Thursday, December 20, 2012

Joy Dare December week 2

Giving thanks....

Day 11
1156) holiday freedom ...seeing my youngest happy and free, swimming and bike riding with friends
1157) picnic in the park today, a park a stones throw from home that we didn't know existed

Day 12
1158) my neighbour arriving at the gate with an ice cold soda for me.... just when I was wishing I had one

Day 13
1159) teen son making dinner again tonight
1160) friends popping in with dessert

Day 14
1161) sweet baby here again, fun swimming together
1162) blackberries, gift from a friend
1163) enjoying a silly but sweet Christmas movie with the kids

Day 15
1164) beautiful bright red Poinsettias, an early birthday gift, bringing cheer to my home and treasured memories of my now almost 18 year old as a toddler at Christmas time

Day 16
1165) perfect summer evening .... coffee and mince pies outdoors chatting with the neighbours
1166) meaningful chats with our teens tonight in light of the recent US tragedy

Day 17
1167) my birthday.... 
beautiful messages and phone calls from family and friends, delicious breakfast made by hubby, surrounded by family and friends, memories and laughter shared, blessed with lovely gifts....
thankful for another year and thankful for those that add joy to my life

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

When Christmas came early

 On the weekend hubby collected parcels at the post office and came home with a box from the USA. It was a wonderful and unexpected surprise! I had signed up with Worldwide Culture Swap for a mini holiday swap some time ago. Somehow I didn't receive the original email linking us with another family, so I didn't think about it again. Thankfully I now know who sent us this lovely gift and we will be sending their pack soon!

The children and I had such fun opening this generously filled box and delighting in it's contents....
it truly felt like we were opening gifts on Christmas day!

We received a letter from the Green family, the story of our Saviour's birth, and a copy of their family favourite Christmas songs. I love the colourful Christmas tea towel. There were also two mini Christmas stockings, a candy wreath, a beautiful tree decoration depicting Mary, Joseph and Jesus as well as some Christmas pencils and a big pen decorated with Santa. 

As we delved further into the box we found a snow globe, a cinnamon scented candle, candy cane flavoured pop rocks, peppermint flavoured hot chocolate, white chocolate hot chocolate and a cute bell shaped cookie cutter...Christmas cookie baking and decorating coming up soon in this house!

And there was more.....

.....a snowflake light that flashes different colours, flexible snowman and Santa toys , home made tree decorations and Crabby Pattie candy!

Mini candy canes with the legend of the candy cane completed this delightful surprise pack!

Culture Swapper

We are thankful to the Green family for the parcel and Worldwide Culture Swap for organising this fun swap!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Joy Dare December week 1

Counting blessings....

Day 4
1137) thankful for a good workout again today
1138) gift crafted...
 thankful for my daughter's help in making beautiful gifts
1139) a lovely evening spent celebrating a birthday

Day 5
1140) delicious dinner made by my teen son tonight
1141) catching up with my farm sis tonight

Day 6
1142) gift sweet...

 gorgeous baby nephew here again this evening
1143) my daughter unexpectedly getting a days work again
1144) friends popping in for coffee

Day 7
1145) plump delicious free range chicken, a gift from my neighbour
1146) first mince pie of the season
1147) my dad visiting
1148) surprise brandbucket full of delicious goodies to try out: cookies, nougat, sweets and iced tea
1149) my daughter's great end of term marks for art

Day 8
1150 ) gift held....
 an unexpected parcel from the USA...
a mini Christmas swap filled with all sorts
1151) gift heard...
my daughter's delight in answered prayers
1152) technology that allows my mum to send me photos from afar within minutes

Day 9
1153) gift ugly beautiful...
garden turned ugly with sand as the swimming pool is being repaired....
beautiful that the kids should be able to swim soon

Day 10
1154) bumping into friends from 24 years ago
1155) medical tests with good results

Monday, December 3, 2012

Joy Dare last of November

Day 27
1123) reading aloud to my tween son, enjoying that he still enjoys me reading to him
1124) coffee with a friend and talking gardening together
1124) movies and milkshakes with the teens

Day 28
(gift in community)
1125) the gift of our neighbourhood...always there for each other 

Day 29
1126) catching up with a friend that I don't see too often
1127) hubby's wise words

Day 30
1128) my neighbour doing my hair for me again
1129) enjoying an art exhibition with my daughter and neighbour this evening while hubby kindly watched over all the neighbourhood kids

 Day 1
1130) time spent with my daughter 
1131) perfect windless summer evening,
hubby doing a braai for dinner,
happy kids running around the garden at dusk
1132) chatting to my mum today

Day 2
1133) a call from my 'big" sister...lovely to catch up
1134) watching kids enjoying pancakes filled with home made lemon curd and  ice cream for dinner 

Day 3
(gift shining)
1135) shining lights in our home each night, thankful we have them
1136) catching up with a friend from my student days today

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Slow Living Month 11

Time to look back on a month that seems to have flown by with the blink of an eye. Our eldest completed his exams despite not being well, and the younger two and I have been furiously trying to finish up bits and pieces so we can enjoy the coming summer holidays.

Early this month we enjoyed lunches of decadent and delicious open sandwiches using garlic and herb, two peppers or honey and mustard flavoured cream cheeses. A much appreciated hand made gift from my farm sister. We topped them with lettuce from the garden and my home-made pickled onions and coriander pesto. 

My sister had also sent me some of her hand made houllumi ... delicious... we enjoyed that over a freshly picked spinach salad. Another of her cheeses was used with home made tortillas, filled with chicken cooked with onion and garlic from the garden. Her cheese also went into some tasty courgette muffins.
First courgettes from the garden went into Spanish omelettes, a simple yet tasty dinner.
My daughter spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen helping with baking: 
orange cake, pecan and carrot muffins, corn and chili bread, rosemary shortbread. 
The boys certainly appreciate her efforts.
Ooh...almost forgot....I made my first ever pumpkin pie and it was a winner even if I say so myself!

Not much in this department except the usual chili and tomato jam and then yesterday I made a batch of apricot and ginger jam. 

 Old stockings have been snipped up and used to tie up the tomatoes and prevent the wind from destroying them. 

The granadilla vine is heavy with fruit and numerous new flowers appear each day. Every morning I run out to check on my squash for new flowers and fruit. Sunflowers stand tall in the garden and bees and butterflies are everywhere.

I planted a number of seeds shared with me from my sister in law's visit to my farm sister: scarlet runner beans, watercress, cucumbers,  safflower, lemon basil, fennel 
and mustard greens.  
We have been enjoying herbs, chillies, first tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans, first courgettes and garlic from the garden.

 I have been battling to find the time to be creative but my youngest made this wooden stool at his technology class.

My daughter has been enjoying making some pocket money helping out at Sweetarts. She has natural creative flair and is loving working with Jacki and learning from her.

I discovered "The Micro Gardener"a great website with ideas for the garden. A post on spring onions led me to discover that mine had gone to seeds and the seeds were ready to collect. I also made the "sensational spring onion salsa" as a side dish one evening.

I have downloaded a number of free books onto my Kindle Cloud Reader and have been trying to get some ideas for easy home-made Christmas gifts and holiday ideas.

Our youngest attended his monthly Chaeli Campaign meeting and has continued selling bath sprudels to raise funds for the Chaeli Campaign. 
My daughter held her monthly craft workshop where she showed the girls how to make beautiful wooden hanging hearts, strung with beads and decorated with roses.
She and I have also begun exercising in earnest again and are enjoying the enormous benefits thereof. 

 We enjoyed a number of outings; UCT Zoology Department, Newlands Rugby Stadium and the Cape Dairy Expo. 
There have been plenty of impromptu enjoyable neighbourhood dinners where we all just come together and share pot luck dinner, catch up and relax.
 We shared a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner too.
We visited the Cape Doctors Art Exhibition where some of my father's art was on display and last night we enjoyed an exhibition of the work of my neighbour's brother, Gavin Collins.

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