Friday, September 23, 2011

The journey has begun!

Craig has taken his first steps towards Egypt.
He left the Chaeli Cottage last Saturday with a great send off !

We were not all able to see him off as K was competing in a Western Province Karate competition, but thankfully part of our "Home's Cool" team was able to.
I was sad we could not be there to say goodbye but would not have missed her competition and seeing her get a medal for anything!

We are following his journey and it is amazing to see how South Africans are welcoming this young man and supporting him as he makes this incredible journey of goodwill.
His first stop was in the northern suburbs of our city where he did his first handover of an assistive device to a little girl with spina bifida.

Naturally the children have been learning about different disabilities in the last week so that when we read of the people whose lives Craig is impacting, they have a better understanding of the various disabilities.

Days before his send off, we received an urgent email from the Chaeli Cottage to ask us to create a video of what we had done in our co-op so far. The kids had great fun putting together a short clip and I was grateful that a friend had popped in and could cue them as I filmed....could not have done it without her!

The girls came up with a fabulous idea of raising funds by doing a pamper party for little girls. They created beautiful invitations and they hope to raise enough to sponsor a day.

As part of their learning about SA and Heritage Week, we had a fantastic outing to the South African Museum and the National Art Gallery...that deserves a post of it's own though!

They were so inspired by the rock art that tells of lives lived long ago. They just had to do some rock art of their own!

As the artists of long ago had made their own ink, it was fitting that they did too.
Red ink was made from frozen berries that had been thawed, vinegar and salt.

It was pushed through a sieve and then art began in earnest!

Instead of paint brushes, they used feathers and created some gorgeous art.
The week before the kids had enjoyed working with clay too.

Z's rock art and his clay elephant.

The two girls created the cutest African huts from clay and their rock art was lovely too!
Our co-op days are such fun!


This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more. You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. In the meantime, head to SACH Carnival #8 - Support Groups and Co-Ops for this week's carnival. We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September so far

September has been busy, full and fun so far! 
Our co-op has been a time of connecting and learning about south Africa with our friends and I have already done a post or two on that.
 Now it's time to fill you in on the rest of September!

Little nephew/cousin comes twice a week for the morning and he is a joy and a treasure. We love him and he is such a content little chap. We are enjoying seeing him develop and learn new things like hair pulling, grabbing his chubby little feet in an attempt to chew on them and watching him enjoy his teething biscuits which  cause him to flap his little arms wildly in eager anticipation of what is coming!

I have been asked how I manage to school with him here and honestly, all I can say is that he does not interfere with our schooling as he is such a chilled little guy! He is more than happy to listen to our stories or lie contently kicking his little feet, chew on a teething ring, park off in his pram, have a nap or get cuddled by cousins or any delighted friend who happens to pop in!

We have had our fair share of Spring showers as well as super warm days.... 

the kids have had their first dip of the season!

Z had great fun making this Solar Robot that was one of his birthday gifts and he made a side table at his technology club.

He has made great strides ahead in his maths and completed his last course with an overall 95%. He was super excited to start his new maths text book this week.

We are almost at the end of our Botany course. We have taken this one slowly, in small chunks and have learned so much along the way.

Our recent lesson was on Seedless Vascular Plants and we were delighted to find that there was a tree fern, complete with fiddleheads, growing in our neighbours yard!

We got some fronds to inspect and examine.

We could not believe our eyes when we did a project that involved looking at fern sori (clusters of sporangia that contain the spores).
Thousands of spores came off the frond, each capable of producing a new fern under the right conditions!

K has had great fun from the catwalk to competing in her first big karate competition!

She was chosen to take part in a fashion show for Savage Appaloosa's new Spring/Summer collection.
This company was launched by two sisters who never received any formal training in design, pattern making or sewing, but could sew before they could write. They learned all the tricks of their trade from their mom and grandmother at home.
Their clothes are feminine and flattering, designed for a variety of shapes and sizes, for woman with curves and those without.Each item is handmade, unique and 80% of the fabric used, is produced in our home town.
Models were chosen based on the owners strong opinion that woman come in a variety of shapes and ages and that needs to be celebrated instead of placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves. The clothes are made to compliment who you already are and not to change you!
I love her philosophy!

Yesterday saw her competing at the Karate Association of Western Province for the Children's Championships.
 It was an exciting morning and she did so well, competing against girls who have already competed on a national and provincial level, whereas she has only been doing "competition training" for 2 weeks! She was thrilled with her joint third place and bronze medal. She should now qualify for the SA competition in two weeks time but unfortunately she cannot compete as she will have a birthday just before the competition and then is "too old " for her age group.
She should however make the selection for Western Province in the coming year!

J had his grading after 2 hours of black belt training and he made it to senior brown 2!
He has been invited to attend a week of black belt training at the end of the year.
He is also working hard and long, preparing for his exams next month. Working through numerous past papers focusing on his 3 exam subjects for now.
He has continued teaching his karate classes and guitar. 

that's us, living full, interesting and fun lives.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

'Home's Cool" Co-op has more fun...

We have had more co-op days with our friends, enjoying learning about our diverse country.

We had to make Milk Tart!
A delicious proudly South African desert.

We learned about all our national symbols
... the Springbok, the Blue Crane, the King Protea, the Yellow-wood Tree and the Galjoen...

We learned about the National Coat of Arms and what each item on it symbolises.
9 provinces were found and marked on the maps and we talked of how there were only 4 in days gone by.
We learned of the different languages and ethnic groups in our rainbow nation.

We have talked.....
..... and talked
........and talked
about our land with such a rich heritage, diverse cultures, abundant flora and fauna, incredible landforms
turbulent history.

We have enjoyed creating Ndebele art.

We have scoured the Internet to answer the curious questions posed by the children
most of all we have had a great time enjoying learning together!

As part of our South African cookery, my kids were keen to make Vetkoek (literally translated as fat cake), a traditional Afrikaner pastry, thought to have its origins in the Dutch oliebollen and since they are of part Dutch descent...

Why not?

They made the dough and left it to rise while carrying on with the mornings activities...

They were fascinated at how 'alive" the dough seemed as it bubbled and moved!

The dough is flour, water, sugar and yeast, which is then deep fried....

What memories these brought back from my childhood days...
Our dear Xhosa nanny, Agnes, used to make them for my siblings and me!


This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more. You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. In the meantime, head to SACH Carnival #8 - Support Groups and Co-Ops for this week's carnival. We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"My life through a lens" part 2

This morning was part two of K's art project, "My Life Through a Lens", at the Frank Joubert Art School. As she had been using a disposable camera, we had no idea what to expect from the photos and that was part of the excitement of it all....

All though she had taken about 27 photos, she was only given 12 to work with, chosen by Ruth, the social worker from the Epilepsy Foundation.

An art teacher from the art school, worked with the girls, explaining to them the steps of making their photo montage.They went through the process of planning; making a collage for the back, fore and middle ground using ink, pastels, photos and pens and finally adding finishing touches.

It was a great experience for K as she has not done this before and the art teacher worked patiently with the girls, giving ideas and her valuable input.

Here are some parts of her photo montage:

I love that she used the piano keys on the roof of her room and had the family behind the window as if looking in from the outside.

Her creation was colourful...reflecting the colourful girl she is!

The roof of her room holds her art supplies and in the keyhole is her precious baby cousin.

The kite holds her thoughts about her only, dearest female cousin whom she longs for and could not photograph for the project.

She loves our dog, reading and going to gym with her dad two to three mornings a week. 
I love her smiley eyes peeping over the roof.

All in all a fun project and the exhibition should be held in November.

I just had to capture this door to one of the art classrooms...
It has now given the young lady an idea for her bedroom door...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Home's Cool" Co - op

This week saw our co - op taking off and we had two fun days learning together.
We began with large maps of Africa, filling in all the countries that Craig will be visiting and tracing his route through Africa.
It amazes me that this young man is making this remarkable journey on foot from Cape Town to Cairo!

The kids so enjoyed the map activities.
We read snippets from various websites about Africa, just adding to their general knowledge of the continent we call home.
We spoke about why we are proud to be South Africans.
We brainstormed ideas on how we would raise funds for the Walk4Wheels campaign and came up with some fun ideas.
As we have to give a team name for the school fundraising activities , we came up with the name
"Home's Cool".
As his starting point is South Africa, and it is our first country study, we learned a bit about the SA flag and the children coloured flags as well as adding maps of SA to their notebooks.
It was fitting to get the kids into the kitchen for home economics (and a night off for the moms!)

We enjoyed a traditional meal of Bobotie that night, which of course is not complete without Mrs Balls Chutney!

On day two, we read two books about Nelson Mandela and the children learned new things about the man called Madiba.

We learned the history of South African leaders and the National Anthem. We did notebook pages on Nelson Mandela.

Hands were kept busy while the moms took turns reading....

..... beautiful collages of African animals on an outline map of Africa!

It certainly has been a lot of fun so far and we look forward to next week.


This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more. You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. In the meantime, head to SACH Carnival #8 - Support Groups and Co-Ops for this week's carnival. We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Garden and kitchen

I am so enjoying my garden....

 tasty fresh herbs are added to most meals and the lettuce is plentiful! 

Yellow flowers promise a bountiful harvest.........

and sweet red strawberries are eaten with delight!

At night if I am using the oven for dinner,
 I whip up our new favourite breakfast and it bakes alongside our dinner:

Give it a try, it's low gi and simply delicious!

Apple and Cinnamon Breakfast Oats Bake:
1 egg
60ml sugar
125ml milk
100g almonds
 (or sunflower seeds, raisins or apricots)
5ml cinnamon
180ml oats
60ml oat bran
4 apples thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 180C
Layer apples in the bottom of a baking dish
Beat egg and sugar together and add milk
Add the rest of the ingredients to above mixture
and then pour over the apples.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes
 Serve with yogurt and a drizzle of honey!