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 20 December 2015

Christmas week.

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and hope you have a good Christmas week. It is a busy time for everyone but an exciting time too!

This will be my last post until after Christmas as I will take a little break. It is a time when we can be too busy. We all know it. Too busy ruins things. I was feeling sorry for someone called upon to do ridiculous amounts of extra things making her Christmas cooking etc impossible and then I thought about myself and that I very easily do too many things and get overwhelmed!  So I am taking my own advice and slowing things down this week!

I want to savor the week we are in and the year we have had. The biggest event of this year was Harper coming into the family! She has added so much joy to the whole family and my parents becoming Great Grand Parents for the first time! Just wonderful.

When Dad was in hospital the sight of her lit him up!

Other things included some wonderful friendships I made through this blog, establishing "the shop" in my cellar, improving our preparedness greatly, making presents all year so I really did make most of my Christmas presents...

The garden came a long way. That is a gradual process but the roses I add each year are really paying off!

The birds in our backyard that built a nest eventually had a baby in a nest somewhere out the back of us. We knew they were feeding babies as they come for food and head off with it over the back fence! And a few weeks ago they turned up with their baby to show us!  There is only one. We call him Baby Baby.

We also got our chickens. They are like garden ornaments only cuter!

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed with writing, photo's, comments and support. There is such a sense of a supportive and loving community that we have built up! Anyone could ask for any advice and there would be help. Thank you.

I am not sure yet what will be the same and what will be different next year. I do know we will have The Christmas Challenge starting to work on gift making all year. This will be a massive money saver and should easily cover birthdays and other gift giving as well.

Also The Vicky Challenge which will be very motivating and show just how much our work at home contributes financially to our family. We know how much it does in many ways but a frequent thing I hear is women feeling pressure to "contribute financially". This infuriates me as the money we save is often far more than the money we could earn elsewhere especially when you deduct work expenses, tax, child care, travel etc. You will be shocked when you see how much you contribute financially by your work at home and we will find many new ways to add to that!

I know one of my aims for 2016 is to help us all feel encouraged and to be able to meet financial challenges as so many are facing severe income reduction through either job reasons or expense increases. Or both!  To do it we might have to learn new things, develop new habits and make changes.
I read this quote this week which I thought was perfect:

"If you are not willing to learn no one can help you.
If you are determined to learn no one can stop you!"

I am amazed how much I have learned this year! I have saved money in ways I never knew of! I made a lot of changes!  I had good days where I learned one thing that saved me hundreds. Sometimes one new tip that you can use saves you a fortune. It's just finding that tip. One of my good days was discovering that the discount chemist would save me over $600 a year. Yes I learned to save $600 that day alone! I had a few days with savings like that.

So I really look forward to next year and am excited about it.

But first lets really appreciate our blessings this year and Christmas time. A few weeks ago I didn't think we would have Dad here for Christmas. I have a lot to be grateful for.
I am going to take so many photos of our family Christmas and the farm. I am going to appreciate every moment!

I hope to be able to post on Facebook even when I am away. This is an easy place to share your Christmas pics and creations also if you would like.
This is the link to Bluebirds on FB.  The Bluebirds are Nesting.
I have benefitted enormously from following A Working Pantry via fb,  the weekly challenges and questions and answers... I have found lovely friendships through this too. Also A Tray of Bliss, The Cheapskates Club and My Abundant Life. And many others. It is a quick way to keep up with everyone and a great way to chat. I love how I am able to chat life (for free) to Vicky late at night!
FB is set up so that to see the things you wish to follow you need to like, share or comment on or after a couple of days you do not see what you are following anymore and wondering why. Once you know that you can have the most wonderful time!  Over Christmas I will post pictures as we go along there.

Have a wonderful Christmas! Every bit of joy you add for someone else will come back to you 1000 x With


  1. Hello Annabel, Harper is just beautiful and she beams out happiness but I am sure you have already noticed. :) I am glad you shared her sweet photo.

    We have big changes here, our income should be adequate but only if we manage it and do stuff ourselves. I want to do even better in the kitchen as I've been letting produce spoil because I either overbought or because we ate out and didn't use what we had.
    I plan to do a lot more meal planning as well as continue careful grocery shopping and you know how I like CVS.
    I have not made gifts in several years but would like to get back to that.
    I'll be following along!

    Merry Christmas to you and all your family, have a wonderful blog break and we can all get busy in 2016

  2. Have a Merry Christmas! Thank you for all you do here to help us all save money. We enjoy saving money so that we can give to others. Today we were able to help purchase a van for a doctor and her family who are missionaries to a very dangerous country. What a blessing to be able to do so because we are careful all year round. Enjoy your first Christmas as grandparents! See you in the new year and enjoy your break!

  3. Have a wonderful Christmas, Annabel. My grandchildren arrived late yesterday after their long trip and they were excited to see us. The bub wasn't sure what was going on but I am sure he will settle in to life in SE Qld for a few weeks. Af least they will have a break from the Outback heat. Enjoy your time with your family especially your Dad.

  4. Merry Christmas to you, Annabel! Enjoy your holiday!

    I'm looking forward to all the challenges awaiting in the new year!

  5. Dear Annabel

    Thank you for a wonderful year. It has been an amazing abundance of knowledge. I have been most grateful to be learning new things from not only yourself but also from fellow followers. There has been things that are so simple and easy to change along the way, things that we just seem to lose sight of but others help us find our ways.

    I am also very appreciative of you share the other blogs with us as I have also gained a wealth of knowledge there also.

    Thank you for all the letters, emails and presents throughout the year and DD5 has also appreciated her special mail.

    Harper is such a cute little girl and I am sure that the family will enjoy having her around on Christmas Day.

    We are 3 for Christmas lunch as we are not going home this year, so a few of us here in town well like around 30 people have decided that we are going to have an "Orphan's" Christmas in the afternoon and have a BBQ Christmas dinner together.

    I wish You Andy and your entire Family a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

    Merry Christmas everyone

    Aly xxx

  6. Annabel, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family. Much love to you. I am thanking God that your Dad is recovering and ok. I have to say, that is the most beautiful photo of Harper. She is just beautiful! Look at that smile! I love her bow and her outfit. What a beautiful little girl. Imtoo will savour these holidays with my husband home. It is so nice to have time together. Best gift of all. Love to you. Love, Bridge

  7. Merry Christmas Annabel! You have had such an amazing year, and we've all been so blessed that you have chosen to share it with us.
    I am very happy for you that your dad will be with you this Christmas. My FIL passed away about the same time your dad had his scare. But we hosted a very large family Christmas last year and took many family group photos to remember him by.
    This year you will have 4 generations celebrating, which will be wonderful for you all.
    Sending you all lots of Christmas love xxx Fiona

  8. Im so pleased to hear you're going to stop now & have a lovely lead up to Christmas celebrations Annabel, I have done the same by learning to say NO & just enjoying myself. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas with your family & may 2016 be filled with love, health & happiness. Big hugs & much love xSusan

  9. Dearest Annabel. May you all have the merriest of Christmasses with much to celebrate. A joyous year for you, with the arrival of your darling granddaughter, and one to remember. Thankyou for sharing your life and your blog this year. You've generated your own wonderful little community here with your sweet and gentle encouragement. We're all privileged to be a part of it. Lots of love, Mimi xxx

  10. Hi Annabel, I just wanted to thank you for all of the joy and inspiration you have given myself and many others this year through your blog. I look forward to your posts each week, and feel very blessed to have found this, Wendy, Mimi and Caths blogs. I am so glad all your family will be together this Christmas, and I hope your very first Christmas with little Harper is extra special. Love Lisa

  11. I'm not sure what the Vicky challenge is -sounds like something I would love to follow along in. Merry Christmas

    1. Dear Vickie,
      I have been talking about this for a couple of weeks here is a link to help you. It is something I am doing next year and anyone is welcome to join in.. I am trying to set it up so it will be really easy to do. I am interested to see the results even after one week!
      Have a very Happy Christmas, love

  12. Merry Christmas! The best is yet to come!

    Kelley Dibble

  13. My husband saw the adorable picture of Harper and wants to know what Australian baby talk sounds like! LOL! I suspect it sounds very much alike the world over.

  14. Merry Christmas, Annabel. Thank you for the inspiration you have given us this year to make our homes more comfortable, and showing how we can give to others even when money is tight.

  15. Best wishes to you Annabel, I've loved reading your blog this year and look forward to more next year.

  16. I just wanted to wish you and your family the Happiest of Christmas's. Enjoy the time with your Dad and little Granddaughter.
    Looking forward to all the challenges next year.

  17. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Thank you for the lovely, helpful and encouraging posts. I enjoy reading them and seeing the beautiful photos. We got to meet "the girls," our daughter's family's chickens, a couple of weeks ago and gathered some eggs. We celebrated a bit of early Christmas with son and family last week in Colorado, complete with snow. We are home again in Arizona and celebrating with our two daughters, son-in-law and granddaughters. We've also been enjoying delivering a few cards and goodies to friends and neighbors. I am looking forward to the fun and challenges starting in the new year. With love, Elaine

  18. Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas Annabel Thankyou so much for your friendship. It's great to have likeminded people to talk to.

    Merry Chirstmas to all of your readers. I hope we can continue our conversations next year xoxo

  19. Annabel I hope you are managing to have a quiet lead into Christmas Day, life can get busy at this time of the year but I think the traffic makes things worse.

    Enjoy your time with Harper and the rest of the family - I am sure that once refreshed you will be back with bells on (as the saying goes).

    I have some baking to do tomorrow before we head away - easy cakes, one I might even do at my mother in laws (3 ingredient fruit cake).

    I wish everyone a safe and wonderful Christmas - I will be thinking of our friends in the northern hemisphere, I am sure that there will be many wonderful photos with the winter weather.

    For those of us in the southern hemisphere remember I hope that our crazy weather is kind to everyone.



  20. Hi Annabel, that is such a beautiful photo of Harper, picture perfect! Whata heritage of womenfolk she is lucky to be born into,wonderful encouragement ahead I can see :-)
    Have a lovely restful break at the farm, and Im so pleased your dad is much better.Harper will cheer him along beautifully.I see that in our family of 4 generations as we live near each other.Lots of love Maria xxx

  21. A very Merry Christmas Annabel, I hope you and your family have a blessed time full of love and happiness. Thank you so much for the time you give us all, you are a great blessing to many. xxx Much love and gratitude to you.

  22. Merry Christmas to you and all your dearest, Annabel. Thank you so much for writing such an uplifting and encouraging (and beautiful) have been such a source of positive inspiration to me this year. Will think of you as we enjoy your Christmas cake! Looking forward to all the beautiful pictures and words you will share in 2016!

    Love, Jen in Nova Scotia

  23. Thank you everyone! Have a beautiful Christmas Day! xxx

  24. Best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas for you and your family Annabel. My son and his partner have given us the best Christmas present. We too will become Granparents later next year. 2016 is going to be even better than 2015. Much love.

    1. Dear Jane, Oh my goodness congratulations! What a present! You will LOVE being a Grandma. Its fabulous. Your heart bursts all over again just like when you had your first baby!
      Thanks for sharing your wonderful news. Have a wonderful Christmas, love

  25. One of my happiest finds this year was you and several of the bloggers who contribute or comment here. I finally found my 'club' of like minded friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  26. Merry Christmas and wishing you and your family the best 2016 possible. Harper is absolutely gorgeous Annabel xoxo

  27. Happy Christmas to everyone! Annabel dear, thank you for a year of beautiful posts and wonderful encouragement in every area of womanhood. I love you to bits and admire all that you do.
    Love Helen xxx

  28. We had a wonderful Christmas. Also I had a couple of days quiet time with the family afterwards. I took loads of photos and got some lovely ones of dad nursing Harper. She was the high light for everyone! everyone had a great Christmas. Have a very Happy New Year! I will post a catch up Friday and am starting some challenges next week! xxx
    I hope


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