Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Slow Living Month 10

October is over...a busy month in terms of living life and getting back into the swing of school after a break that went far too fast! It has also been exam season again for our eldest. Our daughter was away for half the month on a wonderful trip to visit her cousins on the farm. 

It was a month in which I used all sorts of odd things that were hiding in the freezer or the pantry cupboard. 
Some frozen green beans and frozen basil pesto went into a nourishing chicken soup. 
The last of the Indian tomatoes from the freezer as well as some of the butternut and orange chutney were used in a delicious chicken curry.
A can of tuna made tasty fish-cakes using fresh coriander, spring onions, mint and parsley from the garden.

One of the meals that gave me the most satisfaction was the following....
spinach from the garden with broad beans from my neighbour's garden in vegetable quiche,
salad, freshly picked- baby cabbage and spinach, celery and spring onions with a dash of mayonnaise.
Both my boys added to the meal too. It was great to have them in the kitchen....
loud music and laughter as we worked together!
 The youngest made a tasty mielie meal bread and the eldest made the most delicious baked lemon dessert using lemons from my mom in law's tree. It had a simple shortbread type base and the lemon topping was baked, giving it the texture of a cheesecake.   

I have done a fair bit of juicing this month too. Usually orange and carrot juice. The boys and I also used some frozen berries that had been forgotten in the freezer to make smoothies at lunch time. I added a couple of beetroot from the garden to mine and it was simply delicious!

Tonight I enjoyed having my daughter back in the kitchen with me. We took full advantage of the fact the oven was on and baked up a storm! Spinach from the garden, onion marmalade and creamy home made feta cheese, a gift from my dear farm sister, made a tasty crust less quiche.  We made corn and chili bread, carrot and pecan nut muffins and an orange cake. 

I have tried to make sure I send hubby to work with a nourishing lunch instead of the usual peanut butter sandwich. Where possible I have stretched evening meals with extra vegetables so I can freeze a couple of extra portions for a healthier lunch for him.

Lemon curd has been made and enjoyed as usual by the children.
Frozen tomatoes lurking in the freezer made a batch of tomato and chili jam. 

On the weekend I discovered some sun dried tomatoes in the cupboard and made a tasty red pesto spread which we have been enjoying with my sister's delicious farm cheeses. I have an abundance of coriander in the garden and made some coriander pesto too. The jar has been devoured rapidly by my eldest! Tomorrow I plan to teach my daughter how to make it.

We continue to recycle paper and glass.

Both hubby and I have slowly been going through things that have accumulated in and around the house and we are aiming to reduce the clutter that seems to gather out of nowhere!


I stumbled across a simple vinegar and citrus cleaner and decided to try my hand at my first batch. It should be ready in a week or so and I am looking forward to trying it out. 

My garden is a continual source of pleasure and I am so enjoying this season in the garden. Though I am not harvesting much yet, I love noticing the new growth taking place....
bright yellow flowers on squash and cucumber plants,
tomatoes that I didn't plant springing up everywhere,
 first flowers on the granadilla vine,
 first fruits forming on the chillies, 
compact heads on cabbages, 
beans climbing ever higher day by day,
sunflower stems standing tall, much to look forward to!

We are enjoying the first strawberries, as well as lettuce and fresh herbs. 
This evening I harvested a perfect onion.... I am not sure where the others disappeared to but even that single beautiful onion brings me pleasure!

I have not been creative this month but my daughter enjoyed a 3D edible art workshop where she created cake pops and figurines. 

Much of my reading has centred around South African history during school time with my youngest. I have also been reading snippets from garden and herb books.

My neighbour and I have been sharing seeds and seedlings. 
Lifts are shared saving time and petrol and we walk when needed on days we don't have the car.

Hubby and I enjoyed an evening out with friends to a dance earlier this month.
A number of friends birthday's have been celebrated, and most recently hubby's birthday. 
We enjoyed his birthday with a  double celebratory dinner at home as it was the day our daughter returned from her farm visit too! 
It was a pleasant relaxed evening, neighbours joining in, good food and hubby playing all his favourite old CDs!

 Thank you Christine for hosting this great link up at Slow Living Essentials.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Joy Dare October week 4

Giving thanks....

Day 23
1032) audio books for my boy to listen to for school as I was not feeling well today
1033) a call from my big sister
1034) boys who have taken up the slack....
doing their sister's chores while she is away, without complaining

Day 24
1035) meaningful discussions with the boys over Bible time this morning
1036) thankful my eldest is preparing diligently for his exams
1037) broad beans from my neighbours garden again
1038) happy messages from my daughter on the farm

Day 25
1039) ice cream enjoyed with a friend
1040) an unplanned, but perfect evening braaing at the neighbours

Day 26
1041) a peaceful afternoon enjoying my book and some down time as I continue to recover
1042) talking to my girl on the farm...
thankful she has been having a wonderful time

Day 27
1043) thankful to get my hair done by my kind neighbour
1044) hubby helping me in the garden

Day 28
1045) growth in character, discernment and wisdom for our precious girl
1046) meaningful chats with my teen son
1047) thankful that our children are His and He is the gardener of their hearts

Day 29
1048) our daughter's safe journey home from the farm... 
feeling complete again now that she is home
1049) grateful thanks for the blessing of my sister and her family who cared for and nurtured her 
over the last two weeks
1050) precious moments watching my three re-connect after her 2 week absence
1051)  delicious gift of a wonderful variety of home made cheeses and butter from the farm 
1052) thankful for a wonderful dinner with neighbours celebrating her return and hubby's birthday

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joy Dare October week 3

Though I decided to take a break from my blog, I could not break the "thankful habit" I have gotten into over the last while. It reminds me to constantly be thankful to Him in all circumstances for everything....

Day 16
1010) thankful that despite mix ups as to where her boarding gate was, our daughter managed to board the plane safely and on time early this morning
1011) thankful for a safe journey to the farm with her cousin and uncle...
and being able to be in touch via messaging throughout her journey
1012) thankful to hear her voice and laugh tonight...
tired but happy to be there with her special cousin whom she regards as a precious sister
1013) thankful for calls from all my siblings today
1014) broad beans from my neighbour's garden

Day 17
1015) delighted that my asparagus have survived when I thought they were dead and gone

Day 18
1016) morning walk with my neighbour and her dogs...the little one pulling me all the way
1017) boys in the kitchen with me, laughing, music loud, one baking bread and the other a dessert
1018) talking to my daughter on the far away farm ....hearing about her making butter, cheese and ice cream
1019) my sister sending me photos of my daughter and messaging me to let me know all is well
1020) my sister in law visiting with my baby nephew two days running

Day 19
1021) thankful we had wood for an indoor fire....
enabling us to cook toasted sandwiches for a houseful of teens at dinner when the power went out!
1022) coffee, cake and laughter celebrating another birthday with the neighbours

Day 20
1023) houseful of happy teens again
1024) talking to my sister and the girls on the farm

Day 21
1025) medicine from my neighbour to try and fight what ever it is that my body is fighting
1026) hubby taking over chores so I could rest

Day 22
1027) a gift of broccoli seedlings and straw to mulch my strawberries
1028) thankful to be feeling a little stronger today
1029) thankful for my daughter's good term marks for art, and the wonderful teacher she has
1030) thankful for a visit from my brother and the way he made me laugh today
1031) thankful that as Ann Voskamp says,
 "You defeat your dark when thanksgiving is your default."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Taking a breather...

Life has been filled with much recently. Some good and some not so good. I have decided to take some time  out from my blog and will be posting again when I am ready. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Joy Dare October week 2

This past week I reached counting 1000 gifts to be thankful for. 
It has become a daily habit to find something to give thanks to God for no matter what we face. 
Sometimes it is not easy when life burdens one with challenges but it is worth it! 
So I will continue to count my blessings....

Day 9
989) acceptance in Him
990) His strength, not my own
991) knowing nothing can separate me from His love

Day 10
992) thankful to find joy, great or small even in difficult times
993) happy sounds of cousins on a long distance phone call.... knowing they will see each other soon
994) thankful for groceries just when there was little left

Day 11
995) thankful that last night's intruders did not get into our home and we were not harmed
996) thankful for some quiet time to myself while my eldest did his chemistry practicals and the youngest explored the science centre with his friend
997) humble thanks for God's family that is beyond our comprehension....
and His provision through someone we don't even know
998) thankful for financial help to replace our gate motor after it was stolen last night
999) thankful for a beautiful evening..
blessed to be surrounded by my family...
a simple meal shared outdoors...
  delicious best ever chocolate mousse for dessert
made by my eldest and his sweet girlfriend

Day 12
1000) reaching 1000 things to give thanks for no matter what life holds
1001) encouragement and blessings from my far away mum
1002) end of a challenging week...hopefully some rest and relaxation over the weekend

Day 13
1003) seeing my teen daughter and her friend enjoy a happy fun filled girls day today....

.....laughing at princess movies, eating pink food and wearing crowns!

1004) an evening of fun and dancing with hubby and some friends

Day 14
1005) conversations with my farm sister and my mum
1006) hubby's helping hands around the house today

Day 15
( a gift re-read)

1009) thankful for wise words on motherhood from Kat at Inspired to Action :

"The best I can do is to show them what following God looks like, what good choices look like, what love looks like. My job is to invite them to journey alongside me, teach them as much as I can and pray for them constantly.
Ultimately, though, their responses and decisions I must entrust to the grace of God. Unlike a marathon, boot camp or grad school, following all the rules doesn't mean I get the prize of perfect kids."
1008) thankful for friends who make me laugh
1009) thankful for shared lifts for the children me extra time to help my daughter get ready for her trip to the farm in the morning

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Science Centre Fun

Today the boys and I visited the Cape Town Science Centre again.
  It was good to just have some time alone with my thoughts while the boys were kept busy.

Behind the green door, our eldest was occupied with practical chemistry lessons. These lessons have been taking place over the last few months and have been of great help to him in preparation for his exams.
He will be writing physical science in the next couple of weeks.

Our youngest had a friend with him and they were free to explore.

A great place for busy boys to discover new things and learn while having fun.

Certainly one of our favourite places!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Joy Dare October week 1

Day 2
(a gift falling)
970) plans falling into place for my daughter to visit far away family
971) visit from a friend I haven't seen in a while

Day 3
972) early morning coffee at the neighbour in my pjs
973) house full of kids and their it
974) my mum sending me photos from her visit at the farm
975) having my precious baby nephew here this afternoon
976) another generous donation of bath sprudels for my son's fund raising project for the Chaeli Campaign
977) lemon curd and ice cream for desert

Day 4
978) rain watering my garden today

Day 5
979) morning walk and talk with my daughter
980) a friend popping in unexpectedly for a visit today
981) teens filling the house....loud and happy

Day 6
982) beautiful truth in Ann Voskamp's words...
" And He knows your name and He holds the stars and His girds underneath and He never lets go and He is joy and He is light and He is the warrior who defeats the dark"
983) my dad popping in for coffee and taking my daughter out to an art exhibition
984) laughing with friends
985) winning a book prize for my youngest

Day 7
(a gift eaten)
986) doughnuts brought for us by my daughter's friend

Day 8
987) good first day back at school today after the week long break
988) a brisk walk in the biting wind ...clearing the mind and getting the heart pumping

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sweetarts 3D edible art workshop

Yesterday K enjoyed a fun afternoon creating some 3D cake pops and figurines with Jacki of Sweetarts.

My favourite are the Minnie mouse and the pink teddy bear!

Jacki is passionate about sharing her talents with youngsters and inspiring them to be creative.
If you would like to book a workshop with Jacki, you can visit her website here: 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Slow Living Month 9

September seems to have been super slow with not a lot happening compared to more productive months, but as usual it is good to look back and see what was was achieved.

We enjoyed a  fragrant chicken curry using Indian Tomatoes  from last months  freezer supply and the butternut and orange chutney that has been standing in my fridge for a while.It truly was tasty! 

I have wanted to use some Lavender from the garden in my cooking for a while so  my daughter and I tried our hand at some lavender shortbread. 

We also made shortbread with lemon balm. The lavender shortbread was the winner!
If dinner is cooked in the oven, I continue to make the apple and oat bake for hubby's breakfast. My daughter made a double batch of jam squares one evening too when she needed eats for a function. Her brothers were happy to have the extra delicious snacks too!
 As we had sufficient gooseberries, I made another gooseberry pie.
We have been enjoying guacamole at lunch time as avocados are in season. We add tomato, finely chopped onion, coriander and chilli from the garden, garlic and lemon juice...delicious!

This month I made a batch of sweet chilli and tomato sauce with tomatoes and chili from the freezer.
My home made pickled onions were great and I made a second batch which are just as good!
Lemon curd has been made again and again, enjoyed with pancakes and fresh fruit.

We continue to recycle paper and glass and I reuse card board boxes when I need to package any orders.

I have been neglecting my worm farm for some time and am always amazed that the worms are still alive when I do peek in there! This month I have been paying better attention to it and have reaped the benefits with some worm tea to use in the garden.
 The compost heap has given us an amazing amount of beautiful rich and dark compost which has gone into the garden.

My friends and I have been sharing seeds this month and we are enjoying swapping and trading seeds.
I have harvested tomatoes, lettuce, mustard greens, gooseberries, herbs and lettuce.
 I look forward to summer and more bountiful harvests!

We have planted a butter spoon tree and it seems to be doing really well. It was given to me by our local nursery in exchange for a bag of old newspapers on arbour day.
 Petunias were planted between the cabbages. Gem squash, strawberry,  cucumber and basil seedlings were planted . Sunflower, water melon,  spanspek, bean, radish and squash seeds went into the beds and pots.

I had fun creating this little feature which reminds me of my far away farm sister....
The wire heart was a gift from her, the base bought on a visit to the farm in 2009, and the stones were collected by her when she was living in a coastal town a number of years ago. 
The petunias are producing beautiful lilac blooms now, reminding me of her daily.

I knitted up a pair of chocolate brown fingerless mittens for my Mum and will be posting them to her shortly. Besides that, not much on the creative side for me. However, my daughter has been creating all sorts and I have lent a hand here and there when she asks for help. 
She made "tea pot" invitations for her 15th birthday tea party.

With the help of a friend she sewed her own "Infinity Dress" for her party in just two short afternoons. It is a simple dress with two long pieces that are attached to the sides. These can be wrapped in many different ways to create different styles for this beautiful dress. 

She also made tea pot, tea cup and shoe shaped cookies for her party. They were decorated by hand, each one unique and delicious!

A friend gave me a very early birthday present which I have been enjoying...
"My 100 Favourite Herbs"  by Margaret Roberts. 
It contains a wealth of  information about growing herbs, using them in the kitchen and to produce health and beauty products. 

I enjoyed a visit to a local market with my sister in law. It was wonderful to sample all the different wares and I came home with some fresh vegetables for the week ahead. 
Our youngest has continued to sell bath sprudels to raise funds for the Chaeli Campaign as well as Peace pops. 

This month we enjoyed watching our two younger children perform at the Artscape Theatre as part of the 
Shakespeare Schools festival 2012. 

It was a wonderfully entertaining evening. 

Beach walks and talks were enjoyed as well as a number of  friends birthdays.

Lastly we enjoyed celebrating our daughter's 15th birthday over this past weekend.

Once again I am thankful to Christine for hosting this great link up at Slow Living Essentials.

Joy Dare, last of September

Counting my blessings...

Day 25
956) uplifting chats with my farm sister

Day 26
(2 gifts flourishing)
957) my lemon tree....flourishing since hubby moved it into a sunnier position
958) spring flowers bringing beautiful splashes of colour into my garden

959) thankful for a young lady, willing to give up her afternoon to help my daughter with some sewing and then my son with science tutoring

Day 27
(2 gifts unexpected)
960) free "brand bucket" delivered to my door with seven different deodorants for us to try out
961) an awesome and very early birthday present from my neighbour .... 
Margaret Roberts "My 100 Favourite Herbs" 
962) catching up with hubby after a long and busy day

Day 28
963) beautiful sunshine, an answer to my daughter's prayers for her tea party this afternoon
964) the blessing of a gorgeous "tea cup" cake made by my neighbour for our daughter's birthday

Day 29
965) celebrating our daughter's 15th birthday today with family and friends

Day 30
966) catching up with a friend over a cuppa
967) a day with no agenda after two days of celebration
968) calls from my sisters this weekend and seeing my brother and his little family

Day 1
969) get together to celebrate a friend's daughter's 21st birthday....
lovely to get out and enjoy lunch with friends