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.

Sunday 14 January 2018

The World within our Walls. Get the ball rolling.

When we were little Mum often had the dinner table set long before dinner.  She said even if she hadn't started cooking yet the table being set and looking nice was a way to get the ball rolling,  be welcoming and build anticipation that dinner was coming!   And so when she had a moment she would get the table set.  

At Christmas there is so much to do.  Mum sets the table the day before so this gets a lot of work done and out of the way and there is more time to do it nicely.

This Christmas I noticed Chloe has taken this all on board.  She was going to be out on Christmas Day then home in the evening to serve dinner for the evening meal.  She had the table set and ready and started a couple of days before.

We also always got our school bags ready the night before and Mum packed the school lunches in the evening.  Clothes were lined up ready for in the morning.   
When I grew up I didn't think about it and just automatically planned outfits for the next day and got things ready for the morning rush.  And then when I had the girls at school we would get everything ready the evening before right down to the hair ties and bags packed except for the lunches which would come out of the fridge at the last minute! 

I am not good in the mornings!  So getting everything ready the night before makes sense! 

As I started my sewing challenge I had so much to do.  I thought this is never going to happen!  The first day was almost over and nothing was done so before I went to bed I thought I will  get the sewing machine out and set it up on the table.  This only took a few minutes.  
The next day was no better.  But I thought I will just fill a bobbin and thread the machine and this only took a couple of minutes. 
In the evening I thought I will just get out some fabrics and start to make a plan...

Then the next day I cut out a pillowcase while dinner was cooking.  And this is often how things get done.  In increments!  A few minutes here and there.  But they add up amazingly! 

Being terrible in the mornings I often will set the slow cooker up the night before.  I will just get it out and sit it on the bench ready.  The other day I was going to cook a corned beef.  So I sat it out and filled it with water.  I got the ball rolling! 

In the morning I just turned it on when I made coffee.  The next time I was in the kitchen I added the actual meat!  (progress!) and later I added the pepper and bay leaves.  And now things were chugging along...

And by evening it was delicious and tender and I also had both dinner and Andy's lunches for several days. 

Other times I will get the slow cooker going and at least get the meat on.  Then as the day goes on I might add things. 

This is especially true of chicken soup with so many things to chop.  As long as the water, beans and chicken are on then later I will be adding garlic, onion,  carrots, herbs and so on. 

When baking things will often go the same way!  I will think that I will sit my sour dough starter out on the bench and feed it a few times.  
The next day I think ok I will just make some dough. 

Eventually I have a tray of something made and the steps were just achieved in moments I grabbed!

Big projects are very much like this.  We can't do them all at once.  They are made a bit at a time. Yet amazing things are done this way.  I look at Pat's quilts!  So much work!  But I know she would do her daily tasks and when she has time do a bit more on a quilt.  In the evenings I will usually do a few more rows on what I am working on.  It is a bit here and a bit there.  But eventually a blanket is finished! 

Whatever it is you just have to get things started. Get the ball rolling!  

There is so much to do at home.  We can't hope to do things all at once.  If we can just get things started we can add to that.

Yesterday I needed to use the last of the plums.  And I had a couple of hundred still.... I really couldn't face them all at once.  So I made it that every time I was in the kitchen I would cut up ten.  And by mid afternoon they were done!  I put one lot on to simmer and the others on for jam.  It is all done! 
Today I am facing the same situation with nectarines!  I have lots of things to do today.  But I already set the stockpot on the stove and sterilised some jars last night so I got the ball rolling a little bit at least! 

The spare room is in a terrible state.  I have made it that I have to sort and put away ten things a day.  I can do that.  By the end of next week is should be ship shape!  You can spring clean a whole house in 5 minutes a day,  re organise the pantry... anything! 

Setting things out and getting them started is the biggest part to me.  I add a step or two as I can.   Whatever it is the key to success is getting started!   Break it down into little steps.  With this you can tackle anything that needs doing.  

What helps you to get things done and get the ball rolling in your home? 
Do you have something you have been putting off but that could really be done a few minutes at a time? 

Have a wonderful new week.  We have a beautiful day but it is heating up.   I am off to shops, pay bills, babysit and then get the nectarines that need to be used all done!  I have some freezer room again.  I sent Chloe home with lasagna, jam, stewed cherries, banana cakes, the beautiful linens and more. This makes me happy!  And now I have room in the freezer which makes me happy too!  😊 xxx


  1. Annabel, this is my philosphy too, a baby step is better than no step at all. As long as I'm making progress, no matter how small that progress is, I can usually handle everything. I'm applying this philosphy to the mystery quilt I'm doing. I set the goal of sewing up 20 pieces a day and while it will take me longer to finish all the clues, I'm still making progress and it's not another project that gets set aside with the intention of finishing it someday.

    1. Dear Patsy, I am looking forward to seeing this quilt when you are finished! Your sewing challenge has inspired a lot of "getting the ball rolling! (including me!) Many thanks! With love

    2. I was just coming to say that even if we take baby steps, they all add up and get us going. Then, I saw Patsi's comment on baby steps 😀. We're thinking alike!

  2. Chloe sure has a lovely decorating touch Annabel. It could be your house!

    Agree in doing bits just to get the ball rolling. Couldn't agree more.

    Not much to report here, I have some sewing to do also. I've never made a pillowcase before because I always have matching doonas and p/cases but for my two guest bedrooms I am envisioning really pale linen with gorgeous lacy pillowcases and embroidery. Must get onto that. I surprised myself and the chooks by appearing at their door in my pjs at six this morning. I've been on a roll and must get back to it. Fi xx

    1. Had to smile at this, Fiona, because I thought I was the only one who goes outside to the chicken coop in my jammies to let them out for the day and feed and water them! Lol!!

    2. No gardenpat, my hens are very familiar with my pyjamas as well as dressing gowns and slippers. The poor girls!

    3. I;ve always fed my chickens early while in my pj's and robe. Problem is I received a new robe for Christmas. My old one was kind of white. The new one is indigo blue and one rooster in particular really hates the color and is starting to go after me now. I've had to change my routine and shower and dress first.
      Amish Heart in New Mexico

    4. Dear Fiona, My chooks barely recognise me with clothes on lol. They see me in my nightie a lot! Lucky they are not phased. Or at least they don't show it haha!
      Pillowcases are lovely to make i.e. for travel pillows, children or even adult gifts i.e. with a verse or saying, embroidery ...kind of like the bluebirds t towel you made me only in a pillowcase!
      I will show mine tomorrow as ballerinas for Harper were just lovely for her first pillow. Thank you re Chloes house! With love

  3. Dear Annabel,
    I remember reading the tip about setting the table in the Love Comes Softly series! I love Chloe's table, by the way.
    We all laugh about how much faster I am at doing things since John was born. (I can shovel food at a very unladylike pace if need be.) I am not good in the morning, either, but I am up at 5:30 because that is when John wakes up to eat before going back to sleep until 8:00. Now I am used to it and will wake up at that time even if John sleeps in, and I won't go back to sleep when he does! I use this valuable time to have a good start on the day.
    I confess I am also a natural procrastinator, but I no longer have that luxury lol! So getting things done a little at a time is how I do things now and it works so well. In the morning when John goes back to sleep I will load the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, make the bed, do my Bible reading, and work on crafts for a while if I have time. During his second nap I will feed the animals, put the clothes in the dryer, make supper preparations, and again work on crafts if I have time. I get most things done during naps!
    With my crafts, I am also working a little at a time. I will not meet my goal for scrapbooking this month (I don't think) but I at least took the first step and got a bunch of pictures printed. I think you are right and sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. The quiet book is coming along bit by bit and I have even done quite a bit of knitting in little snippets of time. The same with my reading goal. Just like everything, little things all add up. Then you have big accomplishments.
    I am loving these posts! Have a lovely week, everyone!
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, There is nothing like having a baby to shake up routines and time management! And early mornings!
      Also this is when I learned that I could knit, craft etc but just in a new way and that was little bits! And also to keep the knitting out of reach!
      Chloe read those books! Maybe she got this lesson as well from there it is lovely!
      With much love

  4. How true! I am doing Patsy's 15 minute challenge and getting more done than I would have otherwise. I am not good in the mornings either!Am making those small kleenex covers this week a little at a time. Thanks for sharing how you get so much done! Nancy

    1. Thank you Nancy! I know the fifteen minutes is surprising! xxx

  5. I love your Mum's thought track :) My mother used to tell everyone I was ready for the next day yesterday, because I did, and still do, as much ahead as possible. I'd peel tomorrow's veggies while tonight's are cooking; on Sunday afternoon I'd always help the children get their school uniforms ready for the week. They had hanging organisers in their wardrobes, one slot for each day and they'd put shirts/shorts/socks/undies/sport uniform/swimming gear/library books into the relevant slot every Sunday. Their shoes were always polished and then put on shoe mat by the door. Drink bottles were filled and put into the freezer. I'd load the washing machine, ready to run when I got up. I'd set the breakfast table, get the toaster out, fill the kettle and put the tea bags into the pot, the coffee into the mugs and throw a mosquito net over the lot as a part of cleaning up after tea. Keep a running shopping list, do veggie prep for the week (this morning I've made coleslaw without the dressing, potato salad and pasta salad and put them into large lock'n'lock containers in the fridge. Boiled a dozen eggs. Took the meat loaves, alfredo roll-ups and sausages from the freezer and put them in the fridge to thaw for the week's dinners. Sorted the bills to be paid in order on my desk, made appointments for the next couple of weeks as soon as I knew they were needed. These days I shop a year ahead for most of our needs, and it is wonderful. And I've worked ahead on website/blog to keep things rolling along. Being prepared is a great stress reliever for me, I don't function in a mess or muddle and I don't like feeling rushed and pushed to get things done. I work to routines and schedules and love to tick things off my lists. Have a lovely week, xxx Cath

    1. Cath I can add one extra - I am surrounded by bags of things needed to dress up my mother in law's house for sale. Each bag has been assigned to a room and if I think of anything to add to the bag I just pop it in then I know when the time comes I will have everything ready to go.


  6. Annabel, the incremental approach does not come naturally to me!! But I need to adopt it! I really like to get jobs finished as quickly as possible, and before I had children this was how I did things. I would prepare and paint a room in two or three days, and feel exhausted but very happy by the end of it. That's just totally unrealistic for me now, but it's taking me a while to catch on lol. A couple of years ago it took me nearly three months to strip the wallpaper in my daughter's room!

    The reality is that because I want to start and finish tasks quickly, it sometimes prevents me from starting at all. I have years of photos that need to be made into photo books. I have ordered them by date, even uploaded many to the website I will order the books through. But I haven't made them into books. The last year I did was 2013!! This is absolutely something I can do a little at a time, as I can save it as I go. I just need to get stuck in. So I am going to make this a priority and start.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    I really enjoy seeing Chloe's pictures, I'm sure she is planning a lovely wedding.

    Have a good week :)
    Jen in NZ

    1. I have this same inclination, I don't want to start a job unless I can work all the way through and get it done. Half done projects add to my stress. I know it is more productive to do a little at a time, but it is hard for me to do, haha!

    2. Dear Jen (and Sarah) I understand your thinking... but on giant projects like painting my whole house I am forced to break it down. And this has benefits in many areas and like you say Jen it can stop us from starting if it is too big. Photos are a big job! And ongoing! I sympathise with this... I try each year to print the best photos of the year to frame and use for gifts etc as I figure this preserves them.
      The wedding sewing... this will have to be in little bits! Its going to be a lot! With love

  7. This card is in the front of one of my planners. It reminds me that, even if I am going slowly, it is better than nothing.
    "No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch."
    Your post is very encouraging, Annabel. Thank you.
    Love and hugs,

  8. What a great reminder! We can do so much in those little snippets of time. My mom always sets the table early, too, and it's a habit I'm starting to develop. I'm trying to get my school-age kids to help with more chores, but setting the table has been hard for me to give up. I love a pretty table and it's a creative task for me. I use your approach for fruit preserves, too. If I have a huge box of apples to deal with, I will make one crock pot of applesauce or apple butter, starting it in the morning, and then canning it in the evening. I'd rather do that every day for a week than have one marathon cooking and canning day. I will work on your suggestion to lay things out at night! I have started running my dishwasher right after dinner, then emptying it before bed and leaving clean dishes on the counter that we'll need for breakfast. Have a good week, Annabel!

    1. Dear Leigh, My Mum used to have me set the table or part of it I guess... this is good training. Laster I learned to do flowers or centre pieces... years later I did the table decorations for an important event and people asked who the florist was!
      I love your one pot a day method too! Thanks so much! With love

  9. I was humbled that you would mention my quilts, Annabel! (At least I think I was the "Pat" with the quilts. Oh, this is so embarrassing if I'm not!!! Lol!!)
    Raising 11 kids was an "on-the-go" training for me and so I had to take advantage of little snippets of time scattered between other busy things! If I could have dressed the kids for church on Saturday night and thought there would be any chance of them looking crisp and nice Sunday morning after sleeping in their Sunday best, I would have tried it!
    Some things became absolute winners and other ideas were epic fails! But I guess the key is to keep trying to see what works in your unique situation!
    With the quilting, one thing that really became a "lightbulb" idea for me was that every time I finished a project, I would trim the scraps down into standard quilting size pieces- squares, rectangles and strips and file them into plastic shoeboxes of the corresponding sizes! Two things happen this way: 1. I'm not facing baskets of fabrics to cut up all at once and 2. When I want to make a quilt, I can look at the sizes of pieces needed and pull out the appropriate plastic shoebox! What a time saver!!!

    We make lunches the night before and I always have 2 bins in the fridge- 1. Grab and go breakfast choices and 2. Grab and go lunch choices. These include batches of things I make in bulk during a 30 minute break and also dinner leftovers that I package into individual portions immediately after dinner to add to the lunch bin.
    I usually write a list for each day of tasks/goals to work on. For me, I assign an amount of time on each! Some tasks are things I would love to spend all day on (quilting) and others I would be happy to avoid (cleaning) ! So I will list a task that I'm not looking forward to but needs to get moving on and write 15- 30 minutes as it's allotted time. Then I make it a game to see how much and how fast I can get done in that time! Sometimes I finish it before the time is up and sometimes I use the extra time to do more than what I had written down to move the task along even farther!
    Then I have "reward" times allotted too that would include things I WANT to do! I give those times too and I always set an alarm for all my tasks so that I don't let the day go by and leave many tasks undone.
    We set some big goals for 2018 as a couple in 6 areas of our lives and spending a little time each day/week on them is the only way that they will get done! There will be times that we will marathon on some of them but even those have prep parts at the beginning as well as throughout !
    Thanks, Annabel, for all your great ideas and those of your fellow bluebirds! They are such a support and encouragement to me and help me learn and grow from all of your combined wisdom!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, Yes its you! lol that was funny! I always notice the number of things you have on the go. Yet you still churn out quilts! Having a big family you would know a thing or two about time management. Having seen your pantry, your garden, your sideline business and your quilts I just wish I lived near by you as I love it all!
      I also work to reward times! I am "allowed" blog or reading time if I do whatever is on my list. I also realise I do better if I pace myself somewhat and get through the whole day so I have a break and a cup of tea then Im off and running again!
      Thank you so much, I learn a lot from you. We really do encourage each other on. With much love Annabelxxx

  10. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds!.
    Annabel you have spoken/ written about this get the ball rolling concept to me many times and I love it. I try to put it into action and one thing I do is if my bed needs making I make it hours before I go to bed and I put my radio beside my bed on about half hour before I go to bed and a lamp beside my bed gets put on too. Then I am ready to turn off the main light and get into bed and I can settle easily with the music and I sleep well now.
    Other things I do are start a craft project by gathering all the materials needed and if necessary clearing a work space as well as researching ideas so I have a list of projects or crafts I would like to try . I also put book markers in craft magazines from my stash and that gives me some inspiration when I am lacking ideas for cards or need motivation.
    I also have my breakfast in stages, I make a cup of tea and drink that while I watch the morning news then I have breakfast and then go back and take my morning medication. I apply the get the ball rolling technique across many areas now but still have a long way until the ball is truly rolling around here, at the moment it's more start, a weak roll then a bit more enthusiastic roll thence ball comes to a halt !!!. Then half an hour or half a day goes by and I think " gee I must get that ball rolling" . I must admit blogs like yours , especially yours get me motivated . I hope to truly be prepared this year and get the ball on a permanent roll.i love Chloe's home , it's beautiful and truly an Annabel approved and inspired home I think!.
    I am aiming to get my home feeling more like a home in the coming weeks . Annabel I apologise I did not comment on Fridays post, I will do a two week vicky challenge post on Friday . Take care in the heat or snow or ice wherever you are.
    Love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb, With pain I think the little bits at a time method is a really good approach.
      I am glad you feel motivated when you read what I get up to. Motivation helps a lot, I need lots of it myself. Company in what we are doing also helps. At the end of the week we can look back and be glad of what we got done! With much love

  11. Dear Annabel, you are so right. And your Mum is so wise. The lessons that are handed down from one generation to another are invaluable. Look at what you and in turn, Chloe, have absorbed just through osmosis! So much can be done with little moments in time. Embroider one grub rose, cut up one potato, freeze one tray of smoothie cubes. It doesn't even feel like work. You can do it in the commercial breaks if you! I am SO tired at the moment. So really, this is the ONLY way I am accomplishing anything. Mostly I am concentrating on self-care, and even then, it's one coat of nail polish, or ironing one outfit for the next day for us all. From little things, big things grow, right? Much love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mini, I always think of your Mums "just one more thing" and the way you do this. Before I go to sleep I often do just one more thing and think of you!
      I think we absorb more from our Mums and Nanas than we first realise! It is wonderful! With love

  12. Bit by bit is exactly how I've managed to run my large household. One trick I do is to lay out things for the next task before I'm done with the present task. Say I'm baking granola and I know I need to cut up some fruit to serve or freeze. Well, I get out my cutting board and fruit and set it up on the table or counter. When I get my granola into the oven, I'm off cutting fruit. This not only helps me to remember the next task (I get allot of interruptions), but it keeps me from procrastinating. How many times do you get a good deal on some produce that is very ripe or bruised and you forget to process it soon enough? I exercise this method in many areas in my home. If it is mending day, I pull out all I need to catch up on. Of course, I leave my sewing machine out and ready to go, so that I can dash over to it when needed.
    Good topic! Thanks Annabel.
    P.S. I don't leave my projects out past 5 pm. Everything is usually tidied up by dinner. And I have a basket to keep crochet or rug-hooking projects corralled.

    1. Dear Leslie,
      You do very similar things to me. I like to line things up ready even though I am not ready to start yet. It just is ready to go!
      This could also be called KEEPING the ball rolling as that is important too! With love

  13. I'm usually up by 3:45-4:15 during the week to get my husband's lunch/breakfast sandwich ready and get him off to work. Like you I get what I can ready the night before and have my routine down after almost 30 yrs of practice.
    Since we're moving in the very near future I have been cleaning and purging each room. I started with the master and have cleaned walls, trim, inside windows and have organised every drawer and closet. If it doesn't fit or we haven't worn it in over a year it's gone. I have also stored my fabric in there and thought of you. If we didn't live so far away I'd send you some really beautiful fabric I'm sure you'd make use of.(very feminine) I can't tell you how good it feels to lighten the load so to speak. It will make our move so much easier.
    I missed your birthday "Happy Belated Birthday!!" I hope you had a wonderful day! Big hugs, Patti Ann

    1. Dear Patti Ann, This is a beautiful name. You are up early and I admire you so much! Moving is such a job but is a very good opportunity like a giant spring clean and organising challenge!
      Oh the fabric! I hope you find someone who will really love and appreciate it! It will bless someone!
      Thank you for the birthday wishes too! With love,

  14. Annabel,
    This is just great because it is so true. Little bits add up to get things done. I also am not a morning person and I am extremely slow to get moving. Having things ready the night before can really stream line the day and even if I have to go babysit I get things ready the night before and take a bag with me and when I was younger having things ready meant I could sleep a few more minutes in the morning. Everybody used to always say one day you will miss being in school, etc. I don't! Haha! I am the opposite to your morning crock pot I put mine on before I go to bed on low and let things slow cook while I'm sleeping and check on it when I get up to go the bathroom. Then in the morning I will add the extras and it will be done by lunch. I have four crockpots so if I plan ahead I will cook several things at once and freeze them. I would love to set the table ahead of time, but if I put an empty plate on Rick's TV tray he would think I was nuts haha! I am the same way I got the sewing machine set up and I got jars washed and I got out waterslides so they are ready and I got out and cut a few pieces I want to sew so it's all progress! Please tell Chloe she has a lovely home!
    Kelsey- I am a big Janette Oke fan and have read all of her books and watched the series too.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      It is funny we say we are twins this is another way!
      Now I don't miss being in school either haha!
      I also run a couple or even three crockpots as one time sometimes!
      Chloe read all the Janette Oke books and loved them! With love

  15. You have had a good start to the week Annabel with such an inciting post. I have been single parenting five children for the past 16 years. Even though the three eldest are moved on to homes of their own I still have the two youngest at home. My work is exhausting and very physically challenging. I am always tired when I work so I do most everything in small increments.

    I still set the dining table the night before after the dishes are done. We have been on a challenge to eat at a set dining table for the main meal everyday. We are using up all our linen and enjoying the ritual.

    With housework I do it in small pieces as well. I pour a little cleaner into the toilet every few days or if it is a little less than pristine. I clean the shower and bathroom whilst I shower and the toilet and adjacent laundry whilst I put washing on. I vacuum in stages and wash the floors the same way.

    I never clean all the windows at once but one or two at a time. Occasionally I have the satisfaction of having the whole house cleaned and fresh in one go but it is rare.

    I also try to keep grocery shopping down by being prepared and organised with the cooking. The past week I have had my daughters take turns in cooking the evening meal on the days I work. If I cook however I try to never only cook enough for one meal but for several. In order to do this I too will cut up vegetables and store them maybe one evening and then do meal prep in the morning and cook enough for two or more meals in the evening. On days off I even cook something like pasta sauce to use on busy nights as a meal base. I might even pre-make raw hamburger patties to add to the freezer. These strategies take a few spare minutes but save me time and money on busy nights.

    These days I do not have the energy to craft as much as I would like and not enough to make gifts but I will start again soon as I get a little bit more done every day and more organised.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you this week
    Love Mel S xxxx

    1. Dear Mel, As well as tiredness when you had your bad knee you must have been good at getting things done in bursts. I am so glad the knees are not this problem now!
      I love how you are using your linens! Lovely!
      The window method would suit many people. I can do the outside in one go but the inside I do more like you a couple at a time.
      Thanks so much Mel. I hope your week is going well and it doesnt get too hot! With love

  16. Hi Annabel and a wonderful subject too :) .

    We too practice doing most tasks in small bite sized pieces too and here is some of the things we do -

    - If I have a busy day I cut out a few things I need to sew and then the next day sew them up and also set up the sewing machine with the right coloured thread in it ready to go.
    - Load the washing machine the night before I wash and put the clothing that needs stain removing on the door of the washing machine to deal with the next morning.
    - As we use dishes in the house we rinse them off and put them on the side of the sink ready to be washed and then just do one large washing up session to save water.
    - When cleaning the toilet I put the citric acid in there and spray with citrus vinegar and let it soak and then I clean the bathroom and come back to cleaning the toilet afterwards.
    - If we have a large crop of vegetables to blanch and freeze we will harvest and process half one day and half the next. We also put them once processed into meal sized portions in the clip seal freezer bags so they are just grab and cook.
    - I zone clean so if I am near the kitchen table I will do everything that needs to be done there until it is tidy and I usually clean and declutter small things on my way through to there too as I see they need cleaning.
    - We deep clean one room at a time in the home.
    - Once we bring in the washing and have items that need ironing we put them on the ironing rack and then do a large ironing session to save on electricity and heating time of the iron.

    All I can think of at the moment. But for those who are curious putting citric acid in your toilet and letting it soak brings it up sparkly white after a quick scrub and gets rid of that yellow staining in it.


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, You are a person that gets a lot done. I love hearing how you do it! I am the same with the machine, the cutting out and the thread. I do similar in the bathroom.... many things work a heap better if you leave them on to do their work for a while... so I do that! I spray and swish and come back later and clean it up. It works much better. Also this makes me think of baking dishes and clothes stains... soak and treat and come back later as time and product are working for you!
      The citric acid is a great tip thank you! With love

  17. Again, you are such an encouragement!

  18. Annabel,
    Our Mom's taught us well. I always made my son's lunch the night before and his clothes were laid out the night before. His book bag was checked and put by the front door so all he needed to do was grab and go.

    I set the dinner table when I could throughout the day. I always thought it should be inviting, being thankful for thrift stores, my table was set with crystal, pretty plates, a tablecloth and real napkins, in winter I would put candles on the table, oh how he loved to blow them out as a child after dinner.
    I still tend to do things in small increments. Every morning after shower is 15 minutes of pick-up, I go room to room and pick-up what is necessary, once the washer is full it was turned on. I never cringed with worry if an unexpected guest came.

    My goal this year is to finish those unfinished projects, some I embarrassing have to admit were started over 40yrs ago, like a crewel picture I had started for son when he was born. I will put 15 minutes a day to the projects, in hopes that eventually they are each finished.

    Oh, it was lovely to see the crackers on the dinner plates, we were introduced to them by our British Son-in-law. A fun time always ensues afterwards.

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Many similarities between is! And our Mums! You achieve many HUGE projects and you certainly did last year! But finishing things off is really nice too!
      Oh I always take something with me when I go from one room to another... this is similar to your pickup time. It works! With love

  19. That is exactly how I do things, Annabel. It's like eating an elephant, lol, only way to do it is one bite at a time. With a chronic illness and unpredictable pain and fatigue levels, if I didn't do it that way, nothing would ever get done. As it is, everything gets done in the end, a few minutes at a time :-)

    1. Dear Allegra, I think especially with illness this is the way to go. When the girls were little I had terrible migraines. There were days I got nothing done. But overall I got a lot done! I am still this way... sometimes I cant do much but the rest of the time makes up for it! One time on FLylady I read about a lady who was ill and she could only stand a few minutes at a time and then she had to sit down. But she kept everything ok and cooked etc in these windows of a couple of minutes at a time. That really inspired me. So if I am sick I will do a minute here and minute there... and they add up! It sounds like you manage really well, we have to work around what we have... with love,

  20. Annabelle, I do exactly the same thing! I work full time, prepare all our meals, bring lunches to work, do all the house work and much of the garden work. I still find time to make gifts, bake, preserve food, embroider, sew, knit, crochet, quilt, play the piano, keep a journal, do arts and crafts and more. People ask me how I get it all done and it's the same way that you do it - one small step at a time. I actually have a monthly calendar with a list of things I want to do each day - sew, needlework, clean out a drawer or shelf, polish a piece of furniture, write in my journal, play the piano - there are about 30 items on my list. Most days I check off every item on the list, because I don't have to do some major task. Just a little bit counts as accomplishment. And it all adds up. It's daunting to think of making a quilt for instance, but when I think setting a few stitches or getting out the materials counts as a check mark on my list, I know I can find the time to do one little thing. And there's nothing like that sense of accomplishment and eventually there's a finished project to show for it and while my house and garden are far from perfect, it remains in good order because of the accumulation of small tasks done every day. Until I started reading your blog I didn't realize anyone else thought this way. It appears there are lot of us out there, but I don't personally know anyone who approaches things this way. When people ask me how I get so much done and I tell them, they just roll their eyes. I haven't convinced anyone to my way of thinking, but, Hey, it works!
    God Bless,

    1. Dear Phyllis,
      I love your list as they are all things I do too! Oh except the piano! I am so glad you found us here as we are on the same wavelength! One time I told about my 94 yer old neighbour (in a previous house) and she had this huge garden and there were never any weeds. I asked her how did she manage this? She said every day she pulls four weeds. That was it! Its that simple! So there you go!
      I am so glad having you here! With love

  21. Most things get done a bit a time here now. Last week my husband had my bathroom sink to fix. I told him that it was okay if it took all week and to just do a bit every day and it is done and we saved $300. We cleaned our our jam packed attic that way two years ago. Every Saturday morning my husband brought 3 boxes down for me to go through and it eventually got done. Same with our garage clean out last summer. Bit by bit and we did it. On Monday mornings I do a bit of food prep for the week and it makes a big difference. I have baked bread and made egg salad for sandwiches and a pitcher of green tea to pour over ice. This always gets us on better footing for meals right off.

    I love setting the table for holidays a few days ahead. It is so much fun to look through my linens and dishes and decide how I want it to look. I love your Mom's dinner time table setting idea. When it got so cold here a few weeks ago we started eating in the dining room in the evening since it is much warmer. Then we dimmed the lights and added a candle. Now I think we will just keep it up all winter since it makes the meal special to get it out of the kitchen and in a special place.

    Enjoy your week!

    1. Dear Lana, I love the three boxes every weekend method! This would soon add up yet be manageable! We could all do this with some area..
      The meal prep is another very good one...
      I think a table setting makes a lot of atmosphere. Even the table set nicely looks so nice when the meal is just simple.
      Many thanks Lana! With love

  22. Annabel,

    Oh, the power of doing the little things. Can I insert here that, for our younger women (and maybe not so much younger women?!?!), they see those little moments as, “Oh, I can check my Facebook,” and seconds turn into minutes and minutes into... we all know what I mean. It’s just as you say: GET UP! Get the ball rolling. Don’t stop to check social media. One stop there and half of the day is gone.

    I hear younger women and mothers saying, I just don’t have time to _____, but if they clocked the time they waste on social media........ Time is money. Time is food. Time sparkles. We each get 86,400 seconds every day. Use them wisely and they’re spent. Use them unwisely and they’re spent. No matter how I use them, I can never get them back.

    I’m with you! Get the ball rolling! This is a lesson Titus 2 women know all too well, and I am grateful you are admonishing and encouraging all of us to get up and get the ball rolling!

    I like the saying I recently read: Tomorrow (Next week; A month from now; A year from now) you’re going to wish you had started today.


    1. Dear Kelley, Well yes I guess the flip side is how much time wasting also adds up! I think it is like with money all little expenses add up and its suddenly a fortune!
      I agree, if we start today what we could have achieved in a year! Its just starting and sticking with it!
      My mind is on Titus 2 a lot. And Proverbs of course. These are amongst my most studied things right now! I hope things are going well there with your new Grandbaby! With much love

    2. I agree with this, but I find FB and blogs draw me in very much. I have to purposely turn them off to get anything done. :)

  23. A friend once told me, "Inch by inch is a cinch, yard by yard is hard."

  24. I do the same thing. Doing a large project overwhelms me, and I will never start it if I think about trying to finish it all at once. Little by little, though, and things get accomplished.

    1. Dear Chipmunk, I think so too, we might never get started if we didnt break it down a bit! With love Annabelxxx

  25. Such wisdom in your words! I'm not a morning person myself. Many times I will have a load of wash ready the night before. I will leave a note for hubby and he will push the start button on his way out. I also do as much dinner prep as I can early in the day. On the weekends when I am baking a coffee cake or muffins for breakfast I will mix the dry ingredients the night before. I have the wet ingredients pulled onto the counter or gathered in the frig. It makes breakfast prep go much faster. I also just started a 15 minute challenge. I set aside 15 minutes each day for a project. Some days I can get the task done and others it will take me several days. Doing it bit by bit gets the job done!

    1. Dear Wendi,
      I agree so much on getting dinner started early! This would be my number one tip when the kids are little! But Im still doing it! You sound very much like me! With love

    2. Wendi,

      I do all of this, too, and as we can see, so does Annabel. Great accomplishments, I say!

      I even do this with getting my water intake: When I put my mouth on the straw, I get down ten (10) guzzles, counting every one. I set my alarm to do this on the hour, OR, after each trip to the loo (CR, restroom, etc. *wink*), I go back and drink some more water. Can’t seem to get your water in? Do SOMEthing to get the ball rolling.

      When our girls were still at home, we did “10 Minute Clean Up,” going from room to room with a timer, spending 10 minutes in each space. Most times, all of those minutes aren’t required, but oh, the aesthetic difference! The house is not going to tidy itself, so get up and get the ball rolling!

      The late Nancy Zieman, who’s had the longest running PBS show of its kind, advised exactly what Annabel did. Go set up your machine. Later thread the bobbin. Later, cut out parts of your project. Only time to sew one seam? Hey! Isn’t a sewing project constructed one seam at a time?! Before you know it, it’s complete, all because you started the ball rolling!

      My husband and I read each afternoon for at least thirty minutes. Our hard-working eyes then grow sleepy so we take a power nap. These are habits that glean us books upon books read by the end of the weeks, months and year, plus refreshing our minds and bodies with rest and heavenly peace at the end of a busy day. All because we “got the ball rolling!”

      Great Titus 2 advice from Annabel and Wendi indeed!


  26. I love this post. Gosh I have been loving all of your posts. Thank you for making my heart sing, Annabel. Since having my baby Tommy (Thomas, born 14th December) life has been busy. A baby and a toddler! I think it would be very wise to grab the minutes where I can and get productive things done. I keep remembering your wise words- make hay while the sun shines and seasons and the my time post and honestly it is giving me great courage and strength. So thank you! I have written out a routine for the week- I am not sure if I will get through it, but it will give me some direction as I think that can be half the battle. Lots of love, Bridge

  27. Yes Yes Yes....I recently took on a job as housekeeper...and lost it right away! Why? Because I shared my secrets with my daughter in love who is trying to sell their home. I told her to do five jobs every day without fail: make the bed, do a load of laundry, a load of dishes, straighten the baths and empty the trash. I told her to then focus on one room each day and do the things she sees must be done in that room and only in that room. She told me this week while visiting that I needn't come next week and then texted me when she got home today and said "My house looks and smells GOOD! I'm so happy I know how to care for it now." It IS hard with two little boys 3 and 11 months and always needing mommy's attention but it's DOABLE when it's divided up into five simple tasks. I told her not to discount the impact of shutting a closet door or pulling a shower curtain closed. The room is suddenly transformed because the visual clutter is greatly reduced. Well it was well worth taking on the job and then losing it so quickly for her to feel the house is hers to control and not her to be controlled by it.


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.