Monday, January 30, 2012

Thank you!

What a wonderful surprise awaited me this morning! 
I got the news that I am one of the winners in the Home Tester Club SA " refer a friend competition" !
I love surprises!
Winning means that every month for the year, I will receive a surprise box of products to test!
 What fun! 
Thanks to all who joined and listed me as the person who referred them.... 
without you, I could not have been a winner!

Even though the competition is over, why not pop over and join if you have not already done so..
it is great fun to find out about new products on the market and try them out !
You will get a chance to apply for a box containing 6 to 8 products that may be different from what you usually buy...
Perhaps you will like them more than your regular purchases
you will realise that you love the product you have always used !
There is no guessing what will arrive each month!
Go on, join the fun!

January Joy Dare week 4

This has been a week where sometimes it has been hard to focus on the joys as we have been waiting for news regarding my husbands employment and the news has not come ... 
It has been a long wait and stressful 
I am committed to finding and counting joy and blessings each new day.

Day 24
(3 things Blue)

70) Little baby who brings such joy and was dressed in blue when he came to us today!

71) Blue flowered kanga bringing rest and sleep to a tired little baby

72) hardly used blue trimmed shoes passed on to me,

Day 25
(one grace borrowed, one grace found, one grace inherited)
73)countless books borrowed from my ever generous sister,
74) the visit that brought encouragement from a friend today when I needed it so badly
75) my daughter's artistic talent inherited from my dad

Day 26
(a gift before 9 am, a gift before noon,a gift after dark)
76) a reminder of God's constant love for me,
77) a perfect result when my little guy thought he couldn't

Day 27
(3 gifts that might never have been)
79) knowing that we are on the right path with our eldest's education after receiving news of his excellent results in his recent exams,
80) restoration in a precious relationship that had gone bad
81)  new neighbours who brought a wonderful atmosphere to the neighbourhood!

Day 28
(3 graces found in my friends)
82) my friend who graciously lends us readers when she can,
83) my friend who helps out in any and every way possible with my kids
and anything and everything else
84) my friend who just "gets me" and how I think!

Day 29
(a song heard, a soft word,where you saw light)
85) a song heard over and over in my head today....
 " only by grace can we enter, only by grace can we stand, not by our human endeavour...."
86) soft words of appreciation from my hubby
87) light shed on all that I have...not all that I don't have

Day 30
(3 old things seen new...changing this for other gifts today!)
88) winning a competition today,
89) a Toblerone that my friend didn't want to eat so I got to share it with my family instead
90) words of comfort and understanding.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Annual Gashuku

What an amazing morning in our beautiful city!
We were up early to get the older two kids to the gashuku on the beach with the best view of Table Mountain.

White belts through to black belts trained together.

The atmosphere was great!

The training rigorous...

but fun!

Passers by lingered for a while, taking it all in. 

Speed and agility were necessary.

Katas practised with precision.

Feet froze as Kumite took place in the icy Atlantic.

Wet, but worth it!

The new "Charlie's angels"

and the boys!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our learning spaces and places

When we started home educating in the more "formal" sense as our eldest approached grade 1, we had a dedicated "school room". That was a long time ago as he is now in grade 11. 
The time has flown and my ideas of " home school" have evolved. 
Back then we bought the little kids real school desks for our dedicated school room. 
The room had all the games and puzzles neatly packed into a large cupboard, the walls were decorated with posters and shelves contained our school books. I remember spending mornings in that school room, with the door opened out onto the garden, complete with jungle gym and sand pit. 
Those were happy carefree days when learning involved lots of play.

As the children have grown, ideas have changed,
we have moved house and even moved countries and back again...... 
all the while home educating and discovering along the way that life is learning!

With two teens and a pre teen, it is not possible to keep all the learning in one space or place in our home. As we live and learn at home, every part of our home has become a learning space or place.... 

 Though each of our children have their own desks in their rooms...
( our grade 11 son has worked at his desk on his own since grade 8)
they can be found learning and working on their beds or even on the floor...
 and if it is very cold in winter, they can be found cosily tucked in whilst reading....
and sometimes we pile into our king size bed and read there too!

Our daughter has been known to set up an art table in front of the patio doors so she can work 
while I read aloud from the comfort of the couch....
and her brother tinkers with lego or the likes on the lounge floor.

In winter a fire warms the lounge and learning takes place as close to the coals as possible. 

Our dining room table could tell many a tale of knights and kings,
Khoi khoi, the history of South Africa  and more..... some poetry and math too!
 We like to use it when we are doing unit studies together and books are shared.

The kitchen is often a hive of activity,as the kids practice their culinary skills.....
 or cook up some weird and whacky experiment!
The little kitchen table works well when I am whipping up a meal and the kids want to be close by as they work on a page of maths or language arts....
many a messy experiment has been done there too!

Outside on the patio at the poolside, the children often enjoy their lessons or creating some art. 
In the height of summer we have been known to dive into the pool for some relief from the heat!

 The children have been known to sneak up the tree while I read aloud in the shade below...
the garden is a place where we seek the suns warmth on cooler winter days....
reading works just as well inside or out, up or down!

 So we live in our home and do what works best for our family. 
There is no school room....
learning takes place wherever we choose...
there is no particular learning space or place.

SAblogsbutton100This 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 Mel's Mouthful on Mothering  where the carnival is hosted this week.  We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 3 January's Joy dare

Continually counting blessings takes the focus off the not so pleasant aspects of life ....
So I continue to count....

I am grateful for:

Day 17
(one gift that made you laugh, one gift that made you pray, one gift that made you quiet)
49) my sweet and precious nephew exploring the sunflowers in my garden this morning had me in stitches of laughter...

(as he got hold of it, he let go, only to try and grab it again to get a closer look... of course it bounced back and away from him....with determination, he did this for about 10 minutes!),

50) being mom to our 3 precious kids makes me pray
51) knowing that it would be wiser to bite my tongue and be quiet than say what I thought and cause strife was a grace that made me quiet...
 (I do need to put that into practice more often!)

Day 18
(3 gifts from Gods word)
52)He promises to guard our hearts and minds
with peace as we lay all of our anxious thoughts before Him with prayer and
thanksgiving. (Phil. 4:6-7)
53)He promises to never leave or forsake His children. Never.
Once His, He will not leave us. We may try to walk away from Him, but He remains
our Father. He promises.
54)He comes to bring us life, life to the full ..
John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full."

Day 19
(a grace in the kitchen, a grace in the weather, a grace that might never have been)
55) fresh salad goodies delivered by a sweet friend yesterday, just in time to add to lettuce picked from the garden ,
56) a cool breeze this evening, lifting the humid and stuffy feeling of today
57) one evening a few years back, our home was safe ....a fire raged, gutting the neighbours home.

day 20
(3 gifts you saw only when you got close up)
58) recently sown mustard seeds peeping up through the soil,
59) a perfect first spear of asparagus peeping up through the soil in my veg garden
60) getting close up to the Word (before my family wakes each morning) has given me a refreshed outlook and new strength daily this week.

day 21
(one thing in the sky, one thing from your memory,one thing that's ugly-beautiful)
61) the sun that rises faithfully each morning,
62) memories of the gift of 10 days spent on the farm with my precious sister and her family last November
63) ugly was the stress that my daughter went through this week with a new challenge....beautiful was the outcome when she persevered and conquered it!

day 22
(one grace wrinkled, one grace smooth, one grace unfolded)
64) wrinkled cushions on the couch showing we have relaxed there today,
65) smooth milk chocolates given by a sweet friend of my daughter
66) new adventures unfolding in the lives of our children.

Day 23
(3 gifts found in Christ)
67) joy,
68) hope
69) a peace that passes all understanding.

Are you counting your blessings too?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aquarium outing

As mentioned, we had an outing to the Aquarium last week. It fitted in perfectly with our "Dolphin Tale" unit study and we were happy to have two friends come along with us. It was fantastic to meet some new faces  and I was grateful to the mom who organised the outing.

Being a school outing, the kids first spent some time in the well laid out classroom where Mr Zee taught them all about bony fish.  
 There were some dead fish on each table so the kids had a hands on lesson.....

Some were less than charmed and there were lots of giggles as I too battled with the fishy smell and the appearance of the dead fish!

The more adventurous were thrilled at being able to handle the slippery specimens!

Fins were fanned out, mouths opened wide and scales lifted!

Gills were opened and examined closely....

I think these two girls would have been more than happy to be handed a scalpel to dissect the fish!

Though much of what they were taught is not new, it was interesting to have a good look at the specimens, discovering them in real life, rather than diagrams on the pages of a book.

Once the lesson was over, we entered the aquarium and were free to enjoy all it has to offer...

Colourful fish of the warm Indian Ocean .....

and a sweet sea turtle.

              The clown fish are always a hit with the kids who queue to get into the inside of the tank!

The icy cold touch pool had interesting sea creatures to observe closely.

The Hermit Crab was really cute and cautiously came out to see what all the fuss was about.

The penguins were looking rather sorry for themselves as they are moulting.
 Apparently they sit very quietly and don't eat much when this is happening. 
It almost seems that they are embarrassed of their appearance.

The cooler Atlantic waters teem with large silver fish and beautiful kelp forests.

I could sit in front of that tank indefinitely and marvel at its wonders!

The shark tank is always fascinating and I think somewhat scary even though there is thick glass separating one from these seemingly fierce creatures...

I have always wondered what would happen if the glass had to crack, spilling out the contents of the tank!

All though our aquarium doesn't keep dolphins, we enjoyed discovering the wonders it had to offer us!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Crazy, busy and full...

Yes , that is how our week has been....crazy, busy and full!
As you see we are still enjoying near perfect summer weather with no rain. We are thankful for the pool which has been used much in the last week. Early morning dips, in between lesson dips, late evening dips, dips with friends!

We spent a wonderful evening with hubby's parents and his cousin who was visiting from Holland. It was great to see her again as it has been years. It was good for the kids to get to know one of their Dutch relatives too! We were spoiled with treats from Holland , chocolates and "dropje". Dropje, Dutch licorice has a delicious salty flavour and my kids devour it when they get hold of it!

We also had the pleasure of seeing friends who are visiting here from the UK and old friends from our Dar es Salaam days.

An impromptu summer evening braai, with a friend and his kids, had the kids swimming way into the dark hours of the warm summers night.

School has been happening this week , though different in many ways.
J & K have spent many of their "school " hours working on their animation videos. But more about that in another post. Karate lessons began in earnest this week with the two of them training in the evenings, and J giving lessons two afternoons and his usual Saturday morning class.

We had an outing to the aquarium....
 (more on that in another post to follow)

Our co op started up again this week after a long break. It was great to get together again and learn about Zimbabwe. The kids did some map work, learned about the people, resources, natural wonders and more.

Our cute nephew/ cousin came back to us this week for a morning as his mommy went back to work. He has grown so much and is very mobile as his little arms and legs carry him all over the place at quite a speed! We only take our eyes off him when he is sleeping, securely strapped into his pram!

Tonight hubby and I look forward to a friends birthday party and tomorrow I look forward to relaxing at home before another busy week begins.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January's Joy Dare week 2 and a little beyond

January seems to be rolling by so fast but in the midst of it, I have been taking time each day to purposefully seek "joy" and live more fully...
continually counting my blessings.....

I am grateful for:
Day 8 (light that caught you, a reflection that surprised you, a shadow that fell lovely)
22) pink clouds that caught  my eye as they lit up a summer evening sky,
23) a surprisingly beautiful reflection upon the sea as my sister and I enjoyed some memory making time together....

24) the shadows of  happy cousins playing on the beach at sunset.

Day 9 (a gift in your hand, a gift you walked by, a gift you sat with)
25) the gift of a plate piled high with left over meat from a braai with friends,
26) sunflower heads drying on my patio filled with the promise of new growth
27) the delightful gift of my precious 8 month old nephew sitting on my lap today, smiling his sweet little grin!

Day 10 (a gift that's sour, a gift that's sweet, a gift that's Just Right)
28) sour sweets shared with my boy yesterday,
29) a yummy peanut butter and syrup waffle shared with friend today after watching one of the most amazing movies I have seen
30) finding out today that both my sisters will be here in March..feels just right!

Day 11 (3 yellow things that strike you as fresh mercy)

31) bright and cheery sunflowers gracing my garden!

32) unexpected yellow peppers on my green pepper bush!

33) squash flowers filled with promise each morning.

Day 12 (something above you, something below you, something beside you)
34) clear starry summer nights,
35) soft, lush green summer lawns
36) my teen son laughing happily beside me as we drank coffee together on the couch this evening!

Day 13 ( 3 sounds you hear)
37) gentle summer rains watering my garden for me today,
38) birds chirping as the sun appears again
39) the wonderful sounds of my teen son persevering with new songs on his guitar.

Day 14 ( 3 ways you glimpsed the startling grace of God)
40) good news heard from someone very dear to me,
41) the incredible testimony of a friend and young mother who was recently healed of cancer,
42)  read today : "He knows the deepest secrets and the darkest emotions - and He loves (me) anyway"

Day 15 (one thing you wore, one thing you gave away, one thing you shared)
43) a smile in my heart on hearing today that my Mum is coming to visit soon,
44) a sample of my basil and sundried tomato dip to my very appreciative neighbour!
45) my amazing birthday gift of tickets to the Johnny Clegg sunset concert at Kirstenbosch....

shared with friends and thousands of others on a perfect summer's evening!

Day 16 ( 3 ways you witnessed happiness today)
46) a beautiful smile on my teen son's face when he hugged me to say thank you,
47) happiness as we jumped in and out of the pool in today's scorching heat,
48) happiness as the kids got to meet one of their dad's cousins from Holland tonight.. an evening filled with laughter and fun!