Feather your Nest Friday 8th December, 2023.

This week I went on an overnight trip with Chloe for her baby check up.   It was fun and also exhausting as the weather is hot and humid.   In our state we have major weather warnings,  power outages,  fires,  storms... but so far not in our area.   IF we get rain we would be happy!   The words "power outages" and "expected power outages" are constant now.  

Last Sunday Mum came.  I made her scones for afternoon tea and to take home.  Then as we chatted I sat and wrapped my Christmas cakes ready for giving.  Some cellophane and a ribbon surely made them so much nicer! 

I used ribbons I had in my collection.   At Christmas I am the one who picks up the ribbons, bows,  paper and trims! 

I wrapped presents, wrote cards and when I was in town I went into the post office.   Everything was mailed!  This was so exciting!  🎄

I made so much progress I started some projects that were on my 2024 list!   Some time ago Cath emplaned how she made a pretty scalloped edge on things.  I desperately wanted to be able to do this.  It was stitch number 32,  I think.   All I could thing was "what? your sewing machine has 32 stitches?"   After this I began to look into sewing machines with more than 4 stitches.  Eventually I ordered a machine  which I set aside for next year.    This week I tidied up my sewing room,  unpacked it and began reading the manual,  putting me a bit ahead of schedule! 

As you know I have been checking the cows.  On Wednesday I cut up apples and popped them into my basket and out I went.   As I was feeding them I was counting.   If I have a cow missing that is usually a sign one has gone off on her own to calve.   I didn't get my counting done when they all lifted their heads up and ran flat out off across the paddock.   I thought something scared them but saw nothing...  so I wondered what they had heard?   I followed them and there in the trees way out ahead was a cow on her own.  As I got closer I saw a calf!   So they had led me there.  My first Christmas calf! 

After getting back from the trip today Andy drove us out to check on them.  

Laffie was first on the scene for apples.   We could see the calf and counted everyone... we didn't go too close.  So this calf is called "Christmas"! 

Last week I had been given fruit and veggies.  I freeze dried bananas and kiwi fruit.    I froze some tomatoes for a savoury pie.  Over the weekend I have bananas to make into cakes. 

In town I had luck at a thrift store.  I found gorgeous magazines full of soap making,  cosmetic and cleaning recipes.  

My friend gave me a huge container of cherry tomatoes.

Tonight as I was watering I saw my very first ripe tomatoes and first cucumber ready to pick!   It begins!  The pears and apples have really grown.   I really hope we get rain as that would help everything.  

Meanwhile a huge cyclone is approaching the QLD coast where many friends and Bluebirds live.   No one needs a disaster anytime let alone Christmas so we are praying this storm weakens/dissipates... something, anything other than hitting hard. 

Chloe drove her car on the trip and I was the passenger and helper.  The boys were so good.  As always, when travelling,  before we left I packed a project bag.

I can crochet in the car as long as I don't have to look at it too much.  The couple of days before I left I concentrated on the foundation rows so I had the easy edging to do.    I completed all five by the time we got home.  😊 

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Nana post "Free ways to make Christmas Special."   I read everyone and they were beautiful! 

How did you build up your nest this week?   Be diligent!  Be prudent.   And enjoy the season.xxx



  1. Annabel,
    Oh how wonderful a Christmas cow, how sweet that the cows lead you to the new arrival. Your trip with Chloe sounds like it went well and productive. Prayers for all with the coming storm, may it dissipate.

    This has been a week of preparing the home for Christmas. My husband set up the tree and sleigh on the front porch, I have the tables covered in Christmas table clothes and centerpieces. We set the tree up in the sun room after dinner one night, I had to laugh as it was 0*C outside. Though I will say as we lite the tree it just warmed my heart.
    I sent off all our Christmas cards, well except for International, we are having trouble finding International stamps at any of the PO near us.
    I spent yesterday wrapping, tagging and putting ribbon on all the Christmas gifts. They are sitting on a sofa in my living room till we set up the Christmas tree in the family room. Like Annabel, I save all ribbon, bows, boxes, wrap.

    My washer passed on, the mother board went, it would have run over $500 to replace it, so I had discussed with husband before we knew the repair cost that if it was over $500 we were going to replace it. We purchased a Speed Queen, the drum is smaller but it is built to last, it is the brand you see in laundromats. Here it was freezing temperatures, so I had to wait 3 hours before using it as to not hurt the electronics in it. I will say it washes better and quicker.

    This coming week we will be making cookie dough and candies. Then the following week we will be baking. We share cookies with friends and family and my son takes a tray to work. So hundreds made to share.

    Oh, on groceries, we are having very few sales up here and prices are rising daily, we stop in whenever we drive by our grocery store to check for mark downs and clearances, there hasn't been any of late, we use to find meat, bakery and grocery mark downs, now it is almost impossible,

    Prayers for all the Bluebirds.

    1. Dear Rosanne, You had a really busy and productive week too! So nice to have decorations up and the laundry all clean and fresh, the new washer...
      I cant wait to see your cookies and candies. Also I love that so many people get a boost to their day from your baking.
      Have a lovely weekend... rain arrived here. It is fantastic... no storm just steady rain! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    I will be praying concerning the cyclone. We have Hurricane season in the US and that is always concerning for those who live in coastal states.
    I am so glad your trip went well this week. You are always very productive, Annabel, and you make wise use of time. Laffy is so cute. You care for your animals as God intended in the beginning. Too many people don't.
    This week we tackled smaller but vital projects, such as, washing out the lower level where the baskets are in the large refrigerator freezer. For old, compromised folks it is a two person job. One part of the freezer basket holder does not remove so it is stretching, reaching and requires much longer arms than mine. I wash out the refrigerator every week, but need help with the kitchen freezer section. I can manage the other two freezers in the refrigerators by myself.
    I spent part of the week sorting through paperwork, scrubbing down the kitchen cabinets, and setting up planners. I have a bit to go on that.
    I wish everyone a wonderful weekend.
    Hugs to all,

    1. Dear Glenda, Thank you so much! I am short... so even reaching the bottom of the washing machine is a challenge! Freezers are hard work. We need them but now and then I need to attack mine.
      Have a great weekend and a rest if possible! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Hello Annabel,
    Since we were already half way to Indiana, in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, we decided to go visit Donna, my M/L, at her retirement home. We took many back roads and arrived to a blanket of snow on fields and farms! So beautiful but also cold! Lows to 17 F! Burr!! But Donna pepped up and we took her for a meal or two plus a nice drive in a big 20 mile each side, square. She really enjoyed it! They are amazed at her sharp eye and sharper wit! She notices everything and stopping for “real” rhubarb pie was the best! Linda put up some faux stained glass bird window hangers I’d sent her plus we bought a great large dried floral arrangement in red berries, white roses , and twigs which she was thrilled with! She also had her “Bluebirds” print off and was bragging about it to the staff! I guess I’d say this was a “Happy Christmas” moment seeing her so energized by our visit! Then we stayed a couple days with my sister in nearby Ohio and had a family dinner! Fun times!
    Our other “Christmas” moment came when a couple at a nearby table said hello and as they fought over their bill, I said they could have our’s! We laughed! After they left, our server gave us $30. gift card from them, for the restaurant! We were stunned! So……next morning at another restaurant, our server, after chatting a while, mentioned caring for 2 small grandkids as her daughter’s in jail for drugs! Her husband, (2nd marriage), said “No way!” and divorced her. So…… she’s trying to get custody as the daughter wants the kids back! No mention of any fathers! Such a nice lady wondering how she “earned” this life! We passed on our good fortune, plus, to her! She was SO thankful! Life is good! God is good!
    Glad to be home! Much to do but some gifts wrapped and garden kept super by our youngest: potatoes, chard, lettuce, and one I forgot to mark!
    Also, printing last week’s blog or 3 for Donna!
    Those cakes look scrumptious!! Am so glad you enjoy your Mom as I always did! We always enjoyed each other’s company!
    Sounds like a bumper crop of pears and apples!
    Are you having a “live” Nativity with “Christmas the calf?” Are they just pets?
    So many enjoyable things to read from you and all the Bluebirds every week! Hope Santa fills your stocking with all of your wishes, including fuel!
    PS Donna’s window looks out on their huge pine tree with all colored lights! Such a beautiful sight, especially when on at night!

    Thanks again for all you do for us all!
    Love from Rick in Florida and Donna in N. Indiana

    1. Dear Rick and Donna,
      What a beautiful visit with Donna and the flowers sound just beautiful! With the stained glass bird hangers, the drive, the pie... you really gave her a special time.
      It was so very nice of you to help that lady. This is lovely to hear.
      It5 had not occurred to me about living in the nativity with the animals! But yes to some extent! Laffie and Loui are pets. The rest are my paddock emergency bank account. They are looked after very well and have a blissful life as you can see. For now I am only working on increase.
      It is absolutely beautiful Donna can see the tree and lights from her window! I am so happy hearing that! That would be so magical! Bless you both for all your kindness to her and others. With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Dear Annabel and (everyone),

    That is the perfect name for that sweet calf! Your cakes look beautiful, and it is just wonderful to start seeing fruits and veg ready in the garden. Everything is your project bag looks gorgeous, and such pretty colors.

    This week I had a baking day (2 kinds of muffins, turkey broth, a big chicken and veggie stirfry) and an afternoon making fudge and snack mix for gifts and for my husband to munch on (he loves that snack mix and I put extra nuts in it for extra nutrition). This week he has been doing well and eating much better - answered prayers.

    Crafts-wise I did some ornament finishing, stitched on another cross-stitch as time allowed, and knitted whenever I had a few minutes. There are two pairs of socks on the needles, an easy vanilla pattern and a slightly more challenging/interesting pattern. Two pieces of cross-stitch fabric were hand-dyed for future stitching. The outside lights got new bulbs (this was my first time taking apart the lanterns to get the new bulbs in, so I learned something new!) and I did mountains of laundry and all the usual things.

    Gifts-wise, I am mid-wrapping and getting parcels ready to send. I used a 60% off coupon to purchase a few gifts and gift bags (spent $24, saved $33, so I was pleased!) My dad brought over a tea advent calendar after Thanksgiving and had a bakery box sent to us - so kind, and my husband has been loving the fancy bakery treats. It will be the three of us here for Christmas, so this week I am hoping to plan the menu and get organized for cookie baking.

    Today I have a date to meet a sweet lady from whom I bought a piece of furniture this summer - she texted to say she has a box of craft supplies for me. Such a nice surprise, and so kind! I am humbled by how kind people are. (I will bring her some homemade treats as a little Christmas gift.)

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      I am so excited about the lady with the craft supplies for you! She must have loved you! What a Christmas surprise! I cant wait to hear what's in that box!
      The photos you showed of your ornaments were all just gorgeous. Having the tea calendar and the bakery box... you really were blessed this week! It is so good to hear your husband is eating well and no wonder thanks to your good cooking. This is really great news. Have a lovely weekend, we have steady rain and it is very peaceful, a rest after a hot week! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. The cakes look amazing all wrapped up Annabel! They could be straight out of a boutique cafe. It’s so nice you can help Chloe out on her time ups to the city. And that you can get something done on the drive. I tried once and felt sick very quickly lol.

    One more week of school! Phew. This week I managed to get some really good grocery deals so there are Christmas treats stored away where they can’t be found ahead of time lol. I got heaps of tomatoes so I plan to make some chutney this weekend. That and tidying up! My house needs a bit of love!!

    Have a great weekend
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Thanks Jen! I am so happy hearing you got great deals and things put away! What a help! Also good on the tomatoes... actually I have some too. I froze some, cut up, ready for cooking... but I have the cherry tomatoes and think I might dehydrate some. Tomatoes have so many uses! Enjoy your weekend! Im thinking school holidays must be imminent! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. Laffie is such a beautiful cow! She’s very easy to love ❤️

    Well done on getting all your packages posted. I have been ticking along nicely with things and then I completely forgot that I was called to do jury duty! (My fault entirely) so now instead of having time up my sleeve I have to front up to the local courthouse on Monday and potentially be available for 2 weeks! I hope by some miracle I am dismissed, they don’t always select every juror on the day! So this weekend I will be hustling to get things in order in case I’m needed at court!

    I was given a couple of kilos of chokos during the way and made around 8 jars of choko pickles.

    Have a lovely week Annabel 🐦

    1. Chokos are very useful! Mum used to grow so many! What a time for jury duty... but as you say maybe you will not be chosen. Have a good weekend getting ready just in case! xxx

  7. This very easily could have been an unusually costly week, had it not been for thrifty forward thinking. Pup has had a procedure that's been needed for some time. However, I waited to have it done until he was ready for a teeth cleaning. The anesthesia and surgical charges for teeth cleaning, and the cleaning itslef, is covered under his wellness plan. So while he was "under" for the cleaning, they also removed the growth we've been watching. While still costly for the procedure, biopsy, and meds afterward, it saved the cost of a separate anesthesia and surgical charge ($1,500ish?), had we done it separately. He will eventually need two extractions, but that will wait for another day and in another year or so. Additionally, I am being switched to a very costly med that I will begin taking next week. By the grace of God, I was directed to a resource for financial assistance for Tier 3 and Tier 4 meds. I applied for over the phone on Monday morning and was immediatly approved for the grant, then called the pharmacy with the grant information, and received my first shipment (3 months of meds, est. cost nearly $2,000) on Tuesday morning, at zero dollars out-of-pocket. This grant will cover 100% of my co-pay, and will carry me through all of October. I'll have to reapply Nov. 1 (they back-date the grant so recipients can submit recent out-of-pocket expenses for reimbursement). So, while not your traditional kind of feathering your nest, both of these allowed me to sleep more soundly this week and without additional financial worries.

    1. Dear Lori, I am very glad for you that you could get assistance for your meds. I hope the biopsy comes back clear for your dog. I have never known a dog to have teeth cleaning or dental work. Well I think I heard of it once but never known this here. That is incredible.
      Have a lovely weekend, it is so nice here with steady rain! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. Dear Annabel how wonderful you have a wonderful Christmas calf and a fitting name too. How exciting about your new sewing machine and getting ahead reading the instructions ready to use it and I know you will make wonderful use of all the new stitches too. Hoping Chloe's checkup went well and she is doing fine.

    Like you we have had many fires in the surrounding suburbs to us but thankfully no big ones here but did have some small ones which residents reported and they were put ou t quickly. It is so dry and hot here and we have had heatwave warnings for days here with high humidity too which makes it feel hotter. With the cyclone we hope that we get lots of rain from it but not the cyclone bad effects. Our bank rainwater tanks is half full and our two top rainwater tanks are two thirds full so hoping more rain will fill them and give us some more water security for the coming months.

    In the gardens we saw a lawn aerator on eBay for $225 from a business near us so we were able to pick it up on one of our trips that way with a slight detour. The saving was $305 from buying one in a local hardware store in our area. DH can't wait for it to rain to soften the soil and use it.
    Personal finances I transferred a fair sum to our emergency account from being under in other budget categories. I worked out our cost of living had gone up 20% in the last year with the increase cost of bills, groceries and everything we usually buy so that was an eye opener. I sat down with DH and we did a new budget for 2024 to account for the price rises and added 5% to all the bills that came in this year to allow for price rises.
    In the home I did some extra spring cleaning and cleaned the walls in the bathroom. I also swept down all the walls in the rumpus room to get rid of dust on the walls and skirting boards.
    Grocery shopping from IGA we bought 4 x 300g packs of Kabana on sale for $4.50 and coca cola on half price sale. From Coles we purchased 2 x 6pk of hamburger rolls on markdown for $1.59ea, pizza rolls on sale and 6 containers of cadbury choc coated peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and sultanas for Christmas on half price sales for $5 ea. From Woolworths we bought some staples and used our $20 off rewards card and 4% off e-gift card. From the reject shop we purchased 12 tins of wet cat food for $1.25 ea. All totaled our savings added up to $71.49 so we are happy.
    In the kitchen we cooked all meals from scratch.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone.

    Lorna (SW Qld Australia)

    1. Dear Lorna, Thank you! Chloe did get on very well, thank you!
      I saw the cyclone has been downgraded to a storm. I hope it stays that way and you end up with plenty of rain. We have our own thunderstorm and rain now and I am online via the generator!
      Twenty percent is a fair rise in the cost of living... and that is with you living in a very economical way already. Imagine continual coffees and take out and things that are also hit with these rises added to the equation!
      You did well with the specials and the bit saving on the aerator. I am checking out the shops tomorrow. I think we have to keep our eyes open wherever we go as the bargains are less. Our town has a Reject shop now! This gives me another store and they have some really good things! Over the years I have picked up all kinds of quality brand name things from them, even for my gift cupboard.
      I hope you have a great new week! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Annabel was wondering if you got hit by the storms too as I saw a news report on it and sounds like you have and we can all do with the rain but not fires and damage from severe storms though.
      Like you we are finding far less bargains than before but we are looking each time we go out to find them and reduce costs where we can. Part of the cost of living rise was an increase in car insurance as we bought the new car which of course is valued more so a higher premium and the home/contents insurance went up too as with the cost of building I worked out we were under insured so took up the home insurance to match current building costs per square metre.
      Fantastic you now have a Reject Shop and yes they do have some fabulous bargains there.
      Have a great week.


  9. Lorna, so good to see you posting. You keep such detailed records that when you say your costs are up 20%, I believe it!.

    On Tuesday, I received my tax bill and it was $1,100 lower than last year! (Our state is awash in money and is required to have a balanced budget, therefore returned the overage to taxpayers). On Wednesday, when I had my teeth cleaned, the dentist discovered I have a cracked tooth and likely will need a crown. My share, after insurance...$1,100!

    Thursday night I cleaned the bathroom. I used an old toothbrush to get into the crevices and threw it into the bucket of wash water. Then I poured the water down the toilet and, oops! The toothbrush went with it. I saw it happen but it was so fast that I couldn't grab it before it hit the drain. Friday, we had to deal with several blockages and realized we would have to call a plumber. It would probably cost $150-$175. Well, I had to pee in the middle of last night, and guess what? The toothbrush shot out of the drain and into the toilet bowl!

    I have gone a little over my grocery budget but, thanks to holiday sales, I've added a lot to my freezer and pantry. At the end of the month, I'll report again on my 4-month grocery and "money in my pocket" (extra saved cash) challenges. So far, I'm a little over on groceries but way ahead putting money in my pocket.

    Best wishes to you, Annabel, and to all of the bluebirds.

    1. Thanks mikemax and was posting but it wasn't publishing for some reason. Yes a huge increase in costs for sure in a year which is bound to hit families hard no doubt.

      Good that you are having those challenges to see how much you can save on your groceries and I hope like us you can get those costs down as our grocery costs have risen significantly (in fact doubled) since last year.

      Have a great week.


    2. Dear Lorna, That is very funny, there is a joke in there somewhere about cleaning the toilet with a toothbrush! Great work on stocking up at good prices and your challenges. I love a challenge! Not good about your tooth. Anything dental is $$$ but fantastic about the tax! Have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Dear Annabel, Congratulations on your first calf, how exciting. My little mumma hen hatched out 3 tiny chicks. She did a good job, the weather was so up and down I didn't think any would hatch. One is black, the other two yellow, they are so sweet. When I feed them this morning the little black ones face was looking at me through his Mumma's feathers. I feel quite out of control still but this this week I did manage to dig up my 49 Parsnips - I was completely amazed it was that many. I blanched and froze them in bags to take out for roast dinners. I also made 1 kilo of strawberries into 7 jars of jam. I have had to put lace curtains over the strawberries because the black birds have discovered them. The bother of putting it on and off is worth it as I get a huge bowlful every second day. Love Clare

    1. Dear Clare, I am so glad about your chicks! The little black faced one sounds so cute. I love chicks.. The Parsnips will be beautiful, well done! I love them! The lace curtain is jus the thing to protect the strawberries! The jam will be so good! I am on the hunt for lace curtains to make covers for my smaller fruit trees. You did well with a very good week! With much love Annabel.xxx

  11. Congratulations on your new calf, Christmas! Love to see all those lovely fruit cakes. I am so happy for Chloe and the family as her pregnancy progresses!
    I like your clever work bag, Annabel, you can see the project easily. Beautiful tomatoes.
    My week was full of mending, cooking pumpkins for the freezer, housework, fudge making, and wrapping gifts. God is so good! Every time I thought I should pause my work to bake bread, I received more bread! My husband was able to bring home loads of bread from a thrift store. This particular store has a pantry day every Friday. So extra food goes to any shoppers who can take the food before it goes bad. He was also able to bring home 8 bags of green grapes for free! I was able to send 2 bags home with a friend and 2 bags to my adult children. Again this not only saved me time from having to make snacks, but money as well.
    My youngest son is 12. He is intent on learning how to cook. So he assisted me in making fudge. We made a ton! Then we bagged it up. Now I have gifts at the ready (in the fridge) to add to a gift or just to bless someone. We blessed the mailman today. The kids were so excited. And he was thrilled.
    Thank you for this space! I so enjoy hearing everyone's ideas and news. I pray those affected by the storm are well and safe.
    Blessings to all,
    Leslie in Ohio

  12. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds

    Annabel it is funny you mention all the bananas this week as I was watching a video of a lady that I follow and she places her banana skins in a jar and leaves to soak for a few days and then uses the water (taking the skins out) as a fertiliser on her plants, the nutrients leach into the water. You possibly already do this but thought I would mention this.

    Take Care
    Aly xxx


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