Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Learning new things...

I was watering our potted herbs out by the washing line yesterday and this little green tree frog popped up from under the parsley fronds. Now that the weather has finally begun to settle into a cooler almost-winter pattern the herbs are flourishing and these cute frogs can come out to play.
Our tropical winters are like spring and it's evident in the flourishing of both flora and fauna around our area.
I'm considering a trip to Bunnings tomorrow to buy some more herbs and then we can refill our empty pots with a variety of flavour-full culinary greens. I'd love to plant them directly into the garden but as we'll be moving on in about four months it's best to keep them in pots for now.

We spent another exhausting weekend walking through open houses and driving around various neighbourhoods to look at other homes for sale which weren't open. 
I honestly did not think this endeavour would be so stressful. The weighing up of building our own place and carrying a big mortgage well into our 70's, as opposed to buying a small established home on a decent size block for around 40% less mortgage may seem a no-brainer, but with the royal commission into banks at the moment (here in Australia) it's actually easier to get finance to build than it is to purchase established if you're a first home buyer like us. 
But, we're fairly determined to go the established route and not be saddled with a mortgage that will see us do nothing more than pay it off for the next 25 years. We just have the find the right house within our budget so if you pray, please offer a little prayer for us about this. xx

Blossom loved the embroidered cardigan I made for her birthday!
Ross was away with work so Mr E and I took fresh baked lemon and raspberry muffins along with our gift to her house early Saturday and spent the morning chatting, playing with Cully May, cuddling little Rafaella who is goo-ing and gaa-ing all the time now, and checking out her new slow cooker/pressure cooker. 
All of us were so relaxed that the hours passed quicker than we'd planned and as we hugged goodbye near morning's end dear Blossom declared it one of her favourite birthdays ever. 
Driving away to begin our new list of homes to view hubby and I thanked God for the gift of our youngest child and the love, respect and honour she shows us every day. We are indeed blessed to be her mum and dad.

A surprise parcel of the new Tilda range 'Sunkiss' arrived in the post last week from Fiona at Tilda Australia. At first I felt a bit overwhelmed designing with the fabrics because free time right now to 'play' with quilting or machine sewing is rare (I have a few tunics still waiting to be hemmed after many weeks) but my husband reminded me that in the midst of all this time consuming house hunting, the embroidery design business, family responsibilities and home making, I needed to make time to have fun...and sewing is fun for me, so I am working on a new embroidery design for July which will feature some of the Sunkiss prints.
I'm also working on a project for later in the year and found I could use Sunkiss in that as well which fortunately mixes business with pleasure. Yay! Win win.

Healthwise we've continued following a grain and dairy free menu, although I did have bread at the weekend to 'test' my body's response and there definitely was one.  On Sunday morning (after two pieces of bread the previous day) my joints were aching again and my feet were so painful that walking was not fun at all, especially when we had seven open houses to view that day. 
Back to grain free for me. With all that's going on right now it's best that I stay as pain free as possible.

Not sure if I've mentioned it before but hubby and I have been using mega-vitamin therapy for almost a year now and it has honestly kept us going when nothing in the past had worked. We have seven specific supplements each day which includes 3000 mg of vitamin C, 2000 mg of magnesium and 750 mg of niacin among others. The thing we've noticed most is recovery time from illness or wounds is very fast, especially head colds which we bounce back from within 24 hours. 

Balancing our year long mega-vitamin intake with this recent grain/dairy/sugar free diet has given us the added physical benefits of reduced join pain, better sleep, dramatically reduced incidence of migraine and increased clarity of thinking. 
If we were doing this house-hunting/business/teaching/family/homemaking life without those health changes we'd be flat on the floor - just like we were for many years. Obviously not all health issues are eliminated but by not having as many to deal with I'm able to function better with the ones I still have.

In the kitchen recently I've made the most delicious raw cherry ripe slice (here's the last piece!)...

...and cherry, almond and amaranth rock cakes.

Being time poor I haven't been able to write up any new grain, dairy or sugar free recipes yet, and as I'm still experimenting that's a good thing because I'd like to refine them first, but the rock cakes (above) are a tried and true recipe I've shared in the past.

The only difference with these ones is that I used dried sour cherries last week instead of my usual dried cranberries, but you could use whatever you like. They also have a small amount of coconut palm sugar which is way healthier than refined sugar.

You can download the recipe HERE or scroll through my old food blog for more ideas over here.

I've made a good supply of beef bone broth and divided it into a few 500 ml containers for the freezer as this makes a nutritious base to soups, stews and casseroles.
Hubby loved this spicy Beef and Chorizo soup I made in the slow cooker. It was loaded with fresh veggies, crushed garlic, grated ginger and grated turmeric, chilli and herbs. A powerhouse of nutrition...

Most days for breakfast now we make a bowl of fresh berries with a big dollop of coconut milk yoghurt and 1/2 a grain/sugar/dairy free cacao flax muffin (which I make in a coffee mug in the microwave and takes just 1 minute). It's delicious, filling and healthy. Can't ask for more than that!

Mr E 'loves' kombucha tea and whenever we're out and about he buys a bottle, but they're not cheap. I don't mind him getting them because it's gut-healthy and a far better option than bottled soda, but I thought there's a better, more budget friendly way to do this so...

...I went to our local health food store and purchased a kombucha scoby and have my first 2 litre jar of kombucha tea brewing away. Once I get this under my belt I can have 2 or 3 jars brewing at a time so my beloved can drink kombucha as often as he likes. 

You know, there's a lot of things I'd like to learn, techniques I want to hone or improve upon, but basically I've been lazy in pursuing them.  

Whilst watching Masterchef Australia the other night something a contestant, Hoda, said really resonated with me about learning to do things ourselves. It was in regards to a particular ingredient (kataifi) which she had always purchased premade. She said one day as she was using this ingredient to make Kanafeh (a middle eastern dish) she thought to herself  'it can't be that hard to make' so she watched how it was done on YouTube and ever since has made her own! Even the judges who came by her bench as she made the kataifi were impressed.

I couldn't stop thinking about the simplicity of learning things these days through thousands upon thousands of varied blog or YouTube tutorials which cover everything from crochet to bonsai to watercolours to making kataifi...and that's when I decided to make my own kombucha.

Some of my friends use YouTube for tutorials all the time, in fact my dear friend Fee has even started sharing tutorials on her YouTube channel. My husband uses YouTube tutorials at school and for those many Jeep repairs, and I'd even uploaded a few stitchery tutes in the past when I was hosting a Christmas sew-a-long.
However, it's a new thing for me to actually watch things there apart from the odd music clip but I'll slowly begin to explore once I've compiled a list of the skills that interest me.

What about you? Where do you go online to learn new skills or to improve on the ones you have already?

I've always liked the quote "God is nearer one's heart in the garden than anywhere else on earth". 
It's from a poem by Dorothy Frances Gurney and inspired my new set of designs for the next issue of The Stitchery Club.

We'll be stitching a beautiful garden sampler along with four other designs.
Touches of applique appear here and there, even a heart of lace, and a few golden seed beads bring summer sparkle to a wheelbarrow of blooms.

Which is your favourite?

Last year I designed a garden themed issue as well and it was very popular so I've decided all new members who join The Stitchery Club before the 16th June will receive this March 2017 issue as a free gift, emailed to them within 24 hours of joining.

They can be stitching garden delights while they wait for the new June garden issue to arrive!

Would you like to know more?

Each issue is a PDF file emailed to your inbox on the 17th of each month. 
You can join and leave whenever you like - stay a month, a year...that decision is yours and there are no penalties.

I'd best be away now. 
The washing is ready to be hung on the line, my floors are in need of a thorough vacuum, the back patio needs some attention and I have a chicken to thaw before roasting it for dinner tonight.
And after that there's some stitching waiting and part three of a new Agatha Christie mini series to watch while I embroider. A jolly productive day I'd say.

I hope yours is too.


PS: Blogger are not forwarding comments via email at the moment so I haven't been able to reply to comments from the last blog post. Decided that's just not on, so I've added the 'reply' option below and I'll respond there until this glitch is resolved. xx


Jane said...

Jenny it is wonderful that your Blossom loved her cardi so much. It was a thing of beauty and will be well used.
I too love You Tube. I have used the tutorials to learn many new crochet stitches and as a way of perfecting others. Since joining your stitchery club I have accessed tutorials to find out how to do some of the the stitches. I also like using You Tube to revisist some TV shows. I particularly like a program from the BBC called "Wartime Farm". Series like these open your eyes to how blessed we really are.
You wont be disappointed with your Kombucha. My DIL introduced me to this drink a few years ago and gave me a scoby. I even take this with me when we go away in the caravan. I dont like fizzy drinks but I do like this slightly fermented deliciousness. I am currently using frozen raspberries as the flavour for my second ferment. I have used strawberries out of the garden. Mango is also delicious. I save the fruit from the second ferment and use in muffins.
You will find your house. It will simply be there one day and everything will fall into place. The finding is the hard part but it is so worth the effort. Sending up prayers in the hope this will make the 'find' happen sooner rather than later.

Joyce said...

Jenny, I’ve learned so much from watching videos on YouTube and before that going to the library. I love baking from scratch and growing my own fresh veggies and herbs. I’m lucky because of the climate here in Arizona I can grow almost all year. I also love to grow flowers because we all need some beauty in our lives. Love the June designs. The wheel barrow is my favorite. I don’t eat a lot of meat. Because of some digestive issues I can’t digest meat very well so learning new veggie dishes is fun for me.

Julie said...

Oh Jenny I cannot choose a favourite of your new stitchery designs ... they are all SOoooo beautiful! I am pleased the grain free way of eating is giving you such good results my friend. Blossoms cardy is just gorgeous!! I do use You tube sometimes but I often forget to look on there. One of the things I would like to learn this year is to make soap myself ... have always wanted to have a go. I am pleased to read your comment about blogger not sending comments to email as I found this myself & wondered what I had done to change things. Lets hope they resolve it soon. Take care dear Jenny Xxx

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Julie, have a look at Chel's blog. She has so many ways to make soap! https://goinggreyandslightlygreen.blogspot.com.au/ When we finally have a home of our own I will be setting up a soap making area. Can't wait. :-)

Ondrea said...

So lovely that Blossom is so appreciative of your gift and that the morning was so enjoyable. It is good to see your basket of supplements as I take the same which certainly help me too. Love your new designs. The sampler is beautiful and I particularly love that watering can with the lace heart. Your rock cake recipe is often baked here and hubby enjoys them too. Love the new Tilda fabrics. I am sure you will create a lovely project using them. Take care my lovely.

Christine M said...

Blossom's cardigan looks wonderful, Jenny. I love your garden sampler. I love Masterchef too and have learnt a lot from it. It was interesting watching Hoda make her kataifi. Hugs, Christine xx

Little Penpen said...

Happy Birthday to Blossom, the sweater is beautiful! I pray that you two will find your perfect home soon!!

Randi said...

Hi Jenny, I noticed with my daughter and young granddaughter here for the the weekend we ate very differently..and I am feeling the pain and swelling. I usually stick to sprouted breads, wish I knew how to make them. Well we had a weekend of donuts, waffles, potato salad, pizza.. way to much.. time for me to get back with eating right. Even though I drank lots of water, I didn't see much different..We to take extra vitamins.I used to work at a company that made them, so I was able to get them very cheap at the company store.. (50 cents) I didn't know if they were doing us any good until my husband fell from a tree 20 feet down onto a rock pile.. only a broken bone in his thumb, the doctor said he was his miracle case for the year. Bruised all over his back, and very sore.. but thank God his was alive. I told him God isn't finished with him yet. Take care.Love reading your posts on facebook.

Julie said...

Thanks Jenny .... will go have a look. Xx

Susie said...

Lovely post. I'm just about to search on how to make bone broth........

Mimi said...

Dear Jenny, your cardigan you embroidered is just gorgeous. This post speaks to me on so many levels. I blogged today about the myth of the working woman, and that we can all be Superwomen if we stop giving our powers away. What you are doing is exactly what I meant. Nurture your family in all ways. Stop giving that power away to retailers, fast food outlets, cafe's restaurants, pharmacies, supermarkets, department stores and so on. Don't be a slave to the mortgage. Be content and at peace. It's so important for us to set the tone for the next generation, and the one after. That is our ultimate power. You are such a wonderful example to us all, and to the young women who read and hunger for knowledge of a different way of life. Mimi xxx

selina said...

yep, YouTube for learning things is a great 'tool' & it's become a 'go-to' of sorts for me not just to learn but look up other things like documentaries & other lifestyles too

love the cardigan embroidery, very sweet

thanx for sharing

Helen L said...

What a beautiful little froggy, and the embroidery on the sweater is beautiful, and what a sweet comment your daughter gave you! And do you have your recipe for that beef stew in your old cooking blog? It looks delicious, along with that Cherry dessert! So many good things in your post today!! :-) Hugs, Helen

Kezzie said...

Hi Jenny

So excited to hear that your health has improved-and very timely with being busy with house searching. Your alternative creations look delicious so your skills will enable you both to enjoy yummy food along with health improvement.
I will pray that God will direct you to the home He has for you.
The embroidery on the cardigan was lovely-I have never thought of putting embroidery onto a garment before. That's such a great idea.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

There are many like you and I now who are seeking to revive the old ways, Mimi...and I do pray our example shines a bright light on the joy of living within our means, thinking before we buy, learning to do things ourselves - and still be able to have a little treat now and then with no guilt (or credit card debt). xx

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Thanks Helen. I don't have the stew recipe because I tend to make things up as I go along using what is in my fridge or pantry at the time. :-)

Kalli said...

Hi Jenny...did Blossom get an Instant Pot? I love mine! Also you will know the right home when you walk through the door, took us a long time too and we were thinking of building also. Then hubby went by a house and wanted to look so called the realtor...saw it next day and made offer within minutes! Hang in there it will happen!

Carla said...

Oh Jenny I can so relate to the building or buying and the mortgage issue. But we decided to build a house to our likes and wants. Scary for sure to know we'll be retiring and yet have a mortgage. We looked at houses and property for over a year. Drove thousand of miles so I feel your pain. I know we need to make some adjustments to our diet to maybe see some improvements in our health. I made one years back and that's no fried food. We might have it once or twice a month but there is so much more we could/should do. Kudos to you for taking the bull by the horns and doing it. Love the garden embroidery!

Susan said...

Jenny, no need to reply! I love your sampler examples for this year, and I can't pick a favorite, as when I look at them individually, they are each my favorite one, until I look at the next one. I really do like that little ladybug on the wheelbarrow, though. That's are the kind of touch you add to your designs that makes them so super special! I have been praying for you to find the perfect home. Do you have to build a larger home, or can you build a small one? Friends of mine started small, paid it off, added another section, paid it off, etc. They have quite a sizable house now, and they were late forties, early fifties when they started. It's taken them about ten years, I think. Of course, they did a lot of their own building, too. He's a cabinet maker and both of them are do-it-yourselfers, but top notch at anything they do. I don't know if that's possible with building codes and neighborhood zoning in Australia, but it's a thought. Your plants look wonderful, and I guess the frog agrees. I planted rosemary, lime basil and pineapple sage for herbs, along with jelly bean tomatoes, which are small and sweet. They are all in pots, because my backyard is a hillside into the woods and down to a ravine.

Cheryl B. said...

Hi Jenny! I have a good recipe for peanut butter/chocolate cookies if you are interested. My husband and I follow a low carb lifestyle for weight and health (but this month with daughter's wedding we have been bad!). I also have a bunch of low carb recipes on my Pinterest Board Low Carb Life. I post as Cheryl Fewell-Brown.


I store these in the freezer and give them a minute or two to thaw. My husband loves them. I buy sugar free Lily's brand chocolate chips on Amazon. They are super expensive so I bought some molds and am planning to make my own chocolate chips next!

Moira said...

I understand what you mean about the never ending house hunt! It took me 5 months to find one in my budget that would fit my needs. God opened the door for what he had prepared for me while closing doors that were not in his plans. I know he will supply all of your needs and just the perfect house for you.

Createology said...

I love reading your blog posts Jenny Dear and I can actually “hear” the relief you are feeling healthwise. Seeking a home is exhausting...I know because we have been at it three years now. I am finally beginning to see a resolve...July hopefully. You are wise to take such good care of you and your family. It is so uplifting to learn new things and I think of how my Grandma did it without internet and social media! We are very lucky indeed. Stay well and keep pursuing your dreams my friend. <3