Thursday, November 25, 2010

A trip to the library

Early this week, we had a planned visit to the library. K needed to get some information on the Dewy Decimal System and our librarian was willing to chat to the children and explain everything to them.
It was wonderful as nobody else was there as it it was before opening time. The librarian, who clearly loves books, kept us there for a couple of hours. She was informative and enthusiastic and ever so helpful. This really surprised me as I had always thought of her as being rather strict and unfriendly. She was so interested in K's school book and kept coming back to check if K had found the information she needed to find.
She made up a little worksheet for the children to complete that was almost like a treasure hunt or detective work. They had to find various books on the shelves, relating to their classification or Dewy numbers. The children really enjoyed that activity and in between they got sidetracked by books that interested them. I thought we would never get out of there!

We came away with some books on Anne Frank as K is doing a research essay on her and Z found a few books to read too. He has recently discovered the joys of getting stuck into a book, and can be found reading by torch light when he should be asleep or early in the morning before getting out of bed and any time in between! He has been able to read well for a number of years but has never really spent much time with his nose buried in a book so I am thrilled that he has discovered the joys of reading and is taking after his bookworm siblings.

What a beauty!

This morning I was delighted to find this beautiful, intricate passion flower on my vine. The children were amazed by this flower and really interested as we have recently studied the parts of flowers in our Botany course.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A taste of France

The children and I have been enjoying learning about France. It is a continuation on our unit study of Monet. They have done some note booking pages on France and we have enjoyed reading about France. It truly makes me want to visit France.

Today for lunch, they made crepes....
chocolate filled crepes.

(There were a pile on the plate a moment ago!)

A peek at what is to come...

I must say, I am rather impatient when it comes to my little veg garden. I want things to hurry up and grow so we can use them. I realise I should have started planting even sooner than I did this year, which was earlier than last year.

I get excited when I see things beginning to happen in the garden. Here's a little preview of what we can look forward to:

Broccoli and peppers are looking good !

Zak and I took a break during our school morning yesterday and we cleared the bed under his window that was overgrown with nasturtiums. We look forward to the Cosmos.

Health Bread

On Friday I did my grocery shop for the week ahead. As usual I bought our supply of low gi bread. I was most upset to find that the bread was mouldy! Any way, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, or in this case bread!

K and I hunted for a low gi recipe on Sunday night as we needed bread for Monday. As my chicken and roasties were in the oven, a loaf of the most delicious healthy low gi bread baked alongside it. Here is the recipe especially for you mum.

250ml cake flour
2ml salt
5ml baking powder
250ml whole wheat flour (I dint have so i used extra normal flour)
250ml high fibre cereal (I used bran cereal)
250ml low gi oats (I used oat bran)
125ml sultanas (I mixed in some raisins too)
60ml sunflower seeds
5ml bicarb
500ml low fat, plain or fruit yoghurt (I used plain)

Preheat oven to 180 C
Sift first 3 ingredients
Add whole wheat flour, cereal, oats, sultanas and sunflower seeds
Add bicarb to yoghurt and let it stand until it foams slightly.
Stir into dry ingredients.
Spoon into loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour.

It is so delicious on its own but even better with honey and cheese!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Put foot walk-a-thon

This afternoon, despite the rain, we supported valley crime busters by entering this year’s Community Put Foot walk-a-thon. It was great to have some friends to chat with along the way.

We warmed up with some Zumba before taking off on the 4km route.

The route led us down the leafy lanes of Constantia....

through some fields....

and forest....
The last part of the route led us past the recently cut logs that were once our forest. It saddens me to see this.
None the less it was great to walk for a good cause and support our community police.

Kids in the kitchen

This morning I decided we needed to make some healthy snacks. I have been craving chocolate for about a week now and have not given in and bought one....I think the healthy snacks will be a better option.

Z and K were willing helpers. K tried out a recipe for raisin and cornflake cookies...sounds weird but they are delicious! We added some macadamia nuts to the mixture and decided next time we will add a dollop of peanut butter too.

Z made some low GI muesli muffins with grated apple and carrot. We added a dash of cinnamon to the mix and they are good!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas is coming...

The children enjoyed doing sand art Christmas cards as we had our read aloud time this week. We are reading Children of Ancient Rome, first published in 1922. It is a wonderful tale of the founding of Rome and all that went on. I love the poem at the beginning of the book.


Sing a song of little words,homely parts of speech
Phrases children use at play, songs that mothers teach
Who would think when Rome was new, they used that language then
Table, chair and family, map and chart and pen?

Sing a song of stately ways, camp and square and street,
Consuls, tribunes, governors, the legions myriad feet,
If those wise men so long ago had not known what to say,
All they gave us ready made, we should not have today.

Clear and straight and brief their talk in country or in town.
Lucid,vivid, accurate the thoughts that they set down.
Still the world is using words that bear the Roman stamp,
Coined in forum, villa ,temple, market place or camp.
Still our thoughts take day by day, those shapes of long ago-
If you read the dictionary, you will find it's so.

A perfect day

I woke early on Thursday and went about my usual morning chores. I was ready to start the school day when T called and invited us to join her at the beach as it was her birthday. I could not resist ditching school and heading out with the children for some fun in the sun. It was a perfect day with not a breath of wind! I was sorry that J chose to stay home and do some work but also pleased that he chose to be diligent about his work.

Just look at that beautiful, calm blue water!

The boys headed right into the water and stayed there for hours. I needed to soak up the sun and the peaceful atmosphere before getting into the cold water!

I did venture in for a was icy and refreshing and I cant remember when last I swam in the sea. T and K spent some time with the boys in the deeper water.

Rumbling tummies dictated that it was lunch time and by then the beach was becoming rather crowded. W went to a favourite spot: Cape to Cuba . The boys were fascinated by the barman making them alcohol free strawberry daiquiris. Little Z declared it was the best smoothie ever!

We enjoyed the views of Kalk Bay harbour and the occasional passing train caused great excitement for the boys.

We enjoyed a tappas platter of chili poppers, pepper poppers, ribs, bread, olives, mussels and other delicious bits and pieces. Lunch was rounded off with a visit to the ice cafe . The selection of flavours can be mind boggling. I settled on ginger ice cream and chocolate...a fantastic combination!

On the way home we popped in at a friend to see her gorgeous baby grand daughter born in the early hours of Thursday morning. After a swim back home and an afternoon siesta, we ventured back to T for more birthday celebrations. Tender fillet steak rolls and chocolate fondue for desert. What a perfect day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spring blossoms

I just love this picture captured by hubby on Sunday. We enjoyed a relaxed picnic at one of our favourite spots: Silvermine.


I don't remember the names of the parts of a flower from my school days but I sure wont forget them now.

We spent some time dissecting flowers and learning about the male and female parts as we went along. We really enjoyed that activity.

We studied composite flowers and learned of how intricate they are.

We were truly surprised at how big our beans in the cupboard had grown! The ones on the sunny window had not done much and had to be thrown out as they smelled really bad. The ones in the fridge have not grown at all.


The kids with some of the cast and Chaeli members.

Last month we had the wonderful privilege to see "Beautyfull" at the Baxter. It dealt with the topic of women and disability, and sought to challenge preconceived ideas and stereotypes while elegantly reminding the audience that disabled people are still abled.

The wheelchair dancing, dancing by a young blind boy, and the dancing done by a young deaf man had me in tears. It was an incredibly moving show and reminded me that we are to be truly grateful for our bodies that work well.

From my garden and kitchen this week

My little veg garden brings me such joy even though I wish it was producing more, but for now....

My home grown spinach was used in.....

the most delicious cheese and spinach muffins ever. (Recipe courtesy of Wendy
Even Z approved!

My home grown lettuce, spring onions and home cured, Rosemary flavoured olives.....

were just perfect in a chicken salad.

My home grown spring onions.....

made my broccoli salad delicious!

My home grown baby cabbage and celery.....

went into a coleslaw .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art activities

Another long overdue post....

We have spent more time enjoying the art activities from our book on Monet.

This time we tried painting pictures with depth.

This is for you Cath as you say I never post my art...well here it is, as you see I tried the field of poppies and had fun doing it.

K enjoyed creating the castle scene.

Experimenting with Modern Art... a favourite activity for Z....the messier the better!

Oh dear...K's modern art became an art disaster when she squeezed her paint tube and it burst, sending splotches of orange paint EVERYWHERE!

We have also enjoyed reading Looking at Pictures, kindly lent to us by a friend. It is an introduction to art through the collection of the National Gallery. We spent hours enjoying some of the worlds greatest paintings and went on a wonderful journey of discovery into the world of art.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Looking Glass

K has been privileged to be part of a wonderful group this term called "The Looking Glass". A group of teen home educated girls get together once a week under the leadership of a lovely, twenty something (university grad) home educated young lady who is mentoring them.
They each received a beautiful hand made journal which they decorated and now use at their weekly meetings.
They enjoy tea time together, each girl having a chance to partner with another girl in the group for tea duty. The pair do the preparation, decoration of the table and serving of tea to other girls.
The girls are growing in their understanding of who God is, His desires for their lives and how they can practically go about living that out. They spend time sharing, listening to a teaching, discussing the weeks topic and praying together.
Each week given tasks are carried out and then they are given time to share in a supportive setting. They are learning to listen to others in a loving way too, as each girls path is different.
K looks forward to this each week and I am so grateful that she is making some lovely new friends and getting to know her Saviour better.

Nothing better than....

....the first mince pie of the season!

Oh I just cant resist a mince pie! Chocolate cake, carrot cake, lemon meringue pie yes, I can pass those by easily. But not mince pies! When I saw a pack in my local Woolies today, I snatched it up. I know that Christmas is just around the corner now and I will be savouring the spicy taste of mince pies for the next few weeks. Never mind the calories, I will have to put in extra classes at Tae Bo and the gym to make up for all the mince pies I plan on eating!

Western Cape Karate

There was much excitement today as the Champ of Champs kicked off! J had to go to a final training session with the districts that make up the Western Cape Team: Boland, South Western Districts and Western Province. This is the first time that the neighbouring districts have joined together to represent the Western Cape. They will all be leaving their respective tracksuits and badges behind and donning the new tracksuit and and badges as a united team: Western Cape Karate.

Training included reaction time training, some team songs and war cries, and introductions of themselves to the rest of the team.

The guys look great in their new team tracksuits.

We love the Champ of Champs T shirts....and now I need to go and sew the new badge onto the gi! We are hoping for a medal on saturday!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


As I mentioned in a previous post, we are enjoying our Botany studies enormously. We have learned so much and are beginning to see plants in a new way now that we are armed with more information about them. I love it when the children are curious about creation and marvel at what they see about them.

We did a fun experiment where the children had to classify shoes the way a taxonomist classifies plants. Boy did that get confusing trying to come up with names for all the different kingdoms, phylum, classes and orders of shoes!

We are doing an experiment with germination. Hence the little bag with seeds in it taped to the dining room window.

We were surprised today when we went to measure the growth of the seeds and found that the ones in a dark cupboard had grown more than the ones taped to the sunny window. In a way it does make sense now that I think about it, as seeds do germinate underground where it is dark.

We have been looking at Monocots and Dicots too and today the children enjoyed some time out in the garden identifying them. They picked specimens to draw for their note booking pages.

This evening we collected some seeds from my broad beans that we plan to dry out and hopefully plant next season. Lots more to enjoy in this course!

Delicious comfort food

Monday morning saw the older two off to their last cooking class. I was glad of another night off from the usual cooking duties as I have spent the better part off the last three days in bed trying to shake a chest infection. It has left me feeling rather tired and with little energy for the usual things. It makes me mad that I have to miss my tae bo class too!

They made the most delicious pizzas which we thoroughly enjoyed for dinner. One was ham and pineapple and the other salami, mushrooms, peppers, feta and parsley... which J informed me made the pizza look more sophisticated! All though he may not admit it, I think he enjoyed the course.

And for desert and anytime we feel like it....two big chocolate cakes!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Aquarium visit

Last weekend we took the opportunity to visit the Aquarium as I had promised the children I would take them once we finished our Zoology studies on sea creatures. We finished that some time ago but we wanted to make it a family outing and hubby has been working most weekends.

In the warm water tanks, the bright colours were amazing. Perhaps one day I will have the opportunity to snorkel in warm waters and enjoy the amazing colours of these beautiful sea creatures.

What you see magnified on the screen behind Z is none other than zoo plankton eggs. These look like tiny grains of sand to the naked eye.

We looked at our fingers on the screen too...rather frightening since I had just been to the bathroom and washed my hands...there were tiny black dots on my fingers. I think this really hit home to the kids who now seem to be washing their hands more regularly.

The kids enjoyed being able to look at a baleen plate close up and hold it. I didn't realise it would be so huge!

In the touch pool we got to touch and look at star fish, anemones and sea urchins.

Hubby enjoyed using his camera. It was good to see him enjoying all the great photo opportunities.

The cold water tank is one I could sit at for hours.Watching the kelp swaying in the currents as the large silver fish swim in and out is so calming. It has always been one of my favourites.

At lunch time we enjoyed a bite to eat out on the deck overlooking the water. The seals lazed about in the sun and took a dip when they felt like cooling off. The baby seal was so cute.

A highlight of the day was the feeding of the sharks and rays. The sharks are fed first for obvious reasons. The rays hang around patiently waiting their turn to be fed. I have never seen this on previous visits to the Aquarium. The divers came into the tank with some containers of food and they held the hake out on a spear for the passing sharks to eat. Apparently they have a very slow metabolism and will only eat if they are hungry. We were grateful that they were hungry so we could witness the feeding. The sharks swam off with their food and some shook it vigorously before swallowing it whole. They swam round and round returning for more until they had eaten their full.

The feeding of the turtle was amazing too. She has been trained to swim towards the black and white board, and the diver hides her food behind it until she is really close. The diver then lifts the food above the board so the turtle can eat it. Apparently she was a nuisance at feeding time and now she behaves perfectly, waiting until she sees her signal.

Z had fun pretending he was in the tank with the jellyfish.

It was great to see many of the wonderfully created sea creatures we studied during our course. We have started a botany course and it promises to be plenty of fun too!