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.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Getting ahead.

During the last weeks we have been working on ways to save money over Christmas and also build up our pantries. Both of these are ways to get ahead in one way or another. They get you ahead financially and also with time management.  So I am talking about getting ahead as in ways to have more time and money up your sleeve, not a large boat in the driveway type getting ahead. (Although Andy would love a large boat in the driveway lol)

Often I say that this or that will also help us to get ahead. I am always trying for ways to inch ahead somehow.  Sometimes I can see that doing a little extra helps things be heading in an upwards spiral and other ways when things are just not going right and everything is heading in a downwards spiral!
I do notice that most ways to get ahead a bit are little things we can do and lots of little things add up.

It is bliss when I am ahead with things. It means I am not only caught up (as I'm often trying to catch up!) but something else is done too. Maybe dinner is already made and thawing out. Christmas gifts are all made. We have some money in the emergency fund. They are all little ways that getting ahead is a great feeling!
Believe me I don't always achieve this! But it is something I try for and try to find little ways to get there.

Some of my most tried and tested ways to get ahead are cooking multiples. So if I make a casserole I make a big batch so I have enought to make pies with the left overs or enough for a meal another night.

If I am making pies I try to make enough to have some spare ones in the freezer for emergency/easy meals. Then I am ahead with both cooking and grocery money.

I do the same with soup, stock, spaghetti sauce etc. It is really no harder to do a big batch but saves you in a lot of ways.

Meals in the freezer get you ahead in several ways. Apart from a time saver if you have a lot of big bills or there is severe weather you have meals without going shopping. You are ahead financially as well as time wise.

If making a cake make two. Or make up the extra amount as muffins or little cakes. Frozen these can be popped into lunch boxes.  The same with pizza, make some little ones as well for the next days. It all gets you ahead! These things mean lunches are taken and not bought. Right there you have just got ahead by a long way!

I make large trays of lasagne so I have plenty of left overs. When cold they cut beautifully and I freeze them in individual portions like this...

These are so handy!
Many things have spin off benefits. Meals like this mean you don't need takeaway. They are so helpful and this is one of my best ways to get ahead.

Another one I love is getting ahead with bills. This is often a bit of a dream but my biggest bill that worries me is power. As we usually get very hot summers this hangs over our heads. Since putting away money each week so I have a stash saved up towards this bill it is much better. It gets me ahead a little. Even a little is a big help.

Making presents all year has really got me ahead. I am thrilled with this one. In January we are starting The Christmas Club so we can work along together to get ahead for next year. It helps as far as your work load goes but also financially. Big help!

With crafts I always make multiples. Like with cooking it is often not much more work to do a few spares and put them away for another gift. This works with cards too. While the supplies are out assemble some more. You will be ahead with cards when you need them.

When we were at school Mum always had us organize our bags and things the night before so we were ahead in the morning. I always did this with the girls. Clothes and lunches were all sorted in the evening before to get the day off to a good start. A good evening routine will really get you ahead for the next day. Anything you can do to get the next day off to a good start is a big help. The day will go better. Somehow fifteen minutes spent the night before getting organized seems to equal a whole lot more time in the mornings!

Some ladies do a lot of cooking on the weekend to get ahead for the working week.
Mum often will set the dinner table and do something towards dinner during the day so she is ahead in the busy evenings.

This week I have started doing some Christmas parcel wrapping as I have a lot to do. It gets pretty busy closer to Christmas. Getting some done now gets me ahead with that. It keeps me from doing things in a rushed way too so things turn out better! And as a bonus as I sorted through my presents I have enough things for several January birthdays. I am wrapping these now as I wrap Christmas presents. I feel what a good start to January that these are done!

We try and go away a few days every year. We have a fund for that and when we can we add a little. And in the month before we go I start a holiday basket. I stash tea, coffee, treats, snacks so that I am ahead with things to take away with us.

Some ways I love to get ahead that work for me are:

Keeping a stash of wrapping paper and cards. Make as many as you can suitable for multiple occassions so you are not running to the store for these kinds of items.

A present cupboard of as much variety as possible.

A good pantry of basics.

Spare items that are used regularly from laundry powder to shampoo, toilet paper etc.

Spare ready made meals in the freezer and items that will make a quick meal in the pantry.

Long life milk or powdered milk for if milk runs out. And spares of whatever it is that your family tends to run out of causing dashes to the store.

A good evening routine. Keeping things you are going to need to take with you the next day near the door or next to your handbag.

Lists. A planner. Knowing your week, your appointments, up coming birthdays... all these things help you stay ahead and not get caught out!

Finding little ways to save. Building up your emegency fund.

Putting on the crock pot in the morning when its a busy day or you are going to be out. Or taking a meal out of the freezer. You are well ahead then for the evening meal.

Pre preparing what you can ahead of visitors coming for a meal.

Part preparing food so meals can be put together quickly. ie wash your lettuce and fruit so it is ready.

Drying my tops on hangers. There are no peg marks then and they go straight into the wardrobe.

Putting away clothes for the season clean and fresh and ready for next season.
The same with shoes/boots.

Combining errands to get as much done in the shortest time.

Folding sheets etc straight from the line so no creases are formed.

Delegate and have everyone doing their share.  Work as a team.

Using what you have already for crafts and sewing gets you miles ahead. You might have to be inventive but using things up is a huge money saver.

Set aside food intended for other meals. Don't have a free range policy. In a past life I had a lot of trouble with this. Whatever I cooked ahead was eaten. I learned when serving to set aside future meals asap and freeze asap.

Use whatever you have in abundance in every way you can. If you have an abundance of apricots then look at them as food for now, food to store, gifts and treats. They can be your current fruit so you don't need to spend any money on fruit. (money saved) They can be made into stewed apricots for the freezer, for breakfasts etc... (more money saved and some food put away for the future), they can be made into jam (more food put away for the future and lovely gifts to give away), they can be made into cakes and muffins etc (loads more food and gifts!) Dry some for future snacks or making fruit cakes. One windfall of fruit can get you ahead in many ways! The same with anything... make the most of it.

Sometimes getting ahead is helped with a little planning and re arranging. Sometimes multi tasking is a big help. A space of time like sitting in the doctors surgery is a great time to write a letter, (or book if your Doctor is like mine!) work on your crochet or whatever is transportable.

What are you tips for getting ahead? From time saving tips to money saving tips they all help as gain a little ground in different areas.

There are times I especially try to make extra progress... before a really busy time, before a holiday or a big expense coming up. Other times being ahead is a life saver like when you are sick.

This is another area that little opportunities over time add up. In fact when you think about it gradual improvements can be life changing. Most people do not greatly improve their families positions overnight. Most things take years and years. Inching ahead in different ways can be life changing.

On Wednesday I am posting about getting ahead so that it is easy to deal with lots of fruit if it comes your way. It seems to me that I will have nothing to preserve then in one day I will have 40 kilos of something and if I don't act fast I will miss the opportunity as half of it will spoil. So before fruit season I try to get ahead with things that will make this time much easier. And that time is approaching! Around Christmas and January I often end up with lots of fruit. It is a window of opportunity to make the most of this abundance! Preparing ahead makes it much easier.

Have a wonderful week! xxx


  1. Honestly, you are such an inspiration. Thankyou for making things seem manageable. I am really looking forward to your post on getting ready for the fruit when it is ripe. Our apricot tree is loaded this year and it looks like we will also have lots of peaches and nectarines. I really want to make better use of it all this year. I love your chickens. We lost ours a month or so ago to a fox (presumably). This is the longest I've gone in the last 18 years without chooks. I miss them but am putting off getting them until after summer (although I may not stick to that because the garden seem bereft without them).

    1. Thanks Garden Del. Well I read your comment then had to go shopping so I was thinking about your apricots the whole time. We had a beautiful apricot tree and last year it got a disease and died! So I miss it. Now I look at every fruit tree and treat it like this could be the last fruit I get from that tree! Anyway I have been dreaming about things to do with apricots... I will include all this in Wednesdays post as it will apply to many fruits. But the tree is a big asset to you and the fruit is probably worth at least a couple of hundred dollars. Its what you do with it that can turn that into HUNDREDS to help you get ahead!
      Foxes are a problem. We have had "fox proof" chicken houses that turned out not to be fox proof. They even come into the cities. I hope you dont have to wait too long for new chickens. Thank you so much, i am hoping I can help you turn those apricots into many good things this summer! With love

  2. Oh Annabel you are a woman after my own heart! I love to be ahead - on everything. My mother tells me I'm so far ahead I'm doing next Monday's housework today :) When you can work ahead, or at least plan ahead then if things go pear-shaped for a while you don't go backwards. I understand entirely about being ahead on the bills - according to our budget we're about 4 months ahead on electricity and 5 months ahead on gas at the moment. The money is sitting in the bank waiting until it is needed. Come summer, if it is very hot, I'll be running lots of fans and the air-con and that "credit" will soon be used up. And then next winter, if it is very cold and the wood heater isn't enough, the gas credit will be used up too. And of course we have the stockpile - it is finished, finally. I won't be buying groceries (other than milk, bread, cheese and some f&V) until January 2017 because I've been able to shop ahead and build up our pantry, fridge and freezer.

    Another way to get ahead is with freezer meals - which are also free food and the topic of tomorrow's blog post - ready-made dinners to heat and eat.

    Can't wait to see how you cope with an abundance, I love your ideas, always so practical.

    Have a lovely week :)

    1. Hi Cath, do you mind telling me your blog name please so I can read your post on ready-made meals. thanks.

    2. Dear Cath,
      Maybe we were separated at birth somehow? Sounds like it! I am looking forward to this blog post. I so enjoyed the pantry series.
      (Garden Del Cath's blog is Debt free, Cashed up and Laughing...
      This is a link to the latest post. Also you can follow on The Cheapskates Club facebook page... I find that handy xx)
      You have got so far ahead with the pantry! I know that will be a great help. If I have fruit to deal with I am prepared to stay up all night if I had to! But really I never need to as I do get ahead and manage it as it comes in. What an asset. Hoping for a good season this year! With love,

    3. Cath, Well done on your stockpile! What a wonderful feeling!! Teri

    4. Thank you Annabel for the link, I've been a bit slow this week with a sore back and not able to sit too long. I find that if I process the produce as it comes in then it only takes a few minutes and it's done. I picked one slightly over-grown zucchini yesterday (first of the season,yay!) and washed, grated and bagged it straight away. I could've left it until tomorrow when I know I'll have a few more but it took maybe 5 minutes and it was done, and I didn't get overwhelmed. I also picked half a bowl of strawberries, they were so sweet they didn't even get to the fridge. I shared them with Thomas for lunch :)

    5. Love this post Annabel, as a busy mum I am always looking for ways to save time and get more organised. I have a question for Cath. Do you need to cook the zucchini once grated or can you just flash freeze? Also will there be a sale on Cheapskates Memberships anytime in the near future? Please advise. Thank you so much ladies. Lisa

    6. Hi Lisa,

      I just bag the grated zucchini up and freeze it as is. Then I usually add it straight from the freezer to whatever I'm making, I just crumble the lump up and dump it into the pot. If I'm using it for muffins or cakes or fritters then I just break it up a little and dump it into the mixing bowl - it breaks up as you mix and it thaws very quickly too.

      I run three sales a year, but I'm holding off at the moment. I am so close to having the new website finished that I am waiting and have lots of good things planned for when we launch. Are you on my newsletter list - if you are then you'll find out about the new website launch and all the goodies as soon as they're ready. If you're not and you'd like to be just head over to the Cheapskates website ( and subscribe there (it's free and I don't sell or even give away anyone's details). Annabel, if that last line is not allowed, please delete it.

  3. Annabel another great post to read. I do most of the things that you listed above but typically not in the quantities. Do you have any ideas how to make the best of fresh lemons. I really need to get a load picked off our tree. We mix them in mineral water to drink and I try to drink some in warm water in the morning as well. I always used to juice any i got and freeze in ice block moulds and then i'd have it when i needed it, but that seems like pointless here as i have multiple trees. I'm giving them to friends and family but still have surplus. Thanks. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, Wow I would love to have such a lemon supply. With it ongoing like that I can see you dont need to freeze them etc so much as you can just pick more! I make lemon butter as it is lovely for gifts. That uses 9 each batch. Apart from that could you have a box of them at the front gate and an honestly system box? Or ask a local fruit and veg store if they would like a lemon supplier? As my trees have no sprays at times I have sold produce tot he local health food shop. Such a wonderful supply is a huge asset. A man I met with an huge lemon tree was selling them to a greek restaurant....
      I love lemon in my drinks too. Thats one a day right there. Very healthy.
      I think I should just be your neighbor. I could "help" you out no end! With love,

    2. would so love you as a neighbour Annabel. Can just imagine you leaving your girls, granddaughter, mum, dad and rest of family and disappearing to Victoria (not!!!). But would welcome you anyway. Fi xx

  4. Annabel, when it comes to canning and preserving our food, I purchase canning lids and freezer bags all through the year so that I will have a nice supply when the occasion comes along to be able to preserve something.

    1. Dear Patsy, Yes havign your supplies on hand and ready to go is a big help. Huge time saver actually. I know you are always ready to go on food preserving. You would be much better at this than me! But I am hopeful of a lot of fruit coming in and its one opportunity and I hate to waste any. I find it quite exciting too.. all the possibilities! With thanks,

  5. Dear Annabel, this is such a wise and timely post. I think for all that we love getting ahead for Christmas, it's all for naught if the practical things of life get left behind. Your tips on making daily life easier are spot on, as are the ones for dealing with abundance of fruit. Love them all. Mimi xxx

  6. Hi Annabel and all of the other lovelies who are so much better at this than me.

    So, for a novice like myself, one thing that I find useful is to just cook one night ahead. Last night, I cooked tonight's meal. Afternoons with busy children can make it stressful and hard getting a meal on the table at a time when they should eat it. Along with all of teh other demands on me at this time of day. But in the later evening I have time to cook one. So I cook a night ahead. At 10pm tonight I have the time to cook tomorrow's meal that I won't have time to do at 6pm tomorrow. This sort of gets me ahead and allows me to spend the hectic busy time completely 'present' with my children.

    1. Dear Lorax, I like your system! I remember the years the girls had homework and things on after school. That time between school and bed was quite packed and never long enough. I was often driving to and fro and it was often very rushed. Yes, just about impossible at times to get it all done and dinner cooked. Later I particularly remember Chloe's year 12. Many nights I stayed up late helping her with one thing or another. So I like your system and that it works for you. And you are ahead the next day which is wonderful.
      I still always think of the way you buy your meat, that gets you way ahead in more ways than one also.
      You are no novice! With love,

  7. Annabel,
    This is fantastic! So many little things can streamline our week and make things a little smoother. I admit I am not a morning person so I get the pot ready before bed and turn it on in the morning I also have the oats or cereal in the bowls ready to go, when my boys were younger I got tired of the sock game and got them each 1 kind of sock. They always had mates since they were all the same and I saved myself loads of time mating them, they each had a basket on a shelf with their socks put in straight from the dryer, my dishwasher is loaded according to how I put things away and silverware is grouped together spoons in one etc. so I can just grab the handful and put them away. When I figured out I was washing things that I had just had water in I started drying them and putting away instead of rewashing, like measuring cups. When I buy hamburger in bulk I vacuum pack all of it except 3 pounds. I cook that first and drain and freeze in separate containers for busy nights and I will use them for tacos, spaghetti, chili things like that, but it saves me the cooking step for that meal. My guys love cut up veggies so I will cut up a big container full and if they don't eat them all what's left I will use for soup. I get a cheaper brand of garbage bag and put the litter box inside the garbage bag and then fill the pan with litter and when it's time to change I just flip the bag inside out and throw it away. It's less messy and keeps the pan clean. I put no contact shelf liner in the fridge to keep the shelves clean. When I need to clean it I just take everything out give the shelf liner a quick rinse and good as new. I have a medium sized basket for each one of my guys that sits on a shelf and when I am picking up anything of theirs goes in their basket and it is their job to put it away. I buff my bathroom sink with car wax and it saves me time in between cleanings I also use Milsak's on the glass shower so the water beads up and soap scum doesn't build up as fast and saves me time in between cleanings as well. I keep an extra garbage bag in the can and when I take the full one out there is the new one right there. People think I'm quirky, but it all works for me and for me it's little things that are the biggest time killers. I do a lot of "Vicky" things LOL

    1. Dear Vicky, I love your tips! They are great practical time savers. This is what I love hearing!
      I am loving your sink and shower treatments. I am VERY interested in how this works and saves time and cleaning.
      I do the bin liner one. I keep the liners under the liners so you just pull another one up. Also I love the fridge shelf liners. I never knew to do that and got that idea from a US blog. Now I love it! Plus your fridge looks prettier. :)
      A lot of people are going to like that kitty litter tip.Very clever.
      It is wonderful your boys love the cut up vegies... and yes whats left can be stock or soup! Thank you so much. Genius tips! With love Annabel.xxxx

    2. Annabel,
      For the bathroom sinks I clean them first and dry them out and then take car wax and buff the sinks with the wax and let then dry. It really saves me from having to clean the sinks so much because toothpaste and soap don't build up as fast. With some waxes the water beads up.
      The Milsak's is a lemon oil. I give the shower glass a good cleaning and make sure that it's dry and then I apply a thin coat of the Milsak's with a soft rag all over the glass. The Milsak's causes water to bead up and run off and soap scum doesn't build up as fast. So with these 2 methods I am not cleaning the sinks and showers as much. Because the things like toothpaste and soap scum rinse off easily and don't build up. I usually do this once every few months or so. That's what they do here to new homes that are built.

  8. Annabel I am really excited about your Christmas club for next year! I have made a lot of gifts this year, but many have been quite time consuming. So for the majority of the year I have been making things 'just in time' rather than ahead of it. Which really takes a lot of the joy out of crafting. I am looking forward to making some gifts inspired by yours, particularly the ones where you make several at a time. I think the tea towels could be a good place to start. I have some major craft projects planned for next year for my children and home, and already have most of the supplies I need so am hoping to spend very little in that area of my life!

    I really do find myself inspired every time I read your blog, there are just so many ideas. And for people of all levels of experience as well. It is so obvious that you put loads of effort into every post, not to mention responding to all the comments. Thank you so much, how fortunate I feel to have found this lovely page!


    1. Dear Jen,
      I agree that crafting under pressure wrecks it a bit! It is still great that you have produced the gift though.
      I saw that Mimi sourced bulk tea towels on ebay and she is adding her Mothers hand written recipes to them, I think with an iron on. This is so nice! So with tea towels you have the option of making them from scratch or embellishing ones you buy... I do a bit of both.
      It is great that you are ahead with supplies for next year!
      Thank you for your encouragement! I appreciate that very much. With love

  9. I think you covered everything I could possibly do ahead! I am working on cooking ahead and freezing for Thanksgiving as well as shopping for foods for holiday meals as they go on sale.

    Our big power bill comes in January but I am hoping the new heat pump will be much more efficient this winter and prevent the power bill shock.

    1. Year Lana, I hope the new heat pump is a money saver too. And keeps you warm. I think about having Thanks giving and then Christmas , it is quite a lot of work and cooking! But probably like here there are specials on all the foods after the even which can be very good. I look forward to so,e of these bargains!
      Here, January is hot! Really hot! Imagine we are in different extremes. So my power bill then is fro cooling! Sorry I took so long on this reply! With love,

  10. Hello Annabel, when I first started reading this post I thought , well I don't do any of that but then I read further and thought about what I do and I do a couple of things. I pay my electricity and phone bills directly from my pension each fortnight,
    I am currently well in credit on both bills . When I bake , because there is just me now I freeze the muffins I make so I have morning tea ready when I want it. Also have a gift cupboard and add to it throughout the year when I see something good on special. Also, when I make cards I make plenty so I have some in my stash. Thank you Annabel for making me realise I do plan ahead and thank you for another great post. Love Barb

    1. Dear Barb,
      Being ahead on your bills is a great thing. That is a good way to do it. Also having treats and spare meals in the freezer is lovely but if you werent well you have easy meals. That is a big help. There are lots of little ways to be ahead and it makes life much easier. You are doing well in my opinion! With love

  11. I agree whole heartedly that being prepared in advance is best! Now you've got us all thinking of more ways we can get ahead and make things easier on ourselves and our families.

    One thing I've noticed, particularly when my ability to get ahead is tied to a special blessing I've received, is that soon after I will have an opportunity to share the blessing with someone else. For example, if I am blessed to be able to glean from someone's garden I often find that soon after I will have an opportunity to use that food to help someone who needs it. Getting ahead not only allows us to be wise stewards of our resources but also to have enough to be generous and bless others.

    1. You are absolutely right! Being ahead means we can take care of our families and others. I also notice consistently that when I have helped someone, given things away etc more abundance blesses us. It is amazing. It makes for a very happy life. Being prepared is the same I think. It wont be just ourselves that it helps. It all works for good! xxx

  12. This was such a helpful post for me. All of your posts are so helpful to me Annabel. I cannot tell you how uplifted I feel after reading your blog. The little one is napping now so I jumped on here for a few minutes to feel revitalised. I have written down notes in my notebook. I love the idea of the holiday basket. Having come back, we spent a small fortune at the local supermarket when we were away and this would have saved us a lot. I need to get better at stashing away gifts, cards and wrap. I am getting better at making use out of all our left overs and freezing more. I have started thinking of you when I am baking and instead of making one cake, I do two. It makes things so much easier. I love lists and I love my weekly calendar on the fridge. It is A3 and laminated so all I do is write with a whiteboard marker and erase with metho and paper towel. It has the sections- home (as in home tasks), lunch, dinner, activities (where I put down when I will exercise) and fun. The fun section reminds me to plan something nice for our little family once a week at least, whether it is a DVD, or a trip to the beach. Thank you for being my inspiration! I love your blog. Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge, Thank you! We can only take a basket of groceries as our holidays are driving ones but this is what I do.... for at least a month I save up things that keep like packs of tea, coffee, long life milk, treats, all while on good specials. This will mean they are about 1/4 the price of our holiday destination! Country places and tourist places have really high prices! (as you know!) The days before we leave I collect refrigerated items too ie cheese, dips, fruit, ham and so on. The day before I make up salad rolls or something like that, biscuits maybe to take in the car for the trip. In the morning I make up a thermo of tea and one of coffee. I also take out of the freezer a casserole or lasagne. I take the things that keep in a basket or box and an esky with cold things plus our rolls etc. So we set off with a picnic to have along the way. By the time we get there (usually 6 hours) the lasagne is thawing and that is our first nights dinner plus probably next days lunch. This all is really easy and saves a huge amount even on the day we travel I think it saves maybe $40 or $50 as the road houses etc on the way are expensive and not nice!
      I hope you get a chance to do your trip again as it sounded like the most beautiful destination! Oh I forgot to say I am thrilled about you making the fruit cakes! Also I always take one of these on our holidays...
      You are doing so well. It is really fun to be able to do extra and special things with the family and it doesnt have to cost a lot. Picnics are a wonderful thing.
      It all adds up. Doing little extras really help get you ahead! With love

  13. Dear Annabel, Such a lovely, inspiring post! I love all the ways you get ahead. I agree so much on getting things done the night before to make mornings go more smoothly! This made getting the kids to school so much less hectic! I even planned out breakfasts (even if it was cold cereal) and set things out to get a head start. My husband has been taking his lunch from home for 40 plus years. And I don't leave home without snacks, drinks and often my cooler has my lunch in it as well.

    I like the idea of using what's on hand and being inventive! I will be sending you a picture of the lap blanket I just made, all from materials already at home. It saves so much time and money!

    I am so looking forward to seeing all your harvest and what you will be preserving! Thank you again for so many wonderful ideas! I've got a "pile" of projects to start in January! :)

    Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Mum always set the breakfast table the night before. I love that!
      Thank you for sending me the photos! I will show everyone as it is so great to make a gift from what you have and I know that gift is going to be loved!
      Many thanks Teri, With love

  14. Annabel I love your forward planning, especially the basket for your holidays.

    Looks like my husband has a work trip coming up in Cairns for a few days with me going along too. No need for me to do the tourist things, I did them last time we were up there so I will be taking advantage of the airconditioning and taking my knitting along.

    You have reminded me that I need to work out what we will need while there and organise a supermarket delivery but I do need to take my sharp knife, last time we were up there I had to go out and buy one as the knife they provided was so blunt.

    Things have changed over the years since we started driving long distances - we use to pack a box with plates, bowls etc and add cereal, things like vegemite and bread because our two would be awake early and even with us doing breakfast we were ready to leave before the kitchen in the motel had even started on breakfast.

    We would pull off the road no later than 2pm and spend the afternoon in the swimming pool or playground then it would be something light for dinner because we had stopped for a good cheap meal at lunch time.

    We planned our trips so we knew where we were stopping and what was there as well as what was between the stops - sometimes places had shut down but generally there was always something else that could be found.

    When I am out shopping I still do the furtherest thing away from the car and work my way back to it - worked well with young children, by the time they were ready for home we were just about at the car.

    I think planning is the key.

    My husband is working on site for the next 3 days so I have the house to myself - it just means that I can start deep cleaning in 1 room and work on from there.


    1. Dear Lynette, You are probably on to your deep cleaning. When we are on our own for a day or more it is the chance to get up to all sorts of things we want to get done. I will eat an egg on toast for dinner or something easy and not even cook!You have been a good planner. It does make such a difference.A trip away can be nice, I always take my crochet and letter writing, reading etc. Can be a bit of a rest.
      Have a lovely few days to yourself! With love,

  15. Another wonderful post, Annabel! You have helped me so much with forward planning, and I like to put something extra aside in the freezer now each week. I can see the benefit of getting ready and prepared ahead, and am usually planning for upcoming occasions or just everyday life! I have overhauled our budget completely and reworked a lot of the way we currently do things, to work even more effectively and hopefully efficiently as well! :-)

    1. Thanks Kaye! I think things change so much that a re work and re think is really good. It can be surprising! I find it quite exciting to make changes. Even this year changing how we get medications has helped a huge amount. I could re work that budget on that alone!
      I am glad you have made so much progress this year. It is awesome! xxxx

  16. When my family of 10 had to take an unexpected trip to my father-in-law's funeral, I took my smaller crockpot. I cooked my carrots and onions in the night on low. Then the next morning, I threw the noodles and pre-cooked chicken into my hot broth. We packed-up and left the hotel by 8:30 am. I unplugged my cooker and wrapped it in a large bath towel. So when we ate at noon, our lunch of chicken and noodles was still hot. Leftover sandwiches made a nice side-dish. Since we were in the car, I served the hot dish in cups. My family was impressed! I had always wanted to try this and was very pleased with the results.

    We also enjoyed lots of healthy and economical snacks as I had just filled my pantry with items from the discount grocery. I think that is another reason to keep our pantry never know when there'll be a death in the family and you have to travel.
    Thanks for your wise words, Annabel.


    1. Dear Leslie, That was really thinking and a great way to feed everyone!
      I have taken a sandwich press into a motel and the crockpot when we have stayed in caravans. So handy! Both can be used for a lot of different meals. A little planning goes a long way!
      With love and thanks,

  17. This past two weeks I've had a nasty cold. It didn't stop savings in my home but it did stop me from doing a lot of the planned work. That's okay. I 'worked ahead' by planning for next year. I made out goals, I planned purchases, I planned projects for next year...I don't feel like the rest/down time was wasted at all when I got so much accomplished on paper!

  18. Rebecca Finlayson13 November 2015 at 21:45

    Great post!! This is very valuable for me at the moment. I am nearly 9 weeks pregnant and my morning sickness has been between 4pm and 9pm so the thought of cooking dinner is the last thing on my mind. Because of this our budget has suffered as we have had a lot of takeaway. If I had freezer meals I could of used them.
    However, lesson learnt!! As soon as I'm felling better I will start stockpiling to prepare for when bub arrives!! 😊

    1. Dear Rebecca,
      Congratulations first of all! I am sorry though you are feeling sick. It is terrible. Lucy had it quite badly. Once she got to 12 weeks she improved so much. I hope the same for you.
      Food is the last thing you can think about but then it is hard as there are still others to feed! Possibly pipit ting on the crock pot in the morning before you fel I'll could work. Or else part preparing the dinner early in the morning while you feel ok. Obviously later when you feel horrible it's not much good.
      Having meals in the freezer will be a big help when you have a new baby. Also a well stocked pantry of easy things too. Anything that saves you a trip to the shops will be such a have plenty of time for all this.
      I just hope you are feeling much better soon. Lucy's doctor said morning sickness is much worse if you are overtired... avoiding getting too tired can be difficult but sometimes little tips help. With love,

  19. Annabel, I was talking to my daughter on the phone and she is having trouble commenting on your blog but she said to tell you that she loves this series in particular and it is particularly to young mums. She loves all your posts of course :-)

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Thank you for letting me know this! It helps me a lot. I am so glad she likes it and it helps. I want her to know how much her work is important and counts. Little ways to get ahead make a big difference. With love,


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