Monday, 21 December 2015

A Year In Review And Merry Christmas 2015

As Christmas draws near,  it's good to look back on the year that was. We've had a fairly busy year in the Gower home.  In January Jessica started Year 12 and Megan Year 10.  Within days of starting back at school,  they were both on camp.

During April Darren and I went to the Melbourne Flower Show.  I also took up card making that month with a special thanks to Annabel from The Bluebirds Are Nesting blog.  She greatly encouraged me to have a go and boy,  did I have a go !!  I find myself racing through my housework to get a few spare hours to craft away.  Card making was one of my goals for the year.

In May I spoke at a Cheapskates Club workshop in Knox.  I was suprised to see a few friends from school there.  I also got to meet Maureen and Anne for the first time.  Both  are lovely blog readers who have become friends.  During this month Jessica turned 18 and had  dinner with friends.  As a family we went to see Strictly Ballroom the musical  I also started dental treatment to give me a beautiful smile.  This was such a big step for me as I'm not that fond of dentists.

In June Darren turned 50 with a big birthday party in our home and a dinner at the Titanic Restaurant.  Two days later my smile started to transform with continual dental work over the following six weeks.  I ended up spending over 20 + hours in the dentist chair..

In August,  Cath and I made a trip over to Adelaide in South Australia for our first ever interstate Cheapskates workshop.  We had such a great time with the 25+ people who attended. plus the camera crew from Today Tonight We got to meet Annabel and Tania for the first time.  Cath and I were so excited we were beside ourselves.  We hardly slept a wink but that might be because we talked so much.

During August Cath started the Cheapskates card making group in her home.  We've created such a lovely group of like minded people and learnt some new skills.  We also do a lot of talking,  tea drinking and eating - hehehe  !!!

Around this time I finally got up the courage to try soap making ( another goal for this year ).  I must say,  it was much easier than I first thought.  It's wonderful to use around the home and to give as presents.  A very special thankyou to Phil from the House of Simple blog for allowing me to share his soap recipe.  Your encouragement has allowed me to learn a new skill.

Just last month I started loosing most of my cleaning work ( for many reasons ).  I've learnt to cut the family budget yet again and live on much less.  At times it's a challenge but I love a challenge.

This year has bought many new friends into my life through my facebook pages,  the Cheapskates Club and through this blog..I'll be forever grateful to everyone who reads my posts and to those who are brave enough to comment.  You have bought so much joy to my life.  More than you'll ever know.

Thankyou so much to Cath from the Cheapskates Club who has become a firm friend to myself and my family.  Your support and kindness is overwhelming.  Thankyou for believing in us,

Thankyou to my fellow bloggers who continue to support each other. Annabel from The Bluebirds Are Nesting for you beautiful friendship and gorgeous craft posts.  Thankyou Tania from Outback Tania blog for your veggie garden posts.  You inspire me to grow more.  Thankyou Joolz from Simply Joolz blog for all your cooking pictures.  You are truly an amazing cook.  Brandy from The Prudent Homemaker has inspired me to think more about how I spend my money.  Brandy does an amazing job of feeding her family well on much less than the average family does.  Mimi from A Tray Of Bliss encourages us to think about how much our frugal tasks are worth in dollars

This year I've connected with many lovely ladies in America through A Working Pantry blog.  Their pantries are amazing as they stockpile for extreme weather conditions.  I love to stockpile too so it's wonderful to see how others do it.

It great to know there are like minded people who care about each other.  This blog has been a vehicle for connecting people who are seeking to live a better life on a budget.  The world seems a little smaller  when we can chat and share ideas.

Darren,  Jessica,  Megan and myself would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  May you enjoy the season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus - the greatest gift ever given.   .

Our year in photos -

My first attempt at cards making
Melbourne Flower Show

Home made hot cross buns
Cards inspired by Annabel
Gift tags
From the garden
Rose apple desserts
Cupcakes for Jessica's 18th birthday
At Strictly Ballroom.
Titanic restaurant for Darren's 50th birthday
Darren's daffodils
Our cutie pie Princess
Adelaide workshop with Cath,  Annabel and Tania
I'm getting better at card making
First attempt and soap making.

Me and my new teeth

Darren's new car
Soaps for gifts
Our hydrangeas

Our holiday in Ballarat
Meeting up with Maureen in Ballarat
Jam making
Home style KFC
Our raspberries


  1. What a great review Wendy! I admire greatly all of the things you do and love every single post!

  2. Merry Christmas Wendy , thank you so much for your blog you really inspire me .i look forward to all your cost saving ideas for 2016 .

  3. Dear Wendy,
    We have been thinking in a very similar way! This is no surprise either as we value the same things very much. I am also looking over our year. Its amazing what we forget about until we think on it. I have many things to be grateful for that is for sure.
    Thank you for all your friendship and support. You certainly did take to card making like a duck to water! I am very glad about this, plus your soap making. It makes you wonder what you will add next year. I feel like this, each year we can learn and add so much that its amazing. It is like whole new worlds open up to us that we didnt imagine even.
    Have a great week and wonderful Christmas with your family. With lots of love,

  4. I must have been reading all year, I think I remember every one of those events! Have a lovely Christmas and new years :) xx

  5. Merry Christmas Wendy & Family

    Well what a wonderful year it has been. I have learnt so much from you this year, and for that I am very grateful. All the sharing that you do and the time and effort it is much appreciated.

    Reading through this post it seems like only yesterday that I have read them, just goes to show how much they can stick with you.

    Merry Christmas to all fellow readers. Have a safe and Happy Holiday season.

    Look forward to spending more time with you all in 2016

    Aly xxx

  6. Dearest Wendy. When the year started, I had no inkling that my blog friendships were about to increase fifty-fold. That is largely thanks to you and Annabel, and the beautiful community that revolves around our mutual interests. I'm so privileged to be thought part of that community and if I've supported that in any way, than I feel honoured. You too, seem to have come such a long way this year with Annabels gently encouragement, and I think you will continue to grow in confidence and success in 2016. Much love, and Merry Christmas with all the blessings of the season. Mimi xxx

  7. You are most welcome Wendy - although I think I have learned far more from you!!

  8. Thank you for your posts throughout the year, so inspiring. I get a useful tip or two from every single post. I love how you are unafraid to take on challenges head on and also try out new things. Such a great inspiration for others.


  9. All wonderful things that have happened in your life, but I especially like the special gift of your 'new' teeth. I understand how having a beautiful smile helps to boost our self confidence. Have a great Christmas!

  10. Hi Wendy,

    Wow, what a journey, it's great to look back to see what you have achieved. I do this when I change the calendar over each year. Thank you for all your wonderful tips, photos and posts. Can't wait for next year's posts.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family at this blessed season, xxx


  11. Thank you Wendy for sharing all the things you do and allowing us to share in your family life.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, I look forward to following your blog in the New Year.
    Your generosity is a blessing for us all.

  12. Happy Christmas Wendy and family. I enjoy reading your blog posts and appreciate the time and effort you put into writing and illustrating them. Thank you for your efforts to help others. I wish you all the best for 2016.

  13. Merry Christmas Wendy and Family. I am very grateful for your blog and always look forward to your mid week and Saturday updates. It has been a good year for us and I look forward to 2016.

  14. Have a wonderful Christmas wendy and to your beautiful family.
    I've enjoyed reading your blog every week.
    You are such an inspiration to all of us.
    Thank you 😊
    Kathleen WA

  15. Thank you Wendy for your amazing blog.

    2016 will bring many challenges for my family as I intend to reduce our spending as much as I can.

    I know we will be OK with people like you and Cath cheering us all along.

    All the very best to you and your family for a lovely Christmas and New Year.

    God Bless.


  16. Thank you for sharing your life with us Wendy. I am looking forward to being inspired and encouraged by you next year. Enjoy your family and friends over the Christmas/New Year period.

  17. Hi Wendy, it looks like you had a very wonderful and eventful year! A big thank you for keeping up with the blogging, helping us be more frugal with our daily lives and just being supportive in general. Also your weekly updates on special buys at the main grocery chains actually helped me find out about specials that I missed in the catalogue.
    You have inspired me to plant a veggie patch, make my own laundry powder and next year I'm going to give card making a go! I'm hoping next year I can be more frugal again, and I'm sure you will help us all. 2015 has had it's challenges for us at times, but it has brought us many blessings too. Merry Christmas to you and your family. And Merry Christmas to everyone who also reads this blog. I hope everyone stays safe over the festive season.


  18. Dear Wendy,

    You have encouraged me so much more than you will ever know. Without the blogging friendships I have made over the years, I would probably still be a money spending consumerist. Rhonda from Down to Earth was one of my first blogging friends and I sought her wisdom everyday. Since then there have been many, many blogs that are focusing on the frugal way of life, and I have quite a list that I follow.

    Then I happened to see you on ACA and I had a fresh new outlook on life. I have since tried many of the things you have suggested and I have tried all your recipes, with a couple being our favouites now too.

    It was fantastic that I was able to meet you, Cath and Annabel in real life. I feel even more connected to the cheapskate community and look forward to learning more from you ladies. Annabel has already hopped on the band wagon to get us prepared for next Christmas, so this is something I am definitely going to try
    and do better this year. The Christmas season is so busy for me (or maybe I make it that way lol), and I definitely need to be better prepared. There are so many lovely gift ideas being put forward, it is hard not to be inspired!

    So thank you dear friend for all that you do and your willingness to share with others. You are definitely an inspiration!

    Lotsa love,

    Tania xoxo

    1. Thankyou for your kind words Tania. It's so wonderful to connect with like minded people who understand our way of living. I had no idea that setting up this blog would have so many rewards. You being one of them

      Bring on Annabel's Christmas challenge.


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