Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let's go bowling!

The Chaeli Campaign heard on Friday, that their new NPO, The Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club, has just been registered as an NPO. Today we shared in the adventure of seeing how differently abled people can have fun with Ten Pin Bowling with their able bodied friends. It was a fantastic afternoon of great fun for all! Some of the differently abled players were in wheel chairs and one was even blind. He manged to do very well, coming first in his team!

Between their turns, all the players took turns to work on a commemorative art piece. A mosaic bird birth that will go up in the garden at the Chaeli Cottage.

Z and his team.

K and her team.

J and his team.

Chaeli surveying the lanes.

Lisa watches her ball racing down the lane.

Z waiting his turn.

By the end of the afternoon the bird bath was looking fantastic!
Fun was had by all.
I feel so blessed that my children are able to be part of this amazing new family of wonderful people!

Scavenger Hunt

On Friday morning the rains had stopped and our Nature Club was scheduled for the morning. It was a rush to get there on time as I had expected it to be cancelled. We donned warm jackets and gum boots (it snowed on the nearby mountains on Thursday night!) and headed off to the Alphen Trail. It is a trail I know well as we used to go there as children. It is a little piece of heaven on earth in the middle of the suburbs. I do love it. Sadly it is not a place I would go to alone with the children as it has recently become unsafe. We did however feel safe in our large group.
The children set off eagerly with clipboards and their Scavenger Hunt Lists. They had to listen for certain things , look for certain things and collect a bark rubbing for their nature journals. The air was crisp and cold but that did not deter anyone. It felt good to get the blood pumping and enjoy being outdoors among friends.

The walk is tree lined, with a stream on one side and the mountains ahead.

We think we saw a squirrels nest. I have never seen one before and this one was certainly far larger than any birds nest I have ever seen.
Z enjoyed wading through the puddles. I certainly was glad he had his gumboots on!

We saw splashes of colour along the river banks.

The children wondered if anything lived inside this log?

We had to find fungus for the Scavenger hunt list.

On the way back, Z had raced ahead and stopped by the stream to enjoy the sound of the rushing water.
We all got wet as the heavens opened for a while but that did not rob us of the enjoyment of being outdoors and ticking off our Scavenger Hunt Lists!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

On Thursday we were invited for tea to celebrate a friends recent birthday. It was cold and windy but that did not deter us from having a great time at the Barnyard. We wrapped up in jackets, beanies and scarves to brave the cold and enjoy the outdoors!

The children were delighted by the tame pigeons and enjoyed feeding them. The goats were gathering around to see what all the fuss was about!

Z and Z enjoyed pony rides.

We enjoyed hot chocolate, cuppachinos, milk shakes, decadent cheesecake and carrot cake. Both T and I brought our crochet and knitting with us. We both grab the opportunity to keep our hands busy whenever we can. I was busy working on a little doggy jersey for Maggie.

The boys hardly sat down for a moment.

The girls had great fun running around and trying to catch a sheep. They cuddled the bunnys and tried to organise themselves a holiday job. They had fun posing for some photos.

The jungle gym provided some entertainment for the boys too.

One of the workers brought very tame lamb over for the children to pet .

After a couple of hours, the weather really turned and it began to rain and it was time to leave. I think we will be visiting there again soon. It was so much fun!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Fabulous Day...

Today was just so much fun. The morning started with the second piano lesson for the children from Miss P. She is so encouraging and the children have practiced much over the past week so she was happy with their progress.
There was also a flurry of activity here in the early part of the morning as we needed to have our hot water cylinder replaced. We have not had decent hot water since Saturday. It certainly was good to take a long hot shower after trying to wash in kettles of hot water in the bath or a cold shower! Thankfully our insurance covered the replacement and it cost us about a quarter of what it would have otherwise!
After some Zoology, Afrikaans and lunch we went to a fellow home school family's home for an amazing talk by a missionary to Cambodia. She is an ex teacher from a well known private school and she really captured the children's attention.

On entering the home, we had to remove our shoes, as is tradition in Cambodia. It reminded me of our time in Dar es Salaam where it also became a habit for us to do so on entering someones home. A good habit I think!

She taught the children about the Khmer language and showed them how to write in Khmer. The language sounded very beautiful to me. She sang for us and also taught the children a game that is played in Cambodia.

Believe it or not, that says Pauline!

We were told about the incredible poverty there and how children as young as four are sent off to work, collecting recycling items from the rubbish dumps. They then sell them and make a pittance for doing so. I could not imagine my sweet four year old God daughter having to do such a thing. We certainly do live in a very privileged society. We thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Cambodia.

On the way home, I happened to pass by a factory shop that never seems to be open when I pass it....

Today it was, and I had got a load of delicious Ina Paarmans products at fantastic prices! I got salad dressings, marinades, pasta sauces, sundried tomatoes, herbs and spices, curry powder, spur sauce .... I could not wait for dinner tonight so I could enjoy one of the new salad dressings. Some of the goods have damaged packaging and some are past their sell by date. The reductions in price are really good. I will be sure to stop by there again, once a month I think!

When we came home, we did some Konos. I have known for a long time that we need to focus on "Honour". We started yesterday and are loving being back on Konos. I felt particularly inspired after having been to a Konos meeting last night. We are learning the attributes of God.

The children started making an "attribute tree" today. On it they will hang symbols of the attributes of God. The first one was hung today: a circle representing that God is eternal....He has no beginning and no end.

We ended the day with a trip to the gym. Z had great fun at the kids club while the older two enjoyed the treadmill and stationary bikes. I enjoyed a Palates class. Now its time to join hubby for one of the programmes we enjoy on TV. A fabulous day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Early Bird Christmas Crafting

Wow , I know it seems early to be thinking about Christmas! But I do know that every year I have grand plans to get it sorted early. I saw this link on Shirley's Blog and decided to join forces with other early birds and get going early this year. We will be hand crafting our gifts!

We will be starting on 1 June and I look forward to getting creative! If you want to join up, go to Find out what kind of fun I will be getting up to!
Right now, I need to find a book for my notes and in my mind I have a spot to store all those gifts until the season of giving is upon us!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our weekend

Well, its Sunday night and the weekend is over. It certainly was a busy but fun weekend....
On Friday evening I went out with two of my girlfriends to a trivial pursuit evening while hubby stayed home to enjoy a pizza evening with the kiddies. We had a great time but our little team of 3 girls came stone last! We wished we had our husbands with us! Never the less, we were the smallest team, all others comprising of 6 or more people, some up to 15! We did however not walk away empty handed. I won a lavender plant, a car wash voucher and some vouchers for a nearby dance studio. There were the most amazing prizes on offer and next year we plan to take our husbands and do really well!
On Saturday J went to coach at a children's karate competition. He thoroughly enjoyed himself and his teacher wants to send him on a course to learn how to judge karate competitions. He was also approached by one of the moms to coach her son in order to get him ready for grading.
My dad popped in for breakfast on Saturday morning. I was glad that I had some croissants in the freezer as a friend of mine arrived unexpectedly too. We all had a lovely breakfast together. Unfortunately K could not go and paint with my dad as he had a very sick patient in hospital and could be called out at a moments notice.
My kind husband spent most of the day mowing the lawn, getting compost out of our compost heap, and planting my new lavender and granadilla vine. He trimmed the edges and neatened up the whole garden. I love it when the lawn is freshly mowed.
In the afternoon we had a visit from friends who are out on holiday from the UK. We met in church many years ago and have tried to keep up the contact over the years. The last time we saw them, they had one son. They now have three gorgeous boys! She is also a home school mum and we had a great time catching up and chatting. They are hoping to move back to SA. Z enjoyed making new friends.
Saturday evening, a sweet friend came and cooked dinner for us. What a treat, a delicious chicken curry and homemade roti. How good it felt to eat a meal that I didn't prepare myself.
This morning poor hubby was down with a high fever. J was instructed on how to look after him and monitor his temperature and blood sugar. I had to rush K off to get her hair done for a fashion show....

Aunty T came to the rescue with the hair and make up. It was a last minute request that K model today at the bridal show at Zevenwacht Wine Farm. She was only asked late last night as Robyn was only approached late yesterday. Other designers had pulled out of the show. Robyn had to alter dresses for the models who were modelling the bridal dresses. Thankfully K's beautiful bridesmaid dress fits perfectly and nothing had to be done. She just needed to show up and model it. Of course she loved being able to wear this beautiful dress again. (Photos will follow as soon as we get them!)

I spent the afternoon in the kitchen while hubby dozed on and off and the boys played a game of monopoly. I tried a new recipe that got the thumbs up from the family. It was a butternut and pumpkin soup. I made corn bread to go with the soup and a tasty low gi fruit crumble for desert.

I used a jar of homemade pear fruit mince for the filling and it turned out very well! A delicious spicy flavour. (Thank you my sweet sister for sending me that jar of pear fruit mince pie filling!)

Creative fun

We have been busy with all sorts of creative activities over the last week or two. The Chaeli Campaign inspired us to write some poetry and do some art for their 4th annual Art and Poetry Competition. The theme was "Circle of Hope" and the brief was to depict disability in a positive way and focus on ABILITY and forget the DIS'ing. A wheel, circle or motif theme needed to be included in the art or poetry entry.

Above is Z's creation which shows a person in a wheelchair being pushed on the mountain, by a friend, and exploring. The title is "Even if I cant walk, I can explore"

K did a rather creative page with many wheels and called it "Circles of Life". She wrote all sorts of positive captions on her entry.

We wrote poems too:


LOVE me for who I am

ACCEPT me for what I do

UNDERSTAND my life isn't easy

HELP me through my problems

INCLUDE me in your games

ENCOURAGE me to keep on going

MOTIVATE me to rise higher than expected

DREAM with me

PUSH me to my limits, not off the edge

have FAITH in my abilities

REJOICE with me when times are good

CRY with me when times are bad

RESPECT me as a person

By K


Give me hope

So I can see the things you see

Give me hope

So I can do the things you do

Give me hope

So I can rise above the body

that has been given me

Give me hope

I want to be free

Give me hope

I can sing and dance and love the way you do

Give me hope

I want to be free to be me

By me

J had a hard time coming up with an entry as this is "not his thing" as he said. I really had to encourage him to go beyond his comfort zones and "do a hard thing". It was a big thing for him to come up with his poem and at the end of the day he did something which challenged him and stretched him....I am proud of him for not giving up!


Can you climb a mountain?

I have.....

Right, you say, but I am in a wheelchair.

Certainly, you re correct but I

Let nothing stand in my way.

Everything is possible.

Of course it was a long ,hard,

Fight to the top, but

Hope is all we need to

Overcome obstacles and

Push through to the end.

Everything is possible.

By J

K has been making cards to sell as she she wants to earn some extra pocket money.

I purchased a few from her to add to a little birthday gift for a friend and to use for friends birthday cards. I love that she wants to do something to earn herself some extra money and doesn't just expect us to give her money that she wants for those little extras.

While I read, the children love to keep their hands busy and she has spent time working on this cute little "To Do Box" for her bedroom. It comes in kit form and one can be as creative as you like when putting it all together.
The finished product is now on her wall and she can write in her "appointments' or upcoming outings on the blackboard section.

I too like to keep my hands busy when watching a movie or our regular TV shows that we watch. I had a jersey that I knitted for myself many years ago that I don't wear anymore. Nobody else wanted it either so I have unpicked it and put the wool to better use.

I found a pattern for a little quick and easy jersey on . Once I have knitted a few I will send them off to warm and comfort a little South African Aids orphan.

Nature News

We look forward to our next nature club meeting at the end of the coming week. A dear friend who is organising it sent us this link: This morning I have
Spent some time looking through this amazing site which I know I will return to time and time again! It has all sorts of downloads for the different seasons and some incredible ideas for nature hunts and all sorts of other fun ideas. Do pop in there and take a look for yourself.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Today a friend called and asked if I would like some fresh Black Mission Olives. I jumped at the opportunity to try my hand at curing my own olives. Olives are one of my favourite things to eat! They are from Paarl and are organic. They look so plump and delicious!

This evening I began the process of curing 2 kg of olives by putting them into brine. I figure they will be lovely gifts at Christmas time and I cant wait to bottle them with herbs, chili or garlic!

Cattail Nature Study

So here it is a few busy days later....the outdoor hour nature study on Cattails. We set off on foot to the wetland area just behind my friends home. We were loaded with snacks, art supplies and blankets to sit on. The weather was just perfect for an Autumn afternoon in the sun.

A Butcher Bird perches above a splendid display of Autumn colour.
This is a place we have visited regularly over the years with my friend and her children but today it took on a new beauty as we had come with a purpose: nature study of the Cattails which grow in abundance along the waters edge here.

We settled on the lush green grass and I read to the children from the Handbook of Nature Study. We spent time examining the leaves and flower of the Cattails. Sadly they are brown and not in bloom at the moment but we enjoyed looking at the leaves in detail and the children produced some lovely art work for their Nature Journals.

We have promised to return at the end of the year to see the flowers in bloom.

Little Maggie needed a nap while we did our journaling.
Z had great fun exploring the banks of the stream that was rushing by close to where we sat. I cautioned him not to go to near to the edge as it was rather a drop down to the cold water. Suddenly there were screams of "Help, Help" and the poor boy was nowhere in site! He was hanging onto fist fulls of grass on the river bank and was drenched up to his waist! The girls rushed to pull him out and I had to do the final pulling out as K collapsed in fits of laughter and had lost her strength!

Thankfully my friends house was not too far off and we could get him under a warm shower quickly!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A wonderful day...

Today was just one of those really satisfying home school days where it felt SO good to be home and loving learning with my brood.

The day started early with the arrival of the piano teacher. Miss P is one of the most amazing elderly ladies I have ever met. She has a heart of gold and all though she never married or had children, she has such an incredible way with them. Her life's work has been (and still is) with children in hospitals, children's homes, Sunday school and schools. She currently takes care of her "sweetie pie", as she calls him, who is her deceased sisters grandchild of 6. She has taken care of him since he was 3 months old.
Miss P is like a breath of fresh air and is full of laughter and joy. I think she will be really good for the children as she is firm, but kind and loving in her manner.

She lives a stones throw away from us and is happy to come here to teach the younger two piano. They thoroughly enjoyed their lessons today and have been practising on and off throughout the rest of the day.
In our Zoology we are discovering sharks together and the children have been putting a lot of effort into their note booking pages.
After a full mornings work, we had a delicious lunch ..... pancakes made by J..... filled with left over dinner from last night.
I had planned to take the children to the gym for a swim this afternoon but the sun was out and I felt like being outdoors.....

I called my dear friend and she was up to an afternoon nature study too! I will post separately on our afternoon under the big blue sky.
This evening we caught up on some reading and hubby helped J with some Accounting. I was also grateful for his help in marking some of J's work. J did very well in his most recent Physical Science test, scoring 94%.
Dinner was hake and peppers (from the garden) done in my homemade pesto.
A full and satisfying day!