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, 23 March 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 24th March, 2017.

This week I have had a few chances to see how many people don't seem to have anyone who encourages them, celebrates with them or keeps them company in their endeavours to build up their homes.  I was very lucky having a good family and an older Titis 2 type lady in my life when the girls were young and I read Laine's Letters that were honestly like taking vitamins!
As housework is endless and life can be full of struggles with health, money, relationships etc we need encouragement!  The verse Vicky pointed out recently really struck me.  It was Luke 15:8  about a woman who lost a coin and when she found it "she calls her friends and neighbours together saying rejoice with me for I have found what I have lost."
Somehow that just hit me that yes, we need someone to celebrate with.  It does us good.

I always say that thanks to the internet we can find this kind of friendship even if there is no one on our street or in our town that is friendly or interested in homemaking.  And there are loads of encouraging blogs, homemaking websites, classes, forums, you tube and more.  You do not have to meet someone to have a wonderful friendship either and some of my very best friends are people I have not met! Thanks to the internet we can cast our net wider and find our perfect friends!
We need to be careful that we hang around  encouraging places as there are people who will build you up and there are others who will tear you down.  If you are sensitive the negative subject matter can really get you down.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up"  ...  this is so needed!  There are so many that need an encourager.  There are so many that are lonely.  I just want to encourage you if you are lonely and going it alone then reach out and say hello and do not underestimate how you can find friendships and encouragement even across the miles.

So, Feather your Nest Friday is about encouraging myself and encouraging everyone that I can to celebrate what you did get done and achieve during the week rather than just stress about everything that still needs doing!   Assessing our progress shows us what we achieved. It is good to do.

Some of the ways I built up my home this week include:

Cooking...  this week I made a giant slab of chocolate cake.


This served as lunch box fillers, deserts and went on the fishing picnic. And I froze slices as well.

I made three trays of Enchiladas.  I make up a heap and freeze them for easy dinners. 
Bridge asked how to make them so here goes!  This isn't much of a recipe since I cheat!  But they are surprisingly delicious and things like this mean we just never buy take away. 

I use a couple of jars of Enchilada sauce...


I cook up some chicken in smallish pieces.... but you could use up left over cooked chicken also.  Once cooked pour in your sauce and let it get all blended together.


Retain at least half of your sauce for underneath and on top of your enchiladas....  spread a smear of sauce in your baking pan and save the rest for over the top.

Lay out tortillas and spread a little sour cream over them then your chicken and sauce mix and a sprinkle of cheese.  


 Roll these up and place in your baking tray,  seam side down.

Spread your remaining sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with cheese....


If I am going to freeze them I leave them like this and freeze. If we are eating them these go in and cook until warm through and cheese is melted. Serve with a salad.


I am not a Mexican and this is probably a long way from correct but they are delicious and easy.  I can have a tray in the freezer or you can individually wrap them also.

I also made cheese and vegemite scrolls. (12)

At the chemist I was getting prescriptions and was offered a choice of a heap of products for one cent! So I got one cent dish detergent!

Andy caught crabs which he had for a meal.



I got a $1 rockmelons and a kilo of pears for $2 (very good prices around here)

The last of the figs were made into about ten slices of fig paste.



This is beautiful with crackers and cheese. It keeps well also.  It is honestly delicious!
The amount I made would be over $50 in the shops.

I painted a whole heap of cards and made over my present cupboard. (as reported Wednesday)

And potted up some little succulents that have multiplied...



I wrote $339 into my savings book for the Vicky Challenge.

Just now I am still working on re organising projects!  This just seems to have domino effect! Hopefully over the weekend I will get past the messy stage and on to the organised stage!

How did you feather your nest this week? I hope it has been a good week and you have a lovely weekend!  xxx




86 comments:

  1. Annabel, your topic of encouraging is something that is near and dear to my heart.Thank you for encouraging us to encourage others. A little encouragement is so much more effective than criticism. I've been decluttering this week as well and found a new home for several things that we no longer needed.Your enchilada recipe sounds simple and I think I will try it using low-carb tortillas.

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    1. Dear Patsy, You are a great encourager and encourage me! The world just needs this! This week I saw a lot of things very discouraging to stay at home Mums generally. They are not recognised, and worse, punished. It is awful. It makes me so mad! I am determined to do what I can at least. Have a lovely weekend Patsy! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  2. Annabel, that is what I love about your blog it radiates with love, encouragement, great cooking, beautiful crafting and ideas from you and all the lovely ladies. I am blessed to be part of this. Jo Roberts

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    1. Jo, I completely agree! It is filled with love and encouragement! Thanks Annabel! I feel blessed too! Love, Bridge

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    2. Thank you so much Jo. I am glad to have you here. Thank you for encouraging me! xxx

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  3. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds, thank you for another excellent post Annabel . . It is a very relevant post for me as other than my parents I don't have anyone in my every day life to encourage me but I have many wonderful friends online who regularly encourage me and I encourage them too.an example of online encouragement is your blog Annabel. Some ways we have encouraged each other include cookie encouraging you to paint Annabel and Rachel recently encouraged me to share photos of my cards with everyone after I had taken a break from crafting.
    My week has included saving $30 on groceries half of which will be be put into my grocery slush fund and half saved.$30 saved.
    I received 2 meals from my parents $20 savings.
    I had two hours subsidised cleaning $40 savings.
    I used 4 of my cards as a small thank you gift $12 savings.
    I sorted through some clothes in my drawers and found at least 5 t shirts that I had forgotten I had , I was planning to buy some new ones , saving me $100 .
    I used leftovers for a meal , saving $5 .
    I was given some fruity tea cake by my parents , saving me $5 approximately.
    I cut out some die cut shapes to make cards , saving me $10 on scrap booking embellishments . I was given a few groceries by my parents and a couple of items from my friend and neighbour , saving approximately $25 . Total savings for me this week is nearly $250. Thank you again for a great pos Annabel .i hope everyone has a lovely weekend .love Batb W.




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    1. Barb, it is still true that you appreciate even the little things, and this is a very, very refreshing spirit for us to appreciate! You are truly wonderful!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Barb, Thank you, you are a great encouragement to me and many others.
      I am so glad you have found friends and support online. And I am glad you have wonderful parents as this is a huge blessing.
      Well done on your week! Also on sorting through clothes. I need to do that as soon as it stars to cool down. Have a good new week Barb! With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. I love the way you share your knowledge and encourage us in our endeavors. You do a good job of keeping me on the right track regarding savings and homekeeping. I agree that some of my favorite people are those I've never met in person. This is a wonderful bunch of encouraging, sharing people!

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    1. Dear Sharla,
      Thank you so much! It does a lot for me to know that. You all help keep me accountable and motivated. Have a wonderful new week! With love Annabel.xxx

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  5. My daughter and I have talked about the messy stage when you organize. It's hard to believe sometimes in the midst of it that things are really going to get better soon! Do you call the succulents that you re potted hens and chicks too? Have a great day!

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    1. Dear Vickie, Well boy did I ever have a messy stage over the weekend! And in the middle of the worst of it I got visitors! No kidding, you wouldnt believe it. haha
      We have a succulent very similar and a bit bigger that we call hen and chickens. I love that name! With love Annabel.xxx

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  6. another inspiring post Annabel......when I am stressed to the max from work (in the Emergency Department)...reading your ideas about being frugal and crafty is v relaxing. I am happy that its a tad cooler, all my potted plants outside are pleased too. Have been knitting dishcloths for gifts, collecting any cotton or cotton mix yarn I find at op shops....even found some in NZ recently and they came home in the suitcase. Keep up yr good work

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    1. Thank you, Jan, for your emergency department work! What would we do without people like you?
      I agree with you about how relaxing the consideration of home projects can be at crucial times. I experienced how one elderly gentleman, in a short stay ward, just talked on and on about his gardening. I reckon it must have done him some good!!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Jan,
      Thank you so much for telling me this! I know your job must be extremely stressful. I don't think I could do it and I admire you greatly and it is such an important job.
      How fantastic you found cotton yarn even on holiday! That is a good souvenir of your time away! Many thanks Jan, with love Annabel.xxx

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  7. Just a quick pop in - Aly I hope that you are getting organised with this cyclone heading towards land.

    A note for all of the Australians on the site - if you can get cheap bananas and have room in the freezer do so. The last time a cyclone hit this area the price of bananas shot through the roof and we were paying well over $10- a kilo.

    I'll pop back in later after a rest - exhausted after doing my Aldi shop this morning.


    Lynette
    XXXXX

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    1. Thanks for the heads up, Lynette.
      Janine

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    2. Dear Lynette, Thank you! I remember a few years back when this happened. Here in SA bananas got to $19 a kilo and stayed that way for a long long time. They gradually went down by a $1 or so but it took so long! And of course the poor farmers who lost all their trees and crops. Have a good weekend and some rest, with lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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  8. Annabel, this is such beautiful post (all your posts are!). You truly have a gift from God. Actually, many gifts! I love that this blog is a place of encouragement and everyone is so kind and supportive and I thank you for all the work that you do. It would be never ending. It has changed my life! Seriously! Nowadays, so many people love whinging about their husbands, children, being in the home. These are the jewels of life.
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your chicken enchilada recipe! It looks delicious. I will definitely be trying it in the next few weeks. I love how you can freeze it too.
    Your chocolate cake looks magnificent. I had a look at your painting. By gee, you are good at painting. Really, really good!
    I have been thinking about this blog a lot today. We are in prep for a cyclone. It will most likely miss us (but you never know). In years gone by, I would seriously have had a panic attack (a couple of years ago, I actually did). Seems ridiculous now, but the panic from people kind of set me off. This morning I spoke to DH and said, well we have our list! We have prepared. We have enough food to last us and have built up supplies (a corded phone that is old fashioned and works without power, lots of gas, petrol etc) . Due to your (and everyone here's) encouragement. I am so grateful! I went to the shops early to get a couple of things, but there's no panic. It is a real relief. So thank you so much!
    I have even remembered saying- keep your hands busy, so I plan to continue on with gifts if the power goes out.
    We have had a very expensive week, so being prepared has saved us there too. Normally, on these occasions I'd spend big out of fear. So this has helped in this area too.
    Hope your beautiful grand daughters are going well. Bet they are so cute!
    Lots and lots of love, Bridge

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    1. Dear Bridge,
      Thank you for everything! (For those reading.... Bridge was commenting for a long time and a few things she said about her husband at different times clicked with me. Eventually we emailed each other. It turned out when my daughters were little Birdge's husband was the little boy nest door to us! No kidding! Isnt that amazing and what are the chances? I remember him so well and he was always lovely!)
      Bridge with the enchiladas you can accumulate all the ingredients when they are on specials. The mild sauce is hot enough for us too!
      One jar of sauce is enough for what you would make for two people...
      I remember that time a big cyclone was coming in and the premier Anna Bligh came on TV and advised and prepared everyone. It was really scary and I wasn't even there! So I understand your panic really!
      This cyclone... I started tracking it last night and looking at the reports this morning was the first thing I did when I woke up. Jane got me on to Higgins storm chasing. I follow via Facebook. It seems to give more updates and details than anyone else. They also link to advice... what you need to be doing, what officials are advising and so on. I can see currently it has dropped down a little and looks like it could hit Townsville. That makes you slightly above the worst areas. I am thinking you would still get some pretty bad weather and evacuation centres are being set up there. I would be very interested in what the shops are like up there! Im thinking the shelves will be stripped bare in Townsville! I am VERY happy to know you are prepared. Yes, do everything you can do as early as possible. Its those who leave things to the last minute, last day, that miss out. Then yes keep busy doing something, working on something as it helps keep you calm and create a calm atmosphere which is important with children.
      I am sorry you had an expensive week! I hope next week is better!
      I will be watching developments today and tomorrow. As the hours go by the projections of the cyclone will be more and more accurate. I am sorry for the people in its path and hope they are all prepared or evacuate. Thinking of you! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Bridge I know you are as prepared as can be. Trying not to worry about it is going to be the hardest part because cyclones can be so unpredictable until they have decided on their course.

      Our daughter will be on standby down here - she works for the Government and knew that part of her job would involve going in after major disasters to check the houses out to ensure that they were safe to be occupied or what ever else needs doing.

      Thinking of our Blue bird buddies as they face this threat.


      Lynette
      XXXXX

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    3. Oh Bridge, I am thinking of you and Aly and your families whilst you await the cyclone. It great to know you are prepared and have projects to keep you busy. I was talking about it last night with my husband and he thought it would be exciting, as he likes storms but I,m not so sure that I would like it. Keep safe. Jo Roberts

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  9. Annabel,
    This post is just lovely. A little encouragement and pat on the back from near or far is sometimes just what a person needs. It is just amazing to know that as we go through our weeks that right here waiting for us is our very own cheering section! Each and every cent saved is important, each accomplishment is important and all of our crafty endeavors recognized and appreciated. When the life is getting crazy all of our BlueBird sisters are here for us. It's a wonderful world!
    Bridge-Your prepared and have food and supplies and the mental fortitude for what may come your way that is fantastic. Positivity goes a long way! Prayers that the cyclone misses you!
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Vicky, I reckon a cheerful word from you might even make a garden grow!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Rachel,
      Smooches!!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Dear Vicky, You are one of my biggest encouragers ever! This makes a big difference to me. Thank you!! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  10. Bridge and anyone else near the 'not quite yet' cyclone, take care, do what you need to do and stay safe.
    Prior to becoming part of the Bluebird nation, I never shared my crafting and was a bit embarrassed about producing handmade gifts for my extended family. I am now quite proud of my efforts.I have those who visit here, and you Annabel, to thank for this.
    I had a large piece of a nolar break off. My dentist is wonderful and my bank account is lighter, but I still have my tooth. Very happy about this.
    Keep safe everyone and have a good week.
    Life is good.


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    1. Jane, I love your practical craftiness, and your stylish photos!!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Jane,
      Really I am amazed at your craft work and the variety of things you do. And Bluey as well. You should feel really proud. I notice too you help others learn and encourage them on.
      Sorry about needing the dentist! Glad you have a good one though. Since you wrote this (and I am slow with replying...) the cyclone sure has progressed from not quite yet to sounds like category 4 when it comes in. I feel quite anxious for everyone up there.
      Have a good week to you too! With love Annabel.xxx

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  11. I love the term "Bluebird sisters" Vicky. That is just what it feels like when I visit here. It is amazing the positive impact a little encouragement and kindness can have. It can literally change lives. Never underestimate the impact of extending kindness and being encouraging. Thanks Annabel.

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    1. I agree, Jo! You write that so very well - "Never underestimate ..".
      We can learn to read between the lines to discover what people are feeling, and being challenged by. Who hasn't been uplifted by the littlest gift in difficult times?
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. jomorro,
      I feel the same way!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Dear Jo,
      Thank you! I think we hear so much bad news in the media etc but really there are so many wonderful people. I am very hopeful we will get back over your way again this year. It is the best op shopping by far and I love it. My Dad spent a few years of his childhood in Minlaton and before that Tumby Bay so I feel it is part of our family. I could easily live there. I love the way there is sea in both directions. We need to do a farm trip first and help out Chloe at her house but then I think an actual little holiday is on the cards and I would love to see you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  12. Sweet post! I find myself needing encouragement, especially since my mom (my best cheerleader) passed away. I love reading encouraging blogs. Thank you!

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    1. Ohh, Little Penpen! Welcome! I hope you stick around, and join in this encouraging Bluebirds work! I don't know of another blog like it!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Welcome Little Penpen. I am sorry about your mother.

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    3. Little Penpen,
      Just come see all of us! I am sorry to hear about your mom and hope you are able to find a wee bit of solace in the encouragement we have to offer.
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    4. Dear Little Penmen,
      I am so glad you had a Mum that was a great cheerleader and encourager to you! I am so sorry for your loss. Please be encouraged, I am very glad to have you here. With love Annabel.xxx

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  13. Hi Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds!!

    Well, I got to the end of a tiring day in a tiring week, and read this post while the generator was being started! It put such a big smile on my face! Good on you to all in the encouragement brigade!

    Annabel, I'd love a piece of your chocolate cake right now! If I give you my email address, do you think you could email me a big piece?!!!!! I love the look of your salads, and the fig paste!

    I may not have done everything this week (ha ha!!), but I did do my extra things!!!! I'm already missing Cookie's bread which I could not get done today! I have, however, taken a few photos of my olive work. Dad gave me a couple of boxes of olives the other day. He was wonderful to head out between the raindrops and pick them for me! The curing process is new for me, however I now have a lot of olives all bruised/squashed and sitting happily in a salt solution. I need to change the brine each day, for twelve days, before setting them up in jars. It will take that long to complete my few photos to show you!! I was very pleased to have this opportunity, and very pleased it is now all in progress! These particular olives come from a tree that I helped Dad with when he rescued it from someone's yard over a decade ago!

    I anticipate a really good sleep tonight!

    With a big smile!
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Dear Rachel,
      I always love to read your comments. You have such a way with words and such a beautiful spirit. I always look forward to what you will say to our community here. I love the story about the olives and am interested in the process and progress. I have a little olive tree, much too young to be of any fruiting size, but it makes me happy. I like it because the deer do not. And those things are PESTS.

      Have a happy day!
      Cristy

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    2. Good going Rachel! Now you will be able to add tasty olives to your food stores! I am looking forward to your explanation on how it's done since they don't grow here and we buy olives in jars!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    3. Thank you, ladies!!
      It will be twelve days before my olives go into their jars! That gives me time to find more large jars in op shops!!
      I did meet a lady in an op shop who has an olive tree, herself. She had heard that curing the olives is a long process, so chooses to buy them instead! As Mum says, store bought olives are totally different to home cured! The process is basic, and I intend to show my experience once the olives are in their jars! We sure can build interesting pantries, hey, Vicky?! The olive trees don't bear every year, so we cure olives while they are there! Give your tree time, Cristy! You could have a valuable asset there!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    4. Dear Rachel, I am hoping you had some rest over the weekend.
      Now I am very interested in your olives! I am glad you re taking photos!
      I have a lot of olive questions. Like are green ones just immature black ones or a different variety? How do you know when they are ripe? I need to learn this as we have olive trees nearby along the railway...
      I found a recipe today that looked beautiful and a way to use olives in a meal that I had not thought of so I am saving that.
      Have a very good new week! With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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    5. Ha ha, Annabel! Olives! I feel like they're a part of my daily routine already!
      Now, this is quite new to me .... I don't even know what variety I am curing! Nevertheless, it seems that when some of the olives on the tree are starting to turn into one of those darker colours, then the olives are ready to pick. This is, of course, in our autumn. So, almost all my olives are green in colour, and would darken in colour if they could safely be left to ripen. The green ones just take two more days of curing than the riper ones! Did you get all that?!!!! They do smell nice and olivey as they are bruised!!
      Rachel

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  14. There is so much criticism and negativity in the world. I run to your blog because it up lifts and encourages me. Makes me feel not so alone in the world doing what I am doing in my home and life. This blog has kept me going spiritually and emotionally. Thank you, I am ever so grateful for what you do here. Beth-Masontown, Pennsylvania

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    1. Dear Beth,
      Thank you for telling me this! You don't know what an encouragement it is to me. Blogging is mysterious in some ways. I am actually very lucky that I get a lot of comments and beautiful friendship and support. Behind the scenes I can see information like how many people visited each day and where they re from. This is kind of interesting! Only a tiny percentage ever comment. So I think I wonder how many got anything from reading and so on. A comment like yours means a lot to me. I am so glad to meet you an have you here. Thank you Beth! Love Annabel.xxx

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  15. I agree it is so important for everyone to encourage each other. We all learn and benefit, and we all grow in knowledge and love.
    Thank you.
    Have a lovely day.

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    1. Thank you Cheryl. Have a wonderful new week! xxx

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  16. I enjoy your blog immensely. It's like listening to friends that I've never met but know they are there. I always get great ideas and comfort from your blog and for that I thank you. Can you all please keep London in your thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Dear Ronnie, such a sad time for the UK at the moment. Please know that we are thinking and praying for you all and for the families who have lost loved ones. The world can be a sad place at times. I agree Annabel and all the ladies here are so uplifting. I have been reading religiously the the last couple of years. I have never commented before as I felt I ddn't have anything clever to contribute (maybe one day☺) but feel like I know everyone. Sending love and prayers your way. Cheers Liz K.

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    2. Dear Ronnie, Thank you so much! I am so glad to have you here.
      I am very upset about London and yes will certainly pray. It has been just terrible. Thank you so much for commenting, with love Annabel.xxx

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  17. Hi Annabel (and everyone),

    Thanks for the encouraging words - I love reading your blog and you've given me so many ideas, even from halfway across the world! Thank you. :) I also love reading about other folks' accomplishments!

    This week, we:
    Built a 4x8 raised bed and planted green onions, cucumbers, summer squash, swiss chard, lettuce, tomatoes, and lots of herbs in pots. Also planted a fig sapling, blueberry bushes, and raspberry canes, all of which were very healthy and on clearance at the nursery.
    Painted the trim on the back of our house.
    Took out some large and unhealthy shrubs in our front landscaping, transplanted some juniper, mulched, pruned everything that needed pruning, and planted two rosebushes.
    Did some large-batch cooking (teriyaki chicken, a tomato-y beef roast using tomatoes I had frozen earlier, homemade bread).
    Saved a crazy amount of money by going to the farm supply store for some topsoil (we have red clay soil, so need to add good soil when we plant) - several hundred dollars!
    Finished a small cross-stitch ornament for gifting, and made progress on a piece for our bedroom.
    Bought a few things for our pantry/food storage on a good sale.
    Enjoyed cooking and eating at home!

    Hope everyone has a great weekend!
    Kathy in the southern U.S.

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    1. Sounds like you were very productive! Wonderful. Every bit of that will be comforting to you. You'll be so happy you have the saved meals. Gardening is always a joy, and the food gardening has the extra benefit of yummy food!

      Proud of all your hard work. :)

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    2. Dear Kathy, Thank you for sharing your week! It was so productive! Your garden sounds beautiful and I hope it all takes off for you. You got heaps done as painting trim and moving plants etc are all big jobs!
      Your cooking also sounds beautiful!
      You should feel really good about the week and I hope you are having a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

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  18. Annabel, you and every one of our "Bluebird sisters" are so encouraging of each other, that it is always like a breath of fresh air when I come to read! I have better blog and online friends than I feel I have in person, including family (except for my husband and children). Being a military brat all my childhood and marrying a military man, we have moved so many times that starting over again in the friend department gets to be so challenging. Everyone has their lifelong friends and most have family and extended family that they turn to, so it feels quite lonely. I have my knitting ladies that I meet with on Wednesday evenings and I'm very pleased to be part of their group.

    Aly and Bridge and anyone else in the path of the cyclone, I pray for your safety.

    Annabel, your chicken enchiladas look delicious. I need to get busy and get some things into the freezer again. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and can't wait for the next post!

    Take care,

    Jeanette

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    1. Jeanette we have moved quite a few times since we were married and it has got harder and harder to make new friends. Each move has been to another State (in Australia) and the whole starting over with just the basics of hairdresser, doctor, best shopping has been huge let alone working out how to make friends. I joined a chapter of the Red Hat Ladies 2 years ago - we meet once a month and it is enough for me, socially. We also have a ladies lunch once a month in our town for new and old residents so that has been a good place to start to meet new people. Annabel knows how hard it has been for me with the moves and making friends - Annabel and I have 'known' each other prior to the Blue Birds blog along with a couple of others who are regular blue bird friends.

      Love

      Lynette
      XXXXX

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    2. Dear Jeanette,
      Friendships are funny in how many do not survive when you move to a new area or there is a major life change. I no longer bat an eyelid about whether a friend is here in person or online. I have learned to type about as fast as I can talk! The beauty of emails and messaging etc is that each person can write when they have a quiet moment and it suits them and in a way this is a help as actually getting together for coffee etc isn't always easy and time goes by. Anyway thanks to the internet we can all be like neighbours really!
      I think a knitting group would be lovely. Also I think these groups push us on with our crafts too.
      Yes, I feel like I have known Lynette for just ages! It must be many years now... and all through a savings site before here. Somehow in my mind I don't even think about the fact we haven't actually met, we are just friends!
      Meals in the freezer are really helpful. I try to keep ahead and have a few choices there.
      I hope you are having a good weekend! with lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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  19. Dear Annabel,

    Your post about encouragement could not have come at a better time for me. We have two sweet old vehicles. One was in the shop for 5 days, leaving us a one car family. I had to take my husband to work 3 times and pick him up 3 times. That meant I had to get my 3 homeschooled children out of bed at 6:20 3 days running. You can imagine, they weren't very happy about that!

    Then the cost was higher than we would have liked. Because we have been budgeting and saving, we had the money to cover most of it.

    And... our roof needs to be replaced. We have been having to contact roofers. I am funny, but I don't like to have repair people to my home.It makes me antsy. And the cost! Oh my! It almost makes me swoon. We did NOT plan for or save for that one!

    It was a stressful and taxing week. And it would have been easy to feel discouraged. One thing that I kept thinking about was the story of your daughter getting the chickens she had wanted. And the chickens needed saving. God provided for both by blessing. I just kept pondering the blessing to the chickens from your daughter and the blessing to your daughter from the chickens. It helped me through a stressful and expensive week.

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    1. Dear Cristy,
      You had a hard week! All that extra running around does not sound like fun! Car repairs can often be a big expense. And the roof! I know that is a big expense! Why things have to come together I don't know but they often seem to.
      I also don't really like having workers around or in the house. I mean strangers. I had Allie help me paint and being my niece that was awesome but strangers... no. Some turn out to be really good though but you cannot relax really.
      I hope next week is much better and you get a restful weekend.
      I am glad that story blessed you! It is lovely! I am often amazed by these kind of mutually beneficial things that happen. They are wonderful and better than we could arrange ourselves!
      Thank you Cristy. Do be encouraged... I hope there are many ways that you will catch up and get ahead in the next weeks. With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Thanks so much, Annabel. I spent the morning in the garden. That always makes me feel better. And Thursday, we picked up the most beautiful chicks to add to our home flock. They are so cute, fluffy and cheerful. How could that not help?

      It was a rough week, though and I am glad it's over. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

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    3. I am another one who doesn't like having workers here. Think I had my fill when we did our house up in Melbourne.

      Lynette

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  20. Thank you! Thank you! I so needed to be encouraged today. Yesterday, I was reviewing all the free ways to get food in my area of Canada. It was a long list. This morning I was so discouraged, I felt like packing it all in and let the chips fall where they may....not good. I needed to be reminded of those scriptures. Again thank you, you are a blessing to us all.

    This week I did not do any grocery shopping, thereby saving a bit.
    I did not eat out at all, saving around $18.00
    I took my lunch for work from home. I managed to get a large tomato and had toasted tomato sandwiches all week. Yum! Along with fruit.
    Suppers were from my stores in the freezer.
    I cleaned out some more unwanted items. My goal is to have my side board empty as well as my China cabinet. Then I can sell or donate them. Slowly getting things gone.

    That's it for this week. Your cooking achievements look very appetizing.
    Jean

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    1. Dear Jean, I came over and saw on your blog that you have been dealing with some really hard and traumatising issues and I am sorry to hear that. Even things that happened many years ago can deeply impact us always...
      Well done on all you achieved this week! I am glad you found many options for food where you are. Take every opportunity to get ahead Jean.
      Be encouraged Jean and keep going. surround yourself as much as you can with uplifting things and the scriptures that encourage you most. With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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  21. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for this lovely post. You've created a very special place here. With your encouragement I learned new skills, like crocheting, embroidering, and trying different food dishes that I've never tried before -- like the very deadly coconut ice, or Jane's zucchini slice, encouragement from Rachel to try making my own puff pastry (a success) because in our small town it wasn't readily available. For some of us the rubber really met the road last year with unexpected health issues for our families or selves -- and the beautiful Bluebirds prayed for us without question.

    This week has been kind of a blur. Scones and bread were made and put in the freezer. Like you, Annabel, I painted lots of notecards with the intent of putting them into packets for gifts, painted some containers to put gifts in, did some downsizing and donated 6 large boxes to the Mission. Did some batch cooking of chili, beef stew. Longingly looked outside at the garden knowing that the next tease of warm weather is just that, a tease. Planting veggies here doesn't usually happen at least until the Sunday after Mother's Day or later, depending on the weather and rain.

    Went grocery shopping today and also bought some things for pantry storage and freezer storage. Wishing everyone a beautiful weekend. Blessings, Cookie

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    1. Dear Cookie, Thank you so much! And you have encouraged me and now have me painting! Plus you have encouraged others with your bread making and craftiness, thank you.
      You had a big week! Isn't it good to consider all you did as it was a lot! I know what you mean about a blur! I hope you have a lovely weekend and feel happy about all you achieved this week. With lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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  22. Dear Annabel and Blue Bird friends - Annabel and I have 'known' each other for a number of years prior to her starting this blog and she is still the same Annabel. Welcoming, encouraging and full of advice and wisdom. These she has in common with Mimi who I have also known since that time.

    There are some others who know her from that time as well.

    I was diagnosed with a tricky medical condition about 2 months ago so while I appear OK there are things going on internally that come into play. Yesterday started off as a good day but by the time I had done the first thing on my list I started to tire.The Aldi shop was a must so I had to push on. I plan my trips so that I get as much done as possible then I do not have to make several small trips back and forth. Getting to the Island has been made easier with a set of traffic lights at the intersection where we can access the road to the Island. It has made the journey quicker (though I am sure that some would say otherwise) and so much safer.

    We finally have a new 'fridge - it arrived Thursday so I could head out yesterday and do a restock. My last big shop was the end of January so there was quite a bit needed. I have also found a fruit and vegetable home delivery service so I have been able to cut my trips out quite a lot.

    I am working with a new 'normal' - my slow cookers are going to come in handy.

    I laugh at your making a mess to create organization - we have just done the main pantry - I need to bring up a couple of items from the store cupboard in the shed. The freezer will be done this afternoon when my husband is able to help me. It is a case of everything has to come out and then it all has to go back in again so that I know where everything is.

    Have a great weekend everyone

    My football team won last night - I am happy.


    Lynette
    XXXXX

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    1. Dear Lynette, Thank you so much! There are a few of us that go back a long way. In my mind I just think of you as friends and don't really think of not having met!
      With a medical condition I think a few things... one is knowing what it is explains things that before were mysterious. The other is getting used to the idea and using the information in helpful ways. You may have to adjust what was once good for you into new methods... I think like you... I want to go out and do as many errands in one day so I can be home the next. Also to save time and fuel etc. But you might get too tired and in the end it be no advantage. I am re thinking some things for myself this way. Finding what is just right can be hard! The new normal as you say.
      I would agree a slow cooker is great. When you get to the most tired time of day dinner is already cooked. That is good thinking.
      I just did exactly as you said... everything came out of my kitchen cupboards and was re organised so I know where things are. visitors arrived when the floor was entirely covered in food! Can you believe it!?
      Yay for the footie! My team won too!
      Have a good week Lynette, with love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Annabel I only had 1 shelf in the pantry to sort out - so much easier for my husband to reach the tins at the back than for me to climb up and down the ladder. Had to laugh at the picture you painted with the cupboards emptied all over the floor and visitors arriving.

      I really needed his help to get the freezer drawers in and out, they can get quite heavy at times. Had to wait until the gate and trellis were put up on the veranda. This is not only a privacy thing but also gives me some peace of mind as no one can get onto the veranda.

      Organizing the new fridge has been a bit of a problem - the freezer is smaller than the previous one so it is going to take me a bit to work out how to fit what I normally do into both freezers.

      Friday I added checking up on a Christmas party that I am organizing to my list - decided to check out another venue that overlooks the surf beach and I think that was what made me more tired, the car had heated up too. The venue I have booked is $20- ahead for a two course meal in a private room, the one with the view is $45-00 for a similar two course meal in a public room. The surf beach is only across the road for the venue I have booked so we can easily walk across after we have finished.

      I love my slow cookers - I have a baby one that I use to finish off soup in or as in recently, test a recipe to see if it was one that my husband would eat. He is not keen on broccoli but he has asked me to make it again - it was beef and broccoli. Nothing much to it once it was chopped up and popped into the slow cooker.

      Lynette
      XXXXX


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  23. Annabel,good days and bad days i love to escape here to read your blog posts encouraging me to do things i injoy its a peaceful place to be in a sometimes changing world,take care everyone in Queensland xx

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    1. This is the same for me. Thank you for being my friends!

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    2. Dear Melissa, Thank you! I am also thinking of everyone in QLD.
      Have a good week! With love Annabel.xxx

      Dear Sarah, Thank you also! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  24. Thank you for the reminder to be positive and to encourage one another! I don't get to visit "Blue Birds" as much as I like. We moved to a new state and now live with my mother-in-law. With 7 of our 8 children still at home, this is a big challenge. This is a great place to get built back up. I appreciate all of you ladies. Thanks to Annabel for providing this respite from the harshness of the world.

    I will be feathering my nest literally...we will be buying chicks today. Now we will have eggs of our own in our new home!
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. Leslie,
      How fantastic for you and your family to get your own chicks! I hope you get an abundance of eggs they are such a great food to have in my book! Good luck and happy homemaking in your new home!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Leslie,
      I knew you had moved and it sounds like a big adjustment. I hope this is a good move for your family and everyone has settled in well.
      It is wonderful about your chickens! Eggs will be a big advantage but I also just like chickens, they are always happy and have beautiful personalities.
      I am glad to have you here Leslie. I hope you have ways to get yourself a little bit of space just for yourself and a little bit of time too. Just a little bit makes a big difference and gives us that bit of encouragement and respite we need. With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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  25. Hello Annabel and Bluebirds, what a much-needed post, like a drink of cool water in a parched desert! I am always grateful for your posts, Annabel, and for the safe, friendly, loving, and encouraging space you have created and continue to create for us all. I wish we were all neighbors, yet in spirit, through this blog, we are!

    My week was full of work outside the home, in addition to my most-beloved work at home. I am grateful for the Vicky challenge as it has helped me to put a price tag, so to speak, on my work at home. I saved over $100 this past week with savvy shopping, cutting my own hair (layered it! I found a video on youtube), made a huge pot of lentil chili, slow cooked garlic lemon chicken, and a huge pan of pumpkin chocolate chip bread (more like cake!). It may not be much, but $100 is more than $0 right? And the food was delicious!

    Happy week-end, neighbors! I'm waving across the fence (miles??) at you all! Teresa

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    1. Teresa,
      Every cent counts and $100 is a lot! Savvy shopping is a wonderful skill to have so good job there!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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    2. Dear Teresa,
      Well done on your savings! And your hair! Isnt you tube good! I know prices for things vary depending on where we live but a hair cut here usually involves a blow dry etc and amounts to more than $100 alone. Plus your chilli and all your cooking sound beautiful. This all really adds up. Plus you have been very busy so well done.
      Waving back to you! I hope you had a great weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

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  26. Annabel,

    When I read the verse Vicky mentioned, I thought, What a great idea, to host a tea or throw a party and call it a "Rejoice!" "You're invited to a rejoice!" Biblical. So neat.

    You cake and everything else looked great!

    I left Mother's today. The past several days I weaned her of me. She is fixing her own breakfast, picking up after herself, etc. I could've cleaned all her laundry before I left, but I didn't. I could've done a LOT of things, but, I wanted her to get up and putter and house-keep again before her next surgery on the 31st. I wanted her to get up and enjoy home-keeping alone in the house before my sister arrives on the eve of her mastectomy. I was with her for 35 days and I am SO glad I panned to stay a month after her surgery. If she had no upcoming mastectomy, I would feel as I feel today: I stayed a sufficient length of time and was a major help to my mother. My hope and prayer is that she'll be well.

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

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    1. Kelley,
      I love it! That is a really neat idea and sounds like a wonderful theme for a tea or party! How creative!
      XOXO
      Vicky

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  27. Dear Annabel,

    I am so glad you haven't done your Monday's post already and that I have a chance still to comment! I read your post on Friday and wanted to alternately cry and cheer in agreement with you, but just didn't have a chance to write!!! It is so true that encouragement means so much...it really can make the difference in someone's life! I never comment on blogs, but started commenting here simply because of your kindness and encouragement...You are amazing, Annabel! And yes, it is so wonderful how friendships can be formed via letters or the Internet, not just in person!!! I retreated from so many friends in real life...it seemed like anything I did was seen by them as trying to "show them up" or "make them look bad" (in comments they made), simply by being at home, or homeschooling the girls, or bringing a homemade goodie to a function, not to mention all the badmouthing of families, especially spouses, which I didn't want to participate in. I had already had to fight with myself to overcome the feeling that I was "stepping backwards" and "wasting my university degree"...due to all the years of conditioning (and all the money spent on that university education!!!) to make it okay with myself to concentrate on being at home, and not feeling I also needed to be running a business at the same time, etc. (And I just have to say here that my hubby NEVER made me feel like that...he's always only wanted whatever I've wanted...he's my biggest cheerleader!!! It was only all the voices in my own head, along with those of my friends...) To find a community here that celebrates, instead of dragging down, is wonderful!!! I love reading about all the beautiful gifts you make, the decorating you do, the frugal tips for everything, and the love that is obviously so strong in your family. My favorite articles have been those featuring your Nans! It is so nice to not have to keep up pretenses, and be able to be interested in making a nice HOME...both in house and people...and that there are many ways to do this (we are all different!!), and knowing how there is nothing really more important, and that all the little things, from cents spent/saved and love shown or sill painted or emergency battery stocked away....all adds up and MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!! This is so jumbled, but truly Annabel, your blog has been a Godsend!!! xxx lots of love to you and all the Bluebirders!!!
    Jen in NS

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    1. Jen, your comment is perfect! I agree whole-heartedly. And I've found Annabel's blog even more uplifting since we moved to a new area in January. I have some wonderful friends where I used to live, some living a similar life, others not, but I haven't really found 'my people' in my new town yet. So I really look forward to Annabel's posts and reading the comments, it reminds me that there are people all over the place that value staying home and raising a family.

      Thanks for writing exactly what was in my head!!
      Jen in NZ

      P.S. Annabel, I finally have bread flour :)

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    2. Dear Jen, Thank you so much. I relate to everything you said and experienced a lot of the same. It takes quite a lot of strength to resist some of this pressure. Also many things I feel the odd one out. I remember some graphically i.e. taking Chloe to a playgroup thinking I should and finding it was just a bunch of Mothers having a smoke and complaining session and nothing to do with kids development. Stuff like that... I just wasn't comfortable.
      Fast forward to now... I feel I have a heap of friends who are so supportive and I don't even think of if we have met or not. It is really good! Together we get a lot done and it is much more fun having company! With love Annabel.xxx

      To Jen in NZ ... I am glad you have the flour! Now you will be set! It is hard moving to a whole new area. I hope there are some people that come to light that share your values. Sometimes it is a case of you have some thing sin common with someone but not everything.... i.e. find who is knitting and doing craft, who is cooking or gardening as you will have those interests in common, at least.
      Now I hope your starter gets going ok! With love Annabel.xxx

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    3. Ha, Ha, Jen...nice to know that my jumbled thoughts made sense for someone else! :) Jen.

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    4. Jen,
      I LOVED what you had to say, and can relate. There have been many times in my life that I felt I was the only one I knew not "working an angle" to try to "Make money" and "prove my worth." If you have a chance, you should stop by Above Rubies website. They also have encouragement for mothers at home. They occasionally send out a print magazine that I love. If you could find back issues of that, you might find them to be encouraging. If you'll send me a personal message at mysterycollector AT g mail dot com, I'll send you a care package that I think will encourage you in your walk. :)
      Much love and blessings,
      Cristy

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  28. That chocolate cake looks lovely, it wouldn't last long with my always hungry boys. Not much feathering done in our house this week, I ended up with three days in hospital. I knew about one day, and planned ahead and batch cooked meals for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (pizza night) and Friday and left them labelled with heating instructions. My family all know how to cook and use the oven, but need a little guidance when it comes to reheating. I didn't want my efforts to become a burnt offering. Hannah picked lots of tomatoes and put them in gel bags in the fridge. They'll be made into pasta sauce and semi-dried tomatoes this week - a nice to start to feathering that we'll all enjoy during winter.

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    1. Dear Cath,
      It was wonderful you were so organised and planned ahead. I hope you are feeling well and not over doing things. The tomatoes sound beautiful! You can never have too many tomatoes! With love, Annabel.xxx

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I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.