Feather your Nest Friday, 14th July, 2023.

We had a week of boy birthdays.   Sidney was three on Saturday and Chase was one on Tuesday.  So it was a lovely week with two celebrations. 

We had a few days of sunshine.  It was just glorious and we made the most of it!   I caught up with produce using the freeze drier.

Sidney is keen on dinosaurs.  He was just thrilled with EVERYTHING.  

Lucy and the girls decorated his cake.

Chase looks more serious.  A lot of Nanas and people to deal with! 

He is being held by Nana Pat (my Mum.)  Thomas on the other hand partied hard.  He can blow out candles from 100 yards and thought it was all amazing!

Chloe set the table in construction theme...  

The bricks were made of foam.   They are really good,  feel rough (like real bricks) and we worked on building with them afterwards.   The little cakes were gluten free for Mum and me.   

Being sunny we finally got the gutters cleaned out.   This is the new method.

The leaves and decomposed stuff from the gutters went onto my compost heap.

I had two lots of beautiful mail.   Fiona sent me seeds for the Spring garden.   This is the first I have thought of Spring but the seeds with the sunshine got me thinking!   I now am ahead with seeds to start.   We are exactly mid winter tomorrow.

I made thick absorbent kitchen towels and cut out many more.   When I did the cutting out I had a strip of fabric left over which I realised was the right size to make pot holders.  I also had an op shop pure wool blanket that had a few holes... I bought it especially for pot holder filling.    So now I am making kitchen towels with a matching pot holder.  This Kookaburra fabric ... I love it so much so one set is for my own kitchen. 

A few more wash cloths.

My big cook up for the week was a baked ham.   Mum gave me the ham from her freezer.   I baked it and served it with veggies (and I did a huge lot of them) and then I served up a big dish of everything so Chloe's family had a meal.    All week ham has been used in everything!

I also made a batch of Butter Chicken and took some of that to Lucy's family when we went for Sidney's birthday.   (Because Scarlett loves Butter Chicken.) 

I planted lots of Parsley seeds.   When I was cleaning out a drawer I found seed I had saved... so I planted it all.   This was part of my organising and cleaning week.   Like Spring cleaning,  only early.   Really I thought I don't have much junk, but still I found lots of new space by thinking differently.    An empty set of very high cupboards now hold the toilet paper Armageddon supply.   This freed up lower and easier to get to high cupboards for my over flowing present cupboard.   Another place I found a box of vacuum attachments for a vacuum we don't even have any more.   When I cleaned out that cupboard I realised.... if  I had shelving in there I could really use the space a whole heap better.   I measured up the space.    In town I found a set of shelves that would fit really well and Andy assembled them inside the cupboard today.   Oh my goodness this worked so well!  I even made a list which I put inside the cupboard door of the presents I have and the people they match with.  I'm seriously impressed with myself lol.    
You know how if you start moving stuff one thing leads to another...  next is my under the sink cupboards.
I do feel so much better organised which feels so nice.  

This weekend we have two guys we know in the cabin.   They arrived with bags of fresh produce.   I am so thrilled!  So much citrus,  so fresh and beautiful!  I have washed everything up.  I will share some things with Chloe.

Meals will now be planned around all of this! 

We are still getting 7 or 8 eggs a day which is great. 

Next week the girls are coming to stay because it is school holidays.   As you can imagine I am planning activities!   The weather looks like it will be sunny which will be a bonus. 

So it was a lovely week full of goodness.  I hope the same for you.  How did you build up your home, pantry or garden?   We love to hear!xxx


  1. Annabel the look on Sidney's face is just priceless! It was obvious that he was enjoying his Birthday. Chase had Tom enjoying the Birthday shenanigans.
    You really had a busy week with all your reorganising of your cupboard space. I love the term, toilet paper Armageddon. All the freeze dried food has you set for the long term. Having the fresh produce from the cabin visitors will have you thinking overtime for how to use it all.
    I did a bit of a reorganising that also involved rehousing the loo paper. I had a set of drawers that some of my fabric stash was housed in. The drawers found the fabric just too heavy, fell off the runners and were impossible to use. The fabric was rehomed in baskets homed in a cube shelf set up. The loo paper and other paper products are being housed in the old drawers. Happy days.
    I'm back working on Spencer's next years Birthday blanket. I hope to have this completed soon. I have found a pattern for a striped cardi for Tilly and will start on this next.
    I sewed up a mesh bag at my sewing group this week. I have plans to make the little girls a beach bag each for Christmas from this pattern. I will fill each bag with a towel, bathers, sunnies and other beach items. The mesh will allow the sand to work its way out on the walk home from the beach.
    It's been a busy week but a good one. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, We were both doing the same things! Parallel universe! I think the mesh bags are fantastic. I am kind of thinking an adaptation could give you produce bags maybe. I really like them. Good you have Christmas gifts thought out already. Have a relaxing weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. What a busy week you've had Annabel! Just done my weekly shop and it was about 7.5% dealer than last week and I got less than last week. At least it doesn't take as long to put away now.


    1. Sorry Annabel. Meant to add my name. It's Kim in Uk

    2. Hi Kim! It is not good how fast things are going up. Denise in Bedfordshire said Aldi was very low on fresh produce. It worries me about families with hungry kids! I hope you are all well and your Mum is going ok too! With love Annabelxxx

  3. Dear Annabel,
    Chloe is clearly putting her considerable cake decorating skills to excellent use! The boys will have an unrealistic idea of the general population’s actual cake decorating skill levels in future 😉
    Regarding veg seeds, an old friend told me she had some old Gaganis brand 1kg pack broad beans that were a bit too old even for her so she tossed them in the garden and they came up and she was able to harvest fresh beans ! Such a cheap way to buy bulk seeds (in South Australia anyway) but most places would sell dry beans by weight.
    We enjoyed the rare winter sunshine this week. I took more salvia and abelia cuttings, and potted up lots of comfrey variety Bocking 14 root cuttings.
    I’m halfway through layering the first half of a no dig garden and need to get the rest laid out to smother the grass before springtime.

    Have lots of fun with the girls staying over next week.
    Kate xxx

    1. Dear Kate, Good point about the cakes! They will see my cakes will might lower the bar though haha.
      That is a good tip on the board beans! Actually... speaking of Gaganis, I love to go there and do a stock up. Sometime I would love to get back there!
      Like you were loved those sunny days. They did us and everything good! The no dig garden sounds fantastic and will be ready to go ... mid winter today, so we are heading toward Spring from here on it! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. You had a very busy and productive week, Annabel. The freeze dried foods look wonderful. Your grandsons are so cute.
    I have been working each day to eliminate "stuff." John is working on the garage and shed and I am working in the house. It does feel really good to be getting rid of stuff we don't need or want.
    We have asked our children to let us know what they want from the house and our daughter has specified her preferences. Our son stated what he desired. In the end we have an entire house of antiques from ancestors that we are free to sell or give away. It was good to have all of this decided. My preference is to give people what they want now instead of waiting till we have passed. They can have it all this summer.
    Our garden is growing very well this year. We had a tree company come and deep feed the fruit trees from underground and they have flourished this summer. We found a company that had a very good organic deep root food and the equipment to take it down several feet to the roots.
    Right now, I have only been dehydrating herbs as the "eliminating" has been taking precedence. Our favorite relish that I made and canned last year was the Amish Zucchini Relish, so I am hoping for an outstanding crop of zucchini. I, also, shred it and freeze it to make delicious gluten free zucchini muffins.
    I hope all of the Bluebirds have a blessed weekend.

    1. Wondering if you would post your zucchini gluten free muffin recipe please?....Nancy

    2. Dear Glenda, It is so good to have the space from unwanted things for things we do want. Many of my cupboards that once held stuff now hold my freeze dried foods etc. Good to know what the kids want as well. I am very interested also in your GF zucchini muffins. I am hoping to have lots of zucchini this summer! Enjoy a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Stacy in Texas14 July 2023 at 05:06

    Such a wonderful week? Can you share.... on the cakes, what did y'all use as bolders on the dino cake....and the little brown logs on the other?

    1. Hi Stacy, Most of the boulders were (smaller ones) Maltesers, biggest ones Kinder Surprise... there is one Im not sure about. On Chase's the logs on the cake Chloe made from fondant. There were "logs" on some trucks on the table and they were Kit Kats. I am not sure if you have the same names and brands as we do though. They both looked so good! love Annabel.xxx

  6. Hello Annabel and all The Bluebirds,

    Happy birthday for Sidney and Chase - they are so handsome and already so biig! How time flies! I love the picture with Nana Pat holding her precious boy - how happy she must be with a beautiful family around her. Sending love to her and big congratulations to Chloe - her cakes are masterpiece!

    I have never heard of Kookaburra birds but I really like what you did with the nice fabric. Remember my dress bought at a thrift shop that was too big for me and I re-made it? I made some small pouches out from the leftover floral fabric and they will be perfect for the dry lavender I am getting ready to harvest. Nothing goes to waste here. And I already have swapped a few with a colleague at work for some turkey legs and made good soup with home made noodles.

    I am finally here and maybe I will write a lot: I was very busy as I was working another side hustle at a medical centre. A ten days job/ a few hours a day helping with computer skills the medical nurses and a few doctors with a new programe.

    ( This was my third job of the day, besides the home and garden. But very much needed these days, as we had and will have some events this year, meaning 4 weddings, one big turn over for my son in November - he will be 18 and that is similar with turning 21 in other countries and our 25th wedding anniversary in September, + being prepared for car repairs that always come when last expected) and I am proud we were / are able to do that and the costs of them without cutting from the bills or the pantry and without going in debt. But a bit of hard work. Even my son managed to find all by himself a summer job. I am proud of him.

    I always use the decomposed leaves and materials from the gutter in the container gardens - they are all good stuff. My garden gives me something every day - I just started picking the first tomatoes. They are beautiful and tasty. The raspberries are harvested every other day and what escapes from eating goes in the refrigerator until it will be enough for jam. The same with the blackcurrants.

    I dehydrated green onions and green garlic leaves, powdered them and put in nicely labelled jars - I very much like the flavors of garlic powder on toast, with butter and cheese.
    We have some very hot days and I air dried mint, raspberry, blackcurrant and strawberry leaves for tea and lots of herbs, celery, parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil and taragon. The jars look great in the pantry. Now I am drying calendula flowers and will see - I want to make some calendula oils or balms like Jessica on Three Rivers Homestead.

    Bought some good deals for the pantry (cans and frozen vegetables) and 5 killos of good oak mushroom from a farm - went to the winter pantry in the refrigerator.
    The chickens are all well and happy but not laying at full capacity because of the heat and the storms (big lightings and thunders) but still I have eggs every day. Even the young pearly white chickens have started so we are well.

    Unfortunately the war goes on and I freezed one day when two men dressed with high rank military came to my work place to talk with the administrator to see what the army can take from us (like requisition) in case of an emergency - like vehicles, drivers, materials, and the written papers for the location and the number of hours for every vehicle to get there in case of.... It can be overwhelming for a moment. Than life goes on.

    Tomorrow 15th July it will be my 19Th years of working at the same place.

    Wishing you all a beautiful weekend and Annabel, have fun with the girls. I can*t wait for the pictures and stories.

    Much love from my part of the world, Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Oh Laura
      That was so scary for you. I hope they never need them. You show how life does somehow go on in the shadow of the conflict and it’s best to keep positive and busy doing good things for your family.
      Praying for PEACE for everyone.🙏🙏

    2. Dear Laura,

      I admire your amazing work ethic and ability to find joy and beauty in many situations. You are a wonderful example. I also love hearing about your week, you paint such a vivid picture and it makes me smile.

      Praying for you and your family and country; I cannot imagine how frightening that would be to have the military show up at your workplace.


    3. Dear Laura, You have added so much goodness to your pantry shelves! So lovely! And it is so nice how you and I watched Jessica yet both of us are far from her in the USA. It really shows how we are all sisters in so many ways going and loving the same things and helping each other.
      We are hearing about the heat. It is good the chickens are still laying. Chickens hate heat. On desperately hot days I have saved them by putting a sprinkler on otherwise using an old sheet and wetting that to cool like an evaporative air conditioner. Except it needs wetting over and over. But I have known people who lost every single chicken on days of 48 which is 118. We have not had any hot days like that for a few years we have had cooler summers. I really hope this coming summer we wont get any days like it. Having eggs every day is such a help.
      You are working so hard! It was a great opportunity to take the ten days at the medical centre. It is such a big thing here, turning 18. We seem to celebrate both 18 and also 21. It is fantastic your son found a summer job!
      I am going to send you a Kookaburra on Instagram. We have them here... both the girls have them in their gardens and I dont, I have something similar and smaller called a butcher bird.
      I hope you are able to get a bit of a rest over the weekend Laura after being so busy. The military coming to your work place would be very sobering. There were developments this week that I thought were worrying. Keep doing all you are doing. I am praying. With love, Annabel.xxx

  7. Happy Birthday to your beautiful grands! Our grandson, William, turns six tomorrow and we are blessed to have them visiting for out of state. Have a wonderful time with the girls next week. I am looking forward to seeing the pictures!

    1. Dear Lana, I am glad you get to see your Grandson for his birthday! Six is a beautiful age. I have been getting organised to pick the girls up tomorrow. Have a wonderful time with your family, With love Annabel.xxx

  8. I love that pic of Sidney looking at his cake!! Chloe's cakes are fabulous. I used to make fancy cakes for my son, too - like trains, construction sites, dump trucks filled with sweet tart legos, , freighters...Sam loved them all. By the time he was 15, I stopped because making them took hours (I'm slow), and 15 minutes to eat, so I started making special cookie pizzas or even bought - gasp! - an ice cream cake. :) It's so fun to do, though, when they're young! You amaze me with all you get done, Annabel. Love the kookaburra fabric, too. All that freeze dried produce is a thing of beauty, and so are organized shelves and cupboards! This week was spent using leftovers from fridge, running errands, and gathering things for next week's vacation with hubby's family in Michigan. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend and a productive next week!

    1. Dear Jill, The cakes are a great skill to have. They are a wonderful gift or for any special occasion. I hope you have a wonderful vacation! Safe travels! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. How lovely having two birthday celebrations this week! They both look amazing. Your sewing is beautiful. I too am seriously impressed by your organisation of the present cupboard!!

    We have had a nice 2nd week of school holidays. It’s been mixed weather all week so we’ve headed out for walks during the fine patches and stayed warm inside during the rain.

    I got some good grocery deals this week, including cheap apples, carrots, bananas and mince. One of our biggest retailers has begun stocking more grocery items and this week had buy one get one free for flour. So I was really pleased with that.

    I’ve made over 50 granny squares which will eventually become a blanket. I don’t even know what size I’m aiming for, that will be determined when I run out of wool lol.

    Could you tell me what stitch you use for your washcloths please? It looks really nice and dense.

    Have a lovely time with the girls next week!
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen,
      Good job on the granny squares! I love them. They will come together as a beautiful blanket. I am not sure of the name of this stitch... it is a single crochet then a double crochet... all along. The next row is the same but the singles are worked above the doubles and vice versa. It is very simple but a nice texture. So glad you got great deals on such good produce! Also the flour! This is our second week of holidays... hence the girls coming. You will be in back to school mode, probably cooking right now! With much love Annabel.xxx

  10. Hello Annabel and everyone,

    Those freeze-dried veggies are so vibrant and pretty in their jars. Sidney's birthday joy is a treat to see - what a beautiful day! Chase is very sweet and looks like he is taking it all in very seriously. The cakes and table are all lovely. Your sewing and crochet turned out so well, too - what a good week!

    I am still working on trying to an extra thing each day and keep up with the regular things (laundry, floors, work, etc). Monday I did a grocery pickup for fresh produce and dairy; Tuesday I finished knitting a cowl and took advantage of a 75% off sale to purchase scent for myself and some for holiday gifts; Wednesday I added plant supports for my tomato, pepper, and zucchini plants; Thursday I did a little baking (cherry cobbler cake, Jane's banana cake) to use up fruit, and cleaned out the fridge and master bath vanity. We will see what gets done this weekend! At night I have been knitting bit by bit on a pair of socks.

    My husband had a chemo delay this week for anemia, which I actually think is good because it gives him more time to rest and build back energy. His color is good, and best of all his tumor marker has decreased by 65%. Thank you so very much to all who are praying for him. He has a procedure and chemo next week, so my goal is to keep him rested and well fed over the weekend. If anyone else has someone going through this - sour things have been appetizing lately (lots of pickles, half sours if you can get them; vinaigrette dressings; citrus flavors and cranberry - goes well with chicken, fish, or pork if you are trying to increase protein; pineapple; weirdly, tangy barbecue sauce with tomato has been very good) and also seem to help an upset stomach.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, I am so glad you got some perfume for yourself on such a good deal and a great time to put away some presents!
      I agree with the extra time being a benefit for your husband and to be built up as much as possible for the procedure which I pray goes well.
      I love all the extras you got done! This reminds me that I have bean seeds to get planted and this could be my extra thing for today!
      Have a restful Sunday ready for the new week. You are doing an amazing job! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
    Merry, merry king of the bush is he
    Laugh kookaburra, laugh kookaburra
    Gay your life must be!

    I learned this verse around the time I started school (over 70 years ago) and I had no idea what a kookaburra was or what it looked like. Now I know! I envisioned him as a big animal, not a little bird!

    What handsome little boys you have in your family! And Chloe's cakes are beyond imagination!

    I have been harvesting lettuce that is starting to bolt. Never did head up, but we’ve been eating the outer leaves. I’m harvesting Swiss chard and freezing what we don’t eat fresh. I have half a dozen yellow butternut squash blossoms and tons of buds. My green beans are flowering, too. Other things…not so good.

    My friend asked me to pick her raspberries while she was on vacation. I got enough for a batch of raspberry jam. I made low sugar jam using SureJell pectin (pink box) and it is excellent! I am sharing the jam with my daughter-in-law (and a jar for my friend).

    We eat so much better when I plan ahead. I finally redid my meals list and planned menus for the past two weeks. Tonight I am making sausage rolls for the first time. They are not as popular in the US as the UK and Australia, but just reading the recipe made my mouth water. I didn't do a very good job of getting them rolled up, but oh well!

    1. Dear Lana, Almost every car trip the girls and I sing that song! I noticed that pies, pasties and sausage rolls are more English/Australian but they are so good. I saw Becky on Acre Homestead made Pasties. She did a good job and I bet a lot more will try them because of her. My method is much more simple though. I think relish is good with sausage rolls and pasties. I hope you liked them!
      Your garden is sounding fantastic and what a nice way to get raspberries! The jam sounds beautiful. Have a lovely Sunday and new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Dear Annabel, oh those grandsons. How cute. We welcomed another nephew into the family last week. The last three babies have been boys. I need to start thinking dinosaurs and trucks for gifts since we had a run on girl babies previously my gift cupboard is very girl orientated. I planted a cranberry bush that I got on special at Bunnings this week and managed to clean 4 windows - my kitchen one really needed it, it's amazing how much better I feel looking out it. I am still only getting 3 eggs every second day but that is still a help. Our friends have land they farm but do not live there, it is away from the town and houses, they presented me with a Isla Brown chook who mysteriously turned up by herself one day last week. I have her in isolation but she is looking well, I will let her join the others soon. Love Clare

    1. Dear Clare,
      Congratulations on a new nephew! I agree about the windows. I dont always get them all done but if the kitchen window is clean it makes such a difference!
      How nice to get a bonus chicken! Also very nice to plant a cranberry bush! The hens will pick up production once Spring comes for sure. Have a great new week Clare, with love Annabel.xxx

  13. Dear Annabel, Let me add my praise of your cute grandsons! You are so lucky to have your family around you!
    On another note, thanks for posting Donna’s address. It’ll be a kick to see her read about it!
    It’s just so hot here, in upper 90’s that seeds or cuttings are a pain. I do have 5 dwarfHawaiian papayas coming and a tiny pineapple plant! Also a clematis ready to bloom again! So really can’t complain!
    Certainly enjoy reading all that you Bluebirds accomplish in a week! Helps me stay enthused! My wife remodeling our dining area, so I have to stay in my “study!”
    Love and prayers to all,
    Rick in Florida and Donna in Indiana. XOXO

    1. Dear Rick and Donna,
      Thank you so much! The heat knocks around the garden but your planting sounds exciting and promising! Thank you for reporting from the study while corralled in there during the remodelling!
      Yes I am really lucky to be within two hours of all my Grandkids. I can enjoy them all and celebrate all the occasions of the year.
      Have a very good Sunday and new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. We had a week. It was full of cooking from scratch and cleaning and decluttering. I am still awaiting word from the contractor regarding the work we want done on our house. We have two things we must acquire and we have all that we know to have. Hopefully those will be bought this weekend and we'll be done.

    I cooked from scratch all week long with the exception of one portion of our supper last night which we bought from the freezer section of our local Dollar store.

    I have harvested my few tomatoes and I don't believe I've broken even with their cost compared to what I got. So be it. I do have a few more plants coming in behind the ones that appear to be finished, I have onions, I think, they don't appear to be growing and something is eating the stems. I have bell peppers coming on, sweet potatoes and potatoes growing from sprouted things I had on hand. I need to get a couple more bins planted and remind husband again that I have planters he bought me for my birthday in February that have yet to be assembled. He always says he will but then puts it off...It is a game we've been playing now for about 30 years. Tiresome but apparently a necessary marital pattern, lol.

    My daughter found a job but nothing starts until Mid-August, which means no pay until September. For all the signs up everywhere saying help wanted, she put in over 70 applications before getting any hope of a job at all.

    Grocery costs do continue to rise and we keep making changes to accommodate. I purchased a half ham (shank half) at a good price at the local grocery and baked a portion of it after cutting off two good meatless sections and freezing them. Like you we are making meals from ham at present. I am very grateful we now have a local grocery once more. The nicest thing has been the manager's specials on meats and things and since my daughter in law works in the meat department she texts me each day what they have marked down. If I am going into town and I have wiggle room in my budget I run by and get some things. Last week we purchased marked down ground beef (mince), that half ham and stew beef, all very welcome to go into the freezer.

    1. Dear Terri, It takes forever here to get any work done. There is a shortage of every imaginable trade worker. It just takes forever. I hope things speed along for you.
      Good on your daughter for persisting! I hope Her job works out really well for her.
      It is amazing to have a DIL working in the store and letting you know when the specials come up! That is so handy! In our stores the managers specials are often not in a catalogue they just happen and you have to be there but they are often the best! Hope the week is going well! With love Annabel.xxx

  15. What wonderful birthday celebrations! I'm looking forward to having sweet grandbabies! Your rearrange and clean out inspires me to find new places for the bath tissue and other essentials! My week has been slow in some ways as I injured my knee. I needed to rest up so I got in some stitching. Luckily I had prepared some meals and snacks in advance! Have a wonderful week! Big hugs!
    Stacy near DC

    1. Dear Stacy, I hope your knee is feeling better. Knees are a nightmare. The last time I hurt my knee it took months to come good, but it did! It slowed me down so much! Absolutely rest it as getting it healed it top priority! With love Annabel.xxx

  16. We had a busy week with our son & family visiting from out of state and my mom's 80th birthday party.
    We only ate out 5 of the 14 meals. I cooked all the breakfasts. We ate leftovers as needed. We used gift cards when possible. And in the end, I still have hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, raw veggies and bacon to put back in the freezer or plan into meals somehow.
    After my mom's party, my sister insisted on giving all the leftover/extra food and plasticware to whomever wanted it or she was going to toss it all! I brought home the veggie trays, fancy butter, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, deli meats and cheeses, buns and all the plasticware. (I won't have to buy forks for a very long time!)
    Tonight I harvested 2 cauliflowers and one small cabbage. Tomorrow I will be harvesting my 3rd batch of basil to make into pesto and dehydrate. I'm hoping the cucumbers start to set on soon. The tomatoes and peppers are blooming well and I have a lemon squash ready to pick too.
    I'm looking forward to a no-spend August except for some basic dairy.

    1. Dear Kay, Happy Birthday to your dear Mum! You did well on your trip. I am so glad you saved the food from the party. I know you will put it all to very good use. Wow that would save a fortune! Also I love left overs they are a rest!
      Your produce sounds beautiful, I just love Basil so much! You will be able to base so many meals around all of this too! What a great week! With love Annabel.xxx

  17. Happy Birthday to Sidney and Chase. I love Sidney's haircut, it is so sweet and his happy little face is so sweet. Chase is adorable and Tom was being an excellent big brother by getting into the party. Chloe and Lucy both did a fabulous job on their parties. I love your freeze dried produce and I love how you were given fresh produce. This will be wonderful and such a great help for you and Chloe. Your kitchen towels and pot holders will be fabulous. I love your crocheting cloths too. I'm continuing to try and stock up, and my new favourite activity when the kids are looking for something to do is cooking! That way they get to learn something and it means it fill them up. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily,
      Thank you! Good job on your stocking up! When my kids were hungry very often I make pancakes or spikelets which are just mini pancakes. They are just delicious and filling. Kids love to join in with cooking too. You are doing fantastic! With love Annabel.xxx

  18. I don't take the time to comment often but I just love love this blog and all the comments. In order to save money on our groceries (5 kiddos, 3 of whom are 15,13 and 9 year old boys) I've been heading an hour away to our Amish discount grocery. There I can get 2 full, heaped up carts for $400 versus that price for 1 cart locally. My garden is doing well, beans are a bit late but we planned that. I'm about to have blackberries and that's what I'll make my jam for the year with. Our other berry bushes and canes are still slowly coming along.
    Annabel your darling boys are so sweet, I'm still in that phase of life and just made a very similar cake for my 1 year old. My little daughter is already planning her 6th birthday, even though it's 6 months away, and all the treats she wants.
    I'm definitely seeing more good deals on meat than previously, specifically chicken. It's hard to stock up with a big family and I'm reminded to ask the Lord for our Daily bread. He always provides.
    I'm in need of more flour and sugar which I purchase in 50lb bags. I'm praying there have been no major price increases. Everything I currently purchase is grown in the states...
    Blessings on you all.
    Jesse in Pennsylvania

    1. Dear Jesse,
      Thank you so much! I would just love to go to an Amish store! It sounds like this trip is worth it! As you get good at doing that big shop you might be able to make it once a fortnight or once a month and have e=pretty much everything you need. So worth it! Beans and blackerbiies will be a big advantage!
      It is so sweet your daughter is that excited about her birthday!
      Jesse... this week Russia/Ukraine deal to have wheat still exported to the world as fallen apart... and port bombed. This will cut a lot of wheat out of the world food supply, likely causing prices to rise. Act fast!
      Many thanks and blessings to you too. With love Annabel.xxx

  19. Debby in Kansas USA17 July 2023 at 06:45

    Annabel, that was the most beautiful collection of pictures! The dried vegetables are like decorations. The fresh make my mouth water. I'm in love with that kookaburra fabric! I have robins on my kitchen curtains. And loads of robins in my yard doing a daily stand off with the blue jays over the bird baths. They're all so noisy! Then, while they're arguing, the mourning doves slide into them and treat it like a cold soaking hole!
    I loved the cakes! In addition to being adorable, they looked quite tasty.

    You get so much done. I wonder if you'll slow down when you hit 30 lol. I had that much energy in my 20s. Good week to you!

    1. Dear Debby,
      Thank you! I do love shelves of dried and canned goods. To me they are so pretty and beautiful!
      I love the sound of your curtains! Red Robins are special to me. If Dad saw a red robin he would tell me. I would love to see Blue Jays too!
      I am sixty. Currently I am trying to do more and get my steps up to 10,000 a day from where I was which was about 7000. This week I was at 8000. I am working on it! With much love Annabel.xxx

  20. Such fun cakes, the boys look so happy.

    You got lots done and built up your pantry very well.

    God bless.

    1. Thank you so much Jackie! xxx

  21. That picture of Sidney looking at his cake just makes my heart so happy! I have a 14 year old son and almost nothing makes him smile these days, so it is fun to remember those days when he loved everything. LOL

    1. Dear Dianna,
      I am really sorry your son is going through this stage. All I can say is limit social media and try and make sure he is outdoors as much as possible, playing sport, whatever. Also to get a part time job. WE have been through the teenage years and made it through, I already worry about the Grandkids through these years. Social media worries me for them. I am hearing a lot of kids see porn etc at a very young age. Many music videos are porn too. But hold on and talk with him all you can. Many blessings, love Annabel.xxx

    2. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Annabel! He plays football, baseball, and does wrestling year round, and is in the high school marching band, so he is quite BUSY. He has had practice nearly every day this summer, starting around 7:00 am. This is the only way he stays happy. If he has down time, he becomes testy. He is not allowed to have social media, which has caused a lot of arguments, but my husband and I both work at middle schools so we've seen the downfall that social media can bring. He really only uses his phone to contact us during sports practices if needed. We just force him to be with us as much as possible, and when he complains we tell him that he's running out of things to be grumpy about so we're helping him out. Ha, this usually gets a chuckle out of him. He is coming out of the funky stage a little bit, thank goodness! We are starting to see glimpses of his old self. He was always such a sweetheart, a sensitive and thoughtful little boy, so I know he's still got that in there somewhere!

    3. Dear Dianna, You are doing a wonderful job. It is so great you are your husband are a united front too. So wise! With love Annabel.xxx

  22. Dear Annabel, I don’t see any Monday post this week. Did you publish one or did I not receive it? Don’t know what to do. Please advise! Thanks, Rick from Florida

    1. Dear Rick, I had my Granddaughters here this week and fell off the pitch a bit re the blog. Hang on though as I have a ripper Friday post coming up with lots to report. Thanks for checking on me though! With love Annabel.xxx


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