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 7 August 2016

The Vicky Challenge. When too many things are overwhelming!

My Vicky Challenge for last week consisted of some things I am not sure how to count! I have almost gone from an unusable storage room to a lovely little nursery so I guess that is a big value right there!
Things I can add up with some accuracy included:

Mum gave me a roast saving me $20
Andy salvaged an old tv and made it into a large computer monitor saving $200?
I made all the work lunches and coffees saving $100.
I made two dozen banana cakes saving $60 compared to bought cakes.
And I pruned citrus trees myself saving $40.
Also I did the usual things which mean we don't buy take away or use a dryer and water the garden with recycled water etc.

I wrote $420 in my savings book.

Many of us seem to be decluttering and organising. The US ladies and the English ladies have been harvesting, canning and busy as bees.  Here we have several big projects going that we hope to have finished by Christmas including new doors at the back, (Andy making those) the solar system, the rest of the house painted... and several others.
Like with many big projects you go through such a mess before you get to the end. Things seem to get worse before they get better!  At about that worst moment possible the general rule is you get visitors that haven't seen you since high school.

Vicky has been working on a mass of projects and wrote to me about managing it all. Some things you just have to get on and do or the opportunity is wasted! Growing the crops and harvesting, using it and preserving don't wait. You have to get busy and get it done.
She also has re arranged the house to have a new pantry room. And they have a cellar like I do that hasn't been used (for the same reasons as mine wasn't... creepy, scary, and dark etc) and they have cleaned it up, painted it and added shelves ready to fill. This is a big asset!
All apart from planting a massive vegetable garden, harvesting and preserving... and it all happening at once!
Just about daily we report in with our progress. I am always amazed at what Vicky has done!
So I am sharing what Vicky wrote along with pictures of the work she is doing. They will show the magnitude of it all!

Over to Vicky:

I was asked with all of the things you have to do how do you not feel overwhelmed with it all? 
Well for starters some seasons are busier than others and Winter is the season where I can relax and just have more of a normal schedule. 
When there is a lot going on and projects lined up one after another and this needs done and that needs done how we choose to look at things can make a big difference in feeling overwhelmed by it all or not. 

We can only get so much done in a day. Some days are very productive and others there are interruptions galore and slows down the process, but as long as we don't lose sight of what needs to be accomplished it will fall in place. 
This person asked if I ever felt that I bit off more than I can chew? Most assuredly, but I have to stop and revisit the situation and get my bearings. 
For example this new pantry project. It is not going as fast as I had hoped it would and parts of my house look like a hoarder is in residence with boxes and containers stacked up all over the place! My table is covered and even the chairs. Isn't it funny how things don't look like much until you have to start moving it all? At the moment I'm not winning a feature in Better Homes and Gardens that's for 

Meanwhile I am working in the garden and canning and have the regular household duties to do as well. 

So even though I have a big mess and things prevent me from getting as much done as I like as quickly as I would like as long as when I am working on something I give that task my all. I have slowed down in one area and picked up in another and that's ok. 

Having a clear plan first and don't just jump into something because it can be a time waster if you get to a point of what do I do now? Because even if you have to toggle back and forth on the project you know what needs done next. 
Some planning ahead is super helpful! I know when I am that busy I will not feel like cooking every night so I make sure to have quick meals ready and if I am going to be using the oven I will do double duty and bake a cake or brownies at the same time. 

So feeling overwhelmed by things doesn't have to get to the point we need to go to the looney bin, just stop get your bearings and tackle things one thing at a time. Also if you set things up so you can multitask some of the smaller things that need done it helps with productivity. Example- When really busy I keep toilet bowl cleaner and cleaning rags next to the toilet so when I'm already in there I will put the tb cleaner in and spritz the toilet then next time I go back in I clean the bowl and give the toilet a quick wipe down. Then it's ok until I can back to my regular schedule. The next time I go in I give the mirrors a quick cleaning and so on. 
So just stay positive and know you'll get to that finish line eventually!

Coming up you will see Vicky's new pantry and the cellar when it is full of produce. 
Vicky called her garden "The Victory Garden" and the pantry is her "Victory Pantry". I just love this! 

We just have to make hay while the sun shines and where possible plan ahead. Today I have beef in the crockpot cooking away ready to make meat pies tonight. Some of these will go into the freezer. On days coming up where we will be working on  projects or I will be painting these meals help a lot.  Vicky is right, there is only so much that can be done in a day.  Some getting ahead when we can helps in those really busy times.

How did you go on your Vicky Challenge, savings and earnings? And how do you manage when there is a lot on your plate? 

Have a wonderful week!  I want to finish this room and we are getting quotes for solar panels.  Progress....


  1. Vicky that pile of beans just looks sumptuous, I love all the veggies in your garden beds and can't wait to see the finished pics of the pantry full of glass jars bursting with fresh homemade food.
    Annabel you are right too, nothing gets done in a day. We've spent the last week retrieving furniture and staging items from my rental that sold and will settle this week. Now to put everything back in it's spot.
    After my big cooking session early last week, we have had fresh meals in the freezer, negating the need or desire of my partner who said on Friday night "lets get fish and chips" and last night "let's get pizza". Both those nights we had home cooked meals which we both agreed at the time and after (when you always get that yucky feeling in your guts from eating takeaway junk) that the meals I got ready were far better. I too don't use a dryer, don't have one and have not had one for over ten years, had one when the kids were little, it lasted almost 20 years probably because i barely used it and when i chucked it on the kerbside collection i thought to myself that will be my last ever dryer. Off to collect the final load today which is the last garden pots, need to be emptied of soil as they are very large. Have a great day Annabel. Fi xx

    1. Thanks Fiona! There are a lot of veggies out there and they have been keeping us busy, your right the meals made at home are so much better than takeaway.

    2. Dear Fiona,
      You have had such a big project with cleaning up, styling and selling. I have been amazed at the work you have done! So this was your season to sell and yay! It all was worth it and it worked!
      I love the way you make up a quick pizza and your getting ahead with the cooking. We also have reached a point where we get on better with home cooked food. And in reality I can make a pizza faster than we could go get one or even get it delivered! Its just a matter of keeping the right stuff on hand. The sunshine on my blankets did them more good than anything! So nice!
      Now the house is sold you have that out of the way. I hope things will be easier and this will allow you to get on with your next big projects! With love

  2. Vicky you won't know yourself when the pantry and cellar are finished. All of that storage.

    Last week I saved money on a night I just couldn't sleep - checked out a bulk butcher and found that they had chicken breast fillets on sale for $4-99 a kilo. This is the cheapest that I have seen them for many a year.

    I picked up 5 kilos saving $9- a kilo on the local butcher's price ($13-99) a total saving of $45-00. I shared the special with my friend and she was lucky that one of her workmates was passing by and picked some up for her.

    The stop at the bulk butcher was on the way home from seeing the Miss Fisher exhibition and I also picked up some fruit and vegetables at the same shopping center so saved petrol on an extra trip out.

    The big freezer is pretty full with enough room for the shop on Friday.

    I did the usual, my husband took a packed lunch, I took a packed lunch on the car trip (they had a sausage sizzle but I cannot eat sausages due to various reasons). Washed and air dried the washing, sorted out the big freezer so that I know what is in it (my husband gets in and moves things around) and I could create the shopping list for this Friday's Aldi shop and the list goes on.

    Annabel I spotted a beautiful little girls wardrobe made from an old crystal cabinet - it was a flat fronted glass cabinet painted chippy white and I immediately thought of you and the room makeover.

    Being organised is the key to having a quiet life - i still have things to sort out here but they will get done. Tomorrow the excess cookbooks that I no longer want are going to the op shop - have photocopied recipes that interested me and I have 1 recipe that I need to write down as it just will not copy properly.

    Might be more that leaves the house after some time spent pondering about a few things.

    Have a great week everyone


    1. Lynette,
      It will be nice to have things neat and organized in there and to get it done! I can't wait!

    2. Dear Lynette, That night not sleeping and finding bulk butcher was a real discovery! What a big saving! Even the location was handy.
      I love the sound of the crystal cabinet made into a wardrobe. That sounds exquisite! How I would love to find one of those now!
      What you say is so true. Organisation is the opposite of chaos. A calm life is much nicer. I continue to sort and sift and as I do things are much nicer and as you say quieter or calmer.
      Many thanks Lynette! With love

  3. Vicky, I love your garden, it is beautiful! I also love that cellar/pantry...It's beautiful! So much room to store things. I am so impressed with how much you have achieved. I love the names of your garden and pantry too. I like your saying Annabel and I often think of it- Make hay while the sun shines. It helps me. We are talking of redoing our kitchen...DH is a cabinet maker, so we are lucky there. However, he works long hours already and with a busy toddler, it won't be easy. However, it will make a big difference to our unit and it will mean more storage! So we have to sit down and think of the logistics of it all. When Henry has a massive day sleep, I get going! haha I found some good clothes (board shorts and a really nice jacket for DH) for $1 each at an op shop dollar sale. I was really happy. It is hard to find men's and boy's clothes. I also gave our bedroom a spring clean with the walls washed, the fan washed and the blinds cleaned. Next will be Henry's room. I find it so hard to get rid of clothes. I must get better at this... I have finished the paperwork for our tax and will put it in today. I hope we get some money for our kitchen fund. I will try and click on some ads here too, every bit counts and I'm excited to hear about your solar project. It is very exciting! Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Thank you Bridge! That cellar was so yuck I always over looked it before. You will get your kitchen and more storage I am sure. Just do what you can when you can.

    2. Dear Bridge,
      I really hope you do get some tax back and think your new kitchen would be fantastic! It is very handy being married to a cabinet maker! I do know the problem though... when they work long hours getting things done at home is really hard. I see the irony of this all the time. Last week Lucy had a blocked toilet at her house. she is married to a plumber! But he just hadn't had time to fix it!
      Lovely op shop finds! Thanks for encouraging Vicky too Bridge.
      I am glad you think of making hay while the sun shines! I think its so true. Apart from daily things it means making the most of opportunities. I love it!
      Much love Bridge,

  4. Dear Annabel,

    How wonderful you now have a nursery! This will be very handy indeed. I had some big savings this week and bought a secondhand double bed and base for my daughter. With hiring a ute plus we had to pay for extra milage, petrol etc it came to $90. Coincidentally the lady knew my husband and gave us a foam eggshell underlay, wool underlay, sheets, pillows and a quilt and cover! We are so blessed to receive this! The value of this is well over $500. We also picked up a free double mattress for my teen son who's legs now hang over his single. These cost $150 for a cheap one. I'm now on the lookout for a bed base for him. Plus all my cooking from scratch plus baking cakes, puddings etc this week has added up to around $700, maybe more!

    Vicky, your garden looks wonderful and so does your pantry! I am currently growing silverbeet, kale, rocket, oranges and mandarines. xx

    1. Mel,
      $700 that is an excellent week! Oranges and mandarins?! Your a lucky lady! Oranges can get expensive here. Growing anything at all ourselves even just a pot full is a great thing. Not only does it save money everything is so fresh and good!

    2. Dear Mel, You bed and bedding buys were just wonderful! It was so worth hiring a ute.
      I hope you find a bed base to go with the mattress for your son... I think you will even if its Gumtree etc.
      Well done on such a good week! I hope this week is turning out as well! With love

  5. We don't have a big garden this year but we are enjoying the produce we are harvesting. I was thinking today about the lovely green beans and how little the two packages of seeds cost!

    We've had a lot of outdoor projects this summer. The garage redo was put off to do the seasonal work. It will be finished then. I guess it is good to have the ability to continue projects.

    1. Dear Brenda,
      When you consider the price of seeds and what you can end up it is truly amazing! I agree some projects have to be put off or done in several parts to get it all done.
      I hope you ave a great new week! With love

  6. It is such a busy harvesting and canning time for the Northern Hemisphere ladies. I don't know how they do it all but they do and I guess they wind down in winter. So different from here where we can grow food all year round. I am constantly impressed by their organisational skills.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Yes I have come to appreciate that stuff still grows here in winter and we don't have that snow covering everything. But of course we still have seasons of harvest and like the fruit in summer it is the same thing go go go until its all dealt with or it spoils. I have done this with plums, peaches, apricots etc and worked into the night many times! its worth it though! I have learned so much from the US ladies and am amazed by what they do. Since this was published Vicky has sent me a new photo and those shelves have rows and rows of preserves on them!
      It is making me forward to spring and planting! With lots of love

  7. Vicky I want to come and play in your garden. Those shelves are soon going to be full of the bounty that will come from such an endeavour.
    Our week has been most topsy turvy. I am not a person who dwells on the negative but I'm being pushed to live up to my own standards as far as behaviour towards others is concerned. I haven't been in a mindset to keep tabs on savings. We did free camp for a number of nights and have eaten all bar one meal out of our caravan pantry.
    We are currently on an unpowered site on the outskirts of Sydney, overlooking fields full of cows and horses. We caught up with our son, DIL and Tilly Bear today. Can't put a price on this as it was just wonderful. Hanging around here till this time next week to assist our boy and his little family in any way possible.
    Will try and keep up with the challenge this week.
    We are making sure that life is good.

    1. Anytime Jane! LOL There is plenty to play in and with 4 gardens you can have one all to yourself! Well in the one garden you may have to play with Mr. Raccoon or Mr. Ground Hog!

    2. Dear Jane,
      Vicky's shelves are already filling, I have new photos!
      Well done on the way you are helping in a crisis and staying on. The caravan and your set up is so good! It sounds like you found a good spot too and the solar you put in earlier is probably coming in handy.
      I hope things are progressing well, a new home is found for the young couple and beautiful baby. What a time you have had. With love and thoughts,

  8. Hi Annabel
    What a lovely feeling to have 'repurposed' a room! Do you find that you keep popping in to look at it?! I think I would lol.

    I tried to leave a comment last week but my iPad froze at just the wrong time! I was blown away by the show and tell, there were some amazing gifts! I finished a knitted baby blanket last week, and have started a crochet blanket over the weekend. It's funny how you can go through phases of nobody having a baby, then all of a sudden there are lots of exciting announcements! I am enjoying watching my yarn supply go down, it has become a wee bit out of control!

    I'm aiming for a quiet week at home as much as possible, last week was crazy busy and I need a relaxing one to follow that.

    Have a lovely week everyone

    1. Dear Jen,
      I do what you said...pop in to peek at how nice things look! Bit like a miracle occurred!
      Thank you for the comments on show and tell. Theres more to come tomorrow! Crochet rugs are a lovely gift for a new baby!
      I hope you get your quieter week! With love

  9. Dear Annabel,
    Reading what everyone has accomplished and saved in the Vicky Challenge is so inspiring. This week I went over to an organic farm and saw what they were charging for produce that I grow organically. What an eye opener in vegetable prices this year. I have saved more money than I could have ever imagined if I go by what they're charging. I haven't added up the monetary value for this weeks accomplishments. Most of them were in the food preservation and gardening category.

    It was wonderful to see all that Vicky is doing with food preservation and pantry storage. Just having the opportunity to see it encourages me to keep on. I have replanted things for a fall vegetable garden.

    Being at home we saved on any gasoline for the car, all meals were prepared at home, My husband was able to repair the riding lawnmower so a savings of at least $200 there. Instead of buying a couple of books I wanted to read I called the library and asked if they were in our system and they said yes, so when they come in I'll get them. Continued to can, freeze and dehydrate produce from the garden. Wishing everyone a joyous and productive week. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      It is really good to see what they are charging for what you are growing! This puts a whole new light on it. Imagine spending that! Well instead you are saving it and the work you put in is paying off even more than you imagined! To me this is very motivating.
      I am so glad you find seeing what Vicky is doing to be encouraging. I am the same. I get a lot of energy and inspiration seeing what can be done.
      Well done on your savings! I hope this is another good week and your library books come in. That is a big savings right there! With love

  10. Oh yes! It can be overwhelming at times. Hubby loves to remind me that there is never a convenient time to harvest as we are always so busy. This is very true! But we must make the time like we easily do for our little hobbies :)

    1. Dear Jes, I think the general rule is it never rains but it pours! But it passes too and we just have to do whats needed at the time. Thank goodness for the seasons!
      We are just coming out of winter so it is all ahead of me! With love

  11. Hi Annabel!

    This is, overwhelmingly, a wonderful post! I have much admiration for Vicky's victorious garden-to-plate/jar industry. The super large gardens are a wonder to behold!! (Enjoy the rewards of your labour, Vicky!!)

    How do I manage when there is a lot on my plate? ..... Well, first of all, the challenges here are balanced out with advantages - like having a husband who prefers simple, small meals (tonight, just banana custard!), and my bush kitchen enables plenty of shortcuts!! A decent cook up lasts us days, and we don't mind the repetition!!

    How do I manage when work is overwhelming? Mmmmm, which technique would you like?!! I tend to prioritise, according to goals. (Sometimes this means I choose to do the worst jobs first.) In part, I do what fits in with our generator exercise, in terms of the amount of hot water, running the hot water pump, baking, etc. I do prefer to have things prepared ahead of time, but also have growing contingency plans for the unexpected, or for visitors (picnics and outdoor cooking can work well). When things are most overwhelming, I go more basic in thinking, but the results can appear quite fancy. When utterly overwhelmed, my anchor is found in the Eternal's law, which shows me what to do - who I am and am not responsible for; how much to give; and how to gauge how things are going .....). The Song of Moses reminds me how to keep life simple (loyalty to the Eternal) to make it beautiful, and to get rid of all that hinders this. A simple tart baked around fruit He provides, even without pastry, can look wonderful, and be enjoyed by all. When things are most challenging to me, it is amazing just how much I can get done. Other times, I cope by just going with the flow of what my husband is working on. Sometimes I think in terms of what I'd like to be different for the following summer or winter, and that is a guide. Combatting pests and weeds might be the focus. Other times, I watch for crops to work around. Making small, beautiful habits in household life, and keeping them, makes times rich, even when surrounded by challenges. This might be particularly nourishing meals; providing warm clothing and a comforting fire; massaging tired muscles at the end of a day; (knitting); short drives for a change of scenery; and just keeping on trying to make the changes to make a household work. Each householder, in their own work, helps and inspires the other/s!

    Just thinking about it all is overwhelming! It's time for bed!!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Thank you Rachel! Come winter I will be ever so grateful for the food we are preparing now when it comes to flavors and price!

    2. Dear Rachel, Thank you! I loved to read your thoughts on managing. And there is a lot to be said for simple meals. Things do not need to be fancy to be good, to be nourishing.
      Also that small daily habits keep things calm and lovely. One of mine is taking a bath. Even in chaos I will still take an evening bath. It slows things down and relaxes me. These little habits an routines can be very beneficial.
      I hope you are having a good new week! With love and thanks, Annabelxxxx

  12. Annabel and Vicky, feeling overwhelmed during harvest time is a common occurrence and like Vicky I just go with the flow, do the best I can and do the most urgent first. Planning ahead for this season that all gardeners know is coming is wise and prudent! Great post!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      Most urgent first is a good thought. Doing things in the right order takes some judgment but is really important! You have achieved a lot in your summer season and I follow along so I see you sometimes say you did get this done and didn't get that done so it gets carried over! I think of you in that as I often have to carry something over to my next list! But it all gets done in the end! With love and thanks,

  13. Dear Annabel,
    As much as I would like to be gardening, it seems I have to be in the decluttering camp this time around! I had to laugh because Friday I am actually having friends over that I haven't seen since high school lol. Well, ok I've seen them maybe twice in the last seven years.
    Since moving, I have just had to accept that cleaning things up and fixing things is a process, a long one in our case. I like things clean and organized, and when they aren't, it stresses me out. I have realized, though, that this is a new season in our lives and it calls for a different approach. I am just taking things one step at a time and doing the most important things first. As long as we have clean clothes and I feed everyone, I feel like I have accomplished a lot, considering all of the projects we work on each day! I like Vicky's advice about small multi tasks throughout the day, like cleaning up the bathroom. Vicky, your garden looks fabulous, and I can't wait to see your cellar finished and lined with jars of home grown produce. That is a lot of work and I imagine the sense of satisfaction it must bring you to see it when it's finished.
    Last week was a busy one! We finished the duck pen and brought our ducks (and their pond!) out to the ranch.
    We also moved our other freezer over and I got everything organized into each freezer the way I want it. I feel very rich with all the food we have!
    I cleaned out one cabinet in the laundry room and have one more to go.
    There is a small room that has a closet, a row of cabinets, and a built in bookshelf that I started cleaning out as well. It was the laundry room before the current one was added on. This is where I plan to store some of my larger kitchen appliances that won't fit in the kitchen, my two canners, jars, etc. I am very glad to have a room like this.
    For this week's Vicky Challenge, I saved $341.56 by doing the usual cooking and cleaning and shopping grocery specials. I also made 16 pigs in a blanket with some yucky sausages Papa had in the freezer in hopes of not wasting them and making them taste better. It worked. We also sold the rest of our chickens, so we made a little extra plus we don't have to feed them anymore. We were given eggs from a friend, and they also gave us a bag of chips and a package of cookies. At the thrift store, I bought a pink table cloth with four matching napkins, and I also found four beautiful floral sheets that I will cut up for fabric. The tag on all of them reads "Vintage Shabby Chic."
    This morning I cooked breakfast and packed my husband's lunch and coffee. It already feels good to have a schedule again! I hope everyone has a lovely and productive week!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Kelsey,
      I think with these gardens the cellar is going to be full faster than I think. Don't stress out each day is a new adventure to behold and to look back at what we achieved the day before.

    2. Dear Kelsey, I am experienced in this... people you haven't seen in years come when you have hair colour and a face mask on, that sort of thing!
      The extra room and cupboard that you can use for appliances etc is a real bonus. I must be a big week for you with your husband starting on Monday! I was thinking of you as that would have been an exciting day!
      You did a lot leading up to this and its great you have the freezer and the ducklings and duckpond! Also that you sold the chickens.
      A pink tablecloth and napkins is a lovely find!And the sheets! You know how I love them especially floral ones! They make lovely curtains... but all sorts of nice things.
      You will probably develop a new routine now and that will be really good. I hope the week is going really well for both of you! With lots of love

  14. This is a great blog and very encouraging! Since I was raised old school these things are what we did when I was younger! It is nice to see people going back to the older way of life!! Rock on good people!

    1. Thank you so much! The newer way of live wasn't working out for many people lol so we have gone back to the good old things! I think thats true. There is a lot of wisdom in the way our Grandparents did things! Thank you for your comment! xxx

  15. How do I manage when I feel overwhelmed? Well, I have several strategies. I write lists. That's the first thing.

    I have 2 things I tell myself that also helps. The first is funny and the second is not. 1) How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (I say it like that. It just means that little bites out of a big project will eventually get it all done.)
    2) I say to myself, "Just because you can't do it all, doesn't mean you get to do nothing. Do something. Something is better than nothing."

    Sometimes when I am feeling overwhelmed, I'll set a timer and just do 10 minutes worth of something. That helps because it's always surprising how much I can get done in that short amount of time.

    I like Anabelle's suggestion of writing out how much we do in a week, celebrating what we have done. It has helped me since I started doing this. I call it my To DONE list. :)

    The important thing is not to let the feeling of being overwhelmed freeze you up. :)

    1. Dear Cristy,
      I really like what you have said. Do little chunks at a time and it gets you there and is less daunting! And something is better than nothing. I also do the timer! I got the from Fly lady. She says you can do anything for 15 mins. So I often do that!
      Thank you for telling me you are benefitting from looking over what you did do... rather than just thinking about what is still to be done. It has really helped me to feel grateful and satisfied.
      Many thanks Cristy, with love

  16. Annabelle, I am absolutely certain your nursery is going to be gorgeous! I hope you'll share a few photos when you're finished. You have such a beautiful way of decorating.

    Vicky, I look forward to seeing the photos of your hard work and efforts in your storage room and all the canning you have done.

    Jane, I am sorry for the family difficulties but I'm so glad you are getting extra baby snuggles!

    I have been sorting through my craft supplies and have an idea of how I want everything organized. I need a few cubbie-type shelving units (Ikea) and some of the cloth bins and then I'm ready to get started. I hope to pare down substantially. It's frustrating to not be organized as I end up pulling a lot of things out, just to find the one thing I need.

    My youngest did a full sort through her closet and gave me a bunch of clothes that don't fit/she doesn't want anymore, so I am going to donate them to a young lady who wants a "new to her" wardrobe for school. There are bags and bags of clothes. I also need to go through my closet as does dear hubby...I hope to encourage him this weekend while I'm doing mine!

    Once the youngest heads off to college in about 10 days and we are empty-nesters once more, I am going to get even more serious about the Vicky Challenge! I need to buy a journal so I can write everything down. I look forward to seeing all the savings I can come up with!

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Thank you! I will put up photos when the nursery is finished. It is almost there! I need some decorative touches.
      Giving those clothes to that young lady will be lovely. She will be thrilled I would think.
      Well done on sorting your craft supplies! And good luck with the challenge. I hope you get a happy surprise at what you sae and make in a week! I will look forward to hearing how you go! With love

    2. I'm sorry, Annabelle, the above post was me, Jeanette! Thank you for posting is Anonymously. I need to create some sort of profile, so that you can see my name if I forget to add it. Jeanette

    3. Jeanette thank you for your kind thoughts. Life is settling down for my son and his little family. We have five more days to assist the little family and then our adventures begin. Life is good.

  17. Dear Annabel and Vicky,
    You have both been busy and have accomplished so much!

    I haven't commented for a couple weeks, but have enjoyed the posts and comments. My total for July was $1,879.76, bringing my total for Jan. through July to $9,427.11. August's first week came in at $156.80.

    Our garden still has green plants in it thanks to the shade cover and watering system my husband helped with. We did get a nice rain last week.I'm not harvesting much--a handful of tiny tomatoes, basil, Rosemary, mint and green onions. I am building up my compost and saving seeds for fall or winter planting. I'm growing sweet potato slips which look pretty as plants even if some of them are in hanging planters and such where they probably won't produce potatoes. At least they thrive and look nice in our heat.

    August 28th., I ended up in the hospital instead of heading out of state to visit my niece and family. It was only from early afternoon until noon the next day, but has led to additional tests and visits to the doctors. I'm thankful that I seem to be okay and am back to doing my normal things.

    Wednesday was Senior Day at the grocery making 10% discount. As usual, I bought several things that were on sale, reduced price or had coupons, along with a few things that seldom go on sale for a saving of $33.31.

    I am attending a free class on healthy living that a good friend invited me to. The lessons and class discussions have been good. We also received a helpful book, valued at $19 and a relaxation CD free. There are 2 more of the 6 weekly classes.

    The same friend told us about a free concert that we attended with them and enjoyed.

    Wishing you both a good week,
    Elaine from Arizona

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Wow what a great total for both the month and the year so far. That is wonderful. I hope you feel good from seeing that.
      I am really sorry you ended up in hospital! I hope you are ok now and all is well.
      Well done on your grocery savings. It is great to see how well you are doing and the end of the year total is going to be really impressive! We'll done Elaine! With love

  18. Dear Annabel and Vicky,
    What a great post!! Your gardens are magnificent, Vicky. The green beans looked bountiful. Ours are still thinking about whether they want to grow here or not :).
    A little here and there adds up to a lot in the end. Our herbs did magnificently this year, but this is the first year for the raised garden beds and I think they need a bit more nourishment for next year.
    Looking forward to the pictures of the shelves full of home canned food and the organized and cleared out craft room. You are both amazing.
    Have a great week.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Thank you so much for your encouragement to Vicky!
      It is good to hear your herbs did so well. I think raised garden beds are wonderful.
      I am almost done on the room it just needs finishing touches. And Vicky has sent me pictures of those shelves filling up fast!
      Thank you Glenda. I hope you week is going well, with love,

  19. Annabel,
    The nusery sounds lovely and I do hope you will share a few photos of Harper in her new room at Grandma's. The big screen tv turned computer screen is an excellent and very useful find.
    Your garden looks just luscious. It will be such a blessing to fill your new pantry with all that garden produce.

    The heat has done its work on our garden. Everything is dead except for a few tomato plants. I think we will get one more harvest but overall its been a successful garden for our location and climate.
    This week I dehydrated peaches, made a peach cobbler, baked cookies, and made all our meals except two. We had commmitments to keep with some friends so enjoyed our restaurant outings.
    Shopping netted some great deals. I found 9 half gallon glass bottles of organic apple juice for $3. I bought them all. Once used the bottles will be great to hold water or dried food items. I love it when a food item also gets me a lovely bottle or jar. On a clearance shelf I found Burts Bees cherry lipgloss for .74 and I bought 6 to add to my gift shelf. Here is the highlight though....dark chocolate covered fruits in mini bags marked down from $4 to .50. I bought 6 of those for the gift shelf. Today,since garden canning is done for the moment, Im rendering lard.
    My son will have oral surgery Thursday and then a weekend of recovery. To prepare for that I have a full oven of meat cooking right now and plan to bake muffins etc tomorrow so that the rest of the family is set while I focus on caring for my son. I also have some purreed fruits in the freezer for smoothie making for him and items plannned out to make soup for the weekend for him.

    1. Dear Ginger,
      It is funny as I think of Grandma as my Mum! Yet I am Grandma too! We need better names but at this stage we are both Nan!
      You had really good bargains! Burts Bees is very popular. That is a good gift.
      Also lovely about the peach cobbler! We just love peaches.
      I hope things go well for your son on Thursday. It is good you are prepared for the weekend and days around this time. Smoothies will be a good thing. Hope he gets on well.
      Many thanks Ginger, With love

  20. Annabel,
    A place for our grandbabies to have is very special and I'm sure your room is going to be so lovely. Thank you to everyone for your comments and encouragement on the garden, cellar and pantry that's in the works you are all so sweet and kind!
    For our savings this week we got an estimate from a friend who does the kind of work we did on the cellar and I was amazed at how much it would have cost us to pay to have that small room done, over $500! So minus the cost of supplies we saved $400 there, Rick needed a handle for his tractor and it cost $200 so he made his own and saved $180,he fabricated another part he needed and saved another $100 there, we used $165 in gift cards, I made Rick's birthday cake $20,2 dozen eggs from our chickens $4,and when we were at the store they had eggs for 22 cents a dozen and milk for $1.07 a gallon so I got 8 dozen eggs for the dogs and 2 gallons of milk and saved $8.24 there. And one of the stores was having a great meat sale we went and got quite a bit of meat saving $70 I was very happy about that. Since it is the busy season here I am keeping track of all of the produce we pick and how much we can and freeze and have decided I will total it at the end of the season instead of weekly the same with loads of laundry I hang out to dry. So our total for the week is $782.24 I am good with that. Rick really enjoys seeing how much things can add up.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      My Nan had a room for me and my brother. I loved that. When we stayed I would go get in bed with her in the morning and Pa made us breakfast in bed. This was a tradition for many years. It was always vegemite on toast. That was his special I guess!
      Wow on the cellar! This is the beauty of doing things yourself! That is a lot!
      Rick made a lot of savings. He is sure handy. Maybe you better keep him around? lol!
      Awesome savings for the week! I am glad too that Rick likes seeing the savings and adding up. So does Andy! He is frequently amazed. I need to price meat pies so I can tell him how much this weeks pies would cost in a show and I know its a lot! I will find out in the next couple of days and do the sums!
      You had a great week! With love

  21. We saved $458.93 here on the Briar Patch. This includes tomatoes harvested from the garden, wild plums from the trees, yard-sale finds, and home-baked goods. We were blessed with a free watermelon, free 5 lbs. of red potatoes, and a loaf of sliced bread all from a local thrift store. We also save allot from mending and altering second-hand finds. Thanks to Vicky and Annabel for their hard work and inspiration!
    Blessings to you all,


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