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 15 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 16th March, 2018.

The week has flown by! It has been a mixture.  Every week I find that what I get done on the weekend and then on a Monday sets the scene.  I always try and do as much as I can on Monday's to get the week off to a good start and knock a few things off my list.  If I do this I seem to get lots done.

I have been drying Olive Leaves.  I crushed some up to send to Patsy and some to start a big batch of Olive Leaf Extract.

Mum had been here and she left to go back to the farm so I sent a tray of little cakes for Chloe and Luke.

We have had lovely Autumn weather.  I took on the job of re potting my Fiddle Leaf Fig trees (indoor plants) as they had grown so much!   Suddenly they seem huge!

It was a bit of a circus but it didn't cost a cent as I had really big pots I found on the side of the road and I took apart my herb pots as they need refreshing at the end of summer.  I had spare soil from that.   Now they look even bigger as the pots are larger. 

I was given $30 in free postage stamps.

Andy had a big week and his Vicky Challenge Savings amounted to $560! He is proud and says "don't forget to tell the ladies" haha! 

I was given 14 pairs of designer jeans. Not my size but I said yes as I googled the prices!  I am going to sell them!

Harper hasn't been eating her carrots.  So I made carrot cakes.  Since carrots aren't popular I decided calling them Carrot Cakes might not be the smartest so I called then Bunny Rabbit Cakes. 😊
This worked! They weren't scoffed at the same rate as Banana Cakes but they have been eaten!

I also tried out a grain free carrot cake recipe as I was dying to have some cake.  Jenny asked for the recipe so I thought since there are a few gluten free (plus also grain free)  cooks here I will include it.

It is 350 g grated carrot.  (3/4 lb)
1/2 chop chopped pecans.
5 large eggs.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon bi carb soda.
250g almond meal (1/2 pound)
1 cup dark brown sugar.
1 teaspoon cinnamon.
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
1/2 teaspoon ginger.

Line a cake pan with non stick baking paper.  I have found each time I have made an almond meal cake that it looks cooked and the middle isn't really cooked enough!  So I made it more as a slice in a thinner layer in a square tin. Then it is easier to tell.  Look for it to be risen, golden and a skewer come out clean then add a few minutes.
Sorry no directions just whip the eggs and sugar first then add the rest.... I was looking for butter or oil but it has none.
Anyway it turned out just like carrot cake! 
I used cream cheese plus icing  sugar plus golden syrup for icing... for Harpers cakes and mine.  Do whatever cream cheese icing you like.  
It was good!

Later in the week I had a big spaghetti sauce cook up.  I made two big pots full.  This gave me two dinners and I froze the rest into meal size portions.
When I have things to freeze most of it goes over to Mum's freezer.

I stacked in ten meals of meat sauce.  I brought back frozen stewed cherries.  I have so many things now in that freezer!

Also I made play doh for the girls.  I made it pink with glitter...

Then I had a fun hour of making snakes and balls,  the two top choices! 

So this was my week!  I don't have to make dinner tonight since we are having zoodles with my meat sauce.  

Chloe sent me this last night...

Luke got a working dog puppy!  To me he looks guilty like he just did something naughty.  This is probably more something he is planning to do!  

How did you build up your home, savings, pantry or any other area of your nest this week?
Have a good weekend.  We have a state election here.   
I am planning to see if I can get my sour dough starter going for gluten free bread.  I wanted to have a wheat free pizza base and when I saw the prices in the shops I decided that is it I am converting my sour dough to GF.   I want pizza at least now and then!

Have a lovely weekend! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, I am intrigued by the idea of making your own olive leaf extract. I'll be keen to hear. I have olive trees too...never an olive, but plenty of leaves, so keep us updated. You had a good week, and I agree that almond meal makes wonderful cakes. There's a Whole Orange Almond cake that's been around for years that's really worth a try. That one where you boil the oranges then process them. It's brilliant. Love the cookup, the doggie is so sweet, and would I expect Annabel to tint play doh anything but pink?? I think! I had a great week. I tidied my computer desk and my office desk, and found a way to hide my computer cables behind a framed picture under my desk. I was looking at fire screens actually, but this works just as well, and I already had the framed picture of the Eiffel Tower, so that was a saving, and a pretty one at that. I found a Ghost chair at the op shop for $20 (I've wanted one forever), and covered it with a sheepskin I already had, and will use it as my computer desk chair. For anyone who doesn't know, these are just a clear acrylic chair, copied from one by a designer Phillipe Starck. I love them because they sort of disappear, and streamline the space a little. I have a glass computer desk too, so this is perfect. I also tidied my bedroom desk, started tidying my wardrobe, posted off a lot of parcels, and got started on some powder puffs and coffee cup cozies for gifts. Lots of other stuff, but mostly just family specific and not that I hope everyone had a lovely week of nesting. Thanks for these wonderful updates. Have a great weekend. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I will let you know how the extract goes. Essentially it is like making vanilla extract/essence. But I really like to use olive leaf extract when theres a cold or flu and swear it works. I will give it a few weeks then report back.
      I have made the orange and almond cake and it is good! I am next trying a Maggie Beer cake which is meant to be wonderful. I hope so as I love some cake! Also... I have the sour dough going in GF flour. Fingers crossed.
      I love the ghost chairs! Lucy has a very rustic table and these chairs. It looks amazing. Good find!
      Also I love glass tables. I know what you mean... I think these make a room look larger as the furniture is "barely there"
      You had a good week! I am on a re arrange and organise mission still... might get some more done over the weekend! With love and thanks,

    2. It sounds like you've snazzed up your office, Mimi, cables look so messy.

      I'm really keen to see how the olive leaf extract and gluten free sour dough go as well. My daughter slugs back olive leaf extract to help keep the lurgies at bay.

  2. You had a very busy week Annabelle! I love the idea of bunny cakes and will remember that when I make one again. I have a grandchild too that will skip his carrots. Hiding them is a good thing! Your plants are giants! Have a great week.

    1. Dear Vickie, I figure grated carrot can go in hamburger, sausage rolls, meat sauce, cakes, muffins... so in it went! Zucchini is another good toe that seems to blend in!
      Have a lovely weekend to you too! Love

    2. "Bunny cakes" is such a great idea, especially with Easter coming up (and all the advertising that goes with that) and the new Peter Rabbit movie that has just been released.

  3. Bunny Rabbit Cakes! Smart! Your fiddle leaf figs are beautiful. My Mom grows hers right in the ground in Florida and they are huge.

    Our week has flown past but we had a special treat as our daughter in law and youngest grandson were at her parents only 2 1/2 hours away instead of the 11 hours to their home. We went on a little road trip to see them and had a lovely day. Our little guy will eat just about anything but he is too young to be too picky yet. We finally had a warmer, sunny day today and we feel revived by it.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Dear Lana,
      How wonderful for you! two and a half hours is manageable. The farm for us is three hours. I am used to that. But 11 hours would be difficult! I am so glad you took advantage of the opportunity!
      At first I was worried about the fiddle leaf figs and I had one and it was going well. Then I got tow others as they were on huge markdowns and anything they have thrived and I love them!
      Have a good weekend. I wanted to tell you... I got the Tummy Soothe and I had a chance to use it like you said I put one drop on the back of my hand then licked it. Well it worked! I write down what you say then I write this on the bottle so I dont forget your instructions! Thank you! With love

    2. Tummy Soothe goes with us whenever we will be gone for even just the day. It never fails to work for us. You can be proactive and use it if you are feeling really nauseous and it is over. I ordered new oils last week and also got one of the travel cases. I put our most frequently used oils in it and we just grab it on the way out the door. It went along twice this week already.

  4. Annabel,



    1. haha I think you mean the dog! Well yes this one is a mixed blessing! xxx

  5. hello annabelle .i love your posts -they are informative and is the puppy a stumpy tail cattle dog- i have 2 -they are fabulous but being in town they need loads of exercise
    regards michelle

    1. Dear Michelle, Yes the farm dogs have a ton of energy! We have had Kelpies, Blue Heelers.... and smaller dogs too. I told Chloe he can also be a security system as well! Thank you so much! xxx

  6. Hi Annabel, You certainly accomplished a lot. Neat idea to use the carrots in the carrot cake. I need to eat gluten free and will be interested to hear how your gluten free sourdough turns out. Thanks you for the GF carrot cake recipe. Would Almond meal be the same as our almond flour in the US? Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Yes I think they are the same things. Already my dried sour dough has woken up in the gf flour. So far so good. My dough will still have traces of gluten because my actual starter came from plain flour but over time as I add flour and it grows it will become less and less until hopefully it could be considered properly GF free. I will keep you posted. Mostly I am trying to avoid grains but seriously sometimes I am just dying for a pizza or some cake or something! At least this will be wheat free and I wont ache!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  7. Hello Annabel and fellow bluebirds :).

    How cute and sparkly is that homemade play doh Annabel and the carrot cupcakes look lovely. Well done Andy also on your total weekly savings too :).

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $352.65 in savings last week.

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

    Earnings, internet listing & home deposit savings -
    - Earned $20.50 from selling saved seeds from the gardens which I banked to recoup some of our bulk pantry stock up expenditure.
    - Listed 5 handmade items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $8.25 on listing fees.
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit account bringing us up to 24.09% of the way there.

    Vehicle maintenance and building needed items from what we have -
    - Our car battery died so we had the battery replaced and terminals cleaned by our roadside assist club and with the discount offered plus us paying in cash from our emergency kitty we saved $25 in total.
    - Built our own firewood rack for the front veranda out of an old fallen fence post cut into 3 for the support beams and some old wooden garden stakes for the firewood to sit costing us $0 saving us $89.95 over purchasing one in the shops. Our real estate property manager requested we get the firewood elevated off the front deck.

    Home organisation and cleaning -
    - Deep cleaned the outside and on top of the freezers, fridge, outside doors and drawers of the kitchen cupboards and the kitchen ceiling in readiness for our rental inspection later in the month.

    Sewing -
    - Cut out 2 more bread bags from my fabric stash in the craft room to list on the internet.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made a loaf of fruit bread in the bread making machine saving $3.70 over purchasing it.

    Purchases -
    - Topped up on 12 months worth of potato chips on 50% off special saving $19.80 on usual prices.
    - Combined a 50% off supermarket special, 5% off using my supermarket rewards gift card and a $10 off supermarkets rewards voucher to purchase 8 months of mouth wash saving $46.90 on usual prices.

    Medications and doctors appointments -
    - Got a bulk script for DH's pain medications for a month saving $70.40 over buying the boxes separately.
    - DH and I had 3 medical appointments for which we were bulk billed saving us $96.90 on usual costs.

    Hope everyone else has had an equally productive week :).


    1. Dear Sewingcreations,
      I am planning my week and reading about your week. This inspires me to aim for lots this week!
      I think the bread bags are a great idea and so useful. I am seeing a lot of produce type bags and other things that I would classify as re useable cloth, bags and kitchen things. I love them!
      I love fruit loaf! It is just delicious.
      The pain medication purchase like that was clever. I am inputted by the new no codeine over the counter rule. I went to the Dr about it as I feared having to go to the dr constantly fro scripts for what was over the counter... Anyway she helped me and showed me how I can relate my main migraine medicine with mostly other OTC drugs. So I am going to be ok I think. Going to a discount chemist has saved us a small fortune. The bulk billing was also great fro you. This can all soon add up!
      Well done on your sales and listings. I am amazed at all the free listings you get, this is really smart!
      I hope you are having a good weekend. we had an election here plus it is rainy. I am really having a quiet and planning day today. With much love and thanks,

    2. Hi Annabel, from my own research vitamin D deficiency can lead to migrane as can low B6. Migraines make you avoid sun, and affect appetite so can become a vicious cycle. Next time your at the Drs ask if your levels have been tested recently. Its not something Commonly tested for. A, B complex is also helpful in making sure you get enough B's on board. In addition to regular Chiro ,My Dr recommended that a Berocca, a strong cup of Coffee and 3 x 300mg Aspirin at first sign of a migraine .so far its worked and the Maxalt I have on hand is only used occasionally. I hope this can help one of the readers. Migraines are nasty. But As always check with your own Dr in case this info is not suitable:)

    3. Thank you DiinAus. I think D is important and have found myself improved for taking that. The strong coffee has also worked with me... thank you for your tips!xxx

  8. Annabel,
    You had a great week. I love it bunny cakes. The puppy is adorable.

    1. Thanks Patti! You have a lovely weekend! xxx

  9. Annabel,
    You had a great week. I love it bunny cakes. The puppy is adorable.

  10. Lovely Friday update , Annabel !
    Your bunny rabbit cakes look good , Thankyou for the recipe I’m going to pinch that idea :-) and I have all the ingredients to make it .
    I made a healthy carrot cake this week and hubby is not enthused , no icing ! But I like it with my cuppa.
    Wow that’s a lot of freezer meals to keep track of ! But I know you can , well done !
    What a cute little puppy ,maybe his face is saying he knows he’s going to be a working dog . My week has been busy with family as usual . Our eldest stayed 2 nights , makes an easier commute to work if he has a breakfast meeting or late one , we enjoy having him .
    Bit of running around to do helping my inlaws get some help with lawns . Sorted gifts for new babies , cards and so on , and small gifts for those needing a pickmeuo , so that was my day posting and delivering.
    Wrote up more notes on oils and cleaned out my cabinet that stores them and moved it to another room which makes it handy to use .
    Made up Lana’s lavender spray and have used that a lot , I only had a small spray bottle , just refilled it .family and friends have been happy to sprayed too hehe . And I’ve googled ideas for copying blends eg Thieves as I have a lot of oils to use up .
    Have a lovely weekend Bluebirds !
    Love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I like something with my cup of tea too! It makes a world of difference to my day. Don't worry the working dogs love it. They are so enthusiastic. Dad always has said a good dog earns 50% of the pay of a farm worker like a jackaroo. I think is might be true. They are awesome what they can do. So smart!
      I have been doing gifts too. Gifts, wrapping, cards it all takes time but is nice to have it done!
      You will probably have everything you need to make many blends. They are very handy made up ready to go. In the spray bottles or the roller balls it then goes so far! I am finding roller bottles with "sleep" "defence" etc themes to be great presents. Mind you I like some in my handbag etc so have made a fair few.
      Have a good weekend there too! With love

  11. Annabel what a great week,tell Andy we are very impressed! Bunny cake that is a good idea. I am making Hunter your banana muffins this weekend and I am also making him chocolate chip cookies with bananas too. Say cauliflower makes a good pizza crust by the way. Rick took in scrap metal again and netted $90, we saved $20 on cheese that was on special. I got a rebate check for $2.27 we sold 9 dozen eggs$18, still burning wood and I cooked a turkey that has been several meals. I was asked to clean in exchange for gas cards so of course I did and was given $75 in gas cards. Rick traded pickles and beans for an electrical part he needed and I got a few samples in the mail $2 I am still making my own coffee creamer and I saved $34 using Kmart offers. They keep sending me freecash and I earn a little extra with their games so adding to the pantry and gift stash. I have the kids birthdays covered. I got free spinach seeds in the mail $2 and saved on gas by mostly staying home. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Xoxo Vicky

    1. Dear Vicky,
      The banana muffins are good! I hope he like them!
      The scrap metal amounted to a lot! That was really good!
      You know I love turkey and how many meals you can et from it! Yum!
      The man who wanted to trade for your preserves rather than for cash that was awesome!
      I cant believe all your Kmart free cash. I love K mart. We do not have these kinds of deals!
      Have a good new week. I am getting off to a pretty good start! With love

  12. Hi Annabel,i have really injoyed reading your posts on essential oils, i have even bought some more from my local chemist and made sure they were 100% pure
    we recently won some floating floor boards 5 boxes brand new on ebay:) and will pick them up tomorrow i cannot wait,iam interested on how your olive oil extract will go as we used the stuff a lot have a great weekend xox

    1. I forgot to tell you the floor boards cost only $14.00

    2. Dear Melissa,
      What a deal on the floor boards! Amazing. Well done!
      I will report how the extract turns out. It is LOOKING right so far but I need to give it at least three weeks.
      I hope you enjoy the oils. I just love mine and the results Im getting. I feel now I couldnt do without them! Have a good new week! With love

  13. You are always so productive, Annabelle! What an amazing week you had and Andy, too!

    How clever to make Bunny Rabbit Cakes for Harper :) Your recipe looks good and I'm going to try and adapt it for myself (I don't eat eggs).

    Luke's pup is adorable!!! What is his name?

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      I found the name of things makes a difference. When Chloe was little she declared she didnt like quiche. She was quite determined about that. So from then on we had Egg and Bacon Pie. :)
      The puppy isn't named yet but I will check today to see if they decided. I hope its a good name! I will see him in two weeks as we will be visiting over Easter! Have a lovely weekend to you too! With love

  14. Dear Annabel,
    Your freezer food storage looks great. It's so handy to have food ready in the freezer.
    Please tell Andy 'congratulations' on his large savings. What a blessing.
    The puppy, oh how I love animals. He is so cute. He does, however, have a bit of the look of onery in his eyes (LOL). He will keep Luke and Chloe on their toes for a while😃.
    Thank you for the grain free recipe. Would you please share your grain free sourdough recipe? If you have done this before and I have missed it, I apologize.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I have so much fruit in that freezer. Just now I am enjoying cherries.
      Yes I can see mischief coming up with this puppy. I will see him in two weeks. I am thinking to take him some toys.
      I have not tried the gluten free sour dough before. I am using Aldi gf flour... so there is no wheat which is my worst problem but there is rice flour and I will check what else but I looked at the list and thought ok no wheat so I think I can give this a go. Maybe not often but sometimes as a pizza base, toast when not well and so on. I have had to start it with a small amount of dry starter that was made of normal flour. So as I expand it then it will become less and less gluten "contaminated" until eventually I can say it is wheat free. technically it will have traces of wheat for a while. If I can do this I can make bread for Mum as she is gf. And most gf things are so expensive! I do dream of making fruit loaf but we will see!
      at the moment my mixture does have some bubbles so the sour dough is waking up! I will let you know my progress. If this works I am sure it will work with your sprouted flour... it would be great! Love

    2. Thanks, Annabel. I will be very interested in how the gf sourdough works.
      Love and hugs,

  15. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    What a great week! That carrot cake sounds delicious, and the puppy is so adorable.

    This week's efforts:

    Cooking and food: I baked a double batch of banana bread and cooked some chicken and veggies and a roast in the crockpot for the week. All work lunches and snacks were brought from home. ($150 savings on lunches, I would say $40 on snacks - fruit,fig bars, granola bars,and roasted nuts.) There were great prices on citrus and apples at Aldi this week, so I bought several pounds to have for snacking and lunches. I also cleaned out and re-organized the stand-up freezer so that we can see what we have and what we need to replenish; it was a little humbling to find some old packages of food that I had forgotten about or that had come open, but it looks great now and I will continue on in that vein. The new fridge with the freezer on the bottom is wonderful, and it is so easy to see where everything is!

    Household: My husband installed a new hood in the kitchen to match the new appliances (joy!), saving us $200 from not having it professionally installed. We also sold our old living room set on Craigslist, making enough to pay for the new hood and microwave ($300). It went to a young lady who is moving into her first apartment, and that made us both very happy. I made my own scrubby cleanser with baking soda to remove some stains from the tile, once the old hood was removed (a savings of $3, but I think the homemade version works better and is less toxic that the commercial stuff). My husband also replaced our old tub trim with a shiny new set that matches the other bathroom hardware, saving $100 by doing it himself.

    There was a great and unexpected sale at an outlet shop, and we purchased new throw pillows (8 fancy pillows with embroidery and in pretty aqua and turquoise tones) and a piece of artwork for under $100) - it brightens up the whole living room and I could not have bought the materials to make them for that price! I also took down the valance scarves and hung some eggshell sheers that I had on hand. There is so much more light now, and the entire area is refreshed without much effort or expense.

    I did some work in the garden in anticipation of being able to plant soon, and saved some seedheads from echinacea and sunflowers that I somehow missed last fall. We'll see if they grow! (Some of the sunflower seeds got scattered for our feathered friends.) My green onion patch is coming up again this year, and the bergamot is starting to wake up, too.

    Entertainment: We enjoyed some books and movies from the library and our own collection.

    Personal care and education: I used my health insurance to visit a specialist, and am sure that saved a substantial amount over not having insurance. ($20 co-pay.) My health insurance is also completely covering the cost of some testing (maybe $160 for labs, and I shudder to think at the rest of it). I definitely count preventive medicine as an investment in future health and saving both money and possible problems later on.

    There was a sale on DMC floss for 33 cents per skein (instead of 52 cents), so I purchased several colors and multiples of colors that I know I will use in the future.
    I started a new small cross-stitch ornament and knitted on various projects.
    We gave the young lady who bought our living room set a coordinating floor lamp, two table lamps, and some throw pillows that we were just storing, but are still cute and functional. She really liked them! I'm happy they will be used and enjoyed.
    I used a jar candle purchased on sale and a card from my stash for a birthday gift for a family member. (Saved at least $30.)

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy, You did a lot of nice things for your house and helped someone else set up theirs! Your husband doing the kitchen hood was a big saver and now you have everything matching!
      All the lunches and snacks sound a big saving and healthy too.
      I agree with you about the health things. Prevention is our best bet where we can. I love a freshly organised freezer! And fridge for that matter... I need to do it regularly as I always "quickly stash things" and forget them. But Im getting better at rotating and using things up. Now and then I have a use it up challenge and this gets me back to basics and I start again. There is nothing worse than finding some amazing special or having a big cook up and then there is no room in the freezer to take advantage of it! And this has happened too me too many times!
      It is a joy to read your week, thank you so much! With love

  16. Hi, Annabel!
    You’re always busy; you’d run circles around me. And, I thought I was busy!
    On your sourdough, i’ve read in several places that sourdough can be tolerated by some people with gluten issues. I don’t remember why but maybe because of the souring that takes place? I add rye flour to mine, about every third feed. It’s always been bubbly.
    Have a fabulous week!

    1. Dear Debbie, That is interesting... I also think sour dough is lower GI overall... So far the dry starter seems to be waking up. So thats a start. It is the wheat that seems the problem for me. With it I ache all over. Without it I have no aches at all! Im amazed. So this flour has no wheat but rice flour and a mix... I got it from Aldi. If I can make this my Mum can have it too as she is gluten free. Anyway its an experiment!
      Thanks for sharing on the rye... I love rye bread so maybe I should try that too. Thanks so much, love

  17. You've done well, Annabell. I also am interested in seeing how your olive oil extract turns out. We have Russian Olive trees nearby, can one use the leaves from that? As for savings, my husband has continued to work in our basement, improving it as he is turning it into a 'man cave'. So far, not a lot accomplished on the Man Cave, but he has changed out plumbing pipes from old galvanized to plastic, re-routed the pipes so they are better laid out, done electrical, dry wall, and painting. Then he moved my washer and dryer to a better location. Next up is more drywall, electrical and plumbing as he is going to install a standing shower and sink/vanity and mirror. When our weather warms up and I can open windows for ventilation, I will paint the concrete floors. The most I do during all this is to check on his progress, tell him where I want him to put what, and be his cheerleader! Plus, I get to do the fun things like decorate. My point is, he is able to do all this work for only the cost of materials. He's very handy and does great work! He also remodeled our kitchen a few years ago. I told him he is worth his weight in gold!

    1. Dear Joy, Thank you! I looked up Russian Olive Trees as I had not heard of them. It turns out they are related to Olive trees but different so I dont think so. Or better to be safe than sorry!
      I love the man cave project and that your husband can do all this work. It will be great! Your husband doing the kitchen was a huge asset too!
      A basement sounds great. In Australia a basement is a rare thing!
      Have a good weekend! With love

  18. P.S. That puppy is adorable!

  19. Well done, Annabel as well as the other Bluebirds posting so far! Looks like everyone has been finding ways to save while creatively adding to their pantries and their homes!
    I have been blessed as well!
    Today was our regular payday (every two weeks) and I again zero-ed out our checking account from the previous two weeks. Half went into savings and half went to pay down debt. I was bowled over to see that in just two weeks time, we added an extra $500+ to each of those two goals using this as well as doing the same with other income that wasn’t his regular paycheck!
    Our savings account has never been this big and we’re excited to see it growing faster and faster now!
    We are planning on Dave to retire in May of next year so we are in high gear to put ourselves in the best financial situation possible! We got a late start on retirement saving while we were raising our 11 kids so now, we are trying to catch up! Every little bit counts!
    We continue to have low spend/no spend months for groceries and other non-essentials. As we eat from our pantry, it’s amazing to see how we’ve been blessed with “windfalls” to build our storage back up!
    A couple of those “windfalls/blessings” came when I went to the produce market on Tuesday. I bought a 5 pound bag of chopped onion for $1 which I bagged into 6 quart size ziploc bags and froze, I bought a 50 pound bag of potatoes for $10. So far I have cubed and dehydrated about 25 pounds. That was the final component I needed to make my friend’s recipe for dry beef and barley stew in a quart jar. I made a dozen of these easy convenience dinner jars!
    I was given by my friendly produce market ladies, 5 baskets of raspberries and one of blueberries. I gave the blueberries and 1 basket of over ripe raspberries to my chickens but I had enough raspberries that were nice to can 2 jars of raspberry jam!
    They also gave me 1/2 bushel of cilantro for my hens (which they live!!) and (2) 25 pound boxes of ripe tomatoes! The tomatoes needed to be used soon so I put 25 pounds at a time into my big electric roaster and cooked them down into tomato paste. I was able to can 33 jars of tomato paste for free!!
    I made another 6 flannel Kleenex last night because Dave has been suffering with a sinus infection all week and his poor nose is bright red from all the blowing!! He’s been using the flannel ones I made earlier, even the pink floral ones , so I thought I would make him some more masculine looking ones!
    Our hens just keep laying well and we currently have 22-1/2 dozen in our fridge so I think we’ll mention this to our friends because several of them are quick to buy our eggs whenever we mention that we have an over abundance!
    Other than that, the cold weather and snow flurries have kept me from continuing the brick walkway project in our side yard using our 500 free bricks! Just as well, because this food processing has take a bit of my attention this week! Lol!
    Hope everyone is having a great week feathering their nests!

    1. Dear Pat, I am siting here reading and replying on Sunday which is my planning day. Your week is inspiring my new week!
      No wonder your chickens are laying well. They get the best food! The free items from the market were amazing both for the chooks and you!
      I know how it is with produce that needs to be used right this minute so yes maybe the weather was ok and you needed to do all this first. All that tomato paste alone is fantastic. I love tomato paste, tomato sauce and sun dried tomatoes. To me they add so much flavour and nutrition instantly.
      I am thinking retirement will see your husband still working on the home business and between the tow of you I bet it will still be equally productive as you are now! It will be great. The savings account look good would be because of so many home enterprises and you do what I always think about... take every opportunity and turn it into something!
      I hope the new week will be another wonderful week. With love

  20. Annabel, what do you use the olive leaf extract for? I haven't heard of this before. I am going to try your carrot cake recipe sometime real soon. Thanks for sharing. Paula in Kansas

    1. Dear Paula,
      Olive leaf extract is a powerful antioxidant. It is taken to build up immunity and it is an anti viral so it is often taken with illness and fever. So it is something I take when there is flu around or I feel like Im coming down with something... I mix it into orange juice. I really think its good and then I found out it is simple to make (quite expensive to buy) and here I am surrounded by olive trees! Also in general I am trying to learn to make things that are medical so I have those skills. This is a learning curve for me! I hope that explains... with love

  21. Hi Annabel,
    I think it is so lovely that you bake and cook so much that you can share it with your family. They must really appreciate it.

    I have had a home week as much as possible with school runs etc. I've been really low on energy this pregnancy. I started making hot cross buns, well kind of. I don't bother with the crosses until it's actually easter, so just fruity buns really! I've made three batches this week, as well as gluten free chocolate cake and muffins, regular chocolate cake and muffins, museli bar slice (Wendy's recipe), and bacon and egg pie for the freezer.

    Last night we went to a family pizza night, so I made ten pizza bases, and a chocolate raspberry brownie. It was a lovely night, but unfortunately I came home and was sick overnight. I guess that's why I've felt so run down this week, but oddly yesterday I felt much more energetic so maybe I did too much too soon.

    I've been working away steadily on a single-bed crochet blanket for my son. Which has prompted my other son to ask when his quilt will be ready... I really must figure out how to do the binding and finish it!! There some youtube clips to help.

    I got some really good grocery specials this week, the man behind me in the line asked me if I was feeding an army lol. When meat is reduced by 75% I adopt an army cook mentality!!

    I hope everyone has a nice weekend, I think it will be a fairly quiet one here.

    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen,
      It is really hard to rest in pregnancy when you already have a family... but rest as you can and I hope you are having a quiet Sunday.
      My gf sour dough seems to be alive and coming along. This might be handy for you too so I will report on how it goes once I actually bake something!
      The hot cross buns sound delicious. Also all those pizza bases. I wonder if they are the sour dough from me and Nanna Chel (who gave it to me) I hope so! Just wow!
      The crochet blanket is actually perfect to be working on as you can sit down for a while and work on that. It is kind of a rest. I do hope you are feeling better today. I need to check when your baby is due! With much love

  22. Dear Annabel,
    As usual, you have had a busy and productive week! How convenient and helpful it will be having yummy food tucked away in the freezer! I hope your gluten-free sour dough is a great success.

    The pink, sparkly play dough looks like so much fun! One year, I made little bags of purple play dough for each child attending our daughter's birthday party.

    The puppy is so cute!

    We've had a pretty good week. The weather has cooled off by about 10 degrees F, making it seem almost perfect. It is a welcome respite from the heat we had and the intense heat we know will be coming all too soon. I know you are looking forward to the cooler season in Australia.

    My husband is changing the water supply to my garden containers to make it more efficient. My yard long green beans have sprouted. The tomato plants are blooming and producing a few tomatoes. I bought some organic sweet potatoes, hoping to start a few more plants. Not only do they look pretty and produce tasty food, but they thrive in our summer heat.

    We were able to save $35 off gasoline ($1 off per gallon) for our two vehicles with points from the grocery store. There were some really good e-coupons, including the Friday free items, and even $4 off total purchase which could be used for almost anything. They had some good sale prices, too. This allowed me to save $61 while spending $58. Our daughter gave us a dozen eggs from their chickens, which is always so helpful.

    I cut fabric getting ready to sew 4 king sized pillow cases and 5 rice hot pack bags. Most of the rice bags will be for gifts.

    We used a gift card I had received as a birthday gift to take one of our granddaughters to lunch at one of her favorite places. It only cost us a little more than a dollar after the gift card for the 3 of us to eat our fill and have enough left to take home for a lunch later. We all enjoyed being together.

    We use a credit card from Costco that we pay off monthly and gives us money back on a variety of things, including gasoline. We received our yearly "earnings," making it possible to add a lot to the pantry and still bring home some money.

    I would like to know how you are making the olive leaf extract and what you are going to do with it. There are quite a few olive trees in our area. I might need to search one out.

    We have been looking for some new cushions for our patio swing. I had just told my husband I thought I had better try to get some material to re-cover them. I wasn't looking forward to doing it, but they were beginning to look bad. My husband spotted some on sale that were a good color and fit well for probably less than it would have cost for the fabric. They only had 3 left and that was just what we needed!

    I hope you and the other beautiful bluebirds have a lovely weekend!

    Love from Arizona, USA,

    1. Dear Elaine,
      I love that you have a patio swing! That was lovely getting new cushions!
      Also it was beautiful to have lunch with your Granddaughter and at somewhere she likes to go. These are precious times.
      Your garden sounds like it is going really well. And I love the sewing you have planned. I find heat packs the best thing ever! I couldnt be without mine. I fill mine with barley out of the soup section quite often!
      It is so good you could add to your pantry. I am always happy hearing that.
      I hope the new week is good for you! With much love


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