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 24 August 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 25th August, 2017.

This has been another whirlwind week but a good one!  I keep a note book on my fridge and I jot down savings quickly there, or I forget.  This is the longest list I ever made!

But first.... Kelsey is right slap bang in the path of Hurricane Harvey.  I saw this last night and thought it is heading towards her and it looks a shocker.  Now I have heard from her this morning.  She says yes they are right in the way and it is coming in Friday afternoon or so.  She says she has followed us on our preparedness steps and is so glad she did! But she is home with a small baby so this makes it even more worrying.  Please pray for her family and everyone in Texas.

Many of my savings this week came from one of my further afield shopping trips.  I headed south to see Hilde as it had been her birthday. Of course we went op shopping and to the discount grocery store and the fruit and vegetable market.

Some of my finds were a huge book of roses which I will use for card making and note book covers and so on...

It has pages and pages of gorgeous images.

And a pantry book full of beautiful pictures and amazing information so I spent $2 on that...

I also found a lovely top and a cardigan, jars for my herbs, a pasta cutter gadget and a beautiful big basket for $3.  Very soft flannelette pieces in baby prints. One is covered in little pink lambs. This will become little hankies for Harper and Scarlett.  Also a large thermo for $3.

At the discount grocery shop I came out with an eight kilo pice of beef!  (something like 17 lbs I think)  I had seen these bulk pieces there before and I compared around and the meat was one third even of Aldi prices.  I also got 4 kilos of potatoes for 50c a kilo (cheapest I have seen) and tomatoes as well.  
Of course coming home from Hilde's I also had lemons and she had potted up some herbs for me so I have marjoram, mint and oregano new little plants. 
It was a fantastic day!  Andy's eyes nearly fell out of his head when he saw the beef and he carried it in for me.  
I have to say this is just like old times when I did day trips in the country to regional towns to shop and save.  It is so worth it.  Very often I notice the first one or two items have covered my fuel costs.  The rest is all savings.
I also found that the fruit and veggie shops there sell cases so I hope next time to get a whole case of tomatoes and be able to make pasta sauce etc.

At home I pretended to be a butcher and cut that beef rump into steaks and casserole meat.   So now it is portioned out.  And steak is for dinner tonight!

I made a Lemon Yoghurt Cake.  Each week I am trying something different using yoghurt.  Sooner or later this will be a post as if you start making your own yoghurt you will be amazed how much money it saves.  This was a really nice cake.

Also I made baby food with a lamb shank and veggies,  a corned beef in the slow cooker,  baked apples as I had apples that needed using up. These just go into the slow cooker also.  I made peanut butter biscuits for Harper.  She is mad on peanut butter and these have one cup of pb, half a cup of sugar and one egg. Thats it.  The recipe said a cup of sugar and I just halved it. 

She loved them!  When she sees the tin she says "More bisc" 😊

I juiced lemons and as my ice cube trays are all full this time I did a bottle of juice to freeze.  

The jars are from my op shop day.

On the side of the road I found a large potted Agave plant.  Chloe needs plants for her garden so she will get that.

I cut Andy's hair.  Cut the rug as we say.

Lucy gave me some fabric which is perfect to make next years hot packs.  It is a very thick plush velour. 

I picked big bunches pf parsley which is hanging upside down to dry.  Tonight I am picking more herbs to dry.

And I found my herbs and spices cabinet!  It was in a second hand store.  I have a space that is 20 x 20 inches and any height.    I found this...

The top already has little shelves that wrap around and Andy will add some more for me...

These will suit my little herb jars!  Then there is a slide in, slide out, work space in the middle (where I can mix up my mixes and recipes) and the bottom has larger shelves...

It was a huge bargain and they still gave ma a discount for cash.   Of course next time you see it there will be pretty linings and it will looking a lot different (and cleaned up!)  but how perfect and suitable and it fits my space like it was custom made! 

I am still adding up my Vicky Challenge but it has been a great week of savings.

I hope you also had a very good week.  How did you save, get ahead, build up your home?  
Have a wonderful weekend.   I am getting in early for spring and re doing my herb pots with fresh soil and moving some that need a new spot to grow.  

On Monday we have the start of a series on menu planning with Laine. xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,
    You had a wonderful week of savings. I love the cabinet - what a fantastic find. I admire all you have done this week.
    I had a marvelous day of sewing with my grand daughter one day this past week. Other than that I managed to do some dehydrating.
    Sadly, I need to get much more done, but have been in flare-up, so not much progress.
    Have a blessed weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Your sewing day sounds lovely! So does the dehydrating. I also have some herb bunches air drying inside as I picked a lot of herbs.
      You still did well even though not well. Have a restful weekend Glenda! I cant wait to get my spice cabinet made over and set up! With love

  2. Oh Annabel I am in love with that cabinet. I can feel the green eyed monster of envy trying to worm its way into my psyche.
    We have had quite a busy week here. The microwave door got jammed and I just couldn't release it. Bluey to the rescue, and the door now works better than when it was new, several years ago. Not having to buy a new microwave or have it repaired is a huge saving.
    I bought a new dehydrator. It was the only one left and the shop floor model. I was offered $60 off the asking price, if I took this one. Happy days. I have dehydrated bananas(yummy), parsley, oregano, onions and tomatoes so far. Love it.
    I tried a new method for colouring soap. I didn't achieve the outcome I was looking for but did end up with some stunning soap. I intend on using this as gifts for my male relatives for Christmas. I checked out the cost of a bar of soap at the markets, $8/bar. I ended up with 16 bars, huge savings.
    There has been much making and experimenting with sourdough. I made my first lot of flatbread and these were a hit. None made it into the freezer as I had planned.
    Sweet potatoes(orange kumera), silverbeet, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes and lemons have been harvested. All the herbs used have come out of the garden. The chillies ended up as 8 jars of sweet chilli jam. Two jars have already been eaten so I guess it must good.
    Katie made a dozen chocolate lava muffins. Oh my goodness they were good. She got the recipe online. I will have to find the site and write this one down. I have no idea how much these would cost in a restaurant but I imagine they wouldn't be cheap.
    I am currently spring cleaning room by room and cupboard by cupboard. I'm about half way through the house. I'm so glad I don't live in a big house.
    Life is good and even a bit sparkly clean.

    1. Dear Jane,
      I felt the chances of finding a cabinet that fits this space exactly, would work as a spice cabinet etc were slim! Oh... I should mention... I did see a cabinet that I loved. It was in a city store and I saw it online. It was $1400! And I pretty much drooled over that haha. But anyway I hung on and here was this cabinet that really seems custom made for what I want. By the time Im finished with it I will love it just as much as the expensive one!
      The dehydrator sounds so good! With all the fruit and produce you get plus with your humidity I think this is a great investment!
      The soap looks good and it has time to harden before Christmas too. Good timing. Flat bread are great. I am going to try tortillas. The Naan is so yummy. each new thing we learn is another big saver
      Please let us know the recipe for the chic lava muffins. These could be a really fancy desert! Your spring cleaning is impressive! I figure that as I have to empty all the cupboards in the long, dining and kitchen and they all get moved and then moved back onto a new floor... this will all constitute spring cleaning at the same time. I am quite looking forward to it! Fresh and clean and organised is a good feeling. Have a really good weekend! With love

  3. You have had a very profitable week, Annabel. I wouldn't be able to fit that much meat into the freezer though as it isn't big enough unfortunately. I can't wait to see what you do to pretty up that spice cupboard. I am sure you will use something 'pink' :-)

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, You guess right as I have lining for the cupboard shelves and it is white with pink rose buds!
      I am short on freezer room mostly but luckily I have access to Mums freezer one street away. I cut up the meat and about two kilos went into the crockpot.... then 2 steaks in the fridge. The rest was portioned and frozen. Then I made dinner plus pies from the crockpot meat and I ran one large and two small pies over to Mums freezer as well! So I am very lucky to have this. At times it has been such a help.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  4. That cabinet is gorgeous :) You sure did have a very busy week. This week so far (it's not over for me yet!) I've managed to spend the day with Wendy and Carol and made some cards for my stock, baked four loaves of bread, found a crystal ring stand at the op shop for $2 (another op shop wanted $6 for the same thing!), another Moccona jar for 20c (my bulk spices are slowly being transferred to Moccona jars) and a pair of brand new with labels and tags still attached black dress trousers for Thomas, just perfect for his interview on Tuesday, for the grand sum of $4. Best of all they fit perfectly, I don't even need to adjust the length. I've also made two pavlovas for a dinner we're going to on Saturday night. I'll be reimbursed the cost of buying them,$40, and they've cost $14 to make so I'll make a nice profit that will boost the slush fund :) Goodness when I look at all that it's been a busy but very profitable week. Have a lovely weekend, love, Cath.

    1. Dear Cath, You had a very good week! I hope your son has a very good interview! What a bargain the dress pants were! And I love your way of building up the slush fund. I did a post on A Working Pantry Classroom and I explained how you and Wendy do a slush fund. Everyone loved this. So every time I add to my slush fund I think of you. I had a couple of times I added to it this week. It is quite healthy right now!
      Your card making day sounds just lovely. Fun and productive at the same time!
      Have a good weekend. I might get working on my cabinet! With love

  5. Thinking of Kelsey and those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. Talking with DD on Skype the other day (she lives in the Caribbean) and she was saying the whole region is really concerned about the coming hurricane season given the weather patterns around South Africa - apparently this is an indicator.

    Great savings, Annabel. I always marvel at your finds and your ability to 'see' the possibilities.

    The way fruit, veg and meat prices keep going up here in Sydney, it will soon be worth flying to S.A! Had a 'no spend' week here, so I guess that's my savings for this week.

    Have a great weekend,

    1. Janine, I read the same thing about the hurricane season. It seems that an 80 degree water temp is part of it and I know they start developing off the southern west coast of Africa. So they have many miles and space to gather strength. The power of weather never fails to amaze me.

    2. Dear Janine,
      That is very interesting about the weather patterns. I didnt know that.
      As it is this storm is looking dreadful and Kelsey is right in the path. I have felt the same way with prices here. The prices I mention are absolute bargains and a fraction of "normal" around here. I follow The Cheapskates Club on FB and Cath posts regular prices she gets in Vic. They are a fraction of what I see! Then Lynette told me some QLD specials she got and I was amazed. So I have concluded there are the normal prices and there are the further afield, market, special stores, cheap stores prices and these are another thing altogether. Supermarkets just aren't cheap anymore is my conclusion so far. I am only having to travel half an hour to change everything.... dramatically. This was at first a big surprise to me. And WHERE I am finding these better prices is a surprise too. One place is a cheap grocery store called Rite Price. It is kind of a clearance store. I expected dented cans and expired items. But it turns out they have great quality meat plus frozen stuff. Another is a veggie store. It turns out they have bulk cheese... so it is a big learning curve. But quite exciting. Ask around to everyone where are they finding the best prices.... it could be Asian supermarkets, these kind of reject stores... I hope you find some.
      Thanks so much Janine! Have a lovely weekend! With love

  6. I am really looking forward to next week's writing on menu planning. This year food spending is about equal to last year so my new frugal habits have plateaued out and I need a new way to reduce spending. Enjoy your blog immensely, thank you!

    1. Dear Hilogene,
      Thank you! I am working on it. Following Laine on this has been really helping our own budget since food has gone up so much. I think it is a combination of menu planning, shopping more shops and further afield and also making more things i.e. my yoghurt.... these have added together for quite a difference. So I really hope you will find it helpful and we can all put our heads together on this! With love

  7. Hi Annabel and lovely bluebirds :) .

    I love your spice rack it is lovely, is it walnut solid wood or a veneer ?, either way it is gorgeous. Good on you for finding meat so cheaply and finding such wonderful books so cheaply too.

    Here is how we saved money and feathered our nest this week -

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 1.5lts more orange juice from our oranges purchased on special saving 0.93c over purchasing the juice in the shops.
    - Made a half batch of brownie mix saving $10.72 over purchasing the equivalent amount in commercial mixes from the supermarket.
    - Made 1 batch of choc chip walnut brownies from our mix saving $19.16 over buying the equivalent amount in the shops premade.
    - Made 1.85lts of orange juice cordial with the juice from our oranges purchased on special and pantry items saving $3.39 over purchasing it.

    Hmm difficult to price on cordials as there is none on the market that does not have reconstituted juice in it where where as ours has fresh squeezed juice in it and no preservatives either.

    - Made all of our meals and bread from scratch.
    - Roasted a whole family sized 2.5kg chicken purchased on special for $3kg and had one roast chicken meal with roasted vegetables from our gardens and portioned off the rest of the chicken into 3 more meal sized portions for the freezer for the two of us. That is only $1.87 for each meal in meat for the 2 of us :).

    Financial -
    - We saved a substantial amount for saving for our home with cash from DH's tax refund cheque and our pays bringing us to 21.64% of the way there. This includes buying the land, having the house built with verandas, the garage built, septic system put in and a new ute we will need when we move out of town :) .

    Earnings -
    - Made around $20 from selling saved seeds from our gardens on the internet.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased our grocery gift cards from our roadside assist club with 5% off face value saving $10 off next months grocery purchases.
    - Purchased 100 stainless steel pegs on the Ebay from my earning from selling garden seeds for $8.61 saving $28.82 over purchasing them in other shops locally.
    - Bought 10 x 10lt food grade storage buckets on Ebay to increase our storage of raw cooking ingredients saving $10.72 over purchasing them locally even with paying postage !.

    Electricity savings -
    We are only turning on our electric hot water system at the power box when we need it and have found that it stays hot for 3 days without being turned on :) .
    - This week we had it on for only 25.5hrs and turned off for 142.5hrs saving $6.41 in power from my estimates.
    - Used our solar lanterns each night rather than turning on the mains powered lights saving $2.50 this week.

    Water savings -
    - Supplement watered our newly planted seeds in the vegetable gardens with rainwater from our tanks rather than using town water.
    - Used vegetable steaming and washing water to water our newly planted seeds some days.

    Have a fantastic week everyone :).


    1. I'm glad I can still read what you have been up to, Sewingcreations15.
      You have done such a lot this week.

    2. Hi Margaret and so great to see you here :) . Just looked in my contacts and I have your email so I shall pop an email off to you to catch up.

      I hope you and yours are doing well too :).


    3. Dear Sewingcreations,
      Andy is a bit of a wood worker and he says the bottom of the cabinet is all solid and the top has a thick veneer door. So he thinks it is a very good cupboard and well made. I think I got a bargain!
      Your fresh orange juice and the brownies sound wonderful! I also got chicken at $3 a kilo and cooked one and froze one! That is a good price!
      Well done on your progress with your savings! This is a great boost, a tax refund, what a help!
      All your savings are really adding up and you can see your house fund growing as a result. This is very encouraging and also motivating!
      I hope you have a good weekend. I must get my tax finished up also, you have reminded me! With love,

    4. Hi Annabel and thanks for confirming the details on the cabinet as that is precisely what I thought when looking at it too. I used to work in building hardware and was brought up with similar furniture with my grandmother and mother too :) .

      I really love beautiful antique furniture as it is so much better quality. Around 1890's to 1920's build date I would estimate.


  8. Oh gosh, poor Kelsey! I am praying they will be ok. It is wonderful that she is prepared (as well as she can be). I am thinking of them.
    What a great week you have had Annabel. I think those biscuits and cake look delicious. What great finds at the op shop. I love how you combine many things on the one trip- makes it such a saver! that beef was a great find! It will last you a long time and the savings will just increase...the casserole then becomes pies etc. Like a ripple effect!
    I think I have had a quiet week, and haven't saved much- but then I realise we have. I need to do the notepad on the fridge! DH did most of the saving for us this week. He built us new wardrobes in Henry's and the baby's room. Saving at least $1500. I could pack away Henry's clothes properly. It was wonderful. Now, i have shelves and boxes for different sizes, so I can shop ahead. Then our freezer arrives and the guys delivering it said 'wow, they are almost giving it away at this price, no wonder everyone shops online'. Shopping online meant free delivery. I have also been making little muffin sizes of zucchini slice for lunches and every time we have a small portion of left overs, into the freezer it goes for DS' lunch. I do need to work on my gifts though! Thank you for your positivity, encouragement and generosity in this blog, Annabel. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. How wonderful that your husband is good at building things! Mine is, too, and he has saved us so much money by being able to do it himself. I bet you will enjoy your new storage so much!

    2. Dear Bridge,
      I m so pleased about your freezer! The last big electrical thing I got was online from Appliances Online. The savings were huge and yes free delivery! This freezer will be so helpful to you.
      I am so impressed about the wardrobes! You will be having a good time setting these up and organising. And a huge saving. Tell R I am very impressed!
      I am glad you can see some big savings right there. And the lunches too. I think these were really big things and great steps in your new home. As you say things do have a spin off or ripple effect and one savings leads to another. I hope you are having a good weekend. I have just heard the hurricane is downgraded now which is good so I will be waiting on hearing from Kelsey. How scary! With lots of love,

  9. Dear Annabel,

    Poor Kelsey. I watched an update on the news tonight and saw that the shops were all selling out of stuff! Sending best wishes to Kelsey and including her in my prayer list.

    Well Annabel, I think you hit the jackpot with that spice cupboard. What a great find and I cant wait to see what you do with it. I can picture you now getting stuck in to re-modelling the cupboard to suit your decor.

    Those couple of books are right up your alley, such a great find! The pantry book looks interesting :)

    Have you tried Wendy's peanut butter biscuits? They are very nice too and enjoyed by all of our family.

    Your lemon/yoghurt cake looks yummy. Yoghurt makes the cake more moist, don't you think? I use it in place of buttermilk in recipes.

    This week I;

    ~Realised today that I have not been to any shops this week, so that is good savings. I did need to go today and get a few odds and ends.

    ~Sold eggs.

    ~Baked cakes.

    ~Made two lemon slices. The second one, I decided to try Cath's version and used gingernut biscuits instead...very, very nice.

    ~Cooked meals from scratch including one meal of slow cooked homegrown rooster.

    ~Baked bread.

    ~Made yoghurt.

    ~Made some of your golden syrup pudding for dessert.

    ~Used rainwater to water pot plants.

    ~Made another batch of kombucha.

    ~Picked up a nice cardi in the op shop for $1.00.

    ~Picked up some more work this week with an extra house to clean.

    ~Was given lemons and mandarins. Also picked oranges and mandarins from my trees.

    ~Picked silver beet, kale, celery, tomatoes, baby spinach from my garden.

    ~Had some pumpkin soup given to me so I made a yummy pasta meal with it. By adding some veggies it made it into a completely different dish.

    ~Found a retro egg poacher pan in an op shop for $3. I have been looking for one of these for ages.

    ~Purchased a haircutting set (two types of scissors) very cheaply off eBay. Now to practice cutting my own hair. It has become so expensive to go to the hairdresser nowadays. So now I will be dying and cutting my own hair. Lucky I have curls, so any mistakes wont be so noticeable lol!

    ~Was able to practice living off grid when the power went out for a few hours this week! I had the slow cooker on at the time and had to finish it in the pizza oven turned down to the lowest setting. It cooked faster but was okay :)

    Wishing you all a blessed week,

    Love Tania xoxo

    1. Hi everyone,
      Tania, "slow cooked home grown rooster" made me smile! We once hatched 13 or 14 chickens and all except one were roosters... ! Great Op Shop finds....I love retro kitchen things. The amazing and clever money saving strategies and practices that everyone has are really inspirational. It is wonderful that everyone so willingly shares their ideas and hints. My biggest money savers are the veggie garden and fruit trees, rainwater tank, our freezers, op shops, cooking from scratch and using what I have. Cheers Jo

    2. Hi Jo,

      We had five roosters from our last batch of ten chickens. They taste so much better than any you buy in the shops. We really don't mind because we get to eat them when they are old enough.

      Hatching out chickens is like a game. Hubby used to say all the pointy eggs were roosters so we wouldn't put any under the hen. Well guess what, that is not true! We ended up with more roosters using his method. I just grab any eggs and pop under the hen and cross my fingers. Usually its around 50/50 so that's a reasonable outcome.

      Your best money savers are much the same as mine. I like to challenge myself to see how much I can save. That's why this blog and others like it are real assets. I always find something new to try. I love living frugal, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I love to buy retro items, mostly ones that I can use. It is my favourite thing to do :)

      Have a lovely day and week,


  10. Annabel what great deals you found. I just love the new spice cabinet and it will be beautiful after you have put the Annabel touch to it. I have started looking for one after you mentioned it before. Have a great day! Paula in Kansas

  11. Hello Annabel and bluebirds,

    What a lovely spice cupboard you found, Annabel! I look forward to seeing it all kitted out and in its proper place. Kelsey, may you be protected from the hurricane and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I have a confession to make. While I faithfully read every post that you write, dear Annabel, I have been too wrapped up in the more sour aspects of life and have fallen off my frugal and prudent wagon. For quite some time, I have allowed myself to be out of habit and purposeful routines, and I have lamented and excused this behaviour. No more. Today I pull myself up, dust off my binders and commit myself once more to my home and family. No more frivolous and unnecessary spending without counting the cost. I will adjust my countenance and cheerfully pull alongside you lovely ladies. My eyes fell on the following line of scripture this morning, and it's as though my mind woke up and my resolve hardened.

    "A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones." ~Prov. 17:22

    I am done looking to the future for how things may one day be, and I am done beating myself up for recent poor decisions. Today, I set myself free.

    Thank you, Annabel and bluebirds, for sharing your successes and encouraging all who read here. I hope to join you and learn from you and most importantly, give glory to God and show my thanks to Him who has blessed us in abundance.

    Deo Gratias!
    Shani in Illinois

    1. Hi Shani and I am cheering you on from Australia :) , you can do it.


    2. SHani, I think most will agree that this happens to all of us at one time or another. Be kind to yourself and just remember, baby steps until you get back in the swing! I tried to go gung-ho once and ended up on another month-long burnout. I think it takes me about a month now, at my advanced ;) age.

    3. Thank you both for your encouragement! What a lovely, kind group this is. And thank you, too, Debby for those wise words. I will ease into it and not beat myself up for not getting back on track immediately and perfectly.
      Shani x

    4. Dear Shani,
      It can be really hard at times but each day is a new one and each week is new! This is why I love a new week! Even better I love a new month! I really think of all things reading Laines Letters is the biggest help. If you can read one every day. They are very energising and encouraging. I think we need this. We need a time of planning and a time of encouragement everyday. Setting goals each week and each day helps me get much more done too. And somehow this produces happiness too! It is a cycle. This doesnt mean I don't get tired and burnt out sometimes I do.. we have to pace ourselves! Thank you for your kind words. I hope to see you back here next Friday and hear you had a really productive and happy week! With love

    5. Thank you, Annabel! I *have* gotten out of habit of reading Laine's Letters. I will endeavour to get that back into my routine. And I hope to be back here next week. :)
      Shani x

  12. Dear Annabel-I just love your new spice cabinet it is a little little like my own cabinet I painted without the doors. Can't wait to see how it looks when you finish with it.
    Wonderful meat buy and opshop purchases yet again.Boy I wish I could go shopping with you, we'd have a ball! Biscuits look good too Ive made a version of them many times but not reduced the sugar so think I will try yours tomorrow.
    Im still in slow mode, had my last eye doctor checkup and he's very pleased with how it looks and is recovering (my eye ).So now I can ditch two meds and reduce the last one . I will still take it easy until that finishes.
    Sending prayers for Kelsey and her family. I saw it on the news , people running to the stores and queues everywhere for petrol and water etc.
    Catching up with chores slowly and emptying the freezer and using spare pantry stocks so I can relook at what I store.
    Have a lovely weekend all, love Maria xxx

  13. Sounds like you had a great week! I want to thank you for your blog. You and Patsy, from A Working Pantry, always spur me on to better homemakeing!

    1. Thank you MamaHen that is a lovely compliment to put me in Patsy's company! xxx

  14. Beautiful cabinet, Annabel! I can not wait to see it transformed :)

    Oh my! The last time I looked Harvey was only a Cat 1, but I just checked again and it is up to a 3! I will be praying for all of Texas, but especially Kelsey and my friend Linda.

    My youngest DD was 13 this week and I made her cake, saving at least $35. Gave one of the dogs a bath, saving $45. I bought some scrapbook paper for card making. It was on sale for $5.99, for a saving of $14. Mostly I stayed home though. Best savings around!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      I think it is cat 4 now. Eek.
      I hope your friend Linda will be ok too. Staying home is a good way to save! I get a lot more done when I don't go out too much too. Well done on making the birthday cake! Have a good weekend Jen, with love

  15. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    That is such a beautiful spice cabinet, Annabel!

    We are in a neighboring state and well north of any possible danger, but it was pouring down absolute buckets of rain this morning. I'm hoping that Kelsey and everyone south of us stays safe and well.

    Cooking: I froze extra cooked chicken and pasta that we used for lunches this week, made a big pork roast, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots (8 servings - $136), and pasta with marinara for the week (8 servings = $72 - I was shocked, but this is what 1 serving of pasta w/marinara costs at our favorite local spot). There was milk that needed to be used up, so I baked and froze a double batch of muffins ($48 - $2 each at the store), a pan of cornbread ($8.25), and a delicious vanilla pound cake ($25 - really??) that we have been using for strawberry shortcake. All work lunches were packed and taken from home ($150). $439.25

    Landscaping and yardwork: My husband cut and edged the front and back yard, while I weeded and deadheaded the flower and vegetable beds and pulled weeds from the driveway. (Labor $45/hour for 3 hours = 135 x 2 = $270) I also planted two peppermint plants that I had started from seed ($8 for the plants) and collected more herb seeds. $278

    Thrifty shopping: There were some nice things at the thrift store this week. Two OOP lace knitting books ($2 each), 2 movies for our home library ($2 each), and a beautiful designer leather handbag for $24.99 (retail is $625, I nearly fell off my chair!). $596.01

    Not-as-thrifty-shopping: I desperately need a work-appropriate winter coat, and wanted a nice wool one that I could use for years. This week, I found a lovely insulated 80% wool-blend coat marked down to $99.99 from $219.99. $120 savings.

    Frugal gifting: A small thing, but we sent my FIL a birthday card from my stash purchased on sale - so $0.25 instead of $5 for a single-purchase at the store. $4.75 savings

    Self-care: My husband had a haircut at home - $15 saved. I gave myself a pedicure - $25 saved.

    Total for the week: $1,478.01 That does not even seem possible! Thank you so much for giving me the idea to figure out the actual dollar cost of things, what an eye-opener. (I expect next week will not nearly be such a big number, as we are planning to schedule some home maintenance that we cannot do ourselves, but getting work done before it becomes a big problem saves in the long run, right?)

    I hope everyone has a great weekend,

    1. Dear Kathy,
      What a good week! All the cooking sounds beautiful especially the roast pork! All your finds were amazing and the leather handbag is such a good find. I have found some leather bags and I sit and rub leather conditioner into them and they are like new. Also good old vaseline on a cloth works well for this! Also your coat was a good buy and investment. This is the time of year to get deals on winter things like that.
      It is a real eye opener to realise what simple things save. I know someone looking for a job to bring in some extra money. I asked her how much does her husband spend on lunches? How much is it to get the dog groomed? And a few other things I knew that would be big $$$. Then I said why don't you do them instead and pay yourself? Then you wont have a tax bill. She was floored. I just don't understand why people don't count savings as money earned when it is by your own efforts! With the work you are planning to get done I would say get a few quotes, see if anyone is interested in a cash deal... and see if there are parts you can do yourselves... any or all of these could save a lot you never know! But yes you are right, many things done early or maintained turn out to be much cheaper than a big job down the track.
      Have a really good weekend! You should be proud of your week! With love

  16. Annabel, that cabinet is wonderful!!! What a great find!

    Yes, I do hope that most of the people in south TX are prepared. I cringed when I heard the weather reporters talking about the rain in FEET, not inches. I've heard that nearly 2 ft. is possible. That's terrifying to me. We got 8" once and I was looking for Noah.

    My priority for the next month is nest-feathering. I feel like summer has been too busy and I'm neglecting things. I'm taking some time off my regular activities and putting it into playing catch up. I already feel better just having committed myself to it.

    1. Dear Debby, What you are saying I can relate to... as soon as I have a plan I feel better. Also you can achieve a lot over a month! I am also planning a big September! Our floors will go down and then I can have the big re organise and it will be spring cleaning at the same time. I will get my cabinet done up and set up too. Plus there is a list of other house maintenance type jobs too...
      Kelsey is really well prepared and sensible but I am not sure if many people prepare very well. I think a lot of people leave it to the last minute by which time it is too late and shelves are empty too!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  17. Prayers for Kelsey and her family and all who are in the path of the storm. We had flooding here in the Kansas City area earlier this week with up to 7 inches of rain in some areas, I could not imagine the up to 30 inches that they are predicting for areas in Texas!

    Your spice cabinet is gorgeous, Annabel. I can't wait to see it once it is in place and you've given it your touch!

    Now that the youngest is back at college, hubby and I are tightening our belts further. We are committed to stopping food waste. We've been really good at not eating out. I am finding that a simpler, quick meal at home is much more satisfying than some of the expensive items on the menu in the restaurants and it's much healthier for us.

    Your lemon yogurt bread looks tasty! We've cut way back on sweets at home but I think this weekend I will make some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies that hubby loves so much.

    We're still working on enclosing our breezeway this weekend and my brother is coming out from Kansas again to help. Hopefully only a couple of more weekends and we'll be done. We have saved so much money by doing this ourselves, but it's still hard to watch the bits and pieces adding up!

    We don't have a lot of debt but we do have some and I am working on paying it all off. For Christmas several years ago I bought my husband a Kawasaki "mule" to help him with chores around our property. Well, I just made the final payment on that, so that chunk is going to go towards paying off something else. Hopefully, before too long, everything will be paid for except for houses and cars. We own rental properties and currently have 2 of our 4 vacant. One has been vacant since March as we have had to do extensive repairs due to damage and neglect from the tenant, but we just had new carpet and linoleum laid and we have an excellent prospective tenant, so that is a blessing! The other vacant property is being shown twice today and I am praying that one of those families will decide to make it their home and will be good tenants.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend,


    1. Dear Jeanette, I can barely even imagine seven inches of rain! So I cannot imagine FEET of rain either.
      Laines tips and the menu planning starting on Monday will really be good for you as it has made a big difference to me and I have almost no food waste at all now. I am like everyone, there have been times when I have thrown out things and wanting to do better. And food now is just too expensive to throw out anyway. So I hope you will enjoy some of the tips on this. Laine is new to menu planning this way but it sure stops any waste. This is a big saver all on its own.
      I hope the work is going well. it is lovely you have a brother who with travel to help you like that.
      I hope your rentals get very good tenants. That would be a big help. I continually hear of big messes, filth and damage which would break my heart with a property. Better for them to be empty than bad tenants. I hope some lovely families come in and stay for many years for you!
      Have a good weekend to you too! With lots of love,

  18. Please let us know how Kelsey gets on. She and others I know in that area are being prayed over.

    I had a nice enough week and was pleased over all. I tried another new to me recipe which turned out quite well and even though I halved it and John went by for seconds of the first time serving it, we had enough for another meal today. I tried the Armenian Nutmeg Cake last week and was floored. I'll be making that one again as well. Yummy! I want to try the recipe you and Cath and Mimi are using for yogurt but haven't done so yet. I'd been doing the method with all the temperature taking and love the product I get from that.

    1. Dear Terri,
      I am so glad you like that cake! It is quite a grown up kind of cake in a way... now you have mentioned it I really feel like making it again! It is beautiful with a dollop of cream and a strawberry. If you are making yoghurt successfully I think that is really good. I don't have a thermometer and this method is super easy. For many it would make it a lot less daunting than the heating the milk and temperature taking methods. You can compare the two. I am ending up with lovely thick yoghurt and it is so useful in so many recipes! I am actually surprised how many ways I can use it! I can also freeze any actual leftovers.
      I updated on Kelsey this morning. Things would be getting pretty serious there now. The worry is her husband is right on the coast. She is an hour inland but on a hill... and she has really wisely prepared. Appreciate your prayers thank you. With love

  19. Dear Annabel,

    Joining in prayers for Kelsey and family, as well as others in the path of the hurricane. I messaged my niece who lives on the coast near Houston. She said they were heading for higher ground. It was raining and waves were going over the piers.

    Annabel, you have done wonderfully again this week! Your new spice cabinet is already beautiful. I'm looking forward to seeing it after you have added your touch to it.

    We have been gone from home since Tuesday visiting our friends in the cool mountains. We brought all of our food from home and have shared some with our friends. They are both on special diets, so we have not cooked together as much as usual. They took us for a drive this evening to see if we could spot any elk and we all were thrilled to see a herd of probably 100. They are such beautiful animals! We have also been enjoying seeing a variety of other wildlife--- birds, squirrels and rabbits. My husband and I have been discussing things we need to start or continue working on at home. I think it has helped us both to get away and relax where it is cool and pretty. We will be refreshed to continue.

    I helped with the food box distribution at church again last Saturday. There were several bags of grated cheese and packages of rolls and bread left at the end and no way to refrigerate them so they shared them with those of us who had helped. I received enough for my family and to share with a neighbor. I had to smile when I took the things to my neighbor. She had been given several boxes of muffin and cupcake mix from a friend and shared some with me. I had planned to make some banana bread or muffins to take with us to the mountains. One of the mixes she gave me was for banana nut muffins. I made them up and they were quick, easy and quite yummy.

    Wishing everyone a lovely weekend and continuing to pray for those in danger from Hurricane Harvey.
    Elaine from Arizona

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Thank you! I will for sure post pics of how the cabinet looks and is set up in the end. I am so much looking forward to it!
      Your mountain break sounds so nice! Seeing elk would be lovely too. I love birds are you know but I also love wildlife generally. I would have loved that. A break away is always very good as I think we re assess things when we step away from them.
      The grated cheese, rolls and mixes were a great bonus! I know you will put all that to good use!
      I hope you have a very nice weekend. Thank you for the prayers for Kelsey... with lots of love,

  20. Dear Annabel,
    We continue to pray for Kelsey and her family as well as all of those effected especially the emergency workers who are there to help bring people to safety.

    You've had another wonderful week, Annabel! I love the cabinet!
    And the windfall on the meat was incredible!

    It's been busy around here. We've been experiencing autumn like weather making it possible to catch up on all of the outside work. I cleaned out the veggie garden of debris of things that were done producing,added fertilizer in the open spaces and planted some vegetables seeds that will be ready to harvest way before the first Frost here. Deadheaded and put more roses up to dry. Weeded the flower beds. My husband got the mowing done.

    From the garden harvest I canned 4 Pints of green tomato salsa.
    I only planted three tomato plants this year and they're producing so much fruit that I harvested some while still green. Also sliced some and froze them for fried green tomatoes
    Okra and plum tomatoes got dehydrated.

    Instead of peeling tomatoes by blanching them they were put in the freezer overnight and when taken out the skins slip right off. This method saves a lot of labor as well as water and fuel.

    I made cheese to use in lasagna using reconstituted dry milk and vinegar. I made "better butter" by mixing a half cup of olive oil with a half cup of softened butter. I've also read it can be done with a half cup of yogurt and I'll be trying that one next.

    All the usual fluffing and dusting got done.
    Wishing everyone a beautiful and safe weekend. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      I heard from Kelsey last night... they are all ok and so is the house! That is a relief.
      Lynette gave me a recipe to use yoghurt with egg as a topping for moussaka or lasagna so I am going to try this! I am very interested in how you made cheese!
      Your tomatoes have been amazing! This encourages me that if I plant a few this is a lot better than none and I could do well out of them. As you are feeling autumn is close we are just about to go into spring (Sep1) so I have spring cleaning, gardening, the new floors etc all happening!
      Have a really good new week! With many thanks Cookie, Love Annabel.xxxx

  21. That cabinet is fantastic, Annabel, really lovely.
    Well done on your steak find, I'm on the lookout for something Si,liar to make beef jerky but haven't seen rump under about $12/kg.
    I'm grateful we don't have hurricanes/cyclones in our part of WA, hope all will be ok for Kelsey and her family, scary time for them.
    Not very exciting pantry building her but lots of spring cleaning, feels so good to have warm days and the washing drying on the same day as it was washed!
    Enjoy your Sunday x

    1. Dear Amanda, Thank you! Well beef and lamb are both so expensive now. I found the beef in Rite Price... but I don't know if you have that. And the beef came from a wholesale butcher we have that we know to be very good. It was right on $10 a kilo. Otherwise Aldi had been cheapest. It was a great deal!
      Kelsey is ok! So it her family and the house! That was worrying but I heard from her late last night!
      I want to get going on spring cleaning. It does feel good! As our floor comes out and I have to move everything I am going to treat this is spring cleaning, it will all be clean and fresh when it goes back in! With love

  22. Most of my nest feathering came in the form of food this week. We have had strange weather here this summer, and as a result we have more zucchini, squash and cucumbers than anyone can even imagine! Besides putting some in the freezer, we have had zucchini at least once a day in some form, and most days twice! I am loving pinterest right now for giving me a new way to fix zucchini every day! We have had: blueberry zucchini bread, lemon zucchini bread, two different zucchini fritter recipes, stir fries, zucchini fried with onions in italian salad dressing, zucchini added to pasta sauce, a zucchini casserole, cakes, brownies and muffins and even a fruit crisp with zucchini added, shredded zucchini added to meatball and meatloaf mixtures, and shredded zucchini added to taco meat (which was hugely successful and we are having it again tonight!), we have even been cooking it up and feeding it to the dogs every couple of days, so it is saving money on pet food too!

    My husband is finishing painting the roof this weekend saving us several hundred dollars, as it is a two story house. He also took delivery on 4 pigs for us and his brother and father. The deal is that we take care of the pigs and brother and father pay for the feed! Sounds like a fantastic deal to me! So I guess he has actually had the biggest savings this week with his couple of big things and my contributions seem to be more in number, but less in money. Oh well, I can't paint a roof and he can't cook, so I guess there is that.

    I hope Kelsey and her family weather the storm successfully, and that everyone has a great weekend! Thanks for being such a great community!

    1. Dear Sarah, You are really doing a good job making the most of the zucchini! I have one more for you... google Donna Hay Zucchini Slice. It is like a quiche/pie and it is really good for lunches, picnics or dinner. The internet is great for ideas when we need to get using something!
      I really like pigs. haha this sounds funny but my parents have mostly kept pigs. Pigs are pretty smart and have personalities. Also they will like any left over zucchini! Your husband doing that painting is a he saving for sure. You really have had a good week! I hope the new week will be good too! I have heard from Kelsey and they are ok and the house is ok too! So happy to hear this! Many thanks! Love

  23. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebird friends , I am late to comment this week I apologise, I have had a pain filled few days and haven't been up to doing much unfortunately .
    My week included:
    I put $100 away into savings .
    I saved about $35 on groceries and put the $35 into my slush fund.
    I received a meal from my parents , $10 savings.
    I had 2 hours of my usual subsidised cleaning , saving about $40 .
    I had an hours meal prep help from my Centacare lady saving me $25 approximately on takeaway .
    I had a rare treat of takeaway pizza and took advantage of a 50% off offer and saved $24 compared to what I would have to pay if I didn't have the offer.

    I have done a menu plan for next fortnight using meat I have here. I should not need much meat , saving me about $60 .
    I am due to get a free magazine using my magazine loyalty card, I haven't been buying many magazines but only buy them as a treat now and then . The free magazine will save me $10 . I know I can borrow magazines from the library but I don't get to the library often so I treat myself instead.
    I am using gifts from my gift cupboard this coming week for three friends , saving $50.
    I think that's about it Annabel . A total saving of approximately $354 this week .
    Annabel , you have had some great savings this week , well done.
    I love your spice cabinet Annabel , I cannot wait to see what you do with it!.
    I am so glad that. Kelsey is ok , I was so worried about them.
    I hope everyone has a great new week . Love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb,
      I am sorry you have had a lot of pain again. There is only so much you can do when the pain is flaring up. I hope you will feel much better this week.
      You still did really well! Thank you for asking about Kelsey. Her home and family are all ok and her husband got back. She was really well prepared. I am seeing some areas are having extreme flooding so I think roads will be out and I think supply trucks wouldnt be moving either but I don't know if they can get to her town from another direction. Houston looks just devastated. It has been very worrying!
      Have a good new week Barb! With lots of love,

  24. LOVE the cabinet. It is beautiful and perfect.
    You had a great week dear lady.
    May your coming week be blessed.

  25. Annabelle, what a beautiful cabinet ! I will put this on my inspiration board for when we move and are re- furnishing!
    Those deals you got were awesome! I used to buy half sides of beef from a local farmer. It is the best!
    Praying for the people of Texas and Louisiana- resolving to double efforts to be prepared.
    This week, I was able to reap some savings I usually don't use much/ coupons and promotions at a local supermarket. I usually don't use a lot of coupons, because the ones here are mostly for things I don't buy- processed, prepared, food. I always use a weekly coupon they mail me in their circular for 2x gas points- each 100 points translates to 10 cents off a gallon of gas. I sat down and prayed over the circular with our needs right now- my daughter is moving across state and setting up her own apartment on Lanor Day (September 4), so I have extra gas needs to help her move, and I'm helping her out set up her kitchen and bathroom needs. In addition to the 2x gas deal, this week only, by buying 5 certain products ( toilet paper, orange juice, gel pens, etc) you received and additional 5x gas points. You had to spend $50, which I don't always do in one trip. But, unbelievably, there were discounts on produce, butter, milk, and things like peanut butter, ramen, etc. then I found a coupon to load on my phone that expires in December that gives you $10 every time you spend $50 at this store. Suffice to say? I went back three times, am almost down to a free tank of gas (a $30.00 savings), have a full freezer, since I bought some marked down meat, and have a bunch of supplies for my pantry and my daughters. I also have $50 in cash in my wallet for my upcoming 800 mile round trip drive helping move my daughter to her new home. These offers are good until the 31st, and I think I will go back to get some things for charity. God is good!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  26. Good day everyone. My week has been an expensive one. My dog needed his vaccines, then he was groomed (I usually do this). Then my fridge has gone on the blink. Today I jumped in with both feet and believe I have found a way to fix it without getting a repairman in. I believe I have saved $150.00 there. Then my car had a flat which was unusual for six month old tires. I called the car club to send someone to help. He changed it for me. This being something I would do myself when younger. I then took a good look at the other "new" tire. It was worn the same. I drove slowly to the big city. Took it to a reputable garage. Because I had used a smaller place out in the country where I live, it cost me $1500.00 in repairs. Apparently, the new tires were not as new as claimed. The way I checked the tires did not reveal the wear. So, because of the tires being older, they didn't last long. Then it turned out that the local guy did not do an alignment when he said he did. Which in turn made the ball joints wear horribly. All that is fixed, but I still have one more item to fix in the back. It too is because of the front damage. That will be done this week. As well Dexter will need to go for a professional teeth cleaning as his mouth is so tiny, I can't get the brush to the back of his mouth. More money down the drain. Things happen, but in the old days, I could do most things my husband could and lots he couldn't. My advice to all you young gals is take some time to work with your husband on repairs. Do you know how to start, use and maintain a snowblower, a lawnmower, change a spark plug , repair or maintain your household appliances. How about fixing a sagging gate. Conversely your children should learn to do both the house duties and all that entails, as well all the outside duties and repairs. I say this because at some point in your life either yourself or your spouse is going to pass away. Life can and will get very expensive then. Your kids when they get married or not, they will need all the skills they can to survive in this world. Get your husband to show how to change the air filter, the cabin filter, the oil filter in your vehicle. All easy jobs but costly ones.

    I know this is way off topic from what is usually on here, but it is important. Have a great week. Jean

  27. Lovely Annabel and Blue Birds,
    Looks like everyone had a great week. Love the cabinet Annabel. You had some great buys. Glad Kelsey is doing well.
    How fun it has been to go far a field for bargains. Kristi and I went to a store that is usally only about 25 to 30 minutes away. It took much longer to get there so we only had 15 minutes to shop. It is a big discount store for Costco and Whole Foods. So we each grabbed a cart and ran thru the store. I felt like we on that old game show that you got to keep the groceries you got in so many minutes. Such fun!Well we got 2 shopping carts full for $44 dollars. 2 cases of yogurt, cottage cheese, organic cheese, Milk,tons and tons of gluten free things,tons of organic GF cereal. We still don't have a stove or oven so this works for us.Lots of healthy snacks and some meal bars. This was a huge savings and we only need to go about once a month. The store is called GTM for any one in San Diego. Hope everyone has a great week! Annabel I will be right over to have a taste of that lovely beef. Blessings to all much love.

  28. Dear Annabel, that is a great week as always. That cabinet is going to be gorgeous! We had a difficult week last week, and I can't boast about too much nesting, purely because we were between two hospitals all week. But preparedness certainly saved me lots of money, and stress, so I was grateful. I hope you have a lovely week. Love, Mimi xxx


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