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 16 April 2015

Feather your Nest Friday. 17th April, 2015.

How was your week?! I really love Fridays for the reason that making a list of everything I did achieve is a celebration. Usually I feel pretty good then. I mention this as several times in the week I read on blogs how so many ladies feel depressed and overwhelmed at all they have to do, by their lists, by all the work in front of them. On a few I added my comment that if we don't stop and look at all we did and feel proud of ourselves and the results, well, then, no wonder people feel overwhelmed. It would be like endlessly working with no pay day!

Pay day for me is having some idea of the value, both monetary and spiritual, of all my efforts. Mimi frequently works out the dollar value. ie if I had purchased that meal instead of making it the cost would have been $$?? Or for me this week, if Andy had bought coffee and lunches the cost would have been  probably between $50 and $70. However, I packed lunches and sent coffees each day saving most of that money. That is just ONE thing. Add them all together and see how much it is! It might be a worthwhile challenge for a week. List all the things you do where the alternative is to buy that product or service. List the savings on each one and see what your work saved your family. Maybe we all need to do that now and then!

But "pay day" is also realising all the other benefits. I like to have things organised and looking nice. I am HAPPIER when my surroundings reasonable. Other payoffs are too many to list... a welcoming home, a comforting sanctuary, a place the family are proud of, a place people feel safe, healthy food on the table... there are just so many things about our homes that make them something far beyond a house.

All these things are building up our home and feathering our nests!

Some of the ways I saved money this week were:

I made lots of pasties for meals and the freezer and I used left over pasty for jam tarts. (from some of my summer jams) This is the worlds simplest thing but they look like stained glass windows!

Mum gave me two beef roasts. I can roast them or make casseroles or curries, then pies...

I knew rain was coming and I got the washing all done and dry before it arrived. I dont have a dryer and line dry everything.  Beating the rain and using the last sun feels like a great success!

Then appreciating the rain. Rain on the garden is a saver in itself and better than any watering.

I went through my recipes and found lots that I haven't made in a while that I will start making in the next few weeks. And I found a sausage roll recipe bulked out with grated carrot like my daughter makes and this will be next weeks cook up.

My first scarf is finished and I have started another one.

I said no to some outings and saved the budget and got more work done.

My baby parsley patches have come up everywhere. I have parsley in plague proportions!

Some of the ways I built up our home were:

I added to my pantry... tinned cherries and tinned milk. (evaporated milk). 

I cleaned and cleaned. I had a catch up as I was behind in a few things.

Our hydrangeas were almost finished so I pruned them. I gave a heap of cuttings to a friend and then put all the flower heads in a vase. They are mostly dried but with hydrangeas this is still pretty. And looks "autumny" and lovely. This is a HUGE vase...

Good things...

I met Mel! She lives on the other side of  town to me but we met for coffee and talked and talked! It is funny when you meet someone and you feel so familiar with them from endless chatting online, sharing our lives and weeks. Mel is gorgeous. And she had saved and washed me twenty lovely jars with lids! Does she know me well or what!?

It rained properly and is still raining. That is a great help in itself.

I hope you had a good week and I hope you know how important your work is and what a difference it makes to your family!

Thank you to everyone who added to the freezer meals ideas. The list just grew and grew and I have some new things to include in my own freezer. Thank you!

How did you save money and build up your home this week?

Have a great weekend and some well earned rest. xxx


  1. Ok so crime caramel it is then! Annabel how nice to meet Mel and a bumper crop of jars too. I have just sat down at midday, have done the washing and have cooked up a really nice quiche which I will freeze in slices and dole out for next week's lunches. Also have half a dozen nice round potatoes in the oven at the same time. Making potato in jacket with cheese and bacon and sour cream (it's ok, it's light sour cream!) for dinner, so will just warm through the spuds rather than run the oven twice. I went to the op shop this morning as I've recently sponsored a ringtail possum and I offered to make pouches. they sent me home with a pouch and I'm going to copy them. Have only just begun sewing again after a long break. But dribs and drabs is good. I bought a huge piece of fleecy for $3. So instead of pouches feathering MY nest, they are feathering the ringtail possum's nest. I love the thought of that. That pie you inspired me to make for dinner last night was all gone by breakfast. I cut it in half for him and he ate it, I didn't do veggies, it was just pie last night and I had a quarter and the other quarter he had for breakfast and reported he would do well working outside today with such a good protein start. Nah, it's just he's a man and men love pies. Love that Andy is a bit lacklustre when just soup is mentioned but brightens up with the mention of sausage rolls.
    This is really sexist anti feminist or whatever people might think, but I did love so much the ten years when I was a full time homemaker for my (ex) husband and two kids. I loved doing all the domestic things and having meals made always and things in the freezer and clean beds and clean clothes and clean floors. It was my job then and I treated it as such and it was wonderful being home with the children. I still love it and I love getting inspiration and ideas from you. The next thing I want to try is the sweet potato fritters on mimi's blog. Have a great weekend. x

    1. Dear Fiona, The recipe for Crime Caramel will be in an upcoming post!
      Your cooking sounds just delicious.
      I totally understand loving homemaking. Treating it like an important job (which it is) makes it very satisfying. I always wanted to have children and once I had them I loved being home with them and didnt want to miss a thing. It was such a happy time. Hard work but happy!
      The possum pouches sound very sweet. I have had a baby Kangaroo but not a possum. I think they would be very cute. That is a nice sewing project. It reminds me of a little birds nest I have... it looks a bit messy on the outside and there is an entrance but you cant see inside it. It is a Wrens nest. Anyway curiosity got me so I put my finger inside it. And inside is lined with tiny feathers and is the softest thing I have ever felt! Soo so sweet. It is lovely. So birds and animals have the loveliest little places for their babies and imagine inside a pouch!
      I hope you are having a good weekend. It is drizzling here and I am working on my crochet blanket and making a crumble. Love

    2. And again, you inspire me Annabel, I've just made 50 sausage rolls and 18 mini meat pies. Good freezer stuff. I must ask ds if they have eaten the lasagna's I made for them. Made five in glass casserole dishes and froze them and took them down when they had the baby. So far one dish has come back clean and the report that it was yum thanks mum. Maybe I should send some sausage rolls down to them. Have just made a batch of hedgehog as well to give them. Must call it quits now as he's watching the continental train journey show, and I will go sit on the couch in front of the fire. I love the wren's nest you got to feel. The intricacies of their nests is astounding isn't it? Made to withstand rain and wind and weight of the parent bird and eggs and babies. Like you say on the top of your blog, little birds are always busy. Anyway enjoy your crumble and I'm guessing it's Chloe's blanket you are working on. Needs pics soon. xx

    3. Fiona wow! I thing 50 sausage rolls in the shops would be $160 dollars or something do you realize!? This is how home cooking adds up to our savings, besides being prepared, saving trips and being yummy! What a good job! My plan is to make a few dozen this week... maybe I need to up the anti!
      Not to mention all the other cooking!
      Yes the blanket is this epic Moroccan Wedding blanket creation and there has been a few hitches with it, some unpicking and muttering under my breath. Anyway I am about half way... I will post pics at the end. Jacqui saw one in a gift store and sent me a picture and it was $1200!
      Have a good day... back to the blanket for me! xxx

  2. It is easy to become overwhelmed by all the things there is to do. And it is so easy to forget all that we have done. It really is helpful to pause and review just what was done during the week, that is why your Friday post is so important. This week I baked matrimonial slice, and butterscotch muesli slice and zucchini slice. I added bits and pieces to the zucchini slice - grated carrot, some semi-dried tomatoes and sweet chilli cream cheese, in order to use up what I had on hand. I made some progress on my knitted scarf. All meals during the week were made from scratch. I did not need to buy any meat when I did the grocery shopping as we had all that we needed in the freezer. I compared the grocery catalogues and decided what items I would buy from each store. I bought extra coffee and organix shampoo for the 'pantry' stockpile as they were both on a good special. I bought a glass storage jar at a second hand shop for $1.20 and now I just have to source some little succulents to put in the jar as per your post a while ago. I did splash out and purchase a dymo labelwriter this week as I am a bit tired of staring at containers of frozen food trying to work out which meal is inside the container. So now I shall label things containers as I fill them. I will also put my name on containers I take to work so they won't be appropriated by others. I also continued to make progress on my permaculture course. I bought two strawberry plants and some potting mix for planting and I bought some tomato seedlings.

  3. The hydrangeas are beautiful. One of my favorites! I saved money by shopping at a resale store for "summer" shirts for my kids. I got 7 VERY nice shirts, almost like new, for my young son, 3 shirts for myself, and 2 skirts for super cheap! They were a necessity as we had no shirt sleeves. I also said no to outings as well that could have cost of money.

    In the home...I focused on keeping basics done as I finish out this few weeks left at work. We also started our yard mowing and flower bed work. I cleaned my car really good because we had a huge snow about month in half ago and it is just now getting warm and staying that way. So the car got a good cleaning.

    1. Chrissy life will change so much in the following weeks. Your re sale store shopping was very successful!
      My car needs a good clean too... it makes such a difference.
      You had a great week, well done! Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Hydrangeas are one of my favourite flowers (daisies are the other one) They are such pretty colours and the huge flower heads make beautiful displays.

    Annabel I like how you put a price on all the things you do. I'm often asked how young mums or we older wives, mums and homemakers can afford to stay at home, everyone "needs" a second income. When I get them to work out how much they are actually contributing in dollar value to their household, after taking into consideration the real costs (childcare, fuel, fares, clothing, convenience meals, items bought at full price because they are too tired to shop around, ironing service, cleaning service and so on) most of my trainee Cheapskaters are stunned to find out they are actually going backwards instead of forwards - and they're working 38 hours a week on top of their home duties for the privilege.

    We've been brainwashed into thinking we can't live a good life without a double income, that we can't look after our children ourselves, that the food we grow ourselves and prepare from scratch isn't as good as the expensive ready-made meals available in supermarkets, that homemade clothing is inferior and out of style, that DIY is a hobby and not a way of life and it is not true.

    In just one generation the ability to look after ourselves, our families and our homes have been almost forgotten.

    I love that you are sharing your tasks in such a beautiful way and encouraging others to try "new" old ideas.

    1. Dear Cath, There used to be an online calculator that helped Mothers calculate their earnings less child care, less tax, less easy or take away meals, dry cleaning, uniforms, pantyhose, transport and every thing you can think of that subtracts from the true earnings. Then it divided what was left by the number of hours you were working. It was on Crown Ministries but they dont appear to have it any more. I directed so many people to it.
      My friend did it with me. She was earning under $3 an hour in truth and missing her children who were always miserable and sick and she had a very stressful life. All for $3 an hour!
      Then I sat with her and we worked out ways she could save or make $3 an hour from home (which was easy.. make her own gifts, cards, cook from scratch...)
      A calculator like this would be a huge asset to Cheapskates if you could figure one out... as what you say is exactly true. People are told the need to be contributing financially... and they work so hard and for very little many time sin the end. I dont understand why people do not make these calculations. If they know the numbers then at least its a choice based on facts.
      Mostly I have felt I save more at home than I could make out of it. And I wanted at all costs to be at home. And I still do.
      I know this may not be possible for everyone but it may be possible for some people and they dont know it.
      As you say many are working so hard to go backwards. This is distressing to me.
      You are doing more than your bit to help at Cheapskates. Its help and encouragement. Thats what we all need! Love

    2. Just have to let you know my darling Hannah gave me two packets of beautiful hydrangea stickers and embellishments yesterday - such pretty blues, lilacs and pinks- I've been plotting and planning the beautiful cards I can make with them all day, when I should have been concentrating on my housework and blog work! I can't wait to use them :)

    3. I hope we get to see the results Cath! It sounds like a good distraction to me. My dining room table is covered in card making just now!
      What a nice gift from Hannah. xxx

  5. Hello Annabel, I just love your blog, I found you through Patsy at A Working Pantry. You are very inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. Thank you so much Saundra, I really appreciate that. I love A Working Pantry! A lovely place to meet! Have a lovely weekend and thank you for

  6. Hi Annabel. What a great week for you and how exciting to hear that you and Mel met up! I have found the same thing with blogging just pick up the conversation like you've known each other forever. Those hydrangeas....and the jam tart? Dreamy as always! I've had a really good week. I spent well under my quota on the groceries, so felt good about spending $30 of that on toiletries on special. I scored three times that value in 'on special', 'clearance', and 'marked down' stock of deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, dry shampoo and shaving cream. I also added to my stores of tinned beans, corn kernels, tinned tomatoes, coconut cream and salmon, so my pantry stocks are looking healthy, although not nearly as impressive as yours. My husband made me laugh....I told him that it's our Home Shop, and he asked if that meant he had to hand over money to buy things from there....I should have said! I made lots of lots of healthy snack bags which I blogged about, and made five, yes FIVE gorgeous, glamorous gathered ball cushions, inspired by a posh homewares store I visited last week. My daughter and I are in the middle of making her a gorgeous tulle skirt from a bustle rescued from a vintage wedding dress, and then we're embellishing a cropped cardi with rhinestones and satin ribbon, to wear with it. We also found a 60's beaded top that will go with the tulle skirt too, and a real bargain at just $20. That's her sorted for evening wear for our cruise later this year, for about $40...very happy. I hope everyone had a productive week too...Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi the cushion that you showed on the blog is gorgeous! And you made five! I am nuts over the tulle skirt and cardi with rhinestones.... Chloe is mad about Alannah Hill cardis. And you would know the ones and the price. So embellishing a plain little cardi is the way to go... I am watching out for some more and dreaming of finding something super soft in powdery colours to do this for her.
      I really hope you post pictures of these when finished as they sound really heavenly!
      Well done too on your bargains and stocking up. What a wonderful week. Thanks for sharing this here as it is so inspiring to read! xxx

  7. Wish I could grow hyderangeas but the climate is not good for cool /cold weather plants so I will just have to admire yours on your blog Annabel and how wonderful that you and Mel got to meet.

    Unusual week here - we finally have the shed up - made a 'phone call a couple of days ago to find out when it was happening and was told that nothing had been worked out yet - mentioned that we were away next week and the shed components could grow legs and walk so obviously there was a 'phone call or two and I was told at 6-30 last night that they would be here to put the shed up at 6 am this morning.

    My husband arrived home later than expected last night after being away from work - his mum had made him a cup of coffee so he couldn't refuse so today has been all about the washing.

    Our daughter popped in yesterday which was good - love seeing her and she was 'starving' so made herself a rissole sandwich.

    Yesterday I put some lamb shanks on in the slow cooker and started the savoury mince - will finish it all tomorrow and pop it into the pie dishes and then in the freezer.

    I unpacked some boxes and decided that I didn't need to keep some things so these are now sitting waiting to be dropped off at the op shop.

    I repacked our daughter's small box of cook books after I had looked through them and recorded any recipes that took my fancy - they are now in plastic boxes so the bugs cannot get into them.

    I checked out a cafe that had been closed and now has new people in it - helped the owner to work out where to look for gluten free products.

    Monday was a huge day - my friend is an Avon Lady and has been allowed to go into a new area - we walked the whole area, dropped brochures into letterboxes and recorded all of the house numbers - 3 or 4 town houses on a block of land so lots of letterboxes - 160 brochures dropped and lots of exercise. Thankfully my new sneakers didn't give me blisters.

    We are doing another new area in a couple of weeks time so more free exercise.

    In amongst all of this I knitted another 2 beanies. Have sorted my yarn out to take away with me and am working on finishing a child's jumper that I had started last year.

    One more thing - there is a house for sale around the corner, right on the beach front that has been on the market for a long time - last Saturday I had a walk through with the agent and we discussed why it hasn't sold.

    They want 1.4 million dollars for the house and it needs work on it to bring it up to that level.

    The main thing that I could see was presentation - not a plant or vase of flowers in the house. No towels hanging up on the towel rails - nothing to say 'sit and stay awhile'.

    The agent may just be knocking on the door for my help to get the house looking like it is lived in - it isn't even a show piece - it is confused.

    Next week we are away so I have sausage rolls to make, perhaps some pasties and a few other things as well - the weather is looking like it is going to co operate and it will be a good cooking weekend.


    1. How lovely of you to help your friend cover her new Avon area. And nice exercise too!
      You have reminded me of lamb shanks. I will watch for some at a good price as we love them and also they are something I do a big lot and freeze in twos with heaps of vegies.
      I love that the kids, no matter what their ages, come by starving! Sounds familiar!
      Have a good weekend cooking that sounds

  8. Annabel, reading your posts is like a breath of beauty and contentment and inspiration all wrapped up in a bundle. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Patsi! Have a wonderful weekend. And I hope your Grand daughter is improving rapidly. She has been in my prayers.

  9. My 'to do' list is for the entire week so when the week is over I can see all that I have accomplished and it just feels good to see it all there on the paper.

    Besides the regular grocery shopping I was able to buy 16 boxes of Kleenex for 37 cents a box. This was a needed stock up since we are in the middle of high pollen season and the sniffly noses.

    We cleaned out a storage closet and donated a van load of items to a thrift store. That is our sixth load this year and it feels so good to pass on things that we do not need anymore.

    Have a good weekend!

    1. Dear Lana,
      You sound like me, I like to see the list on paper and see what I have done.
      It was great to get tissues at a price like that!
      Well done on so many donations. I am sure things will help both the store and charity as well as the people who shop there. What a win win. And I am sure when we pass on things we dont really need that other things that we do need seem to come into our lives. Plus it feels so good to clear things out and make space.
      That was a really good week! Have a rest on the weekend!
      Thank you for sharing your savings and

  10. I noticed for the first time that you mentioned you've electric dryer appliance. I recently began not frying my bedsheets in the dryer, yet we've no clothesline. In Manila, I have two foldable drying racks, and one on Guam. I line/air-dry everything now except bath towels. I clip to skirt or pants hangers the bedsheets, folding them over so they don't touch the floor and hang them over the tops of doorframes all over the townhouse or apartment (wherever we are). They add a freshness to the air, and if they air conditioner's on, dry rapidly.

    Hydrangeas... oh, my heavenly goodness. Through my elevates, they fed my soul!

    Hugs and happy weekend,

    1. Hi Kelley! I have no dryer anymore (I used to) and I do have a nice outdoor line. In winter I have a drying rack in the shed and also a small drying rack I use inside. If things are just really damp and wet and I get desperate my Mums house is a street away and I can use her dryer. This is a saviour about four times a year! (including when I do pillows)
      I never thought to use the doors to hang the sheets! That is really clever!
      We are in autumn so hopefully I will have at least odd sunny days for drying my washing for a while yet. Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  11. Dear Mel, it was a joy and blessing to meet you too! When I got home I thought we have so much in common and we didnt even get onto sewing and crafts!
    You are a hardworking and industrious person. Doing now the things you can do and the things you probably are often too busy to do is a good use of this "gap" and I am sure you will get something as your job is filling a vital service and need. I am praying it is fast!
    Any of us can find ourselves in the same situation and thanks to your putting away food in the pantry and freezer you have that as a help now, thankfully. I am glad about the food banks and the arrangement with the school...
    I hope the weekend gives you a chance to rest as you need rest too. And that next week holds the developments you need.
    With love and prayers,

  12. Good Morning Annabel! Have you heard anything from Laine? I thought she was going to begin writing again at the beginning of the year. I was so looking forward to reading her writings again!

  13. Not sure if my comments have been working or not! They just disppear when I publish them. I was just wondering if Laine will be writing again soon. I was looking forward to her writings. Thank you, Annabel. {Sorry about duplicates if you received them.}

    1. Dear Lori,
      Both your comments came through... so I just published this one...
      I am going to write and ask Laine as you are the second person to ask this week. She was going ok and the blog was being constructed but there was a hold up with someones health (who was helping with the blog)
      So I will let you know what she says. I am hopeful it will be up soon as I am really looking forward to it! And I know so many people feel the same!
      with love, Annabel.xx

    2. Dear Lori,
      I wrote to Laine. She has had a hold up and is saying that it is in Gods timing now. I hope it comes to fruition but she can see it cant be rushed. Meanwhile we can still read the old blog... but I do really look forward to new writings from her.
      So hope and pray!
      I am sorry to not be able to deliver better news. Love

  14. Annabel, I LOVE hydrangeas too. We have a few plants and I like to pick four or five big heads to fill a vase. My Grandma would keep the dead flowers as an arrangement too. They always looked lovely.

    How exciting to meet Mel and to receive the blessing of glass jars. I can imagine your excitement.

    Here's what I go up to this week -

    * Made about 150 - 200 sausages rolls for a couple of future family events. I lost track of how many I made.

    * Bought Shapes biscuits on sale for $1.49 a box. We don't eat much in the way of ready made food. This is one of the few exceptions.

    * Sold a dozen eggs.

    * Gratefully received a card making parcel from my friend Annabel. Her blog The Bluebirds Are Nesting is a wonderful source of inspiration for making beautiful things on a budget.

    * Picked about 10 - 12 raspberries every second day.

    * Made about 150 mini quiches for future family events. Of course we all had to sample them and I got the thumbs up from Darren and the girls. The rest of the quiches are in the freezer.

    * Gratefully received some breakfast quiches and pumpkin soup from a friend.

    * Bought some " new " cushions from the op shop for $3.80 each. They are jst the right color for my bed.

    * Made about a dozen more cards with supplies given to me. At this stage they are blank on the inside. I'll stamp them when the occasion arises.

    * Went through some old magazines I have at home and ripped out pages I can use to make more cards.

    * Made a double batch of pizza dough. Each batch makes four pizza bases. We had pizza for tea on Sunday so the remaining six dough balls are in the freezer.

    * Saved lots of warm up water from the shower and poured it into the washing machine. We also saved lots of washing water for the next load.

    * Diluted and refilled the dishwashing liquid bottle.

    * Megan picked up some Easter twine and noodle boxes at 75% off for 60 cents each.

    * Made a double batch of peanut butter choc chip biscuits. I baked some and froze the rest of the dough.

    1. That was a big week Wendy! Next week I am making sausage rolls although not that many, hopefully a few dozen though. They are very handy.
      I am thinking you must have had a lot of eggs to make all the mini quiches and still spare a dozen to sell. How wonderful and helpful.I think eggs are so versatile and full of goodness.
      Thank you for sharing your week. You are always super productive and I think this week was extra productive! xxx

    2. We had to buy eggs to make the quiches. We do this while our chooks are only laying one or two eggs a day. I can buy a dozen eggs from Tasman Meats for $1.99. The eggs our chooks lay are sold for $5 a dozen.

  15. Dear Annabel and friends, I have just spent a delightful half hour "visiting" all your homes. What a wonderful encouragement "Feather your Nest Friday is."
    We are presently away having dental work carried out, so that in itself is a huge saving. While I can't engage in things at home, to some extent, I'm like you Mel in that I am making use of the extra time afforded to me to build my home with ideas.
    Annabel has loaded me up with wonderful suggestions of blogs to read! I thought the other day the blogs that I have read in full number about five. I always read whatever posts come through.
    So often I read bits and pieces everywhere, it's almost like disjointed conversations, so I am slowing down, and thoroughly reading each blog through that I find is worthy of my time.
    Here is an article by Barry Meyers from Stacy Makes Cents Blog. It is one of the favourite blogs for Annabel and myself,
    It works out what is the true contribution/cost of a second wage in the home.
    At this stage in our lives, both my husband and I each work 50%, that is 2 and 1/2 days a week, so it makes one full time wage.
    I learned something years ago, when I heard a friend of my Mum's talking. She said that when her and her husband were first married, they lived with her mother in love for several years madly saving for a house deposit. She worked as a doctor's receptionist, and they lived only on John's income and saved all of hers. She wanted to be full time homemaker and mother, so they started off as they went on.
    When I got some work six years ago, I remembered this, and we have both made it our goal to continue to live on Glen's wage and save as much of mine as possible. We know the day is coming when our income will be reduced again, and we don't want to get used to a higher level of cash in our home.
    I hope that blesses someone!
    Love to you all, Helen

    1. Helen I was a stay at home mum until 2011 when I did a course that was funded by the Government with the catch that I had to return to work. I did the course to help in my volunteering and had no intention of returning to work even though there was just the 2 of us living in Melbourne.

      I ended up with a couple of small jobs here and there throughout the year and the money was used wisely, we still lived as we had before but I didn't have the time to hunt down the bargains that I had been able to find when I wasn't working. In fact working started to become an intrusion on our lifestyle and I didn't like it.

      We have since moved and yes I could find a job in that field quite easily, we have discussed our options and my time is more valuable being here, even though my husband works from home there are times when we are having things done and he is away for work.

      My being home reduces the stress on my husband, the children know that they can pop in and raid the 'fridge and catch up with us - particularly important with our daughter following a couple of things that happened at work last year and eventually I will be working out the bargains that can be found to stretch the budget even further.

      Better head back into the kitchen - the lamb shank meat with rosemary and red wine gravy is cooling so that I can make some pies to pop into the freezer. My husband is going to make the sausage rolls later today, there will be some to take away and some for the freezer. I am sure that our daughter will find everything when she comes over (she is planning to while we are away and use the computer) so not sure just what will be left when we get back.

      The day is beautiful and the washing is drying on my Mrs Peggs line - the plan is to get a proper clothes line in the yard now the shed is up. Just need to sell the other shed first.


    2. Dear Helen,
      It is such a good thing that whatever is going on we can use the time in some good way even if it is to rest, plan, learn and be inspired. And crochet!
      The article by Barry Meyers is very good. I know that I thought I could look after my own children cheaper than anyone else but also BETTER than anyone else. I never trusted a soul except for my Mum. I was very fortunate.
      I adore to have a blog to go to when I am having a rest and cup of tea. I come away full of ideas and energy to do the next thing! They are like a friend coming alongside you. These are the kind of blogs I really like. They also are educational. I am learning learning learning and it is so exciting to learn new things.
      It is raining here (Saturday) and after I finish a few more things I am settling in to crochet and work on this blanket I am working on. I am not sure if the weekend means you get a break from the dentist, I hope so.
      So nice to hear from you while you are away. With love,

  16. It's been a productive week here. I stayed busy and I do count the value of my work. But just as important I think is that we take time at the end of each day to be 'off work'. I always have a quitting time, usually about 6:30p. As well we take Saturday as a day of rest and I truly do little more than slide a pan in the oven to bake or reheat food I've made the day before. I don't do dishes but once that day, usually at day's end. It's a huge help to know I have time 'off'...

    1. Dear Terri, I see you really are trying to stretch the budget at the moment. I like the garden ideas... I think using different containers that are interesting and create height etc in the garden look nice. All kinds of things are potential containers! I have an old kettle full of thyme that looks nice.
      I totally agree with you about time off and holidays. We need that too. In my day I break it up with lunch time and afternoon tea. You feel refreshed and why shouldnt we have breaks the same as any other job? Over all I get much more done. Sometimes for jobs I dont like much I do the flylady thing of set the timer and go for it!
      Thank you for your thoughts I really agree! xxx

  17. Dear Annabel,
    Everything is blissful to read here tonight! Friday night for me in the US. It makes me HAPPY to see all of those gorgeous jars Mel brought you, and what a treat the two of you could meet! I love reading everyone's post, I feel so encouraged. It has been very challenging in my world for over two weeks now. But I think we're coming to a smoother patch. I am so grateful that my spring cleaning several weeks ago has really kept me through these challenging weeks. Bill has helped keep the laundry up with me this past week so I could focus on paperwork and meetings. For those of you who wouldn't mind praying, we are involved in a legal process right now. It is very tiring and taxing, but necessary as well. When we've come thru it I can share a bit more. I truly believe in prayer and ask all who will to please keep my family in your prayers. As far as feathering my nest, for me it's been a time of just keeping head above water. Today was the first day I could really get back into my normal routine and that felt excellent! I was HAPPY to clean the hall bathroom LOL! What a joy to cherish the ordinary. I met my savings goals this week. I gratefully received a pot roast dinner dropped off from a friend. It was delicious, too. I gratefully received help from a friend who is a paralegal. She came over and sorted through files with me for over two hours. She does not yet know, but I will be doing her hair in return! I waxed my bonus-daughter's eyebrows, tonight I steamed her dress from prom tomorrow night. I am so proud of her. My love of treasure hunting has rubbed off on her. She found the most gorgeous lavender floor-length gown at Savers for $20.00! It is halter-style, with a corset back. I promise you, this is a bridesmaids gown from a well known store and was probably $150-$170 retail if I had to guess. Her mother hemmed it for her and had it dry cleaned. A girlfriend of hers who did not have a date asked her to go, so they are having a girl's night to prom! (My bonus daughter is a sophomore, not allowed to prom until Junior or Senior year unless another upperclassman invites you) I think it's wonderful, Bill and I are doing each of the girl's hair tomorrow night. I will polish her nails in the morning. I love what Cath & Helen wrote about money and value, etc. We live in an area where there are "normal" LOL people like us, but there are many families who SEEM to have money, and a few who actually do. Now, let me say that I understand wanting professional hair for events. I'm a stylist, and some people either cannot do their own, or they don't have access to someone who can help. I get that. But there are tutorials now, etc. Paying for limos and professional nails, professional makeup, $300.00 gowns & shoes and bags and flowers and I just don't know how they do all of this. THEN you have to buy the tickets for the event! No, no, no. I love that my girls are thinking differently and doing differently. I'm excited for the "getting ready" time tomorrow. I love that we get to style her friends' hair as well. I treasure these events and love to make the memories sweet! We will have snacks for the girls while they get ready. My mother-in-love comes to watch and take photos etc. Life is good. Annabel, thank you for a lovely Friday post. It's such a joy to come here! xxx Colette

    1. Colette I have been thinking of you! I hope you are near the end of this time. Legal stuff is always two things. Stressful AND expensive!
      It is lovely hearing about the prom and your daughters dress. I have noticed it here... they are called Formals here and the dress, shoes, professional makeup, limo.. but it doenst stop there it is waxing, spray tans and you name it. Then another dress for the "after party" and seriously what will they do to top it when they get married I do not know! All fancier and more expensive than our wedding anyway! So I love what you have done and that you and Bill are doing their hair. That is just lovely and special. (maybeee I will get to see a photo!) I agree that much of all this is paid for by adding to debt. We know someone who just had a huge party. They have huge debts and are in so much trouble and they borrowed on top of it all for a big party. This is the new norm. But it will catch up and I dont know what will happen. And we can only keep our own households safe as we can and not fall into these crazy traps! I think it is an enormous advantage that we dont care about what the Jones think and we care abut what God thinks. I reckon that frees me from a whole lot of problems right there. I really do not have any social circle I am trying to keep up with in style, finances, holidays or things like that. It can be much harder with teenagers as there is so much pressure on them to be cool and fashionable and all of that. But I survived that and now that isnt an issue anymore. And the girls grew up in the end to have their own styles and tastes and dont seem too "keep up with the Jones" either which is really good!
      You have done really well keeping everything going through this time and I will be praying for the outcome as I know others will be as well.
      Have as much of a restful weekend as you possibly can.
      I hope next week is much easier! Lots of love,

    2. I'll be praying for you too Colette.

  18. Hi Annabel, I'm always so happy when I sit down with my ipad and there is a new post from you!
    I feathered my nest at a garage sale today. So many lovely old sewing notions that will keep me going for years to come.
    I have also made progress with 'converting' my husband over to the thrifty way of thinking. He came home from the supermarket today with ten jars of half price pasta sauce to add to our stockpile. They are handy for quick weeknight dinners.
    Have a lovely weekend. Stephanie. Xx

    1. Dear Stephanie,
      I just looked at your lovely blog! Your garage sale haul is amazing! The cotton alone would be worth so much but oh my goodness the china and other notions are all amazing! What a good day!
      Well done on adding to the stockpile and winning your husband over. Each of these things are so handy to have and pasta sauce is something very useful. I often use it as pizza sauce, in a meatloaf, as sauce for meat balls and all kinds of things other than just pasta sauce. So very useful.
      I will be heading over to read some more of your blog.
      Thank you so much. You have a great weekend

  19. Dearest Annabel & guests,

    My freezer is my best friend & saves us so much money & time that I am constantly amazed. I have always made meals that are for 4 or more & as there's only 2 of us the rest is portioned out & popped away for a day when I want a break from cooking. I think what amazes me is how many people DON'T do this & always have excuses "my husband won't eat something that's been reheated", "it never tastes the same", "it looks disgusting when defrosted" etc etc, I have never had these problems & if stored & thawed correctly you honestly can't tell it's not fresh (& let's face it, no one knows it came from the freezer unless you tell them).

    This last week I have been feathering my nest by having quality time with my sister who flew down to see me from interstate. We chatted & laughed until our faces hurt, watched movies, went on drives, did a little shopping (all on special), made cards & took each other back to our childhood recalling long lost beautiful memories. So my spirit has been renewed & I'm all ready to face a new week of feathering, now off to write out my TO DO list which is small & my HAVE DONE list which is always huge, it's amazing what you can accomplish just pottering around your home :)

    Love reading your blog Annabel & also the other lovely guests who participate on your site. Sending much love & hugs. Susan xxxooo

    1. Dear Susan,
      I am so pleased to hear of your sisters visit and the fun you had! And that you feel refreshed and ready for a good new week!
      You are right too our too do lists are smaller than our what we have done already lists!
      The fact is that many things served up in cafes and restaurants has been frozen. lol I have worked in a few places and cooked for some. The larger the menu the surer some of it is frozen. No one knows as it is not possible to tell! Also best chefs like Jamie Oliver swear by many frozen ingredients that they themselves use all the time.
      Your freezer and cooking is such an asset and no doubt saviour in busy or bad times. Not to mention budget helper.
      Have a great week! Lots of love,

  20. I loved reading about your week Annabel. It was so lovely to hear that you met up with Mel and got on so well together.

    My hydrangeas died last Summer with the extreme heat. I really must get some more, I really miss their spectacular blooms. Yours look so lovely...

    My nest feathering included;

    Lots of time in the veggie garden last week. I am having a big revamp out there as I have discovered tree roots in my beds. No wonder my veggies struggled, the trees are taking all the moisture. So we have decided to sell the beds and will set up my veggies using blue barrels and baths with wicking system. This won’t look as good but will be more practicable. The trees won’t intrude then!

    I am making my first sour dough starter. Finally I found the courage to give it a go. So far so good, with a few days left before I will be able to make some bread pancakes etc. I am getting excited now.

    I have been cleaning, sorting out and tidying my laundry. I was given some rubber back curtain fabric and I am going to make curtains from this for the laundry window. I have collected my ingredients together for making laundry liquid tomorrow. This saves so much money. Next I want to try making soap.

    I have started washing my dishes with a sud saver and velvet soap. This is so much kinder on my hands and the environment.

    I cleared away clutter that I had stored in my spare room, it looks so much better in there now.

    Also tidied my desk area and sorted through some of my books. Excess is going in the garage sale.

    Tidied up and swept around the verandah.

    I sold excess eggs.

    I mended hubby's jeans, and a top of mine.

    I cooked a lot of meals in my slow cooker last week. I wasn't happy with some of them, so have gone back to recipes I am used to. I will use my pressure cooker instead. Most times it only takes twenty minutes to cook a meal in there, with the same effect as a slow cooker. I guess I need more practice.

    I made bread, date loaf and chocolate cake.

    Went to the Wirrabara Farmers Markets, and got some organic peaches, figs, cucumbers, sourdough bread, olive oil, dried sultanas and apricots. Picked up some strawberry plants too.

    I planted some yakka's, agaves, cedar tree and some succulent plants out just before it rained on Thursday. (we ended up with 64mm, so very happy).

    I bought some more kale seedlings and oregano as mine died this year.

    Reading back through this it sounds like I have gone back to the olden days. I think I live in the wrong era lol!


    1. Tania I hope you might do a blog post about the sourdough and how you did it. (and the apple roly poly!)
      I have never used a pressure cooker. Maybe it is what we know... but I use the crock pot continually. My number one tip for the crcokpot is to have it go all day... oh and never add water (except to soup).
      You had a busy and really productive week. Maybe we were both born in the wrong era actually.
      Hydrangeas are the thirstiest plants I have ever had. On hot days I might deep water mine twice and still they droop but they survive. Even now in autumn when it has rained they STILL need watering or they droop. They are not easy.
      I am so pleased you got so much rain! That is so good.
      Thank you so much for sharing your week. Have a good week this week


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