear Amy, This is a really good tip. Mimi often mentions slicing things thinner so you get extra serves. Cutting things in bits, smaller pieces etc works so well too! Really you are getting a free pizza at the end! Well done! Thank you! Love Annabelxxx

  22. Hello Annabel
    You are amazing, you get so much done, your energy levels must be really high! Thanks for another lovely and motivating post. Have a great weekend x

    1. Dear Amanda, Thank you! I dont think I have high energy levels though. I am just terrible in the mornings. Over the years I have battled migraines and anaemia and asthma. I get a lot done in bursts and never have tv on in the day or anything like that. I think it is more motivation than energy! I look at today as an opportunity I might not get tomorrow. Thank you so much! With love

    2. Winter won't last forever and the mornings are a lot easier when it's warm! I never used to have tv on during the day but it's growing on me. I love sitting and doing a bit of knitting or crochet as a reward when I've got some stuff done :) Mostky une been watching YouTube on homesteading or documentaries on veganism/environmentalism (I'm not even close to vegan but reducing meat), and have devoured The Handmaid's Tale and River Cottage Australia.


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