Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 6-7

A week or two back, it dawned on me that Thanksgiving was around the corner. This is not a holiday that is traditionally celebrated here in SA, but we decided that it was something we would like to do as a family.

The last year has not been an easy year, and we can choose to dwell on that
choose to be thankful and count our blessings.

God is faithful and always will be.
He is greater than any circumstance.
He is our reason for a hope and a future.
He can turn our complaining and grumbling into gratitude.

In the weeks preceding Thanksgiving, we had a jar on the coffee table and each family member jotted down what they were thankful for on a daily basis and added it to the jar.
The younger two and I started reading Pilgrim Stories by Margaret Pumphrey. We are thoroughly enjoying learning about the history of the Pilgrims, their life in England, time spent in Holland and their new life in America. The children are fascinated by the American Indians and it seems we will kick of next year learning about them.

Anyway, back to our Thanksgiving dinner...

We had invited our new neighbour and her son to join us, but sadly, they had plans. An hour or two before dinner, her plans were cancelled and she asked if it was not too late to join us?
We were so pleased they could!

My sweet, kind neighbour came bearing contributions to the meal, a bunch of my favourite flowers and a fantastic gift basket filled with all sorts of delicious, decadent treats!

As hubby was carving the meat, he thought we should invite another of our neighbours too...
a quick call and he was over at our place in 5 minutes!

We were so thankful for the gift of a shoulder of mutton from my dear sister and her husband. We had the most wonderful evening, eating a delicious meal, laughing, playing some games and sharing what we are thankful for.

Desert was made even more delicious thanks to the gift of a jar of sour cherries from my sister too!

We have already planned who will be hosting next years Thanksgiving dinner in the neighbourhood!

Psalm 106:1-2, "Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for his is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise him enough?"

In the garden this week....

First Sunflower!

Strawberry flowers.

Celery...loads of it!

Beans...thinking of curried beans and bean salad.

Broccoli....the only way my family likes to eat it is raw, in broccoli salad.

Peppers...raw in salads or added to stir fry.

Tomatoes...picking handfuls daily now.

Best way to eat them: balsamic vinegar and a little brown sugar heated and reduced until syrupy, then add baby tomatoes and heat over medium heat until they start to split. Add to salads or serve over pasta!

First granadilla flower!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A wonderful celebration of love

In October we had the great pleasure of attending my cousin and his new wife's wedding.
It was wonderful to see some family members that we have not seen for a while!

It was a joyous celebration and of course the bride was just beautiful!

The venue was perfect,

and the food excellent!

Memories were created as guests had great fun posing with this frame.

We wish them every blessing in their new life together as one.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Home Tester Club South Africa

I recently discovered Home Tester Club South Africa and it has been loads of fun!

Since I joined I have received a new washing liquid , a men's deo for hubby, a dry shampoo (that my daughter and I have loved using ) and enjoyed a morning of fun, having a delicious breakfast with the Home Tester Club and the wonderful people that work there.

Recently I received a box of 6 jars of Jacobs coffee to share with my friends.
What a treat!

Once you join, you get the chance to register for monthly free grocery products to test, review and rate. It is a great opportunity to try products that you may not have tried otherwise. The reviews are usually very short questionnaires so it is not time consuming .

They run regular competitions too...
if you would like to join and get some surprise packages in the post for free...
say I (W.Meijer) referred you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun with friends and family

At the beginning of October we had a wonderful surprise visit from our friends who live in Pretoria. It was great for us to all catch up with one another as we have not seen each other for some time.

The kids had a blast!
We spent much time reminiscing, laughing and eating loads of good food together!
The dads decided to give Z a haircut together.

We had a good laugh as the two barbers did their thing!

Our friends were delighted to meet baby M too as they have known my brother since he was a (naughty) teen.

Baby M was introduced to strawberries that day and simply could not get enough of them! He cooled off in the pool with his mum and dad and then cousin K just had to have a cuddle with him!

He is still coming to us two mornings a week and we are enjoying watching him grow and change. He is always happy and full of smiles.
I love watching my three interact with their baby cousin.

He is sitting well now and moves around a lot when he plays on the floor.

He loves having stories read to him and sits quietly on my lap as I read aloud to the kids.

We have new neighbours too !

These three boys just have non stop fun! They have a flag system going so that they know when each other are available to play. If the flag is flying, it is play time!

Weekends are spent between the three houses: sleep overs, swimming, jumping on the trampoline, skating, j boarding and creating memories of a happy childhood.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Time flies!

The years have flown by since we had cute toddlers in our home!

This precious, sweet, chubby little toddler is now taller than me!
About 7 weeks ago we celebrated her 14th birthday. She is growing into a fine young lady of whom we are very proud. We are so blessed to be her mom and dad.

Her day was special!
She wanted to go to the beach with some special friends.

What fun we had together!

The moms all caught up with one another and the kids ran wild and free on the beach....

Dunes were climbed....

Happy memories were made...

Ice creams were eaten...

Flavours too numerous to mention!

She had a party with all her friends on the weekend and cupcakes were baked.
The piggys in honour of her farm cousin whom she misses so much !

The teens all came dressed up!

Fun, food, music and laughter!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Miss K's art and crafts

At art K has learned new techniques with watercolours. They experimented with wet paint on dry paint, wet on wet, dry brushing, layering, painting over wax and salt crystals,and using gladwrap and papertowel for different effects.

She so enjoyed that lesson!
They went on to practice their techniques and she painted this beautiful blue and white vase with bright flowers.

Even though the painting is smudged, I think the vase came out beautifully!

At home she painted a vase of colourful poppies as a gift for her aunt.

The colours are gorgeous.

The art teacher introduced the children to plein air painting. This is K's painting of the view from the field next to her art teachers home in a national park.

Next the children were introduced to botanicals. These are my personal favourites and one can see that she has an excellent teacher!

The little turtle was carefully observed and painted in detail.

They did a study of goldfish...

The goldfish are my absolute favourite painting!
(Sadly this photo does no justice to the painting.)

Next they moved onto working with acrylics.

They painted a still life with a twist. First one half of the painting was done and then the paper was turned upside down to paint the other half.
A fun colourful exercise!

At one of the monthly craft afternoons the girls learned how to mosaic. K made this colourful heart mosaic with pieces of mirror in the middle as a gift for her precious far away cousin.

At another craft afternoon the girls were taught how to make these cute doll key rings.

Colourful, fun and cute!

Co-Op gets out and about

As I mentioned in the last post about our Co-op, we had a wonderful visit to The South African Museum during Heritage Week. Entry was free and that spurred us on to make the trip. It had been the longest time since we had visited there and the kids were filled with excitement and wonder!

To celebrate Heritage Week, there were various additional exhibitions and the kids enjoyed taking part in weaving a Heritage Day flag. A very kind lady patiently helped them and explained how to weave on the large loom. Each child wrote a message on a strip of fabric which was then woven into the flag.

The messages woven into the banner would then be removed at the end of each day and displayed in the trees for all to read and remember to protect our heritage. (grr, can't get rid of these silly lines under the writing!)

We enjoyed the exhibitions show casing the people of Southern Africa.
It amazed us as to how real these statues seemed... as if they might suddenly jump up and get on with their daily lives!

The children were fascinated by the rock art of long ago, depicting the lives of those who were hunter and gatherers in our beautiful land.

The whale well never ceases to cause me to stop and think of the wonders of creation! The 20.5 metre whale skeleton with it's huge gaping jaw is incredible!

We took a relaxing tea break out in the Company's Gardens.This beautiful old garden was first established in 1652 by the Dutch settlers to the Cape. It has been enjoyed by many locals and tourists since it was proclaimed for public use in 1848.
We enjoyed watching the Egyptian geese with their "teens". They were really tame and the kids had fun feeding them scraps.

This cute squirrel also kept returning for his fair share of treats offered by the delighted children.

As we were right there and had time on our hands, we strolled over to the South African National Art Gallery. There was an exhibition of Tretchkoff's work which was truly fascinating and interesting!
A fun outing enjoyed by moms and kids alike!