Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mossbank Memories....

Well I have been a bit slow on the holidays posts so now they are sweet memories and not current happenings. I hope you will enjoy the memories as much as I do.
The day after my sisters birthday was another exciting day ,as we were expecting our younger sister and her family to arrive at Mossbank. It had been 3 months since we had seen them.
We took a walk on the plantation in the morning to look for iced puddles to jump on but didn't find too many. The wind was icy and the scent of pine amazing.Despite the cold the walk did us good. J went out with Uncle D to do some fire fighting in the area that afternoon.
J and Aunty D

There was a sweet reunion with the cousins and bittersweet for me..... As I hugged my sister, I cried that she should come home soon. She stepped back , took one look at me, and her face told me it would not be soon. She hadn't wanted to tell me on her arrival at Mossbank but it just so happened that way. I cried and cried.....

The cousins had brought' baby Coke bottles' with teats for the kids....they had fun with them!

The boys were inseparable from the moment they set eyes on one another. They played non stop all weekend! The girls had much to catch up with too!

Precious moment.

My sis and I took a walk as the sun was about to set.....talking,crying and praying. I admire her for being able to adapt to changing situations so well. We all spent the evening catching up and enjoying dinner together.

The cousins wanted to see whose fringe is longer!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Time flys when you having fun...

I can hardly believe that this time last week, we were with my dear sister and her family and they had just arrived here for the party weekend! The week has flown by and we have made some headway and had fun with our learning.

The children had the opportunity to do the illustrations for a bi weekly kids newspaper called "Learn the News". We thoroughly enjoy getting this in our inbox twice a week and often end up having lengthy discussions around the news articles. We look for the various countries on the map and I find it is a great way to broaden their general knowledge. The paper has stories related to world , Africa ,environment ,business and sport news as well as a section on this day in history.
J illustrated the story regarding the reopening of schools in Britain, despite swine flu.

Z illustrated the story on Angola where scientists are having a great time looking for dinosaur fossils.

And K did the illustration for the article on Malaysia where people who live their traditional way of life deep in the forests are ready to fight outsiders who come and cut down jungle trees
for their logs.

We have had fun with our Zoology studies and the children made seed bird feeders. We have been more aware of birds and it is amazing to see the children's interest sparked by our studies. K and I had the opportunity to watch some Egyptian geese one evening as we walked the dog while Z played soccer. Just today we had a Glossy Ibis in our garden. Z and I spotted a white dove this week too. We are also reading a fantastic living book called Citizen Bird, a beloved classic story of our feathered friends.

We hope to attract many more feathered friends to our garden with the seed feeders!

The children had fun making a salt dough moonscape and rocket for our Konos Studies. Z would be happy to stick to the astronomy forever.....

he says he would like to visit the moon some day.....
We moved on to some seasonal poetry today and then took advantage of the warm afternoon out in the garden and did some weeding and planting. I am hoping for some beautiful sunflowers and daisies!

The children had a great time in the garden and spent much time playing with little snails they had found. They named them, fed them leaves , raced them , talked to them and let them leave trails of slime on their arms...We found a lizard sunning himself, caterpillars, lady bugsand what looked like tiny cocoons under a nasturtium leaf.

We ended our day with a wonderful long walk in the forest with T. The children and dogs had a whale of a time splashing through the streams and getting thoroughly wet! I was glad to have worn my wellies too!

NEWSFLASH!!! Almost forgot to mention that Jand K made their grading for karate last night and J is now a blue belt and K is now orange!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The 40th

Well, what a party is all I can say! We had been helping T with preparations in the preceeding weeks for this special event and it was fatastic to arrive on Saturday night and see how it all pulled together in such a magnificent way!

The tent was up, the chickens there,the hay bales arranged,the dance floor laid for line dancing,the lanterns lit and the decor was something else!It felt like we had stepped right into a Western! She sure knows how to get it all together!
The cousins had a ball! It was a boys paradise. They spent the evening playing with their guns ,shooting geusts with water pistols and swopping clothes in the hopes they would not be recognised by their victims and finding lollipops and chocolate coins to eat. Not to mention putting some adults to shame on the dance floor!

It was great to have my sister and brother there too! I miss her SO much!
The happy couple....G proposed to L!!! Eveyone was thrilled all though some of the geusts had an inkling his might happen, I had no idea and shed a tear as he went down on bended knee and popped the question.

The geusts had great fun riding the mechanical bull. I was not going to try it as I dont do "spinning" was bad enough watching some of those cowboys!

Z had a great time and kept going back for more!
J and two pretty cowgirls! (sister and cousin)

The Saloon bar shoot out was a big hit too...

Father and son shoot out ....they kept going back for more!

Uncle C and the boys

T did an outstanding job on the cakes......

We partied until well past midnight and there was one tired little cowboy who had his fill of fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Lego League

Its the season for First Lego League again! It feels like just the other day that J took part in his first tournament. They did very well last year and got a trophy for the most innovative research.
This year, there are only 4 members on the team and we look forward to them doing well again. Schedules will be tight as he will be doing extra training for karate in preparation for competitions too! He sure does have a busy and interesting life!
If you would like to follow Team Equilibrium's blog, here is the link Enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Whirlwind weekend

Friday night brought a sweet reunion with my dear sister and her family. It was so good to see them again! They had travelled 13 hours by car to be here for her husbands brothers 40Th birthday party. We planned Z's party for the the Saturday afternoon so his cousins could be here here for the fun too.
On Saturday, I was so relieved that Z was feeling better and that we had been blessed with sunshine for the day. The children went to Acts club in the morning as usual. J continued with his copper beating and K made some wonderful omelettes in her egg cookery class. We headed on to register Z for Upward Soccer and to do some last minute shopping.
At 2.30 the fun began in Tokai Forest. It was time for Z,s Survivor Party! I feel so blessed to have this amazing forest on our doorstep. It was a no fuss ,no mess party and the kids had a great time!

The birthday boy.

The kiddies waiting their turn to take part. We had 18 children ranging in age from 5 to 14. The teens had plenty of fun joining in with all the challenges too!

The "stick game" was loads of fun! I was amazed at how far those children could jump!

We had log pillow fights and the big kids enjoyed that too!

The younger kids decided they needed a long run up for the long jump.

It was great to watch the kids work in teams to build shelters. They had a time limit and there was much fun had by all!

Pine needle stacking saw the teams pulling together again. They had to stack as many pine needles as they could in just two minutes.

They tossed water balloons to each other and the team who could keep it up the longest without dropping and breaking their balloon, won.
We ended off with party packs and sodas and a bag of chocolate coins for the overall winner. For the cake, we had orange cupcakes decorated with plastic flies!

After the party the kids had to rush off for mock grading and then it was on to the 40Th birthday party...that deserves a post of its own!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mossbank days...

Our first morning at my sister in Mossbank, was an early start. It was her birthday and we all woke up at the crack of dawn to wish her and give her her gifts. In her home, things are done differently...

Her husband grew up celebrating birthdays with cake and candles at dawn! He had bought a chocolate cake and we entered the room singing happy birthday. The kids loved the idea of chocolate cake first thing in the morning! The first birthday he celebrated as a married man was somewhat surprising for him as there was no cake....he asked where it was and my sister was rather confused as to why he was asking for cake so early in the morning. It never crossed his mind that other families didn't do the same thing. Needless to say, he now gets cake at dawn on his birthday!

It was a special time of gift giving as the children and I are seldom there on her birthday and this year we decided to make it extra special by each giving her a gift we had made. Z had made a beaded dragonfly fridge magnet, K a cream scarf, J gave her the wooden bowl he had made at woodwork and I gave her a mosaic mirror. I had made the mirror the week before we left on holiday and it was my first attempt at mosaic. I was so happy with the result. It had be guarded as we travelled as I didn't want it to break on our travels.

After breakfast I decided to make her a wire heart with rosemary and a Camellia. She loved it!

We spent the morning in preparation for the tea party she was to have that afternoon. By about 11 a.m. it was so cold and it began to snow....or so we thought!

My mum was there too by then and the kids were so excited about the snow, they phoned home to tell their dad! Sadly it turned out to be sleet and not the snow we were longing for. It melted shortly after hitting the ground.

The afternoon homemade hat tea party turned out to be a great success. We ate our fill on the most delectable Florentines, chocolate brownies, scones with jam and cream and other delicious tea time treats. My sister has wonderful caring friends and it was so lovely to meet them. Some of them had travelled more than an hour to get there! We are just not used to those sorts of distances in our home town but then country life is different.

I just loved my mums teddy bear hat and it certainly kept her warm!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Double Celebration

There has been great excitement in our home the last few days as today drew closer and closer! It is Z's 9th birthday today! This little guy of mine had a wonderful day and was truly blessed !
He was awake at 4a.m. and came creeping into our bed because there was a storm going on outside. (I think he had just woken up and knew it was not time for celebrating yet and couldn't fall asleep again as he was so excited about his big day!) When the alarm finally went off, he gleefully announced it was time to open presants...he said he had seen them lying on the floor at 4a.m. when he crept into our bed.
As our family tradition goes, the kids all pile onto our bed to open birthday presents and today was no different. He was so appreciative of his birthday gifts and it was fun to hear him exclaim, "oh that's just what I wanted, thank you!" I had been buying little things here and there and had them stored up for today so I knew that they were all items he would enjoy.
He requested a breakfast of French toast so that's what we had. Hubby went off to work and we headed over to Oma's house. He had a pile of gifts there too and a lovely chocolate cake. I took the opportunity of going for a work out while the children enjoyed the hour with Oma. After all in our home, birthdays are not school days....
We spent the afternoon at home ,cuddled on the couch, watching the movie "Gandhi." I had read a book about him to the younger two children yesterday, so they knew a little about him. ( So I was really sneaking in a little school anyway!)
Tonight we went out for ribs to celebrate the birthday and the fact that J had his braces removed yesterday.We had promised we would do that as soon as they came off , so tonight was the perfect night.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some hands on learning and fun

Well its been almost two weeks since we came home from our holiday and it felt like we had not achieved anything with school but as I look back, I see we have. It seems like the holiday was a life time away. Two of the children have had colds and fevers so that always interferes with the book work.I hope the littlest member of the family will be feeling much better before his big day on Tuesday. He will be nine!
K spent the better part of the week lying in bed and one of our furry members of the family decided to keep her company by finding herself a cosy spot on K's chest of drawers...I almost didn't even spot her there!

J made a model of DNA with pipe cleaners for his General Science. I was thrilled to have them on hand, as sometimes we need to dash out and buy supplies when he needs to do an experiment. We completed the module yesterday and he did very well with the study guides. I have yet to mark the test.

They all had fun doing an experiment to see how air pressure works for our Zoology studies. I must say, I am enjoying learning alongside my children! (excuse that basket of washing in the back ground!)

My sister had sent me an email showing what chefs do when they are bored. It was a whole lot of very creative sculptures using fruit and veg. The younger two decided to try their hand at some orange and lemon faces. Rather cute!

We had some fun yesterday with the pipe cleaners and made these creations. There are some wonderful sites on line where you can learn to make all sorts of things using pipe cleaners.

Today i headed off to the library to source the books we need for next week. I was so happy to find almost all that was on my list but when I got to the check out....I had the wrong library cards! How frustrating! Thankfully they will keep the books until Monday.

Z took a break from Acts club today as he was feeling under the weather and not up to running about. J continued with his copper beating course and K enjoyed cookery with eggs. They made deviled eggs and egg salad. They shared their cooking with the teachers and the boys doing the copper beating. I truly am grateful for the wonderful opportunity the children have to spend time learning new skills.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Are your words kind....

I recently read a quote by Jessica Hulcy of Konos that our words should always be kind, necessary and true. I have shared this with my children and by Gods grace, we are keeping a check on this in our home. In other words, if they don't fit into those categories.....don't say them!

It is so easy to say things to one another that are not necessary. We need to learn to guard our mouths and think of the consequences of what we may say. Will it hurt the other person?
We have been challenged in our home this week regarding this issue. Sometimes older children "chirp" unnecessaries which are really harmful to delicate little souls who are still growing. As parents we need to keep an eye on this and gently lead our children on right path when they slip up. Above all, we need to treat one another with love and let our words be kind, necessary and true.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

South Coast and beyond

Welcome to San Lameer. Take a break where nature, wildlife, and the ocean compliment this prestigious golf estate on the glorious South African coast in Kwa-Zulu Natal.....
We had the pleasure of an early morning breakfast with my Godfather from Cape Town, who happened to be at San Lameer for two days. It is just a stones throw from mums house and we set off early on our last day on the South Coast to enjoy the pleasure of his company and copious amounts of hot chocolate and a buffet style breakfast. It was lovely to see him and I would have loved to linger longer to experience the beauty of this place.

Later that day we headed off to Margate and ended up getting the keys locked in the was unfortunate but gave us the opportunity to explore a well stocked craft shop while waiting for a locksmith to arrive. This shop was very interesting with anything you might need or want when doing crafts, as well as various other bits and pieces. To my delight, I found a little brass bell that was very reasonably priced. I have always wanted a little bell in my home. As children, the bell was always rung at meal times to call the family to the table. Far more pleasing to the ear than yelling for everyone to come to the table! My dear older sister says she is STILL waiting for the bell to ring so that she can just arrive at the table for a meal! She will have that pleasure next time she visits my home!

We visited the beach market at Margate and found more items we had been looking out for and finally we rounded off our outing with a visit to Sabenza Villiage. Sebenza Village is situated in Margate surrounded by an 80 year old tropical garden. Stately rows of palm trees and large shade trees predominate the landscape. Central to the development is Paradise Plants Nursery with a flowing river and Koi dams.Surrounding the nursery are wooden shops housing a variety of crafts and artists. Ambiance and tranquility sets the tone in this bustling environment.

We enjoyed milkshakes and a bite to eat at the Tree Top Cafe which is built around the Indian Toon Tree, tree house style. The Indian Toon Tree is old in years but full of vibrance and full of leaves. It comes to full life in Summer and provides a wonderful shade. The Indian Toon Tree is rare and we enjoyed our experience.

We had a final beach walk late that afternoon and the younger children had a last frolic in the warm Indian ocean while mum and I spent some time chatting on the beach.

The lush tropical vegetation is so different to our vegetation down south. The children enjoyed hiding among the enormous foliage.

We spotted this interesting tree with strange looking fruit. The monkeys seem to enjoy it and mum thought it was the Jack Fruit. I couldn't identify it in my field guide so if you know what it is, please let me know!

The following day we all set off together in a north westerly direction to my older sister and her husbands home. It was a pleasant drive even though the journey was long. I couldn't help noticing the change in vegetation as we headed away from the coast. The tropical vegetation faded away and sugar cane fields and aloes took their place. Mum had prepared a delicious lunch of fresh rolls with all sorts of tasty fillings and we stopped alongside the road to stretch our legs and enjoy our lunch.
As we journeyed on after lunch, the land became more and more hilly. So typical of that part of our beautiful land. I noticed the Zulu huts scattered on the hills, goats and cows surrounding the huts, children walking home from school, spaza shops and some women doing their washing in a river. The land was dry and brown, yet beautiful. We passed a number of fires and saw the black scars of previous fires. This is fire season in KZN.

We finally arrived at our destination, Mossbank. It was as if we had stepped from the sauna into the freezer! It was wonderful to be there again and to see my sister. She had warned us it was cold and she was right!