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 31 July 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Beating the costs of deli meats.

Welcome to a brand new month!
My Vicky Challenge last week went fairly well and we are trying hard to up the anti towards our solar panels!

My savings and earnings included:

$125 from blog ads.
I made all work lunches and the fishing day picnic saving $150.

Cooked all meals plus double tuna mornay, double batch of brownies (part as a gift) and a fair few things went into the freezer.

I mended a sheet.
Sorting out my laundry sink cupboard I found I have more dusters than I knew!

At Aldi I saved about $45 on fruit loaves and turkish breads alone! The little shoes were a bonus!

Andy did the pruning of a big tree. The tree is higher than the house and it sprawled over into the neighbours yard. Now it is away from gutters and cleared from the fence line. I estimate this would have been at least a few hundred dollars if we hired someone to do it. I am counting $300 for this.

I got ahead with freezer meals and supplies, added to the pantry and gift cupboard.
All up I wrote $620 in my savings book.

This week my savings subject is deli meats. Talking with Cookie we got onto this subject of preserved meats and it went from there!  I promised her I would post how I make meat loaf so here it is!
The act of making and taking lunches to school and work is going to save a fortune compared to buying them. But deli meats are mostly quite expensive. Making your own roast meats and mixes is a good way to keep those costs down.
Firstly I was telling Cookie how I do corned beef in the crockpot. (these are the kind of conversations that go on in the comments section!) A lovely friend taught me to do this. You fill the crockpot with enough water to cover the corned beef. Add a splash of vinegar, bay leaves and peppercorns. Let that cook all day. It turns deep red and so tender.
That night it is dinner with mashed potatoes, mustard and veggies.
The rest is cold meat for during the week!
A homemade pastrami is easily made by taking one of these (once cooked) and drying it off. Then roll in a good thick layer of cracked pepper and roast in a pan on low for an hour.
This is rich and full of flavour. You can slice it thinly so it goes a long way. In my large crockpot I can do two corned beef at the same time and use one as corned beef and one as Pastrami.

If you look at pre sliced meats, especially the ones in little packages the costs are crazy. It varies so much. i.e. a kilo of sliced ham in the deli is $24 or so. A kilo of ham in the little plastic packages is closer to $40 a kilo. A kilo of ham on the bone which you slice yourself is about $7 a kilo, at least when they are on special!  A kilo of bacon is under $10. So there are many variations to get pretty much the same thing! (these are my local prices)
This applies to chicken and other meats just the same.
I often do a roast leg of lamb and the left over meat is sliced for most of the weeks lunches. Overall this is much cheaper than buying deli meats.

For those that like them egg sandwiches are an alternative to meats too.

One that is a help to me is good old fashioned meat loaf! This is great in sandwiches and rolls and in lunch boxes as little mini meat loaves. I make these in muffin tins. For little kids make them in mini muffin tins and for big kids make them in texas muffin tins!
The key with meatloaf is it slices nicely when cold and not so nicely when hot. So for dinner to serve hot I will make it up in muffin trays.

This is also a very good "use it up" recipe and can be cooked in the oven or in the microwave. It is cooked in 14 minutes!

The recipe is very adaptable.

The basic recipe is
About 1 kilo ( 2.2 pounds) mince meat. (That is ground meat)
1 large onion or two smaller chopped.
2 cups breadcrumbs, or torn up fresh bread or stuffing mix (homemade or pack mix)
3/4 cup of milk, bit more if you used dry crumbs.
1 egg.
1 cup tomato paste or relish, or BBQ sauce, or chutney or tomato soup or spaghetti sauce! (or a mixture of any of these)
Pepper. Herbs you like (I like oregano) or chilli.

Cheese is optional.

This can be cooked in the oven in a loaf pan or two smaller tins, in muffin tins, whatever suits. A full sized tin is one large meatloaf. I would use a medium oven setting and allow an hour. The smaller sizes will be less of course. Once they look at though they are bubbling right through and browning on top that is my guide. I think 15 mins for muffin ones.

You can make in the microwave. You simply pat it into the shape you want. Top it as you like,  I covered mine in a layer of tomato paste and grated cheese. I microwave on high 14 mins.
That is it! I browned mine for a couple of minutes under the grill. Or it can go in the oven for a few minutes. It is purely to give colour as it is cooked. If it is for cold meat in sandwiches then the growing doesn't really matter.

You want a well mixed mixture and it to seem moist but that it will hold together.
I used the left overs from a jar of tomato relish, some tomato paste, and I used a pack of stuffing mix. With that I didn't need to add herbs. I just added pepper.

I made a few mini meatloaves in muffin trays and this was dinner. I am not going to make anything and it not be meal as well! This is a good old fashioned dinner. I think in the US meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots is called Blue Plate special. Or maybe I saw that on a movie?

Once cold they slice nicely and make great sandwich/roll filling.

You can freeze them whole or freeze slices for emergencies! When the kids were at school I froze trays of mini ones that went while into lunch boxes. You can also use mini ones as meatballs and serve over pasta. Or make cheese burgers and use this instead of the burger!

Mince can be expensive here now. Once it was the economical meat. Now I buy it up when there is a good special.  The addition of the breadcrumbs, egg, onion, tomato etc all bulk it out quite a bit.

The things I use instead of deli meats varies depending on the time of year. Sometimes after Christmas I can get turkey at a great price. Then we have roast turkey in everything for a while! Sometimes hams are on special or lamb or chicken...  They all become roast meat sliced up and used instead of deli meats.

How did you save and earn last week? I hope you found great ways to get ahead!
And what do you make or buy that keeps costs down on filling sandwiches and lunch boxes?  If you make anything that could be used as good lunch box fillers please share! This is a big area that we can make savings in! I am working on a post about lunch box fillers that are not sandwiches or rolls coming up soon!

Have a wonderful week and a wonderful August! xxx

Thursday 28 July 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 29th July, 2016.

This week flew by too fast. I am not ready for Friday! Oh well, I have today to get a lot of things done before the weekend!

Also I have the weekend to finish the things I wanted to do in July. Monday is August!  I need to sit down with my diary and have a think about that. I like to try and write down the main things we achieved in the month we just finished and the things I would like to do in the new month. One thing for August will be getting back to painting the house.

Some of the ways I feathered my nest this week:

I emptied out my under the laundry sink cupboard and put in adjustable shelves. I got these from a local cheap shop. They are great! There are no before shots as people have been blackmailed over less. But this is after:

Much better!

I earned $125 from Adsence. I am not writing this blog to make money. Every now and then I get a payment for ads. This one came around much sooner than usual. Thank you to everyone who clicked on ads. This will help the solar panels fund. So pleased.

Andy trimmed a big tree. This was a major job and needed doing as it was bugging the neighbours and over the gutters. I know this would have cost hundreds to have had someone come in to do.

I made two tuna mornay casseroles.

I made a tray of chocolate brownies as a gift for someone who did us a favour. Once I cut it up I set aside desert plus some slices for Andy's lunch boxes.

I made up a first aid kit for my daughters car. 

A sheet needed mending so I did that while the sewing machine was out.

The boys went fishing and I packed a picnic plus drinks.

I shopped at Aldi. Some of the things I get there at such a good price compared to the closer supermarket were also on special. i.e. fruit load for $1.25 and Turkish bread for $1. I also built up my pantry with dried fruits. They are an amazing price. 
I had so many loaves of fruit slice and so many turkish bread I couldn't fit them in the freezer so they are in Mum's freezer! I have a note on the my freezer do with a list of things that are at Mum's so I don't forget!

Earlier in the week we had more storms and torrential rain. I made Golden Syrup Pudding again as a cheer up, warm up winter desert.

I gave one to Chloe too which she seemed pleased about!

I gave Lucy the little tops I did for Harper. Now I am planning to do some bigger projects like baby rugs.

Finally, I bought little leather shoes at Aldi. I saw how much the shoe shops are charging for good little first walkers. Aldi had lots of designs in leather. They are gorgeous! I found the right size. They were $15 there. I am hoping they will fit. Will find out this afternoon...

Just when I thought I couldn't love Aldi more!

I really built up my pantry this week so I am happy! I am well ahead with meals in the freezer and gifts in the cupboard. So I have to say it was a good week.

I hope you had a great week!  How did you save, get ahead, build up your pantry and home?

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Tuesday 26 July 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Joy plus savings.

This week I had a few things on the go! We had pretty terrible weather and I have to say being perfectly happy inside with plenty to work on makes it much nicer.

I also did a review of where I am up to gift wise and it is really exciting to see how much I have put away! Already things have names on them and so many people are organised for both Christmas and Birthdays. This is encouraging! I use snap lock bags when a gift is complete then I write the name on it i.e. "Mum. Birthday."

All along I have said making our own gifts is good on several levels. Crafts and building up skills are good! They can come in handy for extra income, they are good for your brain and relaxing, they keep you busy and content and make you happy! You are also possibly saving a lot of money.
It depends on your previous gift budget. That will be different for us all. However from experience and letters I get I can say some people have gone from spending several thousand per year on gifts to several hundred at most. This is for all the birthdays and Christmas, Easter etc.
Some of us are making all presents and some are doing a bit of both. It is all really good!

From the beginning we have said how there are all kinds of ways to save and all kinds of benefits.  For many of us saving by smart shopping, cooking, gardening, mending, gift making etc means we make ends meet! It does not necessarily mean we have fat bank accounts.
One lovely lady wrote to me and she said how all her cooking means their family eats very well and she manages the gluten free child's dietary needs which can be expensive. So all her cooking means beautiful meals, lovely lunch boxes and a lot of joy! This is saving and wonderful.

So sometimes savings are money banked or maybe an extra mortgage payment. Or it might help your holiday fund!
It might be that a saving in one area helps another.  This is my favourite way of saving.
Last year almost all my savings went in to building up my pantry and filling my cellar. When I first started we built up our depleted emergency fund. For the rest of the year virtually every cent saved went into my pantry and emergency supplies fund.

I found that so much fun and so motivating!

This year we continued with that. Our next aim became rain water barrels.

Saving also meant we have had a holiday each year. Its not an expensive holiday but it is a good one!

I read an article this week that questioned if we are really saving unless we put the savings into the bank.
 I don't agree at all with that. You might have saved here and there and been in front rather than behind come next pay day.  You might have invested those savings into another project. Being ahead rather than being behind is a wonderful feeling!
Sometimes finding an incredible bargain means you can have something you never thought you could! Or give a gift you didn't think you could afford.
Don't let anyone tell you all your work and it's value isn't worth it!  You are not being silly you are being wise!
Also it is a learning process. We might try something that doesn't work then try something else! But we need to encourage one another.

With Greek neighbours I am very conscious of savings in the bank being a good thing until the bank decides to close and not allow withdrawals! Glenda has done a lot to educate me that tangible items are a very good investment! Maybe investing in supplies, self sufficiency, preparedness is sometimes better than money in the bank.

With all of this in mind I thought to share where we are directing savings now.  It isn't the bank. It is to solar panels for electricity.
In our state power prices are the highest in the world and we have been told to expect them to double again. Also they closed down the last of the coal power plants and now we have mainly wind turbines.
These do not produce power unless the wind is blowing. And, get this, if the wind is blowing strongly they turn them off since they aren't stable! So if it is windy you have no power. If it is still you have no power. In peak times the power is so expensive now that many business' are leaking about closing altogether and others are talking about closing on hot days.
In the last two weeks there have been three major power outages here affecting from 10,000 homes to 150,000 homes at once. Yesterday Andy was driving around and many traffic lights were out as well.
The greatest need for power her is our hot summers.  They are already saying that there could be power shortages in summer, cuts or rolling outages. It looks a lot like if there is a heatwave we might not have reliable power.
I can survive winter with no power but not summer!
Aside of this is the enormous power bills.
It is time to get solar.
So every saving we can make is going into this and we hope to have at least partial solar power by summer.

I think this will give us security and enormous savings. I would far rather do this than anything else right now. It covers future savings and better preparedness.

Good investments from crockpots to solar power can help you get ahead in so many ways!
So this is our goal now.

Keep working on your savings and gift making! Come Christmas time you will be so far ahead and have greatly reduced your expenses.
Be encouraged! Your savings in one area (i.e. gifts) will help other areas. It is a win win!

This week I have been working on a rug that is almost finished.

I embroidered two little tops.

Also I have blanketing to work on. And I have my bets hedged with both pink and blue for future babies :)

How did you add to your present cupboard and what are you working on?

Next week we will have show and tell for the month!
Feel free to post pictures on the Facebook page or email me at
If you have been harvesting and preserving I would love pictures of all this too. I want to do a post soon and feature what everyone has been canning etc. To me this is beautiful!

Thank you to everyone who already has!
It is fantastic to see what everyone is making and this gives us all new ideas too.
It is also wonderful seeing new skills and some of us returning to things that we haven't done in a long time or trying something we have always thought about!

I hope your week is going well! I am off to Aldi this afternoon! xxx

Sunday 24 July 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Mobilize the troops.

Last weeks Vicky Challenge was good for me. It was just one of those weeks that lots of random things added up!

This included washing my windows. It is an average of $100 for outside windows only here in Adelaide. I did insides too but I will count $100.

I pruned roses and a tree which took an afternoon. Going on what my neighbour pays that is at least another $100.

I had a free $30 grocery voucher and used that to stock my pantry.

I made three dozen sausage rolls. Going on bakery prices, less costs this saved me about $80.

Andy took all home packed lunches to work plus morning coffees etc saving $100.

Also I made over some tops for Harper. These tops cost me $5 each. The end result is worth a lot more!

We had fridge pizza and used up bits and pieces.

Hilde's lemons became lemon butter and gifts and deserts!

So all up I wrote  $470 in my savings book.

This weeks savings subject is getting help! I have been thinking about this because everyone has been so busy, so much is going on, the US ladies are harvesting and canning, others have been moving house, changing around the house, renovating and building pantries!
To get everything done at times like these can be daunting. And we are just one person with a list a mile long!

This is when I say mobilize the troops! If you have helpers get them helping. We like to think we are working as a team. When the girls were home we had the same idea. Before school went back we would have two whole days of cooking supplies for school lunch boxes! The girls loved this and it taught them a lot! As a family we always just incorporated the work that needed doing into a family thing. When I was young our family would take a picnic and we would spent the afternoon picking up firewood. It was fun! I still love gathering firewood!
I think if the family understands "this is what we are doing and this is why we are doing it" that overall kids benefit from being involved. They learn and feel important!

There are other helpers you can mobilize too, get your handmaidens working! (Crockpot, bread maker, washing machine etc) If you are having a busy day knowing your dinner is cooking away in the crockpot is a huge help!

Last week Vicky had so much to do! She has a whole heap of things going on as she is moving rooms around in her house to make a whole room into a pantry! She is also making over a cellar for all her canned goods. Like me she finds her cellar dark and scary so it was under used.
Meanwhile her garden is huge and she has it fully planted and now it is time to harvest and preserve things as well.
So much is happening and we are planning a future post to show you the new pantry and the cellar full of her preserves!  There are some great stories attached to these!
I was glad to hear that Vicky had all the troops mobilized and everyone was helping. Otherwise it would have been impossible!

Vicky's Mum has been a big help!

The current crop coming in has been the cucumbers.

Vicky's Mum has helped her harvest and slice.

Her son has been helping and babysitting the Grandchildren so Vicky can keep going on all of this! He also did the washing and hung the clothes out.

When it comes to harvesting and preserving you have a window of opportunity and you can't miss this! 

Since these pictures were taken they have harvested again and repeated the whole process!

Today Vicky's husband is adding shelves in the cellar for preserves. Also he uses some of the produce and preserves to barter with. This adds to the household income in all sorts of ways!  I am so glad Vicky has helpers.

So it is a team effort and so much more can be achieved.  Without a team effort like this the shelves would not be filled like they are being now!

Sometimes we have to be quite creative to manage and get help.  But if you can possibly delegate, share, barter etc you might end up with assistance and overall achieve a whole lot more. 
It also can take wisdom to know what must be done now and what can be left until another time or later. 

I always say make hay while the sun shines! Another one I heard was something like "the time to put on a new roof is when the sun is shining, not when it is raining!" (or something close to that!)  I thought about that and liked it! It means to me don't wait until it's too late do it now!

How was your week and how can you mobilize helpers when you need them?  I think this is an interesting subject as a lot of us like to do everything ourselves! (this can be me...) But if we get others helping we are doing them a favour. They are learning skills, feel a part of things, will pass this on to their own children and families, we can do so much more! 
Perfectionism is another enemy. We want things a certain way. But again letting others help is bigger than this. 

Have a great new week! The last week of July!  We have wind and hail! I am off to the shops and running errands. xxx

(Ps Mobilize is one of those words that can be spelt two ways like organisation! Depends on what country you come from. I got a ton of letters about organisation at one stage. English and US spelling are different. I pretty much tossed a coin on this one!)

Thursday 21 July 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd July, 2016.

It does me so much good to look back at my week. Today, especially, I can see I did much more than I thought I did!  Each day I note a few things so I don't forget them. I keep a pad on the fridge for this. And good thing too as reading it this morning I was reminded of things that seemed to be ages ago but no they were only last weekend! The week was much more productive than I thought!
It is easy to focus on everything we have to do and that needs doing. We really need to be pleased with what we have done and how far we have come!

Some of the ways I feathered the nest were:

I washed the windows. We have a lot of glass in french doors and big windows that look over our garden. The storms had made them a mess. So I washed them and it made so much difference!

I pruned our rose arbor which is a fairly big job and mostly up a ladder to reach the top so I am rally happy to have that done. My gardening gloves were torn to shreds though!

Also I pruned a Mop Top tree (which grows as a ball of green) and that was also a ladder job and that is finished too.

I cleaned my chandelier. And replaced globes. I love this chandelier but it is a big job to clean. And another up a ladder job!

Now I realise why I have sore legs.

The outside jobs were on several sunny days we had. Apart from getting all this done I soaked up some sunshine which is so good in winter and good for me. I slept well those nights!

Some of the ways I saved money were:

Making the most of the lemons I was given. I made a big batch of lemon butter.

This is so easy to make. The recipe is here Jars of Sunshine. It is good for when you have both lemons and eggs.

So this became my deserts and treats for the week. I filled a pie dish and it looked pretty (but don't give me too much credit as I just bought the base.)

Also I made mini pavlovas. 

I still have so many lemons but this was beautiful and luxurious and I have jars of lemon butter to give as gifts also. 

One night we had fridge pizza and used up lots of left overs both from the fridge and frozen. I made mini ones for spares. They were lunches as well.

I made three dozen sausage rolls. The last ones just disappeared. I share these around the family and the freezer. 

My Coles points turned into a $30 voucher. I went in an spent this on things to stock my pantry. I only bought really good buys and specials.

So these were my free groceries!

I embroidered tops for Harper, made several dozen hankies, worked a frill around little socks and worked on a crochet rug.

In the mail I got vouchers to help me earn points for more free groceries. I cut them out and stick them in my diary so I remember them. They come so that you have one a week and specific weeks.  So I carefully organise them.

I built up my pantry and added canned chick peas, flour, sugar, dried fruit and tinned tomatoes. From following A Working Pantry Facebook group I realised I didn't have a very long supply of shampoo and conditioner so I added several of each to my supplies. 

I got ahead by adding food to the freezer, gifts to the gift cupboard and also with what I added to the pantry.

This week Mum has been in Adelaide and she loves to have Harper over.  While they have a good fun time I said to Lucy to use this time to get things done that she has been wanting to do, rest and make the most of the breaks. So this has been fantastic for everyone. This is Harper and Great Grandma (Pat)

Apart from that I did the usual things, cooked the meals, line dried the washing, made the lunches etc.

It has added up to be a pretty good week. 

How did you get ahead, build up your nest and save this week? I hope it was a good week for you. 
On one hand the weeks fly by but on the other hand it is amazing how far you can come in a week! 
Planning what I want to do seems to help me do a bit more. So does sharing my list here.  I love Fridays for this reason! xxx

Tuesday 19 July 2016

The Christmas Challenge. My July so far.

Time for a catch up and show what I have been making this month. And I am including Mum as she has made things I really want to include.
Not everything makes it into the Christmas cupboard. Some things do though!

Currently I am working on a crochet rug that is going to be cot size. I think cot size can also be a knee rug depending on who you give it to. This is in gelato/pastel stripes. I am loving working on it. All the time I think "I'll just get up to the next colour" and this keeps me going!

So far this month I added grub roses to some little tops for Harper. I added little roses at the neckline and wrist.

I am enjoying that pretty much all the time she is wearing something I have made or embroidered or Mum has!

I added a frilly edge to another pair of little socks.

These basic little tops are really inexpensive. Just a touch of embroidery makes them nice.

I finished (and put in the gift cupboard) a knitted soft pink rug. This is super soft.

I hemmed some of the flannelette to make super soft and extra large hankies. The rest are just torn up and folded ready as disposable hankies... since my supply was very diminished.

Mum made Harper two more knitted skirts. She wears them a lot. The first one is in denim blues...

The next one is in pinks. As modelled very well don't you think?

It has lots of textures and is really warm.

Also Mum made a heap of hats and headbands for a charity she likes to give to.

Plus a baby rug for a family with a newborn... but I don't have a picture of that one.

That is about where I am up to this month. I wish I had another set of arms as that would be helpful sometimes.

What are you working on and how is your gift cupboard progressing? If you are growing produce and canning just now then this counts as produce can be gifts. I count my jam making in summer as jars of jam go into many of my food gifts and hampers. But here the cold and rain weather has us mostly indoors and this is a good time for me to sew and crochet. We need to go along with what the season presents. And sometimes when the weather is terrible or extreme a good plan B is to get on with something indoors and work on your gifts and crafts. It all adds up in the end! xxx

Sunday 17 July 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Plan B.

Welcome to a new week! I am pretty keen to get this week off to a good start and we have some sunshine which has helped me get lots done over the weekend.

My Vicky Challenge for last week:

I made the usual work lunches and coffees saving $100.

Hilde gave me heaps of beautiful lemons.

They are way bigger than the ones in the stores and very juicy. In the store they are currently 98c each. So my lemons are worth around $85!

My mission now is to make them into wonderful things and this will increase their value several more times!

I made 18 individual containers of chicken soup. Single serves of "homemade soup" are around $5 each in the supermarket.  Less the cost of ingredients this saved $75

I made quiches for dinner and spares. I am counting $25 on those.

I made a heap up as mini ones for lunch boxes.

By shopping around I saved $160 on the down pillow I was wanting to buy. So thrilled with that and now this will be a saving in the future. In fact other family members went and got some as they had been on the "too expensive" list and suddenly they were so much more affordable.
I love discoveries like this!

I sewed a heap of flannelette hankies and tore up a heap as well to be "disposables" for sickness. I estimate even if I only count the hemmed ones I saved $96.

The cardigans from the op shop.... one was Sportscraft silk and cotton. It is really gorgeous. I know I saved well over $100 there.

Also I mended a sheet, I extended it's life a lot at least!

I wrote $680 into my savings book.

My savings thoughts for today are about having plan A, plan B and maybe plan C!  Vicky always says how this or that happened and her plan A went west so she went on to plan B. And usually it turns out she got a whole lot of plan B accomplished!
How often is it that our plans fall to pieces due to weather, illness or something!?  It can be really frustrating when we have worked out our plan of attack and it comes to a grinding halt.
Being flexible and going on with something else can be just as good and beneficial.
Doing nothing because the first plan didn't work out is just a waste and infuriating!
Mostly I try and have a plan B. If the weather was suitable I planned to do a lot of pruning, washing and drying, filling the green bins etc this weekend. Plan B was in all likelihood the weather would be terrible and I would sew and cook. Either would be good.
But the sun shone all weekend! I was up and down a ladder pruning our rose arbor, finishing the  pruning of the standard roses,  I pruned my giant Mop Top tree,  filled green bins, dried all the linen in the sun and generally soaked up as much winter sun as possible.
Did I mention I slept well last night!?

This winter has been one big plan B for me. I planned to be painting. It was an unrealistic plan anyway as you are not meant to paint in cold temperatures. And outside painting would be out due to wind and rain. Otherwise my arm injury meant I had to go to Plan B. So over winter I have worked on stocking the freezer, building up the pantry and present cupboards, cleaning and organising inside. At least all these things will be in good order when I get back to painting in spring. Overall I will still get everything done that I planned for the year. Just with different timing!

Another area I love a plan B is shopping. I do not specifically menu plan ahead of time as I do not know what the best specials will be. So I keep an idea of what to make and then shop for the best buys. It might be that I want to make soup and have pumpkin soup in mind. But I will get there are see pumpkins are quite expensive and so will go with plan B which is whatever vegetable is on the best special!
You have to be flexible or you miss out on the best deals.

How do you use plan B to still get things done? It can really help to have a list of things to do on Plan B days. Wash the woollens, sort the photos or various things that can be hard to get to.

Plan B might be substituting an ingredient. Changing major plans. Holidaying at home. Sometimes plan B turns out better than you would have imagined!
The key I learned from Vicky is to be happy and get on with plan B rather than spend the day upset at the demise of plan A.  Having a plan B in mind seems to stop you feeling upset when things go wrong.
A productive day is a productive day!

Now I hope to have a good week and get lots done. Over the weekend we decided to join Costco. We weren't sure but there is something Andy needs for his business that is so much cheaper at Costco the membership will have paid for itself in this one item.  So now to make the most of it for the next year!
Any good tips on Costco would be really helpful!

How did you save and earn last week?
I hope the new week will be a great one for you. xxx

Thursday 14 July 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 15th July, 2016.

I am sorry I didn't post the Christmas Challenge on Wednesday. We had the biggest storms here that went on for two days. Over 120,000 homes had no power, some for three days or more. Trees were down everywhere and Tuesday was one of the worst days I ever remember!
We were very lucky, we didn't lose out power. Lucy did but only for a few hours. However our internet was out for some time and this is what stopped me getting my post finished.

Mum took this photo in her garden.  It looks like snow I think but it is hail.

Today I am happy to report things are much better! We even joked this morning about what was that eerie sound outside? Oh yeh, that's what it sounds like when the wind isn't blowing and the rain isn't pelting down.  Silence! We even have sun. So I will be washing.

And now I go to write for today I am finding it hard to concentrate as the events in Nice are so horrific and horrific seems a regular thing now.  Plus the US has today, the 15th  " a day of rage" rallies and ongoing crisis since Dallas events... it seems never ending. I have had so many conversations this week with ladies that are very worried.
It can be crippling. I am the first to admit.
If I can process all the information I have had shared with me this week I will write a post about it.
In the mean time we need to do what we can and make our homes and families feel safe. Be wise, prayerful and watchful.

So to feathering our nests...

Some of the ways I saved money this week:

I did some cooking. I made caramelised onion and brie quiches. They turned out really well. We had this for dinner with a salad and I made little ones for Andy's lunches and for the weekend.

It just has the caramelised onion or onion jam on the bottom and slices of brie on top. But the flavour is really good! I made a rocket salad to go with it.

I went to see Hilde and she gave me lemons! They are huge and juicy. I have two baskets ready to use.

I made a big batch of chicken soup. Most of it I portioned into individual sizes to freeze and give away.  

Since there have been colds going around I added extra garlic and it is full of so much goodness and so many veggies. It tastes so good too.

The super soft hankies have been in demand. My original idea was that they were disposable and for times someone is really unwell. But no one will throw them out. So I decided I will make up a heap and hem them.  At this time of the year my usual method of getting worn sheets from the op shop and washing them up isn't any good as there isn't a flannelette sheet to be found.  So I looked at getting it new by the metre.  Seeing the prices I looked around and it was far cheaper to buy a sheet set on special. This has given me enough to make dozens!

I washed it up and dried it in the breeze. It is super soft. 

Gradually I am getting them hemmed!

Other savings were the Ikea pillow which has been a success and is well loved.

I altered some scarves. Often they are too long and too thick for me. I altered some and now I love them. And have been wearing them everyday.

At an op shop I found two gorgeous cardigans that I love for $5.

I mended a sheet.

I washed up the jars I was given and put them to good use.

And I found $10 in the street! 

Some of the ways I got ahead were:

Quite a few freezer meals and meals made ahead.

A major Christmas present put away in the gift cupboard, something I got at Aldi!

To my pantry I added:

I did a trip to Aldi. I stocked up on basics like olive oil, coffee, tea etc.

With so many homes without power for several days I reviewed my supplies of candles, matches, torches, batteries, lanterns and so on.  We have a lot. I noticed the store was almost sold out of these items when I went in yesterday. 

So that was my week! I hope you had a good week with lots of good things and ways to build up your nest!

How did you save, get ahead or add to your pantry this week?

Have a wonderful weekend. xxx