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.

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Sunday 19 June 2016

The Vicky Challenge. The company you keep.

When I write up my last weeks Vicky Challenge it all seems so long ago! But yes, it was last week!

This weeks savings and earnings included:

Lots of chocolate cakes for everyone and the freezer.

Shepherds Pies.



I got four bunches of radishes for $2 the lot, saving about $10. (Andy loves them)

Thanks to Lynette tipping me off I got a lovely cook book free worth at least $10.

My use it up (from the freezer) challenge saved me about $25 in groceries.

I embroidered two more tops for Harper. The prices in the stores are over the top. I am counting $90 value.

(Doing the grocery shopping in this one.)  At least I know she wears what I make!

Each year I can get a free eye test and one pair of free prescription glasses (through my health fund). I always take advantage of that. I did not need a new prescription. So I said that I am embroidering really small things now and could I have social glasses to help with tiny things like mini grub roses which I find hard to see.  So now I have special glasses just for needle work for free. Value at least $200.

Andy caught fish. Once filleted the value was just over $50.

After all my adding up and calculations I wrote $650 in my savings book.

I am very happy with that. And as I count from Friday to Friday I can say that over the weekend we got this new week off to a really good start! :)  I love that! I even love finishing the weeks challenge and turning the page in my book to a brand new blank page. Then it is a whole new week of possibilities!

My savings subject this week is friends.
Many times I hear how saving, budgeting and even simply looking after your family, children and home attract criticism.
Firstly it is TERRIBLE that these things COULD attract an attack. But they often seem to.
I am very skeptical about the motives of a person who would want to tear you down over having your priorities right rather than encouraging you and supporting you.
This is a tricky one. Sometimes this comes from family. That is even more hurtful.
Sometimes friends. We can have some control over that but also it can be complicated as we have contact with the friends of others as well as our own.
Even negative comments from strangers are hurtful.

Managing a home, bringing up a family, making ends meet  and all that involves is hard work. The last thing you need is discouragement! Going above and beyond and doing it well, getting ahead, having savings, preparedness etc is all even more work.  The last thing you need is to be torn down for doing it.

Having a clear mission is a really big help. If you don't know what your mission is then it's going to be easy to be steered or even bullied off course.

I wrote a post here about your time and mission. This was quite personal as when the girls were little I had both wonderful support and pressures at the same time. Knowing my mission was the hugest help.

There is no point conforming to the ways of those who are heading over a cliff! And very lovely people might be dramatically financially irresponsible. So while they might make nice friends they don't make good advisors.
This is all fine unless they actually sabotage you which might be through expectations that you join in with a whole lot of things that completely blow your budget and take you away from what you should be doing.
Glenda's comment the other day "The action of being fiscally responsible is an action that shows how much you care about your family"
This has stuck in my mind. Spending your last cent on keeping up with friends is not loving your family. Nor is being absent.

We all need friends and/or family that encourage us. A little bit encouragement goes a long way!
Scripture tells us to encourage one another and build each other up! That's because we really need it.
That's what I am trying to do here.
In our week to week efforts our energy will be better with some support. If you can find ways to get more support and less criticism or sabotage this is going to help so much.
It can be easier said than done. And sometimes it is a matter of finding common ground with someone. I try and zone in on things that are beneficial. i.e. perhaps a person has a skill that would be great to learn or an interest you do share. Then that little bit of common ground could be an encouragement and help to you.

I am really lucky that I have a couple of in the flesh friends that are really practical, sensible and I know nothing but a good influence on me (like Hilde!)
And I have wonderful on line friends who encourage me daily, I can ask anything, will help me lean, celebrate my small achievements and I feel the same about them and love hearing how they have done in their days and weeks.
There are blogs I follow where I feel like I know the person and they encourage me so much even if we have never met or spoken! This is like Laine's Letters. I felt she was my best friend!
It is hard to go it alone. It will help to seek support and friendship. And it can be found in the most unexpected places. Often an old person is wonderful. They are more likely to have old fashioned values. Maybe they went through the war or great depression. They are going to be a gold mine of information!
There are forums you can join to find people interested in homemaking and savings, maybe you could try a craft group, seek out others who are canning or growing their own veggies or whatever that you would have in common. And ultimately build some more support and networking that is really nice to have but also useful... you can swap and help each other.

Anyway that is my thought for the week. With motivation and encouragement we will do better. We will have more energy. It is a big boost!

How was your last week of savings and getting ahead?
I hope this is a great week. I try and turbo boost Mondays so I am off on some errands and to the supermarket.
See you Wednesday for lots of ideas for gifts to make for


  1. Bluey and I had a number of friends who were dismissive of the way we lived. That is they were, as they can now see how we are slowing down and generally enjoying life, whilst they are hunting the extra dollars all the time, just to pay their lifestyle bills.
    One of my brothers was amazed when I was making my own pasta on one of his visits. He asked why I just didn't go down to the shops and buy some, as pasta isn't expensive. No pasta is not expensive, but I had run out and the nearest shop was a 20km drive away. Such a drive would make for expensive pasta. He could not get past me making what could be purchased so cheaply.
    Another brother cannot understand why we always look for another use for something before parting with it. Bluey pulled the stainless steel drum out of our old burnt out washing machine, welded legs(cut down star pickets) onto it and made this into a fire pit. This gave a useless tip bound object, a bit of extra life and saved us money as well.
    My sister calls me the eco queen of the family. Im not necessarily eco orientated I just hate waste and will find ways to keep this as close to zero as possible. I made her some towel and cloth wipes that joined up to form a roll. The cotton was in colours that went with her kitchen( it was an old dress of mine that I had ripped) and the towel was one that was no longer useful as a bath towel. This is reusable not paper, towel. She loves it and has not long put in an order for a new roll. My SIL saw the roll when I first gave it to my sister and asked for a roll for herself.
    We can influence change by staying true to our beliefs and to our own life goals. You are so right about having a mission Annabel. Knowing what you want and then striving to achieve that goal is what keeps us moving forward. For some this involves the McMansion and all the associated frippery and toys. Then there are those who know the value of enough. That is what I want in my world and for my family.
    This past week we moved our daughter up from Brisbane. The hire of the trailer and the cost of fuel came in at half the cost of the removalist so counting that as a saving. This was the one big saving of the week. The rest has been small stuff. This weeks sum total of savings has come in at $728.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, It sounds like you converted your sister and SIL to the towels at least! And take Eco Queen as a compliment as I think it is.
      I think the mission bit is important. Otherwise we end up living someone else's dream and goals and not our own. I had a bit of help but I felt like I knew my mission once the kids were born I was really determined.
      You had a very busy week! Packing, sorting, travel, re arranging... all with a sore hand.. I hope thats much better.
      Your life always sounds just wonderful to me and very happy. Not to mention ideal location!
      I know you will enjoy having your daughter home and I hope she settles very well into her new job. With love

    2. We took the drum out of our old dryer, and turned it into a raised bed for the garden. We put a single glorious tomato in it, and the tomatoes turn out great. We did the same with old garbage cans. Planted tomatoes in them. This make it so we can plant them much earlier than we would other wise be able to do so. They are on the back 2/3 acre of our 2 acre lot. so much easier to take care of than those in the ground, now that we are in our 60's also.

  2. Dear Annabel , thank you for this wonderful , thoughtful post, the extra topic this week is a wonderful one and a subject that can be tricky. I am very fortunate that my family know I am on a limited income and love my bargain hunting and accept me for who I am not what I can give them and my parents and I share the cost of meat and fruit and veg and groceries as a way of helping each other out.. I do not have too many real life friends anymore but have some wonderful forum and online friends who support and encourage me and do not expect more of me than I can afford. I buy or make gifts for people for sometimes tiny prices and they have been very well received especially recently. I am now by myself and going out is hard at times but I have a couple of my neighbours who are good friends and we help each other out when needed. My extended family support each other to as we have amongst us mechanics, pest control business owners, electricians, business owners, hairdressers, etc so there is always someone to offer help or advice .
    This is a two week vicky challenge post from me : my savings for the last two weeks include:
    Getting my screen sliding door fixed , saving on a handy man as it is through housing dept , approx cost $20 as it did not take that long .
    I bought storage containers 1/2 price for my pantry saving a total of $20 approx. for 2 large containers.
    I received. Gift of an embroidered washer Nd a surgical cool band for when I am hot or my feet swell and get hot , Saving about $15 .
    I received 9 meals from my parents plus 4 serves of homemade pumpkin soup and some homemade chocolate chip cookies( biscuits) total savings jfor all of this based on supermarket prices or bakery prices etc. approx $107 ( $8 per meal x 9 = $72 plus $5 per serve of soup $20) plus 10 Choc chip biscuits which at a food market or gift storeroom bakery etc would be about $15 at least.
    I used gifts from my gift cupboard and food stockpile for a friend in hospital , saving me at least $25 .
    I saved on grocery delivery by purchasing a delivery saver pass through Woolworths online and got an extra month free , if I spend over $100 ( which I do each fortnight sometimes including purchases my parents give me money for for food for them ) . I save $11 per fortnight over two months( 4 shops) it will save me $22 at least after taking out what it cost me. I could use it multiple times a month as long as I spent over a hundred $ .
    I received a magazine from my grandma which I have passed on to a friend $5 saving.
    I have saved $200 approx. in physiotherapy costs in The last two weeks by having a enhanced primary care program and a kind physiotherapist.
    I saved $120 doctors fees in the last fortnight as my doctor bulk bills me
    I have added $10 to my slush fund from my grocery savings
    I have saved approx $50 on groceries in the last fortnight by buying reduced to clear and half price items.
    I am donating to a local charity/ organisation who help needy people using gifts from my gift cupboard instead of donating money , saving me $ but I am not counting it as it is a donation but it still saves me and allows me to help without spending extra money.
    I had my dad do some cleaning and odd jobs for me , saving me $75 approx. compRed to what I was going to pay a company.
    I think thus might be enough for now Annabel, lots of savings thus fortnight . I hope
    this comment does not take up a whole page . Total savings for two weeks is approx $700 plus ?I am sure there is more!. Take care and gave a great week Anbabel and everyone live BarbW

    1. Dear Barb, It is such a bonus that you have good neighbours! Really that is a great help.
      Also it is a massive help to have supportive family. We are very lucky with that.
      You had excellent savings and a great variety.
      It was lovely that you could just go to your gift cupboard to find something for your friend in hospital! Well done Barb.
      I hope you have a good week this week. Thank you for sharing your list. It all adds up and what a difference it must all make to your life. Much love from

  3. lovely post Annabel, there are saboteurs everywhere in the world, and yes it's worse when it is family, but you need to push through and do what you need to do. Recently I've decided for example to stop trying to make everyone else happy, to stop doing so much for them. If I continue to do what I do here, then I will have extra to share if times are bad, but doing it for people who in the end laugh at you and don't appreciate it, well that's just demoralising. I think for me that is the biggie in my life. I made 18 wheat bags and about a dozen or more (haven't counted them) pouches for baby wombats/roos last week and it gave me quite a lot of satisfaction. I've done a bit of cooking, not much but no takeaways either. I just think Harper is the cutest little thing. She certainly looks a lot like Lucy. I am looking forward to wednesday's manly gifts. Fi xxx\

    1. Dear Fiona,
      You are a very generous person and do a lot for people. Sometimes for family it is hard. As parents we want to help but as well we want them to learn how to do for themselves and learn for themselves. Its a fine balance. And nothing is worse than giving giving giving and not being appreciated. As Vicky would say sometimes we have to revisit our plans and have a review and think what to do next. Well what you did next with the wheat bags and pouches for the babies was wonderful! I know you will get a lot of joy from this as well as it being so helpful and kind.
      Also what you said about doing what you can do at home and in times of need all things going well you have the capacity to help others. That is a solid plan.
      Thank you for your comments on Harper. She is being spoiled this week by her Great Grandma as Mum is in town.
      Much love to you Fiona,

    2. Fi,
      That is such a wonderful thing you do and I think sometimes animals are more appreciative of our efforts than humans. I would love to be able to hold a baby wombat or roo! Lucky!

  4. Dear Annabel

    Well I am truly onboard with having like minded friends. I do have two dear to me friends that live close by and they are both very encouraging to be around. It is almost a lifting of my spirits just talking to them. I think if you are with negative people constantly then you can very easily become negative also and the opposite is true as well. I love to learn new things and we are certainly blessed to be in the digital age that we find ourselves in. Just having youtube and Pinterest opens up exciting forums to learn new skills. I love your blog and other family orientated blogs so very dearly.

    This week I have made seven cards (very simple). I finished a cross stitch baby bib using all materials I had on hand and started a matching hooded towel. I had a pair of shoes resoled. I cooked extra meals and put them in the freezer for days when I am too tired from work to cook. I saved enough grocery money to buy a Mandarin Tree. I worked an extra shift this week.

    I do hope that you have a very blessed week coming up Annabel and sending much love

    1. Dear Mel,
      I am so happy you have this kind of friendship and support and from friends living so close by. What an asset! Negativity does just deflate you and I find it weighs on me. Yet a short time with someone positive is very energising. Its a bt like getting your batteries charged (or depleted as the case may be!)
      Well done on the cards! I know your sewing is just lovely and can imagine the bib and towel. The extra meals are so handy as lets face it we all have nights we are over tired or unwell even.
      I hope the extra shift was handy too. Have a great week this week Mel. It is cold! I am really feeling it tonight! With love

  5. Hi
    As a retiree from the working world, I now having time to read your very enjoyable blog and wouldn't normally leave a comment but would like to this time. Firstly not every woman goes out to work to 'keep up with the Jones' sometimes we have to go out to work just to keep the roof over our families heads - when my first husband decided to leave his family and mortgage as he didn't want the responsibility any longer then I had no choice but to go out and work - at that point I had a mortgage, a car loan, and 3 teenagers to feed, keep and clothe - I used to do 1 full time day job and 2 part time night jobs then - I would have preferred to stay at home and have looked after my family but if I had we would have been homeless.
    Secondly - I don't know how the system works where you are but here in Blighty the state pension has been changed for women - if you don't work and don't pay the minimum of 35 years national insurance then quite simply you do not get a state pension - before a woman who stayed at home and didn't work could claim a smaller state pension from the contributions that her husband had made - that has now been taken away and there isn't a widows pension any longer if your husband dies before you - so I would say to any woman who stays at home doing as you say a very important role to please make sure that you have your very own pension provision in place - I'm ok and very lucky that yes I had to work but it's meant that I have my state pension, my works pension and something even more important I totally own outright the roof above my head and no one will ever threaten my security like it was all those years ago - I hope you don't mind me commenting - I'm not critising in any way shape or form just wanted to say that for some women theres no choice if they want to survive and keep their roof Many thanks xx

    1. Dear Trudie, No I don't mind at all. I have worked part and full time jobs. And I have been a single Mum and was the entire time I brought my children up. I was very fortunate that my parents helped me.
      Whether you are working part or full time, at home, your own business or whatever we are all trying to manage and keep everything going. Being farmers my family don't work 9 to 5 jobs just all the time!
      I don't know much about pensions except that I am glad they are there.
      My Great Grandmother brought up my Nan and family all on her own because Great Grandfather drank. They said he went off to work on the rabbit proof fence in the outback but I think that was polite for saying he was useless. Anyway Great Gran turned her home into a boarding house and this way she could bring up the family. It would have been such a hard life as she had so many to look after, meals to cook etc. But we do what we have to do as you say.
      I think it only means support and friendship is even more helpful. It can be very lonely.
      Well done on managing on your own with three teenagers. And doing everything yourself. You should be very proud!
      Whatever the situation our work to manage, get ahead, make life nice and happy for our family and all of that is still just the same... so important and so worthwhile.
      Thank you for commenting and telling me you read. I am so glad you won your own home now and security. You earned it! With love

  6. Dear Annabel,

    What great saving you have had this week! Free glasses as well how wonderful. Thank you for such lovely words,that have resonated with me. You are such a kind soul and are such an inspiration to me and many others! I don't have contact or relationship with my mother so lack support knowledge and guidance from an experienced woman and feel you fit that gap for me. I am so glad I found your blog. Thanks again so much xx

    1. Dear Mel, Thank you so much. I am sorry you don't have your Mum. I have been very lucky to have Mum and Nan but when the kids were young I had a lady in our town who was so supportive and I went to her often to ask what to do or how to do this or that. Seriously she was a huge help and encouragement. We need that. Sometimes it might not be anything serious its just nice to have that back up. And its nice to have someone say you are doing a good job and it is all worth it. And you are doing a good job and it truly is all worth it.
      You have said the loveliest thing to me thank you.
      With lots of love,

  7. Hi Annabel!

    I join you in saying "Well done!" to Trudie. Her loyalty to her children, and the provision of a family home to centre their life around, is wonderful! If it is any encouragement, even when I worked in the forests with my husband, I considered myself still a 'housewife'. My motives were the same. I was simply easing the burden in a job which required the efforts of two to even out the driving (easily one and a half hours each way, at times) and share the sheer manual effort. I chose to do this, and it was the only sensible thing considering the circumstances.

    As for Australia, they, too, are following a foreign agenda. The public service follows office guidelines rather than social security law. When my Dad retired, having supported my Mum as a housewife, he did not know that he was being paid the aged pension at a rate less than that of a single man. This does not make sense - having less money to support an extra person. The department expects a housewife to apply for a support payment (ie in exchange for looking for work) in her own right. Apparently, section 98 of the Social Security Legislation Act (1999) is not given consideration. This allows for automatic reduction of a person's pension at the point when the spouse also receives a social security payment. Trudie is quite right. In this regard, it costs to be a housewife. Nevertheless, the eternal values of my Mum being at home outweighed any monetary discrepancies.

    In Aaron Russo's documentary "America: Freedom to Fascism" (direct cut) on You Tube, there is a short reference (nearer the end of the one and a half hour main component) to a conversation of his with a friend in high places. Russo was told that the women's liberation movement was a planned push to place women in the workforce for the purpose of collecting more tax. Home values vs tax?

    I agree with Fiona. We need to choose carefully who we help and give to. Further, why should I help someone who did not raise their own family to be helpful when I have my own parents to assist, and they did train me to be helpful?!! Basic principles help here. Who was it that said, "Circle the Wagons Closer"? It is our own household that demands our attention. The best way to help others, I believe, is to do what one needs to do at home.

    How many people genuinely seek our good? I have learnt that the hard way. No matter how well one may have treated the world in the past, there comes a point in some of our lives, at least, when this is made clear. For me, this eventually provided freedom from the opinions of others! For this I am thankful!

    Now what's this about? THE COMPANY WE CHOOSE TO KEEP. Well, a loyal dog and valued friends make a much richer life than one without these, I am sure! The point is that it is vital not just what we choose to keep in life, but also what we choose NOT to keep. That's the hard part. Once the breaks have been made, life is better.

    I like Jane's stories. Making things all the time is very interesting. This is the type of home I like to visit! Feel free to make me some pasta, Jane!!

    By the way, last week I looked more carefully in an op shop (after last Vicky day) and found a quality raincoat & pants set. I was wearing the coat the other day - the day the rain had been bucketing down. That was good!


    1. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you for your comments! I like the idea that its not just who and what we choose to keep in our lives and around us but also what we decide to reject and who also. This can be a process and I guess that process never ends really. Like Vicky says we need to revise things and have reviews. I have often found that after a few days away I will see things clearer and come home having decided this or that has to go and I am going to do it differently. I also think as we get older we feel less like we need to conform or cave under pressure.
      Sometimes if I am getting pressure I just think no way. Whereas when I was younger that was much harder, I thought I needed some valid and sensible excuse. Now I just say no thanks. This is a money saver but also time saver! I only have so much time and energy. I know I cannot do everything. So I have to prioritise and choose. Wisely, hopefully.
      I would happily line up for Janes pasta also! Fresh pasta is gorgeous! And nothing like packet stuff!
      My Dad always told me the best way I could help the world and society was do a good job at home. That being solid is the base of everything. So I like the Circle the Wagons thought.
      Have a great week Rachel. And good op shop finds! With love

  8. Dear Annabel how Harper has grown - there is no way that she could be mistaken for a boy, she is so pretty.

    I must be fortunate or perhaps it is because we have moved interstate a few times but I have never had anyone try to derail my plans to keep food on the table and not worry about what the Jones's have. My only problem was many years ago and a neighbour who knew that I did a fortnightly shop would send one of her children over to my place in the morning because she had run out of bread.

    The child would ask for how many slices were needed and said that mum would replace them - of course that never happened so after a couple of times (which by then would have been equal to a whole loaf of bread) I sent a whole loaf of bread over when the next knock at the door came and insisted that the neighbour replace the whole loaf of bread.

    She did and never again sent a child over requesting bread.

    I use to do a fortnightly shop but would carry enough for 3 weeks in case of sick children and me not being able to get out. I now do a monthly shop but as there is just the two of us it is easier to stretch the shop out a tad longer.

    Today was craft day - just a handful of us meeting to share our various crafting skills - some working on different skills to others but it was still a harmonious time. When we finished one of the ladies that I have become friendly with was talking to me about a Woolworths store that is not that far from us. I have shopped there but only because the closest Aldi was not a comfortable store to shop in. She cannot see how you can save at Aldi but then perhaps our shopping habits are totally different.

    Over the years I have come across many people who really could not afford to spend a huge amount at the supermarket but they did - the lure of the advertisements whether TV or in the catalogue was just too much for them. One person in particular I took grocery shopping when I did mine ( a fortnightly shop for both of us) yet when her parents arrived the following week she would be back at the supermarket stocking up again. Money was tight in my little family but it was tighter in hers and I could never work out how she managed to spend so much money.

    This week is shaping up to be a really good one - just waiting for the sale of the 'Girl Friend' - Torana to go through. My husband has a lunch to attend on the Gold Coast on Wednesday so I am heading down with him but meeting up with a friend from a charity knitting group I belong to. And today I was offered some vintage Women's Weekly magazines. Life is good.

    We were hit with a lot of rain late yesterday afternoon, the wind was quite strong at one point in time, blowing the 4 burner BBQ (wheels were locked to stop it from moving) from one side of the veranda to the set of french doors opposite it. Our pump worked so the backyard didn't flood - so money well spent there.

    We are still eating out of the freezer which is easy to do in winter. I grew up on soups, stews and casseroles. In winter anyway.

    Looking forward to Wednesday.


    1. Dear Lynette, I love soups, stews etc in winter. Really enjoy them and find them easy too.
      I cannot see how anyone wouldn't save at Aldi. Its just so much cheaper. So I also can't figure that out.
      I love vintage ladies magazines! The recipes, images and advertising are fantastic! That was lovely.
      When peoples shopping does not match their earnings or doesn't make sense I am often left wondering. They either have a mysterious money poll or inheritance or its debt. If things done make sense then they usually aren't true. I know of an dear of a lot of people and you know their jobs etc and think how on earth do they afford that!? I think it is just debt in most cases and multiple credit cards. I have no idea how they do it.
      It was good to always keep extra groceries in case you couldn't get out. I think you have always been an organised person and practical. Being practical and common sense are not so common these days I don't think!
      Have a great trip to the Gold Coast and good time with your friend. Lots of love,

  9. I'm so grateful to be surrounded by a supportive hubby, family and friends! That can make such a difference!

    This week we ate 3 of our freezer meal dinners, had breakfast burritos that I made in bulk and froze for breakfast as well as free bagels we were given!

    I quilted a lap quilt I had made earlier from scraps to give to a friend who is recovering from back surgery. No out of pocket cost to me because all the materials were from my stash!

    As part of our decluttering we sold 2 aluminum extension ladders that we've had hanging up from the workshop ceiling and made $150 in the process.

    We also had $95 more in pallet projects that we got finished and paid for. The pallets are free and we are excited to use them as another little stream of income! So with the ladder sales and pallet projects, we earned an extra $245 this week! That certainly helps the budget and we used it to pay some of our recent medical bills! We have been average big between $100- $250 every week in miscellaneous sales since April and that has been a real blessing as we've added to our savings and paid down medical bills and mortgage! In the first 4 months of our mortgage, we have paid 8 month's worth of principle payments! At this rate, our 15 year mortgage will be paid off in 7 or less!

    By taking advantage of a Chick fil A promotion, hubby, son and I each got a free chicken sandwich on the way home from work. Added a salad from the garden and some watermelon and it was a frugal dinner! Also, by using a promotion from Papa Johns Pizza, we got a free large pizza AND some free garlic knots which became another frugal meal for the 3 of us! Also, for lunch one day, I discovered that I had enough Subway points for a free 6" sub, so I splurged and bought one and brought it home so I could have my own drink from home.

    I made some more mixes and seasonings from scratch t add to my pantry. Makes it so convenient to have on hand when I need them AND so much cheaper AND fresher than their counterparts in the store!

    Bought beautiful Sweet cherries for $1.49/lb. I just couldn't resist them! Got eggs for 55 cents a dozen!

    I've been trying to use what I have in my freezer to (1.) rotate my storage and (2.) make room for summer/fall produce/meat sales!

    My garden is flourishing and soon I'll be harvesting more from it! The 10 fruit trees in my mini orchard are all looking healthy and I'm confident that in a couple of years, they will be producing well!

    Signed up to work the special election in August. That will bring in an extra $168 for each of the 3 of us for working 1 day! It's a small local election so it will probably be a slow day!

    I'm looking around today to see what our next decluttering "moneymaker" might be! Definitely makes it a win-win situation when we get money for what we decluttered!

    All in all, a week where we were blessed with lots of opportunities to earn and save!

    1. Dear Garden Pat,
      I think its beautiful you made a quilt for your friend recovering from surgery. That is a gorgeous gift.
      And I love the sound of your mini orchard! I hope you have a fantastic harvest.
      You have a lot of savings and earnings, extra work, sales, seasonings, cooking, bargains, promotions... it all adds up enormously! I love the things you are doing with the free wood. Just love it! And decluttering and turning it into cash is brilliant. You are getting ahead in everyday through all your work. I hope you have another great week! With love

  10. Hello, Annabel!

    I am finally able to join in the Vicky Challenge! I don't have a lot this week, but what blew my mind was cupcakes! A member of the family needs to eat gluten free and I am used to doing this type of cooking. Whenever there is a birthday or holiday, I always volunteer to bring the cake or dessert. Well! Last week was my oldest daughter's birthday and I made a dozen gluten free cupcakes from scratch and iced them with homemade buttercream. She wanted the cupcakes to look like flowers, specifically hydrangeas and carnations. A quick look at youtube and I was able to do this (I received my grandmother's cake decorating supplies when she passed). Looking at a local bakery, they are asking $15.98 for only 6 cupcakes! And they don't have pretty flowers on top, either! I couldn't believe it!

    As for your topic main "opposition" is my mother in law. There are some things she doesn't mind, such as homemade gifts, but she doesn't understand why I don't use paper towels. And I have learned that if I get a really great deal at the thrift (especially on clothing) to keep my mouth shut as she isn't fond of that. I think this all stems from the fact that she grew up fairly poor. I have just learned not to share certain things with her!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      I hope you took photos of those cakes! They sound gorgeous. We have a very pretty cup cake shop near us. It is a while since I went there but last time I saw cup cakes were $4.50 each. I bet they are more by now. So a dozen is $54! Gluten free probably more also! A box of these would make a seriously good gift too!
      With someone like your MIL it is good she is ok with homemade gifts. If she had a fairly poor upbringing I wonder if her Mum and Grandmother had good recipes and skills that would be really interesting to us now. I often wish I still had my Grandmother to ask things as she didn't talk about the depression and war much but I have a million questions now. The bit I do know has me kind of understanding why Nan and Pa basically never threw anything out and were very careful. They had really nothing when they were young. Anyway just embrace the common ground and don't mention where the clothes came from!
      I have had people tell me something I am wearing is just lovely. And I know that hate op shopping or even the idea of it. So I just smile! :) If only they knew!
      I would love to learn to do the Hydrangea cup cakes. So I will have to watch a tutorial. Chloe loves Hydrangeas. This could be a great gift!
      Thank you Jenn. Keep up the good work! With love

    2. Alas, I forgot to take photos and only remembered when there was one, squashed cupcake left! The tutorial I watched for the hydrangea was by Rosie Cake Diva.

  11. This sums up why I love your writing and your blog, Annabel. It is such a supportive and happy place to be. I have to work outside the home two days a week. Initially, I felt resentful about having to go back to work. However, I feel lucky and joyful and that is thanks to you Annabel and your blog. This blog makes me realise my mission in life is to be a good mother, wife, and daughter. This is my purpose and it allows me to say no to anything more then what is required for our budget. I feel so supported here in being the best wife/mother/daughter that I can be. I come here and it really does make me stop, and reevaluate my actions over the week and whether they are fitting my purpose. Sometimes I think I am amongst friends in the outside world, but then they ask me when I am buying this or that or when am I taking my son to all the extracurricular classes?! It would seem absurd to me to go to work even more outside the home, just to pay for baby classes or brand new toys. I am blessed that my husband, mother and grand mother all appreciate and like that I op shop and buy second hand for my son. I really want to talk to the older generations about how they brought up their children, because I find it very difficult to stay grounded. I am lucky to be part of a Mother's Group and they are lovely women, but gee i would love to really hear from the older generations about how they brought up their children. Like my grandmother said, she only had one toy growing up that she can remember and so they used their imaginations and played outside. Anyway, I'm probably off topic. But I just wanted to say thank you so much for making this such a wonderful place to be, I always feel so encouraged here. Love, Bridge
    PS- Harper is sooooo cute! I love her embroidered clothes, they are just so gorgeous.

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Thank you so much. It is such an advantage to you that already you are clear on your mission. It really helps. Little goals along the way help too as it helps you notice things that are getting in the way of them. And another thing that I know you already have is the understanding that this is precious, it passes quickly so don't miss it!
      It is really good you have supportive family. As you know my Dad is a farmer. I am not sure he had any toys as a child but I know he spent his time making sheep and cattle yards from sticks. He used walnuts and knuckle bones for the sheep and cows. He arranged them into yards and runs and moved the animals around. Now this is pretty cute when you think of where he ended up with real yards and real stock. lol You should tell R that one!
      Keep up the good work Bridge. You are doing a great job. With love

  12. Great post and I love all the responses that I have been reading here. :) I do think there are people in our lives who will be supportive of what we are doing and then there are the "others". I am so thankful that I do have a very supportive husband, kids and even grandkids. My parents and MIL and FIL are also wonderfully supportive of us and I learned a lot of my frugal ways from my mother. I have worked part time or stayed home full time to homeschool our sons for most of my children's growing up years. After they were grown and flown, I went back to work part time again until my health took a turn for the worse. After running the numbers, we found that having me home actually saved us more money than I was bringing home with my substitute teaching. What was really eye opening, was that my part time job actually was costing us more than it was bringing in when you figure out the cost of being in a higher tax bracket, commuting costs, extra costs for clothing for work, more convenience meals, going out to eat because I was too exhausted to cook, etc. As for the non supportive people in our lives...well let's just say that I've come to realize that I wouldn't trade my life and my honest hardworking hubby who values relationships over the latest handbag, fancy car, spendy vacations, etc.. I feel no need to "keep up with the Joneses" or have the latest and greatest technology out there. I'll just wait a few years until those people who are spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on their phones, home theater systems and sound systems go to upgrade yet again, and I will buy their "old stuff" at the thrift store for pennies on the dollar. ;)

  13. Annabel,
    This is so true and I have loved reading every comment. Many of us have been on both sides of the fence and it isn't always easy on either side, but support from others is always a blessing. Like Fiona making her own way and not having to be dependent on others and Trudie having the strength to do what she had to to raise her children and Kelsey being younger and starting out with her own values unlike some of the younger set, we are all in the same boat. caring for the ones we love and doing our best. And why people feel the need to question our decisions is beyond me. My MIL has always mentioned when I quit working to stay home that I need to get a job like I have never worked before. I worked 2 and 3 jobs at a time when I was a single mom.
    For the challenge this week Rick made an extra $140 on top of what he's been making doing mower repairs. He also cut down a tree and made $100. I saved $87.24 using coupons and gift cards and added a few supplies to my emergency items, I dried clothes on the line and spent lots of time in the garden. We still haven't turned on the air conditioner so are saving on electric. And I have been emptying the dehumidifier into a bucket and using it to help water the garden. If we don't need it for the garden I dump it in the washing machine when I wash. All in all between what Rick made and the things I did we saved over $800 this week. I'll take it! I also had a Beggar Wears Prada to deal with and boy does it get old! I am ready to get one of those things that looks like a spray can, but it makes a loud horn noise and honk it at the person the next time they ask and say no means no! I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  14. Dear Annabel, this is an important point you make. My Mum used to say that success is the best revenge. Well, she didn't mean 'revenge', but rather reward, I guess. I agree with Trudie, that sometimes it's just not possible or practical to be a stay at home mother and/or wife. As you know, I was a single Mum for many years too, and truly had to work to keep body and soul together for myself and my three sons. But funnily enough, Mum used to forever be saying 'isn't there another way Darling?' which was her gentle way of saying 'there IS another way Darling'! I see that now, but I didn't back then. And as another of her favourite sayings goes 'everything happens for a reason'. Had I not been a hard working single Mum, I would not have met my lovely husband and soul mate, and I wouldn't be where I am today. We all do what we need to do, but I agree completely that if you make a decision based upon what is best for YOU, it is fundamentally wrong for anyone else to make a judgement of your chosen lifestyle based upon there own materialistic wants and needs. I love that you elevate the role of the Home Manager to something valuable, as do I, and there's a sad lack of support for women who choose this life. More encouragement and lovely warm community I say, and less spending and café-ing! I had a good week in all kinds of ways, mostly by staying in the house and ferreting out new projects. I had a very small shop to do, as a stocktake of the pantry and freezer yielded sufficient ingredients for 10 days worth of meals, so that was a good feeling. Gifts were created and left our home wrapped in love and affection, and guests were welcomed enthusiastically with comfort food and hugs. That's about as good as it gets, I think. Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I love your Mum a lot as over time I feel like I am getting to know her. And wise words and gentle encouragement.
      I guess my pet hate is anyone who puts down homemakers and Mothers. I think they are clueless! Thankfully there is a lot of encouragement as well such as your blog! Many thanks Mimi! With love

    2. Dearest Annabel...that is a lovely thing to say. Mum would have loved you too. Mimi xxx

  15. I just want to chime in and add to Annabel's wisdom. Put your Lord and family first. I can't tell you how much criticism I got in my early years of being a stay at home mom. My husband and I were determined to keep me there. Learn to be your best employee. Learn to preserve your food, garden, learn to sew. Even altering tag sale finds has saved us tons!
    Okay, made an apron for my dad who loves to grill. Sewed a table runner as a wedding gift. Also caught up on mending.
    Our household savings: $211. Also my husband found me a mini kitchen island for only $8...that's a $97 savings!

    thanks for the encouragement!

    1. Dear Leslie, Im sorry for the terribly late reply! This was beautiful and good advice.
      Thank you Leslie! With love,

  16. A beautiful and inspirational post Annabel. Frances x

    1. Dear Frances,
      Oh my goodness you read my blog! Thank you for commenting. You are on this blog many times. i.e. the giant biscuits you used to make and the bread on to be ready when the boys came home from school. Its all here somewhere!
      I feel honoured you commented. Thank you. With love,


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