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 4 January 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, January 5, 2018.

Our first Feather your Nest Friday for 2018!  The purpose of these posts is to take a minute to look over what we did for the week, what our blessings were and to appreciate them.  It is really easy to just look at the list ahead of us. That is tiring!  We need to rest too and consider things.   This also give us a change to see how our plans are going.   We need to take a break and celebrate!

There are many times that it does us good to just be grateful.  I used to keep a Gratitude Journal and each day write in all the things I had to be grateful for that day.  It was a wonderful exercise.  If you are battling or depressed this is very uplifting as it opens our eyes up to all the blessings around us.  It really touches your heart.

Some of the things I did this week to save, build up our home, get ahead etc. included:

Lucy gave me bananas so I made them into little banana cakes. I use my homemade yoghurt in these as well as use up some farm eggs!

Most went into the freezer and this tray went to Lucy's and impressed Harper immensely!

At last I had success in the sales!  Straight after Christmas I just had no luck.  It was like this last year.  Now we are into the new year finally things are marked down more.  I got  8 cartons of cream at 30c each,   7 rolls of beautiful wrapping paper at 50c each,  a huge  4.7 kilo ham for $19,
rolls of sticky tape for 50c,   sparklers for 25c a packet,  and later for more cartons of cream at 82c.  
Ok I have a lot of cream but I froze most of them!
Also I went on New Years Eve to Coles as the next day would be a public holiday.  I decided this year I would do this which is going to the shops at weird times I wouldn't normally go to see if it pays off.
It did!  The meat department was a dead loss so at first I thought I had wasted my time.  But then I checked the deli.   Success!  I came home with five bags of deli meat as they apparently have to sell all the sliced meats before the day is out if the store will be closed the next day.   I had ham, turkey, chicken. pastrami.... each bag was 75c.    And containers of ricotta cheese for 25c!  I ended up with  almost three kilos of ricotta cheese for  $3.    I was amazed!

So the fridge has been full.  Having ricotta, cream, eggs.... I made a baked ricotta cheesecake, ricotta pancakes.... and I am planning baked ricotta for one dinner next week plus I will make quiches with the eggs and cream and a ricotta pie as well.    I baked the ham and we had ham and salads for dinner last night and will again in a couple of nights time.   We will freeze a lot of it.   I will chop lots to go into my quiches and pie.  Ham and eggs for breakfast is also on the menu.

Each day we are picking tomatoes.  Luckily tomatoes go well with everything I just mentioned!

I found a really large pyrex glass jug in an op shop for $4.  This is perfect for jam making.  I had one years ago and broke it and have never found anything as good. This is identical!
I also found a perfect gift for the gift cupboard for $4.

Last night I went walking to check on a nectarine tree I knew had fruit.  Last week they were too green.  They are almost ripe and the birds had started on them so I picked a basketful.  This is in a lane quite near us.  Amazingly no one seems to pick the fruit.  I got about three kilos (6 pounds) and tonight I will go back for more.   We will eat some fresh.  I make a salad with nectarine,  rocket and balsamic vinegar so that will go with the baked ham....   and then I will make my use it up fruit cake and freeze some of those.

This year Andy is having his own page per week in the Vicky Challenge.  I usually count things he did to save.  This year he has started several new things along with me.  I think this is all because he is highly impressed with the whole thing!  😊
He has started doing his own home brew and is having the time of his life with that.   It is a big savings as it is something he can use as gifts and barter too.  Also he has sold several things.  Then this morning he rang the insurance company regarding his bill for the van.  He negotiated it down by $295 a year.  This took him about ten minutes.  $295 for ten minutes is good money!  So with sales, brew and discount he added an amazing $895 to this weeks Vicky Challenge and I haven't even added my part up yet!  

I did 15 minutes towards my sewing everyday. Last night it was late at night and it was just cutting out but I still got my 15 minutes done!
Also I have read my Bible and worked on some study everyday.  This has helped me a lot!
I got my walking done and now it is warm enough so we will be swimming again.
And I worked on a post each day this week to get the year off to a flying start.  I am posting over the weekend as well as I still have another subject that I really want to work on this year.

So I am pretty happy with the week as a beginning!   And today I am headed off to pick plums at my Aunts!  She messaged me that her beautiful plums are ripe.  This will be so much fun!

I hope you had a good week.  How did you build up your home, save or get ahead?  How did you get started on some of your goals for the year?   I know many of you are facing freezing and difficult conditions!   I hope you are all safe, sound and warm with good things to work on indoors!

Thank you for so many comments and so much support.  I will get to many more replies over the weekend! xxxx


  1. Dear Annabel and blue birds,
    Thank you Annabel for all the excellent posts , it has helped me get 2018 off to a good start . I am a little bit behind in my goals but I have goals and one of them is to lose more weight this year to help decrease my pain levels and also put me a step closer to getting my knee replaced . I have lost 2.7 kg in two and a bit weeks. Have now lost about 38 kg in sixteen months . I am trying to stay on track and doing pretty well with that goal.
    My best feathering has been slow going and I am afraid I do not have a lot of big savings to report for the vicky challenge. This week has been a slow but steady week. I did get some grocery specials, I got soft piping ricotta for 80 cents , cottage cheese for 83 cents, a squeezy pouch of yoghurt that sells for $2.90 when not on special , I got it for 29 cents and while I do not buy these regularly it was a good snack or once in a while treat.
    I bought an electrical popcorn machine before Christmas using flybuys $$ and I will be using it to make air popped popcorn for snacks , saving me money and calories on snack foods.
    Thank you again Annabel , I think one of my biggest goals this year is to make my own gifts starting ASAP and also saving in small ways that add up like not buying a magazine or not buying morning tea out very often etc. I spent too much money on incidentals last year . I have some expenses coming up which I will need to save for and pay off. So I will be following along with the challenges here and hopefully I will save myself a lot again this year. I did well with the vicky challenge last year but do not know how much I saved in total for the year as I only recorded my savings here on bluebirds not in a book!. This year I am starting a bluebirds book!.
    Take care everyone and I hope you all have a great weekend .love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb , you have done so well with all your savings and weight loss over the last year or more, I just wanted to comment, well done! Love Maria xx

    2. well done on the weight loss Barb

    3. Dear Maria and Margaret , thank you both for your kind comments. My weight has been a life long struggle and to keep nearly 40 kg off feels amazing.i also lost weight about 8 years ago so in total have lost over 50 kg , I cannot believe it and feel embarrassed that I was ever that big and that unhealthy. I am doing a lot better these days but have a long way to go. As Annabel says , little bits add up so I have taken that on board and I live by that now . I may not be able to do a marathon but baby steps all add up!!. Thanks again ladies love Barb W.

    4. Dear barb, I am very sorry I have taken so long to reply. I have had a lot of posts as you know to get started and things behind the scenes which I know you understand...
      You have achieved so much and it is really good to realise how much! You are always so encouraging to everyone thank you for all your comments. Our health is so important and I am working on mine too. So we will go on together for the New Year and just keep working at it! You have done great! With love

    5. Dear Annabel, thank you . Yes I understand that you have been very busy setting up your beautiful blog for the year and I realise you also have a busy life behind the scenes so please do not worry if and when you are late to reply to my comments. Thank you for replying and thank you for your encouragement and kind words. I love bluebirds, it is a source of much hope and peace and goodness . Thank you to everyone who comments , we have a wonderful and supportive community here. Love Barb W.

  2. Dear Annabel, well I've been away, and today and tomorrow we are celebrating Miss B's 18th birthday, so I do not yet have much to report, but I can see you are off to a flying start as always. What a pleasure it is to see you making progress in leaps and bounds. I just know that 2018 will be a great year for us all. Sending love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I just saw some photos and I am getting the idea of the enormous amount of work you have put into the celebration and that cake! It is adorable. I hope this year will be full of your usual creativity and beautiful touches. I look forward to it. When you recover from the party though! With love

  3. You really have started the year brilliantly Annabel. I have enjoyed reading from your blog everyday this week, it has been a real blessing.

    You really did manage to get some great specials, and those prices...WOW!

    My nectarines are usually ready around 15th January. I don't have many this year because the tree had a really good prune last year as it was not producing the best nectarines. I cant wait to taste them this year to see if there is a difference. They definitely are bigger.

    Glad to hear Andy is joining the challenge this year.

    Those cupcakes are the cutest, no wonder Harper loved them.

    Pantry cleaning day for me...doing things outside is out of the question in this hot weather.


    1. Dear Tania, I hope you are over the heat there. I am catching up her with replies. The SE had two fires now so it has been full on.
      I hope your nectarines turn out well. I like them stewed...
      The boys can do so much which you already know as you have a very handy and inventive husband. What an asset they are!
      The first week did get off to a good start... I hope for you too! With love

  4. Annabel,
    Yay for Andy! It really does make one feel good to see how everything adds up and getting the best deals possible makes other things go further. Well done on your bargains! Wow on the deli meat! Such possibilities there! Also on the fruit picking, it is so cold here there is nothing to pick and a bounty of fruit is such a blessing. I am starting off my savings with store points that is yielding free items and burning wood is saving on the heat bill and staying home is saving on gas. I am working on canning more of the dry beans I have on hand and using the drying rack for lighter loads of laundry to save from using the dryer as much. Your week has been great!!!!

    1. Dear Vicky, I think we both got off to a good start already! Your encouragement hips me a lot. What extreme weather differences we have! But it can work out the same intuit it is necessary to be indoors doing stuff!
      With love

  5. Annabel I am exhausted just reading what you have managed to achieve this week. Like Andy, Bluey had really liked seeing what we are saving by doing ourselves or by just not wasting what we have. He has been on board with this since last year so will continue again this year. Our savings are grouped together.
    The best post Christmas saving Bluey has found so far was a huge Christmas ham. It had been reduced by $20. Our son and DIL gave us a vacuum sealer for Christmas. We cut the ham up into pieces suitable for the two of us and then vacuum sealed the ham before freezing.
    Friends of ours wanted to meet up with us for morning tea at a swanky restaurant. This was just not going to happen. Instead I invited them to come to our place.I made up a boiled pineapple fruit cake using a home grown pineapple and the fruit left over from the Christmas pudding. I also made lemonade scones served with ginger marmalade and cream. There was also a fresh fruit platter. I made up pots of tea and coffee. Everything was served on vintage platters with plain white plates. It looked very fancy and tasted delicious. We had a lovely catch up with our friends.
    Life is good.

    1. Hi Jane,
      Your morning tea sounds just wonderful. Perfect in fact. You have inspired me to endeavour to have morning or afternoon teas at home using "special plates etc" rather than "a catch up for coffee" at a coffee shop. Thank-you for sharing what you did with your friends. I just need to do some baking!! Yours sounds delicious! Cheers Jo

    2. I'm coming to your house for morning tea Jane!

    3. Jane,
      Your tea sounds just grand! Little touches like vintage platters are so lovely!

    4. Dear Jane,
      I think we're all coming to your house for morning tea! It sounds beautiful.
      Love, Kelsey

    5. Jane what beautiful way to have afternoon, and so much more personal than at a coffee shop.
      I must do this far more often, but as I live out of town, it is usually easier for me to travel than others, but this could well change. Thank you for the delightful picture I now have in my mind
      Lorraine xx

    6. Dear Jane, I just wanted to add my name to the list of people lining up to come to your place for morning or afternoon tea!. It sounds delightful. I will be doing the same thing here once my decluttering is done. It gives me incentive to do more and more organising each day , knowing that I can have people over instead of having to go out or to their places. It's amazing how much something like that can save us and also it is much nicer than a restaurant or coffe shop. Take care Jane .love Barb W.

    7. Dear Jane, Finally I get back here to reply! Your cooking for the visitors looked so good. Honestly this is the way to go! It looks like we are all coming to your place.
      Bluey is an awesome shopper I notice! After that I finally did get a ham and so pleased. I would really like to get a food saver. That might be next for me.
      Also I cannot imagine homegrown pineapple for your cake! To me that is fabulous! Love it.
      With love,

  6. Great work Annabel, you are always so industrious, as am I, but not so much in the school holidays with the kids home, and it being 42degrees where I live!
    Are you willing to share your recipe for those little Banana cakes? They look so delectable! Do you get those fancy cake toppers at the Supermarket Annabel? Regards Robyn S.A

  7. Found the recipe for Miracle Muffins in your previous posts. Thanks so much Annabel!

    1. Dear Robyn, Oh good, they are easy and these days I use some of my homemade yoghurt to form part to the milk ingredients too. Ice them and call them cakes or sprinkle with icing sugar and call them muffins! Pretty versatile.
      Just enjoy the kids home and keep cool! I am not sure the ages of your children but we used to do a lot of crafts and swimming. The heat isn't suitable just now but when cooler we would have several days of baking and filling the freezer for back to school lunch boxes. Another one was re arranging bedrooms! The big bedroom makeovers took care of a coupe of days and they loved it! (no cost just refresh, re arrange, organise...) When school went back I remember it always took me a week of having a big clean up! With much love

  8. Hello Annabel and lovely bluebirds and happy new year to you all :).

    Annabel we saw in the new year with a glass each of sarsaparilla on the cottage back veranda watching the fireworks from the local park further down the ridge from us. I also decided since I got a 10% discount voucher sent to me from our online chemist to order our 12 - 14 months worth of vitamins, minerals, herbal back cream for DH and iron tablets for me and then went and purchased a 14mths supply of vitamin C much cheaper through eBay. I started the New Year hitting the ground well and truly running.

    I thought I would let everyone know what our total for our Vicky Challenge for 2017 was from mid June when we started to the end of December which was $8649.44 savings from growing our own vegetables and not buying any, cooking everything from scratch, cutting our own firewood and generally buying everything including groceries on mostly 50% off specials. So it is well worth doing that little bit of work to save money in your households too :) .

    Rounding off 2017 is we saved including bank interest 46.84% of our combined after tax incomes for our home.

    Our Vicky Challenge savings added up to $858.87 this week including extra income that we banked into our home deposit account.

    Earned income for the week -
    - Between DH and myself we brought in $56.50 from myself selling a handmade eye mask on eBay and DH doing a cash in hand gardening job.
    - Thought of a few more ideas to make money from selling dried rose petals and also lavender from our gardens online too. Your pictures inspired me Annabel.

    Savings on eBay listings -
    - Took up a free listing promotion for the new year on eBay saving $16.50 over paying normal listing fees.

    Savings - We banked another $146.73 into our bank account towards saving for our home deposit.

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

    In the garden -
    - Picked 900g of cherry tomatoes from the gardens for meals saving $11.25 over purchasing them in the shop. These are free to us now as I squeeze the seeds into the ground and these have now been going for 3 years.
    - Purchased 7 cubic metres of horse manure for $40 (money earned by DH so it didn't come out of our usual budget) from a local horse stud to amend two of our garden beds saving $440 over buying the manure in bags locally.

    Medical -
    - Ordered 12 - 14mths supply of medical items for DH and myself using a 10% off voucher through an online pharmacy saving $78.26 over buying the items locally in the pharmacies.
    - Purchased 14mths worth of vitamin c tablets from eBay at a far more discounted price than our online pharmacy and local pharmacies saving $14.76.

    Other purchases -
    - Went in to price some star pickets at our local metal fabrication factory and found they had post drivers on a super special at $49ea which we purchased saving $45 over purchasing them in our local hardware store. It was the last one so we snavelled it :).
    - We have decided to purchase a pair of new work boots each per year so we have a backup supply for when ours wear out. On eBay we purchased 2 pairs of leather and canvas high ankle work boots with a 10% off new year promotion on eBay saving $189.10 over purchasing them locally.

    Electricity savings -
    - By using our solar lanterns to light the home at night and only turning on the electric hot water system once this week we saved around $7.50.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :) .


    1. Sewingcreations,
      You did faaannnntaaastic! Your going to have that new home in no time I love to see how you save each week thank you for sharing with us!

    2. Thanks Vicky for your encouragement it is greatly appreciated and most welcome for sharing too. Thought I would share the cost savings that most families can achieve in a short period of time with careful shopping and price matching on everything.


    3. Wow sewingcreatations15,what a fantastic sum saved for your forever home, keep going onwards and upwards
      Lorraine xxx

    4. Dear Sewingcreations, You had a fantastic year and worked so hard. That is an awesome amount to add to your home savings! And now you have started again wasting no time!
      I think the dried rose petals and lavender will go well!
      You made big savings on the vitamins and medicines. That was a lot! Actually overall there were several areas you saved heaps by shopping around. The internet certainly helps with this a lot.
      Have a great weekend as that was a very good week! With love

  9. Hi Annabel,

    I've really enjoyed the luxury of a post each day this week and am keen to get 2018 off to a great start. Thank you Annabel.

    Good work on Andy's part. Those are some great savings for a week. My son started home brewing last year and it is a real saving. Not only does he brew beer, bit also does a very nice alcoholic cider. Along similar lines, DH (Shhhh!) makes his own spirits, which is quite cost effective.

    I feel as though we've been haemorrhaging money this week! Before Christmas, the frypan slipped from my hand, landed on the edge of my ceramic cooktop and sent a crack through all 4 hotplates. Unfortunately, the only cooktop that will fit the cut in the granite benchtop was more than double the cost of anything else - at least we were able to save $375 by researching the internet and taking a 45 minute drive to pick it up.

    I also picked up surplus fruit this week marked 40% off. We noticed that some of the petrol stations were beginning to raise petrol prices, so even though we still had a little more than 1/2 a tank we filled up - the next day fuel had gone up 24cents/litre, so a smart move to fill up.

    Not much, but at least it's something.

    Best wishes,

    1. Janine,
      Oh so sorry about your cooktop. Ours isn't built in, but we had the same thing happen and it was as much to buy a replacement top as a new stove so we just got a new stove, but it amazes me that replacement parts are as much as a whole new one.

    2. Dear Janine, Your DH sounds very industrious! So does your son! I think all of these things are great and hobbies like this, fishing, hunting etc all have added benefits for the budget.
      I am wondering if the cooktop would be covered by household insurance. Sometimes the excess makes it not worth the claim though...
      We have seen wild swings in petrol prices lately!
      I am glad you got a good deal on fruit! I did too on Friday! The fruit really came in! Enjoy your weekend! With love

  10. Dear Annabel and Blue Birds who live in South Australia and Victoria, I have just seen a catastrophic weather report for you tomorrow so hope that you are all prepared and the power doesn't go off.

    They are comparing it to Black Saturday that hit Victoria so please stay safe everyone.


    1. Thank you for your concern Lynette. It is expected to reach 46C here in Port Augusta S.A. tomorrow! I am not sure how my veggie garden will fare as it struggled through a very hot day today. Last year we had a scorcher and all my up and coming winter fruit fell off the stressed trees. Hope it doesn't happen tomorrow, I will be up early to water things.


  11. I really like what you wrote about taking time to reflect and appreciate what has been done. Gail

    1. Dear Gail, Sometimes a what I got done list is better than what I need to do. It feels good. Life is busy and this helps me see I made progress. We also need a break to re charge! With love

  12. Thanks Annabel for all your posts this week. It has really helped me and for the first time I have purchased a diary and am writing a lot of goals in that and ticking them off as I achieve them. Any not achieved are carried over until the next month. (Better than my last method of pieces of paper everywhere:) I have already crossed off about five things - the big thing was getting all the kids books covered for school, etc. And I have discovered I have so many spare books as they bought so many home so have now created a box just for school supplies and an inventory of what I have so this time next year the plan is to not to buy so many... this is very costly now that I have 3 at school.
    The other exciting thing is I am cleaning out the pantry - a bit of a mission as I tend to be a hoarder and unfortunately have discovered all my approx. 10 bags of flour have attracted weeivels. I did freeze them at first but it looks like the container I was storing them in was not seal proof. Never mind.... But in my sorting out I have discovered lots of weird and wonderful things I've purchased, for example all these flours potato, besan, chick pea... the list goes on. So I've decided to try and use them in some way and just made the most delicious banana bread out of chick pea flour. Who would have ever thought.. I can't believe how yummy it tastes... So maybe this next week I will be trying another new recipe.
    Have a good week - Ruth

    1. Dear Ruth, Well done! I truly am helped by my planner. Somedays I don't write in it but most days I do and on the weekend I really try to fill it in and catch up. Today is hot so I will do this. I also love ticking things off! Often then I see the next thing on the list and get it done then so I can tick that off as well! Then I have achieved the goals for the week. I sort of gain momentum from that.
      Weevils are terrible. The upside of having chickens is they think they are a gourmet feast! Now the things you did find I am sure you will find ways to use up. That is a good challenge. The banana bread sounds just yum!
      You really got the year off to a great start. It feels good, I feel this way about my week. With love

  13. Hi Annabel,another great post,My dad has just been told recently he has diabetes 2 so iam gathering some information for him and recipes with the diabetes recipe book,iam on it too:) just to lose some weight and feel healthier,tomorrow iam making up some tuna patties using sweet potato,with added parsnip, i made up some sweet potato & pesto pies to have in my lunch for work each day instead of bread they were yum.i dont think i will be doing much baking at all tomorrow due to this heat wave we are going to have, i have just put in a few icebottles in the freezer just in case the power goes off.

    melissa xx

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Hot here too! No cooking today! I like the sound of those patties! Be encouraged with your Dad. A little wight loss is often all that is needed with the onset of Type 2 and I believe it is very often reversible. Well put it this way I know a number of people who are no longer type 2 but once were. So there is so much you can do. Im sure your Dad will appreciate your help. Ice blocs and water and a full freezer are very good. We are hoping power doesnt go out that is one issue and no fires is the other one! Stay cool! With love

  14. Thanks Annabel for this post , love the little ballerinas on the banana cakes , haven’t seen them round here. You and Andy have done so well , what a team !
    Feathering my nest has been more about avoiding the shops and only buying essentials .
    I’m up now, after going to bed ,as my mind is too busy so I’ve listed all the food related items I buy and use , seems far too much to me but then I like to try various recipes .
    I’ve cleaned out thrown out and tidied both pantries and using up items expiring .so tonight we had stellini pasta salad and enjoyed it .
    I fell off the wagon with my savings notebook last year ,so will restart tomorrow .
    I made savings by cleaning the many Venetians we have, as they’d have cost a lot to clean ,and repairs would be needed with that. Bought new curtains and saved 60pc on that =$565
    Bought flowers to give and saved more than I paid and the recipient loved them .=$10 saved.
    The weather today went from sticky sunny to wet and very windy and blew upstairs window shut cracking the glass , darn, on high side of house awkward for ladders . Will have to wait til next week for better and safer weather before it can be fixed .
    It’s been one of those weeks we got a flat tyre , big screw in it lucky no blowout .
    That’s all I can think of at this hour . Love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria, The little cake toppers I got on eBay. They have been used over and over as Lucy just gives them back to me! They have them in all kinds of these which is really good. The cheap shops have some too.
      We are having awful weather too. Actually terrible today! It wasnt good about the flat tire and broken window! But you did great on the pantries. I am buying very basics too and using up things creatively!
      Have a good weekend! With love

  15. Dear Annabel,

    Wow! You managed some amazing deals on food and sundry! Your photo of the cheesecake makes my mouth water and looks like it's from a gourmet tea shop!

    The worst of our storm is over (knock on wood), and we have made it through without too much damage. Was certainly interesting! So glad the car broke down (if that doesn't seem too weird), as it meant hubby had to stay home (he worked from home) and off the horrible roads, which otherwise he certainly would have travelled.

    I am hoping to keep going off of pantry supplies except for milk and a couple of fresh veggies for quite some time. We have lots of food leftover from Christmas shopping and a very full pantry...I need to use the $$ to pay for car repairs and some other big bills. It is wonderful that Andy is starting his own Vicky Challenge!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      I am glad you are ok, I have seen shocking things from that storm and the ice... I cant imagine. Yes I am agreeing it is very good your husband stayed home and off the roads.
      I know you will be well set up from the pantry and it is great to be able to go on to that rather than shop. Also I hope the repairs aren't too expensive! Have a good weekend Jen! With love

  16. Dear Annabel, what a lovely post! Since one of our main goals this year is to build our savings, I'm doing a variation of the Vicky Challenge. I'm keeping a journal of the actual amount we add to our savings and what we did to earn that amount. During those slow times of savings when it doesn't seem we're making any progress, looking back on where we've come and how we got there will be motivating.

    1. Dear Patsi, This will build into a very interesting "story" as I bet its the small amounts that just add up and get you there. I hope it goes really well for you! One of my main things this week is so many specials and so much food from these that all I have to do is menu plan from this and spend hardly anything on food. Plus since this post I ended up with pounds and pounds of free fruit. As soon as it cools down I have lots I can make! So I will have lots of meals put away plus a low spend week. It all helps! With love

  17. Being new here I'm trying to figure out the Vicky challenge, is it a blog? Everyone on here has given me such hope for 2018!
    I came down with the full blown flu on Christmas day and was in bed with a 103 fever. Every muscle in my body hurt. Both my husband and boys followed, it was terrible. I have asthma and it turned into pneumonia and has just extracted any energy I have left. I've been able to catch-up on your post Annabelle and they're very encouraging for savings in 2018.
    My washing machine is on it's last leg and my Refrigerator decided to die the other day. It's a Maytag, which is suppose to be good, only 7 years old and the compressor went. Sad that it will cost me almost as much to buy new to have it fixed. We'll be shopping for a new one here soon. I have a picnic cooler in the sunroom and have stored all our food in there in the meantime.
    I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas you share!! Hugs, Patti Ann

    1. Dear Patti, Hello and welcome I am glad to have you here! If you look at the previous post it is all explained.
      We had this flu here some months ago. It was a really bad one. Just shocking. My daughter and Granddaughter had it. They were so sick. I hope you are feeling better!
      I hope you might find a new fridge if there are new year sales there at a good price. It is terrible when things break down or wear out at once!
      I am so glad you feel hopeful for the year. There are just so many ways to save and get ahead a little. Small things add up to huge things! I would love if you share your week next Friday. There is also an index on the right and that has A Vicky Challenge link also. But if you read this weeks posts it will be explained to get you going. It helps me a lot! With love

  18. Thank you for your posts this week! I love your advice on the 15 minutes per day goals. I started something similar several years ago when I wanted to learn to quilt and make my preschooler a twin sized quilt out of her baby clothes. I spent 20 minutes while she and my baby napped every day, and that time even including setting up the sewing machine and putting everything g away. Some days, I only cut out a few blocks or sewed one row, but other days I would get on a roll and keep sewing for longer than 20 minutes. I've done this with other goals too. Last year I tried 20 minutes of yoga every night, and now that is such a strong habit that I feel weird if I have to miss it for some reason! I guess that means I need to pick a new daily goal to work on. Another comment I want to make is about your Vicki challenge. This has inspired me a ton over the last several months, especially when it comes to activities...I find myself asking if I can create a similar experience for free. For example, my daughter wanted to learn volleyball. I looked into signing her up for a season for $100, but since this is a sport I actually know how to play, I ended up organizing our own season. I got permission to use the gym at our church and asked around to find girls who would want to play. I researched beginning coaching on YouTube and enlisted friends I know to help me coach. This might sound like a lot of work to save $100, but I ended up with 16 girls participating, so I suppose I saved $1600! It also built community and I could schedule it around my own convenience (all of the sessions i could find were scheduled at dinner time, which I don't like). And I could allow my younger kids to participate or just run around the gym. Thanks for the motivation to be a creator instead of a consumer! So many different benefits to everyone beyond just saving money :)

    1. Dear Leigh, It is the same for me... many times the 15 minutes goes on an don! But being set up and even adding five solid minutes of sewing still makes progress and over a week its a surprise how far it gets us! And with children these snippets of time are how we get many things done!
      Well done on the Volleyball! That is really wonderful and you helped a lot of families! You tube is fantastic! In the holidays kids can do music lessons, drawing lessons, cooking lessons.... its just a matter of thinking what to look up! Not to mention what we can learn of course!
      Thanks so much Leigh, with love

  19. Morning Annabel.
    I too have really enjoyed and appreciated your posts this week. They get me excited to try new things and see what I can achieve this year. We have been using our xmas club money to stock up on the on special goods at the super market this week. These are the things we use on a regular basis or more expensive items we add a little to for flavour in meals.e.g, streaky bacon.
    This year I want to make more things from scratch. The first thing I am going to try is cream cheese. I have been on you tube and found a simple reciepe. All I need to get is some full fat milk. I made a lovely lemon cheesecake to take to a friends place for dinner New Years Eve. I want to make again for my mums birthday in a few weeks but double the recipe for more people. Making the cream cheese myself would save me $6.70 over buying it from the supermarket.
    As I have seen from the Vicky Challenge over the past couple of years these small amounts quickly add up. So far this week our supermarket savings add up to $37.66NZD. All on things we use regular basis. If we can keeps this up I will be stoked.


    1. Dear Manday, The cheesecake sounds beautiful! I made a cream cheese from yoghurt but I am not sure it is really cream cheese... but ti was creamy and nice! Your Mum will love this!
      Well done on stocking up at good prices, this is the time to do it. I had amazing luck this week with markdowns. There were lots of 75% and 80% markdowns and I have all these possibilities to make with them! I feel really ahead with food! The next public holiday we have is Australia Day so the night before I will go into the supermarket and do the same. But also now each time I check everywhere as there are random markdowns and sometimes you can just be lucky.
      These little things really do add up, much more than we think at first.
      Thanks so much for your encouraging words! With love

    2. Ooops. Spelt my own name wrong.LOL. Thanks for your reply Annabel. I'm going to find out if the supermarket we buy the bulk of our groceries at marks down food at certain times. I'm a liitle cynical and suspect they "wont know," but still I can try.
      Will have to keep an eye on the tablets sensitive to touch keyboard when posting.
      Stay safe in the hot Australian heat tomorrow. It is reporting on our news to be a dangerous day.


    3. Sorry, I thought your name didnt sound right but though I better be safe! I hope you will find someone to tell you when they usually mark down. I asked int e mea department first and they told me 2 o'clock at Woolworths (this is my one locally anyway) and I went then at 2 overtime and almost always there they were slashing the prices! So I hope someone will tell you. If not ask someone else. Good luck! xxx

  20. Wow, would love to find those kind of buys. Especially on the cream!

    1. Sometimes I am lucky sometimes not so much! With the prices of butter if I get more cream I am going to make butter as I could also freeze that! I hope you have some good finds! xxx

  21. Annabel your posts inspire me every single day!
    I was able to pick up 12 trays of fresh Tasmanian salmon all cryvacked and all 45% off at Aldi on Boxing Day, they averaged out approx $16kg. Now the freezer is filling up and we will enjoy salmon once a week over the next 12 weeks.
    That was my only Boxing Day outing as I didn’t need for anything else!
    My pantry is now replenished when the major supermarkets have 1/2 price specials on things we use, otherwise it’s Aldi and the fruit shop.
    I have also noticed a big difference in venturing further a field and checking out supermarkets and fruit shops in other areas, it still suprises me at the price differences a few kms away

    1. Dear Jacqui, Thank you! Wow the salmon! How beautiful! How healthy also!
      I have really found this with the price variations. It is extreme. And with Aldi vs Woolies and Coles. Like the other day cucumbers.... 50c Aldi $2 at the others. Its not half price its a quarter! Thats a lot!
      Mainly now if I go somewhere I incorporate a nosy in the fruit and veg shop, maybe a supermarket, definitely an op shop. Its really paid off!
      I hope you're having a lovely weekend. Thank you so much, With love

  22. Good job, Annabel and Andy!!! You do inspire me. Your fruit picking makes me think of the lemon tree on the corner of our street. Next season I'll have to ask the owners if they mind my taking the fruit outside their fence. Ricotta pie sounds good - is that like quiche? And your ham for days sounds decadent.
    Harper's banana cakes are delightful. Your daughters are so blessed to have you.
    I'm pretty proud of my DH, Mike, as he put in a new garbage disposer and undersink plumbing for us today. He also recovered our headboard with some beautiful Waverly fabric we picked out together (I'll send you a pic of that.).
    And, I finished sewing him a shirt for work this evening. I hadn't made one for years, so I was really not sure I could do it. So thankful it turned out nice.

    1. Dear Mary,
      I would for sure ask about the lemons. They might respond to bribery like the promise of lemon butter or a cake. Yes the ricotta pie is really a heavier quiche, anything can go in like sundries tomatoes and it is kind of a denser consistency. I like to do baked ricotta as well that is good with a salad. Thank you so much for the pictures! In my reply I didn't mention the shirt as that pic was slow to arrive but now I have seen it and you did a wonderful job! Thank you so much! With love

  23. Hi Annabel & BlueBird Friends

    Happy New Year to you all

    What a lot of bargains you have gotten recently Annabel. I remember when Public Holidays were just that. New Years Day the supermarkets all around here were open as were some of the shops so no real bargains to be found on New Year's Eve.

    New Year's Day saw us take a trip to the movies as we discovered if you become a Cinebuzz memeber the tickets are about half the price and after seeing 6 movies you get a movie for free.

    We are on the "use up the freezer" items at the moment with out doing to much shopping. Mainly just buying fruit, veg, milk and bread.

    So much has been going on over the last few weeks that I am looking forward to spending most of the week home with DD7 and building lego and playing boards games, Our only trip out will be to a local park with a shop near by selling home ice cream so this will be our treat for the week. Like you the days here have been incredibly hot and humid so it has been indoors but apparently relief is on it's way from tomorrow.

    Hoping to visit a market at the top of the valley tomorrow to get our fresh fruit and veg as they last lots longer than supermarket items.

    Andy did great work getting his insurance down. DP did this when we moved and got a fair amount off the 3 cars and the contents insurance (which covers us for cyclones and flooding) not sure how it works but we are now in a more cyclone and flood demeed area but our insurance premium has become cheaper but could be due to the fact that this house has the cyclone bracing for the house and garage.

    Have almost completed the "back to school" shopping, unfortunately had to buy almost everything new this year as I can't find the school items I have in a box somewhere. This weekend see it being our first weekend home in the new house. So we have been on a mission to find some much needed items.

    Take care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      Around here we still get a lot of public holiday closures, this is an advantage mark down wise! I hope you love the new house! It is great the move is over! I hope you all feel settled in and excited for this new year. It is probably a relief to have the move behind you!
      I hope 2018 will be a good year! I bet you find that box now! With love

  24. Dear Annabel I am so glad you have had such a fruitful beginning to the year. So far this week I have
    * Gratefully accepted a bag of apricots from someone at work
    * I was gifted a free lunch and a big bowl of Tzatziki off a friend
    * The girls and I were bought takeaway for dinner one night
    * I got petrol at 115.9 per litre
    * All meals and lunches prepared at home except for the ones I was gifted
    * I sold text books for $50
    * I harvested basil, granny smith apples, fuji apples, a lot of cherry tomatoes and one apricot from the garden
    * Planted the two lavender bushes I received for Christmas

    I have also done the budget for two months in advance, saved a gift box from Christmas for next year and over six gift bags, found three more things to sell, saved $40 out of this week's grocery budget, cleaned out the pantry so as to not have any food go unused and I have searched out two new salad recipes to try.

    This fortnight have worked three public holidays and two extra hours at work. I am tired but satisfied that extra money will be coming in next pay.

    Praying you all have a good week ahead
    God Bless Love Mel S xxxxx

    1. Dear Mel,
      Apricots! That is wonderful! I know you will put them to good use.
      You had a good week! The public holiday pay is a big help! You would be tired but this is a good start to the year. I hope you stayed cool today. The wind was not good. Things in the garden looked really depressed!
      I must find out from you what you think is the easiest way to sell i.e. Facebook, eBay? I might pm you about that!
      Have a restful Sunday Mel. With love,

  25. Hi Annabel I loved your posts this week, I have been reading your blog every week this is my first time to comment. I am going to do sewing challenge for at least 15 minutes daily, at moment I have visitors staying for another week so my plan is to start on 15th Jan. I love Vichy challenge this week I have been gifted 120 euro vouchers for food also gifted some veg and chutneys which amounted to another 20

    1. Dear Louise, Thank you so much for commenting! I am so pleased you will do the sewing challenge! Truly you will be surprised how much you get done!
      How wonderful about the gift of vouchers. And food! That is a great help to start the year! I am so glad to have you here! With love


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