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.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 18th August, 2017.

What a week!  Overall the week went too fast and my legs couldn't keep up or that is how it feels!
But... two huge things happened.  The first is that we do not need a new air conditioner and it cost $180  all up to be back up and running.  The service guy went over the whole thing throughly and said the last man that serviced it told us a bunch of lies.  This unit should last us at least several more years.  This is like winning the lottery since it would have cost us thousands!  And we also have heating again!

The next big thing is that we have approval for a pay out on our floor insurance and have one form to sign this afternoon before the money is paid into our account.  So I shouldn't count my chickens before they are hatched but the money should be paid then and I can go ahead and book in the new floors!  Since the floors we want are a lot cheaper than the floor we had this means we have money left over to build up our emergency fund as well!  And it means my planned kitchen re organise can happen as we put all the furniture back in after this work is all done.

Both of these things are a big relief and help! So this was a big week that is for sure.

Otherwise... some of the ways I built up my home this week were:

I made a beef casserole from beef on a half price special.  It was really good and the left overs went straight into pies.

I freeze them this way, slightly under browned, so when I put them in to oven next time they will not end up too brown.

I made two more batches of yoghurt.  I decided to compare methods and ingredients.  To make vanilla flavour I added some vanilla paste and some sugar.  I also invested in a yoghurt maker so that the only electricity I need to use is to boil the kettle.  

This came with the one litre container and I have a jar that fits that makes half that.  So I can make either amount.  I am looking for two jars that will sit on top of each other then I can make two containers set in the pot.  I am loving this!  It is a staggering saving too.

I had a few op shop deals.  One was some jars for my pantry.  

There were from 50c to $2.  They will help me set up my spice cabinet when I find it! 

Also I found another teacup set for $5.

Drinking tea from a nice cup is one of my daily lovely things.  So now and then one gets broken.  This is how I get them though.  Some simple pleasures in life are  easy to add to your day.  To me this makes all the difference! 

I also found a large heart shaped baking tin for $2. I thought this would be nice also for heart shaped pies! 

I used up two packets of the spice mix I made to cook Vicky's Enchilada sauce.  Oh my goodness!  It made much more than the three jars I used to buy and saved about $12!  And it tasted beautiful!  
I simmered the chicken for quite a while and reduced the sauce.    Then I made up three trays of enchiladas...

We had them for dinner and also a lunch.  I froze a tray and gave a tray to Lucy for their dinner.  She messaged me to say there were DELICIOUS.  Truly they were miles better than with the jars of sauce.  So this is something else struck from the shopping list. Thank you Vicky! 

I serve the with a green salad and they look so nice! 

I made soup with left over veggies.

Lemons and garden parsley were sent home with Mum when she went back to the farm.

Lamb shanks were made into a curry.  This turned out really good which was lucky as I cooked 6 this way. 

I made 16 Naan Bread which also used up some of the yoghurt I have been making.

I used more yoghurt in a big batch of raita sauce and free mint from the garden.

And I made two loaves of bread which I need to slice up today to freeze.

I think that is about it.  Everything else is the usual stuff!  Yesterday Harper came over for most of the day.  We watched a ballet performance on you tube and she didn't move a muscle. It went ages and ages and at the end she clapped furiously then said "more!!" so we watched it again!

I don't have a clue how much I saved on my Vicky Challenge, I will work it out over the weekend. It was quite a bit though.

I hope you had a good week!  How did you build up your nest, save, get ahead?

This afternoon I have to go and sign this form.  There is a large secondhand shop really close by so I will check it out incase my spice cupboard is in there!
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,
    That is such good news about your air conditioner and heat. Marvelous, also, about the flooring. That has to be a double huge relief!
    Your cooking always looks delicious. Would you believe, I have had enchiladas one time in my entire life. Vicky's recipe made me start thinking about trying them again. It was so long ago, I can't even remember why I didn't care for them.
    We had a productive stocking up week and I enjoyed sewing days.
    We are hibernating this weekend to avoid all of the thousands of people that have come to our city to view the solar eclipse.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Thank you! I have always cooked a lot of Italian, Greek, some Indian... not much Mexican! But I am learning. And we really like it! And the family is mad over these enchiladas and they freeze well so this all fits in well for us.
      I am glad you have been sewing! I am hearing a lot about some towns getting massive influxes of people! I hope all the visitors and well behaved and spend money in the towns. It is a very interesting eclipse and Monday seems like a big day in several ways.
      I hope you are having a good weekend. I am really appreciating my week... it is starting to sink in! With lots of love,

  2. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds, that is great news about the air conditioner and the floors Annabel , how wonderful that the air con could be fixed and so cheaply .
    My week has included :
    I saved about $35 on groceries and put $30 into savings so I will say a $30 saving.
    I had 2 hours of subsidised cleaning , saving $40 at least compared to if I used a private cleaning company.
    I made 4 cards , saving at least $ 10 .
    I made pies using my pie maker with leftovers for tea last night instead of getting pizza delivered, saving $25 approximately.

    I had a doctors appointment and was bulk billed, saving $60 .I also get free medication until January 1 st 2018 so this week I saved about $40 on medication.
    I received 2 meals from my parents , saving approximately $20 .
    I think that is it for this week Annabel. A total saving of about $225 .
    How sweet of Harper clapping furiously at the ballet video, does she have ballet lessons Anbabel ? Or is she still too young for that?. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend . With love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb,
      You have reminded me that I need to check our threshold re medications as it is possible we will go over it this year so I will want to take advantage of that. Having a pie maker is great! You would make sweet or savoury pies too! So many things make lovely pies. Most times if I made a chicken or beef casserole the left overs become pie filling. They are really nice.
      Well done on your savings! There is a ballet class nearby and they start at three. Harper is two and a half. But Lucy is going to take her to a lesson and see if she will watch or will actually join in. The teacher said if she will join in then she can go! This will be the cutest thing ever as she tries really hard and does the spinning around with her arms up and she points her toe. haha! I better get some photos of this! I hope you are having a good weekend! With lots of love,

  3. That's a great week Annabel! Just making your own yoghurt and Naan bread is a huge saving. I tried a lovely new yoghurt here called Farmhouse Gold, and it is delectable, BUT at $6.50 a 500ml tub, I'll just be trying to replicate the Peach flavour in my own yoghurt making exploits! Not so much a money saving week here, but you know, with Senior Formal and all the expense that entailed for my daughter and for us, although we splashed out a bit, we didn't feel guilty for a moment. After all, why else do we employ these money saving strategies, if not to insulate us against those times when a spend up is necessary. So good to hear your air con/heating is up and running again. A necessity no matter the time of year! Have a lovely weekend, Annabel. Mimi xxx

  4. Annabel everything is finally falling into place for you. It has taken a long time but the results should be worth it.
    We have had an extremely busy week. I got my dried sourdough, 'Esmerelda', up and running. I have just taken a loaf out of the oven and it smells amazing.
    Bluey has been fixing up various items, saving us several hundred dollars. One of the stabilizer legs on the caravan broke in our last week away. He was quoted $150 to replace it. Being Bluey he thought he may as well pull it apart and see if he could fix it. Turns out there was one little pin that needs replacing. The pin cost $5 and the leg is fixed. He also fixed the whipper snipper. I was all for taking it to the fix it man, but not Bluey. Turns out it just needed a new spark plug. Another saving.
    I re potted a crowded bromeliad plant. I now have 12 new potted broms. I checked out the same brom at the local nursery. These are $15 each. Big saving here. The garden is providing most of our veg each day. All our herbs are coming out of the garden.
    Bluey made up a big pot of soup from the garden produce. He made a delicious herb damper to go with it. We had this two nights in a row. Two meal size portions of the soup have been frozen.
    I worked on ways that I could have all the recipes I have written down in various notebooks organised together. I checked out index cards and boxes but at $25 I was thinking I could use what I already have. I printed off 4x6 recipe cards from JES site, wrote out the recipes and laminated them. Annabel suggested a photo album for storage. This have come together beautifully. Total cost $7.40 for the photo album and page tabs.
    It has been a great saving week here. Life is very good.

  5. Hi Annabelle, I am a long time reader of your wonderful blog and have gained much from reading.. thank you..
    I am a member of Bellini Addicts and they have many mixes here on their Facebook page. Kind regards Helen

    1. Dear Helen,
      Thank you so much! I am glad to meet you and know you are reading! I just went and found that group and I applied to join. Hopefully that will work and I will look at the blends you mention and maybe you wills see me there too! Today I found my spice cupboard! It was meant to be. So I can get myself much better set up. Many thanks, love

  6. Dear Annabel and bluebirds , lovely news for you Annabel re: the floors and the aircon system . The yummy looking pies and the sweet teacup and saucer look lovely.
    Loved hearing about Harper's clapping at the end of the ballet video just gorgeous .
    That lucky spice set find must have been waiting for you .
    My week has been quieter on the home front as I had a freak accident to my eye Monday and had 4 hospital visits since . Orders to rest while my eye heals, thankfully I'm told my eyesight will be okay it's just blurry for now .
    I did manage to retidy my pantry and some kitchen cupboards from last weekend and clear out some items for the opshop and for a friend .
    Have a lovely weekend everyone , love Maria xxx

    1. Maria, I am thankful to hear there will be no permanent damage! Praying your eye heals quickly and thoroughly!

    2. You have done amazing this week, given your accident! I hope everything heals well and quickly.

    3. Dear Maria, Oh no... there is nothing worse then something happening to our eyes. Apart from pain it is terrifying. I hope you are resting , seriously, and being very careful as you heal. I am so glad you might will be ok.
      When we empty everything out for the floors to come up it will mean I will be having the biggest kitchen cupboard clean out myself! But I cant wait! Please do rest and have a lovely weekend, with love

    4. Maria I hope that eye gets better soon. Do give yourself the healing time and take it easy.

    5. Thankyou bluebirds, Annabel, Jane,Kathy and Kathryn, for your kind thoughts and prayers , Ive been praying for myself a lot since Monday :-) So thankful my sight is not lost. It was a freak accident , I was gently shaking the cordial bottle (as it says to do) and started unscrewing the lid and next minute it had hit my eye on the inside part of the cornea with such force I was blinded for a bit , so glad hubby was home early.
      The eye specialist said he can see the imprint of the lid on my eye . The cordial exploded with great force spraying the ceiling walls lino carpet curtains. I was minding my 5 yr old grandson at the time as well. Angels were looking after me phew!
      I am taking it carefully but fortunately not in pain,I have drops to help with that,otherwise the daylight light hits like stabbing.
      Forgot to say I made two lots of stock too this week for the freezer , and made a nutritious soup full of vit A and C to help my eyes heal.
      Last night I cleaned out the teatowels and dishcloth drawer and corner odds and ends cupboard. Today Hubby vacuumed the living areas for me as Im not allowed to lift much. Enforced rest for me hehe.
      I am doing a lot less than usual though it may not sound it ;-) Love Maria xxx

    6. Maria get better soon and all I can say is ouch :( . You should ring up or email the cordial company about the incident and let them know that the bottle exploded after gently shaking too when you took the lid off.

      This could prevent this happening to someone else and help them amend their instructions on the bottle. I would also let them know you are under medical attention from the incident as well.

      In the meantime rest up as eyes do take a few weeks to heal properly.



    7. Oh dear, Maria!! Your poor eye!!
      My own eye is good proof of what good rest, slow days and time can do to allow the miracle of healing! (Citrus jam, too, with the skins!!) I'll be watching that you're taking care of your eye!!!!!
      Watch out for wild tobacco trees, birds, cordial lids, ....!!
      May you heal up well!!
      Warmest regards,
      Rachel Holt

    8. Dear Maria and Rachel,

      What is the world coming to when now citrus cordials and jams are attacking us :( .

      Perhaps we all need to wear safety goggles in the kitchen.

      You get better too Rachel that sounds like a nasty accident as well.


    9. Sewingcreations15-I will contact the company in the hope they will put some warning on their future products ,just thinking how to word it .I was just saying tonight might have to wear safety glasses in my kitchen!
      Rachel-Id forgotten about your poor eye apologies for that.So caught up with my own things this year, had a bout of things so far someone is trying to tell me something Im thinking.
      Thanks for reminding me bluebirds, I better pay attention or I will be in trouble here ;-)
      I looked up some cordial recipes and noticed a warning in one recipe about exploding lids and to make sure lids were good solid ones.
      So that has put me off making my own I think it will be good old sachet stuff from the supermarket.Its hubby's low sugar replacement for alcohol he has a fondness for. In 11 days we are going away for a week as planned so that will be rest for me.
      Take care Rachel yourself.
      Thanks again for kind thoughts ladies, Love Maria xxx

    10. Ha ha!! Sewingcreations15, you've got me laughing and laughing!!
      You see, my eye injury was a year ago, and I was eating the citrus jam as a medicine!! I simply wanted to encourage Maria to rest for a good recovery! It can be funny when there is something missing in communication!! We need to keep reminding Maria to rest up, Nurse!!
      Rachel Holt

  7. Hi Annabel and beautiful Bluebirds :) .

    I am so glad you have sorted through the problems of replacing the kitchen floor and the air conditioner won't need replacing and cost so little to repair always pays to get another opinion I have found. Your new tea cup is just so elegant and pretty :) .

    We had another week like yourself where everything has been happening and we have been all over the place literally. We still have pneumonia here and went to the doctor to have another checkup, x-rays and have more antibiotics and are starting to feel better.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $720.87 this week.

    We saved money by -

    Purchases -
    - Bought a new electric toothbrush in a good brand on super special for $19.99 saving a huge $27.01 on usual prices.
    - Purchased 4 x 3kg bags of navel oranges saving $4.04 on usual prices.

    In the kitchen -
    - Juiced and froze 2.7lts of orange juice saving 0.93c over purchasing it and saved the zest and froze it also for cakes, icings and fruit breads .
    - Juiced and zested 20 organic lemons given to us by friends saving $35 over purchasing them. We then froze the juice and the zest for use in cooking.
    - Made a whole orange cake and iced it with butter icing and instead of milk used orange juice saving $2.22 over purchasing it.

    Grocery stockpiling/food storage savings -
    - Today we earned 22.22% interest on our 13 x 500g butters in the freezer as the prices just went up again from $3.42 to $4.18 each in Woolworths. We are going to buy a box of butter tomorrow to increase our butter stockpile from Aldi and hopefully beat the price rises there.

    Is anyone else noticing the price of grocery basics going through the roof in price ?.

    Medical -
    - Saved $339.80 getting 2 chest x-rays that were bulk billed.

    Electricity savings -
    - Saved $4.84 in electricity by using our solar lanterns each night to light our home, by boiling water on the slow combustion stove for 2 days this week, and a new one by only turning on our electric hot water system on every second day. The water stays hot in there for that time :) without it being turned on.

    Fuel savings -
    - Saving $8.35 in fuel costs by combining our RACQ gift card 5% off and a 4c per litre discount using our Woolworths everyday rewards card.

    Have a wonderful week everyone :)


    1. Dairy and meat are getting more and more expensive here, too. Our Aldi still has good prices on baking supplies and fresh fruit and vegetables, and I am going to take a page out of your book and check butter prices this weekend.

    2. Hi Kathy I am sorry to hear prices are going up for you as well :( . We went to Aldi today and their butter is now $4.39 per 500g as well.

      If you are located in Australia we buy grocery gift cards from our roadside assistance club being RACQ on their website at 5% off the face value price. They come in $100 and above amounts and take 10 or so days to arrive via registered mail. We then use these at Woolworths for our groceries which takes 5% off the price of our groceries which brings the price for butter down to $4.18 for us making it cheaper than Aldi. Thought I would give you the heads up.

      Aldi are cheaper in our area on nuts such as Macadamias, almonds, cashew nuts and much nicer sultanas too. For bulk sugars and things we buy raw sugar and white sugar in the large 3kg packs from Woolworths and find they are cheaper than Aldi usually and with our gift card discount too.

      I hope this helps you and others on our hunt to find cheaper prices too :). We don't have a Coles here in our small country town as they are renovating our shopping centre and it will come back later in the year, so I am not aware of their prices in comparison.


    3. Dear Sewingcreations, I am sorry you have been so sick! You really have to be careful and rest and recover this is so nasty. You have done very well with savings even in this time.
      I also need to juice and zest a lot of lemons. I see my friend next week and I know I will have more lemons! I think I need to juice out thirty. It will go on my list for tomorrow!
      It was wonderful you could get those x rays bulk billed!
      Your butter has gone up even more than ours! I read it is in shortage in Europe and now going up so much in Aust. and US as well. Aldi are good for nuts plus friend fruits I agree, way cheaper!
      I hope you are both feeling much better! With lots of love

    4. Dear Annabel and thank you for your kind thoughts :) .

      It turns out that the aged care facility that I visit a friend in has had an epidemic of bacterial pneumonia and after I felt well from the last bout, or so I thought, I went and saw my friend so may have well been reinfected :( . My poor elderly friend is also now in quarantine too with the same thing.

      We are using the down time to our advantage and doing little jobs like cleaning out the pantries and reorganising things in there and getting rid of out of date items, which are very few. DH has also made out a new perpetual shopping list for us that we can write the numbers required on there of used items in the house with permanent ink and I can then just make our shopping list off that.

      I forgot to mention too that when we both thought we were on the mend we purchased another load of horse manure and spread that on a large garden bed and DH plowed it in saving $288.80 over purchasing bags which is included in the Vicky challenge total.

      Blessed that we have 2 doctors as close friends, who are also our personal doctors, who bulk bill us for everything. It saves so much in our budget as we are on pensions, and it is rare in our area anyway that any doctors bulk bill.


  8. Dear Annabel,

    What a great week you had, so much busyness in your household.

    So glad to hear you didn't have to buy a new air-conditioner and that the old one could be fixed quite cheaply, that saving was huge.

    I always grab jars from the op shops if they are cheap enough. I have the lady that volunteers in the op shop saving me some of her big coffee jars for me.

    I haven't kept track of my savings very well this week, but I think the biggest saving for me was staying away from the grocery stores. I have been using what I have on hand.

    I made yoghurt, sourdough bread and kombucha.

    Picked tomatoes, baby spinach and kale from my garden.

    And of course some eggs from my girls.

    I baked a couple of Wendy's orange cakes using up some gifted oranges. I have the skins brewing in vinegar on my windowsill.

    Squeezed oranges and mandarins for breakfast juice.

    We bought two huge rectangle bales of pea straw for mulching around about the garden. This was cheaper than buying smaller ones all the time.

    Had some pigeon manure given to us for free.

    Also a big bag of lemons from a friend.

    Have a lovely week,

    Love from Tania xx

    1. Hi Tania, I love those huge bales of straw for mulching. Since moving here my garden has "devoured" 2 of those big bales of lentil straw,a big bale of pea straw and many small bales of pea straw. You are so right about the price saving by getting the big ones AND the garden says such a loud "thank-you." I just have to be on the ball this year and get the lentil straw as soon as it is available. It is very popular! The results of all the soil improving is quite amazing. Working on establishing a herb garden will more of the "unusual" herbs. fun doing the research! Cheers Jo

    2. Dear Tania,
      I know you would appreciate the need for an air conditioner in SA! Well for you even more than here!
      The big hay bales are fantastic! I did have one once from my brother. It was enormous! This will be very good. All your cooking and produce is a huge saving but also so much healthier! Thanks so much for sharing your week! With love Annabelxxx

    3. Dear Jo,
      All of that mulch would be making a world of difference to your garden. I am loving the sound of your herb garden! Comfrey is a really good thing to grow (although not really unusual..) because it makes wonderful liquid fertiliser for the garden and I am trying to get established in that... my Pa always soaked it and poured this tea on his own garden with great results. It is feeling a bit spring like today so I am thinking about my herb garden also! With love

    4. Hi Jo,

      I am hoping for a really good result with all the mulch I will be putting around. The fruit trees will love it especially. I lost most of my citrus fruit last season because of one very hot day and they all fell off, so to ensure that doesn't happen again I will be mulching, mulching, mulching!

      On top of the soil, I am laying down some cow manure, followed by cardboard I have rounded up from the local electrical store, topped with pea straw. As Annabel mentioned, comfrey is a great asset plant for the garden and I have some ready to go in as soon as I get everything mulched.

      So good to hear of your success with lentil straw, and good luck with your herb garden :)


    5. Hi Tania and Annabel, Thanks for the tip about comfrey. I know someone who has it growing under all her fruit trees. It has a very deep tap root.. so I was told. I put quite a bit of cardboard in my compost bins and it breaks down really well. I used big pieces in the bottom of my raised beds when I set them up. At our old place I had unlimited access to cow manure.. imagine missing cow manure! But I do!! LOVE mulch, compost and "playing in the dirt!" Cheers Jo

  9. RE: Your air conditioner! I just went back and caught up on the last post. I'm so glad for you.

    I took one of those silly facebook tests, this one being how cranky you are. It said.....I'm am triggered by "People who take advantage of others".

    Not kidding! I can....not stand repair people who try to make an extra buck at the expense of others like that. While I was alone in this house AND when I was married (to a man who was not mechanical). I learned that I had to question everything. It helps once you find repair guys that you can trust. I'm not only again dealing with my house alone, but my mother and her house as well.

    So glad the fix was easy on your wallet! It buys you some time to research your next move.

    Have a great day!

    1. Thank you for your comment recently about the air conditioner... I had to go back and find it to tell you what happened!
      I questione everything medically... I think I will have to adopt that with everything!
      Thank you so much! With love

  10. Great news for you on the AC unit. And you are blessed with an honest repairman! I haven't been writing down my savings, so just off the top of my head I'd have to claim all the cucumbers we are getting from our garden. We give some to our next door neighbor and we take buckets of them to our church to share. So, I guess we are saving others money! I also found jars at the local thrift store as I have been making jelly from my husband's grapes. Lots of jars filled with jelly now and I have also given away a few. It's nice when a person can share from their bounty. I also found a huge glass jar which holds my entire container (1.19 kg) of quick oats. I tucked in a few bay leaves to keep bugs at bay ;) I suppose my continual summer savings is always cutting our grass myself. That is at least $40 per week from the end of May and June through September/October. Besides, I do a better job with weeding, raking, and taking care of flowers! Overall, I suppose the best way I save money is by not being in stores that tempt me to spend, also cooking meals at home and my husband taking leftovers for lunch at work, and always cutting his hair. When I finish cutting his hair, I say, "That will be $15..." but he never pays me! (oh well, he pays me in other ways.)

    1. Dear Joy,
      Good on you for cutting the grass! These regular tasks would be very expensive if we had to pay someone. I was amazed to find out that around here the going rate for a mans hair cut is $45! It seems ridiculous but I checked the three closest places! Speaking off...that should go on next weeks list!
      Sending lunches is a huge saver also. And probably healthier and nicer! All your jars of jelly sound lovely! I am saving jars like mad towards our own summer... I just have to hope to find new sources of fruit as most of my trees from previous summers were all knocked down by their owners. Its a bit heartbreaking. That includes three big peach trees. So I have to hope to find alternatives! Many thanks Joy! With love

  11. Hi everyone,

    Annabel, your pies are so beautiful! I love the pastry roses.

    This week's efforts, mostly cooking:

    Lots of cooking: I made chicken stock in the crockpot and used it to make batches of homemade chicken soup and to cook brown rice, roasted some chicken breasts for use in later meals, used the crockpot to make a big roast and potatoes without heating up the house, baked 2 loaves of strawberry bread, and made a pan of peanut butter bars for treats this week. It amazes me how much one avoids spending by cooking and eating at home - for example, a restaurant in our town has a pot roast plate for $17.95. The size of roast I cooked provides 8 servings, and would have been ~$145 out - and more, actually, since there would also be beverages and tip. Bar cookies are around $2 at the bakery, so $18 for a pan of 9.

    Used my freezer! I trimmed the bruised bits off of some delicious nectarines, sliced them up, and froze them for later use in a fruit crip. Some beef broth I had made and frozen was thawed to make a yummy noodle dish. I also froze leftover cooked pasta (to put in soup later) and one of the quick breads.

    All work lunches and snacks were packed and brought from home. The guys in my husband's department go out every day, and I think their lunches are around $15, so $75 for each of us = $150 saved for the week.

    A very useful find at the thrift store - several new packages of pretty notecards, notepads, post-its, and office supplies, together in a bag for $4.99. One of the sets features beautiful illustrations by Susan Branch and retails for $16.95! I estimate $60 if we had purchased everything retail.

    We enjoyed two new-to-us movies at home by checking them out of our library. Movies are $16 for the matinee and then it is $10.50 for popcorn and soda, $53 saved for the two.

    Repotted my lemon mint, planted my second celery bottom in the garden, and weeded the raised bed in preparation for fall planting.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend,

    1. Woo Hoo Kathy! You are doing really good!

    2. Dear Kathy, Your cooking sounds amazing! You are exactly right... imagine the cost to eat all this out! A shop near us has Moussaka and Lasagna serves to take away. A sign said $15. I wondered if this was $15 for a tray or for a serve? The other day my niece went down there and got herself some. It was for one serve and one small serve at that! Since I get 8 large serves from a tray of lasagne mine would be $120 per tray! This blows my mind! haha! So this is the power of cooking!
      Your lunches savings are also fantastic! I am convinced some people make no profit from working! And I love the find of the notecards etc!
      Kathy that really was a very good week, you should be proud! With love

  12. Dear Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds,
    Thank you again for the encouraging post and comments. I was so happy to read that your AC could be repaired and at a reasonable cost! Your baking looks delicious! Such a cute story about Harper! We usually make green chili enchiladas, but after seeing your enchiladas, I am thinking of searching online for a recipe for that or just experimenting on my own. I made a double batch of chicken spaghetti. That made 2 meals, plus I froze another meal and 6 individual meals. When we stopped for dinner I inquired about a senior discount saving 10%, plus used coupons from taking surveys to get two free bowls of ice cream. "Rescued" a torn sheet that was going to be trashed. It is 100% Egyptian cotton in a pretty purple color. I believe I can get enough fabric for several rice bags and possibly a pillowcase. Found a coupon for buy one/get one free with the clearanced pet food which saved $12.99. Bought 5 packages of good quality sliced cheese for $.99 each. Completed surveys to go toward gas discounts, enter contests, etc. We used a couple of those survey codes to get extra entrees at a Chinese restaurant we enjoy, making it possible to take home enough for another meal for both of us. Saved 10% on the cost of an expensive dental procedure for my husband. We had planned to put it on a credit card to get points and immediately pay it off. My husband found some shorts he needed online for a good price. I added a code to get a free bag of trail mix. I've started working on organizing photos again to preserve them and make them more easily viewed. I'm also adding some journaling so our kids and grandchildren will know more about them. Since it is almost time to start fall gardening, I have been making plans for that. Neighbors invited us to visit them at their cabin in the cool mountains. We gladly accepted and are looking forward to a nice visit and cool weather. I've started a list and bag of things to take along.
    Wishing you all a lovely weekend!
    Elaine from Arizona, USA

    1. Dear Elaine, I would say my enchiladas are mild compared to yours but we are a bit chicken that way! But it is lovely trying new recipes.
      All your savings must have really added up to a lot. You had a good variety! I really think it is a very good idea with the photos. I think a whole generations is going to end up with no family photos, baby photos etc as they are on memory sticks and "in the cloud" so it is anyones guess what will happen to them. I love that you are adding details and memories! It is all time consuming but I think really important. And lovely! I am still making albums plus framing photos and making sure I print all really precious ones. Almost everyone I know has lost precious photos forever.
      Have a wonderful time in the mountains! That sounds so nice! With love,

  13. Firstly, I want to tell Maria that I am sorry to hear about her eye injury and I hope it heals well and quickly!

    Annabel, I am so glad that things are falling into place for you after some rather rough spots over the last while! I cannot wait to see your floor when it's all installed and hear about your adventures as you reorganize your kitchen after the chaos! It is also doubly exciting to hear that your AC/heating is not down and out and you'll enjoy several more years before you have to replace it!

    I love your yogurt maker and I'm going to do some research and look for something like yours to try my hand at making my own.

    We have been working for the last several weeks on enclosing our breezeway from our house to our garage. We are doing the work ourselves and my middle brother has come out twice from Kansas to help. We are saving lots of money by being DIYers! We have decided to acid wash the concrete in the room as the concrete slopes for water runoff purposes and because of this our new door would not open all of the way. Tile was going to be $450 and now it can be done much more quickly and for 1/3 the price! We are looking for someone to stucco the top half of the two exterior walls as we have no experience in that, but our home has stacked stone on the bottom thirds of the exterior walls and we will be doing this ourselves.

    We are staying close to home this weekend as we are along the direct line of Monday's eclipse. There were already road signs along the interstates this morning, warning of extra traffic. Youngest is heading back to college and her city is smack dab on the line for the best viewing of the eclipse so her area is sure to be deluged with throngs of people. She has decided to go back to her apartment on Saturday to avoid the traffic.

    I did buy two 100+ year old oak church pews to put in my new room. Had to drive nearly 5 hours round trip but paid only $80 for both plus $60 for my daughter's boyfriend's truck fuel. This was a savings of at least $250 as everything I saw around my area was very plain and these are quite ornate on the ends and cost anywhere from $250-500! Will send photos if you're interested in seeing them. They are all polished up and look gorgeous!


    1. Dear Jeanette, thankyou so much for thinking of me! I hope your daughter has a smooth drive back avoiding the eclipse traffic. Your church pew buys sound beautiful with the ornate ends. With love Maria xxx

    2. Dear Jeanette, It sounds like your area will have a huge inundation of people and I guess it would have well and truly started now and be a lot tomorrow.
      The yoghurt maker I have is an EasiYo Maker. You can also use a thermo is you can get one that is large enough to hold a big jar. It is much the same thing. The recipe is on The Cheapskates Club and how Cath does it which is the easiest way ever! Well it works! I am churning it out in industrial quantities! :) I would love to see the church pews! That was quite an adventure getting them! I love old things so they will appeal to me. thank you for your kind message to Maria too! With love, ps if you send photos please tell me about Monday and the eclipse!

  14. I just love your blog, Annabel, and I'm so glad the air conditioner worked without being replaced. It's a shame that some repair men are not reputable. Also, I hope and pray that your flooring paperwork goes through.
    Such inspiring savings from you and your followers. I just started making our yoghurt, too, and I don't use a yoghurt maker, but will consider it for savings on heating costs.
    My husband and I decided to really start saving for a move we may be making. One way we spend money is going to the local farmer's market weekly for vegetables and bread items. I grew tomatoes this year, and bought a brand new bread machine at a resale shop for $15. I started making my own bagels , using the dough cycle like Laine. My very picky husband loves them, saying they are much better than the stand at market! That made me smile. Also, the bread machine does all the kneading. I also made Abbie's Cinnamon Buns from the archive st Laine's site, and they were so good, I may never make them again, as I ate two of them in one day! Because of not going to market, we're saving a lot of money a week, and actually eating bettter, as I stocked up on veggies at another market at a savings.
    I must try Vicky's recipe.
    Thanks so much for all these ideas and inspiration. Those meat pies look wonderful!

    1. Dear Meg, It makes me smile so much that you use Laines's recipes! All of these things are such big savings! Well done on the yoghurt! I have a post coming up about so many things we can make with yoghurt. Basically it can be used in place of buttermilk and sour cream as well. So there are so many recipes we can suddenly make so cheaply. I think it is amazing you are making bagels! Well done! It is lovely hearing what you are doing and it will all amount to so much and hopefully help you with your move. With love

  15. I've had a decent week of savings. I was amused by my daughter this afternoon texting me photos and prices of her 'new' living room furnishings. She spent under 300 and has her lounge redone complete to curtains and decorations. I wonder where she gets that from? lol So happy to hear of your savings this week on AC and flooring!

    1. Dear Terri,
      It sounds like you have taught your daughter well! I love this when they seem to be "getting it" and also when they are old enough to ask questions and advice and you can see they re really thinking! Joy!
      Thank you Terri, I am so glad you also had a good week of savings! With lots of love,

  16. Annabel what a wonderful thing about the air conditioner! It is always so great when things end up costing way less than what we expect. And soon all of your waiting patiently will be paying off and you will have lovely new floors.
    It was a good week here mostly due to Rick selling a large item this week at $3K, but we have been harvesting beans, tomatoes, cabbages and corn from the garden and we have either been eating them or I have been canning so a good $100 worth there. Through a promotional gift card and product tests, samples and coupons I got a free candle, pull ups, dog food, gel pens, licorice and hand sanitizer- $50, sold 3 dozen eggs-$6 I have been hanging out the wash on nice days and used water from the rain tanks and from rinsing vegetables to water the garden. All meals and lunches are made at home and I am trying to earn as many gift cards as I can so I can do a big stock up trip. Winter may be bad and if so I won't be leaving the house!
    And I want to compliment all of the ladies on their savings! Good job everyone!

    1. Dear Vicky, Thanks! Now its the weekend I am able to de stress a bit from being worried. I have to absorb information!
      Rick did so well with that trailer! This was huge! So were all the free items and harvested veggies. It all adds up to such a lot.
      I am planning for summer while you are planning for winter! Both involve a lot of time inside for us. Have a good weekend! With love,

  17. Dear Annabel,
    I was so happy to read about the air conditioner and heating unit and that the floors will soon be installed. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the new kitchen :)

    This week has been a whirlwind of catching up with things around the house and garden activities, as well as putting things up for the winter.

    We're harvesting lots of tomatoes now, green beans, cucumbers, and okra from the garden. What we're not eating I've been dehydrating, and canning. Also 8 more quarts of bone broth got made and canned. Bone broth in the markets are $7 for 16 ounces so making my own and canning it is a massive savings. I found a really good price on cauliflower at the farm market and grated 7 quarts for cauli rice and put it in the freezer, canned 4 pints of tomato sauce, froze 2 quarts of creamy cauliflower soup, made 2 quarts of yogurt, and finished an afghan that I'd been working on for the gift closet. All meals were eaten at home and I've been trying many new recipes which keeps it interesting. Wishing everyone a good weekend

    1. Dear Cookie,
      For years no one even talked about bone broth and now we also have it in stores and its quite expensive. Suddenly the goodness of it is acknowledged as a health food. Yet it is basically free to make!
      Your harvest sounds wonderful! I am glad you are able to get on and use it all and preserve the rest, you will be so glad of it.
      Have a lovely weekend to you too! With love,

    2. HI Cookie,
      What an amazing harvest. How do you use the okra? I grew some last summer and was disappointed! I probably did not cook it correctly! I do not like to give up on things too quickly so will grow it again this year and try some other ways of cooking it. Many thanks Jo

  18. Oh no Maria, that must have been painful and scary. I hope you recover quickly.

    I have felt really disorganised and rushed this week, I need to get back to basics of meal planning and writing up my week on Sunday night so I can see what's coming up. I used to have assigned baking days and cleaning schedules etc, but lately I've just been doing things when they come up, and it's not working very well. So I need to really focus on writing down how I want my week to look and then put it into practice.

    I made more of the raisin bread loaves, they were gone in half a day! Was a very nice Sunday morning breakfast:)

    Have a good week

    1. Dear Jen, I really know what you are talking about. I also usually plan on Sundays. If I do the week goes so much better and if I have lists and goals I get much more done. I think its true that one hour planning can save four. We also love the raisin bread! Its probably my favourite thing to make with the starter. I hope this week runs smoother for you. Everyday sit down with a hot drink and pen and paper... these few minutes can really gather your thoughts and give direction. I hope you are going well with the quilt! With love

  19. I love the beautiful, helpful, affirming community you have built here Annabel! Such positive, sweet commenters you have!

    Congratulations on the good AC and flooring news! What a relief!

    I, too, cook a lot of Laine's recipes: flour tortillas, Uncle Raymond's Rolls and refried beans. Now if only I could find all of her recipes that I printed out. I haven't seen that binder since our last move 3 years ago.

    Praying for Maria's eye and all who are in need of comfort, health and provision.

    1. Dear Cheri, Thank you so much, I am very lucky. You could ask any question and the ladies would offer all the help they could they are just wonderful.
      I hope you find that recipe binder! Just checking that you know the recipes are still there so you can re print or re copy. So many of us use Laines recipes as it turns out!
      Thank you for thinking of Maria also. With love

  20. The china and baking is lovely. I love popping in here, esp. when the well is dry in the creativity dept.

    Thanks for sharing as always.
    Blessings, Leslie


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