The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

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Thursday 28 June 2018

Feather your Next Friday, 29 June, 2018.

I am so glad of Feather your Nest Fridays.   Stopping to assess things makes a world of difference to me.  I helps me plan next week too. But sitting here writing I see wow the month is almost over and we are right in the middle of the year already.
Big things are happening!  The second half of the year is set to be life changing!
We have the wedding coming in October.
So much to do!

This week I continued working on my pantry.  I emptied and washed all my jars and put my new labels on.   I am ordering more labels as I realised some I missed and had not thought of.  Also I have kept many spare jars since Bluebirds Farmhouse Pantry will be much bigger.

I found I had multiple jars with the same thing i.e. four jars of icing sugar.   So I made up snap lock bags full of things that need using up. 

I have used a lot  of these this week in a kind of use it up challenge.  I can see I have enough random dried fruits to make a fruit cake too. 

I made baked apples with some of my hailstone apples from the Adelaide Hills.  I bought four bags of these in support of the farmers who were hit by hailstones.  They are beautiful apples anyway.

They end up caramelised and gorgeous. I had baked apples for breakfast too.

One of my getting ready to move jobs this week was to touch up paint in several places with marks or chips.  I did all those and they look perfect!

I made GF Melting Moments.  I just used GF flour in my regular recipe.  Excuse the wobbly icing but these few were for Harper...

They tasted good and gave me something when I was craving biscuits!

I also made Gingerbread biscuits with honey.  I make these for the girls and Andy.  

I made tuna mornays, a big Tikka Masala Chicken curry and even had a bash at GF Naan Bread.  It worked!  I just used Aldi GF flour, yoghurt and a little milk to mix a dough.  I rolled them out and fried the disks.   Well yum!   I used homemade yoghurt and mint from Mums garden to make raita to go with everything. 

Andy said to stop telling him things are GF as he honestly can't tell any difference and thinks they are great.   I was really happy with this as Naan sure extends a curry a very long way.

I made a pot of use it up veggie soup for the lunches. 

Our neighbour over the road had an extension built.  She came over and asked us if we wanted a pile of wood that is left over.  Andy went over and took a photo of this all and sent it to Luke.  Farmer Luke said YES PLEASE!  so it is all sitting on our front veranda to go to the farm.   I asked Andy to guess the value of it and he measured it up and said $180.   So that is $180 in timber for farm use.

Mum gave me two beautiful cardis, one navy blue and one a beautiful claret colour.  
Lucy gave me three litres of olive oil which I decanted into bottles. 

Then I went to see Hilde and do a further afield shop.   Each time I do this it pays off so much.  My one purchase of hair colour for 33c cents per box (instead of the usual $19) saved me $170.
I got a car load of beautiful fruit and veggies for a fraction of our local prices.  
I found a crystal decanter and the cups and saucers I love for $4.

The biggest bargain was an expensive brand pure duck down Queen sized quilt for $15.  Bluebird Farmhouse will have another double bed so I need more linen.   This is a saving of at least $200 right there.   I washed it up in my homemade wool mix and it smells beautiful and dried in Mums tumble drier for half a day!   It is glorious! 

The second biggest bargain was a velvet coat for Harper.  It is lined with navy satin. It is just gorgeous.

My picture makes it look faded but it is luscious dark thick navy blue.

Hilde gave me two big baskets of lemons. 

I drink the juice of a fresh lemon every day in my jug of water (thanks to Lana that is my habit now) and I have enough to get creative over the weekend as well.

When I got home and unpacked I had so many veggies I made up a basket each for Chloe and Dad as they were coming to Adelaide for a meeting.

Dad loves cauliflower and cabbage, I guarantee he is cooking them up today.    So I got to see Dad and Chloe briefly and give them cups of tea before they headed back to the farm.  Dad told me there is progress and if all goes well we will have access to Bluebirds Farmhouse in August!  Then it will be a matter of assessing what work we need to do before we could move in! 

Yesterday I made the girls cupcakes to take today since apparently all the biscuits are gone! 

Over the weekend I will take some time to add up my Vicky Challenge.  This week will be very good.  It all adds up that is for sure.  It all helped other households as well as our own.   Every week I put my list plus the dollar value into my Vicky Savings book.  I have no idea how I am going compared to the last two years of doing this.  But it inspires me a lot to see what an incredible savings it is to shop around, bake your own, pack the lunches and so on.  You can have a real income with savings! 

How did you get ahead, save or build up your home this week?

Be very careful how you live- not as unwise but as wise
making the most of every opportunity.   (Ephesians 5: 15,16) 
This is on my mind a lot!  Take every opportunity to build your home, your savings, your relationships, your knowledge, your pantry,  your skills.  

The wise woman builds her house.   She looks well to the ways of her household and eats not the bread of idleness.  
In a world of confusion and conflict we have clear instructions, thank goodness.  We have a guiding light and when things are confused we do not need to be.
There is so much joy in small things and the ordinary.   Yesterday I tinted the icing on the cakes the palest creamy pink.  It was so glorious I though how happy I am in moments like these!  Once time I said how I realised I would far rather be home making jam than jetting away on a plane somewhere. 
This week I have had my head hit the pillow every night tired and happy with good thoughts and gratitude.   When your hands are busy  your heart  is happy I am sure of it! 

Have a wonderful weekend!  I think I will get an extra post in next week as I have one half done! xxx


  1. Hi Annabel
    Your pantry looks lovely with all of those beautiful full jars, and I love your new labels. And your cooking looks delicious as always, makes me hungry just looking at it all!! Wow, it is not far off until when your farmhouse will be ready and the wedding too. Very exciting times ahead for you! Sounds like you are doing great with your plans and preparations, one step at a time and it will all come together. I'm off to get some more washing hung out while the suns shining! Kelly xo

    1. Dear Kelly,
      The rain has arrived here. I got my washing done before it hit thought! Yes the next months are shaping up to be very busy but exciting!
      My jars are in much better shape so I just need a few more labels made up. Have a beautiful weekend! With love

  2. You have been extremely busy!!! Everything looks delightful! How exciting about the farmhouse in August and the wedding in October! Such an exciting time!

    1. Thanks so much Holley, Yes things are shaping up for a busy second half of the year. I feel happy about my week and planning a quiet warm weekend... it is cold and wet here! You have a wonderful weekend! xxx

  3. Dear Annabel,
    You had a most productive week. I am always in awe of the items you find at the thrift stores (that's what we call them here). Thrift has a good connotation indicating being wise with money.
    The coat you found Harper was so pretty.
    Your gluten free baked goods look so appealing. Would you mind sharing the recipes?
    It was rather a quiet week here. We did save on groceries with sales and points back in the form of dollars off.
    I have been doing some re-organizing and loving the results. Every shelf and bin in my refrigerator is now labeled so my husband can put items back where they belong.
    We have had unusual rain for this time of year, so the garden fruit, herbs, and vegetables are doing well.
    Thank you for another wonderful post.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, The gf cupcakes are just Aldi mix. The scones melting moments I will find that and write it up for you. The Naan was just about a cup of left over yoghurt and a tablespoon olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and I added GF flour in until it formed a ball (GF SR flour that is self raising) and rolled it very flat then fried. Mainly I jut use regular recipes and just se GF flour, usually you do need more flour and a bit more cooking time but basically everything is fine.
      The refrigerator sounds wonderful, that is what I hope to do. I have a heap of containers to help extend the life of fresh produce for the farm when we will shop once a fortnight at the most.
      I hope you have a lovely weekend! With love

    2. I love the baskets of vegetables you made up Annabel! What a lovely idea. Cauliflower is still expensive here, I'm hoping it will drop in price soon. Some of the regions have had awful flooding here, so the price of things like broccoli and celery is expected to increase.

      Harper will look beautiful in her coat! What a find.

      We have had a busy week with sports days at school,doctors appointments etc, so I'm hoping for a quiet weekend at home once Saturday morning sport is finished. Soup and ginger slice are on the agenda (not together lol).

      Have a lovely weekend everyone

      Jen in NZ

  4. Dear Annabel,
    Hello! I think I am nearly 2 months behind on posts! Things have been crazy here since Colton graduated and started working shift, but crazy in a good way! We are able to have so much more time together and have been busy with projects, traveling, and just adjusting to new schedules. Anyway, it is good to be back on the blog and I have lots of catching up to do!
    I am SO excited to hear about the farm progress. Yes, you have lots to look forward to and with the wedding coming up in October. Some big changes for sure, but good ones!
    Our little John will be 1 year in just a week and a half! I can hardly belive it. He has such a personality and some funny little ways about him. He has brought us such joy. He isn't walking, but has started to pull up on everything so it won't be long now!
    I need to write things down if I'm to start reporting again. I need that motivation as our week is basically 3 days long with the way Colton's shifts work. We love it, but it definitely takes adjusting.
    I hope everyone is doing well! Now I just need to catch up on everything!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, I remember when Colton first got accepted and was so excited and now he is graduated! That is wonderful. His dream has come true! And John will be one! Once he is running around you will be even busier if Scarlett is anything to go by!
      Thank you for your encouragement re the farm. We are nervous and excited but mainly just looking forward to it all. So the rest of the year looks full on!
      A new schedule does take some getting used to! Only yesterday Vicky messaged me if I had heard how you are going so thank you so much for checking in even though you are so busy! With much love

    2. Dear Kelsey , lovely to see you back here , and I cant beleive John is is almost one!Hope you all have a lovely day together , love Maria x

  5. Dear Annabel and family and beautiful bluebirds, thank you Annabel for another beautiful blog post, your baking is so lovely .i love the cakes and the gingerbread biscuits and the biscuits for harper, everything looks delicious.
    You had an excellent week Annabel, well done on your savings .
    My weeks savings included:
    I had My usual Centacare services, a savings this week of $248 compared to what I would pay a private company .
    I started making 3 cards each card will save me at least $5 so $15 savings.
    I gratefully received two meals plus a large family sized chicken and leek pie which I will put into the freezer for another time , a saving of $40 approximately for meals.
    My dad paid for my morning tea today saving me $9 .
    I bought three gifts at the newsagency for $5 each saving me $10 off the full price of each gift soa saving of $30 .
    I bought 3 gifts at the craft and gift store for $2 each saving me $13 off each gift so a saving of $39 . I also bought 12 pieces of card stock / scrap booking paper ( beautiful designs) the 12 pieces cost me $5 total , they would cost me at least$25at full cost and at other craft stores making it a saving of $19 .
    I bought a box of chocolates for $3.78 as they were close to use by date ( or best before date) , they are usually at least $12 a box saving me $8 approximately.
    I bought the groceries I needed and saved $40by buying reduced to clear and 50% off specials.
    I cashed in some coins and it totalled $27 , I regularly cash in my coins so as not to have a lot of coins at home.
    I saved on taxi fares by going out with my parents $40 savings at least
    I made a dozen banana and choc chip muffins saving me $35 at least compared to buying them in a cafe or cake store.
    It's just started getting cooler here and I thought I needed some new clothes , I found some tops / shirts in my drawers that I forgot I had saving $100
    My savings this week add up to $641.
    I hope you have a happy weekend Annabel and bluebirds.
    Love Barb W

    1. Dear Barb, Well done on your cooking and savings! It is really cold here! Today I have really noticed it! I am layered up too!
      That is an amazing total you reached this week! You must be really pleased! What a difference it all makes! Well done on the cards too... now most I am seeing are $8 to $10 too! Even more savings! With love

  6. Hello Annabel and fellow beautiful bluebirds :).

    Annabel you pantry looks so lovely and organised you have done so well and I will have to keep an eye out for some lovely large glass jars with screw top lids too for storage :). The coat for Harper is just gorgeous as are the look of your baked goods, no wonder the grandchildren think so highly of you and love you as they do for this and other reasons :). I love that Ephesians bible verse too and very apt in our lives giving us all something to think about.

    We had a good week here too still not up to full capacity yet after the flu but are feeling slowly better and more energetic and got a few things done.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $292.35 in savings last week.

    Earnings -
    - Made $25.18 from the sale of a set of 4 curtain tieback cuffs and 70 g of dried sage picked from the gardens on the internet. I banked this into our emergency kitty saving us having to pay this from our pays.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased 2 bomber jackets from Aldi on special for winter gardening work, 3 Sherpa hoodies and 3 flannelette shirts for DH and 4 long sleeved t-shirts for myself from Big W saving $161.70 over purchasing them in other local stores.
    - Bought 4 packets of butter menthol's on special for the medical kit on special saving $2.
    - Redeemed $10 worth of FlyBuys points and purchased 4 tins of lychees with $1 OOP saving another $10.

    Finances and internet listings -
    - Listed 29 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $47.85 on usual listing fees.
    - Banked more money into our home and bank emergency kitties.
    - Saved more money for our home and land deposit bringing us up to 26.28% of the way there.

    Trades and or bartering -
    - Traded with a fellow bluebird (and thank you they are absolutely gorgeous) 100 g organic dried rosemary,55 g of dried thyme and 34 g English lavender flowers picked and dried from the gardens as well as excess 30 g oregano and 8 g tarragon in our pantry for 6 x 25 g lovely homemade natural lip balms and a around 50 g tin of Comfrey cream saving $40 over purchasing them in the local shops.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked a huge amount of thyme from the gardens we currently have drying on a mesh metal rack behind shade cloth on the veranda. We will keep some for us and sell the rest on the internet.
    - Separated 36 g of English and 33 g French flower buds from the gardens saving $5.62 over purchasing them.

    Hope everyone has had an equally good week :).


    1. Dear Sewingcreations,
      I love to hear of Bluebird swaps and friendships! There are many now! I love hearing this! What a good swap too!
      Well done on your sales and listings. SO good!
      I do love the jars. Many I have collected over the years. Some are very old thick glass, mostly Agree or Fowlers brand. Some have a blue or green tinge to them. They are so good. Most I paint 50c to $1for now I see a few but more like $4 maybe $5. Still they also forever. The other are the moccona coffee jars. They are good and air tight. If you can find someone drinking this coffee they are a gold mine for jars!
      The flu does knock the stuffing out of you. Also it weakens you so that you have to be careful. Besides Andy I know others now who have pneumonia and it is a bit of a scare so be careful.
      Have a beautiful weekend. You week was really good even when you are not 100%. With much love,

    2. The flu has never been so bad. Here in the US it is still going around from winter but it is now showing up in the inner ear and making people crazy dizzy. I came down with it a month ago and my ear just finally is starting to feel better today. I have used Hopewell Oils Immunition and Top Gun together on the bottoms of my feet which killed it mostly but finally had to schedule a a visit with the kinesiologist who trained me to get sorted out and now ten days later I think I am seeing that I will get past it soon. She recommended adding colloidal silver and fresh garlic daily and that has finally gotten me free of it. I hope you are fully recovered soon.

    3. Hi Sewingcreations15,

      You had a great week!
      I wanted to thank you for your kind advice about my lavender; it is indeed very hot here this time of year, and I find that your hints are helping it to not burn up completely in the sun. It may well be that I need to move it to a more shady area of the yard. Thank you again for your help!


    4. Hi Annabel and yes we are both taking it easier till we get back to full energiser bunny status again by cutting back the tasks we are doing. Thank you:).

      Lana yes it is a nasty flu season everywhere I have heard. We are both feeling better after sleeping longer than we usually do but feel better for it and DH is back in full swing. I on the other hand am asthmatic & get bronchitis when I get the flu so it just takes me a little longer to get rid of the congestion. Also I am allergic to the flu and pneumonia injections as they are mixed in a strong egg base and make me turn blue and stop breathing.

      Thank you for your tips Lana and we have used coloidal silver before and found it brilliant and we use a lot of fresh garlic in our meals too. I also found the oregano oil helped for the sore throat too.

      Kathy you are most welcome for the gardening tips and feel free to ask if you are having any plant problems as I am only too happy to help.


  7. I love Harpers coat it so reminds me of one Shirley Temple wears in one of her movies. Havent been lucky at the thrift stores lately but at least I haven't been buying things just because there cheap. Working on the garden for a little bit each day. Trying to make the change from plastics to glass in the pantry but everytime I put a jar aside Mum throws it out. Thankfully I have saved some money so my reduction in hours and wages that starts next week is manageable. I was able to put $1000 in my super fund to qualify for the low income bonus of $500. I cashed in $60 from paid surveys this month bought some groceries half price for my stockpile so life is good at the moment, Leanne

    1. Dear Leanne, I love jars as you probably guessed. I have collected them all from op shops. Some are really old and thick glass with bubbles and a slight green or blue tinge to it. I still get a few but not so easy to come by now. However I see Kmart, Ikea etc have beautiful jars and Kmart big ones re $4 each which isn't much more than op shop prices!
      Well done on your savings and getting head! I am glad things are going well, you did well on surveys too! Have a lovely weekend! With love

  8. Dearest Annabel
    What a wonderful week you have had!
    Your pantry looks beautiful and I have ordered some labels too, for my lemon curd as gifts
    You have really inspired me!
    I bet your looking forward to your move to the farm and also Chloe’s upcoming wedding, this year is passing so quickly
    I’m trying an new recipe today, we visit a delightful cafe in Melbourne CBD that serves scones and pots of tea, the jam they serve is carrot with pistachios, I’ve spent the morning using google and Pinterest and I now know it’s Persian carrot jam so we will give this ago!

    1. Dear Jacqui, Thank you! How interesting ... Persian carrot jam! Anything to do with high tea, scones and jam and cream I love.
      Yes the year is going quickly. This next half is huge for us. I cannot believe it is mid year. Have a beautiful weekend! With love

    Annabel, dear!


  10. Dear Annabel ,your photos and cooking look beautiful!
    Ive had a busy week here getting back to speed after my few days away , to help the ones getting married soon. And pleased to say a lot was achieved and the bride to be very happy her outfit is complete , we know the plan for the day and I know where I need to be as I will be flitting between two places we are both staying at.
    WE are away end of next week, so I am using up what I have in fruit and veges. I cooked two crockpots of soup overnight and the results are now in the freezer, and the floors are clean.
    Most of our trips away are visiting family and a short ones but this is goign to be longer and we are goign with friends .I packed my suitcase this week , that was a job and a half haha as I usually take carryon only.
    Have a lovely weekend Bluebirds ! With love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I am so glad your trip was a success and achieved what you were hoping for! That is very good.
      You are busy! Well done on the soup!
      Have a wonderful time with your friends, with love,

  11. Annabel,
    Your Pantry looks so fresh and organized. So lovely. I redid mine a year ago and have been so happy, so much easier to find things. (Though husband still puts things on wrong shelves.)
    You have been very productive this week. I am sure all loved the food you prepared and the produce you were able to share with them.
    The coat is beautiful! Harper will love it. She can even twirl in it.

    With fighting a summer cold that just doesn't want to leave my only accomplishments this week have been adding to my pantry at a reasonable cost or free and finishing crocheting my Son's birthday presents, (A kitchen set and afghan). I sat and crocheted squares with the leftover yarn and plan on going through my stash to find more unused scraps to add to the squares, eventually making an afghan again. I decided it is better to put the yarn to good use than sitting in basement.

    May you have a wonderful weekend. Be proud of all you accomplished this week.
    Love, Rosanne

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Thank you! It looks like soon I will have a much bigger pantry!
      Yes lol you are spot on with Harper, twirling is important!
      I hope you have conquered your cold. Your present for your son is just beautiful!
      I am trying to make stash busting things now also...
      You have a lovely Sunday and new week! With love,

  12. Dear Annabel,

    I am so excited for you! August is so soon!!!! I bet you are thrilled and super busy as you prepare. I can't wait to see your new farmhouse and I'm sure it will soon have your signature stamp of home on it!

    I love that jacket you got for Harper. She looked so cute at the farm in her little gold shoes!

    I will take a picture soon of the garden as some things are coming up and looking good (and tidy, still! :)).

    Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for all your encouraging words.

    Lots of love,

    Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      Thank you! Yes I am super busy, dont know what to do next! I am going to the Elizabeth Elliot advice "do the next thing."
      You noticed the shoes! They have a bow you see so she isn't keen to wear any other shoes at all!
      I would LOVE to see your garden Jen. You and Vicky have gardens that inspire me very much! With love,

    2. Hi Annabel,

      I ALWAYS notice shoes. :) I know what you mean about not knowing what to do next! Your head keeps turning from one thing to another, as they all need to get done! The "do the next thing" advice is great, because otherwise it is simply overwhelming.

      Love, Jen

  13. Having the lemon juice in your water everyday will keep your body alkaline and healthy! Keep up the drinking! I just love a pantry full of beautiful jars and yours is beautiful. It will be nice to have a larger pantry.

    We had an expensive week that was unavoidable. We knew when we bought the camper van that we had to put new tires on it but wow those tires were expensive. Also, my husband got free tires as part of his benefits from his employer before he became disabled so we had not paid for them for many, many years and it was shocking how much they were. But, that is done and it is ready for the road now.

    Then yesterday my husband was standing in the kitchen and heard glass smashing. We had horrible storms this week for three days and the yesterday with the sun shining a huge tree limb fell on the camper van, our regular vehicle and a piece broke free and went through the glass in the garage door like a rocket. Glass was all through the garage and our vehicle has two big dents and many big scratches in the paint. Thankfully the camper van is okay but our other vehicle has to go to the body shop for repairs. We will have to pay the deductible but our insurance will cover the rest and supply a rental car. My husband will replace the broken glass in the garage door. Sometimes it just feels like there is a hole in our pockets!

    We also learned the a dear friend passed away last week. This lady was always, always smiling and I can think of her no other way. She was very special to our daughter who is a missionary in Germany and I just wish I could reach out and give her a hug from so far away because she has taken this so hard.

    I am excited for your move and can't wait to see your new house and grounds. Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Lana, Tree limbs are so unpredictable. Here with gum trees it is often a very still hot day and one will drop. Pretty dangerous. I am glad no one was hurt but that is awful about so much damage. And tyres... yes a big expense. Some weeks are like this!
      I am very sorry about the loss of your friend. Very sorry for your daughter too being so upset. That is very sad.
      I cant wait to show you the farm house either! As we havent seen inside I am at the point of nervous and excited. The last few days I have been thinking about little else! It has been a few years of sensing a change, then deciding... now it is happening!
      Have a good new week... less expensive too lol!
      With much love,

  14. That coat for Harper is beautiful! And all of your baking looks delicious, as always. What a productive week you had. I had a nice week too, with plenty of time to work and plenty of time to read and relax inside during the hot afternoons. I stayed out of shops and restaurants and instead we had picnics, a birtday party at home, and lots of time with friends. Have a good weekend!

    1. Dear Leigh, In the heat I do the same, quiet things in the hottest part of the day. Picnics are great. We used to live near the beach and take dinner down to the beach in the evening. Best thing on a hot day! A home birthday party is wonderful too. Well done! That is a good week! With love

  15. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, I loved seeing your cooking and thrifty finds! That is a great week.

    We had a very not-normal for us week, but for a great reason - our new kitchen counters were installed! This meant we were without appliances or a sink for part of the week, so little cooking happened. I did bake up a batch of coconut chocolate-chip muffins and pumpkin bread for snacking beforehand. My husband saved us a bunch by removing appliances himself, and I gave everything a good scrubbing before (floors) and after (everything else). Last night was the first day we had everything back in place, so I celebrated by making a roasted chicken with acorn squash from our garden. Everything looks great and it is so much prettier and healthier than the very porous stone tile and grout that we had before.

    I did do some knitting and stitching as time allowed.

    Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      I am so pleased for you! I know what kitchen renovations are like, mine are still pretty fresh in my mind. I hope you LOVE your counters! All the extra cleaning too, it is great that is all done.
      I am amazed you managed knitting and stitching too but well done and having something to work on is a nice distraction when other stuff is going on!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  16. I can't come close to your accomplishments this week, Annabel, but I've picked quarts of blueberries and made lots of blueberry jam with your method (can't thank you enough for this method!). I've also frozen lots of berries for future use. I've grown sweet potato slips from a sweet potato that was sending off shoots and planted them in the garden. An excess of cherry tomatoes from the garden were dried in a slow oven and covered in a little olive oil - delicious with pasta or on flatbread along with a feathering of homegrown basil and shredded cheese. Every time I harvest stems of basil, I pull off most of the leaves for immediate use and then put the mostly bare stems in water. In a few days they send out roots and are ready to plant in my herb garden. Then I have lots of basil at the end of the season for freezing or making pesto.
    I also dried grapes which were getting a bit wilted and no one was interest in eating. They made the best raisins ever. When I think how often I've thrown uneaten grapes into the compost bin! I'm ashamed I didn't think of it before.
    A good buy on ground beef - I think you call it mince - was cooked and divided, waiting in the freezer to make "shepherd's" pie, meat sauce, etc. I divided a whole pork loin into 3 roasts, 2 for the freezer and 1 for Sunday dinner with leftovers.
    I've been tidying the pantry, one shelf at a time. I do just a little bit every day on a cleaning project and before I know it, it's done.
    I bought a gallon jar (glass) of pickles for very little more than the price of a pint of the same pickles. It'll take a while to use all those pickles, but then I'll have that lovely jar...
    And, Annabel, I can't wait to see Bluebird Farmhouse with all your creative touches! This move is so thrilling - following your activities is better than television.

    1. Dear Phyllis, The jam sounds beautiful! I love the microwave method as it lets you do a bit quickly and it really isn't a drama. Also that the colour is so bright and fresh! I love the sight of jam jars lined up!
      I had no idea basil would do this!! I have some basil now though not much I will try this as I love basil. It does best here in the hottest time of year and goes crazy!
      Also thank you for the tip on grapes! That is brilliant! I will remember this!
      Yes we say mince... same thing though, very versatile.
      I would save that jar too. You know how I feel about jars!
      I cant wait to see Bluebird Farmhouse either! I have only seen it from the outside. Yes! I am going by what Chloe can tell me of the inside. I hope to see it in a month. Then we will begin! Thank you for your support on this! With love

  17. Hi Annabel, I have read your blog for a long time but have never commented, but I am always amazed by what you do. I felt like I had to comment today to tell you that I was a big fan of drinking lemon juice in warm water and I loved it, however, I wore away the enamel off my teeth doing so, and it was a long, costly and painful exercise to have them repaired. Just thought I'd share with you. I love the pink frosting!!
    Kind regards, Andrea.

    1. Thank you so much Andrea for commenting! Thanks also re the lemon juice. It is good to mention that. I think I am drinking it so very diluted as I drink a really big lot of water so it is watered down over a few litres. So I hope that will be ok! Otherwise possibly for anyone concerned a straw would help. I love pale pink frosting, it is heavenly. I think of the colour of a pink milkshake! Many thanks! Love

    2. Yes, you are right, a straw will definitely help. Take care Annabel.

  18. You have no idea how much I needed that *pep talk* at the end of your post. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for telling me that Debby. I need it myself. I get truly dismayed sometimes at what I see, hear... yet really our course doe not need to change. The home as our sanctuary is more important than ever. Remaining true is more important than ever. When I get a bit distracted I need to read these verses. If you feel this way reading Laines Letters is the hugest

  19. Replies
    1. Hi Lee Ann they are a buttery cookie a bit like shortbread but usually "glued" together with pale pink or white icing. Hope that helps!

  20. Annabel you have had a really wonderful week gleaning so much from your travels.
    I have been sorting the pantry in the caravan. I have storage containers that are for the caravan only. When we get home I emtpy these into the kitchen canisters, wash and put back in the van. The containers have all been filled from the kitchen pantry and are ready to go back to the caravan. I have found a few things that I will need to add to the shopping list.
    This week I made up my normal 10L of laundry liquid and I made up a double batch of laundry washing powder. The powder is for the caravan as it takes up so much less space than the liquid. I also made a double batch of Miracle spray. I have filled my spray bottles, usual glass bottle and a plastic one for the caravan.
    The garden has been completely mulched. Most of this was with the $5/bale sugar cane hay. The small space left was mulched with garden cuttings put through my little mulcher. The garden is now put to bed. The hay will have started composting down and will also help maintain the ground moisture. Once we get home it will be ready to plant straight into.
    Bluey has been collaborating with Katie on a project. Katie found and offcut of the Bluegum Bluey has, designed a name cut out. Bluey routed the name out and then the two of them worked together to get the name engraved and sealed. This is for Katie's best friend who is having a little girl in August. 'Willow' has her own name engraved onto a large piece of beautiful bluegum. This was delivered to the parents to be yesterday, and was a huge hit.
    I have been picking an avocado every few days from our little tree. There are three left on it. Each one is huge, delicious and so creamy. They make the store bought ones look very ordinary.
    I made an ear bud pouch for my new earphones for the computer. I am hoping this will keep my new earbuds in a bit better condition that the last set. I am also hoping it helps me find them a little easier. I made a secound pouch for Katie to throw in her Uni bag.
    Life is a bit of this and a bit of that good.

    1. Dear Jane, Your caravan pantry sounds wonderful. That must save you a fortune. The powder is good for the van, everything powdered or de hydrated takes up so much less space even like a packet of dry soup versus a can is the same.
      All that mulch on the garden is going to give you a great start in spring!
      I love the sign! Just beautiful! I loved the came and carving of it.
      I also saw how good your avocados look! Perfection! They are expensive here and I just love them. Having a tree would be amazing.
      It must be exciting getting ready for your trip! I hope you are having a goo weekend! With love

  21. Dear Annabel,
    What a lovely and busy week you've had. Harper's coat is adoreable. There's so much wonderful excitement in your life with the move AND a wedding.

    It's been an extremely busy summer so far. Yesterday we saw our daughter and her family off as they moved to another state for her husband's job. We will miss them so as they had lived less than 3 miles from us and now are a bit more than 3 hours away. With all of the rain our vegetable garden is way ahead in production and so we've been harvesting and putting things up for the pantry as well having wonderful homegrown fresh veggies for meals. 10 pounds of onions were dehydrated this week and vacuum sealed. We also propagate basil and just planted more rooted stems. We love pesto and also make it to give as gifts.

    Last week we made some donations to the Mission and I went in to just "browse" their thrift/op shop and came out with 2 bags (10 in all) rubber stamps for crafting for $1. At the craft store they would have been at least close to $10 apiece. Also several coffee table size books with pictures of gardens and country inns that will be used for cardmaking as well. I also found a punch for $1 that punches out gift tags. Everything was quite a haul for under $4. I found I had enough points to be able to the Sizzix Big Shot Plus, die cutting, embossing and fabric cutting machine absolutely free. It arrived yesterday afternoon. It's really going to get a workout with it's many uses.

    Wishing all the Bluebirds a wonderful weekend. Blessings, Cookie

  22. Good morning Annabel, You are an inspiration. Thank-you. I was reading back a bit on your blog and in Random Acts of Kindness/Christmas on Nov 30 2014 you referred to Andy giving blessing bags to some homeless men. Could you please explain what went into these bags. There is a project called Share the Dignity that supports homeless women with toiletries. My assumption is that the blessing bags may be similar (for men). A good friend of mine once said "kindness is never wrong" simple but very true. I have always remembered these words. Acts of simple and random kindness change lives. We may never know how much - that does not matter... "kindness is never wrong." We can all adopt an attitude of kindness. We can all do small kind things for others. There are many who are doing it tough. We can all make a difference. Cheers Jo (the Op Shop one!)

    1. Dear Jo, Thank you! I used large snap lock bags for the Blessing Bags. I made some for women and most for me as Andy was telling me most of the homeless people he was talking to were men. In the end the ones for women ended up at a nursing home which is how we me Kath... because we had womens ones left over. In the mens I put a bottle of water, musli bars and anzac biscuits, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, $2 in change, then it varied according to what I could get but deodorant, socks, tissues, chips, anything useful. In the womens I put shampoo, conditioner, hand wipes, toothbrush and paste, tampons or pads, perfume samples, tissues, life savers, mints, brush... again depends on what I could get. I know of share the dignity that is a good one. There is another with unwanted handbags... use the handbag and fill it with things any woman would love if she is homeless or in emergency accomodation... toiletries, feminine products, makeup, perfume, soap, tissues, compact etc. Many of us have spare handbags... this is a good one. Sample sized and travel sized products are great. Then I do like a baby version of this so I make crochet baby rugs and if someone has a baby give them a few supplies... you often hear of someone you know darn well could do with some help and a gift is an easy way to do it. You are right that an act of kindness can completely blow someone away. These days even stopping to cha with someone and smile is appreciated. I took a taxi recently. At the end of the ride the driver said to me "thank you for speaking to me so nicely" I had only spoken normally to him. So this made me go wow how do people speak to him!? Just wow. Now I am kind of realising we really have an opportunity to shine when things are pretty dark around us.
      Thank you for commenting Jo! With much love

    2. Hi Annabel, Thank-you so much for all those details. This is something I can do - easily.
      I believe that "It's in the bag" is Share the Dignity's Christmas collection and is just as you outlined. One more question- did you distribute the packs through your church or another group or did you do it independently? I believe that everything is an issue of respect. Respect for ourselves, others, our environment, resources and the list goes on. Cheers, Thanks again. Jo xxx

    3. Dear Jo, When we did these packs Andy was doing deliveries early every morning into the city. So he was seeing and talking to homeless people. Some were in the same spot every day so he got to know some of them. So that is why I made the packs and he took them in the van... it was Christmas so I made them like Christmas gifts so he felt he kind of was giving a gift (less awkward somehow) and they were well received. Personally we do every thing ourselves. We have a sponsor child in India... we dont do it through an organisation our friend goes to India once a year and stays with this family... This is because I dont trust charities. If you google the CEO salaries of big charities most of them are on millions. When Andy was a delivery driver and it was Christmas.... he had the job to distribute hampers to the "poor" that were donated and made up by a very well known charity. Some days he delivers 60 hampers. They all went to mansions in Springfield and Unley Park etc. He was very upset by what he saw. They all went to the rich. Also Dad has a farm.... next door there was a big property sold to a charity organisation. They let the farm fall to pieces and never farmed it. It was a tax dodge. Dad was appalled by the millions they had that never went to the poor... if I told you who this charity was you would die of shock! We know they are crooks. So we do it directly! This isn't to say there aren't honest charities... there must be. But we go direct. There will be need around you and possibly you will see it via the op shop... just respond to that and you will be helping enormously. I hope that helps. With love

    4. Hi Annabel. I know what I am going to do now. Thank-you for your detailed replies. You have been very, very helpful..... (as always). Many thanks,Jo

  23. I am a long-time reader but this is my first comment. I love your blog, it's so inspirational! You and the other "bluebirds" are amazing. Since my children have grown and left the nest I've gotten a little lazy. Your industriousness is inspiring. I have gleaned so many good ideas here for my own homemaking. I'm excited for you to be moving to the country. Blessings, Deborah

    1. Dear Deborah, Thank you so much and welcome! Thank you for commenting!
      Thank you for your kind words! With much love,

  24. I so enjoyed your womanly thoughts today.


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