Thursday, March 31, 2011

The result

K has completed her "Dutch Mona Lisa".

I love the result!

Sunday Snaps

Sunday was a relaxed day with family and friends at home. The kids worked on their rally, we had a braai and it was hot enough to swim. I cannot believe it is almost the end of the week already, and almost time for another Sunday!

My sweet little friend "Pudding"

Someone was delighted to find some ripe tomatoes and gobbled them straight off the bush!

"Precious" is getting so big and she is holding her own bottle. She is discovering her voice and delights in making cute high pitched noises. Such a sweet, contented little thing.

K spent time working on her "Dutch Mona Lisa".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Diepriver Trail

On Friday morning Z and I went on our monthly nature club meeting. It was great to meet up with friends, old and new. It was a warm, but breezy, autumn day and we were exploring a trail I have never been on before. Rather strange as we have lived close by since I was a little girl.

We entered the trail after walking across the rather dry grass. We expect our rains in the winter so it is not unusual for the grass to be so dry at this time of year. Suddenly we were under the tree canopy, and all around it was beautifully green with ivy clinging to the trees and creeping every which way.

The children ran ahead excitedly like little rabbits enjoying the freedom of open spaces. The trail meandered downhill, rather steep in some places.

Along the way, I spotted some beautiful flowers. Unfortunately it seems as if someone has put our field guide in a secret place as I cannot seem to find it to identify these flowers! We will have to hunt it down in the morning.

As the trail went on, once again there was a stark contrast as we came out to a level area covered with cattails and pampas grass alongside the river.

The sun beat down on us and the children raced across the bridge to the freedom on the other side.

They raced all the way to the end of the trail where it meets the road. Mothers ran frantically after them, not knowing if the children would stop in time. Thankfully they did and no one came to any harm.

On the grassy banks of the river, there were splashes of color where the Morning Glory flowers displayed all their deep, rich blue and purple flowers. These flowers tend to close in the warmer parts of the day and are fully open in the morning, hence the name Morning Glory.

These pink flowers were a delight too. I know what they are called but have gone blank for a moment!

We made our way back to the starting point a little slower than we had started out, and had time to look at all the flowers that the children had missed in their haste. They spotted a rain spiders nest that we had missed on the way down the trail.

Once back near the start, the kiddies enjoyed clambering over the boulders while the mums enjoyed a chat and tea in the shade. We will we be going back to enjoy the trail again sometime soon I hope!

Walk for Wheels

On Friday evening we had the pleasure of joining about 93 other walkers in the Chaeli Campaign's first ever Walk for Wheels fun walk. The event was only planned 5 weeks ago and the turnout was not bad. It shows what can be done in little time.

We enjoyed the 4km walk even more as my sister and her husband joined us. It was great to have them here with us from KZN.

We had an exciting chat with Zelda of the Chaeli Campaign after the event and she has asked Z to be an Ambassador for 2011 , as well as asking K to be a mentor to the Ambassadors for 2011 and she wants to sign J up for the Presidents Award! Exciting times ahead :

Z enjoyed a ride on his uncles shoulders when his feet got tired!

The Event

The task team.

Over the past week the children have spent many long hours working with Tanya on their event for the Chaeli Campaign. As part of their year as Ambassadors, they have had to plan and carry out a fund raising event for a charity of their choice. They have chosen to organize a Fun Family Car Rally in support of the Pink Ladies who are an organisation that look for missing children and support the families emotionally.

They have sourced sponsors for their amazing prizes and goodie bags, worked on their route and cryptic questions and advertised their event. They have been keeping track of the teams entering and we are looking forward to an exciting time next weekend.
The founder of the Pink Ladies contacted the children last weekend and she is planning to attend their event.

My heart is so grateful for my special friend Tanya who has sacrificed EVERY spare moment of her time to work with the children and help them plan and execute everything. Her enthusiasm is contagious and and it has been wonderful to watch her work with my teens. The sounds of laughter often come from the dining room where they are working.
While they are working, often late into the night, I help to take care of her 2 little girls and her sweet grand baby. I am the cook too and make sure there are wholesome meals for the task team when they are hungry. It has been amazing to watch this unfold and come together.

Busy in the kitchen again....

Last weekend I had great fun in the kitchen making Chilli Jam and more basil pesto. Friends have tasted both and have shared with their friends. Suddenly I am getting orders for these products!

I made a huge batch of Italian tomato sauce too. Of course much of what I used is from the garden.

My broccoli is beginning to form heads and I am picking baby marrows. There are tomatoes ripening on the bushes and I am still picking chillies and enjoying the fresh herbs in the garden. This week I need to plant carrots and cabbage.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Looking swell!

My sweet sister in law is just weeks away from giving birth to their precious long awaited baby. Early this week I had so much fun putting together a "nappy cake" for her baby shower gift this afternoon.

I used a large pack of newborn nappys tightly rolled and secured with elastic bands. I made three tiers and decorated it with all sorts that I have been buying since we found out she was expecting. I had the greatest time putting it all together! There were toys, baby spoons, little baby books, a door sign (baby sleeping), newborn socks, a facecloth and some baby aqueous cream in the top tier, around which I secured the nappys.

She will need to use those nappys first as he seems to be a big boy!

(The baby photo is me as we had to put baby photos onto the gifts for her to guess who they were from)

My creative daughter made the most beautiful cupcakes for the tea and is planning to make a scrap book of her new cousins first year as a gift. A sumptuous spread was laid on with savory and sweet goodies to delight all.

T was given some amazing gifts. And as it was really hot today, the kids enjoyed the pool and the guys made a braai. All in all, a relaxed enjoyable afternoon for all.

My friends granddaughter was the youngest guest and there was no shortage of willing hands to take care of her. She even had her first tiny little dip in the pool.

We look forward to meeting the new cousin and nephew soon!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Our week

Our week has been busy as usual, but in a different way. On Monday hubby and I celebrated 19 years of marriage. We chose to go out during the day rather than the evening. The children are at an age where they can get on with work on their own for a couple of hours so it was great to take in a movie and enjoy lunch out together at Gourmet Burger enjoying our favourite lamb and feta burger....mouth watering!!

The older two children have been putting in many hours this week for a fund raising event they are planning. This is part of their year's Ambassador Program with the Chaeli Campaign, and their chosen charity is The Pink Ladies:

" The Pink Ladies will, upon request, work with any individual or organisation that has the same objectives - reuniting missing and endangered children and loved ones with their families and/or caregivers.
The valuable service provided by The Pink Ladies is strictly voluntary and performed for the love of children everywhere in South Africa, regardless of colour, creed or circumstance."

Their event is a fun family car rally. My dear friend, Tan has been a great help in guiding them, inspiring them and giving up much of her time to help them work out their route and clues. The route is almost complete, they have got in some amazing prizes from generous sponsors! We look forward to a bumper event. It makes my heart sing that my children have the opportunity to do something that will benefit others, that is too big to be done alone, and takes them out of their comfort zones.

J had an amazing opportunity to spend the last two days enjoying a work shadow at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa. Professionals at the Institute gave various presentations and exposed the kids to the many possible careers in sport. The following aspects were covered:
  • Fitness
  • Sport Science
  • Bio-kinetics
  • Physiotherapy
  • Sport Psychology
  • Sport Outreach
  • Nutrition

Proudly South African.<span class=

He also enjoyed a tour of the South African rugby museum featuring exhibitions, special attractions and insights into the world of rugby. The highlight for him was the tour of the Newlands Rugby Stadium that has a capacity of 51 900 people. He was amazed by the vastness of the stadium.

We enjoyed some time on the beach on Thursday as I felt the need to have a brisk walk on the beach. Hubby and Z had a great time bonding and playing cricket together on the beach. Sadly J was not with us as he was at the work shadow.

For me, the week has also been one of trying to recover from, and get over this nasty sinus infection. It has left me drained of energy and feeling down right rotten. Today the pain in my face has subsided a bit and hopefully the antibiotics and cortisone treatment are kicking in!

We look forward to a relaxing long weekend together and next week we expect good news on the work front for hubby!

Doing the bees work

I am back at playing pollinator early in the morning, but I don't mind as I am seeing the fruits already! Hubby and J put in a new vegetable bed towards the end of last year and I planted some butternut and baby marrow seeds . They had dug it over with horse manure and some compost from our own compost heap. I was concerned that the planting had happened too late in the summer but it was so worth the wait and the trial and error.

The plants have done so well and every morning I am greeted with a beautiful display of the brightest golden yellow flowers, make and female. I am helping to pollinate them so that we get a good harvest. I have learned through our botany course why I was not so successful with the butternuts.....some plants are "allergic " to the pollen from their own plant!
They need to be pollinated with the pollen from the same type of plant of course, but not the exact same bush! I love learning new things alongside my children and next time I will be sure that the male flowers of my butternuts that are being used to get the pollen, are not on the same vine as the female that needs pollinating.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Full and busy days

For Art K is busy working on a pencil drawing of a painting. There is a trick to it though: she has to view the painting upside down and it is in an A4 envelop. She may not view the entire picture at a time and may only reveal a few centimetres at a time, and then a little more as she completes each section of her drawing upside down.I have however posted the photo the right way up. I love how it is turning out.
The painting is "Girl with a Pearl Earring " done by Dutch Painter Johannes Vermeer. The focal point of the painting is a pearl earring. Sometimes the painting is referred to as "The Mona Lisa of the North" or "The Dutch Mona Lisa". A fitting piece for her to work on due to her Dutch heritage.

Z made a set of 6 place mats at his design and technology club for this month and has started work on a magazine rack that he will complete next month.
He is a real hands on boy and I found a fantastic technology book that we are working through together. He has enjoyed learning about different types of bridges and then building them.

He had fun testing how much weight he could add to a beam bridge before it collapsed. He learned that the more beams there were, the stronger the bridge would be.

He and hubby made a simple beam bridge together that is now put to use when building Lego towns.

Recently we had some house guests for about ten days. It was lovely to have little people in our home who wake up in the morning with so much energy and zest for life! To hear their laughter and see their enthusiasm for life was such a blessing.
K and I had great fun enjoying the littlest guest who is almost four months old. We bathed her, fed her, dressed her, cuddled her and rocked her to sleep. Z even enjoyed cuddling her while I read aloud to him and when asked if I should put her down to sleep if he tired of holding her, his answer was that he didn't think he would ever tire of holding the sweet little baby! She brought such joy into our home.

Her aunty who is just six, missed a day of school while she was staying here. She happily slotted into our school morning and even wanted to do join my kids with their note booking of what we had just read about.

K is doing some of her work independently now, but still joins us with the Botany course we are busy with. I love her attention to detail when she records what we have learned about. We have been busy with pollinators and have enjoyed watching the butterflies in our garden, going about their God given tasks. Yesterday, our granadilla bush surprised us with another open flower waiting to be pollinated ..... perfectly timed with our study on self pollinating plants last week.

So our days are full and busy and exciting with plenty to be learned and done. J continues to work diligently at his studies in order to be prepared for his exams later in the year. It has been wonderful to have hubby around to share in our schooling and we will miss him when he starts working again. We trust that will be very soon.

In the kitchen today

On Sundays, I often enjoy pottering at leisure in my kitchen and trying out new tasty recipes to bless my family. Home economics was one of my school subjects until matric, and I love being able to pass on a little of what I learned to my daughter.
Today we made the most delicious, low GI seed bars (thanks mum for my mag subscription that had this great recipe in it!). We toasted oats, coconut, sunflower seeds and some oat bran. When it cooled we added some raisins and dried apricots. After boiling sugar, honey (thanks to the Woods!) and butter together until soft ball stage, the ingredients were all mixed together and pressed down into a dish to cool.

The results were excellant and I like the fact that we didn't need to bake them in the oven. We will be making these again soon and hubby can enjoy them too as they are low GI!

Next, I made some Basil Pesto as one of my basil bushes seems to be nearing its end. I use sunflower seeds instead of the pine nuts and it turns out just great! A jar for the fridge and two ice trays full for the freezer to pop into a dish when required!

Oh....I opened the pepperdews that I pickled a week or two back and they are really good! I added them to a tasty lentil and rice salad that I made to accompany our braai today. I will be planting the pepperdew seeds I saved so we can have an abundant supply of home pickled pepperdews!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Save Our Seas Shark Centre

Earlier this week we had a fun educational outing to the Save Our Seas Shark Centre in Kalk Bay. Their mission is to encourage protection, conservation and the sustainable use of sharks worldwide through research, education and awareness. What made it even more fun was that hubby was able to join us on the outing and be the official photographer!

Paul, the educator at the centre, also happened to be an old friend of my husbands. He showed the kids around the shark centre and gave us a very informative talk. The kids had the opportunity to handle shark skin and feel the rough denticles that we had learned about last year in our Marine Studies. They also saw sharks egg cases as well as shark jaws with all the rows of teeth. Paul managed to keep us all interested, right from the youngest to the oldest.

The highlight of the outing was the time spent on the beach across the road from the Shark Centre. It is a marine reserve so we could not remove anything from the area, but the children were allowed to handle the sea creatures as long as they put them back exactly where they found them.
It was low tide and the rock pools , teeming with colourful life were exposed for our pleasure! Paul taught us about the intertidal zone and revealed the magical world of the rock pools to us. The children were given a checklist of things to find and had a great time discovering them. It was great to have Paul share his knowledge with us. We were all fascinated and I am sure we could have spent all day there enjoying the wonders of creation. An octopus, hiding under a rock caused great excitement!

K was very observant and found a number of 6 legged cushion stars. This is not the norm as star fish are supposed to have 5 legs. Paul was fascinated by this and will be sending some photos to an expert to discover what has caused them to have 6 legs.

The sea cucumbers were like large squishy slugs...not my kind of fun!

We hunted for the giant chitons and eventually found plenty. I have never seen these before so it was great to discover them. The pear limpets covering the rocks were abundant.

I love the rich colours the creator chose for the anemones and sea urchins.

Of course, we ended off our wonderful morning with a trip to the ice cafe . Cinnamon and Rooibos ice cream for me!