Monday, August 26, 2013


We recently discovered Postcrossing, a fun new way for us to learn about other cultures and geography too.
The idea is that you send a postcard to another postcrosser in the world and once your postcard has been received and registered, you will get a postcard from somewhere else in the world.

You may ask why we like this idea?
Simply put, it's fun to pick out beautiful postcards depicting our home country and more fun to receive surprise snail mail....
 and we may even receive mail from places we have never heard of before!

Here are some interesting stats about Postcrossing:
428103 members
213 countries
361 postcards/hour
18888263 postcards received
97937879322 km traveled
2443865 laps around the world

We sent our first postcard to a young Russian lady living in Germany, and studying history there. Our postcard traveled 9496 km to reach her. It was good to hear she had received it and she sent us a sweet message thanking us and telling us it was her first postcard from South Africa. 
We also received a mail telling us the postcard has been chosen as a favorite by another member. 
We look forward to more Postcrossing fun and learning a little about the world around us.

Culture Swapper

When life gives you lemons

When life gives you lemons..... 

you had better use them before you lose them as my dear sister would say!

Today we tackled the lemons we had been given by my mom in law and made all sorts...

My daughter used a Jamie Oliver recipe to make a lemon shortbread.

My son and I squeezed over a liter of lemon juice and made a lavender and lemon concentrate and froze half a liter of lemon juice for later use. 

For the concentrate he dissolved 1 and half cups of sugar in 2 cups of boiling water and then allowed a handful of fresh lavender flowers to steep in the hot syrup for half an hour.
 Then he strained the syrup to remove the solids and added 2 cups of fresh lemon juice to the syrup.
We bottled it and to make it up, dilute 1 part of concentrate to 3 parts water with loads of ice....
very refreshing and tasty!

He made a delicious lemon and custard desert for this evening .

I made a lemon chutney which will apparently be the perfect accompaniment to Indian food.

Here is the recipe:
4 lemons washed and thinly sliced, seeds removed and rind left on
2 onions thinly sliced
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup vinegar
250g sugar
50g seedless raisins
7.5ml mustard seeds
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 finely sliced chilies

Sprinkle salt over lemons and onions and allow to stand for 2 hours.
Place all ingredients into a pot with lemon and onions and bring to the boil.
Simmer until lemon rinds are soft , about 30 minutes.
Bottle in warm, dry jars and seal.

I thought we had used the very last lemon, only to discover we had about 20 more in a bowl in the lounge!
Perhaps my daughter can make some lemon curd tomorrow and we will make some more lemon cordial or perhaps some iced tea, lemon flavored of course!

Monday's Multitudes

The week seems to have flown by...
There is much to be thankful for....

1715) wonderful surprise in my inbox this morning, won a voucher for dinner at a restaurant
1716) hubby and our 18 year old preparing a delicious dinner tonight
1717) our 3 teens happily playing playing card games for hours
1718) the helping hands and willingness of my dear family to help out with tasks I can't do because of my broken finger
1719) school done in the comfort and coziness of my warm bed because it's freezing cold out there
1720) an evening together, just me and hubby
1721) conversations with a far away friend
1722) my girl restored to health after a week long bout of high temperatures and hacking coughs
1723) time with my sweet 13 year old boy who has a wacky sense of humor who makes me smile and laugh
1724) time out with a friend I have not seen in a while
1725) the 2 younger kids and I enthralled by the antics at the circus, lots of life giving laughter and fun
1726) blessing of books given away by a friend
1727) partaking in breaking of bread
1728) much needed rest
1729) a productive morning in the kitchen with the kids
1730) winning a prize again today, a recipe book and R500 worth of product :)
1731) our 3 kids and a friend playing games together, lovely to listen to the laughter
1732) a wonderful exercise class, first in a while, oh so good for the body, mind and soul
1733) wonderful to have caught up with family over the weekend, long distance calls that are so precious

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Good and perfect gifts

Joy is multiplied as I give thanks for His good and perfect gifts...

1699) snail mail with a surprise from my mum
1700) a cosy wood fire tonight, blessed by the loads of wood from my brother
1701) wonderful evening connecting with dear friends
1702) thankful that hubby was there to catch me and care for me when I passed out after smashing my finger to smithereens in the car door
1703) thankful for technology, keeping me in touch with far away family
1704) hubby making dinner when I could not
1705) a gift ugly finger, bone smashed badly, but joint undamaged
1706) gift of family.... my dear mum who prays for us all daily
1707) gift of mom in law who selflessly lends her car to us when we need it
1708) gift of church family that we are getting to know and feel part of
1709) wonderful gift of a ticket to the women's "Good Life" conference at church, wonderful weekend hearing His word and shared with beautiful ladies 

1710) celebrating our youngest's 13th birthday with family and friends
1711) my kind neighbour baking the scones for our guests when I couldn't
1712) gifts written and read...beautiful blessings and words of encouragement from far away family members on our son's special day
1713) gift in church...our daughter's baptism, thankful that she has chosen to serve Him all the days of her life
1714) a fresh realisation of God's endless and undeserved grace lavished on me

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Celebrating 18

I can scarcely believe that our first born son is now 18! 
It was his birthday just over 3 weeks ago and there was great excitement around this special celebration.
It has been such a joy to parent him over the last 18 years and watch him grow from that first sweet baby we called ours into a young adult. A young man of good character with a wonderful sense of humour. A young man who has taught us so much as we have parented him. A young man who is a friend to many, young and old. A studious young man who has done well as he has been dedicated to schooling himself, almost independently, for the last 4 and half years. A great big brother and a son we are immensely proud of. 
We are blessed to call him "ours".

Birthday tradition in our home calls for an early morning pile up of sleepy kids on mom and dad's bed for gift opening, and there was no exception on this special day. I was fully aware that this may possibly be the last time that our now 18 year old may take part in this early morning tradition.... 
We don't know what next year may hold for him...

Being the 25th of July, we had the perfect excuse to have a Christmas in July dinner to celebrate, and hubby's mom even put up the Christmas tree! 

We enjoyed a wonderful evening together as family, and the dinner my mom in law prepared was absolutely superb! 

We reminisced about the time seventeen and half years ago that our tiny, sweet, not yet rolling baby rolled off the bed while we were enjoying a Christmas dinner around the very same table. The cute and ever so chubby toddler who loved to pretend to sell flowers to us all and always wanted to be at his Oma and Opa if he ever felt ill or unhappy. The times he spent as a little boy, eagerly helping his Opa "work" in the garage and more...

Such sweet memories and such a blessing that this was where he wanted to be on his 18th birthday.

The celebrations continued the next evening as we had around 35 guests at home for a Spiderman Party.
Why Spiderman you may ask?
When this young man was a little thing, all he wanted was a Spiderman web blaster that could shoot out webs. We never did buy that toy for him....

With him turning 18, it seemed it may be my last chance to get him that toy after all these years, and if I could have, I would have bought one for him and all his friends so they could enjoy some silly Spiderman fun!
 It turns out that this toy is rather expensive and we decided he would appreciate the cash more than the toy at 18, but if he still desperately wanted a web blaster, he was free to use the cash to get one!
He decided cash is king at this stage :)

Hence the Spiderman party that was enjoyed by the littlest cutie pies to the teens and oldies.
It was a wonderful birthday and we look forward to many more years enjoying our young adult son.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Small

Small...yes the small things do count. All those small things stitched together that make a difference. I want my three to know that these things matter in life. The small gesture to help another, the friendly smile, the small change in tone of voice. Small things like please and thank you and how can I help? Small things like a friendly thank you note or responding to a text message once you have received it....
small things that maketh a man or a woman. 
Small change that helped that homeless person get shelter for the night or a loaf of bread. That seemingly small thing that meant so much to another and made such a  great difference. 
Small things like doing something that is unexpected or required....yet brings joy to another or eases their daily load. Small things that add up and make a big difference. 
What small thing can you do today? 

"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, August 12, 2013

Yes, always...

1681) my dear friend tutoring my daughter, going above and beyond what was required
1682) gentle rains watering my newly planted seeds
1683) hubby helping with dinner again, such a treat to enjoy his cooking
1684) gift in His word...
 " Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning ; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion ; therefore I will wait for Him. " The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.
1685) catch up over hot chocolate and cheese cake with an old school friend and her gorgeous kiddies
1686)  thankful for a bowl of warm food, a crackling fire, and our warm home this evening
1687) wonderful to watch my three...hours spent together playing a new card game, laughter and bonding
1688) hubby making dinner again and family time enjoying a comedy together
1689) a trip to the nursery with my friend when I was feeling blue, finding pretty pansy 6 packs on special to brighten my garden
1690) wonderfully sunny day, a walk in the forest with hubby and our crazy and energetic dog
1691) coffee and chatter with my brother and his little family
1692) long distance chats with my dear mum
1693) an evening enjoyed together, just me and hubby
1694) answered prayers and His goodness
1695) wonderful lunch at church
1696) hearing His word at tonight's service
1697) relaxed chatter with my dear friend as we worked on our craft projects
1698) a warm fire and a good home cooked meal on this cold evening

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mini Summer Swap

Despite being winter here, we decided to join up for Worldwide Culture Swap's mini summer swap. 
Mini swaps are fun, inexpensive and easy to take part in!
 Just pick 3 to 4 items representing summer in your country or your family.
 What do you enjoy doing, seeing, eating or playing with?

We sent some black mussel shells from one of our favourite beaches, 
Fish Hoek beach, represented in the pictures.
The paper bag depicts our beautiful Table Mountain, and as we love to picnic in the summer, we sent some cute straws and S.A flags to decorate picnic snacks.
The pack would not have been complete without some "proudly South African" Safari dried fruit.
We look forward to receiving our pack from USA.

Culture Swapper

Thank you Worldwide Culture Swap for this fun mini swap.

Bastille Day Celebration

During the school holidays our neighbour and his son decided to make a replica of the Eiffel Tower.
 The neighbourhood kids had fun joining in and adding a piece in here and there....

July 14th , Bastille Day, came around and our wonderful neighbourhood decided to have a celebration and enjoy some French cuisine together.... 

French loaves and various cheeses with French Onion soup were the order of the day.

I made the soup using a simple recipe that was delicious. The soup should be served with toast and melted cheese on top, but we enjoyed it with fresh French loaf and cheese instead.

We took the opportunity to learn more about Bastille Day and the French Revolution, and enjoyed watching  a spectacular on-line clip of the Bastille Day Fireworks.

My youngest enjoyed cooking us a delicious French chicken and sausage cassoulet.
 It was great to learn a little more about France and enjoy their fabulous food!

Culture Swapper

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Slow Living Month 7

Month 7 was full and fabulous.  Our winter brought some beautiful sunny, wind free days as well as some really cold and wet spells. The third school term begun after a great midyear holiday and days have been filled with all sorts of enjoyment as we learn, live, laugh and love...

Hubby has been great at helping out at dinner time and the kids really enjoy his cooking. Of course it is great for me to have a break too. On cooler days we have enjoyed curries, using chillies from the garden, cheese and herb muffins with soup have also made great dinners. We enjoyed home made French onion soup for Bastille Day celebrations with the neighbours and butternut soup was once again a winner.

 Warmer weather encouraged us to enjoy meals outdoors and we braaied a few times as a family and with our neighbourhood. This meant making salads to go accompany the meat. Hubby's favourite is my broccoli salad and I was thankful to use freshly picked broccoli from the garden.

Our granadilla vine has been dropping fruit daily and my daughter and I made some granadilla butter. 

This is simply delicious on pancakes or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.
 The kids even enjoy it on toast. 
Here is the recipe:
140g butter
2 cups granadilla pulp
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
Melt butter, sugar and pulp over double boiler.
Add beaten eggs and stir constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Be careful not to over cook and allow the mixture to curdle.
Pour into sterilised jars and enjoy once thickened and cooled.
Store in the fridge.

I made a batch of tomato and onion relish with a good dose of freshly picked chilli.
 We enjoyed it with bread and cheese and in a mince dish too.

Hubby picked a load of lemons at his mom's place and my daughter made a batch of lemon curd which she  used as a filling for vanilla cupcakes for her brother's 18th birthday....they were simply heavenly!
Lemon curd has been enjoyed in much the same way as the granadilla butter. 
A batch does not last too long in this house!

A friend hosted a clothing clear out and swap. It was great to get rid of all those items that are no longer worn and know that someone else will have the pleasure of enjoying wearing them. I managed to walk away with about 5 pairs of good pants, a number of pretty tops and a lovely dress. My daughter was lucky enough to get a beautiful brown leather jacket and many more items too. 

We were blessed with a coffee machine from my cousin and we needed to do a kitchen clear out to make space on the counter for the machine. Numerous glass bottles were sent for recycling and we have passed on the coffee machine we had. 
The new one makes delicious cappuccinos!

Not much here....

This month I planted peas and coriander.
First strawberries were harvested.....

 and granadillas, tomatoes, chillies red, green and yellow, red and green peppers, pepperdews, peas, herbs, spinach, gooseberries and broccoli.
I have shared gooseberry seedlings with friends as well as lemon balm that seems to be coming up everywhere.
A visit to the nursery gave me my freebie of a packet of mixed spring flower seeds.

I finished my mosaic mirror in time to give it to a dear friend as a birthday gift.

 The next one was started too. 
My daughter and I spent time making cards cards, and doing some bead-work. 
I completed another scarf ...

.....and begun a slouch beanie for my sweet girl. 

I have enjoyed reading a number of encouraging blogs and my gift that keeps on giving ...a magazine subscription from my dear sister. 
School read aloud time has been enjoyed reading a novel written by a fellow home educating mom, 
"Seekers of the Lost Boy" has kept us wanting another chapter each time!

The teens had a busy time doing various babysitting jobs in the holidays and my daughter spent a week of her holiday volunteering at the church holiday club. 
I had the pleasure of babysitting my cute nephew a number of times.
On Mandela Day the kids and I volunteered some of our time to pack stationery boxes for underprivileged little people.

I took part in a craft gift exchange. It was such fun to make a gift for someone else and receive a beautiful gift in return.
A new friend and I have been getting together weekly to enjoy mosaicking. It is wonderfully relaxing to chat and just be creative.
Our youngest son joined a robotics club and started playing basketball. A fellow home educating parent is coaching the kids free at a nearby local school. 

Life certainly has been enjoyed !
The kids and I made the most of a special holiday outing to Ratanga Junction Theme Park with friends.

A friend and I attended a ladies breakfast together and I have been treated to lunch and coffee out with various girlfriends. A bunch of us recently enjoyed a girls evening out to the movies where we were spoiled with goodie bags and a great comedy. 
Bastille Day celebrations and a pancake evening were enjoyed with our neighbourhood.
We celebrated our eldest son's 18th birthday with a Christmas in July dinner and a weekend full of fun.

My youngest and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with friends at the waterfront and a sneak peek at the aquarium. Beach walks have been enjoyed too!
We had the great pleasure of watching our daughter and some fellow home educated kids perform in the Shakespeare Schools Festival. They performed "a Winter's Tale" and the show was superb!

All in all a wonder-filled month with much to be thankful for!

Slow Living 2013 - Month by Month

Monday, August 5, 2013

Little things to be thankful for...

1656) gift from far away....seeds arriving for my veg garden from my far away farm sister
1657) girl friends evening out...freebies, fun and laughter
1658) my sweet daughter working long and hard to make delicious cup cakes for her brother's birthday
1659) celebrating our son's 18th birthday....special memories made with family and friends
1660) Christmas in July dinner hosted by my mom in law on his 18th, wonderful family time together
1661) my youngest winning a 3DS
1662) a gift fresh...beautiful rains sent from above
1663) a day resting and with no agenda
1664) gift youngest and I spending a productive morning enjoying school together
1665) a sweet friend treating me to lunch out at one of my favourite places
1666) a home school dad giving up his time to teach the youngsters basketball and not charging for the lessons
1667) my dear new friend visiting and the two of us spending time working on our mosaic projects
1668) my oldest son making a delicious 3 course dinner for the family to enjoy
1669) good sound advice and guidance from someone I trust
1670) finding party pack treats at very reasonable prices
1671) a gift eaten...hubby making dinner, giving me a night off
1672) a wonderful 13th birthday party for our youngest, stress and fuss free morning of fun at the Science Centre surrounded by his friends
1673) perfect sunny weather and an outdoor afternoon enjoyed at another birthday party, wonderful to connect with friends
1674) a late evening visit and from a sweet friend
1675) a gift voice heard and understood
1676) early morning chat with my farm sister
1677) Sunday morning breakfast with my Dad
1678) another birthday celebration, delicious food and wonderful company
1679) a gift outside...a neighbourhood stroll and chatter with my sweet girl, hearing the birds chirp, seeing and smelling the beautiful flowers that seem to think it is already spring
1680) a gift inside....the heady scent of jasmine that we picked on our stroll

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Story


We all have a story, my story is different to yours and that's OK. 
My story has its joys and triumphs and my story has its low moments too. Moments that I am not proud of, but moments that are being worked on and growth is taking place. I am thankful for those precious ones who share in my story and celebrate the joys alongside me or support and encourage me when the story takes a difficult twist or turn. 
I am thankful for those who have been vulnerable and shared their story with me, helping me learn from their story, and connecting our stories too. 
I am thankful for His story, the greatest story of all time, a story that guides and leads me as I walk the road of my own story. A story with challenges, a story that is changing and a story that I hope brings joy, peace and love to my loved ones.

"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!