Monday, April 29, 2013

Much to be thankful for...

Nothing is a is all a gift. 

Day 23
1453) gift reflecting...
reflecting on my childhood days and the way my mum always wrote a little note or put flowers on my bedside table, precious memories
1454) reading this today, " I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted..." Job
1455) celebrating a friends birthday, lots of laughter and breakfast with the girls
1456) treated by my dear friend to take out dinner

Day 24
gifts fragile
1457) my life, feeling fragile at the moment but thankful and blessed by caring family and friends
1458) my friends who are fragile due to their own particular circumstances too, 
good to share and care and even laugh together despite whatever we each face

Day 25
1459) a gift cloth.. a " passed on" top I enjoyed wearing today

Day 26
1460) blessed to bring joy to a sweet young stranger in hospital on her 13th birthday
1461) my little nephew spending the afternoon with me and bringing me joy
1462) thankful to have taken the plunge and defeated my fear of taking a turn in a bubble ball....
hearty laughter and enormous fun
1463) heart stopping and speechless thanks for a kind gift from a dear friend

Day 27
1464) seeing my little nephew enjoy his long awaited 2nd birthday Barney party
1465) time out, just me and hubby
1466) complimentary aquarium tickets won by my youngest tonight

Day 28
1467) Sunday afternoon relaxed braai with friends, celebrating their new home and a birthday
1468) our boys piled onto our bed and relaxing and chatting with hubby and me tonight

Day 29
gifts in dirt
1469) seeds popping through the soil with the promise of a harvest
1470) peace and quiet as I tend my little veg patch and potter about
1471) laughter as we learned together today
1472) thankful for chats with my sweet girl this evening 

Five Minute Friday : Friend

It is no longer Friday but here are my rambling thoughts on Friday's topic.
" Unscripted, unedited, real " Lisa Jo Baker
Write for five minutes on the given topic, link up at Lisa's blog and encourage the person who linked up before you. Have fun!

I am blessed to call you my friends. I have those who are near and those who far, but when we see each other it's like nothing has changed even if its been a few weeks, a month or even years. You are the ones who have stood by me through thick and thin. The ones who comforted me in sadness and encouraged me and made me smile when I forgot how. The ones who cared and shared when things have been tough. You and I shared what we had and made a feast. You sat on my bed and told me that it would all be OK when I thought it never would be. When my children needed another mommy person, you were there. You sent me messages or calls just to say hi from far away. You shared my joys when my precious babes were born. You shared in mischief and being silly with me, that glint in your eye or that look that we both understand. You called me your sister as you don't have a blood sister, it made my heart burst with joy. You are the ones who brings smiles and memories to treasure. You are like sunshine bursting through the clouds. I love you my friends and pray that I can can be as good to you as you are to me....

Five Minute Friday

Monday, April 22, 2013

Remaining thankful

Keeping faith and remaining thankful.....

Day 16
1438) thankful for time with my cute almost two year old nephew... laughing as he strings words together and tells his big cousins what they should be doing!

Day 17
1439) thankful for a safe hour round trip in stormy weather this afternoon
1440) thankful for a "left over " dinner on this busy day

Day 18
1441) encouragement and listening ears today when I needed them most

Day 19
1442) beautiful weather and a wonder filled school outing with my youngest
1443) celebrating our youngest's graduation at the Chaeli Campaign, evening filled with happy laughter and youngsters who have worked well over the last year to make a difference in the lives of others

Day 20
1444) chatting with my mum
1445) time out with my girl at her art school's market day
1446) grateful thanks that hubby was here when an intruder entered our property, thankful that no harm came to anyone

Day 21
1447) beautiful autumn day....solitary walk on the beach, time alone with my thoughts and God

1448) free baristers course today, fun to learn something new and an opportunity to serve others
1449) hubby making dinner for us when I wasn't feeling too good

Day 22
1450) connecting with my tween son
1451) delightful sounds of guitars and giggling as my son taught his young students this afternoon

1452) my dear sister's caring calls

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Jump

Jump...a word that conjures up mixed emotions
Jump...a word that can make me feel joy or fear
Jumping for joy....
when I see my kids excel,
 when I see my little nephew saying and doing cute new things,
 seeing family who visit from afar, 
surprises and good news or winning a prize...
joyful jumping!
Jump, fear...
my heart jumps or pounds inside my chest and speeds up when I hear sad or bad news,
 a loud strange noise in the middle of the night, 
when awaiting any kind of medical results, 
phones that ring late at night,
 spiders and geckos....
I would rather be jumping for joy!

Five Minute Friday

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Grateful thanks...

Thankful for blessings from above....

Day 9
a gift hiding, held, heard
1420) hiding among the pine needles, numerous pine cones, collected today with a friend for our winter fires
1421) held, a huge bag of almost new clothes passed on to my youngest
1422) heard, laughter that made me laugh more and my youngest two chattering away and enjoying each others company

Day 10
1423) hugs from my youngest
1424) help with  dinner from my eldest
1425) happy fun with my baby nephew again tonight

Day 11
3 gifts budding / blooming
1426) flowers on my granadilla vine, promises of more granadillas to enjoy
1427) our beautiful daughter growing in the knowledge of our Heavenly father and blooming into a beautiful young woman with a heart after God
1428) our two young men growing in Him too

Day 12
a gift worn
1429) thankful for old and comfy furry boots keeping my feet warm on these cold evenings
1430) wondeful and long overdue mom and daughter time today with my girl
1431) thankful for a bakkie load of beautiful mulch for the garden, given away by a local school

Day 13
1432)  day with no agenda...time out after a crazy busy week
1433) always a gift and a blessing.....conversations with my farm sister

Day 14
 gifts found looking up
1434) beautiful and warm sunny sky this autumn day
1435) looking up and knowing that even through the storms, He is Lord of all

Day 15
1436) thankful for friends lifting kids where needed today
1437) thankful for my daughter's cheerful help in the kitchen tonight

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter mini swap parcel arrived!

This week there was great excitement when we received a slip from the post office, letting us know there was a parcel for collection. I suspected it may be our Easter mini swap parcel from USA.
The younger two were eager to collect it and came back with a big box....

It was filled with all sorts of wonderful surprises. 
The family swapping with us sent an Easter card explaining their traditions at Easter. 
About a week before Easter they colour and decorate hard boiled eggs, and included in the package was an egg decorating kit which is sure to be lots of fun! 
They have an egg hunt on Easter Sunday and sent us a colourful Easter basket along with plastic eggs, each containing Reese's milk chocolate peanut butter mini eggs....yum yum!
Perfect for our own egg hunt!

Their children made us some cute stained glass egg decorations and we received a beautiful Easter flag. These are typically used to decorate homes in the USA at Easter time. 
The Peeps marshmallow bunnies and chicks were sent specially since they are made in the next town on from this family's town. 

Much to the kid's delight there was also a pack of Jelly Belly jelly beans!
It was a great midweek surprise and we are thankful to the kind family from USA who swapped with us, as well as Worldwide Culture Swap for matching us up.

Culture Swapper

A bit of Irish fun

Last month we learned a little about Ireland. I was interested to find out about St Patrick as St Patrick's day was coming up and we didn't know much about it.
We read the story, "St Patrick, the Greatest Missionary of All Time". I was thankful to have received it as a free download from Living Books Curriculum.
We used Enchanted Learning  to find a map and information on the Irish flag. From there we browsed a few sites and learned about the Blarney Stone, how St Patrick's Day is celebrated , leprechauns, shamrocks and other fun facts. Fun was had trying to pronounce a few words in Gaelic, the Irish language.
We found some Irish quotes and sayings, my favourite being,

 " A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything". 
I couldn't agree more!

We enjoyed trying out some Irish cuisine.
 The first being Boxty, in Irish meaning "poor-house bread"....

 ....a traditional Irish potato pancake. 

The kids really enjoyed these!
 Here is the recipe we used:
1 cup raw grated potato
1 cup mashed potato
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
quarter cup milk
1) Place raw grated potatoes in a clean cloth and twist to remove excess moisture
2) Mix flour, salt and baking powder together and combine with all other ingredients to make a batter
3) Drop spoonfuls of batter into a hot, oiled pan and fry on either side until browned
4) Enjoy warm, with or without sugar.

My youngest enjoyed preparing an Irish Beef Stew for family dinner one evening.

We adapted the recipe we found on line at Simply Recipes. It required the addition of red wine and beer. I was a little wary that it may not be so good as I really don't enjoy the taste of beer at all! I was wrong, it was absolutely delicious and perhaps the best stew I have ever eaten! We certainly will make it again. 

Another recipe from Simply Recipes, was an Irish Soda Bread
My youngest, once again being the cook, proudly served this delicious bread to the family. 

On St Patrick's Day, we had a neighbourhood celebration for the fun of it. The kids dressed in green and there was green food to be enjoyed! Right from green pasta, broccoli covered in cheese to green treats and sweets! 

We so enjoyed learning about Ireland. 

I shall end with this beautiful Irish blessing....

Culture Swapper

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five Minute Friday : Here

Here and now is what we have while we are on this earth. It is so important for me to make the most of the days I have with my 3 young adults. In a flash they will be heading off to make lives of their own. Already time has flown so fast.
I consciously want to make our days memorable and instill in them a love of life, home, family and our Heavenly father. Here and now while I still have time with them. Here at home while we are together. Here can change in flash, no man knows what tomorrow holds....

Five Minute Friday

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

Monday, April 8, 2013

April's gifts

It can be so easy to be consumed by the pressures of life. Seeking and counting God's blessings daily has become a way of life for me. It helps me keep my eyes on the good and perfect gifts given to me in otherwise ordinary or perhaps even difficult days....

Day 3
1409) a gift surprisingly found....
 more hours to share with my precious sister as she stayed a day longer than planned

Day 4
1410) a gift in His word....
John 14:27 
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.
 Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
1411) my kind neighbour cooking dinner for us all tonight, bringing it over for us to enjoy outdoors on a beautiful autumn evening

Day 5
1412) time spend with my dear friend
1413) a gift of pickles and chillies from my daughters friend
1414) having our sweet nephew here again tonight, such a delight

Day 6
1415) thankful for a quiet day with no agenda

Day 7
1416) blessed to see my cousin visiting from the UK today and thankful for a wonderful afternoon shared with extended family

Day 8
1417) thankful for a good first day back at school today, learning and laughing with the kids
1418) hubby bringing me a sweet treat this evening
1419) thankful for a phone call from my far away farm sister today

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday: After

I recently read about Five Minute Friday and thought it may be fun to take part. Though it is already Saturday, here is my first Five Minute Friday post. Each Friday a new topic is given and one simply writes for five minutes without worrying if it is perfect or profound. The only rule is to visit the person who linked up before you, and encourage them. 

After my sister has visited, I have wonderful moments to cherish. I love having snippets of time with her and love seeing our beautiful children enjoy time together. The boys, growing taller and being loud as boys will. The girls , though big now too, enjoying giggles and a sort of sisterhood.
After she has gone I always pray for a safe journey home for them, as the drive is long. I am always relieved to know they are home safely on the far away farm.
After she has gone I cry, I miss her and wonder when I will see her again. I wonder when I might visit the farm again. After her visits I savour the gifts she always brings from the farm. It's like having a little bit of her still here. After she is gone I look forward to reading her blogs about her far away farm life.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Slow Living Month 3

The month of March was jam packed with much happening in our lives. It was the end of the first school term for the year and we are still enjoying our holidays. The days have become shorter and the evenings cooler. I am enjoying the sunny, yet not too hot autumn afternoons.  It is good to reflect on little achievements and link up with Christine of Slow Living Essentials again. 

With in between autumn weather, we have enjoyed fresh greens from the garden in salads at lunch or on cooler days we have enjoyed soup. I tried a French onion soup which was delicious and then the favourite butternut soup with a hint of curry. Our youngest had fun making an Irish stew and Irish soda bread as we were learning a little about Ireland.

Not much this month besides pickled red and green chillies from the garden and a second batch of pepperdews. A few beans were blanched for the freezer. 

This month our neighbour's son was collecting cans for a school recycling project so we added ours to his stock pile.

Hubby made some traps for the fruit flies which tend to congregate in the kitchen. It is a simple vinegar and water solution in a glass dish and covered with cling wrap. Tiny holes are poked into the cling wrap and the once they fly in , they cannot escape. 

Harvested and enjoyed: lettuce, spinach, pepperdews, green peppers, herbs, carrots, beetroot, tomatoes, beans and spring onions.

I planted some peas and a few have survived. Time to really pay attention to my garden before it is too late for a winter harvest!

I enjoyed creating a birthday gift for my youngest God daughter.

I have been discovering new ways of cooking and healthier eating plans for hubby in order to gain better control over his blood sugar levels.

My youngest and I took part in the Chaeli Campaign's Walk 4 Wheels 4km fun walk. 
We took part in a mini Easter Swap through Worldwide Cultural Exchange.

It seems March has been the month of embracing moments with extended family and friends. My sister and her family have been visiting from the far away farm. Cousins have enjoyed their time together. We have visited at my dad, seen my aunt and uncle and cousins.
 A wonderful time of re-connecting all round!
The weather has been good enough for beach and forest walks too.
The kids and I enjoyed Body Worlds exhibition, my Dad's art in the park exhibition at Groot Constantia, and a visit to one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, Babylonstoren.
Our youngest took part in the Junior Argus Cycle tour and hubby and I had the pleasure of watching a rugby match between the Stormers and the Brumbies at Newlands.
March marked our 21st wedding anniversary too!
We celebrated St Patrick's day with a fun neighbourhood get together.
Easter weekend was celebrated with family and friends.

Slow Living 2013 - Month by Month

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Last of March

              This past week has been filled with the gift of family and friendship.

Day 26
1389) precious moments and heart to hearts with my sister who arrived from the farm last night
1390) our children, all so grown, laughing and reminiscing of days gone by...

1391) delicious gifts from the farm...her home-made cheese and her apricot jam, gem squash freshly picked from the fields and walnuts from the trees and sweet honey from her husband's hives 
1392) calling our mum and chatting to her and our other sister who is visiting her
1393) delicious meal shared with extended family tonight

Day 27
1394) a house-full of boy cousins today
1395) my sweet daughter making them all pancakes at lunch time
1396) her wonderful report for her 1st term of art

Day 28
1397) treated to lunch out today by my kind friend
1398) gift of forgiveness and moving forward 

Day 29
1399) beautiful worship and communion shared with believers this Good Friday in remembrance of Him
1400) encouragement from my dear sweet sister 
1401) fresh crisp mountain air, cousins young and old catching up as we walked and talked

Day 30
1402) a day of just being....resting and relaxing
1403) wonderful evening of family togetherness at my dad, crazy cousins, good food and fun had by all

Day 31
1404) a gift heard : Easter celebration service hearing again the good news that He is risen indeed
1405) a gift my heart the message that I am His beloved
1406) wonderful relaxed lunch with hubby's parents 

Day 2
1407) spending time with my sister today, each moment precious as her time to leave draws closer
1408) crazy, loud, happy, beautiful young people filling our home until late this evening as my teens entertained their friends