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 19 February 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Paying off debt as preparedness.

Last week preparedness was in our news again! That is three weeks running and most unusual. This time the subject was rising household debt, rising national debt and a host of things that do not look good.  Nothing we don't already know but there it was in black and white and it ended with "pay off your mortgages, stock up on canned goods..."
For anyone interested the article was called "Apocalyptic warning for Australian Families".
Now not that all these kinds are articles are true and no one knows the future. But there are signs around us that are enough to cause concern!

In my week I took out all the first aid supplies I have build up over the last couple of years and went through them. I had too much in a small space making it hard to find anything quickly.
I bought a small cupboard to become a first aid station.  It was inexpensive at the cheap shop. This was probably because it came in 30,000 small pieces with virtually no instructions!
Andy came to the rescue and after a lot of muttering we had a really nice cupboard. It is about 1 meter/yard high.

On the right there is a smaller one, just the drawers. This was for my writing paper and stationary! That's another story!

As I stocked this I checked the dates on everything and was pretty shocked how many things were out of date.  I was then making a list of what I need to replace.  I made the top drawer cleaning and antiseptics, cotton etc. All things to clean up a wound.

The second drawer is bandaids of different sizes.

The third drawer is creams, ointments etc.
The bottom drawer is kind of this and that, heat patches and so on.
The side cupboard is large bandages, my super soft hankies, dressings etc.
Medicines are kept elsewhere in the kitchen. 

I showed it to Andy so he knows where everything is kept and can find things fast.  
So it is much better. I hope to add to it weekly.
This week my aim is to go through the car first aid kits and update those.

Now to our article from Vicky.  As our news story mentioned getting out of debt as far as possible is a real form of being prepared.  Paying down debt, resisting more debt...  all of this helps you weather any future storms.  I do not want to discourage anyone who feels overwhelmed by debt.  We are doing what we can, with what we have and as we can!   But I notice all the time people adding to their debt rather than reducing it.  Someone on our street already double mortgaged their home to pay for something big and unnecessary.  Things were really bad for them. Then last year they took out a loan for $30,000 to have a party! We were scratching our heads.  Last month they were forced to give up their home.  
 This is also a subject in the news/media a lot. Recently it was about Smashed Avocado and the cafe lifestyle. People were saying life isn't worth living unless you can eat out at the cafes and travel every year.  Apparently its $20 to have someone squish and avocado onto some toast for you.  By travel they don't mean down the coast for an ice cream they mean world travel. But they also want a house! The credit cards are maxed out and so it goes...
Sometimes we have choices.  Along these lines I really loved this article by Jes... relevant to use as we need to do something about our bathroom!
Many times we can apply this in different ways!

Over to Vicky!

 Debt Free!!!....... Now what? 

As most of you know last year we paid off half of the mortgage and already paid off most of the other debts we had and now this year we paid off the second half of the mortgage and are 100% debt free. First we paid it by halves so that it would be in two different tax years thus saving us thousands in taxes. Second by making the decision to pay it off now versus later we have saved what would equal the cost of another small house in interest alone. Forty thousand to be exact. 
It has been a long journey for us over the years to say the least! And although we have gotten a lot of flack for our decision we stuck to our plans and achieved our goal. Maybe not in the way others would agree with, but it's done. 
It started with learning to save on groceries. Then starting the snowball effect by paying off smaller debts first and rolling the money from that payment to another payment to start paying off something else. Then came stockpiling and preparedness efforts. And having an emergency fund. All the while we learned we could actually live better and manage things much easier and be able to take care of ourselves through many circumstances. 
The opinions vary from we are stupid to oh boy now you can party all of the time you have no worries, we still have insurances and property taxes and electric, etc. We still have to rebuild the emergency fund and have the funds for repairs on the home and vehicles if needed and doctors and dentists. All on what the Mr. is able to make and his lovely wife being the frugal gal she is. 
So what is our plan for now? Well our first plan is to continue as we have since we seem to do well and both enjoy our lifestyle. We will continue to save in all of the ways we have before that won't change and with the Vicky Challenge if there is extra to bank we will do so. We need to tear down and replace an old garage and pay cash to replace it that is what we are currently saving for. I have seen too many people that when circumstances get a little better they quit saving or quit being frugal and go right back to a lifestyle they can't afford a vicious cycle that never ends. Slow and steady wins the race! We need to learn from the things we do and continue learning. 
To be honest we have had discussions on the matter of wouldn't it be nice to do this or that, but in the long term those are only fleeting moments of instant gratification, we want a life time of it. 
So to end this I will say that in the long run the wonderful friendships we have made and the support we have been given by people who many don't know us in person or us them has given us the enjoyment and encouragement to just keep our lives as they are. Thank you Blue Birds! 

Thank you Vicky!  I am so happy your place is now all paid for and you do not have anymore payments! This is a great achievement and security!

A couple of weeks ago I had a bad bite and was really unwell with it. We put it down to a spider as it became infected almost straight away.
I blamed the peach tree as I had been rummaging through that!  But on Thursday I had another one. I had been in the garden as usual but I could have got it anywhere. It was in the exact same spot on my other arm.  We have turned up the house, sprayed, used bug bombs and never found one bug. Outside Andy sprayed with a professional spray kit (and I hate sprays!)  
This bite acted exactly the same and became infected in a few hours. This time I knew what was ahead of me and got to the Doctor the same day.  I had antibiotics again but still the pain is awful and throbbing and hot. Not much sleep.   Yesterday it got worse instead of better and more of my arm looked bad and I ended up in hospital on a drip.  By then I was glad to be there. I was allowed to come home for the night and have to go back in this morning. 
They are great but only interested in fixing the infection. So far no one is interested in identifying what is biting me i.e. is it a spider or have I developed some huge reaction to a Mosquito bite or something (which is apparently possible).
I have never been prone to bites and never had a severe reaction. 
To me my problem is that I feel panicked that I will get another one. I feel sick at the thought.  
I need prayers for a solution!  

Have a good week!  Keep working on your preparedness! xxx

This was taken by Rachel's Dad. A Kangaroo at his place! 


  1. Dear Annabel, before I get onto the main post topic , Im so sorry to hear about your second bite problems and that you ended up in hospital.I hope you find an answer for these bites and will include you in my healing prayers.What a time for this to happen you , when you are needed most . xxx
    Back to man topic....I love your first aid cupboard , so clean and neat ! I recently tidied ours , but feel I could do better , there's too much cramped together and takes some rummaging to find things .Andy is a handy man to have around ;-)
    Vicky-congratulations to you and hubby on achieving your goals!I know myself its easy to get slide back if one is not careful and focused.
    WE are having a warm spell for us (not for many of you lol)and the upstairs bedrooms were stifling last night , so Im working on keeping the house cool as possible shut all curtains and blinds and have a fan going on each floor.We have a lot of glass and get a lot of sun. Will be going to the mall soon for some errands and some spray bottles .
    Take care Annabel and fingers crossed for your hospital visit today ,with love, Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria, My old home had upstairs and it did get very hot up there in the heat and downstairs remained much better.
      Thank you! The Dr. today thought a spider bite rather than a bad reaction to something else which is better than having to fear mozzies I think. I have to go back tomorrow. Hopefully that will be it and also this spider is dead!
      Our first aid was very crammed and Andy cant ever find anything (bringing new meaning to "man look") so clear and simple to find is a help! I have a lot to replace though! I hope this week is good and quiet for you! With love

  2. I will be praying for you and answers for the bites. That is horrible and I know how it feels. After being bitten by a spider 5 years ago I was terrified of them. Our daughter was bitten and made really sick while she was in college and we never knew what bit her. I pray you will heal quickly.

    Your first aid cabinet looks great. It is good to know you are ready for any kind of need. My essential oils are my biggest peace of mind for health and I am thankful that we have been able to build a good supply of them.

    We have had peace of mind with my husband being out of work on disability since we are 100% debt free. We are almost to the end of the 100% pay and will be on 60% pay until he can work full days again. We are well stocked here and today when we filled the car with gas I even realized that we have enough gas gift cards stockpiled to buy gas for a few months. I just don't understand people who think they can live on credit and never have to account for their lifestyle.

    1. Dear Lana, It is encouraging to hear this from you because this has never happened to me before and I never have had many bites or any trouble with them. I don't like spiders but I am really scared of them now. I am in alert mode and terrified is right!
      I need to learn more about essential oils. I have a few, very basic.
      It is a big drop to go from 100% to 60%. I know you would have been planning knowing this. You are in an excellent position being debt free. I think this notion of put it off forever and max out the cards etc will surely catch up at some point. It has to. Living on a budget and within our means seems really boring to some but I fear what will happen in the end. The chickens always come home to roost I say!
      I hope your husband is doing well. With lots of love

    2. If you have lavender essential oil, it is very good for insect bites. You could apply it 3 times a day.

      My husband is doing quite well. I am so thankful.

  3. Annabel, thank you for such a thoughtful post.

    Congratulations Vicky on paying off your mortgage. It's such a wonderful feeling, isn't it? Like yourself, we worked on paying off our mortgage a few years back. When we saved some extra dollars we would pay it off the mortgage and I always remember two comments from one of the tellers at the bank at the time - first comment, " paying extra won't make any difference" ... hello!! yes it did, it saved us years and $$$. Second comment (when we made our final payment) "you're lucky" ... argh no!! it was hard work (DH was doing 3 jobs at the time (we had young kids and I stayed home)and we went without heaps to achieve our goal. Those extra payments do count and sacrificing for a short time has meant so much to our security now.

    I'm so sorry to hear you've been bitten again Annabel. I hope an answer is found soon.

    1. Dear Janine,
      Oh my goodness I have to laugh at the "great" advice from the bank teller! And then the "you're lucky" My Dad says "the harder you work the luckier you get" which has a lot of truth in it! Well done.
      Thanks Janine. I hope never to go through this again! With love

  4. Annabel,
    I'm so sorry about the bite but it is money well spent to get it checked. Some years back my son got a spider bite while my mom was watching him. She didn't bother to let me know and being a boy he didn't either. Long story short a cyst developed on his neck which had to be cut out and left a nasty scar. In some cases it is better to spend money to prevent something worse later. I'm praying that you can get to the root cause.
    Your first aid station is fabulous. I have a Hoosier cabinet that I named Nurse Ann. It is loaded with all needed medications and first aid supplies. There is also an area for first aid and healthcare items needed for our pets and animals.
    Also congratulations on your new grandbaby. The picture of Harper saying goodnight is just precious.
    Much Love, Ginger

    1. Dear Ginger,
      Well I have discovered you don't mess with a nasty bite and that is awful for your son. I was pretty quick to get a Doctor and still both times it rapidly went downhill. Todays Doctor says a spider. (rather than a reaction to a mosquito or something) We have turned over the house and yard and sprayed and everything we can think of. I garden so much I think is it... I will have to wear long sleeves and be much more careful.
      Thanks so much. And also yes first aid for whatever animals you have is an excellent point. With love

  5. Dear Annabel,

    Oh, no! I am so sorry to hear you got another bite and that it turned out as bad as the first! It is definitely worrisome when you don't know where or what bit you, and if it could happen again! It is also hard when medicine is only about the fix (which, let's face it, is miraculous), and not about prevention...which you need! I am sending all my love and prayers to you right now!!!!

    Hooray and congratulations to Vicky and her husband! Your first aid cabinet looks beautiful and practical, too!

    I didn't get a chance to say that Kelley's bibs and quilts were wonderful and that Lucy definitely has her mother's touch in decorating! (Though I was most taken with Harper's little girls had curls just like that!! :))

    Love, Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      I am glad of the fix but yes need prevention. My gardening habits are going to have to change for one thing.
      Thank you for your comments on Kelley's sewing and on the nursery and Harper! With much love

  6. Annabel, I am so sorry you have had a these horrible bites. I hope it doesn't happen again! I know of 3 people (including my mum) who have had white tail spider bites in the last few months, and all ended up in hospital. And the spiders weren't to be seen. I have not heard of so many people getting bitten, it is quite scary. I hope this latest bite of yours clears up quickly xx

    On a positive note, you've done great work on your first aid cupboard. It looks lovely!
    I've finally followed your lead of looking around the house for unused storage space. I've started re-arranging our bedroom wardrobes, which hopefully will give us a bit more storage :) Unfortunately I am making DP clear out his own wardrobe and move everything across, and that is going very slowly ;(

    Paying down/off debt is a great way to get prepared, so congratulations to Vicky for her success!

    Much love,
    Fiona xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Thanks for telling me this. I keep getting told white tailed spiders are harmless. Obviously this is not true! We get them here plus red backs. Either are bad news! Also how weird to know three people (now four!) recently... I think here it has been a we summer and humid and the bugs love it.
      Well done on the re arranging. There are some very clever ideas around and a clean out and re arrange can create a lot of space.
      Thanks Fiona, with love

  7. I hope you feel better soon and that the sprays have killed whatever has bit you. I love your cupboard. So handy and available to everyone. I have to put everything up high because youngest grandchild wants a band aid all the time. She always has a boo boo. She is so cute.
    In our subdivision is amazing how many houses are under water still. They took out more loans for them then they are worth now. They cannot sell them and sometimes they have a hard time getting the price for rent they need to cover the loan. IT's terrible what people have went through. Congrats to Vicky on her success. You just never now what might happen and it's good to be prepared.

    1. Dear Vickie,
      We haven't reached the bandaid stage yet! I see such cute ones with Disney Princesses and things on them!
      It is terrible what you say about the homes. Here we have towns where there were once booming industries and now that is mostly gone so the houses cannot be sold... so people can live in a town with no work or walk away basically. This is tragic. Many people are truly trapped. Also rent is very expensive. I am amazed by the price to rent and don't know how some of it is even possible! More and more I am grateful for our home. Thank you Vicky, with love

  8. Annabel insect bites, especially spider bites, can be nasty. Have you thought it could be a scratch from a twig or thorn too? If it had fertiliser on it, or pest spray that could be causing the infection too. Please take care of your whole self, not just the area around the bite. May sound a little crazy but covering the site with Manuka honey (try to get at least a 20+ rating and NZ sourced so it's nice and strong) to kill any bacteria and infection. You can also take a spoonful three times a day (we put it in OJ). Rest, drink lots of clear fluids to help flush any toxins, don't be afraid to use pain relief what it's necessary (unnecessary paid causes more stress, prolonging your illness). You made me laugh at the 30,000 small pieces and lots of muttering - so glad the finished product looks gorgeous.

    1. Dear Cath, Thank you... it seems certain to be a spider as each time there is a clear bite not scratch. Also being inside my arm whereas a scratch should be outside where I hit against something. I know a scratch can get an infection and bad things in it. I am a big believer in Manuka Honey! I keep it and have several jars unopened as well. I used it on my first bite and now I think that one responded better and healed better. Maybe that is why?
      I am on pain killers and ice packs. I have had an ice pack now for 4 whole days and nights. I have five in rotation. I have never been so grateful for ice packs!
      Now you have said this I am going to go take some manuka honey and make it daily. This is a good idea thank you. With lots of love

    2. Thank you, Cath, for these suggestions. While I haven't had a spider bite, I think it's really important advice that I often don't think to do for myself.

      Annabel, I am so sorry about 2 spider bites in a little over a week! And having to go to hospital the second time. That's a bad experience. Thank God for good insurance in Australia, huh? I probably would have put it off since we have $10,000 deductible.

    3. Dear Cristy, A $10,000 deductible is mind blowing. I would be put off too. It would be so dangerous as an infection can kill. I had a $300 payment to make as I chose the hospital I wanted to go to but it covers me for all the treatment so far for three days. On the first day when things had turned bad I couldn't wait to get there I was desperate and it was scary! I hope your system changes soon as I think of the people who must just go without treatment rather than pay $10,000. That is awful. I hope you don't have any need to go to hospital that would be ideal! Love

  9. Annabel I am so sorry to hear you are unwell again. Are the doctors sure it is a bite though? I would ask them for answers to what the problem is...for your own peace of mind if nothing else. I will be praying for you for a complete recovery. Big hugs.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Thank you. I have wanted to know the same. Today there seems more certainty its a spider bite. But I hope to find out more and see an allergist or dermatologist .... I appreciate the prayers. It has really scarred me especially that it could happen again. With love

  10. Hi Annabel,
    With all that's going on in your life, let's move into March.
    Vicky well done on making the effort and the commitment to get your mortgage paid.
    Our home was comfortable, but unfinished. We chose to pay out the mortgage before we finished it off. This paid off for us as we sold it not long after completing all the renovations.
    We own our current home and have a very nice lifestyle on a very limited income. Owning everything means we can manage and still save small amounts each week.
    I was talking about levels of debt with my 25 year old daughter. She was aghast at friends who have a mortgage, refinanced recently to buy a brand new car for him and are now looking at doing so again for a new car for her. She is 6 months pregnant and is looking at finishing work in a few weeks time. Katie could not believe anyone would want to be so in debt. I'm so proud to hear my daughter speak this way.
    I laughed at the comment about the muttering from Andy as he put your cabinet together. We had something similar take place here with Katie buying a set of drawers from Aldi. She opened the box in front Bluey who couldn't stand it and had to step in and complete. Katie knew this would happen.
    Rest and take it easy so you can be there for the various members of the family that need you.
    REMEMBER Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      You re sensible! Sounds like your daughter is too. What is this about re mortgaging to buy a car! A car does have to cost very much at all. You an get good cars for amazing prices but then you can spend $50,000 too. A nice car is lovely but mostly we just need a car to get from A to B! Well you can only kick the can down the road for so long I think and it will catch up eventually!
      Bluey and Andy are the put together guys. Thank goodness. I hate that kind of thing. If I put anything together there are "spare parts" at the end which I am pretty sure are not meant to be spare!
      Thank you Jane. I saw some things in the emergency department which reminded me in spite of this I am very lucky! With love

  11. Annabel, I will be praying for a quick recovery for you and that you find what is biting you. I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I hope you feel better soon! Vicky, your story is so encouraging to those of us who are trying to follow your lead and get out of debt. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Sorry to hear you are so unwell Annabel. I hope you can get to the bottom of it and find out some answers as to the cause. Take care and rest as much as you can. Your poor body has been through alot, fighting off infection twice in such a short period, and will likely need time to recover your usual full strength. Big hugs to you, Kelly xo

    1. Thanks so much Kelly. You are right two infections are not a good idea. I have given up and am actually resting though. I had my week planned then unplanned it! Thank you! xxx

  13. Annabel,sorry to hear your pain i hope you get to the cause very soon.At the moment iam not spending any money only on items we need,i want to pay down debt this year and add to my savings i have been taking my lunch to work every day so iam not buying lunch,a while ago some friends gave us two matching wall units they were going to throw them out,at the moment as i type J is painting them a nice white and they are looking great,i made your cake,with fruit and some bread over the weekend and i will do a big shop some time towards the end of the week just for the food we use,having the chooks has been great with all the eggs for cakes etc.
    Take care xx

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Well done on taking your lunch. I was shocked when I first worked out how much we saved per week just with this one thing. Over a yer it is a lot.
      It was wonderful being given wall units! You will have a great time putting them to use and displaying your things on them. I love white of course!
      I am glad you made the cake! I made it first with peaches and since with plums.
      Eggs are a huge help. I have a cook up of little individual quiches as they are wonderful for taking to work. I use a muffin tray for those. But there are so many egg based meals. And the baking of course. Also I like that eggs can be savoury i.e. egg and bacon pie or sweet... i.e. custard.
      You are doing really well! With love

  14. Annabel I will be praying for wisdom and healing for you.
    Sorry to here about the bites. I hate spiders. I hope this is resolved soon. Here they sell sticky glue traps for spiders. Also are you going to take some type of acidophilis yogurt or cultures to help with all the antibiotics. The cabinet is lovely.
    Vicky Congratulations on paying off your home!

    1. Dear Patti, Yes I got straight on to pro biotics plus yoghurt. I know I need that for sure. Thanks for your prayers. I have really needed them. Ive had to take one day at a time and be patient which I am not very good at!
      Many thanks Patti, With love

  15. Annabel, we're hoping you feel better soon and avoid all creepy crawlies for the foreseeable future!

    Vicky, CONGRATULATIONS! Paying off your mortgage is a huge accomplishment! That is our number one goal at the moment. We were on a plan to pay ours off in four years, but an injury sidelined me from work for a year and a half. I just returned to work two weeks ago, so our focus is on making up as much ground as possible.

    However, it will take a bit to get our emergency funds built up again. We are so grateful we had our pantry and those funds when the accident happened. It was tight and medical bills ate a lot of it, but we came through with food on the table and all the necessaries covered. I'll be more comfortable when there's more cushion in the bank and the mortgage is shrinking again!

    Best wishes!

    1. Dear Anne,
      An injury is such a setback. But the main thing is your health and recovery. I am so happy to hear you are able to be well enough to go back to work.
      Thank goodness you had an emergency fund. I hope you will be able to week by week build things back up. You can do it! I will be cheering you on! With love

    2. Anne,

      I am sorry that you have been sidelined with an injury. I know that you probably feel frustrated that you weren't able to accomplish your goal. But the way I see it, it sure was a good thing that you had been working on that when this happened. It helped you when you had an emergency. Prepared for a rainy day and all that.

      Hugs to you. You will still accomplish your goal. I am sure of it.

  16. Dear Annabel I have been thinking of how you can continue enjoying your garden and think that if you make a couple of sleeves similar to the plastic bag holders (a tube with elastic top and bottom) that should give your arms protection. An open top is not going to protect you (I had a pair years ago with garden gloves attached to the bottom and elastic around the top hence the reason I am thinking this could work for you).

    This is a really great post - for years my husband I have been talking about this scenario happening - we are both ex bankies and have had trouble understanding why people were buying MacMansions and then furnishing them with the latest and greatest - the credit cards were maxed out and then of course someone lost their job and they were digging into the house loan to buy what ever they felt like, holidays, swanky dinners out, the latest clothes etc.

    My husband and I have often seen people driving an expensive car and turned to each other and said ' it belongs to the bank (or who ever).

    We have paid off our home but because of my recently diagnosed medical condition we are getting air conditioning in 3 rooms. We have had the air con man in and it is cheaper to go with 3 individual units rather than having a ducted system installed.

    Today my husband got my laptop up and running again (it was his) - we are looking at replacing this one and only using it as a back up. We have been having huge problems with the NBN continuing to drop out and feel that it has caused the problems with the laptop.

    Best away - have a great week everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      First of all I am really glad about you getting air-conditioning. I think its tough in a hot climate but with health issues this is just a big help.
      Our ducted air system was here when we moved it. We found out in the first year that if you depend on one system and it goes out in a heatwave you have nothing. Thats what it did it broke down in 44 degrees and being so hot we couldn't get anyone to come and fix it.
      Being older when it needs re gassing we cannot get the gas they have banned it! So then we will have to get a new system. We are going to do exactly what you are doing. We will get a lounge area system and a bedroom one.
      Thanks for your comments. You would see all sorts of things working in banking I should think!
      A lot of problems with the NBN! Andy frustrated as people he emails plans etc to no longer get them now where they once did... they had NBN switched on!
      I hope your week is going well! With love

  17. I will pray for you, Annabel. Much love to you. I hope it all gets sorted very quickly. I LOVE this post. Though I must admit I love everything you write. I thank Vicky too, because I have been thinking about our unit and getting a house and this speaks right to my heart, about having the lowest debt amount possible. I love your cabinet! Gorgeous and organised. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Thank you so much! I really hope you find the right solution for you, something that you just love, is well within your budget... something perfect! No one needs additional stress that is for sure.
      You are sensible! With much love

  18. I will be praying you get well soon and find out what is causing the infection. Your body needs to rest to recover so please take it easy. When you do go out in the garden again be really vigilant and see what insects or spiders are around.
    A great post and Vicki you have done well to pay of your mortgage. Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      We have sprayed everywhere. I re sprayed around the letter box today as my arm reaches in past a rose bush to that. We keep thinking of new spots that could be it!
      Thanks for your prayers! I really appreciate them, with love


  19. Hi Annabel and Bite Detective Bluebirders!!

    Firstly, Annabel, I am glad that you are now finding some direction and healing regarding these bites. May wisdom guard you!!

    Vicky, you are like a forward scout, paying off your own mortgage with Rick, and encouraging the troops to do likewise. Debt has its place in a just society, but is always best avoided! Life is challenging enough without it! We certainly don't envy anyone having the burden that it is!

    I hope you all have noble goals to pull you through life's challenges!!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you! You are quite right.. debt has a place but should be avoided if possible rather than embraced enthusiastically which has been pushed on everyone.... all the ads that say buy now pay later! 24 months interest free... and so on. Everywhere!
      I hope your week is going along well! With love and thanks!

  20. I need to revamp our first aid kit also and LOVE what you did with yours! Thanks for the inspiration! Also, regarding the bite... I would soak it in warm water epsom salts for 10 minutes a few times a day (if it seems infected) and dab some lavender, lemon, melaleuca and frankincense on it (every few hours for the first 24 hours) and follow with a good dose of vitamin c for the week to boost up your immunities. This treatment has worked effectively for us to treat stepping on nails and dog bites (and recently worked for my friend's mom with an infected mosquitos bite)... You can place the drops in some coconut or olive oil to make a diluted blend if you like (though lavender and melaleuca (aka tree tree oil) can be applied "neat" aka straight without dilution and I would apply them straight). If you don't have all the oils listed, try the ones you have. They may be just as effective! I hope this helps!!! Love, JES

    P.S. Thanks for sharing our Budget/Beauty Bathroom link :)

    1. These are great tips for health. Epsom salt is wonderful. I like your suggestions for essential oils. I use a few on a regular basis and am happy with the help that they provide for my family's health. I haven't bought or used melaleuca. I guess I should purchase some.

    2. Dear Jes, Thank you. Epsom salts are very neutralising. I keep them always. Thanks for the info on the essential oils.
      I adored your bathroom post. I thought this really applies to anything. Things can be made lovely. We can take what we have and work out a way. Its very inspiring and lovely. And wise.
      Much love to you Jes, From

    3. I agree with lavender and tea tree oils. I always keep those two as they have so many uses.
      Praying for your speedy recovery and congratulations on the newest addition to the family.
      Love, Heidi x

  21. Dear Annabel,
    We're praying for your continued healing.
    Vicky, congratulations on becoming mortgage free. This is a huge accomplishment.
    Years ago, we read a book called "The Coming Economic Earthquake" by Larry Burkett. He was a forerunner in teaching good stewardship over our money and debtfree living etc. Unfortunately, everything he predicted has come true. We feel very fortunate that we followed his advice, paid off our mortgage and have been debtfree ever since. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Thank you Cookie! I looked up that book! And about Larry Burkett. Thank you. I think what he said will continue to come true and he has passed away now I believe. He seemed to have sound Christian advice. Much love,

  22. Hope you are better real soon Annabel. The bite does sound like a spider but I sure would be having them to figure out what is causing it. My prayers for your speedy recovery. Paula in Kansas

    1. Dear Paula,
      Thank you. I really appreciate the prayers! With love

  23. Annabel,
    I love your storage for your supplies, very nice!
    Rachel- Aww kangaroos are so cute thanks for sharing!
    And I also would like to thank everyone for the kind comments! We may not know what the future holds, but we feel we are in a better spot right now.
    As Jane says Life is good!

    1. Dear Vicky, That is the thing, whatever the future holds you are in a better spot and at a great advantage. And it is inspiring to hear! Well done! Love

  24. Annabel these bites are awful, particularly as the source is not obvious to you. Glad you are getting treatment for this newest one. Hope it all goes out of your system quick smart. Lol at the 30,000 pieces of cupboard - are you sure you are not exaggerating a little? Having first aid all in one place is excellent, I don't have that, I have a kitchen set, a laundry set and some in the spare rooms, but when the butlers pantry is built, there will be a set up very much like yours. That way anyone can find it.Congratulations Vicky and Cookie on the mortgage pay off. I paid my first one off in my mid thirties and one of the tactics I did was to go to the bank a few times each week (it was close). All spare coins, left overs etc went in. Like Vicky, they laughed at me when I started but the day I paid it off I was the one laughing. Have mortgage debt again now but it is lower than the value of the properties involved and is my way clear to the future. But again congrats, and like you say Annabel, we all are trying our best. I recently purchased a couple of big ticket items, one being a very expensive car but I walked into the dealers with a bank cheque for it, I own it outright, I have never had car debt as I believe that is bad debt. I do know of a young couple with two small children who have added to their mortgage two brand new cars in the last year and I worry about them. Why? I think to myself. I'm into my 50's and now can do the odd luxury here and there but I worry about the young ones who just don't seem to listen to either their parents or the news.
    Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Thank you.
      No I swear 30,000 pieces! haha
      You have achieved a lot! Well done. You also achieved a lot at a pretty young age. You knew what you were doing.
      Yes it is stressful to see when you think to yourself how is this possible?
      I cant wait to see your new pantry when it is finished! With lots of love

  25. Another bad spider bite? You poor thing! I can only suggest long sleeves when you're outside and I know how miserable that is when it's warm. I hope you feel better soon! And that the culprit is no longer around!

    Everyone has posted such good things about debt and overspending on crazy things. I saw so much of that when I lived in Los Angeles. There was a lot of peer pressure to buy certain things, whether you could afford it or not! Kansas is much different. More sensible, it seems. I always think of a book I read years ago, "The Millionaire Next Door." The guy that drives the older car, seems to live a non-frilly life, and how he/she might look ordinary, but actually be filthy rich! I used to know a family like that when I was a teen. They drove older cars, lived in a nice, but simple home, etc. I actually thought they might be struggling. Silly me! As I got to know them, I found out that they owned tons of property, businesses, etc. I expect that their frugal lifestyle contributed greatly to that. I would bet their neighbors had no idea that they lived across the street from a millionaire!! Probably a multi multi millionaire now!!

    Just this morning, I saw a clip on Good Morning America about Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (I think it was) meeting at McDonald's for breakfast and Mr. Buffett always used coupons. And, that he still lived in a home he purchased for $31,000 many years ago...just food for thought. ;)

    1. Dear Debby,
      What you say is so true. When people look super flashy I basically think its all smoke and mirrors. Anyone I know that is really doing well blends in with everyone else. Like Warren Buffet apparently just as you say!
      Yes its long sleeves for me now. And gloves!
      Thank you Debby! With love

  26. Oh Annabel what rotten luck! I hope you recover quickly and some of them suggestions above work well for you.

    Vicky it is really wonderful to read about you paying off your mortgage, what a fantastic feeling! I have written to Annabel before about this, sometimes I feel like all of the cooking, knitting, sewing etc, are not really making much difference to the bank balance. We make quite significant payments on our mortgage, and I very seriously considered reducing these payments to make life a bit more comfortable. Reading your story reminds me of the end goal. Thank you.

    Annabel, I had to laugh last night. My son needed his asthma pump, and I went to get if from the first aid supplies. Which since we have moved has been a big black rubbish sack on top of our fridge!! I thought of your beautifully organised cupboard and thought maybe my current system might need a slight overhaul lol.

    I hope the rest of your week is much less dramatic!
    Jen in NZ

    1. Jen,
      Keep going. It surely does make a difference. Not all of our savings equals dollars in the bank account, but the dollars still in the bank that are not being spent is the biggest difference for some. I know many who by the time they get paid they are already in the hole and have nothing until the next pay and are borrowing from others. You might not feel the things you do are really making much difference to the bank balance, but if you stopped doing them that is when you would probably see the difference. Don't doubt that you are saving! When you make that last mortgage payment it is such a wonderful feeling of security. I know very little about NZ, but here in the US for us sales or clearances on the things we consume as far as food can make a big difference in the bank dollars each month. When we started planting bigger gardens that took another dent out of it as well. So everyone's savings are different and don't be discouraged. I hope this has helped you some and I hope we will all still be Blue Birds so we can celebrate your mortgage pay off too! Have a great week.

    2. Dear Jen,
      Having just moved you have lots of time for the medical supplies! I think in a new place it takes a while to find where is the best place for things too.
      I hope your chickens are laying if not they soon will be in your care.
      I am sure that all your cooking makes an enormous difference to not only the budget but the quality of food you al eat AND the enjoyment of it. It adds in several ways at least. Same with the sewing etc. I think now and then give yourself a break but overall you will not regret paying off so much! Well done Jen.
      With much love

  27. Awe Annabel, the bite is awful and hope you recover soon and not have any more nasty incidents.
    We have always lived in our own homes when we got transferred to other towns, hubby was in the Police force. But we always made sure to buy below the limit. When we retired now 20 years ago we were able to buy this house without a bank loan. We have now decided to sell up and move closer to the daughter and have the house in the market. We want to downscale now as we are getting older and also being nearer to the kids will be great for us. Hubby said when retiring (forced retirement) one must have a fully paid home and vehicles if possible. Also we are debt free. Never loan on your home loan and if you do never more than the value of the home. People do this all the time and that is where the problems just grow. somehow people have lost the sense of living free and just seem to want new cars and nicer houses at the cost of themselves later on in life. Thanks Vicky for you great advice hope many follow your thinking and doing.

    1. Dear Susan,
      Your husband is smart and sensible. I was always told never gamble what you cannot afford to lose. This includes your home! And the goal to have your home and vehicles etc all paid off before retirement. My Grand parents worked toward that as their goal.
      In a shop window recent there was an ad that was about womens opportunities to go into business. It actually said you can use the equity in your home to get started! No alarm bells there!
      I hope you find the perfect place near your daughter and also see your home for a good price and it all goes smoothly! With love,

    2. Home equity? Ack!! That's why so many Californians suffered so badly in the housing market crash some years ago. The housing prices went up and they realized they had a couple hundred thousand in equity. Instead of ignoring it, they saw it as *free money* and took it out. They bought fancy cars, electronics, went on vacation, etc. Then, when the market corrected itself, they found their homes worth half of what they owed. At yi yi. (We took the opportunity to sell the house and move to a more affordable area of the country. Great decision.)

  28. Oh, dear, Annabel! I hope you're on the mend and that Andy' work with the spray has eliminated whatever is biting you.
    Congratulations, Vicky, on paying off your house! We are down to just the house now, but with two in university it will be some time before we can pay it off. I'm impatient but trying to stay the course.
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Leigh, I am so with you on the impatient feeling, but the desire to stay the course!! We only have a house payment. But both of our cars are 17 years old or more and neither one has air conditioning any more. We will have to see to that first. I have 2 children that need braces and the kids' homeschool events and their current needs... well, all of this means that the house has to take a step down in our goals.

      I find it hard not to be impatient with these things that sideline the original goal, but when I look back over where we have come from I see that we have come a long way. By keeping our goals intact, we will conquer this one too. :)

  29. Annabel, Yikes! I'm so sorry to hear of your second spider bite. I hope you determine where you are being bitten and are able to get rid of the nasty varmints. I'm deathly afraid of brown recluse spiders, which we have all over Missouri. I've found several in my home over the years and it just gives me the willies!

    We are preparing more and more for our future. I don't foresee my husband retiring any time soon, just because he loves what he does, but I'm hoping to be done within the next 5 years. We have nearly conquered all of our debt, other than our home and two vehicles, plus some rental properties that we own, but they pay their own way. I'm ready to downsize our home as ours is much too big for just two of us.

    I'm still busy sorting through closets and just finished my side of the master bedroom closet yesterday. It feels so good to see things go! Now to load them all up into my car and get them donated.


    1. Dear Jeanette, You are doing really well! Getting the closet all done is wonderful too.
      In reading up on spiders I read about those brown recluse spiders! They are not good! We have not found anything except one daddy long legs, so far anyway. Ive been fairly casual in the garden but I wont be any more I will be wearing gloves and long sleeves forever I think! With love

  30. Dearest Annabel, I didn't have time to read all the comments but please look into using deactivated charcoal for your bite or any future bites! Charcoal ADSORBS which means it not only soaks up toxins it doesn't release them back into your body. It is an excellent addition to your home preparedness kit. I am one of your devoted followers who doesn't usually take time to comment but please check this out! I have wanted to email you sometime and am further inspired to do so. Love and prayers Jesse

    1. Dear Jesse,
      Thank you so much I really appreciate you commenting and your information! I am so glad to here from you and glad to have you here! With love

  31. Sorry but I meant Activated charcoal 😊

  32. We too chose to pay off our mortgage early. We had a windfall from a small inheritance property that sold. I have an incredible story about that but it paid off our home, to make the story shorter. Just after that we went along six years without a single raise as cost of living soared. In the end, we didn't get to bank any of that former house payment but we have remained debt free and only borrow from ourselves. It was the BEST decision we ever made. Vicki I am sorry you've had such a horrid time. I pray that whatever is causing the problem is finished now that Andy's sprayed heck out of everything!


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