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.

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 8th December, 2017.

We were so lucky with a cooler week and even some rain.  Being summer now I am grateful of every week that is NOT hot!

Some of the ways I feathered my nest included:

I made tomato relish as I got some cheap tomatoes.  I used Mimi's recipe for this.

I got 9 big jars, two are already missing in my photo! The recipe is here.  I don't have a food processor so I just chopped the onion finely.

I cut Andy's hair.  He wants to look halfway reasonable for Christmas! 😊

This week I was really lucky with free stuff!   Chloe brought me two and a half dozen fresh eggs.
Also two huge containers of shampoo and conditioner.
I was given seven packets of end of the day bakery items... there were french sticks, finger buns,  small loaves...

Most of this I froze to give to Chloe.  It is harvest and the boys are on shifts 24 hours a day. Chloe takes Luke out food she makes up.  All this will help her.

I picked up free lemons from a house that had them out the front with a sign that said free to take.  I left a thank you note.

In an op shop I found an old fashioned hand egg beater.  I love these they are so good.

I visited my Aunt for Christmas.  Her garden is lovely.  Her trees are covered in developing fruit! 

Her apricots have already finished and she had jars of jam on her counter.  The colour was spectacular.

I made Naan bread.  The girls like this so I make a batch and give them some each for the freezer.

I did some Christmas decorating.  We just have a little tree and it is down low so Harper can enjoy it. I have it covered in little birds...

In the garden we have pink Lillies!  Lots more look set to come out too...

I made flourless biscuits. (cookies)

We had a nice dinner home last night as Chloe was visiting.  I cheated and had little individual pavlovas from Aldi with strawberries and cream.  They were gorgeous! 

Each day I have been writing cards and wrapping presents.  I posted a big lot on Monday.  The last things will be posted this coming Monday.  I am getting there!   Then I will get on to some baking.

Today is a gorgeous day.  I will have a flurry around to get some more done for the week.  I can see next week getting booked up.  I am grateful for everything I already did earlier in the year to make this time much easier!  Getting ahead really pays off!  

How did you save,  build up your home and get ahead this week?
Have a  wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. In her 80's and still canning...your aunt is amazing. You have accomplished quite allot this week! I can't wait to make some naan bread with my stash of homemade yogurt.

    My week has been filled with accomplishments. 3 haircuts for the men-folk. :) Cooking pumpkins for puree. I freeze these in gallon bags. Saving pumpkin seeds for next year's garden. Friends gifted us with 23.5 lbs. of venison. Making homemade chicken stock in the slow cooker. Gifted with homemade chocolates (yum!). Paying the library a visit for books and movies. Husband got good deals on candy canes & cereal at the discount market. Plans to finish a sign for my mother's Christmas gift this weekend. Baking and wrapping for my California family.

    We enjoyed a bit of snow here in Ohio. Looking forward to more! I love playing in the snow more than the kids do. Oh well, they don't know what it's like to live in the desert. ;)


    1. Dear Leslie, Wow all that venison is great! This was a big week for you!
      I would love to see the sign you make your Mum!
      Vicky also told me she had a little bit of snow, she is also in Ohio!
      I can only imagine a white Christmas! How lovely!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  2. This week I dried a total of 23 pounds of chopped onions that I paid $4 total for! It has filled 3 half gallon jars that I vacuum sealed!
    I was able to buy 5 boxes of pint canning jars (dozen size) for $5 each and was given a $5 gift card that let me get a sixth box for free!!! So 72 canning jars for $25! I will put them to good use!
    I have been using bits of things from my freezer and fridge to make into extra meals to eliminate food waste as well as save $$!
    Our hens are still laying about 4 eggs/day even with this cold winter weather and we currently have a bit over 14 dozen in our refrigerator. I use them regularly and rotate them by age but I'm hoping that as their laying decreases or stops during the winter that we will still have enough to keep us from buying any! They have been such a wonderful blessing to us!!
    I was given a bushel of celery from m friendly produce market so I shared half of it with my friend and will use part of mine fresh and chop and dry the rest! My dried storage is being built up and vacuum sealed in my 1/2 gallon mason jars!
    I bought milk chocolate toffee bits for cookies on sale (99 cents/bag instead of $3.29!!) so I bought 15 bags and vacuum sealed those into 1/2 gallon mason jars too! No reason my food storage can't be yummy and sweet and filled with baking delights!!
    I've just completed 8 quilts for a client and will finish 7 doll size quilts for her too and will be paid for that on Saturday! Then I have another quilt to just do the quilting on and a wingback chair to upholster and I will be caught up on sewing/fabric orders for our business. Dave and I are also building a tortoise "condo" for a client who saw one advertised in a tortoise magazine published in the UK. That one was $300. Ours will be just over half as much and yet our profit will be satisfactory!
    I chopped up and froze 3 more quart bags of red bell peppers.
    I made 2 dozen banana walnut scones using up overripe bananas. Those went into my breakfast on the go box in the fridge.
    I made a gallon of yogurt so we have been enjoying that!
    I got 5 more jars of peanut butter (99 cents/jar on sale!)!
    My pantry is growing larger and more diversified! It seems like every day an opportunity presents itself to use or to add to our pantry! I'm so grateful for all the new ideas/inspirations that all of you add to my life!! Thank you SO much!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, Thank you, you add a great deal of inspiration to MY life.
      What a week. The jars, the celery, so far ahead with eggs... so many opportunities!
      The sewing is something else... what huge volumes of work with all those quilts plus doll quilts. I saw your choice bits sealed in jars online... I dearly want to see these quilts and doll quilts!
      This leads me to the tortoise condo. Not everyone has seen one of those let alone made one! Yet thinking of it I bet pet stores would just go mad for them...!
      I hope the daily opportunities continue to arise. This is what we all need to do, keep our eyes open and be willing to put in the work to make the most of these things.
      Thank you so much for your report it is a joy to read! With love,

    2. Wow Gardenpat! You have accomplished heaps my jaw is dropping here ! Take a well earned rest when you can :-) love Maria x

  3. Beautiful week Annabel. Bluebirds please pray for San Diego we have a very fast moving fire.It is huge and wind driven. It is doubling about every half hour.It is jumping free ways and moving to a very large housing area. We have lost several hundred race horses from a training ground. It it is so sad the would not let the horse rescuers in. It is burning ranches. We just had a fire break out at the other end of the county. So zero percent contained. We are ready to evacuated. Loading the car and praying the winds would die down. So sad we need humidity to rise we are at -2 percent. We need a miracle. So many mandatory evacuations.
    Thasnk you for the prayers we need a miracle.4100 acres and moving fast.

    Much love,
    Patti from San Diego

    1. Dear Patty, Mary just also wrote to me about this. Our news is not even mentioning it that I have seen too busy on non news. I remember two young girls dying in fires in Australia trying to save horses. It was just terrible. They probably could not risk the lives and had to make terrible choices. All very sad.
      I am praying and I know others will too. The main thing is to be ready, evacuate if they say to... listen for all the updates. I hope you will not have to evacuate though and are spared.
      We have lived through shocking fires. It is the most terrifying thing. Stay safe, we are all with you! Please update as you can .... with love

    2. Dear Patti,just to say Im thinking of you and sending prayers that the fires will be contained and your family is kept safe, love Maria xxx

    3. Dear Annabel, glad you had some rain to ease the heat and your relish looks so good. Love the pink lily! Sounds like our aunts would do well together hehe ,yours on her bike and mine well you know how it goes....puff puff....;-)
      Feathering my nest has been more about Christmas visiting and having members of my family stay a night here and there with their work commitments,and childminding.Pulling the odd weed here and there and making our outside back area nice for family, especially little ones visiting over the holidays.Off to bake one of Mimi's gf slices now :-)
      Happy weekend everyone , love Maria xxx

    4. Dear Patti, I don't know what to say except I will be thinking of you and everyone in sandiego , so so sad.i don't pray often but will be praying every night and every morning in hope for you and others in need of a Christmas Barb W.

    5. Patti praying for you and your family and community and I hope rain comes to dampen down the flames and the wind changes direction.


    6. Patti, praying for you and your family. May God Himself keep you safe.

      love, Cristy

    7. Patti, please know I am holding you all in my heart and hoping for rain. May you keep safe and be well. <3 Kathy

  4. Your ahead of yourself Annabelle. Your title today is 2018. Slow down, life goes too quickly as it is.!!

    1. Oh! Opps! I went and fixed it! haha I have been thinking of 2018 and ordered a dairy too! xxx

  5. We are ready to evacuate. The car is full of gas.We have our bug out bags packed.We are registered with all emergency sights with our cell phones.We will sleep in shifts and watch the news. We fill prepared as we can be. At day break we will have the army and navy helping too. We will also have the super scooper from Canada doing water drops. It is good to be ready. Thank you for the prayers and the encourages to be prepared.
    Love Patti

    1. Dear Patti, We are getting very little info and I am googling Dan Diego news. Thinking of you. Hoping things have improved... with love

    2. Dear Annabel and blue birds,
      We are safe. The !lilac fire in San Diego is now 15 percent contained. We had water drops from airplanes and hills today. At this point no lives have been lost.Some of the horse trainers were badly burned saving the horses.They let them loose hundreds were saved. They only lost 12. The internet is a !ittle spotty. A lot of the power has been restored.Today the winds were calm so they made progress.We are still on fire watch, They are forecasting the winds will pick back up this weekend.I hope not. Everyone is helping everyone. Thank you for the prayers bluebirds.
      Much love,
      Patti from San Diego

    3. Dear Patti , I just saw the news here in Qld about the fires ( channel 7 ) , please stay safe and keep us updated, you sound very calm and very well prepared, it's raining here I hope it rains a lot there or the helicopters can dump tonnes and tons of water on the fires , thinking of you all. Love Barb W

  6. Patty stay safe. Praying that the fires are put out quickly. |
    This week I have made sweet chilli jam. Bluey was gifted a shopping bag full of red capsicums and my chilli bushes were full of lovely red chillies. Chilli jam is a regular condiment here and we go through a batch pretty quickly.
    I was given a loaf soap mould for my Birthday and have finally gotten around to using it. I waited until Tilly was having her daytime sleep and I got in and made a batch. I was after a pink, black and white tiger stripe. I used too much pink clay and it looked more brown and I didn't achieve a tiger stripe. The marbled look I did get is just lovely and worth the time and effort.
    I took Jo and Tilly down to visit my folks. My Dad isn't doing real well and he lit up when Tilly wanted him to pick her up. We had a lovely visit. Mum and Dad bought me a new to me sewing machine and it is amazing. It is so nice to have a machine that does not require you to hold your tongue at a particular angle in order to work. I am in sewing heaven.
    The heat and humidity have increased so we have been spending a lot of time on the veranda. Miss Tilly was afraid of water when she arrived but this has passed. We have been having a lot of fun playing with the hose and under the sprinkler. Naughty Granny has a tendency to spray Tilly when she should be watering the plants. Many giggles can be heard.
    Life is hot, humid and hose spraying fun.

    1. Jane, I am so happy to hear about your grandchildren. It is clear how much joy they bring you. I am so glad that you are getting this beautiful time with family now, after the things you have had to endure this year. :)

    2. Dear Jane, I am so happy about your sewing machine! You are going to have so much fun with this. What a beautiful gift.
      The visit with your parents would have been beautiful. I saw some special photos. Lovely.
      Sprinkler and hose fun are so good in hot weather. Harper has a teapot full of water and will spend hours filling cups etc and water just seems to be a great entertainer!
      I thought the soap looks spectacular! Also the Chilli jam! I really like condiments... relishes, chutneys etc. as we have a lot of grills and cold meats in summer. I am doing more.
      Enjoy your weekend! With lots of love

    3. Dear Jane, I always enjoy reading your comments, and a little one always , well mostly always brings joy . I bet Christmas there will be . It has been raining and thunder here , great for the garden , my bromeliads will love it!, oh I would love a sprinkler to water then and maybe to sit under but I would look a bit weird in the front yard!. I don't have a back garden, I could put a paddle pool in my shower!!!.seriously though . I am so happy for you to be happy.sending love and hugs. Barb w .

    4. Dear Jane your post radiated happiness :-) lovely to read about your time with Tilly and Jo and visiting your parents . We are have exceptional weather here for us . After last summer being so poor and this one so early . We often get our best weather in February. We've now had weeks of sun and good weather with our wind thrown in here and there to cool us down .
      In the weekend I bought two clamshell shallow for pool/sand which is for our 3 grandchildren and 3 low colourful sturdy plastic chairs . Now our youngest g/child is back in NZ there will be more family gatherings and Christmas lunch is here but on 26th not 25th . Keep the joy coming :-()
      Love Maria x

  7. Hello Annabel and beautiful bluebirds :) .

    Today has been a very laid-back week for us and we have spent some time feathering others nests by helping to clean a friends home as she was moving out of her rental. We also spent time visiting with a friend who's wife was going away for a few days break to check on his welfare as he has seizures and the beginnings of Alzheimer's. His wife had asked us to keep an eye on him over the next few days so we will drop around each day until Sunday.

    Good news for the week is we spent very little money and our Vicky challenge added up to a grand total of $6.95 saved but probably lots more with other things we did in the home.

    Repairs -
    - Compared the price of having my wrist watch battery changed with Mister Minit and the local jewellery store and found the jewellery store was much cheaper. I had my watch battery put in there saving $6.95.

    Internet sales -
    - Sold more saved vegetable seeds saved from our gardens.

    In the kitchen-
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the gardens -
    - Planted 1 x 5mt row of sweet corn and 2 x 4.5mt rows of silver beet seeds in the gardens.
    - Raked up dried leaves from around the shed and 2 garden beds and ended up with a 90lt wheelbarrow full. We will run this over with the mulching lawn mower and mix it with grass clippings to mulch more of the vegetable gardens with rather than buy hay.
    - Collected more fallen twigs from under 1 Eucalypt ironbark tree and stored them near the trunk for additional kindling for next winter. I will wait until we get a few sunny days to dry them out a bit before I put them on the veranda for next winter.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone :).


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, You are very good for the daily checking of your friends husband. Probably very wise. And for helping your friend get ready to move. It sounds very busy.
      I hope the sweetcorn and silver beet come up well and take off!
      The saved up kindling is wonderful. Once its cold again you will be so glad of these efforts. At the farm a week ago I noticed so many pinecones had dropped. Over Christmas I will go pick them up for Mum and for Chloes fires. They burn great!
      Have a great new week! With lots of love

  8. Hi Annabel,i have been taking advantage of all the good sales in the supermarkets this week i bought an electric toothbrush for someone who wanted one,i have given and received lots of gifts, this week now under the tree Annabel i love the pink lillies,and i want try cooking the tomato relish recipe if we get a good crop of tomatoes this year,i also have made Christmas cakes one for us and another for a gift
    Patti my thoughts and prayers are with you and for all of San Diego i have seen it on our news, pls take care xx

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Well done on the cakes! Relish is a great thing to make, also spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce if you get enough tomatoes. I am dreaming of making sundries tomatoes... provided Andy gets my drying rack made!
      Have a good new week, I hope you see more great deals! With love

  9. You are an awesome Mom to care for your girls that way! You would seriously love a food processor as it saves so much work. I will check out the tomato relish recipe.

    The deals continue at the grocery stores and we are really getting well stocked on everything. I purchased stainless steel canning rings on a great deal from Amazon using gift cards I had earned so no cost to me.

    My husband 'retired' this week as in his job goes away on the 27th and he cannot work due to the brain injury. We have disability for 19 more months at this point. His company will continue to deposit funds into his retirement savings for 6 more years and he will be able to take advantage of retirement benefits because he left on disability. I even have health insurance for 2 more years for a very low cost and hubby's is paid for. Everyone was wonderful to him on the day he cleaned out his office. We are very much blessed.

    Have a good weekend all!

    1. Dear Lana,
      I am glad everyone was so good to your husband like that. The company sounds very good, this is great.
      Also the health insurance for two years must be a big help.
      Well done on stocking up while the deals are good! I am watching closely and hope after Christmas to see some good specials.
      Have a very good new week! With much love

  10. Annabel, and Bluebirds,

    It has been another expensive and exhausting week here. I am afraid that I haven't been as good as I could have been about feathering my nest.

    I have gone through my pantry, fridge and freezer, pulling out all that will no longer work for my husband's new lifestyle. It was painful to get rid of all that stuff, but I felt better once it was done.

    I was able to get to the store and supply my pantry and freezer with things on his approved cardiac diet.

    I also went through my recipe books (the ones I have put together myself) and pulled out all the recipes we can no longer have. In looking through it, I found 14 recipes that I have made before that are on the approved diet! That helped my feelings, because they are familiar, so I don't have to try some totally new recipe while things are so trying and stressful.

    I started trying to go back to the menu plan, but it is just too difficult right now to figure out many days in advance. (I was doing a month at a time.) So I had to settle for a week.

    I'm in budget on the food budget. That's good, I guess, because we are way out of budget on our medical budget.

    And I finished most of my Christmas shopping for the kids. I do have 2 more crochet toys to finish and get into the mail. This year I've had to just do a little at a time.

    Well, I am glad we do this exercise of telling how we feathered our nests. By writing it up, I see that I have accomplished more than I thought I had.

    Blessings to all you Beautiful Bluebirds! I sure appreciate this group! It helps. :)

    1. Dear Cristy, you are doing so well, I know about having to drastically change your lifestyle , I am in that process too and it can be difficult and even scary. Please be kind to yourself and take it hour by hour day by day. Sending you love .

      Barb W

    2. Thank you, Barb, for telling me to be kind to myself. I will try to take your advice. Hour by hour and day by day, we'll get there. :)


    3. Dear Cristy, It is a big challenge to make changes. I would also say do a lot of reading and research. Be very informed. I notice that with cardiac diets these (and also diabetic diets) vary to the point of being almost opposite from one country to another! Andy had a diabetic nurse tell him to eat carbs and avoid nuts. She would have killed him eventually I think. The opposite was true! They have made it very hard as what is considered good vs bad changes by the minute! My doctor told me the other day they have now REVERSED the food pyramid. lol this is how ridiculous things are, they now admit it was completely wrong and we were expected to follow it. Good grief.
      So pray, read, make adjustments and go slowly and it will all come together. You are doing well. Also you are clearly willing to make changes and you know many people are not.
      it is a hectic and expensive time of year already too. I agree with Barb be kind to yourself! With love

    4. Cristy, I know where you are right now and it is so hard to give up beloved foods. It gets easier and you will learn new ways to cook that will fill the void. One very useful recipe I found early on was for a fat free white sauce. You can just whisk the flour into the milk and cook it and not use any butter at all. It works so well. We can eat most comfort foods by making substitutions in the ingredients. For decades I have made biscuits, scones for some, with 1 cup self rising flour, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 cup milk. It makes quite good biscuits that are cardiac okay. We switched to Celtic gray sea salt which is a better salt for the salt we use. I agree to be kind to yourself. This is a very difficult time of year to make such huge changes and a few treats within reason are okay, too.

  11. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    All of the breads look wonderful!

    This week's efforts:
    Cooking and food: I baked an apple crumb pie with some apples that needed to be used up ($28 value), and put the crockpot to work with a rump roast and brown rice. I also made a large pork roast and potatoes to get ahead. Into the freezer went some bananas that were too ripe for snacking, but will be perfect for baking, and the bones from our roasts (for broth-making). All work lunches were prepared and brought from home ($150 value). We replenished the sugar ($1.50 for 4 lbs), crushed tomatoes ($1.20/large can), and canned soup (for times of illness when the freezer stash is depleted; 5 cans/$4) in our pantry.

    Household: I washed all of the rugs and bedding over the weekend. We are already seeing a difference in allergy symptoms with more frequent laundering and new air filters. I must say I did wash everything in my home before now! With such a dry, warm fall and beginning of winter, there has been a lot more dust and pollen than usual, so doing this more often seems to be a good approach. We harvested some more peas and herbs from the garden.

    Shopping: I used some money I had been given as a birthday gift to buy a pair of sheepskin-lined winter boots (on sale for $125, marked down from $225) and sheepskin house slippers (on sale for $58! from $120) to keep my toes warm in winter. They are very nice quality and should last for ages. (Savings $142)

    Entertainment: We enjoyed a movie and some books from the library.

    Personal care and education: A co-worker gave a bring-your-own-lunch-and-learn talk about how to save money on travel expenses and non-grocery shopping. (Every once in a while, someone volunteers to talk about couponing or contests or some sort of DIY.) He had a few good tips, so we got to enjoy friendly discussion and get some good advice for free. We paid cash for the last installment of my husband's semester's tuition; we save 2.5% by paying this way, and this is on top of the 50% his work pays, so a good savings there. My husband cut his own hair (he uses an electric hair trimmer), and I gave myself a new pedicure - I'd estimate $40 for both.

    Crafts/gifts: I cross-stitched a bookmark for a friend, and am working on a pair of worsted-weight socks.
    A set of vintage Wedding Band Gold china and some glassware went to a sweet friend for a holiday gift. [The china was purchased in a huge set at a thrift store for $24.99; half of the place settings and the serving pieces went to another friend as a wedding gift.] She loves and appreciates these things, so it is the perfect gift for her. I looked up the pattern and am gobsmacked at the actual cost - $70 per place setting! So that is a $280 value for the $12.50 spent on it - well worth it! I have no idea about pricing for the glassware, but it is very pretty with etched roses, makes the beautiful crystal pealing sound when tapped, and cost $1.49 a glass.
    Some yarn and floss from my stash made a gift for a friend who is learning how to knit and stitch.
    I used knitted items and a pair of sale-purchased earrings from my gift stash to put together a holiday gift.
    The stash of sale-purchased gift bags, tissue paper, and ribbon has been most welcome as we wrap holiday gifts - the prices in the stores seem high! White tissue with colored ribbon looks very festive; I've also been saving fabric ribbon from packages and using it to fancy-up gifts.
    We received a nice holiday treats basket as a gift; the treats were packaged in a very pretty rustic tray that I am going to re-purpose as decor.
    I was given a gift certificate to the natural foods store, with instructions that I am to pick out some nice tea - what a nice surprise!

    This weekend I plan to get a start on candymaking and hopefully package up some goodies for neighbors and my husband's co-workers. Fingers crossed!

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Wow! Love your week! But most of all I LOVE the Christmas presents! The vintage china and glassware! I am thinking how the rose etched glasses sound DIVINE. I think they would be worth a lot too. Truly this is a wonderful gift and brilliant idea. Checking the rice like that you know this is a very luxurious gift! Personally I love crystal and etching. This is heavenly to me!
      The rustic presentation of the Christmas treats appeals to me too.
      What a nice gift the gift certificate is! You will enjoy that!
      I can call into a couple of thrift stores Wednesday as I go to visit my friend. I am inspired about china and glassware now!
      Have a lovely weekend and great new week! With love

  12. Hi Annabel and everyone

    I have not commented for far too long, I need to catch up!

    Patti, I truly hope you are not forced to evacuate and that the additional help arriving will improve the situation. You sound very well prepared if you do need to leave though. I have seen some of the footage and it is devastating.

    Annabel, congratulations to Chloe, Luke and your family on their engagement! What an exciting time for you all. Your tomato relish looks so good, ours are coming down in price but no big boxes just yet!

    We have now been in our area for nearly eleven months, and we are really happy we made the move. Everyone said before we moved that it takes at least a year to really settle in, and there are definitely aspects that I've found challenging. The biggest for me I think has just been finding my rhythm. Being further out from town means more travelling time, and sometimes when jobs take longer than expected I get to a point where it doesn't make sense to go home because I would very soon have to drive back to pick up the kids from school. So I feel like I waste time that way. I've also found getting to used to having less available nearby has meant more travelling to buy groceries and other items, so this can often feel like a whole day gone doing something that would have only taken a morning where we used to live. So I feel a real need to be more organised going in to next year. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about the time it's taking to get used to living a more rural life, but it is frustrating to feel disorganised, so I really want to focus on that.

    Only one more week of school left, I can't wait to start the holidays! My boys keep reminding me of things we need to do in the build up to Christmas, like make rocky road, a gingerbread house, and crackers. It's nice that without really planning to we've created these family traditions.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend, I'm hoping to get some onion chutney made and finish some small presents :)

    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen,
      I am so glad to hear from you. I have wondered how your son liked his quilt!? I am sure it would have been amazing.
      Chloe is an hour from the shops where she is now. It does take an adjustment. Organisation is the key. Your pantry becomes the shop. It is not worth it to go to town for a few things that is for sure. With going back and forth to school drop off and pick up this is handy as you can group tasks with those drives and have all appointments etc either really early or late afternoon. Other than that lists list lists. I think I will be doing this myself in the next year or two. So I will have to have such a good pantry! Of course this takes a while to build up!
      I am glad you are loving it. I think it has a lot of advantages.
      the cooking sounds great and it is lovely how the boys are keen! Family traditions are wonderful. Enjoy all of this!
      Have a good weekend to you too! With much love

    2. Jen I know how hard it is to get use to massive changes with a move - working out routines take a lot of time and then of course they all change during the holidays when everyone is home. Keeping loads of basics, menu planning and keeping meals simple seem to work here. Also one thing I would do would be to pack a 'grab' bag pop an easy to do craft in the bag and some water and a snack for those times when you find you do not have enough time to get back home then back to pick the children up. Find a nice park and sit and have a peaceful break before the busyness of the afternoon begins.


  13. Hi Annabel and bluebirds, Patti my thoughts and prayers are with you and all of San Diego do keep safe xx
    I have been taking advantage of all the great sales this week in the supermarkets today iam making a big pot of spaghetti bolognese that will do for during the week for lasagna,spaghetti or hamburgers xxx

    1. Dear Melissa, This weekend this is exactly what I am doing! I planned it in the week and ran out of time. Two big pots of spaghetti bol then trays of lasagna, containers to freeze and as many as possible. I am trying zucchini as my lasagna noodles and making ricotta as my top layer in place of the white sauce I used to make. This will feed us for days plus build up the freezer. Its the best having a big cook up! One thing I do with some swag bol is put it in a baking dish with corn chips around the side. Cover with cheese and bake. I cover the corn chips with foil before it goes in.... this is kind of like nachos and everyone LOVES it. Another (that sounds awful but isn't) is my friend taught me. If you have a couple of cups of spag bol heat this up, add a cup or so of cooked rice, a cup or so of sliced cabbage and a sachet of chicken noodle soup. It will need some water or more tomato added for a bit extra liquid. Cook until the cabbage is cooked. Serve with toast and top with cheese. When the kids were little they LOVED this. We called it Nasi Goreng but Im sure it isn't really just a wild variation!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  14. Dear Annabel and fellow bluebirds, I'm glad you are enjoying the cooler weather and getting rain. We, too, are enjoying the cooler weather as we get ready for winter here in Arizona. I actually wore a sweater to go out last night. We finally got a nice rain after more than 100 days! It was cool enough tonight that I made chilli for dinner. I'm thinking I can finally make soups and stews again without feeling it is too hot. Your photos are lovely, as usual! I especially like the pink lilies. We have been praying for the people in California with those awful fires going. I have a friend I taught with who lives there now and I will also add Patti to my prayers. Another friend has a son who fights wild fires. I haven't heard that he has been sent, but pray for him and the other brave fire fighters. We got our Christmas packages mailed the first of the week. I think I'm finished except for some baking and a few things yet to wrap. I have all the wrap I need already on hand. There were several good deals and free items at the grocery store combined with the senior 10% discount. Congratulations to Chloe! I know it will be an exciting time preparing for the wedding. Wishing everyone a lovely weekend! Love from Arizona, Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine, Thank you! You are very organised for Christmas and doing well. Sometimes Australia has sent firefighters over to help I think. Not sure if this has happened this time.
      We will have a lot of fun planning, it will be a down on the farm county wedding!
      Have a great new week! With love

  15. Annabel, I love the excitement in your posts as you feather your nest. :-)
    Tell me, do you have a jar or something used for saving coins that fund your Christmas postage costs?? It occurred to me the other day that I should start one in January as apart from Blossom and her little family all our other family and friends live far away and it's a rather large expense in one or two pay cycles. Merry and blessed Christmas!

    1. Dear Jenny, Thank you! No I don't have a savings fund for this but maybe should consider! Each year I have had to reduce and find new ways as postage has gone up and up. The cost of postage ending up being more than the gift. Mainly now I purchase online something local to who you are giving to... then postage is free or very cheap. Otherwise I post something that will fit in an envelope. Locally I will still post very small parcels but they are getting smaller and smaller! It is just too much. Just now I am ordering online for a USA gift and completely avoiding postage so I think this is the way forward. Merry Christmas to you too! With love

    2. Wise woman...I am only just realising this is what I should do in future. The Lord led me to do this very thing last week after becoming overwhelmed with the list of things to make - but I had not considered the large postage bill for so many gifts posted far and wide. Bless you!! x

  16. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds
    It's been another BIG week, spending a fair bit but lots and lots of savings:
    Shopping and gift making for Christmas is nearly done, just two main gifts and some stocking stuffers to go plus I need to finish my posting, here's how I saved this week:
    Vicky challenge :
    Shopped wisely and , just this week to go and I get my first ever promotion done and receive ten thousand flybuys points which I will convert to $50 fly buys $Mso when it all clears I will then have $60 flybuys $$ to spend at Kmart, Coles, target, etc.
    I am working on my Wishlist now. I bought lots of household items ,some to have back ups and spares, I got batteries half price good batteries that will last a long time , grocery savings across 2 supermarkets this week was about $70
    I bought treats for myself, my family and friends included in these supermarket shops.
    I got a magazine, the Christms issue of a magazine I like but never ever buy and received a set of free with purchase Christmas cookie cutters , hopefully my care worker and I will make Christmas cookies ( biscuits) to share , I might even see if I can use Annabels easy shortbread biscuit recipe to make the cookies, if not I will jumake shortbread in a pizza pan like Annabel does.
    Ok back to the Vicky challenge!:
    bought cupcakes as a school holiday treat for my nieces and myself , they were $4 each and I was not going to buy any but the lady said if you would like these two flVours I can sell them to you for $2 each half price, just because the cupcakes had come away from the wrapper a bit, yummy cupcakes, I took two home and ate them over 3 days and sent two home with my nieces so $8 savings on cupcakes.
    I found a speciL keepsake decoration online in memory of ,my
    partner, used code to save $3.30 and get cheap postage and personalised decoration stamped with my own saying , hopefully I will receive that this week or next , In time for Christmas.
    next saving , I had bulk billed medical tests, saving $200 , which will be used to buy new shoes I desperately need, I get mine made but also looking at other options and waiting for sales.
    I had bulk billed doctors appointment saving me , $60 and free medication until the end of the year saving me $50 this week , that will be used to boost my emergency fund which is low.
    I had my usual subsidised services with Centacare saving me $120 compared to a professional service, this will be used to finish Christmas and pay for a beauty service for me this week.
    I got a $1 off a slightly damaged book, received a gorgeous gift from a friend, full of beUtiful things just for me, very luxurious and things that I would never buy or be able to make myself, my fave teabags etc.
    I got another parcel but I think I mentioned it last week!.
    I received. Gift that will and already has changed my life, cannot say too much but it's life changing , nothing huge but special to me $170 saving .
    I received a sentimental and precious gift, a cushion made from one of my late partners shirts and using. Patch embroidered by a friend, it's gorgeous and very comforting , if I had to pay for it it would be at least $50 .
    I saved on taxi by getting rides with marents$70 this week anther were quite a few trips.
    I received, a roast beef meal Rissoles meal and so erase beef from my parents, saving $50 .
    I had my hair cut my a friend who is or used to be qualified hair dresser , no longer works as hairdresser, saving me $30 .
    I used gifts from,ygift cupboard and saved $100 this week.
    And finally I am using that $100 for my slush fund nd a joint gift for my nieces and parents and myself.
    Grand total this week is:
    approx $820 not including my $60 fly buys that's next week!.
    I hope Patti is safe and your community get the help they need.
    Have a great week Annabel and bluebirds .
    Love Barb W.


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