Saturday, 4 July 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 4th July 2020

My frugal list is not as long as it usually is this week.  I've spent time pottering around our home,  cleaning and watching Hoarders the tv show with Megan.  This show really gets me in the mood to declutter all over again.

Here's how I saved money this week -

*  Made dried seasoned bread crumbs from saved bread crusts.

*  Made a jar of mixed herbs from herbs given to me that I dried myself.

*  Saved a few glass pasta sauce jars.  These will be used for future pantry storage when needed.

*  Took a couple of bags of unwanted items to Savers and received a 20% off discount coupon.

*  Sold a greeting card.

*  I made shortbread biscuits for the first time.  I was surprised at how easy it was.  Some were given to Jessica as a treat and the rest were enjoyed by Darren and myself at morning tea times.

*  Hung lots of wet washing on the shower door rail to dry.  We have a ducted heating vent in both our bathrooms.  The vent is in the floor which is great as hot air rises.  We just close the door and the washing dries in 24 hours.

*  Picked silverbeet from our garden to put into a large lasagne I made.  My lasagne serves 12 people so any leftover portions are frozen for future meals.

*  Stocked up on Campbell's tinned soup for 97 cents a tin.   I occasionally use a tin when making tuna casserole,  chicken curry and chicken pasta bake.  Otherwise I make soup from scratch.

*  Saved a couple of gift bags to reuse in the future.

*  My local op shop had a 50% off store wide sale.  I purchased bars of soap to make laundry powder and shampoo,  conditioner and toothpaste for my stockpile.

Enough for the next 12 months

Have you enjoyed watching any tv shows lately ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Keeping Busy When Stuck At Home

So many of us are spending more time at home than we ever have.   While some are extra busy juggling home schooling,  working from home and running a house,  others might have too much time on their hands.

I've personally had more time at home due to the loss of some of my cleaning jobs and Darren had no work for eight weeks.  Each day at breakfast we made a plan of what we were going to do that day.  We knew we had to make the most of this unusual situation and use our time wisely.

Here are some ideas to keep you busy,  organised and motivated -

*  Clean out your pantry and make an inventory.  Are there items that need using up ?  Do you have too much or too little of an item ?  Once you've done an inventory,  write out a shopping list for the next few weeks or months.  Being prepared and shopping ahead of time gives you peace of mind knowing you can feed your family no matter what.

*  Take up a craft or hobby  YouTube is a wonderful and easy way to learn something new.  Do you have a craft or hobby already on the go that you could finish ?  If you have free time on your hands,  now could be the time to complete something.

*  Declutter a cupboard or wardrobe.  How many times have you wished you were more organised or had more space ?  Op shops are starting to open up again and would love your unwanted items.

*  Write out your Christmas present list. No matter what's happening in the world,  Christmas is still on the 25th of December and presents will need to be bought or made.

*  Search for new recipes and expand your repertoire in the kitchen.  Megan has cooked a few new dishes for us.  Tuna mornay,  curry beef casserole and chicken pie are now regulars on our menu plan.  I've just made shortbread biscuits for the first time.

*  Start a veggie garden or expand on what you already grow. Veggies can be grown in pots,  polystyrene foam boxes,  old shoes,  icecream containers,  old guttering,  timber pallets or in your garden beds.

*  Watch a tv series you haven't seen in a long time.  With free to air channels expanding their catalogue,  you are sure to find something you like.  I've been watching A Country Practice,  Homestead Rescue,  Hoarders,  Packed To The Rafters ( I've just finished )  and Tiny Homes.

*  Get your filing in order.  Record all your bills onto a spreadsheet to keep track of how much it costs to run a home.   Make copies of important receipts before they fade.  Gather your receipts for tax time.

*  Start your Spring cleaning a little early.  How often do you wish there was more time to get your home really clean before the hot weather arrives ?

*  Clean out and organise your garage, carport or shed.   Are you storing too much stuff that isn't used.

*  List and sell your unwanted items on Buy , Swap,  Sell ,  Marketplace,  Gumtree or Ebay type of sites.

Out in the garden

Being organised

How have you been using the extra time at home ?

Saturday, 27 June 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 27th June 2020

This week I took a break from gardening to concentrate on organisation and tidying inside our home.  I spent a couple of delightful hours tidying our pantry,  filling up herb and spice jars,  making mixes as well as making the most of the storage space I have    I just love spending time in my pantry because tit  holds so many possibilities for cooking and baking when it's stocked correctly.  Having Luka down for a long nap meant my little helper wasn't trying to pull out all the glass  Moccona storage jars I use.

Here's what else we got up to this week -

*  Cut the dish washer tablets in half.  They still wash the dishes really well.  Most of these tablets came from accommodation we've staying in over the years.  Some were also samples and the rest came from Megan.  I still use the Aldi powder for dishes that don't have baked on food.

*  Used old bread bags as bin liners in the bathrooms.

*  Bought brand new Spot and Pepper Pig Easter books for $1 each from a local op shop.  They will be put away as presents for our grandbabies next year.

*  Megan diluted her fabric softener by 50%.  She'd saved an empty bottle and halved the mixture.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Purchased a few brand new DVD's from a local op shop.  They have been put away for Christmas and birthday presents.

*  Diluted a bottle of laundry stain remover by 50% that was given to us.  It still works fantastically.

*  Made butter from cream I'd purchased on clearance and froze a few moths ago.

*  Diluted a bottle of Windex window cleaner.  I don't use it but other family members do.  I'd already diluted it about a year ago but saw the bottle was getting a little low.  I'm sure no one will notice what I've done.

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

*  Mended a coat.

*  Made up a jar of homemade gravy powder mix using pantry staples.

*  Processed the rosemary I'd hung up to dry a couple of months ago.  I run my fingers down the sprigs to get all the leaves off.  This is done over a large deep bowl to prevent the mess it usually makes.  Then I give it a quick whizz in the coffee grinder until it's a coarse powder.  This helps it to stick to veggies I roast.

*  Made up a jar of French onion soup mix using a few store bought packets and pantry staples to stretch the mix out.

Making my own mixes and herbs.

Dish washer tablets cut in half.

Do you tidy your pantry on a regular basis ?

What was on your frugal list this week ? 

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Supporting Aussie Made On A Budget.

In recent times there has been a call across Australia to support Aussie made to encourage more jobs and to stimulate our economy.   Our heavy reliance on other countries to fill our supermarket and department store shelves became very evident when our boarders were closed and production halted in many overseas companies.  This included Australian companies who relied on ingredients, components and / or materials from overseas.

While I would love to buy everything Australian made or owned,  my budget doesn't stretch that far.  So I did a bit of investigating around my home to see what Aussie made products I already have.  I will be the first to admit that I have the united nations living in my pantry and bathroom cupboard but  I was pleasantly surprised to find I had many Australian made products.

My trips to the supermarket have taken on a whole new meaning too.  I've found that Aldi stocks many Aussie made products with the symbol proudly displayed on the outer cardboard packaging on the shelf making it very easy to identify.

If you live in another country then I'm sure you'll be doing your best to support locally made products too. 

Below are some of the Australian made products I found around our home.  Please keep in mind that some were purchased a couple of years ago so the country of origin might have changed since then.  Also,  this blog post is not to be used as a platform to debate whether certain products should be consumed or used or how much they cost.  I'm budget conscience and always buy at the best possible price,

The dish washing liquid on the left is my latest bargain find. It comes from Aldi and costs 99 cents for one litre and works fantastically well.

The skin repair cream on the right is used to remove make up especially around the eye.  I just use a tissue.

All these shampoos were bought at rock bottom prices.  Tresemme often comes on a half price special.

Sukin products come on sale in the supermarket or can occasionally be found at clearance centres at rock bottom prices. Lynx products often half price in supermarkets.  Tilley soaps ( candle pictured ) is Australia's oldest 100% Australian owned soap manufacturer.

A few Aldi groceries.

Flour is flour and sugar is sugar.  No need to buy the fancy brands when even the home brands are made in Australia from Australian wheat.  Campbell's soup come on a half price sale especially during Winter.

A few more Australian made groceries I found in my pantry.  Lemon Crisp biscuits are the only store bought sweet biscuit I'll buy ( and only when on sale ).

What Australian made / owned products to you like to buy ?

Will you be supporting more Aussie brands if your budget allows ?

Saturday, 20 June 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 20th June 2020

Life has been quite busy at the Gower Abundant Cottage since the last time I posted about 4 weeks ago.  Darren and I have been in the garden every chance we get.  Our backyard makeover is almost complete with only a new shed for Darren and a new chicken coop to be installed late Winter / early Spring.
We've relayed garden edging that was looking a bit crooked.  Plants have been moved to better locations with some being ditched all together due to poor growth habits.  Lots of new plants are filling up the garden beds around our home.  Our Winter veggie garden  has now been planted.

Over the next few weeks we hope to tackle our front garden which has had little attention for many years.

Darren and I were blessed with an extra cleaning job that lasted 8 weeks while our friend completed writing her third novel.  This cleaning job helped to fill in the gaps left by other cleaning jobs that have been put on hold due to the lock down.

Our grandbabies continue to bring us great joy ( and busyness ).  Luka keeps us on our toes as he tries to get into everything he can.  He has enjoyed helping us in the garden with his own digger and watering can.

Here's what else we've been up to -

*  Grated lots of little hotel guest soaps we've collected over the last few years.  They will now be turned into laundry powder.

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.

*  Made up a spray bottle of diluted dish washing liquid to use as a spray and wipe on the kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

*  Sold 2 bars of handmade soap,  a bottle of room spray and a bottle of Miracle Spray to a friend.

*  Froze lots of leftovers into single serves.  Some were given to Jessica to use when she's had a busy day at work.

*  Megan and I made a menu plan.  10 days at a time seems to work best with all the comings and goings in our home.

*  We filled up our cars with cheaply priced petrol just before it went up for the long weekend.

*  I received 10% off at Woolworths when I scanned my Everyday Rewards card.

*  Hung wet washing on the shower door rail to dry.  This works well for jeans and jumpers.  I just close the bathroom door and let the ducted heating do all the work.

*  Cleaned the shower with diluted dish washing liquid.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden to add to a few dinners.

*  Planted broccoli and cauliflower seedlings.

*  Refilled the herb jars from bulk bags.

*  Baked two orange cakes.  The mixture was divided so we could eat one cake straight away and the other one was frozen for future eating.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker then made a chunky chicken soup.  Some was frozen into single serves.  

*  Gratefully received lots of lamb chops from a friend who couldn't use them.

What do you do with the little hotel soaps ?

What has been on your frugal list lately ?

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Tuesday 19th And Wednesday 20th May 2020

To be honest,  I wasn't feeling that good on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I'm not one to spend the day in bed or become a couch potato from sun up to sun down.  Whether it be ill health ( in this case ),  worries or stress, I find it best to keep my mind and body active.  I did take some time out in the afternoons to watch a few episodes of A Country Practice.  The hairdos and fashions from the 80's are quite fun to look at. Here's what else I got up to -

*  Megan and I wrote out a menu plan for the next 10 days.

*  I used Megan's stick vacuum on the carpets and used the dry mop on the bamboo floors   I mopped the floors as well.

*  I gave our bedroom a bit of a tidy up.  With extra family members in our home and a 14 month old who gets into everything,  our bedroom was becoming a dumping ground for household items in the way.

*  Cleaned our bathroom.

*  Did a load of washing.

*  Watered the plants that don't get watered from the rain.

*  Poured the shower warm up water into the washing machine.

*  Did a quick sort out of my wardrobe.  I now have a bag of donations ready to go to the op shop.

*  Roast chicken pieces was on the dinner menu for Wednesday.  We had Tuna Mornay for dinner on Tuesday night.   This is a new meal for us and Megan found a recipe on the internet she liked and changed it a bit to suit our tastes.  She did a fabulous job.

In the garden

Have you tried any new recipes while spending so much time at home ?

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Monday 18th May 2020

Yesterday I spent the morning volunteering at our local community pantry.  When I got home Darren had been working on the front garden. 

We have a very overgrown Agapanthus plant at the letterbox that really needed to go.  The roots had grown under the garden pavers and lifted some of our lawn.  Once the plant had been removed ( which took hours and hours ) all the roots were dug out and the soil sifted.  Such a big job so I helped Darren for a couple of hours.

Lasagne,  mash and steamed veg was on the menu for dinner.

Portions of lasagne 

What is your favourite dinner dish ?

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Smiley Sunday 17th May 2020

I've always been one to find great joy in the little things. When our daughters were toddlers,  I made it a point to see the world through their eyes with wonderment and happiness.  If they thought the grass was fascinating,  then I thought the grass was fascinating too.  After all,  God did create it for our pleasure.

Here are a few things that bring me joy -

*  A flower in the garden.  At the moment we have lots of different flowers blooming. They are a bright ray of sunshine amongst the bushes and shrubs.

*  Chocolate.  I love chocolate and there's no hiding it.  I'm blessed to have received lots of chocolate for Mother's Day from my family.  They know me well.

*  Our youngest grandson Bryson has just started smiling.  This brings a smile to my face as I encourage him to smile some more.  Even his eyes smile before it his mouth does.

Growing in some guttering on the fence.

What makes you smile ?

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Friday 16th May 2020

We are making the most of the mild weather here in Melbourne.  The back garden continues to get it's make over which has been keeping us busy.  Here's what we've been up to over the last week -

*  Put petrol in the car on the way home from work.  With very little driving compared to what we normally do,  we can go 4 or 5 weeks before filling up again.

*  Cleaned the toilets.

*  Darren had a delivery of soil for his new garden bed.  He spent a bit of time fill the garden bed up and used the leftover soil to top up one of the vegie garden beds.

*  Wiped out one of the ovens while it was still warm.

*  Dusted a few window sills.

*  Massaman beef curry from the freezer served with rice was on the menu for dinner one night.

*  Spent time with Luka outside playing with a bubble machine.  Unfortunately it was too windy and the bubble blew away before he could play with them.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Picked a couple of handfuls of beans.  The plants were starting to die so I've pulled them out.

*  Moved a couple of small silverbeet plants into a better position and fed them.

*  Moved a couple of packets of toilet paper from my shed and into the house before the weather gets wet and cold.

*  Cut open and scraped out a conditioner bottle.  Refilled the pump bottle and diluted it by 1/3.

*  Refilled the herb and spice jars with bulk packets.

From the garden

Darren's new garden bed in memory of his Mum

How did you spend the past week ?

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Wednesday 6th May 2020

Here is the latest happenings at the Gower Abundant Cottage -

*  Dusted under the pergola and got rid of the spider webs.  I also de - cobwebbed the guttering and eaves around the back of the house.  The front of our home is much higher up so Darren will have to do that part.

*  Did a load of washing.  Darren has been in the garden almost every day so there has been a little bit more washing to do.

*  Cleaned the ensuite sink and mirror.  I also wiped the towels rails and the trims of the shower to remove built up fluff and hairspray residue.

*  Dusted all surfaces around the home.

*  Darren picked three hot pink roses from the garden.

*  Picked three feijoas and a handful of beans and raspberries from the garden.

*  Megan vacuumed the carpets with her stick vacuum.

*  Megan cooked a chicken,  potato and pasta bake for dinner.

Afternoon tea in style.

Have you been taking time out to enjoy a cuppa in peace ?

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Tuesday 5th May 2020

Megan and I made a trip to Chadstone shopping centre to do some Mother's Day shopping.  We were under the impression that lots of shops were going to be open.  Unfortunately only the majors and a handful of smaller shops were open.  So Megan and I made the most of the outing and walked  a  couple of laps of the entire centre to get some exercise.  Here's what else we did -

*  I made pita chips in the oven using pita bread.

*  Did a load of washing and hung most of it on clothes horses outside under the deck.  It was a lovely sunny day and slightly warm.

*  Did a quick whiz around with the dry mop on the bamboo floors.  When I don't have time to get the vacuum out,  the dry mop is a quick and easy way to sweep up the fluff and dirt.

*  Darren was called in to work for the first time in 7 or 8 weeks.  He said it was good to be back at the cafe helping. When he came home he did some more work on the new garden bed he built.

*  Butterflied lamb cooked in the slow cooker was on the menu for dinner.  I served it over a bed of mash with steamed veg.

Pita chips

Are you organised for Mother's Day on Sunday ?

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Monday 4th May 2020

Yesterday I spent most of the day volunteering at our local community pantry. Most of the time is spent refilling the baskets with rescued fruit and veg, cleaning the floors,  tidying and helping to give out food to those who need a helping hand.

I bought a few Spot The Dog Easter books for $1 each at the op shop run by the pantry.  These books will be put away for our grandson Bryson and for future grandchildren.

When I came home I spent time tidying the present shelf in the wardrobe.  I pulled out all gifts for May to make sure everything was ready to wrap.  It feels so good to have gifts organised ahead of time.  Who could have predicted there would be very few shops open for Mother's Day shopping in 2020 ? 

Here are a few more photos from the Melbourne Flower Show in 2015

Do you have a present / gift cupboard stocked with goodies to give ?

Monday, 4 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Sunday 3rd May 2020

We praise God for all the good rain we've had lately.  It's softened the soil in our garden and helped established the new plants we put in recently.  Here's what we've been up to on Sunday -

*  Cleaned the dishwasher filters and ran the dishwasher on a long hot cycle with bi carb and vinegar.  I also cleaned the door seals and the door inside and out.

*  Cooked ,  mashed and drained lots of pumpkin.  I'll  be making another batch of pumpkin scones shortly.

*  Cleaned the door of the clothes dryer.  Lint and dirt gets stuck around the seal of the door and a small brush gets it clean in no time.

*  Darren weeded a vegie garden bed ready for planting.  I pruned a daisy bush and weeded a few garden beds.

*  Cleaned the kitchen window with vinegar in a spray bottle and a microfibre cloth.  With more people using the kitchen day and night,  the window gets dirty very easily.

*  Watched our church service online while Luka enjoyed playing with my clothes pegs.

*  Homemade pizzas were on the menu for dinner.

Homemade pizza is the best.

Have you been making your version of takeaway food ?

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Smiley Sunday 3rd May 2020

Over the last few months the whole world has experienced upheaval in many ways.  It's easy to get bogged down with all the new reports of statistics,  restrictions,  protests and devastation.

Please make sure you take time out each day to find the things that put a smile on your dial.  Here are a few things in my life that make me smile -

*  An empty laundry basket really does make me smile.  I feel a great sense of achievement when the last load of washing is in the machine. 

*  My miniature tea set / tea pot collection puts a big smile on my face.  I remember the joy I felt when shopping with my grandma and bought my first mini tea set.  I was about 9 or 10 at the time and happiness filled my soul.  It was almost 20 years later when I started adding to my collection.  Over the years my collection has bought joy to many visitors in our home.

*  A warm blanket to snuggle under on a cold night makes me happy.  I feel blessed to have such comfort in our home. 

Just a few of my mini tea sets

I love having blankets

What are some of the great joys in your life that make you smile ?

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Friday 1st May 2020

Friday was a cold,  wet and very windy day here in Melbourne.  Here's what we got up to -

*  I helped Megan get her grocery shopping done.  Our local $2 shop had a 50% off sale on all their party supplies.  Megan was able to put together enough supplies for dinosaur,  construction and super hero parties for both her boys over the next few years.

*  Darren vacuumed and mopped the floors.

*  I gave our bathroom a clean.

*  I spent the afternoon in my recliner chair under a blanket watching A Country Practice  on tv.  It was too cold to do anything else.

*  Leftover tuna pasta bake was on the menu for Darren and myself.

Today I've included a few photos I took at the Melbourne International Flower Show back in 2015.  I hope these images brighten your day.

Have you been picking any flowers from your garden to brighten your home ?

Friday, 1 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Thursday 30th April 2020

Here's what we've been up to in our home -

*  I did some grocery shopping.  It's good to see most items are back on the shelves.  Toilet paper is still in short supply and what's available is quite expensive.  Thankfully we have enough for the next few months.

*  I picked up two packets of rump steak on clearance for just over $7 a kilo.  This will be divided up into meal sizes and frozen for future cooking of Massaman beef curry and other casseroles.

*  Refilled the shampoo and conditioner bottles and diluted them by 1/3

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps around the house with diluted shower gel.

*  Tuna pasta bake was on the dinner menu.

Tuna pasta bake before the cheese was put on

How did you spend your Thursday during lock down ?

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th April 2020

We've been a bit busy over the last couple of days.  Todays post is a summary of what's being going on at the Gower Abundant Cottage.

*  While I've been at work Darren has vacuumed and mopped the floors.

*  I cleaned the kettle with citric acid to get rid of the mineral build up.  Once it's cleaned the kettle looks brand new.

*  Cleaned out the fridge and gave the shelves a wipe down.

*  Wiped the kitchen cupboards of toddler finger prints.

*  Did a couple of loads of washing and dried what we could on clothes horses.

*  Gratefully received quite a few small packets of lamb chops from a friend.  We feel very blessed that she thought of us.

*  Darren and Kurt have been building a new garden bed in honour of Darren's mum.  As soon as it's planted I'll post some photos.

*  I picked a few handfuls of raspberries and beans from the garden.

*  Gave the washing machine a good wipe over.  I cleaned the lint filter and put the machine on a long hot cycle with Epsom Salts to clean out the drum and pipes.

*  Lamb shanks with vegetables on a bed of mash was on the menu for Wednesday night.  Shepherds pie was enjoyed Tuesday night.

In the garden

Are you keeping busy with the colder weather ?

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Monday 27th April 2020

Another beautiful Autumn day was enjoyed by our family.  Here's what we got up to -

*  Darren and I enjoyed a toasted hot cross bun with a cuppa out on the deck.

*  I dug up a couple of bushes that had grown too big for the garden space they were in.  I transplanted them to a better spot.

*  Pruned one of the feijoa trees.  I was surprised to find about 10 feijoas on the ground underneath.

*  Chunky chicken and vegetable soup with crusty bread was on the menu for dinner.

Soup for dinner.

Have you started making soup since the weather has become milder ?


Monday, 27 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Sunday 26th April 2020

Today's post includes what we've been up to over the weekend just  gone.

*  Baked ANZAC biscuits using dough from the freezer.  We really enjoy them with a hot cup of tea.  Luka loves to suck on half a biscuit and was seen crawling around the backyard with biscuit in hand.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Picked a handful of raspberries.

*  Picked about 15 feijoas from under our two trees.

*  Enjoyed our online church service.

*  Picked a bunch of white roses from the big bush growing in the chicken run.

*  Cleaned the shower with diluted kitchen detergent.

Feijoas from our garden

ANZAC biscuits

How did you spend your weekend ?

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Smiley Sunday 26th April 2020

There is always something in our lives that makes us smile.  It doesn't have to be something big or grand.  Infact,  the simpler things in life are best.  Here's what makes me smile -

*  When the sun shines.  The world seems like a happier place when the sun is out.  I find it brightens my soul.

*  Pumpkin scones with a cuppa.  My Grandpa loved pumpkin scones.  Unfortunately when he was alive I did have a recipe for them.  Now when I bake or eat them,  I think of my Grandpa who was a fine,  knowledgeable man.

*  When Luka comes over to me and tugs on my legs to be picked up.  There's no greater feeling than to be wanted and loved.

Luka wants Nana.

What makes your face light up with a smile ?

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Friday 24th April 2020

Friday was a glorious day in Melbourne.  The sun shone for most of the day and the air was slightly warm.  Luka had some play time outside and enjoyed visiting the chickens to say hello and also plated at his water table with a bucket and spade. Here's what else we got up to.

*  Megan and I went grocery shopping and ran a few errands.

*  While we were out,  Darren vacuumed and mopped the floors.

*  Darren and I enjoyed morning and afternoon tea out on the deck.

*  We had chicken schnitzels,  salad and chips for dinner.

Bryson fell asleep on the play mat.

Have you enjoyed being outside in the fresh air lately  ?

Friday, 24 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd April 2020

I've had two very busy days lately and unfortunately  there hasn't been any time for computers or blogging.  So I've decided to combine the previous two days together.

*  Darren and I went to work on Wednesday morning.

*  I made a big batch of pumpkin scones with the pumpkin I'd cooked the previous day.  The scones have been frozen for future morning and afternoon teas.

*  We were blessed to be given chops and steak earlier in the week.  They needed to be cooked ASAP so for dinner on Wednesday we had chop casserole cooked in the slow cooker.

*  Thursday morning I went to work.

*  After lunch I took my Dad into the city for his eye check up.  These visits are routine  after having treatment on a melanoma back in late 2018.  The melanoma continues to shrink and the specialist is very happy with Dad's progress.

*  While I was out and about on Thursday Darren dusted the house and cleaned the toilets.

*  Massaman beef curry was on the  menu for dinner.

Pumpkin scones.

What baking treats has your family enjoyed ?

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Tuesday 21st April 2020

We like to keep ourselves fairly busy with a little rest time in the afternoon.  Having two babies in the house keeps us busy and dinner time can be quite hectic with bath,  bottles,  eating then bed.  Here's what we got up to -

*  Volunteered at the local community pantry for 4 hours.  They were running a little low on staff so I got called in.

*  Cooked up to slow cookers of Massaman beef curry using beef that was given to us.

*  Darren cooked up lamb chops on the bbq.  They will be used in a casserole tomorrow then frozen.

*  Darren also cooked up chicken fillets.  Megan will use some in a pasta dish tonight for dinner.  The rest will be frozen for future casseroles.

*  Darren and I vacuumed and mopped the floors.

Massaman Beef Curry

What dinners have you been cooking up ?

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Monday 20th April 2020

It wasn't a terribly interesting day in our home.  We still managed to get a few things done.

*  Cooked and drained a big piece of pumpkin.  Over the next couple of days I'll turn it into pumpkin scones.

*  Volunteered  at the local community pantry for 4 hours.

*  We had chicken drumsticks,  mash and steamed veg for dinner.

*  Darren ran a couple of errands.

How is your family keeping busy ?

Monday, 20 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Sunday 19th April 2020

Sundays at the Gower Abundant Cottage are a little slower than most days.  A day of rest is important for the body to replenish itself and for the mind to relax.  Here's what we got up to -

*  Darren and I enjoyed watching our church service online.  Yesterday's theme was ' anxiety '.  Very appropriate for what everyone is going through right now.

*  I spent a couple of hours cutting out some men's cards to decorate and sell.  When our family moved back in,  I had to move most of my card making supplies and desk into our bedroom.  The corner is a little cluttered but it does give me the chance to do my own thing without little fingers trying to get into things.  Luka loves to sit on my knee and ' help ' with whatever I'm doing.

*  Enjoyed an afternoon tea of scones,  jam and a cuppa.

*  We had leftover family meat pie for dinner.

*  Picked raspberries,  feijoas,  a few beans and collected an egg.

How have you been spending your Sundays ?

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Smiley Sunday 19th April 2020

Life certainly looks different for all of us at this point in time.  No one really knows when the lockdown restrictions will be lifted or when we will be able to get back to normal.  Many people are struggling with the concept of staying home and feel like their life is on hold.

For Darren and I,  we are homebodies.  Yes we do like to go out on occasion,  but we really enjoy our home and our surroundings.  Lately we've taken the time to stop and take great joy in the comfort our home brings.

Some of you might be struggling to find joy in your everyday routines.  I thought it would be a great idea to break my blogging schedule each Sunday to list a few things that have bought us joy to our soul,  a smile to our face or a sense of purpose.  I hope you'll take this opportunity to share the things that bring you joy and hopefully we can lift each others spirits.

*  I've been putting a favourite perfume on each day.  It makes me feel good.

*  Having a cup of tea in a fancy bone china tea cup,  or if it's Darren,  his favourite Collingwood football mug.

*   Writing a small list of jobs I'd like completed each day.  Sometimes I delegate one or two tasks to Darren or Megan so that we all feel a great accomplishment when we cross the items off the list.

What brings a smile to your face ?  

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Friday 17th And Saturday 18th April 2020

Today I'm including our activities over the last two days because I'd like to do something a little different for Sundays.  I hope you'll read tomorrow's article as I'm sure it willlift your spirits.  Here's what we've been doing-

*  I did a phone interview with a lady who works for the Bendigo Council in regional Victoria. .  She's writing an article on stretching your dollar through these challenging times.  I was able to share how we fill our days, how we were prepared when the supermarket shelves were stripped bare and what we've been up to in the garden.  As soon as I get a link to the article I'll share it with you all.

*  I chatted with our eldest daughter Jessica on the phone.  We haven't seen her in over 3 weeks and she's really missing us. She's keeping busy with her Uni studies and thankfully still has enough work at the donut cafe.

*  Dusted all surfaces.

*  Darren vacuumed and mopped the floors

*  I did two loads of washing and dried as much as I could on clothes horses over the ducted heating vents.

*  I cleaned our shower,  sink and mirror.

Spag bol with garlic bread was on the menu for dinner on Friday.

*  Homemade Family Meat Pie was on the menu for Saturday's dinner.

Homemade Family Meat Pie

Have you been enjoying more homemade food lately ?

What have you been up to around the home ? 

Friday, 17 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Thursday 16th April 2020

Here's what we got up to on Thursday -

*  Sold a dozen eggs,  two jars of relish and a greeting card bundle to a friend.

*  Planted a garden bed in our backyard.  I'd been digging this bed over and trimming the plants for the last few months but wasn't happy with the growth habits of a few of the plants.  So yesterday I  bought a few new plants and also used plants we had in pots.  Now it looks much better.  While the weather is still mild I'll be concentrating on the next garden bed that needs work.

*  We had salmon patties ( from the freezer ),  salad ( lettuce from our garden ) and roast potatoes for dinner.

*  Darren and I enjoyed a morning tea of homemade scones with homemade jam and a cup of tea on the deck.

*  We enjoyed lots of time watching Luka trying to master the art of walking.  He takes quite a few steps,  stops,  has a squeal of delight at his new skill then sits down and continues crawling.  He's such a funny little boy.

A carnation plant

A new beginning for this garden bed.

How did you fill your Thursday ?

How is your garden looking at the moment ?

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Wednesday 15th April 2020

Wednesday was a glorious day here in Melbourne.  The sun was out,  the birds were singing and the air was slightly warm.  Here's what we got up to -

*  I volunteered at the local food pantry.  Most people who come in just quietly fill up their bags with whatever food they can get their hands on   Yesterday we had 2 ladies come in ( separately ) who were so grateful for any help we could give.  One lady was so overwhelmed she broke down in tears.  She has no work and no food. I've never seen someone so happy to see vegetables and she couldn't wait to cook them for her children.  It really makes you realise that no matter how tough times are,  there's always room for gratitude and thankfulness when help comes your way.

*  We dried the washing on the line.

*  I picked another small bowl of raspberries and 2 feijoas from the garden.

*  Megan and I did a menu plan for the next 10 days.

*  Chop suey and mashed potato was on the menu for dinner.

Chop suey with lots of veggies

Have you written a menu plan lately ?

Have you had to adjust your meals to reflect lack of groceries in your area ?

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Tuesday 14th April 2020

Yesterday I had a 6 hour cleaning job.  I'm very grateful for this work and the much needed cash.  With me out of the house most of the day,  I'm not sure what everyone else got up to.

*   I do know that Darren vacuumed and mopped the floors.

*  We had a chicken,  veg and pasta bake for dinner which was delicious.

*  I sold another greeting card bundle.

*  Gratefully received a few passion fruits from a friend.

In the garden.

Do your family members still have jobs ?

Have you found different ways to earn an income ?

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Sunday 12th and Monday 13th April 2020

Over the last couple of days I had to take some time out to look after myself. ( for my sanity ).I'm sharing a small home with 5 other people, including two babies that I absolutely adore.  Easter Sunday I spent most of the day on my bed watching tv,  relaxing and enjoying some quiet time with the door closed.  Megan and Bryson joined me late in the afternoon while I was watching Packed To The Rafters and munching on chocolate Easter Eggs.

Monday I had the house to myself while the others moved furniture from Megan's rental.  I enjoyed the peace and quiet while doing a little bit of cleaning.  Here's what else happened in the Gower house over the last couple of days -


*  Darren and Kurt washed all the family cars and vacuumed the insides.

*  Darren bought Lindt Easter bunnies in Kmart for $1 each.  He bought quite a few that we'll be giving throughout the year with birthday presents.

*  Darren cooked pork dumplings for dinner that night.


*  Wiped down the kitchen cupboards and removed fingermarks from a certain little one year old boy.

*  Cleaned the microwave inside and out.

*  Made a spray bottle of diluted dishwashing liquid with cooled boiled water.  This works really well on all kitchen surfaces and doesn't leave streak marks.

*  Picked four feijoas from under the tree.

*  Picked a small bowl of raspberries.  The fruit picking is slowing down.

*  Cleaned out the laundry cupboard and wiped under the washing machine.

*  Posted a few parcels of cards I'd sold a couple of  days earlier.

Feijoas from our tree.

How are you coping with the lock down ?

How have you spent the last couple of days ?

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Saturday 11th April 2020

Saturday was a cold,  wet and very windy day in Melbourne.  We spent the day indoors concentrating on general household duties.  Megan spent the day cleaning her rental ready for the end of lease.  Kurt was on baby duty the whole day and did a fantastic job looking after the boys. Here's what else we did -

*  I stripped our bed and did three loads of washing.  Some went into the dryer and the rest went onto clothes horses.  With a one year old crawling around,  wet washing isn't safe so we are trying to limit the washing he can get to and spread around our home.  Luka just loves playing with pegs and will do anything to get to them.  Cheeky monkey.

*  I did a little card making to finish off some baby gift packs I'll be selling shortly. 

*  Megan treated all of us to takeaway pizza after her long day of cleaning.  I'm not usually a fan of bought pizza but I'd have to say it was quite delicious and we were grateful for the treat.

* I watched a few episode of A Country Practice in the afternoon as part of my rest time.  Although I have lost most of my cleaning work,  with extra family members in the house all day,  my days are still busy.  Each day I try to watch some tv in the afternoon which is a new and novel idea for me.

The washing never stops

In the garden

How are you filling your days now that the weather has changed ?