Saturday, August 5, 2023

August arrives, Cully May turns 7, and a memory...

 Yesterday was Cully May's 7th birthday. Can you believe it? Many of you have followed along here since Blossom was 14 (she'll be 30 next birthday) watching her grow into the beautiful woman, daughter, wife and mama that she is now. Along the way there was so much excitement when her long-held dream of becoming a mummy became reality with the birth of precious Cully May in 2016...and now that ever-smiling cherub is seven. 

The most often expressed comment on the blog when I share photos of Cully May is her smile...and to be honest, it has brought me to tears at times when I read how her God-gifted smile made someone's day, or lifted them out of a dark place. What you see in this young lass is exactly who she is...a positive ray of sunshine, happiness and fierce loyalty, and a girl who loves Jesus. We are so blessed that she was born into our family, and I give thanks also for the times she has brought joy to some of your own hearts. If you're a believer, would you join us in praying that the Light of Christ will shine brighter and brighter through her life with each passing year? ((thank you))


The final month of our Australian winter, a month here in the northern tropics where I live when we begin to prepare for the end of beautiful warm days and slightly cooler nights, and plan how to care for the gardens when the intense heat of mid-spring arrives. 

Hubby built a new raised bed near the citrus trees last weekend, so I took the rocket, flowers, herbs and beetroot seedlings out of the very large bed behind the laundry and re-planted them in it. 

Then hubby turned the soil in the original large raised bed and added a lot more fertile soil to it in preparation for late winter planting that will see us into the end of spring. Yesterday I planted out mignonette lettuce and cucumber seedlings in that bed, dwarf beans seeds and winged pea seeds. Today I'll visit Bunnings for flower seedlings and plant them in it as well (no time to wait for flower seeds to sprout as I need good bug attracting flowers before the cucumbers and beans produce fruit). 

I pruned the roses right back in autumn and now they are healthier and producing some gorgeous blooms! One of the ways I give myself a blessing is to fill vases of home-grown roses and display them around the house where they delight my senses with their beauty and fragrance. Do you have a special blessing you gift yourself?

(These roses in the vase are Blue Moon on the left and Perfumed Passion on the right - Perfumed Passion is my favourite rose because it has such a strong and heady fragrance and blooms abundantly most of the year. I bought a second one of these roses last month, a bareroot one, and it's just beginning to burst forth with lots of green leaves and new stems.)

(This red rose is called Black Madonna, and is a long stemmed rose for cutting, As the flower opens wider it gets darker and darker. So lovely!)

(This rose is a Blue Moon and was the first rose I grew about four years ago. It starts off a vibrant pink, then as it opens wider a blue tinge comes into the pink. You notice more if you hold it next to a true pink rose.)

I always know when spring is around the corner because that's when the chives begin to blossom. Last year I made chive blossom vinegar and it is so good...I will make more this year. 


Well, it's been a few years since I had my original online Stitchery Club, which ran successfully for almost five years. The decision to close the Club was difficult, but we'd just bought this house and had a complete blank slate when it came to building gardens because there was none I knew my time would be needed elsewhere for a while.

But, after much prayer, and more than a few in-depth conversations with my dear husband, I have decided to open a brand new online Stitchery Club. It won't start until October, so there are no sign-ups open yet, but I am busy each day working on some lovely projects for the Club which I hope you'll love. But I shan't say anymore about that until September. 

Sneak peek...


Earlier in the week I roasted a whole chicken with lots of veggies for a yummy dinner, then the next day I made a large pot of the most delicious herby chicken noodle soup from some of the leftover chicken meat.

I've never added so many herbs to a chicken soup before, but wow, this was incredible! Into the broth I put generous amounts of fresh rosemary, parsley, bay, sage and native three times more garlic than usual. To serve I scattered more parsley and native thyme across the top. Hubby loved it, and the next day I had another bowl for lunch with some of that delicious grape focaccia bread I'd baked last Sunday. (I cut the focaccia into generous pieces and freeze it the day it's baked and then take out pieces during the week for times such as this.)

One of the books I bought for a couple of dollars at the op-shop recently has become my lunchtime reading. The stories inside have caused me to shed a few tears sometimes, but they are so inspiring, these strong Jewish women who survived Auschwitz and immigrated to Australia to begin a new life, a life which helped them rebuild their Jewish customs and faith through traditional Jewish food. They share their stories and their recipes throughout the book...

The remainder of the roast chicken is in the freezer to be used in a cous cous salad later this month, and the bones are simmering to make bone broth.

We've already eaten some of our own home-grown beetroot, and the next crop is not ready so I had to buy a bunch of good beetroot from the store this week as my husband simply loves the stuff when it's roasted or pickled. What I love most about beetroot are the leaves because I use them to make pesto. 

Upon cleaning out the fridges I was able to use up the last of the parmesan cheese, pine nuts and a handful of macadamia nuts, along with fresh garlic and plenty of perennial basil from the garden. A good lug of olive oil, salt and pepper, a lemon from our tree, and now I have a large jar of pesto which will last all month. I also added a 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast at the end for some extra cheesiness due to not having enough parmesan. 

Years ago I always made protein balls for my husband, but since moving here in late 2018 I'd succumbed to the store bought versions. Really not as nice, but quite convenient because over time I didn't even think of making my own again. Until now, when I assessed all the 'regular' items on my shopping list and made decisions about what not to buy anymore. 

These are so easy to make, and my husband is a very happy man! In a food processor I blend up natural almonds, fresh medjool dates, cacao, coconut, hemp seeds, vanilla essence and dried cranberries - all ingredients which are permanently found in my fridge or pantry. I can make forty large protein balls for the same price as buying twelve tiny ones from the supermarket. Double bonus - healthier and cheaper. 

I'm a cake kind of gal. Love a good cake. My man is a biscuit fellow (cookie). I do make them for him every so often, though I'm more inclined to bake a slice (traybake/bar) because that's a middle ground we both enjoy...but after considering 'why' I don't enjoy baking bikkies very often, it became clear that I don't want to spend too much of my precious kitchen hours mixing and baking fancy ones. Well, that was eye opening!

So a couple of weeks ago I baked a batch of "plain" gingernuts and hubby loved them. They are simple, plain, and stay crips for about ten days. This week I baked "plain" malt biscuits (cookies) because we've long enjoyed a store bought pack with a cup of tea (and they dunk well, a must for plain biscuits in our house)...

Not surprisingly these were delicious, and so now I'm on a roll of baking bikkies every 9-10 days and no longer buying any. 

I save bananas that are over-ripe in a bag in the fridge, and when I cleaned out that fridge yesterday I counted nine bananas. Oh. Wanting to bless Blossom, I chose to bake two of Donna Hay's banana breads, which quite truly is the best banana bread you could ever eat. 

The banana skins go into a very large sealed jug of water for about five days, then I use in as fertiliser in the garden, especially with my roses...they love banana water.

I also baked more of the Cypriot Pitta bread...

...and made another batch of mayonnaise

We're getting plenty of purple and white sweet potatoes from the garden so I baked what was left of the most recent harvest with some beetroot and carrots, plus leftover baby zucchini and very ripe cherry tomatoes. All of these became dinner last night (with the fresh mayo on the side)...

Lovely Queensland winter strawberries completed the meal! In my state we grow strawberries in winter because it's a lot like spring, and in August especially they are abundant and cheap. In another couple of weeks I'll buy loads and make jars of jam to last the next year.

For those who asked, Charlie was much improved until Cully May's birthday yesterday when he spent much of the day vomiting. His immune system took a beating last week and so he caught a tummy bug rather easily after Cully May had it the other night. She wasn't very sick, and bounced back quickly, but it knocked little Charlie around yesterday so we had to cancel the family birthday dinner for a few days. He's a lot chipper this morning Blossom tells me, but for the time being she's going to focus on quiet activities. Thank you so much for praying. xxxxx

I don't know why, but the past few days I've been remembering my Pop a lot. I have talked and shared a lot about Nana here on the blog, and a little about my dear Pop, but maybe not enough. I was reading from 1 Timothy this morning and in chapter 3:3 this just captured my heart because it perfectly described my grandfather..."not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy."

I started to weep and a concerned look came over my husband as he asked what was wrong. I read this to him and shared a bit about Pop, about how I never once heard him raise his voice, how he was the gentlest man I have ever known, how he adored Nana and I, how he worked a very hard low-paid job to support us and not once did he complain but saw it as a privilege, how his greatest joy was to sit at the table with us every morning and evening and share an unhurried simple meal with a big pot of tea and slices of buttered bread being the ever present side-dish. He was a small wiry man, a man nobody would notice. But I did. And I am so grateful that God chose him to play such a pivotal role in my childhood. I very truly have not one bad word to say about Pop...only praise, through these escaping tears which mirror a heart that still misses him so much. 

Dear ones, tell those who are special in your life just how much they mean to you, and tell them why. 

(Nana and Pop just before I came into their life)

God bless and may your weekend overflow with the goodness and grace of the Lord!


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Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Lovely new " Jennifer" with bird and herb to sign off your post today :)
I'll be looking for nutritional yeast, edelgistvlokken in Dutch. Good thing there's internet to narrow down the search. Sounds like a great ingredient to have on hand !
Great photo, colour filled post today! A great way to start the weekend :)
Wishing you all good things with the prep for your new stitchery club !
hugs, take care,

Lin said...

Great picture of Cully May on her birthday but poor little Charlie, I do hope he bounces back soon. And lovely memories of your Pop.
Delicious things happening in your kitchen. I love making biscuits but tend to go for the sort that don't need rolling out - just a flattened ball that spreads when baked. So quick and easy. xx

Ondrea said...

Wow! 7 already! Hope she had a nice birthday despite having to delay her celebration . I hope dear little Charlie is ok. Poor little guy. Thanks for the stroll around your garden smelling the roses and seeing the raised garden beds ready for a new abundance of food. I like your recipe for the protein balls. If I use flaked almonds I can avoid crunchy tooth breaking bits. Lots of lively food prep and baking happening there...none here lol.

gracie said...

Once again your post is the perfect start for my day. Happy birthday sweet Cully May. Sending hugs to Charlie. Thank you for being you!

Martha said...

A beautiful tribute to your Pop. Lovely memories for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer. Denmark πŸ“ž again. It's been so long since I've read anything on your blog, but I love πŸ’˜ the idea of a second time stitch club on the go again...😍😍 I still think about what you have made with all the TILDA fabric I sent to you a long time ago 😊 Because now it's us here in Denmark that can't get hold of it anymore, so I have to bye it uk. But that's ok to. Just popping in to say hi a send a big hug and well wishes to you and your family
HUGS ❤πŸ§‘πŸ’œπŸ’šπŸ’™ From
Lone in πŸ‡©πŸ‡°πŸ‡©πŸ‡°

Susan said...

A sweet post, from one end to the other, but oh, that ending is so wonderful. I've always tried to be sure that everyone in my life knows how much I love them, and why, and to demonstrate it as well as say it. We all have different love languages, they tell us now, and I want to make sure I hit everyone's!

As I looked at your pictures, I was impressed, once again, with the amount of beauty you bring into your life daily ... simple foods, beautiful flowers, the birds, everything you post about and photograph shows the loveliness you develop around you everywhere. It's a talent I don't have - too much clutter here, I suppose - but I recognize it and enjoy it when I read your blog - and Cully May's smile has certainly lifted me plenty of times. I will definitely pray for that, and more for this charming and loving granddaughter you share with us.

I look forward to the new stitchery club! I hope it brings you great joy and also good reward. I know Mr. E. has more gardening plans for your yard. The new things are just lovely. I hope some of his energy rubs off on my younger son, who is my garden tender. He fixed up my back deck today so I can sit out in the early mornings, like you do, and study scriptures. Not the exotic birds, but some every day ones will be out there keeping me company, hidden in the woods out back.

Bless you for such wonderfully inspiring posts, Miss Jennifer.

Linda said...

My word you have been busy in such a lovely and frugal minded way to boot, plus forward planning. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts and special memories with us all too. God bless - Linda

Mary-Louise said...

Hi Jennifer!, love your new sign off and a wee bird! Thank you soo much for a lovely blog! Happy Birthday Cully May!, May she grow in THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Lovely recipes to try, I love the recipe of pesto and left overs. I write from Co Mayo on the West Coast of Ireland. Where we are parked up in our converted 22 year old mini bus. The rain has come on, back door open and waves crash. ing! Lovely peaceful. Earlier I was sitting outside in the sunshine listening to worship songs on my phone and knitting!! I was some what depressed when I came away but tons better now in lovely Coastal Ireland. Yes I give myself a treat of flowers too!! Thanks again for your lovely emails. Much love ML

Tammy said...

Good Morning Dearest Jennifer. So lovely to receive a new post from you. Love hearing you talk about y0ur grand parents. Their love and affection and Love of God. And how they raised you to be such a wonderful all around down to Earth person is just amazing. And you are in the process of a new Stitchery club. I am so happy for you. You are such a beautiful soul and so full of creativity.

Love Always,


Allie said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY sweet Cully May! The smile that launched a thousand happy hearts! Lord, bless this child, these three children, and keep them safe and healthy!
Love seeing how creative you are in the kitchen. I'm not, and don't aspire to be, but love watching you and seeing what you come up with. And oh that picture of your Nan and Pop - I felt the same way about my grandparents - and miss them tremendously. Love those happy smiles!!!!!!!!!

Maureen “Mo” Olbrich said...

Jennifer- I love everything you post and write. And I’m looking forward to your new needlework club. I’ve been following you for several years now and all your writings, needlework and commentary are so inspiring. I love your strong faith and while I may not post am always praying for whatever you ask. I have one question- does gluten free flour work in your recipes? I’m pretty good at translating the measurements and oven. I have two daughters living in London(with Brits). I’m in Lake Oswego, Oregon USA and we are in a heat wave😊

Winifred said...

What a little beauty Cully May is, Rafaella too. Hope Charlie is getting better now.

Your garden produce is amazing & what fabulous things you make from it Jennifer.

Your Pop must have been so much like my granddad. Like Pop I never heard him get angry or raise his voice. He spent hours with me painting, playing games, taking me to the fields near the house to pick mushrooms really early in the morning & to the allotment where I enjoyed eating the little yellow tomatoes he grew especially for me. SUch lovely memories.

Createology said...

Happy belated Birthday to Cully May. Seven already! Her smile really brightens this world we are living in. Healing Energy for Charlie. Your garden is prolific dear. So much fresh food to nourish you and your family. Nana and Pop are such very special people in your life. Blessings Sweet Jennifer.

Susie said...

You're always so productive. I'm pleased your blog has recently come back into to my email feed - via bloglovin. It stopped for a while and I found it hard to remember to go in to blogs individually between work and house and three kids etc.

I have on my list for this week to go back over all of your patterns I've collected from the stitchery club, quilts etc to make a quilt label for a friend. I've used a few of your designs on quilt labels before. How ironic that you now mention you will be starting up again - it's wonderful.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Lone from Denmark!
Yes, I appreciated buying those Tilda fabrics through you back in 2010!
At the time it was the only way I could purchase them from times have changed. They are VERY expensive here now too, but much cheaper in the USA.
Bless you heaps!