Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Ups and downs of life...

Miss Rafaella and our adventure...

 Yesterday was a definite day of ups because I had as my companion 3yo Rafaella, and we had a day of 'adventuring'. Whenever Cully May or Rafaella spend the day with me they declare it to be an adventure, so I try to do fun things with them, the kind of things us adults don't often do ourselves.

Cully May goes to kindy every Monday at the moment, as next year she will attend school Mon-Fri. These few months of spending one day a week at kindy have shown us all that her natural extrovert personality is ready and eager for school when the first term begins at the end of January. For those overseas who may not know, our Australian school year runs from January to December and is broken up into four terms.

So these Mondays of late have given Rafaella some extra time with mummy (Blossom), daddy and baby Charlie, but it's also gave her and I the opportunity to go off and adventure alone, something we've never done without Cully May present.

Our morning began at the library, because she simply loves our library trips. Being surrounded by books, and in the cool quiet space of the children's section, her little introvert self is very happy and content...

I stopped counting after reading nine books because once I'd finished a book she would replace it carefully on the shelf and bring me another. Eventually she decided it was time to leave the library and go down to the beach for ice-cream, but first I suggested we stop off at the shopping centre so I could buy her (and Cully May) a pair of sunglasses. She was thrilled! "I will get pink sunglasses, Nana!" she declared...and so she did. 

I chose children's Cancer Council glasses as the sun here in the tropics is fierce on eyes, young and old alike. She choose a red polka dot pair for her big sister and then we got back in the car and drove to the beach...

We walked along the shore and collected seas shells, as she loves playing with my own collection of shells whenever she visits, and carefully put them in my pocket for her to take home later.

Ice cream was well deserved after our walk along the scorching shore line, though we had to eat fast as it melted quickly. 

After leaving the beach we dropped in to visit Poppy at his work and then picked up a Happy Meal at McDonalds before arriving at my house where we could relax in the air conditioning. 

Once lunch was over we played with jigsaw puzzles (she is VERY good at them), painted, did some colouring, and then I gave Rafaella her first lesson in hand embroidery. She got a little bit frustrated because the yarn kept coming out of the needle (we used a large plastic needle and yarn) but eventually got the knack of holding the needle in such a way that the yarn didn't slip out. Apparently sewing with Nana was her most talked about topic with mummy and Cully May today and she's looking forward to doing more. 

After dropping her home later in the afternoon, this Nana was very tired and needed a nice cup of tea with a bit of quiet time before getting started on dinner. What a wonderful day it was!

Pantry Preparedness and utilising more storage...

Have you noticed a lot of empty shelves in your local supermarket lately? I have. In fact many of the items I regularly purchase have disappeared, and though we have seen the signs of this shortage coming for quite a while, it's still a shock when it happens.

I decided to move things around in the kitchen after Blossom offered us an old bookcase, planning to use the shelves for more pantry preparedness. I shifted the old cookbook shelves across into the hall and spent this morning compiling a fresh list of items to purchase and store in these larger shelves. I am also going to add a bit of prettiness, as you do, right? Wicker baskets too easily become mouldy in the wet season due to the constant heat and high humidity, so I have a few clear plastic baskets which I intend lining with pretty fabric next week. I also intend making shelf liners and/or edging...which will take time, but having a homemaking project on the go always makes me happy. 

Once my large shopping list was written I made the order online and it will be delivered tomorrow morning, though I do wonder how much of it will arrive. Even as I was doing the online order, so many items were marked 'out of stock', and some which were in stock had limits of one or two only.

Making use of the space you have for storing extra food items is wise, even in a small house. My husband has shelving in his study dedicated to cans and jars, and that's great, but as he is at work during the day the air conditioning in the study is not used and that room becomes very hot indeed.

The kitchen however, which has the walk-in-pantry just opposite, has the air conditioning on all day so in the new shelving I will place items that really should be stored in a slightly cooler place than hubby's study.

New aprons...

I recently purchased two new aprons from makers on Etsy. They are lovely floral prints with ruffled edges and pockets - just my style, and they look lovely hanging in the kitchen when not being worn as I cook and do housework. I had plans to make more aprons myself, but just as you support my home-business by purchasing patterns, I also like to support the home businesses of others. 

The seller of the cream apron has no more, but the seller of the blue polka dot apron (which comes fully lined!) has many aprons in her store - perfect for gift giving. If you're interested she is HERE, and believe me even the wrapping is delightful. Her parcel brightened my day, and the apron brightened my kitchen!

A Quiet Life...

Do you remember last year when I shared this pattern? I stitched it in two colourways, one pastel and one more of a 50's palette. Over the weekend I needed something simple and calming to make (I'll explain later) so I chose to turn the retro block into a wrap for our coffee plunger...

The colours work well in our kitchen, and though I've never liked the creamy latte brown of the cupboards and fittings, it does lend itself to allowing bright colours like the ones I scatter around to stand out. Even those aprons lift the gloom of the brown. 

The back is tied with two bows - as I said, a very simple and relaxing project, and also a new UFO finish for November. It's gratifying to make wonderfully functional items from orphan stitcheries!

The downs of life...

I've been quiet here again because of a long run of very nasty migraines. They came in all manner - barometric migraines, migraine with aura, silent migraines which left me unable to walk and my whole body a wobbly mess...and each one came on just as the previous one was ending. 

So many food triggers have been eliminated with great success in the past year or two, but it only occurred to me on Sunday that I had once more introduced chocolate into my diet, as well as a single cup of real coffee each morning (after drinking only decaf for a year). It appears those two changes have been my undoing and a hard and painful lesson learned. 

I was just coming good yesterday morning in time to pick up Rafaella, as I had cancelled on her last Friday and though very understanding, her 3yo heart was sad at not spending a day alone with Nana. That's why yesterday was so important, I just couldn't bear to disappoint her again. Fortunately the pain was gone after breakfast and since then I've been careful to exclude the two nasties - chocolate and real coffee - once again. Sigh. I shall miss them, though not the pain they cause.

In my quiet times...

I am re-reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder and gaining much appreciation for the labours of homemaking back in the 1800's. It's been about fifteen years since I read this book to my children, so in many ways it feels 'new' again because this time around I'm reading through my homemaker eyes and not from a desire to teach good life principles to my children. 

I'm also stitching a wedding memento for hubby and I as we approach the celebration of 30 years of marriage, just a few days after Christmas. It will be part of my Faith, Heart & Home pattern club next year because I get many requests for this kind of design. Most people will think of this design as a lovely gift for a new couple, but I'm looking with new eyes once more...it is a continuing remembrance of my own marriage.

Back to that "A Quiet Life" stitchery...

If you missed the original free download of the pattern, it's here again for you now. Use the link below and you can be stitching it today. 

DOWNLOAD "A Quiet Life" pattern

Let me know what things in your life are being viewed through 'new eyes' these days? Are you finding a shortage of grocery supplies in your own area? Have you finished any UFO's this month?

I'd love to hear from you, and as my readers have told me in emails, they love reading your comments and thoughts too. 

So dear hearts, don't hold back but share your own thoughts in the comments for you may inspire others by doing so. I am so blessed to receive every comment, but I do understand why many prefer to email me privately. 

Bless you lovely friends, and may the days ahead overflow with the wisdom of God so that you may make good and sound decisions. May He prepare you for all that is yet to come, and give you a heart which offers genuine kindness and grace towards others. 



  1. Hi Jennifer,
    That was quite an active day with Rafaella ! You have captured the day with such fun photo's ! Cute sunglasses :) Does the icecream turn into a milkshake if not eaten fast enough ? :) It's so warm there !
    Thanks for sharing your kitchen photo's :)
    I hear your sigh about no real coffee and chocolate. I had that with chocolate about 25 years ago. Amazing how many holidays have chocolate associated with them. After a good few years of no chocolate I started bit by bit of the good stuff. Now I enjoy a piece now and then.
    I also enjoy the morning brew :) Great to kick start ones day !
    hugs, take care,

  2. Hello dear Jenny. I am blessed to spend lots of time with my three grandchildren and it is a sweet tired at the end of a day with them. It is nice to hear you are able to be out and about freely. I think you are wise to fatten your pantry and we are doing the same. I do so appreciate and look forward to your posts. Stay well ❤️🙏😊

  3. Reading your blog is like spending five minutes in a land across the world, with grandchildren I have yet to meet.
    Have a lovely anniversary!

  4. What a wonderful day you spent with Rafaella. I am sure she will remember it for a long time.
    Like you, here in the States, certain products are no longer available and many items seem to rotate in their availability. Food has gone up in price, but not necessarily in quality. We try to stock up on shelf-stable items, but it is hard to get some stuff. I too had a migraine headache for several days. It was different than my usual occipital migraines. I am glad you figured out the cause of your recent migraines.

  5. Always so much joy in a day spent one on one with a child, especially a grandchild.
    Your new extra storage shelves are very handy, you could attach sturdy castors to the bottom with extra wood and have it as a moveable unit in the big pantry with your blender etc on top.
    Your new aprons are very pretty and certainly brighten up your cupboard, I too like to support other craftspeople even if it's something I can make myself.
    So good to hear the migraines will be gone again and you can plan your days ahead.

  6. I have been noticing gaps on shelves, or very few items left, and online ordering is definitely now hit and miss. Between this and the increasing price of meat and vegetables, I am very concerned. I have utilised your and Gdonna’s two weeks of meals insights, have worked out my meals, and am stocking up on two months worth of groceries based on this, to cover the Christmas rush and potential shortages. Your posts are always a breath of fresh air, I grab a cup of tea and snuggle down to read them as soon as I see a new one. I am about to collect all my UFO’s in one place as next year is my year to sit down, enjoy them, and finish them!

    1. That would be great if the main pantry was wide, but it's long and very narrow. Behind where the 'new' shelves are in the photo is the linen cupboard, not more pantry. We have a small house with barely any storage so I do not mind this shelving being out in the kitchen walkway. :-)

  7. What a delightful post dear Jennifer. What a wonderful adventure you had with Cully May. I took Sid to the Library yesterday too but because we are in Level 2 here there are no interactional toys out & you are only allowed in for 15 minutes. Then we too had icecream!! I am always exhausted at the end of these days but I do enjoy our time together. I'm so sorry to read about your migraines again but I hope the elimination keeps them at bay. Yes we are having many food shortages here too - cat food is one of them & there are huge limits on the amount you can buy. I think this is the future for awhile unfortunately. Wishing you a restful migraine free day my dear friend xxx

  8. Your adventure with your sweet granddaughter made me smile. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a child. I find it interesting to see what items are missing from store shelves. I’m trying to make a game of it for our weekly meal plan. If something is not available, I try to think outside the box for an alternative, like Ma, in the Little House books! Praying you remain migraine free this week.

  9. Hello My Dear friend Jennifer. I really enjoyed your blog post. My how fast Rafaella has grown up...Seems like only last week Blossom was delivering her. What a wonderful addition of a shelf for your pantry items. I look forward to one day being a grandmother If and when Savannah decides to marry.

  10. Dear Jennifer, thank you for another lovely post. I enjoyed your retelling of your fun day with Rafaella. She is such a cutie. And thank you for the lovely design. I think I'll make it for our anniversary (53rd) because we "do have" a quiet life intentionally. This past months of quarantine have been very restful. All we go out for is groceries and attend Mass. I'm so sorry you can't have chocolate. That would be a great blow for me because I love the stuff. Coffee isn't a problem since I'm allergic to caffeine. Even the decaf with 3% caffeine makes me ill. Take care. I send blessings your way.

  11. Oh girl how I ache for a granddaughter - Rafaella is the sweetest thing, what an absolute delight for her to have you all to herself! Love the sunglasses!
    Yes, many empty shelves here as well. We've stocked up so well though, that I was running out of room - never thought that would happen at THIS house. Last week, I rearranged everything, removed dishes and glassware that we never use, and organized completely. I actually have room now, lol! A little organization goes a long way. Your new shelves are great! And your kitchen is such a cheerful place to be! I hang my dish towel on my oven handle as well....it's the only thing they're good for after the blow-up, lol!
    Your new aprons are so pretty girl, and so is your new press cozy! I need to make one of those myself. Probably not before the holidays though. Thank you for the lovely pattern - I could use a quiet life about now!
    I'm so glad you noticed your triggers. I wonder if they make decaf chocolate?? Are you able to drink decaf coffee? I drink two cups of regular coffee in the morning, then if I want coffee later, I drink decaf. Praying those migraines stay away!!!
    I can't believe I missed my own 30 year anniversary, lol. Well, we've never celebrated them....so that's ok. I can't wait to see your anniversary design. Yikes - I've been married for half my life! Never thought I would say that.
    May God fill us with His grace and give us a heart of mercy and kindness.....we will need them in the days to come, I think! Love you girl!

  12. I love spending days with my granddaughters - I love my grandson too but spending time with an almost 13 year old boy is so different!
    The girls have learned to cross stitch. One of them loves it so much she takes it upon herself to create a lovely stitching and gifts them. She gave one to her sister who hung it on her wall. I love to pass down things like this.
    I'm so glad you had a wonderful day with Rafaella with no migraines to deal with. What a blessing.
    Blessings to you and yours...

  13. Aren't grands wonderful. We have two, 11 and 15, about an hour away and we see weekly. The other three are 12 hours away and we haven't seen for two years. The oldest and her hubby are flying in for the weekend. I love reading about your life. Thank you. Have a great turkey day. Stay safe

  14. How wonderful to have a special day each week with Nana! My gran was my favourite person in the world and for many reasons the most important person in my life so any day spent on my own with her was my idea of heaven. I can still remember all the simple things that we did together like baking and going for walks during which time she would tell me the names of plants. My gran had so much patience and love and I can see that you have also, Cully May is a lucky girl,she will remember all of these times for ever. So sorry for your migraine problems, I have them too but rarely these days as mine were very much linked to my menstual cycle. It is sad to have to eliminate things but it can make a big difference. X

  15. What a lovely post. Sorry about the migraines and no chocolate. That would be an awful choice, but I suppose the terrible pain makes it easier. Thank you for the reminder of that wonderful pattern. We have strange shortages here, and sometimes it's a restocking problem and sometimes an availability problem. Everyone has signs out for hiring, but everyone still seems shorthanded. What a great day with Rafaella. She is so fortunate to have you, and you were fortunate not to have a headache! May the Lord bless and keep you, Jennifer.

  16. Dear Jenny I do hope you get my replies, as I never seem to see them published? I wonder if I am doing it right? XXML

    1. Yes, I do. :-)
      If the blog post is more than 7 days old the comments do not publish until I have seen them and approve them (I get so many spammers when the blog posts are older). Yours are always approved within 12 hours. :-) xx

    2. Dear Jenny, I love to read your posts each week and how you deal with the problems (little & big) that crop up in your life. I also love your patterns, and although not very religious myself, I envy the peace it gives you. I have been in hospital for the last 7 weeks with a nasty infection I have been fighting following a hip replacement last December, and it looks like I will be here for at least another 6 weeks. I find dear Jenny that re-reading your posts calm me if I get a bit anxious. Thank you for your generosity & kind spirit, and hope to keep reading about your life, family & craftiness.

    3. Dear Suzy Q, know that you are in my prayers, and I hope that your recovery picks up and the future is far brighter for you. ((hugs))


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