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 27 December 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 28th December, 2018.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!
I don't even know where to start so I will just jump in and start anywhere!
We had a lovely Christmas.  It had been go go go right up until Christmas Eve.  In some ways I did not do everything I would normally do but here we are in the farmhouse and we had a great big droopy real tree that touched the ceiling.   We cut branches from a tree in the driveway and put them in a big metal bin.  I loved it!

I had fairy lights across the deck and they looked like stars.   This all added to our already amazing night sky which I still cannot fathom as it is so different to in the city!   I often stand outside  at night and just take it all in.

My biggest wishes for Christmas were that the girls would come to stay over and have a wonderful day.  And they did!  Christmas day was one of the big kids playing with the little kids and the adults making sandcastles in the sandpit for Scarlett to smash up.

Most years we have bubbles. This year we had ribbon twirling wands.  Stuff like this always helps the afternoon.
The girls arrived with red dresses and big red hair bows. 😊  

It was too busy to take many photos but I love this one.   It shows Mum's sago plum pudding coming to the table and Mum looking pleased in the background.  

It kind of captured some of the day. 

Some of the ways we saved money, built up our home, enjoyed Christmas included:

I planted chillies and also swiss chard and capsicums that Mum gave me.
Chloe gave us a bag of layers pellets for the chickens and Mum gave us a bag of wheat.  We are way ahead with chook food!

Luke's Mum send me lemons and rhubarb from her garden.

Chloe gave us a spare Queen sized bed.  With this I set up a guest room nicely.  I already had all the linen I would need.  It looks lovely.  So now all my rooms have furniture.

I made a tray of coconut ice.  Some was given away as gifts.  I decorated it with dried rosebuds I had saved.

I made a big potato salad, a baked ham and my Nan's tomato, onion and zucchini bake which she always made to go with roast meat.   I did spares and a gluten free one...

It is topped with little squares of bread then grated cheese and baked.  It is one of those simple delicious things.   Nan knew how to make the roast meat go further!

I washed a heap of windows.

My sister in law gave me a food saver vacuum sealer.  This will be a great addition to my pantry.

Andy gave me a Spotlight voucher to stock up on craft supplies which I will do in the sales.

Mum sent us home from Christmas with beautiful roast turkey.   I guessed how much we could use in a couple of days and saved that.  The rest I sliced into slices and froze in two person portions.  When the weather cools I will just do a tray of roast veggies, warm up the turkey and pour over gravy.  It is kind of an instant roast dinner.  I have done this many times.   I got three meals to put away this way.

Chloe gave us an album of her wedding and a framed collection of photos.  She made albums up for her Grandparents also.

We lived on left over turkey, ham, potato salad, tomato bake etc for several days.  It was lovely to have a  break and delicious.

Andy went yabbying with Luke and his Dad.  They got a lot of yabbies and had a great time.  The Blue Wrens were so tame he took photos for me with his phone...

I want to go and have a picnic in this spot so I can get some photos myself!

My niece gave me a notebook she had made especially for me...

So I am planning 2019 blog posts in this!  So lovely!

Kaye gave me a beautiful sign for my pantry door!  I love it!!

Even the writing is correct since I always have fig preserves, fresh honey, fresh eggs... everything on this sign is correct! 

At the end of Christmas Day Lucy and the girls followed us in their car home to our farmhouse.  At one point I hopped out to open a gate and Lucy drove through with us then I shut it.  Scarlett was saying "cow, cow!"  and they both had wide open eyes and mouths open as they were seeing cows, sheep, deer and a kangaroo.  
When we got to our place the girls ran through the house so excited!  
I showed them the bedroom and the canopy beds.  They LOVED them.  There was much jumping around and choosing beds.   
Later we went out and looked at the stars and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.   They were so excited I thought neither would ever sleep! 

Yesterday and today have been hot.  I have umbrellas up over my veggie garden and old net curtains draped over my roses.  So far so good.  The heat drives you inside... so I am starting on some crafts and quite things indoors during the day.  This is good it is time to start making things again!

Now I have out my new planner for 2019!   These days before the New Year are my favourite days of the whole year.  Time to consider the year that has been.  I do kind of a year long Feather your Nest Friday.  It is amazing what we forget!  As it all comes back to me I am in awe of the year we had.
Next I start to make plans and some goals for the new year.  Also plans for the blog.
With moving and all we had to do I had to reduce the blog to once a week.  But mostly I always had three posts a week with a theme.  We had The Christmas Challenge, The World within our Walls, Pantries and Preparedness,  the Friday post and so on.   In the next few days I will write a New Year post and what the themes will be for 2019.  I am excited about that!

I hope you had a good Christmas and can enjoy a few quieter days now.
How did you build up your home, get ahead or save last week?   It would have been the busiest week of the year for many of us!

Have a lovely weekend!   We are heading south to the farmhouse Lucy and her family are moving to. We are taking Mum with us and making a kind of picnic of it.  The girls are down there as they are working on the house.  I will make a cake to take with us.   And with some luck there will still be figs on the fig tree!



  1. Annabel what a lovely Christmas you had and your granddaughters had such fun. Looking forward to seeing what your plans are for next year. I imagine they will be very exciting.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Thank you! I hope you had a lovely Christmas too! I want to get back to making lots of things that is one thing for sure. We will have hot days now and enforced quiet days inside so I will get going on lots of sewing, cards etc. I look forward to what you will be making this year too! With love

  2. I love the pantry sign!

  3. it sounds as if you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. What lovely gifts you received.
    Have a Nappy New Year

    1. Very Happy New Year to you too Cheryl. I will be following along with your frugal posts too! With love,

  4. Annabel I could almost 'see' your granddaughters delight over the canopy beds. They are just the sort of things little girls wish for. Your mention of singing Twinkle Little Star to the girls reminded me of the lullaby my mother used to sing me as a toddler - it was "Stars are the Windows of Heaven', and with the assistance of youtube I am listening to Anne Murray singing it as I write.

    I am looking forward to you writing about your themes for 2019. 2018 has sped by so fast I feel like I need to grab hold of 2019 so it doesn't slide by so quickly.

    1. Dear Sherri, I am going to go find that song... I have not heard of it I dont think but I do know Anne Murray. I will check it out! Thank you for sharing that.
      I also need to grab hold of the new year, slow things down and make the most of it. So the first week of January I will be posting a lot to set the scene for the year! Quite excited to get back to usual here on the blog. Have a very Happy New Year! With love,

    2. Sherri that song is beautiful - just watched it on youtube.


  5. How fun to have the girls be there to sleep in their little beds. Family is such a huge blessing!

    We had a very laid back Christmas. I was raised to overdo everything for holidays and I can finally say that I have learned to let many things go and just enjoy my family. The 4 grandchildren we had here were so much fun and we all talked to our German part of the family by Skype. There were many sweet moments throughout the days we were together. Our 8 year old grandson made a blanket for his 17 month old cousin for Christmas. Our 6 year old grandson in Germany got so excited when he saw all his US cousins on the screen on Skype.
    We managed to buy the exact flip flops that our 7 year old granddaughter wanted even though it was way past flip flop weather when we found them on a clearance rack. I saved the empty wrapping paper tubes and the kids had fun playing with them outside. Now they have all gone home and we have lots of leftovers to eat!

    Happy New Year!

    1. Dear Lana, I love somehow how you said you were raised to overdo everything for the holidays... possibly many of us were. It is good to reconsider and pick what we do and dont want to carry on with.
      I am so glad you had four Grandchildren there with you and you could Skype your family in Germany. And that all the Grandchildren chatted to each other as well! That is wonderful!
      I think like me you probably felt exhausted afterwards! I hope you have enjoyed some quiet days since. Have a great New Year and I hope 2019 will be good to us all! Thank you for so much help this year, with love,

  6. Lovely Christmas Annabel, we all knew the girls would go wild over the beds. Can’t wait to hear your 2019 plans. I am making my goals at present too. Happy New Year to you and your family and the Bluebird crew too. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fi, I am so glad you are dreaming about next year! I think you have so much to look forward to and exciting times ahead... like our year this year.
      Thank you re the beds. I am so glad I kept them and did this, it all paid off! With much love,

  7. Annabel, Happy New Year to you and your family. I enjoy your blog so much and am thrilled you have a new home in a wonderful country setting! All the best for the new year.

    1. Dear Hilogene, Thank you so much I really appreciate that. I hope you have a wonderful New Year also! With love,

  8. Annabel, what a wonderful Christmas your family enjoyed, that pudding and the joy on your Mums face is magical. How lovely you got your wish for the granddaughters to stay the night, star gazing and sleeping in those pretty beds, sweet memories. Its been really hot in my neck of the woods, 40+celcius for almost a week now, my rhubarb is growing like crazy, but the tomatos are a struggle to protect from the heat, its a case of water, water, water and hope for cooler weather, my family also makes a tomato breadcrumb dish similar to yours that we serve with roasts( delicious hot and cold). Your pantry sign is awesome and your Bluebird journal is perfect, such great gifts. Thanks for sharing your world with us, an inspiration as always and really looking forward to 2019 and all it holds, Happy New Year xxx

    1. Dear Cassandra, Thank you! That photo is a bit of a treasure I think so too.
      We had one day of 42 but mostly high 30s so far.... I have a large market umbrella over the tomatoes. This seems to make the world of difference. I can take it down on milder days. I have used chairs and old sheets too. Looks a mess but can save the day. Many days over 40 is VERY wearing on people, plants, animals, everything.
      Thank you for your kind words! Have a very happy New Year! With love,

  9. What a wonderful family gathering, Annabel. The joy is showing on everyone's face. How wonderful that Lucy's family will be joining the rest of the family soon - it's as though everyone is 'coming home to nest'.

    It's been such a great year for you and thankyou for sharing it with us all, and I look forward to the coming year.

    I know we still have a few days to go, but, Happy New Year everyone and stay safe,

    1. Dear Janine, Thank you! Very Happy New Year to you too! We did have a big year! I hope to get back to blogging more now we are settled in! I do treasure photos. I print all the ones I never want to lose too and share them around. The pudding one was kind of a fluke where I noticed the background afterwards! So happy about it! Thanks so much, with love

  10. Dear Annabel snd Bluebirds , we had a low key lovely kiwi lunch at our daughters place with her 3 ages 7 yrs to 2 weeks ,with our eldest son , daughter in law and g/son 4.5yrs . It was s relaxing day with everyone’s input , despite the rain .
    Hubby and I visited his parents in the morning taking them a gift each and had a coffee there .
    On Christmas Eve at lunchtime my brother , partner and niece come for lunch snd gift sharing .
    And tomorrow they and the rest of my nearest and dearest come for drinks snd nibbles so the younger adults can catch up with each other as my niece is at uni in the south .
    I had lovely long holds of our new grandson , so delicious he is hehe .
    Annabel , that sounded such a lovely Christmas in the country with your family , love the red dresses and the photos capturing the spirit of the day as it was .
    In the days since Christmas I’ve tidied both pantries snd trialling a new setup which is already showing faults , it will be a work in progress .
    Today is a beautiful summers day and we’ve had a lovely drive by the water to go to our sons place to flcheck on their gorgeous cat , snd such a good cat I have never seen !
    Look forward to your next posts on the year ahead , lots of love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas. It is lovely to have a new baby in the family and see so many of the family and parents too.
      I loved the red dresses too. The girls had red hair bows as well. They looked a picture!
      I hope you have a very Happy New Year! With love and thanks,

  11. Sounds like a wonderful family Christmas time. Thank you for all the work you put into the blog to inspire us.

    1. Dear Earthmotherwithin, Thank you so much! I hope you have a wonderful New Year. We will get things going with lots of crafts and making! With much love,

  12. Annabel, How wonderful a time the girls were having! Country living will really agree with them 😊
    Hope you survive the heat there and there is no threat from fires. Here the weather has been super hot with 44 yesterday and close to that today. 😑

    Really looking forward to another exciting year of posts on your blog from the Bluebirds farmhouse! You inspire us all in so many more ways than you can imagine. Thank you!

    Happy New Year to all!
    Love, Kaye xoxo

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I am dreading 44. I think we got to 42 once so far. I know sometime we will get this and more. I am looking forward to Autumn that is all I can say!
      Thank you for your kind words. I hope you will enjoy my making things/crafts plans coming up! Have a very Happy New Year! With love and thanks,

  13. So glad that you had such a wonderful Christmas. Having the little girls around means the magic is ever present.
    We had a quiet day. It started with Katie and Jared coming over for brekkie. We had prawns, watermelon, mango, oysters and crab. Quite a feast. Gifts were exchanged and we all felt quite spoilt.
    I was given a book of basic blocks for patterns. I am in love with it. I have already been busy making things. Some of these things are for gifts for next year already.
    Enjoy the last of this year and the entry into next year.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, Your breakfast sounds incredible. The book sounds like the perfect gift for you! Im glad you had such a nice Christmas. Wishing you and Bluey a very Happy New Year! With love,

  14. Annabel I am so glad that you were able to spend Christmas the way you wanted to - I can just imagine the look on the girls faces when they saw the beds.

    We changed our celebration to Christmas eve so spent Christmas Day just relaxing. Our two have to travel through a lot of traffic if we do anything Christmas Day ( the highway north becomes a carpark over the Christmas/New Year period) so we opted to make things easier for them both traffic wise.

    Our plans for the coming year will revolve around getting the extension done - I already have my oven but have been on the lookout for the matching cook top - voila I found it on sale at $500- off and free delivery.

    Yesterday I was up at the shop helping to take down Christmas and put the new displays up for the coming month. Usually we do the change of display on a Tuesday when there are less people around so it took a lot longer to get it all done.

    I am back up there on Sunday to work an extra shift so that the lady that I work with has a day up her sleeve and then we are back there January 5th for another shift. Things will slow down after that shift.

    We tend to stick close to home around the Christmas/New Year period because the road north turns into a car park.

    Annabel I will be interested to hear how you find the food saver, I have a feeling that it would be a very handy kitchen appliance especially with the kitchen disappearing.

    Looking forward to what you have planned for next year.

    Happy New Year everyone


    1. Lynette, we have had our food saver for well over 10 years.
      It is one of the most useful kitchen tools that we have.
      We freeze so much of our food in them.
      We also wash and reuse the bags until they are too small or have a tiny hole in them.
      If you need anymore info, please ask
      Love Lorraine

    2. Thank you for that information - I have been toying with getting one for quite awhile but now think that rather than wait I would be better off getting one sooner rather than later so that by the time the kitchen is gone I am use to using it. I hope to get the laundry done then set up a bit of a kitchen in there until the kitchen is done.


    3. Dear Lynette, I think it is wise to stay off the roads when it is that busy. I will fill you in on the food saver for sure. I am reading up on it now and Chloe will help me as she is good with hers.
      Thank you for all your wisdom, friendship and support all year, with much love,

  15. Dear Annabel,

    I always love coming here to see what you have been doing over the week, and this post is such a lovely one, because it involves Christmas and family gatherings, I LOVE that! Sounds like a delightful time was had by all. Love the picture of your mum smiling in the background of her pudding entrance, that is such a special moment. To capture these memories will remind you of all of the fun times you are having as a family now and in the years that follow. So precious!

    Much love to you,

    Tania xxx

    ps we are melting here today...

    1. Dear Tania,
      Thank you! I hope the heat eased up a bit. It is very draining. Not to mention how the garden and animals feel it too.
      Have a very Happy New Year! With much love,

  16. Dear Annabel,

    Glad to hear you had such a lovely Christmas. I am really looking forward to your New Year post with your plans and dreams for 2019.

    I have done absolutely nothing to get ahead this past week! Just enjoying the season and the break from work!

    See you next year!! LOL

    Cheers Cheryl

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I hope you did enjoy your break! Thank you so much, you have a very Happy New Year also! With love

  17. Annabel,
    I am so happy that you had a wonderful Christmas. The picture of your Mum is one to treasure forever. I had no worries about the girls wanting to stay with you in their beds, they had to feel like little princesses.
    The gifts you received are so precious, the gift givers really thought about you and what was perfect to give you.

    We had a perfect quiet Christmas with my Son and his family. All of my husband's children were at in-laws or home due to just having a baby. We have truly been blessed this last year with becoming Grandparents for the 6th time and moving into our somewhat country home.

    I am looking forward to the New Year and your plans with your blog. I know it will be so special and exciting. I have already started plans and restarted sitting at night crocheting. As you are hiding away from the heat, I am sitting near the fireplace crocheting.
    May you have a Joyous New Year!

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Thank you! You did have a wonderful year with both a new baby in the family and a new home!
      I feel both the heat and the cold and snow in the end mean indoor time and this is good for getting things made! I cannot wait to be able to sit near our fire though... I love Autumn and cant wait for that!
      Have a very Happy New Year and a great 2019! With love and thanks,

  18. Dearest Annabel, I'm so glad your Christmas was so very special with your new home, and shared with all your family. That photo does tell the story, doesn't it? Of family traditions, of love and support, the joy of being together. Thank you for all that you've taught me in 2018 and the many ways you have inspired and encouraged me. Thank you also to all the bluebirds for commenting and sharing with this amazing online community! Annabel, I am looking forward to the new year with your new themes and posts. God bless you and yours and may you have a most blessed New Year. Love, Carla

    1. Dear Carla, Thank you so much for your lovely message. I just got started with my new year posts. I want to set the scene with a few early posts. I really want to start the year off well and get my plans going! Have a very Happy New Year! With love and thanks,

  19. Hi Annabel (and everyone),

    I love the photos and hearing about your family holiday! That sign is gorgeous.

    I did tons of cooking for the holiday and for gifts; our barn family loved the sweets and my dad loved that I made a big turkey dinner on Xmas day and a beef ragout with pasta on Xmas Eve, and lots of cookies and a chocolate spice cake. Also gave the house a good clean beforehand and my husband trimmed up the yard and shrubs so everything looked pretty.

    We have a few days off work and are going for a little mini-break in the woods - I've packed snacks and entertainment (books!) for the trip. I hope everyone has a nice weekend!


    1. Dear Kathy, Your Christmas sounds wonderful. I love that your Dad was impressed! He loved it so that is wonderful.
      You maybe still off on your mini break. I hope it has been just lovely and a rest. Have a very Happy New Year! With love and many thanks,

  20. Hi Annabel,
    Thank you for your blog. I'm from Colorado USA and it's so fun to read about you having Christmas in the summer! We are having very cold weather right now. It is 19 degrees F today. We haven't had any snow just cold.
    I was thinking about some of the Christmas songs we sing like, "Let it snow" or "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas." What are the Christmas songs you sing? It's so hot during Christmas for you!
    Your blog is interesting to me coming from another country. I have to look up some of the words you use as I'm not familiar with them. It is fun!
    Your Christmas sounded lovely. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    1. Dear Lisa, I have learned so much from my USA friends! I love learning your words and expressions too, like I LOVE "put up" i.e. to preserve and put something in the pantry. That was new to me and I love it and use it now. Also to "fix" something, that is to make something I love that also and we never said that. I am sure some of mine are completely confusing sorry!
      Always feel free to ask!
      To me snow and cold winters are from the movies and books! Usually it is hot here. But we still have the songs you mention plus traditional Christmas carols. We probably are actually dreaming of a white Christmas so it still sounds true enough!
      Have a very Happy New Year! With love

  21. Hello Annabel and everyone :).

    Annabel I love hearing how you are feathering your nest and also the practical Christmas presents you all gave each other. Glad also the grandchildren loved the room you set up for them and they were excited about the animals they saw.

    We have found out that we also have mystery trees which I have identified and they are 3 mulberry trees and a possible mandarin tree that are planted in our other half of the property. I am thrilled and the mulberry trees are fruiting but will require fertilising and watering shortly.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $1667.77 in savings last week :).

    House organisation -
    - Unpacked all of our grocery stockpile and put it on 4 x 5 shelf gorilla shelving units we purchased in the food storage room. Everything is now rotated new to the back older to the front date wise and ready to use.
    - We reused one of the 2 door kitchen pantries to put all of our medications, medical kit, vitamins, minerals and supplements in.

    Water and electricity savings -
    - We are reusing the grey water from our washing machine to water ornamental shrubs planted around the home, potted canna & calla lilies and spider plants and for flushing the toilet with rather than using town water.
    - Purchased a 25lt water drum with tap which we fill up once a day and use the water for filling the kettle, filling drink bottles, a bucket for hand washing water and dishwashing water. This saves the pump kicking in every time we want a drink, to fill the kettle or wash our hands saving a lot in electricity costs.
    - Using our shower warm up water to water potted herb and fruit trees again saving on town water usage.

    In the gardens -
    - Between us DH and I spent 13 hours mowing lawns, mulching ornamental shrubs and trimming star jasmine and mulberry tree branches so we could get the ride on lawn mower under them to mow saving $585 over hiring a gardener to do it.
    - Between DH and I we spent 6 hours loading the trailer for 3 loads of green waste to the tip saving another $270 over hiring a gardener to do it for us.
    - Spent another hour between us filling in dog dig holes in the lawns and sheds with dirt kindly supplied to us by our neighbour saving another $45 in getting a gardener in.

    Groceries -
    - We did go Christmas Eve shopping and purchase specials on triple smoked shaved ham from the deli, reduced priced roast chickens, some electrolytes, medical supplies, sparkling apple juice, sauces, topped up our battery supplies, BBQ lighters and other groceries saving 34.08% or $63.63 including specials, clearances and our roadside assist gift cards. The best specials were cooked roast chickens @$4.50 ea reduced from $9 each and triple smoked leg ham @ $3.60 per kg reduced from $18 kg.

    Purchases -
    - Bought a 100 lt ride on lawnmower towable sprayer with trailer for $315 saving $438 on prices locally.
    - Purchased a 20lt electric battery operated backpack sprayer saving $31.19 on usual prices.
    - Purchased a trailer hitch lock coupling for $22 saving $22.95 over buying locally.
    - Bought a 90 cm dual fan forced oven on Boxing Day special saving $212 on usual prices. Just so happens that it was reduced by a further $100 from what it was advertised online as a store special when we went to buy it and we got the only one in stock.

    Still unpacking and organising but we are getting there slowly.

    Have a great week ahead everyone.

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, I am thrilled about your trees!! It took us a fair while to identify all ours. And down at Lucys farmhouse there are more trees to identify. Many are very old fruit trees. I think with water, some renovating and maybe fertiliser etc they will revive enormously. She also has a very old Mulberry. Three figs. One quince, one lemon... others I have no idea yet what they are!
      Even some grey water on to these will make a big difference. What an asset to have these trees!
      What wonderful savings you made! The food storage selling some excellent. Nothing like moving to get re organised and set up. This was the same for us.
      Your Christmas Eve shop paid off! The tripe smoked ham was an extra amazing price! You better remember this for next Christmas Eve!
      Your purchase reminds me that we are getting an attachment for the ride on lawn mover that spreads fertiliser. Coming in January. We have a big area and it needs fertiliser for sure. Your sprayer will be excellent.
      The boxing day sales was a good time to get the oven! We are hoping January sales will help us get the last couple of things we are wanting for the house. Hoping so!
      It sounds like you are really getting set up and settling. It took us a while. Well we are still twerking things but I think that goes on forever. I will be looking forward to hearing about (and hopefully seeing) your garden as you set that up. I know its going to be amazing. You also ready have some lovely things like the Jasmine and fruit trees. And outbuildings. All an advantage. We still have things that we know will be an asset somehow... i.e. small animal shelters, a far off shed that is lockable... things we will work on using someway that will be good for us. But each week there is progress!
      Have a wonderful New Year! With love,

  22. Dear Annabel,
    I'm glad you had such a nice time with family. I can just imagine the girls' excitement and the joy that it was to see their wonder and amazement!
    I did not comment last week due to spending time with family so I will report for the last two weeks here. It was busy! It was Colton's birthday week so I baked him two birthday cakes, one for home and one to take to the station. We ate a special meal at home and invited family so that saved on eating out. Other baking included a batch of cookies to take to a gathering we were invited to.
    We saved on groceries and mandarin oranges were an especially good deal so we bought lots and I canned some. I saved the peels according to JES's ebook on fruit scraps. Some I dried and have in a jar for future use, the rest is being infused in two different jars of oil. This will be turned into cleaning and beauty products. On top of all of this my sister-in-law brought me a bunch of oranges and lemons that a client gave to her.
    It was also a big week outside, as Colton has finished the yard fence except for two small patches. We are waiting for a gate to arrive that we had to special order, so it will be finished once that gets here. He set pavers in the yard that we already had leading from the front gate to our front door. He also built a roost in the chicken coop from materials we found on the ranch. Now he has started on building steps off of our back patio using rocks that we already had. All those rocks that were randomly scattered throughout the yard that we have been working on picking up throughout the year are becoming those steps and some raised flower beds. Colton also finished building a firewood rack for the porch. We had originally purchased one but then decided he could build one to better suit our space (and save money because the ranch always supplies us with free materials!), so we returned it.
    Besides grocery sales, we found a nice pair of pants on sale for Colton, and he used our $25 in store points this week to buy a good pair of pliers. He has also been needing a new cordless drill and we found one on clearance so that was snatched up and paid for partly with an old gift card I found in my purse. I almost threw it away thinking it didn't have anything left on it but I decided to check just to make sure!
    A few other things got done: I washed some windows, painted a thrift store caddy to hold John's board books, and sold two aprons I made for a friend. I also gifted her a box of diapers we had left over and some baby food we bought on clearance.
    I didn't get anything done in the shop, but I got a lot of things done around the house that needed my attention and it was a nice break. My sister-in-law came over and helped me a bit with photography. I have a few new things to try out in hopes of better product photos.
    This past week was much slower with enjoying time with family. John also has three back teeth coming in and has needed lots of cuddles and attention. That is my most important job.
    I am really looking forward to what you have planned for the new year!! (I love the journal your niece gave you, it's perfect.) I am making my plans too and reviewing the year that passed. It was a big one! I hope 2019 is a good year for all of the Bluebirds!
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, I bet Colton just loved having a cake to take to the station! That is so nice. I bet he feels so proud to take your cooking!
      It is fruit time here. You just reminded me to go get out Jess' book. She uses every scrap for good things. Perfect timing as I had not got it out since moving. Now I can start planning as I know I have apples and pears, figs and quinces!
      Your yard fence will be a big asset! That is a big project to get done too! We just have a gate to do also... we have the gate just need the post hole digger!
      I am glad you still have your $25 weekly bonus. You have used that really well!
      Help with photography is a great thing since it will help you with the shop and also taking photos of John probably too!
      You had a big 2018 and definitely achieved a series of goals. So I hope 2019 is more of the same, onwards and upwards! Well done Kelsey!
      Have a very Happy New Year! With love,

    2. Dear Annabel,
      Colton let me know today that the guys at work say I can send a cake with him anytime lol.
      I forgot to say how wonderful that you got a food saver. We use ours SO much. It will really be a help in adding to your pantry and freezer.
      We still have six weeks of getting $25 in points, too!
      Love, Kelsey

  23. Annabel,
    You had a lovely Christmas. The photo of your mum looking so pleased is priceless! I can't wait to see what you have planned for the new year. This one went by so fast. The night sky is definitely different when your not in the city. It seems bigger and brighter. I love to sit on the deck when the stars are bright like sparkly, little diamonds. We have been having leftovers and it is nice to be able to just heat things. My son's girlfriend got me a sticker for my truck that says Crazy Chicken Lady haha! She knows how I love my girls. We didn't get any snow this year so sitting by the window and watching the snow fall I wasn't able to do this year on Christmas Eve. It sure makes driving easier though. You will love your food saver! You know I'm not much into gadgets, but I love having a food saver it can extend the life of frozen meat from a few months to a few years if sealed properly. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Vicky, I love the sticker for your truck! That would suit us both!
      I have loved having left overs too. It was a rest honestly. We did not waste a think. People say about all the waste. Not in this house to me it is all big blessing!
      I am reading how to use the food saver now. I am hoping I can buy the replacement bags at Aldi as many are interchangeable and that would be cheaper. Then to get the hang of using it! I might ask you more on that.
      Have a very Happy New Year. I know you had a tough 2018. So I hope 2019 will be much easier but you proved you can get through anything with a good attitude and keep going! With much love,

  24. What a beautiful post, so full of family and things that money cannot buy! Annabelle how far away is Chloe from you and will Lucy be much further? It is so nice to have your grandchildren living nearer by, even when you have a hard time arranging time during the holidays to get them. My post for the week went out yesterday and I have made my plans for the year. They are tentative and seem somewhat limited but I expect the year ahead to be full of many things. I am excited to see it come in! Happy New Year!!

    1. Dear Terri, I havent read your post yet so I will come on over. Chloe is about five minutes away. We are going over for dinner tonight. They live on the next property to us with a dirt road in between us. So we are neighbours!
      Lucy and her family will still be a distance. It is a two hour trip. Currently though they are a three hour trip so it is an improvement. I have done the three hour trip weekly so the two hours one will be a little easier. Plus the girls can come to stay and have holidays here. They love the farm! Mind you they also will be on a farm!
      Have a very happy New Year! With love

  25. Dear Annabel,

    You have been so busy, as usual! I am so glad that you had such a nice Christmas, and that the little girls enjoyed "their" bedroom! :) I love your planner for your blog posts, and can't wait to see what you've cooked up for us this year! I just wanted to quickly pop in and say "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year", as I haven't been on the computer much this last week, nor will be this week, either, as we continue to "holiday"! I am working on some quick-knit projects to get a head start on next year!!! :)

    Lots of love to you and your family, and to all Bluebirders here!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, A very Happy New Year to you all! I am trying to do the same, get on with getting my crafts going and my gift cupboard re stocked. Many thanks Jen, with much love

  26. Dear Annabel, another Christmas of merriment and memory making by you, and all who visit here. I love that the focus is on family and festivities, and not just about gifts. We had a perfect Christmas. Honestly one of the best ever. It was a good end-of-year all round and believe me, the last seven years haven't always been, what with family complications and what-not. So I feel very blessed indeed. Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family and the same to The Bluebirds. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I am so happy for you! That sounds like a wonderful Christmas. This would end the year very nicely.
      Gifts are nice but no they are not at all the biggest or best of Christmas. Many moments were... the moment in the photo... singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Harper out under the night sky with her little face looking up... these things melt my heart. Money cannot buy.
      Have a wonderful New Year! With love and thanks,

    2. So true. I love that you and Harper sang Twinkle Twinkle. That's so


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