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 28 May 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 29 May, 2015.

The week is almost over and so is the month of May! What a big month. And a tiring week but a good one!

These are some of the ways I built up my home, saved money and feathered my nest this week:-

I painted a really old ladder to use as my herb and flower drying station. I like rustic but this ladder even when scrubbed clean just looked grubby. So I painted it with some paint I had. So far I am drying some of the roses Lucy was given, rosemary, basil and mint. I have Bay Leaves coming from Mum's garden. Teri described her herb drying techniques on Wednesday and I am going to be doing a lot more drying as part of my preserving.

I did a lot of cooking. And I have found myself cooking old fashioned wholesome things to give Lucy as she is a feeding Mum. Baked custard and Baked Rice Custard, roast vegies, chicken soup...

I even made "lactation cookies" The nurse at the clinic gave us this recipe. Making them I was doubtful... they contained Brewers Yeast which does not smell good. I think Wednesday the dog might end up eating these cookies. But they will be very healthy for her!

However, good old fashioned eggs, milk and vanilla is probably just as good. And so comforting on a cold winters night. I used to make custards like this all the time when the girls were little.

This is delicious. Very smooth and with a lovely vanilla flavor.

This is the recipe, it is so easy.
You need two medium baking dishes. The smaller is for the custard the larger is for this one to sit in and fill with water.

About half a cup of cooked rice. I use left overs that I have frozen for this.
4 eggs, 1/3 cup castor sugar, 2 cups milk, 1 and 1/3  cup cream, a teaspoon thick or good vanilla. Cinnamon to lightly sprinkle over the top.
Blend your eggs and sugar then add your milk, cream and vanilla making sure you get it very smooth. Sprinkle your rice over your baking dish and pour over egg mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
In medium oven place your larger dish and then your mixture dish inside of that. Using a jug pour cold water into the bottom dish so that it comes around 3/4 up the sides of your top baking dish. Let cook like this for 35 minutes and check it. It should be looking golden and softly firm. (if that makes sense!) If its still too wobbly give it a few more minutes.
Carefully remove from tray of water when finished.

You could do this in individual serves in small dishes if you like.

It comes out as smooth as velvet. Let it cool a few minutes before serving. It is nice cold also.

I progressed in my freezer challenge. I used frozen rice for the two dishes of Baked Rice Custard I made. I used left over frozen bacon and cheese for pizzas, we ate a freezer meal one night, I used up berries in muffins, ate soup from the freezer for two lunches and used a Plum Cobbler for a desert.  So I have created space and had a re arrange and it's much better. It is kind of tragic to have a freezer and then see wonderful specials which you can't take advantage of because the freezer is full! I've got to keep it rotating!

A week of being home, helping Lucy, cooking and things meant I really didn't spend any money but it was a really productive and good week.

This was Andy this week with Harper. I think he is going to be called GrAndy. Except Harper can't talk yet so there's no way of knowing for sure! Harper grew and gained plenty this week. I put that down to all the custard I sent over! :)

 Being the end of May I need a little review. I go back and look at my goals for the year. It's easy to forget what you even wrote down! I am going ok except for one glaring area which is my walking. So I need to do something about that.
One of my main goals was my pantry and cellar. I am going well with those. I think because I review them weekly or more.
I also need to get working on my present stash and Christmas presents. Now I am about to finish the blanket I will get stuck into things that would make good gifts. Making presents is like everything else. Just making one thing per week now will give me almost thirty presents ready for Christmas. But usually I can make a few things a week. And yet waiting until November or December it would seem daunting. If you have supplies in your cupboards and you turn them into presents for Christmas and Birthdays you are turning them into cash. What a huge saving!

I think I learned a lot in May, especially in regard to food storage and thanks to contributors who have helped so much. Thank you. This is building up our homes. Knowledge and new skills are a great advantage to your household. Sometimes learning one new thing can turn out to be a massive saving.

How did you save money this week? How did you build up your home? I hope it was a great week and you can feel really good about the things you did. All the things we do add up so much!

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. Annabel, you had a wonderful week! Cute pic of Andy and Harper! :)

    This week, I dehydrated celery and green onion tops from the garden. Today, I made strawberry/raspberry lemonade concentrate and canned 9 pints. This was made to use up a handful of strawberries that were about to go bad. I needed more berry juice so I used some of my canned raspberries and drained the juice to use. I will make jam with the raspberries tomorrow. I'm also making some cranberry/orange sauce to can into 1/2 pint jars. This will use up about 3 oranges in the frig and the cranberries from the freezer.

    I finished a quilt for my granddaughters birthday in July and I've done a bit more organizing.

    Have a lovely weekend I will be trying your rice custard, Annabel! Love, Teri

    1. You had a very productive week Teri!
      A quilt is a wonderful gift for your Granddaughter. I am sure it will be an heirloom.
      The custard is great when your have plenty of eggs. It is very nutritious.
      Have a wonderful weekend Teri! xxx

  2. Annabel, I'm sorry! I wanted to say how wonderful the ladder looks and what a great idea to use it for drying your herbs and flowers! :) Teri

    1. Teri soon I hope to shw it covered in all kinds of bunches drying! It is inside so keeps dry. Also it is huge like 7 foot or so! xxx

  3. Annabel, I'm coming over to your place. The baked custard looks yummy and comforting.

    1. Have a lovely weekend Wendy. I hope you had a better week and no near miss accidents!
      I will see in your post tomorrow about the week!

  4. What a beautiful photo of Harper and Andy just melts your heart looking at it!! Your sense of joy and contentment is just palpable in everything you write and you know what? It is contagious!! I start to feel the same just reading your blog Thank you! Shelley

    1. That is such a nice thing to say Shelley, thank you. Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  5. Oh my goodness that photo of Andy with Harper is just beautiful. So precious. I just love the love you can see written all over his face. What a fantastic grandfather he will be. Love his name! Isn't Harper just gorgeous? She will be a stunner for sure. I love her hair. I love all the dishes you have been making Lucy they sound so comforting and nourishing. What a beautiful mum you are and Lucy will be the same. I can't wait to try out your recipe. I love your recipes. I feathered the nest by making all lunches and dinners and am doing a dinner every second night, so we can have left overs the second night. My very kind DH is so supportive like that and it means if baby H has a bad evening we have food. Don't feel bad for not walking much, you have had SO much on. Love, bridge

    1. Thank you Bridge! In the last scans Lucy had we could see Harper had hair. In fact some of it stood right up on top like a little curl. She when we prayed for her we said "with the little curl on top at the end" lol
      Well done on the dinners. I think always cook extra for a lunch or a dinner, it just saves so much cooking. I am so glad you have a lovely DH who is appreciative and understanding. That makes everything so much easier and nicer!
      Today I have done sweeping outside and some pruning roses. I am going to count that instead of walking. Its exercise and even getting out in between showers when the sun comes out is healthy.
      Lucy took Harper for her first walk out down the street in the pram. It was a reasonable afternoon and the sun was out. I think that is really good when you can do it weather wise.
      I hope you are having a lovely weekend, with love,

  6. Annabel, the photo of Andy with Harper is just fabulous! I love the name "GrAndy" as well.

    You have had a good week. I've been hankering for some macaroni custard, which is basically the same as yours except using leftover pasta. Preferably macaroni cooked al dente. My gran always made it and in summer I ate it cold with cold stewed nectarines. It is still my favorite dessert after all these years! I love the old fashioned desserts as they are what we grew up on.

    This week I stocked up the pantry with dog food for our pampered pooch! I usually buy one to two months ahead, but there is 3 months more added into my stock at the moment as her food was half price (very rarely is) so my husband came to Woolies with me to haul back 92 cans this week! Our dog eats some dry food as well and raw carrots to help her teeth and gums. So she is set for around 6 months now! I'm used to getting strange looks at the supermarket with my bulk buying now. ;)

    I used up some items in the freezer and promptly filled their space with more! I made pumpkin puree this week as I can add that to all sorts of things. I also put some into snaplock bags for my granddaughter is starting solids. It is handy to have some in there to give to her as she should start vegetables soon.

    I mended a couple of oven gloves. I reinforced the top section and hand sewed a new panel on with some old flannelette material. One glove is really old but twice as thick as modern ones. Now it is as good as new for a few more years.

    My daughter had bought (her own money) white wings brownie mixes months ago, so we made them up this week to save them going out of date. Not sure why she bought them in the first place, they were very rich and fudgey.

    I found a packet of Hansell yogurt mix in the pantry. It was out of date but I had read once on the Easiyo site that if the yogurt sets it is still quite okay to eat. It did set and was perfectly fine. Knowing that powdered milk lasts so very long past the use by date has given me a lot more confidence in using items that are well packed or stored.

    So I've been trying to think like my fore-mothers "using it up, wearing it out, making do or doing without" this week.

    I bought fruit and veg and some dairy and very little else - apart from masses of dog food of course. ;)

    1. Dear Kaye,
      You have done well with a lot going on this week!
      Pumpkin puree is a great thing... scones spring to mind! Also I did the costing re the crock pot vs bought baby food. Sooner or later I will include some of these things on the blog but meanwhile...
      My crock pot holds 5 litres or so. Most baby food purees are $1.90 or so for 120 g. Converting roughly it works out I can make 41 120g containers of puree in my crockpot, whether it is apple or pear or pumpkin etc. and I can make all of them for under about $5... less with Jap pumpkin which is currently 99c a kilo. So lets say thats 40 containers of baby food for $5. To buy them at Woolies it would be $77! Yep! So lets say we will save $70 per crock pot of baby food. Isnt that crazy? Obviously I will be telling Lucy this! And this is just one example of what we save doing stuff ourselves. Plus so easy. And probably healthier as we know exactly what is in there.
      Later the addition of marrow bone and some meat will be slightly more but still a huge saving!
      I dont know if this is of interest and what dog food costs but it was on Cheapskates about a lady making up a recipe Cath has there and how much her animals loved it and how much it saved... it is in a thread above Wendys $300 thread... called something about saving money on groceries that one lady is trying to do.... I just wonder if it would be worth it or not? But I thought I would mention it.
      Have a lovely weekend. Keep warm! Lots of love,

  7. It sounds like you had a lovely week Annabel. The ladder came up well. Here's what I got up to this week -

    * Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread.

    * Turned the heater down to 18 degrees Celsius when possible and also had the heater off for two days.

    * Sold some muffins and eggs to a friend.

    * Stocked up on the toothpaste and mouthwash on sale in Coles this week.

    * Cut up some old socks to use as garden ties. I was tired of mending them so out they went to the garden shed.

    * Bought a double oven mitt from the op shop for $2.99 less 15% discount. It was new too as it still had the price tag on.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes a few nights as there wasn't enough to turn the dishwasher on.

    * Made a chicken flan using about 100 grams of cooked chicken, leftover potato and the last of the pumpkin from the fridge..I also used some silverbeet from the garden. A very cheap and tasty dinner. Jessica took some to school the next day for lunch.

    * Jessica went to aa 18th birthday party last Saturday. She needed a present and nothing I had on the present shelf was suitable. She found some beautiful flowers at a florist for $3 and the lady there wrapped them for free. Jessica combined this with a few bits and pieces she had on hand and the present came in under $10. A beautiful present for a bargain price. Darren bought a bunch of flowers for me too.

    * Megan baked some Cranberry Hootycreek Biscuits for school snacks.

    * Saved lots of water from the shower for the washing machine.

    * Dried most of the washing on clothes horses and a few things went into the dryer.

    * Bought a couple of bags of mixed fruit for $1 a bag from my local fruit and veg shop.

    * Signed up with Australia Post to get cheaper stamps with my concession card.

    * Jessica will be turning 18 tomorrow. Tonight she's going out to dinner with a couple of friends. They are coming home after to have dessert and to watch a movie. This is a cheap and better option than buying desserts and movie tickets. The best part is they can be warm and cozy here and enjoy a comfortable couch.

    1. What a massive bargain on the lovely flowers Wendy! I hope Jessica has a very Happy Birthday!
      The chicken flan sounds like a very good use it up and delicious meal. That is so handy and when something makes lunch the next day it is even better.
      It is raining here today.I know you had a headache... I hope you are feeling much better. With love

    2. Thankyou Annabel. The fog has almost cleared from my head xoxo

  8. hmm not so much building up as spending up, flat tyre on car, flat tyre on ride-on, new dishwasher, and finally my partner bought a new car. So a cringeworthy expensive week but all essential. His car died in a bad way bit like you two earlier in the year and as it is used for carting his tools, essential. Tyres essential and dishwasher definitely essential. The one that was here broke and I had one break in a rental last last year and as it was 9 years old replaced that, this one whilst a good brand Bendix, looks about 20 years old. After days of doing like six loads of washing a day, I was "I'm buying a dishwasher and I'm getting it now". My ds took me to pick it up this morning and when my partner gets home he will install it. Yay.

    So not as good as your week Annabel. I love the ladder, looks gorgeous. And I love the picture of Andy, even though you can't see his face properly, you can see he is smiling at Harper because his eyes are crinkled up with a smile. It's a lovely picture.

    Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      It is weeks like yours that make all the frugal weeks pay off! Seriously it happens to us all and usually in threes it seems. But our normal weeks help us get through these expensive times. Some things as you say we have to replace and keep going.
      I hope you have a good weekend. it is freezing here! Lots of love,

  9. Dear Annabel,

    What a wonderful picture of Andy and Harper! You had a very productive week.

    It was a mixed week here; not as productive as some, but got a little done in both residences. One day was spent finishing packing up our previous residence with the goal to get it totally cleaned out, cleaned up, and put on the market. We should be able to pick the strawberries and cut back a lot of herbs for use, at that location, before it sells.

    Here at home, I cleaned out two refrigerators, and rearranged the freezer portion of the refrigerator in the kitchen. I took a visual inventory of the kitchen pantry for ideas of what to make next week to use up. I decided that next week is 'use everything in the kitchen pantry' week :). Then I will bring the items up from the walk in large storage pantry downstairs for the next week's menus.

    I rearranged the dresser drawers and the closet organizer drawers in the Master Bedroom and closet. I like the new arrangement better as I can see each item and keep track of the number of items and what needs replaced easier.

    We started planting the large area out front of the house with herbs and flowers. There is a lot left to do there. It is the sunny side, so we will transplant some of the longstanding herbs I've grown from the previous house into that bed, and I need to go plant shopping for the remainder. We, also, had another elderberry planted this week.

    I took advantage of a good sale at the fabric store and saved $218. Percentage wise, I saved 68% off the original prices of the items, between the sale and a coupon. I bought items, such as. expensive rulers, sewing machine needles, expensive thread, stock up notions, patterns, and a couple of pieces of nice material for summer tops. I always wait for the good sales as I won't pay the marked prices.

    As you are getting colder there, we are started to warm up here - finally. It has been an odd Spring with a lot of rain here (which is unusual for us) and mixed days of hot, then cold.

    I hope you have a restful, enjoyable weekend, Annabel.

    1. Dear Glenda, It is such a big job working in two places. We have done that several times, looking after a place to sell as well as the place we are in. It is a big relief when the old place sells and you can concentrate on one. Especially when there are two gardens to look after.
      You achieved lots and your fabric purchases sound exciting to me, I hope to hear what you made down the track.
      Lots of love and thanks,

  10. Hi Annabel,
    I love the look of the baked custard!
    I'd just like to ask, is it possible to post the lactation cookie recipe? I use to have a recipe for lactation shakes but my phone broke and it was a screen shot so I can't access it anymore. I have tons of Brewers yeast from when I was making the shakes with my lil man but now expecting again in the next month if really like to boost up before I drop. It tends to happen after a few months with me but it could be because I'm running around after the other kids as well and this time round I think I'll be staying home for the whole year usually I'm back at work 4-5 months after baby. Congratulations to you all on the new arrival by the way. Babies are just perfect aren't they!

    1. Dear Anne, This is the recipe the nurse gave us....
      1 cup butter, 2 eggs, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup coconut, 4 tablsepoons milk, 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (I used LSA) 2 eggs, vanilla essence, 2 cups SR flour, 3 cups oats, 1 cup chocolate chips or sultanas or berries,2 to 4 tablespoons brewers yeast. Soften the butter then mix as usual. Roll into balls and bake until lightly golden.
      The brewers yeast smells strong but it sounds like you are used to that. A lady at the clinic was feeding twins and she swore by this recipe!
      Good luck! I am so happy for you that you can stay home the whole year, I hope feeding goes well! xxx

    2. Thanks so much Annabel,
      I appreciate it a lot!
      I feel as though the stresses from work were affecting my supply so now I have decided to take the whole year off would be absolutely great and won't affect my feeding :D
      Have a lovely week next week!

  11. Oh by the way I love the thought of the ladder as well! I've been drying my Rosemary on the clothes horse Hahahaha

  12. Annabel, I really like the ladder and the picture of your husband and little Harper is beautiful. The custard looks delicious! I'm not familiar with castor sugar, is it different than regular sugar? I had a frugal week in that I only purchased milk and bread at the grocery store ... and that was only because we had 4 year old twins staying with us all week.

    1. Thank you Patsy. Castor sugar is fine or superfine white sugar. It dissolves more easily. It must be called another name there. This is a good meal for children, thinking of the twins.
      Have a great new week! xxx

  13. Hello Annabel! Gosh I've been so busy, that I'm really behind. Most of my nest feathering last week, was truly about feathers....and rhinestones, and beads and sequins! Yes, I was up to my gills in Dance costumes, and I do love it so much. It's so much fun being creative for the girls, and for teenagers, they are surprisingly As of today, I'm on the 206 day countdown to Christmas, so my weeks will now be devoted to the creation of things other than costumes and cuisine. Andy will make a gorgeous Grandad....the photo is proof. I hope Lucy and family are well, and that the week ahead holds many precious memories for you all. Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi you have a very productive week in a very creative way! No doubt saving a fortune.
      I am also thinking about getting cracking on making gifts for my present cupboard. I just finished that blanket! Will post photos next Friday. Now I am a free agent for lots of other projects!
      Have a wonderful week! xxx

  14. Dear Annabel,

    Harper is just gorgeous!

    The ladder looks so pretty all painted up, and it is a great idea to use it as a drying rack.

    I'm late to the party again lol. I didn't get too much done last week, but I have been organizing my pantry so that I can fit more in. I am hoping to find some food grade containers to store my flour in as I bought two ten kilo bags when we were in Adelaide. I did find some clip and lock storage containers at Woolworths for half price, so I grabbed a couple of those. They will come in handy for something I am sure.

    I have started to sort through some of my things that are in our outside rumpus room. I have so many boxes of jars!! I think I will need to tell my friends not to give me anymore. I want to get this room organized so I can use it for a special place for myself to do crafts etc.

    I picked up a set of four vintage canisters for $16. I gave them a wash and polished them with lemon juice and bi carb soda.

    I baked cakes to sell on a stall for Red Shield charity.

    I cooked easy meals from scratch using just basic ingredients that I keep in the pantry.

    I sold excess eggs. We can’t keep up with the demand lately as the egg production has dropped off for a little while.

    I picked kale, celery and capsicums from the veggie patch.

    I have been mulling over Christmas presents. I am hoping to make a family history album for my Dad. I have been researching family history for years and I think it is time to put the information together for my Dad to see. Lots of ideas are floating around in my head.

    I spent time with family this week, this is always a blessing.


    1. Tania those canisters sound like a wonderful find!
      Also I love your idea of a gift for your Dad. I am sure he would love this and appreciate it. Winter is great for working on things.
      Thank you for the information in your email too re Costco. It sounds amazing. I will do my shop at Giganni's first. Also I agree things will be better still when Aldi opens. Choice! It will shake things up.
      Have a great new week and thank


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