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.

Monday 30 July 2018

Bluebirds Farmhouse.

I am really sorry I have been missing.  It feels terrible to not even write Feather your Nest Friday.  Soon I will be back to normal!

On Friday afternoon we travelled to the farm to stay with Chloe.  This was so exciting as we were getting to finally see inside the farmhouse that is to be ours and we could do this Saturday morning.
Friday evening Chloe cooked us dinner and the excitement was building!   Her house has a beautiful view of trees and the moon rising.   As we chatted the hugest moon rose in front of us.
It turned out to be the Blood Moon eclipse ...  we could not see the red but it was an incredible HUGE moon and we just stood there watching it.

Many of you would have seen the blood moon that night.  I just thought here we were on the cusp of an exciting new adventure and look at the moon! 

The next morning we headed off to see the house.  Dad had said to me how he hoped I would not be disappointed in it.  As we drove over (it is about five minutes from Chloe's house)  the sun was shining.  The farm looked beautiful and green and lovely.
We took notice of everything and stopped and took photos at the front in the driveway.
The drive way is 800 meters long.  A meter is close enough to a yard in my opinion lol to give you an idea.
This is tree lined and very pretty.

Stepping inside was an anxious moment!  The first room was kind of a mud room come sun room.  It was literally full of light and almost all windows.   I love light!  I love windows!

The view out the windows beyond the garden beds is this...

There are garden beds immediately around the house. They are well laid out but full of weeds until I make them over!

The outlook so pretty.  And each room has huge windows and some rooms have windows on two sides.   They are big wooden framed with thick old fashioned glass. 
I was amazed.  Things I always wanted were there, even things I had forgotten to ask for.
The floors are wooden floorboards and a nice pale colour as if I ordered those.
There are two big fireplaces.

The kitchen!  It has vintage farmhouse cupboards.  They go all the way to the ceiling.  I LOVE them. Someone said I would pull out the old kitchen.  No way!  This is so country, farmhouse and gorgeous and I love them!   Even the stove is vintage farmhouse... and it works like a dream so that is staying too...

It is a St. George Supermatic.  I googled and I can still download the whole manual!  Even spare parts if I need anything.  

Then there is a walk in pantry!  Beautiful wooden shelves with a window at the end.  It is gorgeous. I have always wanted a walk in pantry!  

There are built in cupboards in each room and enough rooms that Andy can have an office and I can have a craft room.

I could just keep going but you get the idea.  It is so wonderful.

Then there are funny and amazing things... for instance in the shed there was a big old bird cage.  A kind of Australiana corrugated iron homemade cage which is probably three times the size of the cage our rescue bird Ricky currently has.  So he too has a farmhouse.

I have always loved and keep chickens.  My Nanna B was like this too. She adored chickens and lemon trees!   And sure enough... out the back of the house is a huge chicken pen.  It even has plumbing!  Plumbing! 

I can't show photos of inside just yet as the people moving out still had things there. I cannot be publishing pictures of other peoples things.   But soon I can show before, during and after photos! 

We had two visits and three if you count also walking around the garden and area.  I knew it is all a miracle and as we drove out of the driveway to go back to Chloe's there was a rainbow over the paddocks.   I asked Andy to stop so I could take a photo as I felt the same as when I saw the full moon... how amazing!   And as I stood there a second rainbow appeared making it a double!

I was just amazed.  You couldn't make this stuff up!   Then my phone rang!  Chloe was saying "Mum, Mum do you see the rainbow!?"

Dad told me he had three goals for this year, his 81st.  One of them was that I would come back to the farm.  So he smashed that one out of the ball park! 

When we got home I rang Dad to tell him how I love it.  He sounded so delighted!  I said the kitchen is beautiful!  I love the stove! He just laughed and sounded happy.

Life has come full circle for me.  When I was in high school my dream was to do up an old cottage on the farm.  I had a friend who lived nearby that was older than me.  She was married with two little girls.  Her name was Linda.  She was a stay at home Mum and knitted,  gardened and I just loved her!  
In school we were meant to choose a career.  I could never admit what I really wanted to do was live in the country and hopefully get married and have babies.  I thought I could craft and garden, be self sufficient and sell things and barter.  Ok there were holes in my plans and small details to overcome like the cottage was falling over!   But this was my dream and plan and Linda would be my neighbour.   
One night Linda had served dinner and was clearing the table.  She fell to the floor dead.  On her 28th birthday.
This pretty much decimated several years for me.  I became sick with glandular fever, missed a term of school,  took time off to help with her crying children... gave up my plan and my cottage...

The last time I saw her I was at her house.  We were looking out the window at a view like the one above.  She had been to the city to her uncles funeral.  She said to me how people make a huge fuss when someone dies but then they are forgotten so quickly. 
This was the last thing we really talked about.  Then weeks later she was gone. 
She had once told me how she just loved the name Lucy but her husband didn't like it so she had two daughters with other names.    This is how I came to name Lucy. 
Many many years later I saw her husband.  I told him how I had named my daughter Lucy for Linda. I said I think of her every day.  And he replied "really,  I never think of her." 
And so her words came back to me.  I often tell her Linda I have not forgotten you!   She had a big impact on me!  

And now here I am... this house would be maybe ten kilometres from that cottage and where Linda lived.  It just took thirty more years for it to happen! 
And this house is amazing with a kitchen I think is a dream.  Now some people would say it is an old kitchen but not me.  I say it is a vintage kitchen and gorgeous!

There are sheds and other buildings there which Andy loves too so he can have his tools and a workshop.  There is even an old shed with a big stone fireplace!

I am so excited and know we have a lot of work to do.  We are getting our city house ready to sell.  Over the next month we will move and sell up here.  
I am working on Bluebirds Farmhouse blog and I will keep The Bluebirds are Nesting going for all the preparedness, slow cooking and homemaking that we all built up there.

I have some replies to catch up on and will post updates and Feather your Nest Fridays at least usually! 
As we missed Friday's post... how have you been building up your home,  saving and getting ahead?  Did you add to your pantry?   

We are not changing direction here.  My blog has always been about being a Proverbs 31 woman.  The importance of homemaking.  Encouragement that there is a bigger picture and your work looking after your children is a high calling.  To make hay while the sun shines and to live fully in the season of life you are currently in.  We can have it all but not all at once!  
Furthermore to be prudent,  watchful, diligent and to live in a provident way.  Pat said this, about provident living...  and she is a great example.  To take every opportunity and everything we are blessed with and make something of it.  When you have a good season fill your pantry as bad seasons also come! 
My country farm house will enable me to have more chickens,  plant fruit trees,  have a pumpkin patch, a big veggie garden.   So we are taking the opportunity!

Have a great new week!  

Thursday 19 July 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 20th July, 2018.

This has been a HUGE week!  First I will start with my savings and house building...

This week I made two batches of yoghurt.

Mum gave me a supply postage stamps which are so handy.

Mum is also coming to town today.  Last night I made up a batch of Gluten Free scones to take over to her when she gets here.

Most of my life I have been the worst scone maker. Once my Nan stood next to me and we did them together.  Because I had touched them they still turned out like rocks. She was amazed! 
Eventually I decided to ignore all the tips on scones i.e. handle lightly etc and I mixed the dough in my bread maker.  It turned out!  Now I do them in the mix master and I add an egg and half a teaspoon of baking power.  They work!   These are just GF self raising Aldi flour, milk, one egg, a couple of spoons of melted butter and an extra bit of baking powder.  I make a soft dough the gently press it out. 

I put them fairly close together in the baking pan...

The oven needs to be good and hot!  Anyway you barely notice they are Gluten Free so Andy eats them happily.

I also make GF pizza bases.... just GF flour, olive oil, sprinkle of salt, water... made a nice dough and rolled it out.  Thee worked great and no yeast even!

Chloe came to dinner after the wedding dress fitting.  For desert I made a cheese cake in the slow cooker.  It was delicious!

I mended a jumper for Lucy.

I made a batch of facial scrub I use all the time. It is just fine dark (soft) brown sugar and pure honey. 
Bend them together.  It is messy so I do it in the bath.  But despite trying many fancy and expensive scrubs this is the best of all.  The girls who also have had fancy brands to try and worked in cosmetics  ask me to please make it up for them.  It gives you the smoothest skin.

I made banana cakes and used some yoghurt in these in place of sour cream.

I took these around to the girls.

I found another bargain book for my present cupboard for $2.

Lots of bits and pieces were used up in my use it up challenge.  Many odds and ends in the baking and the pizzas used up bacon, bocconcini and half a jar of tomato sauce all from the freezer.

It was a very cold and wet week.  But there is sunshine today so I have the washing machine going!

So when I said it was a big week... this is because Dad rang me Saturday night to tell me that our farmhouse will be ready to go and look through within the fortnight!  For this to happen Dad had to go to a lot of trouble... he needed to move a man out of there and to do that he had to fix up another house.... so it has all been a lot of effort.  And finally the end is in sight!

We have seen the house. We have seen the setting... the location is wonderful. It is five minutes from Chloe's house.  Less than half an hour to Mum and Dad's house.  
There is small town half an hour away and a large town an hour.   This is the driveway...

I am showing this as it is the stuff of my dreams.  I wanted somewhere that is not on a road,  that is set back and private.   And this is exactly what I am getting!  💗

But we have not seen inside!  It has been occupied but Chloe is familiar with it so I have some information.  And in the next couple of weeks we can go see for ourselves what we have to work with!  I know it has wooden floorboards which I love.  It has a walk in pantry!  It has some kind of sunroom...

I will be so excited and nervous to go in and see!   We are right on the edge of a whole new life. 
Since I started the Pantries and Preparedness series I started to feel we would be better off back in the country.  Then as time went on we both found ourselves feeling sad when we left the farm from Mum and Dad's or from Chloe's.   The farm is home.  I am going home.

There is a strong chance Lucy's family are also going too!  We are waiting to see on that one.  Wherever they are you know how I am about the girls I will be seeing them very often.

We are packing up, getting this house ready to sell,  using up food from the freezer, doing everything we can so that once we have access to the house we can be working on that!

I will post during this time as often as I can then we will go over to Bluebird's Farmhouse. 

How was your week?  How did you feather your nest and save?

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Thursday 12 July 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 13th July, 2018.

Thank you everyone for the great comments on Wednesday's Home Pharmacy post.  I will try to catch up on replies over the weekend.   Also can Shirley who contacted Karen Morris  please re email her... Karen messaged me that for some reason her reply to you keeps bouncing back to her.  She does not want you to think she has not replied!

This week our new mattress arrived!   I was so excited!  It came sealed and wrapped in giant plastic bags which I kept to re wrap it when we move house.
From night one we both noticed the difference in our sleep and comfort.  Just wow!
While everything was taken apart I washed the wool underlay and amazingly got it dry on the line as we had a full sunny day.

Some of the ways I saved and got ahead this week were:

With my phone contract a few weeks back I was able to get a free upgrade to a newer phone.  So I always take that right away.  I sold my old phone this week and amazingly got $260!

I made a dozen quiches in king size muffin trays.   I use ham or bacon in place of pastry.  They are really nice for breakfast or lunch.

I still have a lot of lemons so I made up a batch of Lemon Butter.   It is quite quick when you make it in the microwave.

It is so beautiful with all the yellow ingredients of the lemons (9) eggs and butter.

I love citrus in winter I think it seems so bright and cheery.  I say these are jars of sunshine!

I made melting moments, half were gluten free and half were normal flour.

A tin of these were for Chloe and Luke...

These remind me of biscuits my Nan used to make. She always had pale pink icing in the middle.  My baking used up some ingredients in my use it up challenge.

 I made Harper and Scarlett cup cakes before heading around there to see them...

I found two huge bargains for the present cupboard. Two good gifts for $2 each, marked down from $30!   Into the stash they go!

Later I found another gift for a child also for $2. 

I made two batches of yoghurt.

This week we had a major plumbing problem but Andy fixed it himself thankfully!
I also cut Andy's hair.

I made up some essential oil roller balls as a gift.  I made one set up as relaxation, sleep and calming blends and another as cold, flu and immunity blends.

These are so easy to make and have a high retail value but now that I have supplies on hand they do not cost very much to make.   Also I find it lovely to have the oils out and it makes me feel wonderful for the whole day as I will dab on things I love! 

I think that is about it!   Today I am having lunch with Chloe then heading off to her wedding dress fitting.  The sun is shining too! 

How did you build up your nest this week? 

I found  this lovely quote this week but I do not know who to attribute it to.
I thought this is the Proverbs 31 woman!

She's a dreamer
A Doer,
A thinker,
She sees possibilities everywhere.

That is us!  There are possibilities everywhere.  Take every opportunity!  
Learn new skills and put the word out there for things you are needing.   One of my new skills (kind of!) is using the oven much less and small appliances much more.  Mainly to save electricity.  I have had a week of cooking dinner in small appliances instead of the oven and with great success!  A small appliance is also easier to clean than a dirty oven!  Bonus!

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Tuesday 10 July 2018

The Home Pharmacy. Medical alternatives when you need them.

Recently I have made a few curious discoveries that I thought might be useful to consider with our home pharmacies.
Firstly I heard a lot about an antibiotic cream available in the USA called Neosporin.  To my knowledge here in Australia we cannot buy antibiotic cream, this is a prescription item only.  But I thought this would be very useful to have on hand and I ordered some (I think from Amazon) and it arrived fast with no problems.  

Next I read that Zovirax cold sore cream is a very expensive thing in the USA requiring both a prescription and a lot of money.  I found this out when I saw (on a budget group)  someone saying they could not afford cold sore cream and what could they do instead as they were desperate.  I started checking into this and it turned out our cheap (around $15) over the counter cream is over $80 with a prescription only in the USA and this is if you have insurance otherwise it is something like $800!  I could not believe it.   At the time of writing this I am finding various prices quoted.   I am even seeing it is $1500 a tube without insurance.   But lets just say it is $80 in good circumstances with a prescription.  Surely not everyone can afford $80... just like the person in the group asking for help. 

So pretty obviously what is available over the counter and prices of items vary incredibly from one country to another.  Just much more than I ever imagined! 

Next I have heard several people saying the chemist has not been able to fill a prescription due to a shortage of a drug.  What do you do then?  It can be very hard to get ahead with prescriptions as they limit you so much. 

So I really started to think that as part of preparedness I should find out a few things.   First of all we have tried to get away from any unnecessary prescriptions.  Apart from health and costs all medications do have side effects.  And if there was a crisis or shortage I don't fancy on becoming unstuck because of a prescription I am on.   So if it simply a matter of losing weight, exercise, life style change, diet change then I would really rather do that!   
But as we all know when it is necessary medications can be life saving.   Andy has a stainless steel heart valve due to a replacement he had as he was born with a heart defect.  So he is lucky he has benefitted from modern medicine but he needs blood thinners for life.  
Because of this we have made it our business to know what to do if for some reason he could not get his hands on blood thinners.  Plan B, C and D! 

Homeopathic remedies tend to have mysterious names! 
I write on the back of each one what it is for and anything else I need to remember.
This makes my kit easy to use when I need it. 

Next I have spent this year learning as much as I can about essential oils and Homeopathy.  From this I have found several things that have worked better for me than regular medicine.  I did give myself 55 years to try everything possibly available for severe sore throats which I think is a fair test.   But it turned out Oregano Oil is the first thing that actually worked.  So essential oils won that round!   Now I would not ever be without oregano oil.

I asked Karen (who is kind of our resident Homeopath)  about this Zovirax issue and what to tell the poor person who could not get theirs.  Cold sores are so common and dreadful to have.   Karen said there is in fact an excellent  Homeopathic option that is very effective.  She even went off and formulated a special cream when I told her there are people out there paying $80 for coldsore cream! 
You can find this cream here and read about it's ingredients. 

Karen also suggested some natural alternatives to some common issues:

Poke Root liquid extract  -  for infections on the skin, especially with puss.
Golden Seal Cream -  for scratches, bites, rashes.
Homeopathic Aconite 30c drops - for the onset of a virus & as a shock remedy
Lavender essential oil - 1 drop on the pillow for anxiety and to help with a restful sleep.
Mullein liquid extract - for a dry cough
Thuja 30c - for warts
Aloe vera & cucumber gel - for burns and scalds
Comfrey cream - for sprains, strains and broken bones.
Marshmallow glycetract - for heartburn
Meadowsweet extract - for Bloating

Have a look at the homeopathic Emergency Kit 

Also the essential oil kit.

I have found it incredibly helpful to have a Homeopath I can ask anything.  You can contact Karen via any of the links above.  She can make you up custom blends and remedies.   Several Bluebirds have had absolutely amazing results with her help since I mentioned her in an earlier post.   One of these cases was a post traumatic stress issue.  I have heard that the progress they have now made (and after ten years of trying pretty much everything...) is life changing. 

As always I suggest doing loads of research on what ever your concerns are.   Ask your doctor what would you do in the event of isolation or a shortage?  And chemists/pharmacists are a gold mine of information.  Honestly I have found chemists to be incredible and so willing to give you advice. 
Our current chemist points out natural alternatives to almost everything as well.

Then consider possibly your much needed item is a fraction of the price elsewhere, there is an alternative,  or maybe there is a generic version at a lesser price?  I am sure there are a ton of rules and regulations too about what we all can and can't buy online, import etc.  I guess we better consider those!  

My life story really shows that things that regular medicine just can't figure out can still have an answer.   Never give up!  If something isn't working try something else!  I only tried going wheat free as an experiment and even though I was highly doubtful... but it cured 55 years of aching legs in four days. 

Also I have seen some amazing and some horrific things.  Even top medical professionals might disagree on a diagnosis or treatment.   A friend of mine called Wendy came to me utterly devastated with terrible diagnosis.  She was told by a specialist that she had a disease in the bones of her face and that literally her face would collapse as the bones degenerated. She needed more than fifteen operations and that her appearance would change.  Can you imagine? 
My Mum is related to a very famous cranial facial surgeon  (you can google him his name is Dr David David) and my Dad's life long best friend is a consulting physician.   I asked Mum to see if Wendy could get a second opinion.  She ended up going to see Dr. David David. 
Guess what?   While he agreed she did have the diagnosed disease he said she needs no surgery and there wold be no change to her appearance either.   This specialist is miles more experienced than the other Doctor.  She saved herself the drama of fifteen operations and the worry of how her face would look.  How could this happen?  Well it did.  Always get several opinions! 

Do your research.  Check everything.  If you feel uncomfortable with a treatment or diagnosis get another opinion and get more options.   If you are told you can't be helped take that to mean the person you are talking can't help you, it doesn't mean no one else can!  If a Doctors says he/she cant help you believe them and go somewhere else! 

I feel much more armed with alternative plans and options than I did before.  I have a long way to go! But recently I have been able to go to my own home pharmacy and reach for remedies and with success!   It is a very good feeling.  

If you have any good ways to get ahead with medications,  ways to reduce medication costs,  alternatives and back ups,  general first aid tips... please share.  Even something that worked for you when all else failed!   

Be encouraged and prepared! xxx

Thursday 5 July 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 6th July, 2018.

Friday came around fast!  I am not ready!  It wasn't an all saving week as we spent money on a new mattress.   Our mattress looks good but is old.  In the last few months we both have woken up achy. Then I realised that at Mum and Dad's and also at Chloe's I was not achy! mmm   So it was time but we shopped in the end of financial year sales and got a wonderful bed for $60 off!

Some of the ways I built up my home and feathered my next this week included...

I potted up some mint from Mum's garden so I can take mint to the farm.

I have a half wine barrel it will go into so it doesn't take over the whole place!

I made a new cake.  It is amazing!  I am trying to build my choices of cakes with no flour.  This has no flour and no nuts.   Yet it is gorgeous!

If you are gluten free, grain free or know someone who is this will be handy so here is the recipe..

Preheat oven to 150 C
Butter and line a 20cm tin.  Then sprinkle it with cocoa powder.
Melt 120g dark chocolate and  120g butter. I did in microwave in 30 second intervals.
Stir in  150g castor sugar,  50 g cocoa powder, 3 eggs and a teaspoon vanilla extract.

Bake 30 mins.  Cool 10 mins before remove from tin.
They said to use a springform tin but mine leaks every time!

I also used mostly milk chocolate as I just do not like dark chocolate so much.
I also doubled it as I can't see the point of a 20cm cake.
This almost doubled the cooking time.   Now I know how it turns out I will remember as I slightly under cooked it in the middle and the edges are chewy and the best bit so next time I will cook more.  But it is delicious and it keeps well.   Winner!

I am sorry for those who need to convert it to USA measurements. If you use an online converter it will take a few minutes to convert but then you have it!

I also made Peanut Butter Cookies, no flour in these either...

I made Lamb Shanks in the slow cooker, I did a double batch and lots of veggies.
We also had sausages in gravy and veggies.

I did a batch of custards in the slow cooker.

This week I used up quite a few things from my use it up challenge.  I had a bag of dried apricots and a bag of dates.   I sat outside and cut them up with scissors and added them to other dried fruit I had.  I bought cherries and tins of pineapple and made up five fruit cakes.

This is the first batch ready to go in...

My thinking is that these will keep and be useful for when moving, feeding helpers etc. 

So I am really happy to be ahead with these and they are all double wrapped and stacked.

I added a couple of bargains to my present cupboard.

I made two batches of yoghurt.

At the craft store I saw stems of native flowers (fake) that looked so real.  Then I saw they were down for $7 each to $1 each and I got a bunch!  

I did some pruning in the garden. I have filled the green bin many times now and the pruning is done.

We have some rain and a fairly cold weekend I think!   I might work on using some lemons as I have quite a lot. 

I hope you had a good week!  How did you save, get ahead or build up your home? 

Tuesday 3 July 2018

The World Within our Walls. Easier ways...

With Chloe getting married in October I have been writing up recipes and tips for her.  Years ago I made the girls books containing all my best household tips and family recipes... but time has gone by and now I have lots more of both!  I have learned so much since then!

The books contained recipes from both Nans, Mum and me.   There were tips on all kinds of things and many photos, mementos and even Birthday cards given by my Mum to her Mother and so on.
So now I am adding to the books!

First I make some recipe cards and gave Chloe some of my more recent recipe suggestions, many of these are slow cooker recipes.  I decorated these with stamps given to me by Barb.
When life is busy and especially when you have a baby and little children nothing is a help like the slow cooker.
If you want to get started on Slow Cooking this is an early post on some slow cooking basics  Your number one handmaiden.
and part two Crock pot cooking series part 2.  After that there are lots of posts, see my index Crockpot cooking series...

So this is my number one helper.  Having soups, stews, baked apples, curries, etc going is so good and most of your work is done when that busy time arrives late afternoon, early evening.
These things are all good winter meals.  In summer I still use my slow cooker as who wants the oven on?  Even if we are having a BBQ I might have filled the slow cooker with corn or potatoes for an easy side dish in the evening.  And when there is fruit I stew lots and freeze portions and in the slow cooker.

All your winter stews/casseroles always add lots and lots of veggies!  Make it go as far as you can with sides like rice, mash, rolls, pasta... anything!   Your left over casserole will make the most beautiful meat pie fillings!   Pies seem to be a completely different meal and they freeze so well for when you need something fast.  Also you can make child sized ones in muffin trays or family sized ones.  Casseroles, Pies and Curries.

If your slow cooker is really baked on and messy oil it with hot water and a dishwasher tablet or some fabric softener.  Ignore it until the next day. Then it will clean so easily.
Actually this applies to most baking dishes.

This is my Grandmother (Dad's Mum)  Ivy. 
Harper is Harper Patricia (my Mum) Ivy.

 Meat is pretty expensive to VERY expensive.  I go between a few main ways to save on meat.  My husband loves his meat and I do too...

Method 1.  Buy the best deals and markdowns and know your prices.  Check the fresh meat section, the deli section AND the frozen section of your supermarket.  The difference across these can be huge. See if you have a wholesale butcher near by and sign up for the specials.  At the moment here the best buys are chicken, pork and roast lamb.  Lamb is really expensive unless you buy a leg and then I can get it at $8 a kilo.  Otherwise I can get port at $4.50 a kilo and chicken for less.  Yet it is also easy to pay $44 a kilo for lamb.  So it is not just the type of meat is it the cut.  Knowing all this I still watch for mark downs as well.
If you buy roasting cuts then you also have your own deli meat for lunches.  So you can buy a leg of ham for $8 a kilo and slice your own or pay $22 a kilo or more for shaved ham.  That is so much difference.  Small packets of deli meat are even more some up to $40 a kilo.

Method 2.  Serve meat with a ton of sides.  A curry it easy to do this, by the time you serve Naan, raita, salad and rice it is amazing how much actual meat you need.  This continually amazes me.
Our Nan's served a roast with many veggie sides, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, gravy... the meat itself went a very long way.  They knew what they were doing!

Method 3.  Use a small amount of a stronger flavoured meat to give the impression of meat but really there is hardly any.  Bacon is awesome for this a few bits of bacon in a salad and a man might like it lol or some chorizo in a pasta or some salami on a pizza..... it is just a bit but it packs a big punch.

This page is in Lucy's book.  It is a page about having a dress up box. 
Dress ups were a major hit at our place and I had enough for all friends to dress up too. 

Set aside or hide your left overs.  If you want this all to become tomorrows lunches, sandwich meat or a freezer meal make it disappear so it doesn't get hoovered up before you have a chance.  I hear this problem a lot!

Don't waste bread.  If you always have bread going stale divide it up and free portions.  Otherwise put left over bread to good use!  I have heard of people that buy a loaf a day and throw out half of it.

Here are some uses for left over bread... Never waste one slice of bread.

Use up all left overs.  If you keep a bag in the freezer for odds and ends for soup or stock then even the ends of a bunch of parsley or the leaves of a bunch of celery will be wonderful and almost free goodness for your next cook up.  Restaurants don't throw these out they would soon go broke!  The same with bones,  left over veggies etc.  It is all valuable.

When you make something make extra.  If I bake cakes, biscuits, scones, anything I am not just going to bake one batch.  Always double (or more) and freeze some.
If you are roasting veggies add a lot more and the next night use them in a pizza, frittata, salad.

If you have left over stone fruit this is a good recipe to use it up Economical and yummy cake.

This recipe is for sweet or savoury muffins and will turn almost any bits and pieces into lunch box fillers...  Miracle Muffins.  And they freeze perfectly!

When you are a bit low on food have a baking day.  Scones and pancakes are great fillers when the budget is low.  So is soup.  A little bit of ham or bacon is enough to make fried rice or a pizza.  You can extend a lot and seemingly make something out of nothing!   There are some cheap recipes here The Money Saving Baking Day.

If your home needs a brighten up a day of cleaning and re arranging makes a world of difference.  Clean windows do too.  It is amazing what a difference a day can make!

I use a timer all the time.  I will put it on to remind me about the oven but also for many other things like to put the washer on, bring clothes in, anything!   So many times that timer reminds me of something I have already forgotten.

If you can get more done in ten minutes when you hear a visitor is coming then use this technique to get lots done. Put on your timer for ten minutes and go go go!   Flylady has it that you put on your timer for 15 minutes.  She says you can do anything for 15 minutes.  And it works.  If it is something you really hate than put it on for five!  It will still get done!

Many times getting things done can be helped by thinking about the order we do things in. Some things are obvious like getting the washing hug out and it will be drying while you are doing other things.  But thinking about the order you do things can really be helpful.  There is a post here  The order of the day.

Another helper is to get your handmaidens working.  When I get up I like to get the dishwasher, slow cooker, washing machine and often the mix master going.   Get all your helpers working!  While these are working I can get on with other things.  This really gets things moving!

Both books have stores about the Great Grandmas and photos.
I also wrote up the family tree as far back as I could get. 

In school holidays we would have re arrange the bedroom days.  The girls loved this!  They would dream up a new place for the bed and furniture and we would shift everything.  It was a spring clean and total new look.  They loved it.  It was a win win for me. Sometimes this all took three days of activity and the end result was a "new room" normally it was just a zero or low cost makeover. 

Another school holidays activity was a baking day.  This was usually one or two days before school went back.  We would bake, decorate and package lots of lovely things for school ad some for friends.  It added to the freezer too.  As they got older the part they did became more and more so they learned a lot.  Decorating biscuits and cakes was the most popular though.   We did Gingerbread girls wearing bikinis and other mad things.

A fast and massive lift is to make your kitchen/dining room table loo beautiful.  Plus on a  tablecloth or runner,  some flowers or an arrangement of things in the centre and set it nicely.  This always looks so nice.

Keep bars of soap in your linen press and blanket box to make everything smell lovely. Dove pink soap is perfect for this and cheap!  It smells so good!  Then you always have spare soap and when you open the doors things smell heavenly. 

I am always hearing "my family won't eat leftovers" 
And "my family insist on brand name products"
When you go to a restaurant you are likely to be eating left overs.  They don't waste anything even the onion skins and celery leaves are used.  Left over roast veggies might become soup.... 
If you are inventive with left overs no one knows they are left overs!  And don't tell them either.  That casserole is now "shepherds pie" or "beef and mushroom pie"  and those veggies are now "gourmet pizza" ... you get the idea! 

This is along the lines of when someone says they will never buy thrift store linen.  They imagine the linen in a hotel is brand new every night!  No, it is just washed! 

I use decanters, jars and tins.  In go my Aldi (or other bargain) products.  No one has ever known what brand I am buying as packets are history fast and they have always just eaten what is in m containers.  No questions asked.   This can be a good way to save a fortune.

Keep a gift, card and wrap cupboard.  When there are sales stock up on all of these things or make them.  This will save so many trips to the shops and a fortune. 

When choosing a recipe think of what you have rather than what you are dreaming of.  Apple muffins are really just as good as blueberry and a fraction of the price.  

If there is something you run out of that sends you to the store regularly stock up on it.  We keep fresh milk but also long life, canned and powdered.  I am not going to the store for one thing.

Keep a good pantry and never pay full price for anything.  When you get ahead then you will be able to just wait for the next sale cycle.  Then stock up.  This means you are paying half price for all your regular items.  What a saving. 

Also know your substitutes or learn to use the internet to find them.  If you run out of something find something you can substitute.  

Stain treat things straight away.  I have soaking buckets so that anything with a mark is soaking until it is washed.  If anyone has a stain they can't get out guess where it comes!? 

Never put clean dry clothes in a basket.  A basket is a crease machine!  Even lightly creased things will come out of there deeply creased!   I dry things on hangers and fold from the line.  Never add crumples this defies logic!  It is making so much work! It is like punching yourself in the head. 

When you go from one room to another take things with you.  So much putting away happens automatically then. 

Ask and you shall receive.... if you are wishing for a slow cooker, a bread maker, anything... tell your family and friends.   Most likely someone will have one they never use and give it to you.  This applies to canning equipment, jars, fruit, herbs, veggies, yarn, fabric and pretty much anything.  Put the word out there.   You will be amazed. 

That is enough for today!  I already lost one whole blog post as my laptop seems to be playing up.

What are your best household tips?   I love to find new ones.  Sometimes ONE tip can be a game changer.  A couple of years ago one tip from The Cheapskates Club saved me $600 that year and has ever since.   These are the times you think WHY didn't I think of that!?

I hope you are having a good week!   Busy here.  I have three fruit cakes in the oven and the timer is on! xxx