Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Freedom of the Dance

The Freedom of the Dance

As promised, here is a photo of K's finished painting. (Unfortunately I cannot seem to take a photo that depicts it well with all the brightness of the actual colors used.) As I watched her create this, emotion welled up inside me and it brought tears to my eyes. I love the colors and the way the girls hair flows.

Soil for Life Outing

With World Environment Day coming up on 5th June, the plan for our Nature Club was to meet at Soil For Life ( on Friday morning. The weather was just perfect, a beautiful end of Autumn sunny day!
They have a fundraiser going on at the moment ( and so the organizing mom provided a picnic lunch for us all, in return for a donation to Eat For The Earth.

On our arrival , we were directed to park down the road from Soil for Life nearby some stables. The children had great fun admiring the horses.

The horses frolicked about in the warm morning sunshine.

In the perfect outdoor classroom we learned all about Soil for Life and what they do. In a nutshell they "build the soil ; grow the plants ; feed the people and heal the planet". They have worked in the townships with people for the last eight years growing food and people. People are being empowered to help themselves, and one shack at a time is being made green.

After being shown how to create healthy soil , the children eagerly planted their own seedling trays.

They chose cabbage, spring onions and celery. I think that K put a turnip into her seedling tray too. That should be interesting as we have never grown these before.

At the really reasonable price of R2 per seedling, I too made myself an extra seedling tray with some lettuce and flat leafed parsley. I am sure I will return each season to buy my seedlings there.

We were taught all about composting and it was great to ask these knowledgeable men some questions I had about my own compost heap at home. At least I know I am doing it right now! They make hot compost heaps and have plenty of space for turning their heaps and moving them down the slope. There are a number of heaps going at one time.

At their final destination the heaps are sifted before being bagged and sold to the public.

As promised, the organizing mom put on a fantastic spread for our lunch time picnic. We enjoyed fresh rolls with healthy, tasty toppings, fruit, juices and even cake for desert.

What a perfect way to spend a glorious morning outdoors with friends and learn so much about sustainable , organic vegetable gardening.

At their little shop one can buy freshly harvested produce and seeds of all kinds. I could not resist this bright pumpkin ( to attempt a pumpkin pie) and some leek seeds. I have not grown leeks before and I hope to be successful with them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wrap up of our busy week....

My artist started her new project after having spent last Sunday at her Grandpa, planning and practicing her new piece. This is a painting for the annual Chaeli Art and Poetry Competition. The theme this year is "One Life: Mind , Body and Soul where one forgets the "dis" in disability and focuses on the ability instead."

Her work is inspired by a show we saw last year where able bodied and differently abled people danced together. It was truly inspiring to see these people dancing together. Additional inspiration came from the brief : "Each person has the right to live a full and fulfilled life, where talents and abilities are recognized and opportunities arise for each person to realize their full potential. A disability should not affect this right."
(I will post a photo of her completed work asap.)

Z and I have had great fun building Lego together this week. We have so much Lego as it has been collected between the two boys for more than 10 years. He had a great idea of tipping the crate out onto a large blanket. This meant it was easy to find all the pieces we needed, rather than scratching though what seems to be a bottomless pit of Lego! We spent time sorting it out and looking for "special pieces".... there are SO many "special" pieces! I have also kept all the booklets that came with the Lego in a file so it they are easy to find when one wants to build a particular set.

This set was one of the first sets that my J ever bought with his own pocket money. We substituted the blocks for a different color when we could not find the right colors . It was great fun!

Z also went to try out a karate class through the Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club. This is a class with a difference as one of the instructors is in a wheelchair, and able bodied and differently abled students take part in the same class. The pace is slower than what he was used to and there is a fun element to the class. He so enjoyed the class and I was amazed that he remembered so much after not having done karate for about a year.

K and I had great evening on Thursday, helping a friend prepare party food for another friends birthday the following night. We laughed and chatted as we worked and before we knew it, it was time to leave and get some sleep.

K finally completed the mobile she was busy working on, much to the delight of the recipient.

It was craft club for K this week, and she and her friends learned how to make gel seascape candles with Candle Mania. The candles were made in layers, and in between the layers there is sand, sea weed and some shells. I think they turned out really beautifully and the girls had a great time making them.

It was also our monthly nature club on Friday...we had a great time and it deserves it's own post that will follow shortly.

J continues to pursue his studies with diligence and is making good progress. His days are full and busy. He has taught his 3 classes of karate this week, his weekly guitar student and gained a private karate student too. He is enjoying his new found financial freedom!

Tonight I had the treat of babysitting my sweet one month old nephew so his mom and dad could take their 4 canine children for a walk and then go for a bite to eat. This little guy is just so relaxed and seems to just sleep. I wished he would wake so I could cuddle him! I didn't take the risk of picking him up or disturbing him in case he became unhappy. Maybe next time he will be awake.

Last but not least, our sweet kitty has found a perfect spot to warm herself as the suns rays are less potent. While spring and summer are bursting forth in the northern hemisphere, down south it is getting really cold! Winter is on it's way!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Miss K's Creations

I love watching my daughter as she works on her art projects. She is blessed to have inherited her artistic abilities from my Dad. She takes her art very seriously. It has to be just right when done.

As I read aloud, her hands are always busy being creative, ever busy doing some art or craft project.

She has been learning about texture at her art classes. First she did an ink drawing of the duck , and below is her final painting.

I love the way it turned out!

Next they went on to learn about shape and negative space. She had fun creating the picture above.

For the next lesson she had to choose an Aesop's Fable and make shadow puppets.

Each of the students had fun presenting their puppet show at the next art class. I love the way the wolf's jaw moved when he spoke.

The girls craft club learned how to make these beautiful greeting cards.

She received her pottery back after it had been fired. I love the patterns on both.

Much of her free time has been taken up working on a project for a friends sons bedroom.

She painted the half rounds of polystyrene to look like bakugan toys and then the smaller ones too. These will be put together to make a mobile.

Finally, she made this heart wreath as a birthday gift for a friend. She used a wire hangar bent into a heart shape and then cut strips of fabric in various shades of blue and white and tied them onto the wire heart. The result was really pretty! ( sadly this is not such a good photo)

Joys of being a little boy

There are some things that bring great pleasure and joy into my youngest son's life. He loves his weekly horse riding lesson. He is very confident around these great majestic creatures. His teacher is kind, gentle and encouraging.... just what he needs.

Horsey fun!

Something else he looks forward to is his monthly design and technology club meeting. He is the only one his age and gets the undivided attention of the teacher while the other teacher is busy with a large group of younger children.

This month he began work on a little footstool that will be completed at next months meeting. He is a hands on boy and enjoys the break from the regular school morning.

Teddy Fair

My daughter was asked to work at the Teddy Fair this year. It is an annual event on a nearby wine farm and I always seem to miss it for some reason or another. With my sister here, my daughter working there and friends who were keen to go, there was no way I was missing it this year!

All though not there for very long, the time spent there was delightful and I will be sure that when I return next year, I have plenty of change to spare so I can buy a bear!

Christmas Bears

Rainbow Nation Bears (gotta love them!)

Rupert the Bear ( and the tune from when we were kiddies is going round & round in my head !)

Winnie the Pooh

Loved these cuddly guys too!

Teddy Bears Tea Party

Loved these two with their gorgeous hats and big feet and the expression on the one with the purple ribbon!

I hope to get in touch with one of these talented ladies so the girls at the craft club can learn to make their own bears.

A belated gift

A while back I had a delightful visit out into the countryside with some friends to Nurturing Fibres While there, I chose two balls of wool with specific people in mind. I was happy to have the asssistance of my friends when choosing the colours of the wool. Once home, I set to work on a challenging pattern to make a birthday gift for my precious sister.

Little did I know that it would be completed long after her birthday and I finally managed to give her the belated gift on her recent visit. She was so thrilled with the choice of colour and will find the scarf useful in the cold Free State winters.

I enjoyed the challenge of a new pattern but was disappointed with myself for choosing to make the smaller size as I think there would have been enough wool to complete the bigger size. Anyhow, I now have left over wool and will perhaps use it in my first attempt at knitted socks.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Farm Bounty

On her impromptu visit, my dear sister brought bags full of the freshest vegetables from the farm. We had great fun trying all sorts of new recipes!

Some of the bounty was prepared for the freezer and we are still enjoying adding these veg to our meals now. My sister made a tasty savoury pie with some of the patty pans. We ate fresh, crunchy,red cabbage coleslaw and steamed baby pumpkins.
On the night my brother and his wife and the sweet little baby came for dinner..... (just had to put in a picture of him on his his first outing !)

.....dear sweet Aunty C taught Z how to make a Zucchini Chocolate Cake! I have always admired the way my sister teaches little people. She is so patient and Z loved learning from her. I have not been able to keep him out of the kitchen since then.

The result was a really messy kitchen and an absolutely delicious cake that we will be making again!

Here is the recipe from Meals without meat by Alison Holst if you would like to try it:
125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated zucchini
1/2 to 1 cup small pieces chocolate (the recipe says optional but I say required! )

Beat butter and sugars until light and creamy
Add eggs one at a time with a spoonful of measured flour to prevent curdling
Add vanilla and yogurt and mix well
Sift dry ingredients and stir in with grated zucchini
Turn into pan and sprinkle surface with required chocolate
Bake at 170 C for 45 minutes

I think it would be decadent served with a dollop of fresh cream or ice cream!

While on the topic of food, I have been enjoying the small but steady harvests from my garden.
I have been making basil pesto, more chili jam (I never buy shop chili sauce anymore) and recently made a delicious broccoli pickle, best eaten with cheese or cold meats.

Tomatoes have been a good price and I recently bought a big bag on special and added some of my own baby tomatoes from the garden to make about 5 jars of Indian tomato sauce. I wanted to make Indian tomato sauce as I was trying a new recipe for sweet potato curry in coconut milk which required them. This curry recipe came from the latest Your Family magazine. I have so been enjoying this gift of a years subscription from my mum.