Monday, 18 May 2020

counting my blessings

Hello lovely friends...
How was your week?
Mine felt extremely long indeed - by Wednesday I was convinced that it should already be Friday!  {{smiles}} 
It didn't help that my phone died a sudden and sad death when it fell out my pocket, plop! right into a tub of water, which meant I had to scurry about organizing a new one...
Or that poor Nancy had her wisdom teeth removed this week, meaning we are a currently a man down...
I am realising just how much she does to keep the wheel turning each day.
On top of all this, we went and added a rabbit, a guinea pig and a kitten to our family...
And for some reason, kitty thinks it is great fun waking me an hour earlier each morning, so I have been functioning on very little sleep the past couple days.

But amidst all the craziness of these unprecedented times and the daily struggles we face, it is wonderful to know how deeply our Saviour cares and that He is walking close beside us...
Nothing happens without His knowledge, and He promises to give us fresh grace and strength for each day...

I have have so much to be thankful for, and I know that there is joy to be found in each season of life, if we will but stop and notice...

I thought I would share a list of twelve little things I am thankful for right now...I always find it lifts my heart to count my blessings. ♥


♥ glorious Autumn weather, roses blooming, and the musical trill of the birds in the trees...

♥ being able to purchase an almost-new phone from a friend.

 ♥ cuddling up with Village Diary (by Miss Read) each evening, and imaging myself an inhabitant of Fairacre...


♥ harvesting new peas and baby spinach from the garden for our salads.

♥ early morning walks with my mom, little siblings and Timmy (our dog) before I go off to work.

♥ playing in crinkly piles of Autumn leaves with the children in my "other family" (I work as an au pair).


♥ kitty snuggles (yes, even in the middle of the night) with Tabitha.

♥ late night chats with my sister.

♥ making homemade pizza with my sisters whilst singing along to beautiful Praise music.



♥ laughter around the table and homemade delicious milk tart (a South African thing).

 ♥ discussing garden plans with my mom and coming home one afternoon to find Mom had been to the second-hand store,and had laid hold of various treasures to use as planters and decor for the garden.

♥ treating myself to two novels by Lynn Austin and excitedly anticipating their arrival in the mail.

~
May the joy of the Lord be our strength in the week ahead!

What are you thankful for today?

Blessings,
Kelly-Anne

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Introducing♥Tabitha

After almost year of hoping and dreaming...
I brought this sweet eight week old kitten home from the animal shelter yesterday.  ♥

 

Meet Tabitha, named after the character from Beatrix Potter's stories.♥


She has loads of spunk and energy, and a truly enormous purr for such a tiny bundle of fur...

 She has stolen our hearts ♥

I hope all my lovely readers are well and enjoying a beautiful week!

Blessings,
Kelly-Anne

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Orange, Almond & Polenta Cake


Hello dear friends and happy Thursday!
I hope that you have had a lovely week thus far...♥

Now that I am back at work, life is busier than ever, which means I don't have a lot of time for blogging...
Today the children and I spent the morning sewing felt hand puppets which we will finish off tomorrow.
I feel so thankful to be able to resume a somewhat normal way of life, and I am purposing to cherish each moment, and take things slower.

Apart from au pairing, I have been weeding and tidying the garden, and planting more spinach, lettuce and beetroot seeds.
We are also getting a delivery of manure today which I will add to our compost heap.
Stay tuned for a garden update coming soon!

And now, here is the recipe for the orange, almond and polenta cake I promised to share...
This cake is absolutely delicious served with fresh whipped cream and a cup of tea...it is also gluten-free♥  {{smiles}}



ORANGE, ALMOND AND POLENTA CAKE
 
100ml fresh orange juice
25ml sugar
5-6cm rosemary twig with leaves
150g butter
150g castor sugar
3 large eggs
5ml baking powder
Pinch salt
5ml finely grated orange rind
175g almond flour
75g polenta

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Grease a 20cm cake tin. 
Heat the orange juice and sugar over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. 
Remove from the heat, add rosemary twig and allow to infuse for five minutes. 
Remove the twig from the syrup. 
Set aside the syrup, you will need to reheat it and pour it over the cake later on. 
Beat the butter and castor sugar until creamy and add the eggs gradually while beating on a high speed, until light and fluffy. 
Use a mixing spoon to mix the baking powder, salt, orange rind, almond flour and polenta into the creamed mixture. 
Spoon the soft dough into the greased cake tin and level the surface. 
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden and done.
Remove from the oven, prick the hot cake and pour the hot orange syrup over the cake. 
Allow to cool before cutting.
Serve with cream.



Thank you so much for stopping by, dear friends. ♥

Blessings,
Kelly-Anne

Sunday, 3 May 2020

in my world ~ may

 
 
^ Pictures from Caleb's fourth birthday party last week

 outside my window ~
  After a few warm days, I awoke to the sound of softly falling rain, and a misty world outside my window.
My garden is smiling with all the lovely water it is receiving.

in my cup ~
Black rooibos tea.

around the house ~
Our home is a haven and a place of peace in these troubling times...
Whenever I have to run to the store for groceries, I always feel so thankful to come home to a loving family and a cosy house.

reading ~ 
I have just started The Chronicles of Fairacre by Miss Read...so far I am enjoying the stories of life in the country and the little village school. 

 listening to ~
I have been listening to a lot of music by The Gaither Vocal Band and David Phelps.  
I find their music so uplifting and encouraging.

watching ~
 We just finished watching season 7 of When Calls the Heart, and The Chosen, a beautiful series depicting the life of Jesus...
Season 1 sees the calling of the first disciples and Jesus' first miracles...
We were so blessed by each episode, and I cannot recommend this series highly enough...
You can watch the trailer here.

from the kitchen ~
I have been spending hours in the kitchen trying out new recipes and adding the best ones to our collection... 

creating ~
 It has become mandatory to wear a face mask when leaving the house, so I spent the better part of two days measuring, cutting and sewing face masks for each member of the family.
I am quite pleased with how they turned out.
I also spent a day sewing a matching apron for Caleb and his teddy, which I gave to Caleb for his birthday.

in the garden ~
My little garden is growing steadily; the peas are flowering, the sweet potatoes are sending out new runners, the spinach is producing prolifically, and little radish, lettuce and kale seedlings are popping up all over.

out and about ~
Lockdown restrictions have been lifted ever so slightly, and we are now allowed to exercise in our neighbourhood between 6am and 9am each day...
Oh, it feels so good to breathe in the crisp autumn air and enjoy a brisk walk again!

one of  my favourite things ~
Sitting outside in the garden with my mom, sipping a cup of coffee and chatting about various plans and ideas.

thankful for
Being able to go back to work tomorrow...
Because I am an au pair in a doctor's family, I have been given a permit to work during this next level of lockdown.
I am so looking forward to seeing the children again and getting back into a bit of a routine.

dreaming of ~
This lockdown ending and being able go for a walk along the beach again or go on a roadtrip.

hoping ~
To spend more time pottering about in my garden.
We had a busy week or two preparing for Caleb's birthday...there were gifts to make and a little party to plan, so I didn't get a chance to work in my garden at all.

quiet moments ~
Beth and I took a stroll around the block this morning; there was a slight lull in the rain and all was quiet and beautiful outside.

for the love of words ~
Every morning I read online from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional.
This is an excerpt from today's reading...
"Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee.  He hath said, "I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee."
I am so thankful for the peace we have in Christ.

~
Well, dear friends...  
I pray that the month of May would be a blessed and peaceful one amidst the turmoil and strife in the world.
I pray that you will find your strength and hope in Christ alone, and look to Him for wisdom and guidance.

I would also like to welcome sweet new readers...what a blessing it is to meet like-minded people in the lovely world of blogging!

With love,
Kelly-Anne

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

a birthday luncheon & family pictures

Hello dear readers and a blessed Wednesday to you.
I do hope that your week has been a lovely one thus far?
 Mine has been filled with plenty of gardening, organising, and even a quick trip to the local nursery for compost and a few punnets of cheery violas.

~
Today I am delighted to be sharing (lots) pictures from Gabrielle's celebratory birthday luncheon...
This sweet sister is now thirteen years old.  
When I began my blogging journey in 2009, she was barely two...
Back then she was my little buddy - she followed me everywhere, and wanted to be just like her older sister - we even shared a room. 
I feel truly blessed that we have maintained that close relationship, and still love doing things together! ♥


The birthday celebrations may have been quite simple, but the day was still so special...
Beth sewed a beautiful skirt for Gabrielle (which she is wearing in all these photographs), Nancy made lovely crocheted heart bunting to match Gabrielle's bedroom decor...the little ones gave her a new diary and colourful pens, and I told her I would get her started with a blog of her own, something she has been dreaming about for a long time.
You can now visit Gabrielle over at An Old Fashioned Girl.  ♥

While Gabrielle spent some time sewing with Mom, the girls and I baked some delicious eats, and decorated the party table while listening to beautiful soundtracks.  
It was quite festive in the kitchen that morning. {{smiles}}

 ^Of course we had to use our prettiest tea sets for the occasion...

^The delicious orange, almond and polenta cake Gabrielle requested...this cake is gluten-free.
I will be sharing the recipe next week. ♥

^I baked these little vegetable quiches the day before and served them with fresh basil.

 ^Nancy baked these gorgeous mini orange and dark chocolate eclairs and served them on a mirror. 

 
^Gabrielle and Caleb, ready for the festivities to commence!

 


^Gabrielle with Sofia.  How special our whole family could spend this time celebrating together.

 ^Gabrielle was so thankful Dad could be here for her birthday.

^Let the celebrations begin!  Rebekah sipping a cup of tea.

 ^The lovely birthday girl.

^Hmmm...

After tea we decided to take some family photographs in the front garden.
It may not have been the prettiest location for pictures, but they still came out quite nicely...can't wait to have a few printed once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

 ^Mom and Dad with Gabrielle.

^Gabrielle with Mom and Caleb.

 ^Beth and Gabrielle.

^Gabrielle with Nancy

 ^Rebekah and Gabrielle

 ^Mom and Gabrielle.

 ^Dad and Sofia.

 ^The Gray children - Caleb (3), Sofia (8), Rebekah (10), Gabrielle (13), Beth (15), Nancy (20) and yours truly.

 ^Mom and her older girls.

What a beautiful day of celebrating Gabrielle's life and the blessing of family. 

~
Have a beautiful week further, sweet friends.      

Blessings,
~ Kelly-Anne ~

Monday, 20 April 2020

small happinesses

 Hello sweet friends and happy Monday.
I do hope that your weekend was a lovely one indeed...

I thought I would stop in to let you know that I am guest posting over at Ponderings from the Inglenook again today...
The theme Elizabeth picked for the month of April was, A Dozen Small But Sure Happinesses.

^Picture taken at Gabrielle's birthday luncheon last Friday...stay tuned for a post coming later this week! ♥

How lovely it was to sit and write out a dozen little things that make me happy...
In these challenging times I believe it is important we keep a thankful heart and look for the beauty in every moment.

You can read my post over at Elizabeth's blog, Ponderings from the Inglenook ...it would be a joy to have you stop by.

Blessings to you, dear readers,
~ Kelly-Anne ~

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

little things♥lately

"What day is it?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favourite day," said Pooh.

~ A.A. Milne

Hello lovely readers...

The chilly Autumn sun is casting her golden morning light upon our little corner of the world.
There is a stillness in the air, broken only by the occasional rumble of an engine, and the cheerful twittering of the birds as they joyfully welcome the arrival of a brand new day.

Today should have been the second last day of our 21 day lockdown, but instead we face an additional two weeks of being confined to our homes...
As I am nursing an ear and throat infection, these quiet days at home are just what I need to regain my strength.

I thought I would stop in with a few pictures of the little things I have been enjoying lately. ♥
Our world may be all topsy turvey, but our home is a haven; a place of peace and calm in the midst of a turbulent sea...


I decided it was high time I pick up my knitting needles and begin working on a new project...
At the moment I am busy on a ribbed cowl in gorgeous grey yarn...
And when I need a little break from knitting, I have a rather gripping new book to read...
I came across A Light to My Path by historical and Biblical fiction author, Lynn Austin, in a second hand bookstore quite some time ago, and am currently 200 pages in to this beautifully written novel...
I would love to find the other books in this series.


My lovely baby spinach is growing quite prolifically, and we harvest leaves almost every evening for our salad...
I spent some time in the garden on Saturday just before I started feeling under the weather, so my plants are quite happy for the time being.
Dad and I need to find a moment to stake up the rambling pea plants, though...


A few weeks ago the sweet potatoes we had in our veggie basket started sending out little runners, so I cut them off, along with a small slice of the sweet potato, and popped them in some soil...
And here they are growing quite happily in my little garden.
We used to grow sweet potato on the farm and were always amazed at how easy they were maintain.


Our little ones have been spending hours playing out of doors...
The other day they were playing Zorro (they have been watching the 1957 Zorro series with Guy Williams), and have now moved on to some sort of camping game...sheets and blankets are daily hauled out to the front yard, and snacks are carried off in a basket to be munched in their tents.

We try to spend as much time outside as possible, and even had a family picnic in the front yard over the weekend.
Cooler weather is coming, so we are making the most of these moderate days.


How pretty these buds look amidst the greenery in this vase...
It has been wonderful spending time blessing our home lately, although, with nine people living here 24/7, things don't stay tidy for very long!  {{Smiles}}

 "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but those that bring simple pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
~ L.M. Montgomery


The girls found a little chameleon today...isn't he sweet?
I love chameleons and remember having so many in our garden when I was a child...at one stage there were even baby chameleons.


I just had to share a little peek of the birdy tea towels Mom and I have been sewing.
We have plenty more to sew (a friend gave us a big piece of waffle-weave fabric), but that will have to wait....this week we are planning a small high tea for Gabrielle who is celebrating her thirteenth birthday this coming Friday.


 Well, sweet friends, may your day be lovely as you strive to choose joy and spend time cultivating a thankful heart.

I would love to hear what you have been up to lately...it always brightens my day to hear from my dear readers!

With love,
~ Kelly-Anne 

Monday, 13 April 2020

weekend joys

 
 
 
 {Pictures of the table my sisters decorated so beautifully for our celebration dinner}

"There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ."
~ In Christ Alone, Keith Getty/Stuart Townend

I hope all my dear readers had a wonderful weekend celebrating what our precious Saviour did for us on the cross...  
Through Him we have peace, hope and the promise of eternal life with Him in glory!

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." 
~ Romans 5:8

Thursday, 9 April 2020

these quiet days...


 Early this morning I awoke to a little person peeping around my bedroom door.
Something had frightened them, so we snuggled together in my bed till it was time for me to get up and make coffee.
I am thankful for more time for hugs and cuddles with these precious ones.

Today is another glorious Autumn day; bright and clear with a slight crispness in the air...
I long to immerse myself in beauty of nature at this time of year by going for a ramble in the forest, or a stroll along the shoreline, but instead I slip on my gardening gloves and potter about sowing seeds, weeding and making our little garden pretty.
I am thankful for more time to spend in my happy place.

 

After spending an hour or so in the garden, I decided I would work on my to do list...
The kitchen windows received some love and are now all shiny, and our homegrown piquant peppers were finally pickled and bottled...  How delicious they will be on homemade pizza later this month.
I am thankful for more time to bless our home and family.

 Just now I am sipping a cup of something warm and pondering how blessed I am to share my journey through my little corner of the great wide web, and be encouraged and inspired by others who endeavor to do the same.
I am thankful for more time to spend connecting with friends, both old and new.
  
I think I may do a little sewing this afternoon...
Yesterday I made another tracksuit for Caleb, this time I used dark grey material, and I think he looks quite spiffy in it.
I am also wanting to cut and hem a couple tea towels so I can work on a little applique tomorrow (stay tuned for pictures of the final products).
I am thankful for more time to spend creating at my sewing and making items for my loved ones.


Or I might catch up on some reading...I am thoroughly engrossed in my book and am just 100 pages away from completing a 1059 page book.
I am thankful for more time to spend cultivating my imagination by the reading of good, wholesome books.

A little later we will gather to sing hymns, read God's Word and pray for wisdom and strength for our family and the people we care about...
I am thankful for these times we spend together as a family praising our heavenly Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine...
And I am thankful for the peace that reigns in our hearts in the midst of the worldwide pandemonium.

These days at home may be quiet in a sense that we don't see anyone or go anywhere, but our hands are busy and our hearts are happy...

I want to look back on these strange days with fond memories, happy in knowing we didn't waste a moment that was given to us.

Blessings to you, dear friends...
May the Easter weekend be one of great celebration as you reflect on what our Saviour did for us on the cross.
Let us remember that because of Jesus, we have peace and hope.

In Christ,
Kelly-Anne