Saturday, February 26, 2011

My thoughts

Of late, so much has happened to those near and dear to me. A recent email has also inspired me to share some of my thoughts.

As we tread on this earth, let us do so gently. Let us be mindful of those around us: family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers like the petrol attendant or the shop assistant. Do we know their personal situation? Have they lost someone near and dear? Are they fighting battles we don't know of? Is each day a challenge for them? Are they battling with anxiety over the future? Are they lonely?

So often we are harsh or careless with our words, judgemental or critical of others. Our words lack tenderness. We fail to stop and think and put ourselves in their shoes. Words said carelessly can cause pain and anguish to others without us even being aware of the consequences. Are we so short sighted that we cannot see beyond the so called shortcomings of those around us?
We are all human and all make mistakes.

God, however loves us as we are, and His love and grace cover all. He is tender, loving, merciful and full of grace. Let us be so with those we encounter on a daily basis. Let us be kind, patient and tender with those around us, and above all humble and forgiving. Let us speak life giving words to those we encounter and be mindful of how we treat them for we know not what they endure. Let us look beyond their short comings and see them as He sees them.


The girls craft club has begun for the year. This time around, it was pottery. It seems the girls had a great time learning a new skill. They will be going back next month to finish off their items and I look forward to seeing the finished products.

Fun at the stables

As mentioned before, I love the place where Z does his riding. Just that hour outdoors is so refreshing. Whether sitting chatting to the other moms, sitting quietly and contemplating life or watching the children having fun under the great big blue sky, it is always enjoyable and good for my soul.

It was pure delight to watch little Z enjoying the rope swings as he shouted for more!

He fed Bushy the long grass and sweetly talked to the hungry horse as he fed him.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Precious moment

My little guy so looks forward to his Monday afternoon riding lessons. This week they went on a gentle ride along the green belt adjacent to where the horse is stabled. I didn't go along for the walk as I was minding the kiddies that stayed behind to enjoy the stream and the rope swings. I was greatful that this moment was captured by one of the moms who went along for the walk.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A visit to my brother

We recently enjoyed an evening with my brother and his wife and their dogs. It was relaxed as we chatted about the baby, names for the baby and looked at the scans and the baby room. He is due at the end of April and the excitement at meeting this little guy is mounting!

As usual, their sunflowers are exceptional! I am amazed at their height and the size of the heads. I planted seeds a few times in the last few months and nothing happened.... I will have to get some of their seeds when they are ready.

Valentine's Dinner

We had such a special time as a family on Valentine's Day. I love giving the kids a little something special and fun, and of course hubby too! I too got spoiled with beautiful flowers during the day and we had a special meal together in the evening, where we gave each other cards and treats.

On the menu was lasagna (one of the family favourites) and a simple salad with all the greens from the garden. We sipped on pink champagne and desert was my favourite frozen berry flavoured yoghurt. I gave the kids each a little fortune cookie with their desert just for fun.
It was a wind free, warm summers evening and we sat outside enjoying the fresh air and chatting until late. A perfect way to celebrate!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Extra activities

J is back to training after having his wisdom teeth out. He is also being trained to teach the " little ninjas" at karate. He helps teach twice a week and then Saturday mornings too. The aim is for him to run the Saturday class in the not too distant future.

I still cant believe how high he kicks!

Z is a real hands on boy and loves making things, taking things apart and building Lego for hours. He recently joined Tekioo club which will meet once a month . It is a design and technology club where the children make something useful from start to finish. They get to roll up their sleeves and do something new and challenging! They explore their creativity and develop practical skills as well as problem solving skills.
At his first lesson he made a place mat holder , which he decided would be useful to store his National Geographic Magazines. Next month he will make the place mats.

He is enjoying his riding lessons and especially the bare back riding. When the lessons are over , he hastily makes his way to the rope swings. It is so peaceful and beautiful at the place where he rides and I just love that escape to a bit of heaven on earth!

K now spends her Monday afternoons at art. She has wanted formal lessons for some time and we heard that a local artist was taking on new students.She absolutely loves her lessons and so far they have been drawing with pencil, fine liner and ballpoints. My favourite are the chillies. This weeks lesson was somewhat different and they spent time experiencing water (swimming) and then painting water. I have yet to see the painting.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day

With Valentines day fast approaching, the kids and I have had some fun learning the history of Valentines day, writing love poems and letters expressing appreciation to someone we love. ( I found a sweet love note tucked under my pillow from my youngest.) We have read Romeo and Juliet as well as Twelfth Night.

The highlight of last week was seeing a production of Romeo and Juliet at Lourensford Estate (1700) in Somerset West. The singing, dancing and acting was outstanding and the costumes magnificent. It was the perfect setting for this visual feast and despite being soaked with rain a couple of times, it was a most memorable fun filled evening for the entire family.

K has been making beautiful Valentines Cards and has made herself some extra pocket money.
We plan to have a celebratory meal together on Valentines Day. Here's wishing you all a wonderful day filled with love!

From my kitchen

One of my "resolutions" for the new year is to try a new recipe once a week. I am not sure that I have got that right every week, but I certainly have tried a number of different recipes. I have been so inspired by "Jane's Delicious Kitchen". I love that her recipes are seasonal according to what is naturally abundant at that time of year.

Plums have been reasonably priced of late and couldn't resist trying out Jane's Chinese Plum Sauce. It is so tasty and has the most delicious ingredients such as ginger, garlic and even chocolate! We ate it over crispy pork as the recipe book suggested.
At the same time, I made some plum cordial flavoured with lemon balm from the garden.

The Chinese no name chicken with mushrooms and peanuts was superb! It was so good, I made it two weeks in a row. Spring onions, basil and chili from the garden were used in this recipe.

Another one I tried was the Flamenco chorizo and potato salad....a real winner! The flavours were amazing and of course the parsley, mint and rosemary all came from the garden. It tasted far better than it looks in the photo.

A dear friend gave me some not so baby marrows from her garden and I tried Jane's quick bread with summer squash. It was served warm with thick lashings of butter....the only way to serve freshly baked bread!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cake Decorating

K had great fun at her monthly craft club recently. The girls learned various icing techniques and even though she has learned much from Aunty Tess, I knew she would enjoy the afternoon so she went along.

And of course we got to enjoy the results of her fun!

Eagle Encounters Spier

Two weeks ago the younger two and I went on a fantastic school outing that I have wanted to take them on for some time as we had studied birds last year. Somehow we didn't get to go on the outing at the time so when the opportunity arose, we grabbed it with both hands!
We set off early along the coast road and thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent views of False Bay. It was hot and windless, the sea a brilliant turquoise, the mountains in the distance looked majestic. The journey was just as enjoyable as the outing itself.
Eagle Encounters is a rehabilitation centre for birds of prey and so the birds are not caged. I wished that Eric had joined us as I think he would have enjoyed the opportunity to photograph the birds close up. Nowhere in the wild does get the chance to photograph raptors in flight as close up as this.
Our guide was very informative and knowledgeable. He held the audience captive as he flew a selection of owls, kites, buzzards, hawks and falcons around, and to us. I must admit, at first it was a little daunting to have these birds so close to us.

This beautiful Jackal Buzzard has a wingspan of 1.2m.

Sykes, the spotted Eagle Owl.

Brutus, a Martial Eagle with a wingspan of 2.5m. Brutus goes out hunting in the nearby farmlands. I was amazed that he goes out and comes back of his own free will. I would think that he would just fly away and be free.

Our guide showed us the Barn Owls ear. Its position on the head is so close to the eye, which apparently helps with hunting. I love the markings of the feathers.

The kids enjoyed feeling just how soft those feathers are . These little Barn Owls are so cute as they dance too! When the guide played some music for them, they closed their eyes and bopped up and down on their perch. Too cute.

It truly was a fantastic experience!