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 18 January 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 19th January, 2018.

This week has disappeared a bit too fast on me!  It is hot here and hotter at the farm.  Yesterday I went to the shops nearby and I suddenly felt my face was sun burned.  But I have kept out of the sun and I realised it was just the radiated heat from the pavement and my face was actually burning from that!   Otherwise I kept inside until the evening and we went for a beautiful swim.  Swimming makes me sleep like a log!

This week I made apple and yoghurt muffins for everyone as I had a lot of my yoghurt to use up.  I use this recipe here.  This recipe is so versatile you can use up anything so in this case I used yoghurt in place of the milk and added two cups of stewed apples.  They worked really well.
I made mini ones for the girls and decorated them with fairies!

I gave the ballerinas a rest.  The beauty of these is I just have used them over and over.  Usually I am asked where I got them from.  These were Australian from TheTicTacTop shop which is on fb,  Etsy and a website  if that is any help.  They are not flimsy and will last and last.  I even put the fairy ones on meatballs at one stage!

These and fresh flowers are my current way around not very good icing skills. 

I used up the very last of the plums.   I pureed some and swirled this through cake mix to make a ripple effect.  Then I added some on the top...

When baked they just looked lovely and pink.

So I called them pink cakes and they were a hit and so full of fruit.  
I also made a giant slab using my use it up fruit cake... recipe.

This used up two dozen more plums!  It went home with Chloe and she sliced and froze some for farmer Luke to take to work.  This cake served warm makes a beautiful desert too.

So it was cake week!   Much of this went into the freezer for when so much produce is no longer around.

The rest of the plums were stewed and frozen and eaten fresh.  They were wonderful!

I picked parsley seeds and make 24 seed packets.

I gathered little succulents to send someone as a gift. 

We picked tomatoes every day.

I found salmon on a big special of 80% off and got it for Andy to eat yesterday and today.

My Coles vouchers came and I got  $20 off a shop.  I stuck all my coupons into my diary as there is one a week for the next 12 weeks.

Chloe gave me two dozen farm eggs.

I picked another four kilos of nectarines.  We have been eating these fresh plus I stewed some and filled seven freezer containers.  I still have a few to pick which I will probably do tonight and I have a few kilos to use spread out on the floor.   Next is peaches!  I will also check how the peaches are doing tonight.  I think one week more...

Andy's Vicky Challenge efforts included home brew and sales.  He hit $500!  He is fairly smug about this I might add.  He likes the Vicky Challenge.  😊

My sewing challenge went well.  Better than last week.  Even a few minutes a day soon add up.  
Overall my aims and goals are going pretty well.  I need to keep an eye on them by looking at my planner a lot.  I seem to need endless tracking.  To keep right with my diet I keep a food journal.  I do some reading every night before I go to sleep.  I take a break somewhere to do some Bible Study.  I am reading one Laine's Letter everyday.  I know success comes with the things we just do daily as part of life.  My Scripture reading every day has made me so much happier.  It is nourishment! 

I hope you had a good week!  How did you feather your nest,  save or get ahead?  
Have a lovely weekend!   xxx


  1. You are so fortunate to be getting all that lovely fresh fruit.
    It sounds like a lovely week.
    Stay cool!

    1. Yes I am amazed by the fruit. I thought this would be the worst season ever since I lost my main sources of free fruit. And here I am! So blessed! Have a great weekend Cheryl!xxx

  2. I've been having a no spend month. Other than our regular bills, gas and groceries (which I have kept to a minimum), I have only purchased one thing.

    My sweet daughter in love asked me to line a jacket for her birthday next month. This is way out of my comfort level, but I will make a muslin first so I don't ruin the jacket.

    My sister and I went on a 1600+ mile road trip to visit our folks. I drove, Sis paid for gas. Mom is under hospice care. I brought some hand sewing to do while we sat at her bedside. I also brought sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and snacks to save on costs. It is hard to see Mom like this - she has had Alzheimer's for 12+ years. She can't walk, talk, feed herself or care for herself, but other than that is very healthy! Strong heart, good blood pressure, etc. She could hang on for quite some time she is so strong . She is amazing!

    Anyway, it is hard to feather your nest when you are away, but we feathered Mom and Dad's nest to make things easier for them.

    I did not take my iPad so I was not distracted by the Internet.

    Your desserts look delicious, Annabel! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Dear Cheri, The jacket lining sounds like a challenge as it would be for me that is for surest you are going about it in a good way!
      I am so glad you got to visit your Mom. That was a good effort and so good. Time well spent.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  3. Dear Annabel ( and new Vicky challenge member Andy!, well done on a great total this week!.) hello bluebirds also!.
    Annabel , it's been a big week for me as you may known, I have had my eye problem and this potentially could haves cost me. Lot of money as it was looking like I would have to see a specialist , this could have cost me at least $150 out of pocket as I don't know if eye specialists would bulk bill me and I don't know how much I would get back on Medicare if I was not bulk billed. This is why I am working on my budget and part of that is rebuilding my emergency fund after I used it last year . One of my vicky challenge savings for this week is that I am stretching out my grocery shopping day/ date . I shop fortnightly and usually regardless of if I need much I still end. up shopping and spend money I could either save in emergency fund, pay down some debt or buy something I need or all three. So this fortnight I wrote my shopping list as normal after writing my inventories of freezer, fridge and pantry and I also looked at my shopping list . I thought I had just listed things I really needed but I crossed everything off my list at least for now. I don't have a lot of grated cheese left and I find it really useful as I cannot stand up long enough to grate cheese. However I have a fairly big block of cheese , enough to be grated anyway. My solution is to ask my Centacare lady to grate cheese today when she is here for meal prep, that's cheese off the list. I found substitutes for pretty much everything on my list and with creativity can stretch a big shop out for maybe another week or maybe it's time to challenge myself I thought. So I have bought a $50 gift voucher for a supermarket and also put $17 ( a random amount I picked) aside and that's for fruit and veg . I also have a slush fund which currently has $17.65 in it . So I am aiming to spend less than half my usual fortnightly budget after my spend of $15.30 yesterday ( This included a treat of at bone steak , half a dozen oysters which were marked down drastically , a treat for dad to thank him for all he does, 2 L low fat milk marked down and organic butternut pumpkin reduced to clear. . I still have my $50 voucher and my $17 fruit and veg ( I started with $19 and the pumpkin was just over $2 for half a butternut.). My slush fund is for half price specials and treats and any items that I don't really need that are reduced to clear and I can use !. My vicky challenge total for two weeks including grocery savings usual savings, discount guys at target yesterday ( pjs for $10 off normal price, pj pants without a top $10 savings at least a piece of play equipment for charity that is missing a piece and we will fix it up to give a child through the charity. The play kitchen was missing one panel and should be easily and cheaply fixed and was discounted by at least $32 . I think the same kitchen at a toy shop would easily be $65 in tact so after fixing it up and what that costs I think I have saved $45 at least.i also saved at least $30 on underwear for charity and myself ( new and top brands) . I also bought ninja turtle children's socks for 90 cents for a pair simply because they were parts of a set that had missing socks, same as undies , they were single pairs from a pack.i had more savings but my comment will exceed the amount of characters available in a single comment so I will just say it's been an excellent savings fortnight.!.
    I am happy but sick of my limitations . Sigh. But little by little I will get there....
    Have a good weekend Annabel and family and bluebirds .love Barb W

    1. Dear Barb, Anything with the eyes is patricianly worrying I think. I really like your way of stretching the grocery shopping. Often we can get another couple of meals out of what is on hand and have a use it up kind of night. It saves a surprising amount! And it can be kind of a good challenge!
      I hope you are feeling much better. You did very well in spite of your limitations! And I hope the weekend will be lovely. You have kept a good attitude even through some major difficulties! And still had lovely food too from great deals! Very good effort Barb! With love

  4. I have had a busy week, made a huge tomato sauce batch and tomato chutney filling all my jars and bottles. Picked beetroot and cooked then set in a jelly for salad so refreshing. Cutting up zuccini ready for zuccini pickles. Making a quilt for a 60th birthday gift for a sister in law. Too hot to do much only bought basics to keep going. Keep cool. XX

    1. Dear Wendy, Hello! Tomato sauce sounds fantastic! So does the chutney. You always keep a beautiful garden I have noticed! I really look forward to seeing this quilt. Yes very hot again today. The farm was a scorcher. You keep cool too! With lots of love

  5. Annabel you are amazing how you can cook in the heat. You must have aircon :-) The oven doesn't go on in this house when it gets over 30C. I saw where those lovely succulents ended up. You are so generous. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Early in the week it wasnt hot so I got some cooking done. But I did break my own rule with one lot. And some stewing. Mostly we live on cold meat and salads in the heat. I baked a ham back when I did the plum cakes and this gave us cold meat through the hot days. And it is still hot... not as bad as yesterday though. The farm was hotter then here too. Chloe had 47 outside her house! Today down there is much cooler though. It is wearing! I hope you have a good weekend too! With much love

  6. Hello Annabel and beautiful bluebirds :) .

    Annabel your cupcakes look divine and what a great idea to put plum puree in them for an extra healthy ingredient. Also been exceedingly hot here all week outside as well Annabel so not much gardening work done apart from after 6pm at night here.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $326.12 this week and I am including the $50 DH earned from gardening in our savings as we have banked it into our saving for our home deposit account.

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

    Earnings -
    - DH earned $50 from a impromptu gardening job from our next door neighbour for mowing his lawn and doing the whipper snippering. The neighbour insisted on paying him as he usually pays for a gardener to mow and trim it anyway.

    Internet listing savings -
    - Taking advantage of a free listing promotion on eBay I listed 10 homemade items saving $16.50 over usual prices.

    Hair cutting savings -
    - DH cut my hair at home saving around $30 (how much is a haircut in an Australian salon nowadays ? I am going on prices from 2 years ago) to have it cut in the local hair salon. I cut the fringe and DH did the rest :) .

    Grocery savings -
    - Purchased on special 2 jars of vegemite and 3 x 600ml containers of cream on half price special saving $5.87 on usual prices. We have frozen 2 containers of cream for later use. I was surprised that DH said oh yes lets get a few of those bottles of cream when he saw them as he usually bypasses those saying oh they are almost out of date, think he is catching the save more money mindset :) .

    Other purchases-
    - Purchased 2 pairs of dressy shorts on special (that are actually what I call a decent length on me being tall) saving $99.90 on usual prices. What is it with mini (Kylie) shorts nowadays ?, even what they classify as long shorts are short on me usually.
    - Bought 10 x portable solar lanterns on special on eBay saving $24 on usual prices to replace ours which are wearing out.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 3kg our own chocolate pudding from food storage (equivalent to YoGo in the shops) saving $10.85 over purchasing the equivalent amount. This fed the two of us for 3 nights and two dinner guests too.
    - Processed half of our garlic picked from the gardens in the processor with olive oil and froze it for our years supply of minced garlic for our household. This will last 12 months frozen and we saved the other half for planting our next crop of garlic in the gardens.

    In our vegetable gardens -
    - Made our own white oil from a recipe I found on the internet for spraying our fruit trees saving $4.43 over purchasing it in the garden centre.
    - Harvested 2.2kg of Australian white garlic, 250g of brown onions and 1.9kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $70.82 over purchasing it.

    Electricity savings -
    - Saved $7.50 by using our solar lanterns to light our home at night and only turning on our electric hot water system on once this week.

    Have a wonderfully money saving week ahead everyone :).

    1. Dear Sewingcreations, Thats ok I knew it was you! Well here I checked three closest hair dressers and it was $45 for am mens cut. I nearly fell over. Most of that is a search fee hahah!
      Now you have mentioned chocolate pudding I feel like it. I feel like anything cold actually. Mum used to whip fruit juice, a can of evaporated milk and jelly and it set like a bubbly jelly/custard type thing, we called it flummery. It is still hot here and anything like this would be great!
      The gardening earnings and the solar lanterns were extra good I thought but you had a great week! A very good Vicky Challenge too!
      Have a great weekend and I hope next week is another good one! With much love

  7. Oops above comment was from Sewingcreations15, forgot to put my name at the bottom :) .

  8. Your baked goods are so beautiful. They look like fairies made them.

  9. Your cakes are always so lovely!
    Do you have a link on your blog as to how you make jam, jelly? Often it looks like just plastic wrap over the jars? In the states we pressure can, or water bath canning. To prevent Botulism.
    I'm going to buy some of your cup cake wraps too. Just darling and have never thought to use powdered sugar.
    Due to all the Hurricanes, the states are running low on IV fluids for pts. In the hospitals. Any word how it's faring there?

    1. Dear Tootles, This is how I make most of my jam...
      It is super easy. If I have a huge amount I do it on the stove but mostly I do it this way in the microwave. We do not can jam. Some places do as Jane told me she does in Queensland and her part of Australia is humid. But here I have never heard of it. Different countries just have different ways sometimes. I have never heard of anyone getting sick from jam. It reminds the same as the day you made it for at least a couple of years.
      I did not know this about IV fluids! That is severe! I know there is a big flu outbreak and we had that very badly here in our winter. It was a shocking flu. As this was so bad I dont look forward to this winter.
      We are usually on a mission to lower sugar so the sprinkling of icing sugar is the substitute for actual icing. It looks pretty and so this is what I am doing now. They were a hit anyhow! Many thanks! With love

    2. I saw a news story about those IV bags being in short supply, too. Looks like production will be back up in a few weeks but this is a terrible time for it with all the cases of flu right now.

  10. Annabel, I read your blog each post and really enjoy your writing and the photos. I don’t usually comment but wanted to thank you for the blog. Also laughed out loud about your comment about how you apparently must need to do endless tracking :). I am the same way, I find it therapeutic to have lists about everything. ;)

    1. Dear Hillogene, It sounds like we are very similar. I go off track quite easily. Even now I am thinking mmm I didnt complete my food journal for yesterday and I better do it or I will under off course! My mind also is more at ease if things are written down! So we better stick with it! With love

  11. The weather has been so crazy! You are burning up over there and we were snowed in for half of the week. Our daughter's family in Germany had a horrible wind storm this week. She went on the train to pick up the kids from school and trees were down on the tracks so she had to get off the train and walk for a good long ways to get to the school. She kept getting lost because of trees on the the roads and does not speak German to ask directions. Her husband went and retrieved their car from the garage were it is kept far from their apartment and drove all over trying to get to them and finally did and brought them all home. They said that walking was scary because tiles were flying off roofs and hitting people walking down below.

    We saved just because we could not get out of the neighborhood on slippery roads for three days. On Monday we got some beautiful strawberries for 1.29 a pound and I made a small batch of jam which turned out so yummy. On Tuesday with the snow coming in I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup. The onions we have been getting are very strong and that soup tasted only of strong onions so that I even thought I would just throw it out. Then I wondered if a little sugar would mask the onion. Sure enough, a tablespoon of sugar and it tasted just fine without any sweet taste. On Saturday we went to the grocery store and saw that spiral sliced hams were .99 a pound. I picked one up the was sticky all over the outside because the glaze packet was leaking. My husband went to ask at the meat counter for a wet wipe to wipe my hands and the meat man came out and put a $4 off sticker on the ham. We got a 9 pound ham for $5! I just put it in the sink and washed the sticky off the wrapper when we got home. We also got 8 free cans of beans, 2 free pounds of pasta and 1# rolls of breakfast sausage for .99 each. We cashed in rewards points that we got for free because our local football team won several games and got a free dozen doughnuts saving 7.99. They are in the freezer to take out by twos for a treat. The flu has hit hard here but we are staying well so far. I think we have done so much to improve our health over the last several years that we are less susceptible to catching it.

    Have a good weekend and enjoy those evening swims. That sounds just lovely with all this cold weather here.

    1. Dear Lana, How frightening for your daughter. Im sure it did your heart no good to hear how severe it was in Germany! And for you too there!
      It is still hot here and so extreme from what you are having. I cannot even imagine it that cold.
      The sugar to contract the onion was good! If onions are like that I have good luck cooking them down to caramelise them as this gives them sweetness... I love onions like that. I am amazed how it transforms them. If they are strong they are probably very good for you and bug killing too!
      What a bargain on the ham! That was great! Last week I got a ham at a good price but nothing like yours. I cooked it with honey over it and we had cold meat and salads then.
      The doughnuts free! That was goos so were the tins!
      Be careful with the flu. Avoid crowded places if you can. It is probably different by now to the one we had here which went until about October but it was the worst flu in many many years. I will be extra carful this year as the severity of it gave me a fright, I didnt get it but Lucy, Kato and Harper did. I wont forget how sick they are ever.
      You have a good weekend too! With much love

  12. How timely to see your apple yogurt muffin recipe!!! I just got a 5 KG (11 pounds) bucket of Greek yogurt for $1.99 and I was looking for ways to use it!! We have 2 muffins left since breakfast this morning and I love to bake big batches and then freeze some of them for convenience later on! Thank you, thank you!!

    I was able to can 7 quarts of green beans and dehydrate about a pint's worth of green beans from 10 pounds that I bought for $5!
    I made cinnamon French toast sticks out of a loaf of bread that was becoming dry! We had some and froze the rest.
    When I zero-ed out our checking account because our next pay check came in, there was $503 excess. So I used that and some other money that came in to pay off the last $800 on my surgery bill so that debt is gone!!!
    We ate all meals at home. Gathered another 44 eggs this week, and repurposed leftovers in the fridge into new meals that were well received!
    Apparently, friends think of us as their "DIY" friends whose business will take on anything! Lol! My friend called and said her Kitchenaid mixer stopped working and that she would be happy to pay for us to repair it! Dave went on YouTube and saw how to take it apart and what to look for, did it and ordered the parts. After parts came in, it took him 20 minutes to repair and close up the mixer. $65- almost $40 in parts and $25 for the 20 minutes of labor!

    This has been a great week! Btw- tracking your package- it went from Ohio to Chicago O'Hare airport, then Dubai (UAE), then Sidney, now "Australia" so I know it's gating closer to you!! Lol!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, I saw earlier about the yoghurt but I am only just realising how BIG this bucket is! Holy cow! Ok yoghurt is so nutritious and useful. You can also pretend it is sour cream, buttermilk etc as well. What a great buy!
      You continually add to your pantry! It makes my heart happy to hear everything you do.
      All those eggs in freezing weather is amazing. Truly I am in awe of that as my chooks usually slow right down in the cold and our cold is not even your idea of cold!
      It sounds like this package is having a great holiday! I will let you know the moment it arrives! Quite excited... with much love

  13. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    The fairy picks and icing sugar are so pretty on cakes! I am going to do this!

    Cooking and food: Our local grocery had its "Primal Meat Sale" this week. Silly name notwithstanding, this is always a great sale on high-quality protein, so we purchased several things for the freezer. The crockpot got a workout on Sunday to make country ribs for work lunches, and we ate from the freezer and pantry all week. All work lunches and snacks were brought from home. ($150 savings on lunches, I don't know how to price the snacks! Even at just $1 a day, that is $14 for the week for much healthier snacks than those from a vending machine.)

    Household: The fridge and freezer got a good cleaning and organizing, and the holiday decorations are all (finally) packed away. It is supposed to be lovely and warm this weekend, so I am hoping to throw open all the windows and give the house a nice airing.

    Shopping: I purchased 4 sweaters for work at clearance prices, saving $92 over retail prices. I also used 2 coupons at the craft store to buy a needle threader and a skein of yarn - saving $5.

    Entertainment: It was incredibly cold this weekend, so we spent a lot of time in our cozy home. We enjoyed more books and movies from the library, as well as our own collection. Having a home dvd library (many purchased at thrift stores or library sales, and received as gifts) is very convenient and has saved us lots of money over renting dvds and using gas to get to the store.

    Crafts/gifts: I did some stitching on a cross-stitch piece for my kitchen, taking a page out of Annabel's book and putting in a few stitches whenever I had a little time. I think I will finish it this coming week! Also some more worsted socks on my needles, and bit by bit knitting on two shawls.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy, The ribs in the crackpot sound fabulous. I am thinking with the price of snacks... the savings would be huge. Check out some prices next time you go past a vending machine... not to mention how much healthier you are eating.
      Being content at home in awful weather is really wonderful. While you are trying to keep cozy we are tying to keep warm! But the indoor days are kind of the same... much nice with nice things to do!
      I hope I get to see this cross stitch and love you are using the moments to get it done! They do sure add up! With much love

  14. This week I bought 10 pounds of green beans ($5), 5 pounds of cottage cheese ($1) and 11 pounds of Greek yogurt in a nice bucket that I will reuse when it's empty ($1.99)!!
    They were converted so far into: 2 big pans of lasagna (cottage cheese instead of ricotta), 7 quarts of home canned green beans to replenish that supply, 1 pint of dehydrated green beans, yogurt into individual portions with fruit on the bottom or granola to add as a topping for breakfast and snacks! And now, the first thing in your post is giving me a recipe for Apple yogurt muffins!!! What wonderful timing!!! I will make some big batches to freeze ahead some for future use!! Thank you so much!
    I made French toast sticks from a loaf of bread that was drying out! We had some for breakfast but I froze a big bag for future breakfasts!

    When I brought our checking account to a zero balance yesterday as the new paycheck arrived, I had around $500 excess so I used that and some other unexpected income to pay off the final $800 owing on my hospital bill so that is our last medical debt!!! We can now focus on the last two debts (cc) that we have and then our small mortgage and we will be debt free, so our financial goals are progressing!
    With our streams of income, this week a friend asked if we could fix her Kirchenaid mixer because it stopped working. She assumed that we could do it because we are handy and she knows we do side work! Hadn't tackled one before but agreed to try. On YouTube Dave found a tutorial on opening up the mixer to find the syncs f the problem. He did it, ordered just under $40 in parts and when they came, he had it running like new within 20 minutes. She was thrilled to pay $65, so we made $25 for just 20 minutes of actual labor!! Small amount maybe, but every small amount brings us closer to our goal!! After tithing on the income part, we put 1/2 into savings and half on the CC debt! Some might ask, "why bother with such piddlely little amounts to add to savings or debt reduction?" But I can tell you positively that for us, this has been how we've been able to make major financial strides!
    I made a few more two ply flannel Kleenex s using flannel that had a streak of sun fading on them. I used a fancy stitch around the edges and, for my personal use, I don't care if there's a faded line across it! Lol!

    I've been organizing/clearing/cleaning/decluttering in various parts of the house and it really is exhilarating! Speeds up my tasks and just makes me happy!
    So exciting to see all the creative ways you and the other bluebirds are feathering their nests!!
    Btw- your package traveled from Ohio to Chicago O'Hare airport to Dubai (UAE) to Sidney and is now somewhere in Australia on it's way to you! Shouldn't be much longer!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, Last year Andy used you tube to do a repair on my kitchenmaid. Ours needed to be filled with new grease. Anyway it worked and saved a lot. So well done on that as it was well outside the usual side line! Because many people think small amounts dont add up they make no progress! All the small amounts do add up. A year this way can be mind boggling! Your savings are inspiring! I hope this new week will be just as good! With love

    2. Today I baked 2-1/2 dozen Raspberry muffins and 2-1/2 dozen lemon poppyseed muffins and the extra batter I put into containers and froze. They both used yogurt. Then I made 10 individual raspberry yogurt containers and a quart of caramel apple yogurt. That's used up about 10% of the bucket of yogurt!! The bucket look like about 3-1/2 gallon size! Oh my!! And I do plan on using it in place of sour cream!
      And I will freeze portions of it for making yogurt in the future!!

  15. Annabel,
    Your cakes are so pretty and I love the little fairies! Yay for Andy! I think that is very fantastic Rick won't keep his own book, but he makes sure to tell me any savings to add and he just loves seeing how it adds up. We figured out that if we did not try and just paid full price for everything and didn't look for alternatives we would have to have almost 3x the income coming in than we do so even the smallest things add up at the end of the year. Now for me my savings can be significantly less in winter because not only me, but others stay home much of the time so the bartering and bargain hunting slows down. However since I always explore many avenues as ways to save I was sent a FREE microwave to review and I get to keep it! Yay! All for just calling and saying I would be happy to do it. I checked the price of it online at 4 different stores and at all of them the price was $99.99, I also got a big bottle of shampoo and conditioner, $11, 6 dozen eggs from the girls $12, I used Amazon gift cards and bought the boy a tripod he wanted and I got myself a lovely crystal candy dish and some pretty craft embellishments and saved $37 and .47 on a stamp. I am saving bottles from malt vinegar to hopefully do something nice with instead of recycling them and using up everything food wise so there is no waste. I have been drying light things on my drying rack instead of using the dryer and have saved been burning wood saving on the cost of fuel oil. Dog food is made by us utilizing the bone broth I make and the meat scraps and some of our eggs and oats and extra veggies so we keep their cost down. I needed new gotchies and Kmart has sent me really great offers so I have replenished my gotchie drawer for next to nothing! Yay! I am also making homemade coffee creamer now. I used to get it free or cheap with coupons, but the coupons and sales stink right now so homemade it is! And drinking thyme tea has luckily kept me from catching any of the colds or flus going around so I haven't needed any kind of cold medicine or a trip to the doctor so that is good too! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      The microwave was a huge bonus! You get some amazing stuff! It is fantastic! I love seeing how you build your pantry! Also I love that you collect things that you can also gift, barter etc.
      I am learning more about using herbs for keeping well and making things like Thieves as last winter was so bad for flu here I am already thinking about this winter. I read up on the thyme as I have that growing. Thank you!
      You had a fantastic week and I hope the new week will be just as big! Well done! With love

  16. Hi Annabel and bluebirds,
    First week back at work for me and it's been a good one. I have to admit I was quite happy being at home, pottering around. Needs must however and off back to work I went. I never get bored when at home. Lucky for me we are off on our beach holiday for a week, in two weeks. It's going to be a hot day for us today, 31°c. I know you Aussie ladies would find that positively cool. This evening we have everyone coming for my Mums birthday. I am hoping it will be still enough to set the tables up outside under the tree.
    I have been keeping a daily tally of spending for this month to see how the "little things" add up. And dont they just. After today spending will return to normal and we will be off for the year.
    Mother nature decided to give us a little reminder at 12.30am she can still shake our world with a 4.00 shake. We were fortunate in the 2010/11 quakes to come out of things with our family and friends safe, job intact and a house that could be repaired.
    Have a lovely weekend everyone and wherever you live in this world of ours be safe and well.
    I must add Annabel your baking and meals always make me hungry. Even if I have just eaten. Well done Andy with your Vicky challenge.


    1. Dear Mandy,
      I have my Mums birthday too, it was yesterday and my daughter tomorrow!
      I find earthquakes so frightening! It sounds like you are experienced in them!
      It is lovely you have a beach holiday to look forward to! That would be so nice. Just enjoy! With much love

  17. Lovely baked goodies! Wow, I can't wait to get some succulents this Spring. I want to grow them on an outside wall in a picture frame. :)
    I did well with my Vicky challenge:
    2 home hair cuts; using up ripe fruits in jellos and puddings; saved $50 on discounted fruits, breads, and cereals;
    home baked goods; mending; & packed lunches.
    My biggest savings was at a library sale of used books and magazines. I saved over $100 as the books were 20 for $1 and 10 cents per magazine. Total savings: $261.55

    Have a good week!

    1. Dear Leslie,
      I love succulents. Some are so pretty and flower shaped.
      The library sale sounds fantastic! Well done!
      You have a good weekend too and new week! With love

  18. Hi Annabel,
    Your baking looks so lovely. My kids are teens but i think i will still buy some cake toppers they just add a little touch of fun. I love the way you love your family and send them home with baked goods etc, they must feel nourished with love by your sweet thoughtful acts of kindness. I hope to be that kind of mum and love my adult children and their families with baking and care packages when they reach that stage of life. You are a true Titus 2 woman and a wonderful example to us with younger children. This week I am happy to say we used a late tax refund to pay off our credit card. We worked really hard and paid off $12,000 debt in the past 16 mths from various debts and this was the last of our consumer debt. Now we only have the mortgage left so will be working on that next. Our daughter got into a double degree at Uni and has managed to source all her text books for $160 buying them used and saving over $600 buying them new. They were all in very good condition, many looked brand new. She has also been helping with cooking and made a lovely bruschetta using our homegrown tomatoes and some banana cakes using overripe bananas. Quite proud of how savvy she has become with money at such a young age. My luck has continued at the Op Shops and I found a beautiful large Venetian mirrored photo frame for $4, a pretty navy and white cocktail dress for my daughter for $7 (handy for some 18th parties she has coming up), I stalked the markdown lady at Coles and got some gourmet sausages for $4, wagyu beef patties for $4 and organic chicken fillet strips for $5. Saved $100 on a wildlife adventure cruise by buying tickets through Groupon. So pretty happy with our Vicky Challenge this week. We have a pile of things to sell but I'm a little nervous about it and not sure what the best way would be to do this? Do you or Andy have any advice regarding selling and what forums have you had the most success with eg. eBay, gumtree etc.
    Love Lisa xo

    1. Lisa,
      Having been in the position of paying off credit card debt and then tackling the mortgage I want to congratulate you on a wonderful job and encourage you to keep going. Even just a little extra on the mortgage payment every month is progress and you should pat yourself on the back each month your able to do it.

    2. Dear Lisa, Thank you so much for what you said. Truly when the kids re older you just go into a new stage. When they have babies this is a fantastic stage! Laine taught me a lot on this. She always said not to be too busy the kids are grown, to be available and to help and teach. I am finding this to be so true. They go through a stage of needing help and looking to you. I am finding it the biggest blessing. You have a lot to look forward to!
      It sounds like your daughter has been watching and learning from you. See... you start to see what you have sown.
      Your op shopping sounds lovely... I would love that mirror frame!
      And stalking the mark down lady... I do that. I hang around and keep coming back if I see they are marking down. this is often how I build up the freezer.
      Andy has sold on gumtree quite successfully. I am trying a fb buy sell swap. either way there can be people who dont turn up etc. I would never be home alone and let people turn up or let them inside. Just be a bit careful with common sense. But mainly I only hear success... I think give something a try and see how you go. I aim to get more confident in this myself. So we will be intros together! With love

    3. Thank you so much Annabel and Vicky for your words of encouragement and advice. I admire you both so much and have learned a lot from both of you.
      Love Lisa xo

  19. Hi Annabel, it's good to see that you had such a good week. I only went out twice last week. Once to purchase some needles for my machine and the second trip was to post a parcel and then go to the Library. I do get out for a walk on the beach each morning with the fur baby.
    My bargain finding husband, came home with two big bags of mangoes. Later, that same day, our neighbour gifted us a bag of mangoes from his sons home. After no mangoes we are now in mango heaven. I have made mango chilli chutney and mango ginger jam. As the mangoes start to get too ripe I am cutting them up, bagging and freezing them for use in smoothies. I think there could be a mango cheesecake happening over the weekend.
    In the sewing room I have completed a new dress and shirt. I have re purposed an old dress into a skirt and I have made a number of little brooches. I was given two lovely bath sheets for Christmas. I am trimming these with some gifted ribbon to pretty them up a little. Two dresses are cut out and waiting to be made.
    In the garden there has been lots of watering and spreading of hay in a thick layer. I picked up my bales from a local sugar cane farm. We have been harvesting pineapple, pommegranate, passionfruit and sweet potato. With the rising temps and the lack of rain, keeping the garden going is a daily effort. Once it cools a little I will be able to get some salad greens growing.
    A productive and busy week in this household. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, Wow all those mangoes! I know you will make the most of them! That is amazing.
      You sewing has been lovely and the brooches I saw a pic and they are so sweet!
      The hay will be a big help in the garden. It is great to hear about your harvest. All exotic things to me! We are struggling with the garden here too it is just so hot, this is hard on everything (and everyone).
      That was a very productive week. Well done Bluey on your bargain hunting. I hope he comes home with something amazing again next week! With love

  20. Dear Annabel

    This week I bought bananas for 50 cents per kg and many other fruit bargains at the Old Spot Growers Market.

    I had dinner at my daughter's one night and was taken out for dinner another night. I cooked all other meals at home and took all my work food from home.

    I worked one extra shift.

    I picked apples, tomatoes and basil from the garden and was gifted some lemons from a neighbour.

    I sold an item for $100

    I needed a second fridge so I found one on a facebook buy and sell page for $40.

    Listed more things for sale

    Hope you have a great week
    Love Mel S

    1. Dear Mel, That was great on the bananas! That market sounds fantastic.
      Selling a big item was a great extra too. I am dreaming of a bigger fridge. Well done on finding one for $40!!
      That was a very good week. The heat hasnt been good. I am finding it awful today even though it isn't as hot as yesterday it is stifling and now windy which is bad! Bring on a cool change! I hope you get a restful Sunday! With lots of love

  21. I'm so going to try these muffins. I'm taring to be thrifty as the retirement is making it a necessary action. But having the extra time and finding bloggers like yourself is making it easier and more fun. Thanks for the inspiration and receipe.

  22. Oh, I forgot to ask where did you get the little cupcake liners. So cute.

    1. These were from a cheap shop... they were our cheap shop which is Cheap as Chips and another is Neds. They are a nice small size suitable for lids. I watch fro theme everywhere! xxx

  23. Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Thanks
    for providing this info.


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