Monday, December 30, 2013

Giving thanks

The year is almost over. 
I am thankful for His provision, protection and daily blessings.....

1899) an evening out with my dear friend and later our boys joining us
1900) a morning spent with my precious, adorable two and a half year old nephew
1901) a gift preparing: preparing for a wonderful trip with my daughter...going to see my sis and my mum
1902) gift happy: happy evening spent with hubby, just the two of us enjoying our favorite pizza place
1903) so grateful for my daughters excellent marks for her year end art practicals
1904) gift in community: thanksgiving picnic with our neighborhood family, relaxing and fun
1905) gift in community: thankful that our neighborhood family always look out for one another
1906) safe travels for my daughter and me
1907) thankful for a wonderful holiday with my sister and my Mum
1908) thankful to have spent my birthday with my Mum
1909) thankful for safe travels home again
1910) thankful to have spent Christmas eve and Christmas day with precious family
1911) blessed by the year end church service
1912) thankful to spend time with dear friends over the holidays
1913) thankful for our hope in Him
1914) thankful for my youngest's safe return from a five day camping trip

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Slow Living Month 11 and 12

Time to wrap up 2013...
November and December have been wonderful months with loads of activity.
 We wrapped up the school year at the end of November and my eldest finished his final exams early in November and begun working as a junior software support technician. He is loving his job and we miss having him around the house.  
My daughter and I had a fantastic holiday visiting my sister and my mum in Kwa Zulu Natal. My daughter is still away, now visiting with her cousins on the farm in the Free State. 

 Summer is here and braais and simple salads are best in the heat. 
I bought some wonderful curry mixes while on holiday and we have enjoyed a delicious chicken curry with apricots. I look forward to trying out the others too! 
While on holiday, it was a real treat not to take care of daily meals and I was blessed to enjoy my mum and sisters cooking. We were also treated to a fair amount of eating out. 

In holiday mode, there was not much achieved here, except a batch of tasty tomato and chili jam laced with loads of ginger and garlic....

made with my own abundant tomato harvest!

My daughter raided my cupboards and decided what needed to go. We gave away most of the clothes she thought I should no longer wear. She also went through her cupboards and passed things on. We have been blessed with so many clothes by a dear friend and it was a pleasure to pass some of ours on.

Nothing new here.

I planted green and yellow peppers, leeks, beans and gem squash. 
Kale, cabbages, tomatoes, chilies and granadillas are all doing well. I have harvested strawberries, gooseberries, onions and leeks.
Its been fun to pull up carrots when they are needed in a meal. 

My lemon tree has a few lemons on it and so far I have picked the first two.


 I have had great fun creating all sorts. 

Most of the items made were used as gifts for Christmas.

 The above was sent to Germany as part of an International Handmade Gift Exchange.
 I made my first ever Christmas wreath using a fynbos wreath, ribbons and cones. I loved the way it turned out. 

I finally finished off a pair of thick warm bed-socks for a friend. I felt rather guilty that they took so long as she will have to wait a number  of months to wear them. I knitted up a number of snoods and beanies as gifts too. 

My daughter made these magnetic decoupaged fridge notepads as gifts.

I caught up on magazine reading while on holiday, just little snippets enjoyed at a time. 

We took part in an International Children's book exchange and received two parcels, one from China and one from USA. We sent sent out gently used books with a South African flavor to our exchange partners.
My youngest son and I took part in an alien vegetation hack in a local fynbos area.

We certainly embraced enjoying this season with precious family and friends!
We enjoyed our Church family fun day, numerous Christmas parties, Christmas Carols and more. 

My daughter and I enjoyed the beauty of country life in the Underberg area with my sister and her husband. 

We all traveled south to enjoy time with my Mum down on the coast. We dipped our toes in the warm Indian Ocean, caught up with one another , rested well and ate far too well! 

We were treated to a fantastic day at the Wild Coast Sun where we spent the day at the Wild Waves water park. Adrenaline  pumped as we had enormous fun riding the thrilling rides! 

I celebrated my birthday in style with my Mum at the balmy south coast and the following day I flew home to my guys. 
It was a fantastic holiday! 

Christmas eve was celebrated with extended family at my Dad and on Christmas day we enjoyed celebrating with hubby's parents. 
A wonderful time of year ...

Thank You Christine for hosting Slow Living in 2013.

Slow Living 2013 - Month by Month

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Good Gifts

A busy time of year with many blessings...

1884) sweet friends delivering a delicious cake for us to enjoy
1885) gifts spring : red poppies, lemons on my tree and sweet strawberries
1886) grateful for my father in law helping out with lifts when needed for my eldest
1887) thankful for a delicious meal cooked by my eldest and hubby, a night off for me
1888) my dad popping by unexpectedly and bearing gifts
1889) thankful for brilliant results for my girl's art exam
1890) a morning off, enjoying a movie with my youngest boy
1891) fresh, crisp carrots harvested from the garden and enjoyed
1892) gift in Him: a sweet elderly lady praying with hubby and me in church this morning
1893) blessed to hear the Word and take part in breaking of bread
1894) a relaxed family braai enjoyed together
1895) dipping my feet into the neighbor's pool to cool down, so refreshing in this heat
1896) catching up with my little sis, always good
1897) abundant tomato harvest from a plant that sprung up out of nowhere
1898) an evening of fun enjoyed with my oldest two


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another week has gone by so fast....
Josh has been working and we still miss his presence in the home daily. He enjoyed the company's year end function on Friday despite the fact he has only been there a short while. They went to Cool Runnings and had a great time.
I haven't had to lift him every day this week, but on one occasion that I did, Zak came along for the ride and we popped in to China Town which is very near to Josh's work too. Zak enjoyed spending some of his money that I pay him for helping me pack orders. He got himself a watch and a cool hat. 

We finished off our reading of "Bold Believers in India" and Keren and Zak prepared a delicious Indian meal for us one evening.

We ate an Indian rice dish prepared with onions, cinnamon, coriander, raisins and almonds. Very tasty and certainly something to enjoy again. The spicy chicken was marinaded in yogurt with chili, coriander, ginger and garlic. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

Another evening Josh and hubby cooked dinner for the family. They made us tasty burgers and chips and a chocolate mousse for dessert. Its great to have a night off here and there and good for the boys to get used to preparing meals too. 

Keren has been very occupied with art exam practicals.

The above is an experimental landscape drawing. She had to draw lines on a page and then cut up the page and create a landscape using the piece of line drawing. 

The above line drawing was inspired by her exam practical work and was done mostly without her looking at the page. 

In this work, she experimented using natural elements (colored sand) to create a landscape. 

This quality drawing was also part of her practical exam and she could choose any landscape to copy.

We were thrilled when she received her theory marks from last week's exam, 92% and top of her class!
We also received her grade 10 year end exams this week and she wrote Life Orientation and a Maths paper. She plans to try and get as many done as possible over the next week. 

Zak has also produced copious amounts of drawings this week when he in not sitting with his nose in a book! The above was a copy of a figurine he bought himself. 

He went to basketball practice and was chosen to play in the team for Wednesday's game. 
I love this pic of him reaching for the ball! 
Finally they had a win and the team felt really good about it. 

Zak also enjoyed the monthly home school outing to the ice rink with friends and due to the fact that he has finished most of his work for the year, we skipped school on Friday morning and went to enjoy a movie together. 
Of course there was a treat for finishing up maths and Afrikaans, an ice cream of Zak's choice from the ice cream man that walks our street ringing his bell at least three times a week!

We also sent off our November book to the USA for the International Book Exchange. We know ours is on its way to us too! We look forward to the surprise.

On Friday night the older two enjoyed a concert at Kirstenbosch and Zak enjoyed youth group.
A full and fun week!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Fly

Fly....excitement and fear rolled into one! 
I don't enjoy flying much at all as it seems most unnatural to be hurtling through the air .....but the excitement is building as in just over a week my daughter and I will be doing just that. We are going to see my sister and my mum. Its been almost 2 years since I saw my mum and I cannot wait. I am so glad my daughter is accompanying me on the flights though. Its always nice to have a hand to squeeze when that plane takes off and touches down. 
The excitement of seeing missed loved ones is building. Looking forward to relaxing at my sisters beautiful home in countryside and then my mum down on the south coast. A wonderful year end break. Time to relax and not have a care in the world except enjoying those that I love and miss so much. 

"Unscripted, unedited, real" Lisa- Jo Baker
Write for five minutes on the given topic, link up at Lisa- Jo's blog and encourage the person who linked up before you. Have fun!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Counting my blessings

I continue to count the blessings showered upon us.....

1854)Gifts overjoyed :  filled with joy at the thought of our first home school graduate, grateful for the years with him at home
1855) overjoyed at his getting employment just two days out of school
1856) gifts eaten: dinner cooked by our daughter, tasty and delicious
1857) hubby sharing his birthday chocolates with me
1858)gift worn: gently used hand me downs from a sweet friend
1859)gift good: wonderful and precious evening shared with my Godfather, laughter, great conversation and blessed with take out dinner 
1860) a kind friend sharing packs of potato spice with us
1861) hubby winning the wonderful prize of a picnic for two and entry to the botanical gardens
1862) pure delight on his face when my youngest won a body board
1563) seeing generosity shown by my sweet girl to her brothers 
1864) time and chatter with my eldest as we travel to his place of work
1865) conversations with my younger sister when I needed a "shoulder to cry on" 
1866) gift from the window: glimpses of the majestic mountains
1867)gift sipped: early morning cups of coffee delivered to my bedside table by hubby
1868)gifts harvested: tomatoes, carrots, leeks and peas freshly picked from the garden
1869)gifts found in Bible reading: blessed time of reading, chatting and praying with my youngest daily
1870) gift of remembrance: remembering prayers prayed and delighting in answer given
1871) precious times with my teens lounging on our bed, chatter and laughter
1872) time spent with girlfriends, so good for the soul
1873) coffee shared with my neighbor
1874) an invitation to look forward to
1875) a fun parcel arriving from China
1876) my girl's art exam that went well
1877) gifts of laughter: those special moments that just set us off...shared with my kids
1878) gift golden: my wedding rings reminding me of what hubby and I have
1879) gift silent: a day of silently resting and sleeping when I wanted to, just what I needed
1880) a gift made: dinner made with helping hands of my younger two
1881) a gift shared: hubby sharing orange chocolate truffles with us
1882) sweet scented sweet-peas from my garden, the fragrance filling my lounge
1883) beautiful praise CD gifted by a stranger

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Tree

An apt word for Friday: Tree

Zak and I spent the morning hacking alien trees in the Tokai Plantation. The commercial pines have been harvested in order to make way for our beautiful Cape fynbos. Seeds lie dormant beneath the soil and will produce fynbos after the fires which will be set in about April next year.

The alien vegetation needs to rooted out before the fires, I wondered if our seemingly feeble efforts would make any difference in such a vast area. I was told they would. In a few months these aliens could double in size, so rooting them out now does make a difference.

 Loppers and poppers were used. Hard work in the scorching sun. My finger, which is still not right after the break, took major strain. I could only pull the tiny trees out. Aliens are not welcome among the fynbos.

I had always thought the loss of pine forests of 120 years old to be a sad loss, but now that I know the area will rejuvenate with precious fynbos, it seems right.

 These aliens have no place here in our Cape floral kingdom.

"Unscripted, unedited, real" Lisa- Jo Baker
Write for five minutes on the given topic, link up at Lisa- Jo's blog and encourage the person who linked up before you. Have fun!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another week rolled on by, so fast it seems....
Every morning Josh was up bright and early, dressed smartly and ready to set off to work. 
He seems to really be enjoying his work.
 Around here we miss him....we miss his loud music (believe it or not), we miss his wit and humor and his built in body clock that always tells us when it's lunch time. I miss his coffee making and I miss that he is not sitting over at the computer when I glance across the room.
  Keren misses him popping his head into her room animatedly to share a joke or a new song. 
But he is happy and glad of the weekend to rest.

I love the time we have alone each morning in the car on the way to dropping him at work. We get to chat, just the two of us and it's wonderful to connect with him. I love too that my favorite nursery is just around the corner from his work and I get to pop in there whenever I like. This week I popped in and got some leek , gem squash and red and yellow pepper seedlings at a rand a piece which is a real steal!

Keren spent much of the first part of the week prepping for her art exam on Wednesday and writing another art essay. Once over the hurdle of the exam, she was able to relax a bit. 
She brought her current piece she is working on home. 

I really love it and can't wait to see the finished work.

We had a lovely surprise this week when a parcel from China arrived. It is part of an International Book Exchange we are currently doing. As the sender could not find much written in English about China or a book suitable for the teens, she sent us a lovely package filled with interesting goodies and treats. 

There were stickers, a notebook, chopsticks, two packets of green tea from a reputable Chinese tea shop, 

peach gummies and crisped rice chocolate! 
We were also sent the link to a traditional Chinese story. 
The kids were thrilled with the lovely parcel.

We continued with our online cooking course with Yuppiechef and Zak and I made the best ever peanut butter cookies! They are made with oats and we added peanuts to the cookie dough.

 I love that they are not too sweet. 
The guys enjoyed them in lunch boxes!
 Definitely a recipe to make again! 
You can find the recipe on their website if you would like to try it.

Zak had basketball practice and an away match this week.The match took place at the American International School and was complete with cheerleaders cheering the home team on. I felt like I had been transported into Disney Channel! The match was sadly lost, but the kids still had fun. 

We didn't get to do a huge amount of reading together but Zak has discovered the joys of reading to himself this week and has been devouring a pile of books borrowed from a friend. It is wonderful to finally see him developing a real love of reading. He can be found with his nose buried in a book early morning, noon and night time before nodding off. 

Zak and I enjoyed a morning out in nature on Friday with his Science club.

 Our task was alien hacking, but more on that in another post. 

The week ended with the kids all going off in different directions. Josh to a friend, Zak to a go-carting party and his first night at TPC youth and Keren left early to prep for youth and help run the evening. 
Today the younger two have a fun day with a 12 hour long birthday party at Ratanga Junction!

Life is good and it's been a great week!

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

What  a week..... A week where our boy wrote his last two final papers, statistics and accounting. 
We celebrated the completion of  his home education journey with a surprise party for him and some friends and just two days later he was going to work. It happened so fast! He is now on contract as a Junior Software Support Technician. We are immensely excited at opportunities that lie before him!

We spent much time this week researching the courses and curricula available for Keren to continue with her high school education. She has decided that she would like to get her National Senior Certificate rather than GED and it seems we may just have found the right fit for her. 

These two just seem so grown up all of a sudden. They both went to register as voters this weekend and Josh has been putting in the hours behind the wheel as he needs to get his driver's license as soon as possible.

Keren has been working long and hard on her art as she writes her theory exam next week and has had two essays and a project due. At art they have been learning about African Power Figures and she had to create her own power figure as a self portrait.

It was wonderful to see her faith shine through in this project as she created a felt doll wearing the armour of God based on Ephesians 6: 10-17. It was entirely based on her faith and where she draws her strength, power, protection and healing from. Such a testimony to her life.

She spent time working on some bell ropes to earn a little pocket money too. The ones she worked on last week were off to London to swing from ships' bells as they travel the world. Not difficult work, but time consuming as she frayed each tassel. 

One of the highlights of the week was getting to do some gym with her and two friends. I love that feeling of knowing my body has worked even if it means I hobble around for a day or two.

Zak had two basketball practices and was picked for the team for the mid week match. Sadly the match was cancelled due to bad weather. Perhaps next week. 
The two of us visited the library and he took out four new drawing books. 

             The lounge, the kitchen and his room are littered with drawings as he enjoys this new found interest.

                                       Monday he had fun making a mallet at technology class. 

                                         It will be used in making next months tekioo project.

                 I enjoyed a few stolen hours making cards this week and a market at a local school yesterday. 
                                                 All in all a busy and exciting week all round. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

TPC Fun Day

Last weekend we enjoyed our church's fun day at a nearby park.
 A day of laughter, crazy games, activities, good friends and food and perfect weather!

Our girl was M.C for the day and she did a great job!

Hubby enjoyed the volley ball.

Passers by joined in with the fun and games.

And our girl got smothered in shaving cream and chips!

There were lucky draws and awesome prizes to be had.

Hubby won entrance and a picnic for two at Kirstenbosh and our boy won an awesome inflatable body board!

Five Minute Friday: Truth

Truth is they tell you about sleepless nights, breast feeding, weaning and potty training like my sweet friend said. Truth is they don't tell you what it's like when your just out of school man child starts his first day at work or moves from home like my friend's son will do.
Truth is, that all happened so fast this day he wrote his last final exams and two days later he started his first day at work. Truth is we are so proud of him and amazed by this wonderful opportunity he has been given. Truth is, I was strong as we drove there, chatting about important things and so excited for him! Truth is my heart felt ripped out as I drove home after dropping him off, praying and fighting the tears that just would not stop. Truth is, all I could see was his newborn face the first time I held him just more than 18 years ago. 
Truth is, time flies....they tell you that but you don't believe it until you are looking back and wondering where on earth the years went to? 
Truth is, a mama always wonders if she did enough, did enough to prepare him for that big world out there....
Truth is, she has to let go and trust the one who set the stars in place and knows just how many hairs are on his head....

"Unscripted, unedited, real" Lisa- Jo Baker
Write for five minutes on the given topic, link up at Lisa- Jo's blog and encourage the person who linked up before you. Have fun!