Saturday, January 30, 2010

Market morning

This morning J went off to yet more karate training in Camps Bay. Hubby took him along and enjoyed coffee and the newspaper in a nearby coffee shop while J was put through his paces. Poor boy got an accidental punch on the nose but took it well. The training over the next couple of months will be intensive as he prepares to get his province colours.
K had slept over at her BFF and they had a fun day planned.
Z and I , feeling a little better, decided to venture off to one of the local markets with Tess and little Z. I was really in search of some more organic herbs or veg for my garden. I didn't have any joy with that but we had a great time enjoying all the delicious tasters on offer. I ate my full of various types olives, cheeses, pestos and the like. I bought some tasty red pepper pesto and could have bought so much more!

The boys enjoyed sand art, a horse ride, the jungle gyms and yummy cupcakes and ice bites. My poor boy did not last to long, before he felt really yuck. Perhaps the little outing was too much for him . We came home and he spent the remainder of the day in my bed. Tomorrow will be a quiet day for him....

Friday, January 29, 2010

What a week

This week has been week full of trips to the dentist and doctor. Thankfully Z and I are now finally on the mend. We were both put onto antibiotics, nasal spray and cortisone for acute sinusitis. The poor boy was up much of last night due to coughing and a nose that needed constant blowing. He is still sounding rather croaky and looking rather pale with rings under the eyes. All of this has been as a result of a the trip we made to the super tubes on the first day of term , many of the children were ill thereafter. I don't want to know what is in that water!
Hubby had all his check ups for diabetes and all is well, all blood levels all within normal ranges.
A visit to the dentist brought unwelcome news for J, as his wisdom teeth are already coming through and need to come out. That is something he does not want to go through! He is very young for wisdom teeth, but if left undone, it will mess up all the orthodontics.
K, the only one we thought would escape the orthodontist, found out that she too needs braces and has milk teeth with no adult teeth to replace them! Her wisdoms are already pushing through and impacting her molars...poor girl is not too happy either. Next week we will visit the orthodontist and get the run down of what needs to be done. Mmmm.....I thought it would be a simple annual dental check up!
School in general has been slow with all the sickness this week, but we have managed plenty of reading. The older two have forged ahead with their mathematics, languages and other work. I hope that by next week we can get back into a regular school routine.

My little garden continues to be a source of enjoyment as I head out there every morning to water and inspect the plants. Sadly this week I lost a lettuce, a tomato and a sunflower to those pesky cutworms. I planted some marigolds, bringals and peppers. I plan to visit the market tomorrow to find some more to plant...

This evenings harvest is pictured above. I used the basil to make one of the most delicious dips/ spreads! The recipe calls for sun dried tomatoes, almonds, garlic, olive oil and a handful of fresh basil. It is great with cheese or cold meats or simply on its own.

The tomatoes need staking, the lettuces are doing well and the garden needs feeding. There are more pots to paint and fill....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yum yum!

Oh my boy makes me laugh! He has done a 360 turn about from being one who had such a selective diet, to one who begged me to make chili con carne (or nachos as we call it) for dinner tonight! He gobbled down a chicken pie at lunch time today and has added celery, corn and red peppers to his list of foods. He cant wait for me to make lasagna!
This in my books is a small miracle! He devoured his dinner tonight and gave me the thumbs up!

I am sure it is not easy to understand if one has never had a child who is so peculiar about food but I am rejoicing. No more teasing for him and no more stressing about his diet! I
believe all children get there in their own time and now is his!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Flower fun

Today we met with the Keepers club for the first time this year. The weather was beautiful and we were all looking forward to getting together for swimming and flower fun.

God has given us so many magnificent flowers to enjoy and we thought the girls would enjoy learning to use this amazing source of fragrance and beauty to decorate their homes now and when they have their own homes too!

They worked happily as H explained and demonstrated how to make a centre piece arrangement.

K so enjoyed creating her arrangement.

After all that hard work, the kiddies took to the pool and enjoyed snacks and ice lollys before learning how to make buttonholes.

I showed them how to do the buttonholes....the wiring is a little tricky for those little fingers. It brought back happy memories of the days my dear sister and I did wedding flowers and spent hours wiring and taping flowers. I so enjoy being creative.

The finished product was beautiful!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In the garden

The garden continues to bring me pleasure as I water it early each morning and check for growth or bugs that shouldn't be there! Today I picked my first radish and enjoyed the fresh peppery taste of it.

Look what we enjoyed with lunch one day this week! Z even ate the freshly picked lettuce on his cheese sandwich!

On that note, you know he has been a very selective eater for a long time.... I came up with a plan that is working: he has to try 1 teaspoon of what ever I make that he "doesn't eat". It is working SO well and he has tried the following in the last week: chili con carne (loved it), bobotie (OK), lettuce, cooked carrots and peas, butternut, coleslaw and chicken pies (he cant believe he has missed out on something SO good for so long and proceeded to demolish 5 more miniature ones!). I am so proud of him and he tries his new food with no fuss at all anymore!

Today our potatoes were ready to be planted. We choose to plant them in tyres instead of the veg beds so we have more space for other veg. Z and K each have their own tyre and it will be theirs to take care of and water, feed and add new tyres when the time is right. They filled the tyres with potting soil, compost and some rapid raiser. They are thrilled to have their own tyre each and I look forward to the day they will harvest!

Blessing of a young man

Last night we had the privilege of being invited to a friends sons 13th birthday and blessing ceremony. We have known this young man since birth and it has been amazing to see him grow into a talented, handsome and God fearing young man.
It took a lot to hold back the tears as friends and members of his family spoke into his life and commended him on the young man he has become. His mom read to him from the Psalms and his grandfather gave the most amazing speech to "his best friend" (this young man).
We enjoyed a relaxed and fun filled evening with everyone and had an amazing dinner of lamb spit, roast potatoes, salads, the best ever corn bread and desert!
The teens hung out chatting and enjoying one anther's company. They spent time on the drum kit making some loud music and then the young mans dad showed us how its really done! An awesome evening !

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Beach Gushuku

This morning we were up early to attend a beach gushuku (training session) at 07h30 in Big Bay. The morning was glorious, not a breath of wind and the suns rays were not too harsh yet. Sadly hubby had to go in to work and Z could not participate because of his collar bone.

J an d K enjoyed being put through their paces on the beach and there was a great sense of camaraderie as the littlest kids as well as the adults (and those in between) worked hard and practised various techniques.

The views of Table Mountain were magnificent!

There were screams and squeals as they approached the water and did some kumite (fighting ) in the water. The water at Big Bay is ice cold!!!

After the training, they enjoyed a well deserved breakfast!

School days

We have completed our first full week of school and it has been fun. We are learning new things every day and enjoying the routines of learning time together. Z said he was thankful to be doing school again and I think the children love the routine that comes into our days when it is term time (even though they may not admit it!)
We also love the fact that things can be taken at the pace that is needed. With 2 of the children suffering from colds and feeling yucky,we spent many hours reading. We had a library book that needed returning this week and really wanted to complete the story.....that morning we climbed into my bed and spent the better part of the morning finishing off the book...
On a warm afternoon, we lay in the shade and I read to the children while K spent time working on the blanket she is crocheting and Z lay quietly with some of his toys.

We started our Zoology 2: Swimming creatures of the 5th day and the children enjoyed making their own miniature gyre (circular surface ocean currents).

They started their Zoology notebooks too. I love to see the way they make their work unique by adding colour and pictures of their own choice.

Kitty found a perfect place to relax while the children are working...on top of one of my sisters storage boxes in the dining room!
J is working steadily through the last sections of the history programme he has been doing. We are planning to enroll him with a new programme for grades 9 to 12 this week. This will enable him to get an internationally recognised certificate at the end of his High School .
One of my nearest and dearest friends has embarked on her home education journey this week and I am so excited to see her family enjoying their new adventure. We have been friends for 14
years and our sons were infants when we met. They are now young adults. The girls have known each other from birth and it is so sweet to see this new dimension in their friendship.They went off to their first Drama class together on Friday.

Here they are chilling and chatting on the roof of their garage after drama. They went on to youth group together on Friday evening.
The children are also back to karate classes and K has started ball room again... the week is certainly jam packed with activities!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the garden

Today I had to do some damage control in my veg garden. It seems that cutworms have been attacking my beans. I have lost 3 in the last two days....
My book, along with advice from a friend who has a fantastic vegetable garden, came to the rescue. I cut toilet rolls in half and put them around the base of the surviving beans. They had to be sunk into the soil so the worms cannot get to the stems. I also put sticks into the soil, 5cm deep right next to the stalks - this apparently prevents the cutworms from doing their thing. I planted some new beans to replace those I had lost and they were planted in the toilet rolls that were sunk into the ground. I will have to wait and see what happens...
I fed my garden with worm tea and vermi compost. Another pot was painted to finally plant my lemon thyme that has been waiting to be planted for a while.I harvested two hand fulls of cherry tomatoes. I usually get a good handful every second day. These go into salads, veg bakes or mince dishes.
I also harvested some coriander..... I just love the taste of fresh coriander!
I made us a delicious Moroccan flat bread with garlic, chillies, cheese, bulgarian yoghurt and fresh coriander for lunch. We ate that with some left over lamb chops and and salads. A great meal!


On Saturday we were up early for a fun filled morning. One of J's good friends was celebrating his 13th birthday out at Jonkershoek, paintballing. We all went along to enjoy the excitement and the company of the other families who were there.It brought back wonderful memories of childhood picnics and walks with my mom and dad and siblings. I remember swimming in the river and enjoying many a family outing to Jonkershoek. It is a place that has stuck in my memory of happier childhood days when my parents were still together...
Our teens are getting so big and it is amazing to watch these young adults who have a close bond enjoying each others company. Here they are all kitted out and ready to go! The birthday boy's sister was the only girl among all the guys, a brave young lady who joins in with all the adventures there are to be had!

The other girls and younger siblings all stood glued to the protective net to watch the action as it began!

Z and the birthday boys youngest brother were treated to 100 paint balls for target practice. They were thrilled to have a chance to get in on some of the action.

Above is the group of happy paint ballers who had an morning of great fun!
The moms had a chance to chat and enjoy catching up with one another while the younger kiddies ran around excitedly collecting all the paint balls they could find that had not burst on impact or simply had not hit a target. These cannot be used in the guns again as the sand on them would cause problems. They plan to shoot them with their catties in a nearby forest.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

School started

Today we took the plunge and began school for 2010. Many of our friends are only planning to start next week and a few have already started. It was however important for me to start today and ease into the year day by day.
We woke to an amazingly beautiful summers day with temperatures that rose to 36! I got out early to soak the veg garden and found that the bore hole pump was not working due to no electricity.....that meant hand watering with the watering can! After all was said and done and the kiddies had done their chores, we began at 8am.
It was great to start the day with an amazing book lent to me by my sister. "You too can change the world" covers 26 countries and people groups and tells a story about what life is like in those countries. There are prayer points regarding each unique situation too. Today we read about Afghanistan and had some meaningful discussions regarding the situation there.
J and K got straight into their Afrikaans lessons and Z and I had some fun with his English lesson for the day. Z also got to do some copy work and I was happy to see that his hand writing did not suffer much over the holidays.
We had an interruption from the electricity department but it was welcome as I did not want to be without power for long. Something had burnt out in the electricity box and they were able to fix it very quickly. I truly was thankful. I thought we may sit for days without power as we had in Dar es Salaam. With the power back on, I gave the kids an early lunch and we headed off for an afternoon of fun with friends.

The super tubes were not too busy and the sea breeze as welcome. Much cooler than staying at home! The kiddies enjoyed the slides with their friends for a couple of hours while the moms caught up with one another. Ice creams were a welcome treat in the heat.

We went back to a friend for a swim and came home to swim some more until it was dark and cool enough to go to bed....

Monday, January 11, 2010

The week that ran away....

Well I can hardly believe that hubby has been back at work a full week now... We miss having him around the house. Thankfully it has been a little quieter than it was at the end of last year. However the prospects are good and they will soon be busy, but it has been great that he has been able to get away a little earlier once or twice in the last week.

On the weekend we worked on getting things in order round the house to prepare for the up and coming school term. Space was made in the garage for items cluttering the house and things that should have been turfed long ago were finally given the boot. What a good feeling!

Hubby got in a game of cricket and we were invited to an old friend for a wonderful seafood paella. We used to babysit her girls before we had little ones of our own. It was amazing to see them all grown up and finished school.
We also had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful Sunday lunch of roast springbok with all the trimmings at friends and then enjoyed a couple of hours soaking up the sun down on the beach. The kiddies had a great time enjoying the surf despite the cool temperature of our waters.

The children have been making the most of their last week of holidays with lots of sleep overs, movies, and fun activities....this of course has kept me very busy being moms taxi! J has already started extra karate training and may be going up to Bloemfontein as soon as March for competitions. Needless to say, he is very excited about it. His ballroom lessons have also started.
K has spent a couple of days painting at grandpa and has thoroughly enjoyed getting back into her art. She has been helping me so much around the home and in the garden and has been a real blessing to me. She and I have enjoyed a couple of sessions at the gym too.
Z has been playing and playing until he cant anymore. Thankfully his collar bone is on the mend but may not do contact sports for 6 weeks as the healing is not complete.
As for me, besides the enjoyment of getting back to tae bo and a few sessions at the gym, it has been a busy time. There seems to be an endless list of things to do and plan and organise. Bills to pay, things to sort and tidy, appointments to make, schedules to write up, books to order for school etc etc. The garden has also kept me busy as I had been hand hand watering with a watering can! Thankfully hubby bought me an amazing nozzle for the hose pipe which makes the job of watering much quicker and keeps me drier!

Our last day of holiday is tomorrow... we plan a visit to the gym with friends, a trip to the library and an early night. We will ease into the school year gently with some bible time, language arts, maths and story time. We will finish early on our first day and join friends for a picnic lunch and fun on the super tubes in the afternoon. I look forward to the structure that schooling brings and the time we spend together loving learning!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Patience required....

Every morning I dash outside to see how my little garden is coming along. It is so exciting to see new little green shoots popping up through the soil. Yesterday we had an unbelievably hot day and some of my seedlings really battled even though I had watered well. Sadly I lost a few.
Later in the day, T and I made a trip to a nursery .... see what I got in the wheel barrow above: basil, coriander, marigolds, lemon thyme and comfrey.

As my camera is packing up, J took a picture on his phone for me. You can see one of the tripods he and Eric built for my little garden. Beans, cucumbers, and butternuts will benefit from these by being able to climb the frame for support. The sunken pot in the middle is for watering and feeding. This morning I was out there early to plant my purchases from yesterday.

I realised that I need to just wait and be patient now. The seeds are planted and it is a matter of time before they germinate and pop up. I mustn't buy or plant any more and I must give it time.....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Garden

Well it has been a full week of hard work for the whole family around the garden. We have talked of planting a vegetable garden for a long time and now I cannot contain my excitement as we have finally begun with this project.

I was so thrilled on Christmas day when T gave me my own copy of "Jane's Delicious Garden" by Jane Griffiths. I had been browsing through her copy before our holiday and also spent much of my holiday reading my sisters copy. It really inspired me as Jane makes it look so easy with all her wonderful explanations and step by step guides. It is also a South African book which means it goes according to our seasons etc. I was also very inspired by Ts garden and my sisters abundant garden in Ladybrand.

The pots that I inherited from my mum when she left CT have been long overdue for a revamp. They have been scraped down and given a new lease on life with a fresh coat of paint. Much of the soil has been replaced and they have been replanted with rosemary, mint, marjoram, oregano, tomatoes, basil, lettuce and radishes...oops forgot the lavender!

Rosemary and radishes in the big pot.

The back breaking work of digging up the grass in our chosen spot was done by my husband and eldest son. The little ones helped to remove all the stones and roots.

My clever hubby made some boxes to contain the veg garden and the soil has been enriched with loads of compost and organic fertilizer.
Together with my big boy, he made some gum pole tripods for the one bed. The planting and mulching has been done: sweetcorn, cucumbers, asparagus, butternut, peas, cauliflower, cabbages, watermelon, rhubarb, lemon balm, spring onions, basil, beans, courgettes and more!
Every morning I am up and out to check on the progress. I find it fascinating to see the daily progress...a new leaf on the basil or a little radish poking some leaves up through the soil.
Sadly my camera is giving up and so I couldn't get a photo of the newly planted beds...hopefully it wont be long before I can replace it.


We celebrated New Years eve at friends with a fish braai. It was a wonderful relaxed evening with kids having fun swimming, playing and running around late into the night!
Fireworks were set off as midnight came and the bigger boys could not resist trying out some of the crackers that J had been given by his Uncle in Ladybrand.

We hope that 2010 will be a good year for all our family and friends and that we will all be healthy, happy and content, filled with joy and have deeper relationships with those we love and hold dear. We thank God for the last year and trust Him for the coming year.

Christmas Celebrations

After getting home from our holiday, there were but a few days until Christmas. On Christmas eve we had Eric's parents here and enjoyed the day together, relaxing and catching up.

Z enjoying time with Opa.
K and Z having some fun!

Christmas day was spent with my sisters sister in law (confusing I know!) We enjoyed a relaxed day with a fantastic lunch in the garden, swimming, fuse ball, card games and fun!

K looked pretty her Christmas dress that we had got her while on holiday.

Z played Father Christmas with the funny bouncy hat.

Little Z enjoying one of his gifts.

The day was rounded off perfectly with a delicious pavlova with berry frozen yoghurt and fresh berries and cream! I could not resist a second helping....