Monday, June 28, 2010

A little sunshine and fun

Today K went off to learn a little about horses from a friend. I decided the little patient needed a change of scenery. He is doing so much better!

He had fun feeding the chickens the left over popcorn.....

He enjoyed the relaxing surroundings and K enjoyed her time with the horse....

It was a pleasant time in the sunshine and the great outdoors......

Sunday, June 27, 2010

On the mend

My little man has certainly been through a rough time over the last ten days. I can only be thankful that he is beginning to feel so much better. As I said to my hubby this week, all of our kiddies have been very sick at one time or another but it seems that this has been the worst ever.

He was well enough to have some fun doing some sand art in bed over this weekend as we listened to story Cd's. The swelling has subsided a lot and he says his neck no longer feels so heavy. Today he got out of bed for the first time and dressed for the day. It was a beautiful sunny day and we decided to have a braai. He spent some time outside in the shade playing with his "Martian Mud".

Tonight he was really tired and somewhat grumpy. I lay with him as he fell asleep on my bed, reassuring him that tomorrow will be a better day. I am sure it will take some time for him to get back his usual energy levels. But in the mean time, we will take each day as it comes with plenty of quiet time and rest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My brave little man

Things have been a little crazy around here for the last week. My youngest woke last Friday and said he had some blisters on his neck. I took a look and decided we needed to get them checked out. After seeing the doctor, we thought he had a bacterial infection of the skin.

By the time the weekend was over, he was a really sick little guy with painful blisters spreading rapidly onto his scalp, ear and towards the front of his neck and onto his face. Back to the doctor who took one look and said he had shingles! (yes, children get it too!)

The little guy has been fighting high fevers and intense pain bravely all week. He has endured needles and endless medication. Today was the fourth visit to the doctors and he was prescribed further medication. The chemist delivery guy has been here so often this week. Finally we have the pain under control with stronger pain killers and now we just need to get the itching under control and make sure that he doesn't get a secondary infection. His little neck and face have swollen up and he does look rather strange. He is infectious and so may not be in contact with children who have not had chicken pox.

I am so grateful to friends and family who have popped in to see him, spoiled him with treats, done shopping for me, lifted my other two children, called , emailed and supported us in this time. He has been lent some wonderful story Cd's and kiddie movies to enjoy while in bed. I set him up in our bedroom and he has a little bell to ring when he needs something. It has proved to be very helpful if I am off doing washing or getting cooking done. Not much else has happened here this week other than seeing to his needs.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Italian Tonight

We have been very busy in the kitchen this weekend. My sweet daughter baked us some of the Maize Cookies from Ivory Coast but added some coco....they are delicious. She also made her dad a sweet treat for Fathers day: low GI Mocha Chocolate Squares. Lastly she baked some cheese muffins for our Fathers Day breakfast today. We had a lovely breakfast with my dad and my brother this morning.

You all know the oven never goes on for 1 dish at a time so while the oven was on for all her baking, I made us a fantastic spinach and feta quiche for our enjoyment. The spinach was all freshly picked from my little garden. I find it so satisfying to use what we have grown in our meals.

During the week we enjoyed a Spanish Meal. The kids didn't have a hand in this one as they were at soccer practice. We thoroughly enjoyed our sausage, potato and pea tortilla....we will be making this one again!

Tonight it is Italian which seems fitting as Italy is playing this evening. J is going to make meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti. It is his Fathers Day gift to his dad and a good choice as my husband should have be born, pasta and ice cream are some of his favourites! Of course it will be liberally sprinkled with fresh, shredded basil straight from the garden!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bowling again

As ambassadors for the Chaeli Campaign, J and K had the pleasure of helping to host a group of 40 Chinese Soccer Fans at tenpin bowling this week.

A commemorative artwork was made to remember the event too. This time it was a screen and the Chinese guests really seemed to enjoy this activity.

A walk in the forest

The rain subsided on Thursday and we joined a group of moms and kids for a walk in a nearby forest. The temperatures were still low despite the sunshine and we dressed warmly as it is cooler in the shade of the enormous trees.

We were aiming for "level 5" where we expected to see the waterfalls. The river was flowing swiftly after the recent rains and we had to cross it twice.

After our second crossing, higher up, it was decided that we would not go as far as we had planned. We were only at level 2 and one of the littlest members of the group was taking strain.

Instead we headed off the track in search of mushrooms that always appear after the rains.

Among many others, this huge one was found. We were not sure if this was poisonous or not and the little guy was instructed not to touch his face at all by his very worried mama. We could not seem to identify it in the field guide.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I took the kids to see the larger than life Zakumi Mascot yesterday. Zakumi is the official mascot for the 2010 World Cup. He is a cheerful and sporty leopard with green hair . His name comes from "ZA" for South Africa, and "kumi", a word that means ten in several African languages, referencing the year 2010.

His green and yellow colours match the colours used in South African sport uniforms and of course Bafana Bafana! We hope they win tonight. We have a fire going and a delicious Lemon Tart to enjoy while we watch the match.

Catching up with old friends

Z has been having a great time this week at holiday club at our church. (It gives me a chance to catch up on some school work with the older two.) It is a week filled with all sorts of fun, games and learning about God.They have verses to memorise each day. The leaders are mostly the youth of the church and they treat the kiddies so well and make them feel so welcome every day. Today they had a crazy hair day. Z had fun buying himself "crazy hair" yesterday.

He was thrilled that one of his old friends from his grade R year was there too. They have been inseparable!

He also started Upward Soccer league yesterday and another of his old school buddies was there.

Upward is more than a game. Every child is a winner and there is a positive fun vibe. Upward promotes character and self - esteem in every child, while improving their sports skills. They are given special recognition awards (stars to iron onto their shirts) after every game. Yesterday there was great excitement as they received their kit along with a hacky sack, music CD and magazines.

K and J have signed up to be assistant coaches this season too. I am so grateful for opportunities for them to be leaders in their community. For J it is fairly easy as he has a good knowledge of soccer after having played club soccer for a few years. He also coaches the little ones at karate fairly regularly. For K it is a case of doing a "hard thing".....but I know she will grow as she perseveres in this new venture.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Early Bird Christmas Crafts

I have been feeling SO guilty about signing up for the Early Bird Christmas Crafting and not having posted a single blog entry about it. We have been so busy with trying to end our term so we can have a well deserved break.

I have however been ever so busy knitting at every opportunity. I have made the younger two children each a pair of fingerless mittens. They love wearing them! I have churned out another two pairs, one for my niece and one for my sister. I have another pair to make for my nephew. Then I will be done....for now that is. I plan to make a few more pairs as gifts but they wont be for Christmas as our Christmas is in the summer.

I thought some other early bird crafters may enjoy the pattern though:

Using 3.25mm needles and double knit wool, C/on 42 stitches
Knit Rib (K2,P2) for 24 rows
Change to 4mm needles and stocking stitch for 8 rows
mark each end of row
stocking stitch 12 rows
mark each end of row
stocking stitch 8 rows
change to 3.25mm needles
Rib 8 rows
cast off
To Finish
Sew up sides, leaving the area between the two markings free for thumb.

Thanks to a dear friend who sent me this quick and easy pattern.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Garden and kitchen

My garden is not getting as much sun now that we are in throws of winter but I am still able to enjoy the fruits of it. Today I picked the first head of broccoli. It probably should have been picked sooner but it was delicious in our broccoli and chicken bake for dinner!

The first cauliflower is peeping out from between the layers of green surrounding it.

My chillies are turning a brilliant red and so I am leaving them on the bush. I picked two today to add to our pot of vegetable soup at lunch time. They gave a delicious bite to the soup. I continue to enjoy adding fresh basil, parsley, chives or other herbs from the garden to most of our meals.

My spinach is also doing very well and I have taken to making green smoothies. I throw in some yoghurt, an apple , orange or paw paw (or whatever fruit is on hand), some sunflower seeds, a chunk of fresh ginger and then a handful of freshly picked spinach....the result is a thick green smoothie that looks awful but is so full of good nutrients. I have managed to convince all the members of the family to drink this, except one...any guesses who?

For our World Cup food festivities, K baked some tasty Maize Meal Cookies from Ivory Coast today. We loved the texture of them and they were not too sweet. Of course we had to bake a big batch of muffins at the same time. This cold weather sure makes the children eat non stop!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feel it.... it's here!

The day we had been waiting for finally arrived! I awoke to the sound of vuvuzelas being blown in the streets. We had to take J to karate training and the kids took their vuvuzelas in the car with them. The atmosphere in the streets was amazing. People were blowing vuvuzelas everywhere and the kids had great fun joining in! As we drove past an elderly lady walking her dog, I told them it may upset her, but to our surprise, she turned and greeted them with a friendly wave and a big smile!

In the afternoon we went down to our friends and the kids all had their faces painted with flags of the countries they had chosen to prepare some information on, as well as something delicious to eat from that country.

The pinata was hung at half time for some fun...
K managed to knock it off on her first hit and then the bigger boys tossed it into the air and smashed it open....
sweet treats flew all over for the kids to enjoy!

Of course we were all thrilled when "Bafana Bafana" scored the first goal of the 2010 World Cup!

The kids ran outside to blow their vuvuzelas and we could hear the whole neighbourhood joining together in celebration!

We enjoyed a South African boerewors roll braai along with K's chicken kebabs and satay sauce from the Netherlands. The array of deserts was fantastic: Scones and jam and cream from England, Chocolate oat crackles from Japan, Choc Chip cookies from USA and Koeksisters from good old SA!

Even hubby joined in with his SA flag face painted by K and his Dutch scarf. We had a great evening with friends and look forward to more World Cup fun!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Little Chefs

Today we chose Greek food for our themed meal. This is food we enjoy and I make it fairly regularly, but today the children made the meal. Part of the enjoyment for me is all the help I get in the kitchen and the fact that the children are learning the valuable skill of cooking.

Z sliced the bringals and for me and steamed them in the microwave instead of frying them. This cuts down on the fat content of the meal and is a much quicker method too.

Our delicious Moussaka complete with a Greek Salad....the lettuce was freshly picked in the garden too!

A day of preparation

Much of today was spent preparing for our festivities tomorrow. We are getting together with friends to enjoy the opening match of the World Cup and each child is preparing something deliceous from a chosen country. They will also be presenting some information on the country they chose.

Z prepared a Japanese treat: Chocolate oat crackles....(sushi would just not do it for him!)

K spent part of the morning with her Dutch Oma who taught her to make Satay Sauce. We just love this spicy peanut sauce with chicken kebabs! Once home, she made the marinade for the chicken.

J chose Mexico and we have been making the pinata all week. It was time to paint it and add the finishing touches today.

He chose to paint the pinata in the Bafana Bafana colours, giving it a South African flavour. We filled it with all sorts of yummy treats and added an SA flag for decoration.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another great day...

Today was officially the last day of the school term as the World Cup starts in just two days. We however will not be taking a five week holiday. BUT our school has taken on a more relaxed tone as we are enjoying finishing up books we are reading and exploring the foods of the nations from the World Cup.

Our day began today with a wonderful Bible study lead by a fellow home school mom. She and her family are working as missionaries and very kindly taught us how to "discover" what Gods Word is saying to us as we read it.
We all first had to tell the group what are thankful for and then tell about any "need" each of us may have, whether it be a problem with a friend or anything else bothering us.
We went on to read from the Bible. We read from Proverbs and the scriptures revolved around honesty and how God expects that from us. We went through the reading verse by verse and summarised what was being said by each verse. Then it was time to reflect on what we had read and then we each told the others how we would put into practice what we had read or how it will make a difference in our own lives. The children really enjoyed the time spent together and found it meaning full. We have decided that we will use this format when we read the Bible together in the mornings.

We came home after a lovely shared lunch and then spent some time reading the story we are busy with. Soon it was time to get K ready for her play. We have so enjoyed our drives to the other side of the mountain together. A lovely time of catch up and chatting together.

She enjoyed the final night of her play and was happy that her grandpa and uncle and aunt were there to support her tonight.

On Friday we are planning all sorts of fun for the opening of the World Cup. In preparation, we have been making a pinata. The weather has been rather cold so it has been taking a long time to dry. I have been moving it around the house to find the sunny spots and have even been trying to speed up the drying process with a hairdryer!

Tonight, I was thrilled to see that hubby had a fire going when I came home...the pinata needed that! It has dried beautifully this evening

K relaxed next to the fire and dutifully turned the pinata so that it could dry all over. We even managed to get it dry enough to add another layer. The fire was a gas fire but hubby pulled out the gas pipes and we have made it into a wood burning fire. The gas just did not do the trick! Now we can look forward to picking up pine cones in the forest for our fire.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Book Matrix

K has been attending drama lessons since the beginning of the year and just loving it. The cast of 20 children have been working long and hard on a play called "The Book Matrix".

Rehearsals have taken up much of her time. On Friday evening they had their first dress rehearsal which went on well into the evening. Monday night saw another rehearsal and finally tonight the first show.

K played the part of a genie called "The Doxologist" or Doxo for short. The story is about four children, two of whom are reluctant readers, who are transported to different times and places by way of books.

K and the other genie basically pull the parts of the play together by taking the children to see Medusa and Athena, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Frances Drake, Tom Sawyer and Queen Elizabeth.It was very well done and all the children appeared to be enjoying themselves on stage.

Below are the four "children" and the two genies.