Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Away


Friday there was great excitement as we set off for a much needed weekend away . We went to Montague, ,just 186km away from home. The children had never been there before but Eric and I have fond memories of a weekend in that area before we had children. It was great to take them to a place they had never been to before.

We took a slow drive, enjoying the scenery and stopping for coffee along the way. Just before we entered Montague the children were amazed by the little tunnel in the rocks with a British Fort on top dating back to 1899 , the second Anglo Boer war. We have just finished studying that period in our South African history so it had some meaning for them. I was amazed at the rocks on the mountainside and the way they stood up almost vertically. The scenery was just incredible.

We arrived at the campsite and the heavens opened. It was a little daunting but as soon as there was a break in the rain , we set up our tent for the weekend. Friends arrived later in the day and we all enjoyed a braai for dinner.

The highlight of the weekend was our trip to the nearby hot springs on a cold and rainy Saturday. The surrounding mountains are magnificent and it was amazing to be lying in that hot water amid such beauty . The steam rose off the water giving an almost mystical feeling .I have not felt so relaxed in a long time and spent many hours enjoying the warm water on the cold and rainy day. I had time to connect with J as we lazed in the water and had meaningful conversations. He said I was like a little kid enjoying myself...I was!

View of the hot springs.



Eric and the kids enjoying the hot springs.


Here is a little history on the springs:
History tells us that a 'Trekboer' (Pioneer Farmer) had injured his hand whilst repairing the wheel on one of his ox wagons and whilst bathing the hand in a stream nearby, discovered that the water was warm and decided to trace the stream to it's origins....the hot springs had been discovered! Allegedly the Farmer's hand, after repeated bathing in the water, healed in no time at all & the news of this "miracle spring" quickly spread throughout the Cape Colony. People started coming from all over the country (and world) to experience this natural wonder for themselves.......
However, based on the fact that there are various Khoi (Bushman) drawings on rocks and in caves in the greater Montague area, one can safely assume that the springs were most certainly known to these people for hundreds, of years before the aforementioned "discovery" and as such the real date of the origin of the spring is lost in the mists of time.
During "modern times" the spring and the land surrounding it has had a varied history and over the years , has changed hands many times with various owners putting it to different uses.
Since 1982, these springs are now part of the Avalon Springs Spa Resort Hotel and the springs are as natural and perfect as they have always been...
Bursting from a fissure in the rock face, in a cavern some 5 meters underground, these waters have healing powers which have yet to be fully understood. The water comes to the surface at a constant 43ÂșC and the by virtue of the fact that the rate of flow is unaffected, even by the worst droughts that the area has experienced, it is obviously coming from very deep down, with an estimated depth of the source at about 3kms. By virtue of the fact that the water is 100% clear & clean with a near perfect Ph when it reaches the surface and it contains a number of minerals, chemicals & other trace elements, as well as being mildly radio active, it is obviously undergoing natural filtration and picks up properties of the various rock strata that it is being forced through.
This "natural perfection" allows Avalon Springs to pump the water directly into the various available pools and spa baths WITHOUT treating, or in ANY WAY changing it, and as such visitors are able to enjoy these waters in their most natural form. For hygiene reasons the water is of course chlorinated, but by virtue of the fact that the water is NOT recycled and is continuously drained off into the river that flows past the property you are ALWAYS enjoying a natural wonder at it's finest...

We returned that evening for more of the hot springs, but sadly cut our night time swim short as K got a nasty cut on her toe.

Another thing I love , is to bring home some special treats from the places we visit. There is a fantastic farm stall in Montague where I bought a whole lot of treats to enjoy in the coming weeks....dried mango, apricots, sun dried tomatoes, banana chips, pumpkin seeds, honey and other yummy things.

Home is where the heart is and it is wonderful to be home safely and all wrapped up in my winter gown, surrounded by my family and looking forward to the arrival of my mum tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

South African Astronomical Observatory

Checking out the satellite dishes at the Observatory.
Today we visited the South African Astronomical Observatory. It is the national facility for optical astronomy in South Africa and is part of the National Research Foundation. Research in astronomy and astrophysics is conducted at this world class facility.
Its history began in 182o with the founding of the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope . It was the first scientific institute in Sub-Saharan Africa, and was established to map the southern skies for maritime navigation. Our guide told us that in those days, there was a clear view from the site to the harbour. A pistol would be fired to signal the noon , and ships in the harbour could see the smoke . Today the view is blocked by many buildings and the noon day gun is fired at precisely midday from Signal Hill.
By mid 20Th century, light and air pollution in Cape Town made it difficult to do astronomical work from this facility and the search for a darker, clearer site commenced.
Today one can visit the Observatory and enjoy a guided tour . Every second Saturday there are night tours and one can enjoy observing the stars with their telescopes. (Something we plan to do on a clear night soon!)The museum is fascinating and the guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge.
The massive telescope.

The Observatory.
The roof can be moved around to see different portions of the night sky and the floor can also be raised and lowered.The kids loved that!

The children had hands on fun making their own telescopes and binoculars.

It is well worth a visit! We were handed packs of information as well as night sky maps. We had great fun looking at the sky this evening and plan to be up early tomorrow to see the old crescent moon, Venus and Mars as they form a triangle in the early morning sky.






Saturday, April 18, 2009

Keepers and the week that was....

A considerable part of a moms life is spent preparing nutritious meals for the family to enjoy around the dining table. Not only a big job, but a very important one! As part of our Keepers at home group, we are teaching the girls to cook various meals. Friday afternoon was spent making cauliflower soup. The girls will be creating their very own recipe files for their own use when they become wives and mothers one day. Fun was had by all and each family had their own pot of soup for dinner.

School started up this week after a brief Easter holiday. It was just a 3 day week and a fair bit of work was achieved. J has proved to be very diligent with his self studies . He cleared his desk in preparation for his work and has made us very proud in the way he is handling his work. I thank God that he is motivated to do his work and understands that he is not doing it for me. He is taking ownership of his studies.

Z has struggled with handwriting for sometime and I have not put too much pressure on him, believing that it will fall into place and he will get there. After all he is only 8 . This week as he was writing, he said, "Mom , I think I just fainted!" I turned to him, expecting to see him looking all pale and weak ,but he sat there with a huge grin on his face pointing at his work. It was the most beautiful writing I have ever seen from him! We hugged and I praised him for his lovely work. It was such a moment of triumph for him. I am thankful he is home with me and he can develop at his own pace without the pressure of the system.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fall Harvest Where's the Fruit


This WeE- book has really been inspirational. Like the author ,Deborah Wuehler (a homeschooling mom) ,I often ponder over the fruit that I expect to see in my children's lives. Sometimes I wonder why the cornucopia seems empty. By the end of the book , I felt hopeful and encouraged.

She shares nuggets of wisdom regarding the fruits at the different stages of a child's life , from the very young ,through to the higher education years and then the fruits in our own lives. The book has encouraging scripture references throughout.

I felt especially challenged to prepare my children to receive from me by setting a good example to them by being loving, humble, gentle, forgiving and patient.

The WeE-book is available from http://www.theoldschoolhousestore.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=170 at only $1.95.

Monday, April 13, 2009

For Today Monday 13th April



Outside my window...it is really dark as Autumn has set in and the evenings are much cooler.

I am thinking...it would be good if the holidays were a little longer.

I am thankful for...the forests we have close to our home where we can unwind and clear the cobwebs.

From the learning rooms...well, not much as it has been holidays ,but we start a new phase this week as we head into the new term with Josh doing more self study and me taking the role of mentor. The younger two and I will be will tackling the character trait of orderliness. We have been reading Little Pilgrims Progress over the holiday.

From the kitchen and the braai...lamb chops, chicken , butternut salad , coleslaw, green salads

I am wearing...a comfortable pair of pants and a warm fleecy top in my favourite browns

I am creating...beanies for newborn babies as a local hospital needs them for the winter and K and I are knitting a teddy bear together for baby Eric.

I am going....to take the kids out for their last holiday outing to laser quest and 10 pin bowling in the morning.

I am reading...Preparing Your Daughter For Every Woman's Battle. A very well written book for anyone who has young ladies in their home!

I am hoping...to have a wonderful school term ahead.

I am hearing...the sounds of 5 guys playing a soccer match on the x box....not my favourite sound...

Around the house...there is a wonderful aroma of fresh cotton as my burner is burning.

One of my favorite things...hugs from my youngest whose primary love language is physical touch.

A few plans for the rest of the week: meet with my friend to plan our menu for our camping trip in two weeks time ;to have our dental check ups ; orthodontist for J and ENT check up for Z.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...


We had a walk in the forest this evening and the boys had great fun climbing a fallen tree. We have our nephew here again so the boys can make the most of their time together before my sister and her family leave for Ladybrand.
Please visit Peggys blog at at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Weekend

Cousin Janet, my precious sister, and me.

We had a wonderful dinner out with family on Saturday evening. It was great to meet my cousins husband. They met and married in the UK and were out here for a visit . My sister and her family ,as well as my dad ,joined us for delicious Italian food and an evening of good company.The younger generation of cousins had a great time Jay boarding and enjoying their pizzas and Italian ice cream! Fun was had by all!

Easter Sunday we decided not to attend church as we had been on Good Friday and the church was overflowing. We had a quiet morning and went on for a celebratory lunch with some special friends. The meal was superb: roast leg of lamb, roast chicken and potatoes , butternut, carrots, and cauliflower and broccoli in cheese sauce. A meal fit for a king!

After lunch the dads set off for the nearby green belt area to hide some Easter eggs for the kids. Just what we needed after that wonderful meal!
Nothing like enjoying Gods creation on an Autumn afternoon !


The green belt has a little waterfall and stream, so the kids could not resist a swim in the cold mountain water and best of all...there is a swing over the rock pool!



We headed back to their home for chocolate brownies and ice cream, rounded off with coffee. We truly had a great day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

2 Oceans Marathon


8km mark and still going strong.


My plans to have a lie in were dashed this morning as we were awoken by hovering helicopters,filming the runners in the 2 Oceans Marathon. Z and I jumped out of bed and walked up to the main road to watch the marathon runners go by. I love the sound of all those feet pummelling the tar. There were a number of supporters still clad in gowns and pyjamas. (I had hastily pulled on some clothes.) The sounds of cheering and vuvuzelas spurred the runners on.

The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon has earned a reputation as the world’s most beautiful marathon. It is 40 years old this year and the runners begin at Newlands and follow the main road all the way down to Muizenberg, along the False Bay coast, through Fish Hoek ,crossing the peninsula to Noordhoek, up Chapman's Peak, through Hout Bay, down Constantia Nek and back into Newlands......a grueling 56 km!

I was amazed by the numbers of "older " men and woman taking part. Some of the runners at the back were looking as if they may not make it too much further....we were at the 8km mark, so a very long way to go still ! Some looked very serious and others smiled, waved and greeted us as they ran past, others were chatting merrily among themselves and there was a group near the back who were spurring one another on and walking while raising their arms and doing breathing exercises. I admire them for their determination and stamina. Z and I had a great time watching them and the others were sorry to have missed the event.

Spurring one another on.

Some Thoughts

A friend sent this to me and I thought I should share it..enjoy
Anger is a condition in which
The tongue works faster than the mind .

You can't change the past,
but you can ruin the present
By worrying over the future

Love...and you shall be loved.
God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.
All people smile in the same language.

Everyone needs to be loved...
especially when they do not deserve it.
The real measure of a man's wealth is what he has invested in eternity.

Laughter is God's sunshine.
Everyone has beauty but not everyone sees it.
It's important for parents to live the same things they teach.

Thank God for what you have,
TRUST GOD for what you need.
If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow,
you have no today to be thankful for.
Man looks at outward appearance but the Lord looks within.

The choice you make today will usually affect tomorrow.
Take time to laugh,
for it is the music of the soul.

Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.
Love is strengthened by working through conflicts together. .

Harsh words break no bones but they do break hearts.
To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it.
We take for granted the things that we should be giving thanks for.

Love is the only thing that can be divided without being diminished.

Happiness is enhanced by others but does not depend upon others.

For every minute you are angry with someone,
you lose 60 seconds of happiness that you can never get back.
Do what you can,
for who you can,
with what you have,
and where you are.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Autumn Afternoon

We experienced a glorious Cape Autumn afternoon today. A friend headed off up the Tokai biking track with some of the children while I headed into the adjacent Arboretum with 6 children.
Some of the boys ready for their ride.

The children were eager to get into the forest to play.

The boys began working as boys often do when let loose in nature.

I always find that I am nourished when out in nature....the body, soul ,heart and mind are refreshed.

There is much to be got by perching in a tree....
The children expended their energy while I sat quietly under the trees contemplating the next school term and making notes for myself. One of my goals is to spend more time outdoors in nature. It is so easy when one lives in a city not to get out there. But we are blessed in the Cape to have beach, mountain and forest all nearby so there is no excuse not to get out there! It truly is refreshing to connect with nature and enjoy Gods creation.






Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holidays

Yippee! Eric has started preparing the wall around the pool area to paint it before the winter sets in. I am so glad it is finally happening. Will let you see how it looks when he is done.

The kids and I have been enjoying the break from school and have been spending time with my sister and her children. We have been packing up her home as she leaves at the end of the month for Ladybrand so her husband can work there. I will miss her so much! The cousins have been enjoying each others company and they are sleeping over here tonight. They are truly making hay while the sun shines!

This afternoon the children and I spent time reading about Jesus' death and resurrection .I am always moved to tears when I read about the sacrifice Christ made for us when He was nailed to the cross. We had some meaningful conversations together and the time was precious.

Besides that, I have been busy in the kitchen making another pot of grannys famous chicken soup, baking bread and my first attempt at pickled fish!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Daily Living

A dear friend sent me this email. I thought it too lovely not to share with you.

FOR THE GARDEN OF YOUR DAILY LIVING, PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:
1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul
PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness
PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another
NO GARDEN IS WITHOUT TURNIPS:
1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another
TO CONCLUDE OUR GARDEN WE MUST HAVE THYME:
1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends
THERE IS MUCH FRUIT IN YOUR GARDEN BECAUSE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Family Fun

Today we headed out of town to the winelands of Stellenbosh. We met up with friends at Kanu wine farm . It was sweltering, but the surroundings were so beatifull and the vineyards were displaying their Autumn colours. The children had a wonderful day playing with friends and enjoying the wide open spaces and the little dam. There was an easter egg hunt and a chance to decorate cookies .
K went to town decorating hers!

We enjoyed a fantastic magic show too.

There was wine tasting ,boerewors rolls or packed picnics on offer. It truly was a pleasant outing. I got to buy a big jar of black and green olives done with herbs and sundried tomatoes...yummy!!!



Saturday, April 4, 2009

Another Fabulous Friday

Friday being our end of term, was a fun filled day for us. We went to see the Naked Scientists...no they were not really naked!

The Naked Scientists at work.


Z enjoying the science centre.

After that a group of 12 children enjoyed the afternoon at our home. We were blessed with a windless, hot day so they enjoyed the pool and trampoline and the girls did some chocolate making. The kitchen was covered in chocolate and there was much licking of fingers and washing of spoons so they could be used again! It was great fun for all! Little Jess however had a nasty accident when she cut her foot on a shell that the dog had been chewing on the lawn...she had to be rushed off to the emergency room to have it seen to.

Here are some of the girls melting the chocolate and having fun!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Baby day

We had the most wonderful day today with baby Eric. He is nearly 4 weeks old and has been growing well. His mommy had some things to do today and we had the pleasure of taking care of him. K and I were thrilled to have him. The boys thought he was really cute and couldn't believe how tiny he is. Z counted his toes to make sure they were all there. Above, he is wearing the beanie I knitted him...a rather bright green but a very soft and warm , cotton knit. ( I finally found something to make out of the wool I had bought 13 years ago to make J a cardigan when he was a baby!)

We gave him a bath and washed his hair. He enjoyed his bath and lay there very peacefully. After bath, it was time for a bottle and a cuddle from K. He is such a contented little baby and we hope to have the pleasure of sharing his life. He is welcome here anytime!