Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An awesome 13th birthday!

Today is our darling daughters 13th birthday. We celebrated from morning to night and all had a fantastic day together. She has looked forward to today for so long.
We woke and she opened her gifts in our bed, which is a family tradition carried over from my childhood days. I will never forget sitting between my mum and dad and and the great excitement of opening gifts on my birthday.

Hubby and I treated her to breakfast out as we had another special gift to give her. She indulged in hot chocolate and waffles and ice cream...what a way to start a birthday! She received so many calls and wishes from family and friends.
We popped into the shops before fetching the boys from Oma. More spoiling at Oma!
Once home, we waited for the cousins and aunts to arrive (more spoiling) and then went to the beach for a picnic lunch..

Boys trying so hard to get a limpet off the rocks!

Just love having my sister here!

My sweet birthday girl.

We had a wonderful time on the beach and collected some beautiful shells and spent ages enjoying the rock pools. It was wonderful to see star fish, bright pink and purple sea anemones, basket stars,sea urchins and sea snails....all the things we had been learning about in Zoology.

My little guy kept running to show me yet another treasure he had found like the slipper shell and the wentletraps that we had learned about . K spotted some brightly coloured tubeworms with their feathery tentacles waving about. We enjoyed observing them.

We strolled down Main Road Kalk Bay...a place I still long to spend a lazy day browsing....there are so many interesting shops selling all sorts!

The Ice Cafe was our destination! My what a wonderful place! We enjoyed the most delicious ice creams. We have decided it will become birthday tradition to visit the Ice Cafe.

The flavours are numerous: cherry, almond, choc mint, lemon sorbet, apricot, coconut, banana, decadent chocolate, Turkish delight and the list goes on and on!

After an amazing day out, K still wanted to go to karate and came home with more gifts.

For some reason, she loves among other gifts, she got a cow puzzle, a cow coffee mug, a cow piggy bank, a cow magnet, a cow pencil holder, a soft cow, two cow ornaments and a cow card!
Tonight her choice was homemade pizzas and having some family time.

Our sweet girl is a teen. We have two teens in the house....I have to let that sink in a bit.

Monday, September 27, 2010


My dear sister and her two children arrived from the farm last night. It is a year since they have been here and their visit is so perfectly timed as my sweet daughter is celebrating her 13th birthday this week. She had been so sad that her only cousins would not be here for this special occasion . She is overjoyed that they are here and so am I!
After we had been to the art exhibition last night, we went to wait for them at T's house. There was much excitement and shrieking as the cousins greeted one another.

Today we spent time together at a picnic where the children reconnected with old friends.

The boy cousins....
And the teens....

We look forward to a week full of fun and celebrations together!

Art at Ellie's Cafe

Last night we had the pleasure of going to the launch of an ongoing display of art at Ellie's Cafe. My dad, Roger is one of the artists.

Ellie's Cafe is a fantastic place. It is set in such beautiful surroundings and is tastefully decorated. It's the kind of place you can relax and enjoy delicious food, while not worrying too much about the children as they enjoy the garden. Do pop in if you are in the area and take a peek at the beautiful art on display.

Still enjoying Monet

As we continue reading about Monet and studying his works, we continue to have fun with our art activities.

Last week we read about how Monet would take unusual risks to paint rugged coastal landscapes. He was once washed off the rocks and nearly drowned whilst working in a terrible storm. He painted in all weathers and his hardiness was legendary.

We experimented by painting water and adding short brush strokes of colour to show reflections and ripples.

I loved both the children's paintings.

We learned that northern France suffered two severe winters in 1878-1880 and the snow and ice provided Monet with new challenges. He wanted to capture the winter light and spent many hours in freezing temperatures.

We created our own winter scenes by using a candle to drip wax onto the paper. The paint resisted the wax and looked like falling snow.

This, by far, was the activity that the children enjoyed the most and they created many winter scenes.

Wrapping up Zoology

Yes, its the end of another term and the children and I have been wrapping up the bits and pieces so we can have a holiday. J has made steady progress with his studies and continues to do well in all his learning areas.
The younger two and I finished off our Zoology studies on swimming creatures. It was a great study in which we all learned so much, and we look forward to our Botany studies planned for next term.

The best part is when school is really fun and you get to eat iced treats because you needed them in an experiment! We were learning how deep under water ocean currents work.

Their ocean boxes are a lovely reminder of all the swimming creatures they have learned about and made models of during our Zoology course.

We plan a visit to the Aquarium in the very near future and the movie "Oceans" has just been released too.... talk about perfect timing! We look forward to going to see that too!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale 2010

On Friday morning the younger two children and I went to Kirstenbosch Gardens for a show bursting with the vibrancy of spring. It is the 10th year of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale

The main focus this year is on rare, endangered and narrow endemic species indigenous to southern Africa. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) recently launched the new Red List of South African Plants. Their Threatened Species Programme is endeavouring to help conserve South Africa’s plant species. Through the Botanical Art Biennale, SANBI intends to highlight and stimulate interest about the plight of these plants to the public.

This year’s show includes ceramics, tapestry and embroidery and the work of renowned artists working on the themes of conservation and destruction of the environment. The revival of Botanical art in recent years is reflected in contemporary trends in interior décor and art collections. The Biennale provides a space where the public and collectors can view the best examples of botanical art.

It is still on until 24th September from 9 - 5 daily. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I urge you to go and experience it if you can!

We were taken into the exhibitors hall and the children each had to choose the favourite painting and tell our guide why they liked that painting best. It was not an easy task as the paintings were magnificent and all so different. K had a hard time choosing her best painting.

In the garden, we were shown the above flower, Mandela's Gold.

We went on to the conservatory to view the succulents and the guide gave the children a basic lesson on looking for shapes in the plants so they could then draw what they saw. These plants will not survive in the gardens as they are suited best to the desert and this area has a very high rainfall.

They each had to choose six plants to draw.

I loved this magnificent display of spring colour in the flower bed. I have wanted to go up the west coast for the last few years to see the spring flowers but yet, again we could not make it this year. Perhaps next year...

The gardens were alive with bees and butterflies .

The last part of the tour involved looking at Fynbos which is indigenous to the Cape. I love the delicate flowers of the Erica shown above.

The children had to do a scavenger hunt among the Indigenous plants, looking for various characteristics of the plants.

On the way out of the garden the children could not resist playing the water organ.

I would have loved to linger longer and picnic in the garden but we had to get to the afternoons activities.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sound Workshop and more...

On Tuesday we made a trek across town to the Northern Suburbs for a fun hands on workshop where the children learned all about being a sound technician.
They got to produce their own radio advert.

Tuesday evening, there was much excitement as my mum and her husband returned from their UK trip. Even though their Granny was only here for a short stop over before flying out the next morning, the children loved their time with her. We had a great evening together.

We continued with our art activities this week and had fun trying to create "Impressionist" paintings. We had to work quickly, and try to convey the general mood of what we saw, not a detailed image. It was more difficult than I thought it would be. K and Z chose to paint a similar scene to Monet's "Poppy Field". The bank of bright red poppies gives the painting a peculiar charm. It is one of my favourite Monet paintings.

K's poppy fields. I loved her sky.

Z's poppy fields.

I am so happy that his attitude towards art has changed. He used to be a very reluctant artist as he always measured his work by K's art. As he is 3 years younger than her, he was not able to re produce anything close to her art. As a toddler, he refused to draw and would ask me to draw for him. He now willingly takes part in art activities and enjoys them too.

Today we had fun on yet another school outing. It was the monthly ice skating outing. Z was so chuffed with himself as he didn't fall once. He did however loose a tooth while on the ice. He had been munching on popcorn and thought he had a piece of popcorn in his mouth but it was none other than a tooth!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

70th Birthday

My dear Dad turned 70 this weekend. This morning we had a wonderful time together, celebrating his birthday with a relaxed, enjoyable breakfast at a nearby garden emporium. It was a peaceful setting , under the dappled shade of some trees.

Getting back into the garden

With the spring weather, I have been itching to get back into my garden and get things planted early enough to enjoy a longer harvest this year. I needed hubby's strength and help to get a few jobs done. This afternoon we had the time to get two wheelbarrows of rich, crumbly compost out of our compost heap. We dug that into one of the beds and we planted some seedlings. We can look forward to broccoli, butternuts, cucumber, celery and chillies. I plan to pop a few seeds into the soil too. I have beans, carrots, radishes and gems I think.

We added a second tyre to Z's potatoes which have been growing well. Not sure why K's didnt fare too well.

Plank Breaking Demonstration

Here is a link to the awesome Plank Breaking Demonstration.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Karate Kids

This morning J and K had a great opportunity to take part in a karate demonstration at a nearby cinema. Today is the release of the new Karate Kid movie.

It was loads of fun and one of J's friends broke 2 planks by kicking them, then hit one that J was holding and lastly he ran up a human pyramid and did a flying kick to break a fourth plank! The crowd seemed to enjoy the demo and this afternoon we are looking forward to going to see the movie.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mom and daughter time

K and I spent a lovely time together this evening. J had a friend sleeping over and Z and hubby were enjoying some time together. The two of us chatted, laughed and just enjoyed being creative together. We took out all our card making goodies and had great fun!

My creations above and below:

(I loved her green cupcake and copied it)

Her creations above and below:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

our week

The weeks just keep rolling by and the term is almost coming to an end. We have resumed our Zoology after a break. We have learned some new words like "conchology"...I just love that word- it means the study of shells. Today we learned how starfish eat and the children found it "gross" as well as fascinating. (They push their stomachs out of their mouths to engulf their pray, begin digesting it and then pull the stomach back into their mouths.) The children have also enjoyed making the creatures that we learn about for their ocean boxes and some hands on experiments.

We have spent much of our learning time outside as the weather has been warm. I just love the fact that we can learn where ever we are....cuddled under blankets on the couch, on the patio in the shade of the umbrella, on the steps soaking up the suns rays, the kitchen table, the dining room or even in bed when someone is not feeling on top of the world.

The younger children and I finished the Afrikaans book we have been working through and J had his first lesson with his tutor, the same sweet lady that teaches piano to the younger children. Today was the last meeting for the Afrikaans group he has been going to weekly.

Z has continued to enjoy his weekly horse riding lessons. J has not been able to train for karate for 2 weeks now and is beginning to really miss it. He should be able to return next week but I will have to keep my eye on his ankle as it was really sore and swollen after his ballroom lesson tonight. K has been to karate but it seems she may have to take it easy too. We saw the doctor today as she has a painful infection of her big toe that requires antibiotics.
Tomorrow the younger two return to their drama lessons after a break of two weeks. I have enjoyed having a free Friday afternoon but I also enjoy the lovely scenic drive over the mountain to their drama lessons. Until next time.
PS: For some reason the photos would not load.

A surprise!

Last night I came home from a fun evening out at the night market with some old school friends and the kiddies. Hubby was out but had been home and there was a gift for me on the kitchen counter!

I was thrilled as I have been wanting a juicer for some time. This morning I rushed out to buy some fresh fruit so I could make some juice. I made an orange, paw paw, apple and carrot juice. It was delicious! I cant wait to try out all the different recipes!

Even the little man enjoyed the juice, carrots and all!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Keeping my hands busy

I am one of those people who cannot just sit in front of the tv doing nothing. My husband and I have regular programmes that we enjoy watching together and while we watch, my hands are kept busy with some or other knitting project.

I have completed the sweet cable look beanie to add to a baby shower gift and then the cutest stripy cat ear beanie. It doesn't look like much when lying flat , but when its on, its oh so cute!

Just look at those little ears! I cant wait to make one for my new niece or nephew!

Yesterday, my dear friend helped me to work out the start of the pattern for my new project. I cant elaborate as it is intended for a gift. I am so enjoying using the beautiful sock wool that I bought on our recent outing to Philadelphia.

And no, its not going to be a pair of socks.....