Thursday, October 31, 2013

Slow Living Month 10

I can scarcely believe October has come to an end already!
 It has been exam exam season here with our son having written 7 papers so far and just 3 to go...
then his home education journey of 15 years is over.
 I still remember the day we decided to home educate when he was just a wee little thing of 3 years old.
 Now a strapping young man of 18 and I wonder where the time went...

This month we have eaten loads of rice. Way more than we normally do. This is because I won R500 worth of rice! We have eaten tasty rice salads, and various curries and rice. 
We have eaten plenty of fish too as I won R500 worth of fish vouchers too! My son asked when we plan to eat anything other than fish!
Leeks from the garden were used to make a delicious cheesy leek pie...

 ....and tonight we have a leek and chicken pie in the oven alongside the usual apple, cinnamon and oat bake hubby enjoys for breakfast.  

I have doubled up on meals once or twice to save cooking a meal from scratch each night. 
We received a wonderful gift of bags of granadillas and my youngest and I made a refreshing cordial and a delicious granadilla yogurt tart was made a few times during the month.
Besides that, I bottled some beetroot. Always good alongside a meal.

I have been stopping by a dump bin outside a local wood shop regularly and have picked up some lovely bits of wood, free for the taking. Some will be used as fire wood and some has been cut into bases for me to mosaic onto. A friend also made me an oak bread board from one of the scraps. 
We have sorted through my younger son's clothing, some of mine and my daughters and were glad to give bags full away to two families that were victims of shack fires.
I have also sorted through the unused school books in our study and was happy to sell off a fair amount at a recent open day at a local school. 

My garden has enjoyed home made compost, worm and seaweed tea this month.
I have tried lemon balm tea and found it refreshing and soothing. Lemon balm is springing up everywhere in my veg garden!

This month I have sown sunflower seeds, various chili seeds, coriander, beans, butternut and courgettes. They are all doing well.
I planted some basil seedlings, aubergine and gem squash as well as bush cucumbers and black kale given to me by a friend. 

We have harvested herbs, lettuce, spinach, broad beans,  peas, gooseberries and leeks. 

Today I picked a beautiful red tomato from the bush that just sprung up out of nowhere and is my best ever tomato plant. 
There are loads more on this almost one meter tall plant!

My daughter and I made about 60 cookie monster cupcakes for her 16th birthday party. 
I have been busy with my mosaic projects and got my first orders for some items.

I knitted up a slouch beanie for my youngest and a quick knit snood as a gift. 
I am now busy with a slouch beanie for my daughter and then my oldest son would like one too!
My pottery has finally started arriving in drips and drabs. 

I love the way my little jug turned out!

My youngest made a DVD rack at his technology class and my daughter held her monthly craft workshop where she did a few card making tutorials and taught the girls to make a gift box too.

I have also been having a bit of fun making cards again.

I read an e book on Paleo breakfasts to try and get some new ideas for breakfast. I am not a breakfast person but there were some great alternatives to the usual carb breakfasts of cereal.
The kids and I have been enjoying reading A Passage to India and a wonderful living book on Egypt.
 I really need to get stuck into a novel for myself again too...

We have had my sweet nephew here for a sleepover and babysitting. 
It has been great to have the little man around. 

A group of friends have gotten together and decided to set up a mini moving market. We will each bring our crafts or whatever we have to sell and set up a market in different venues as and when we can. We had the first one this month and another is due this weekend.

We have taken part in a book exchange and the international coin exchange again this month.

My daughter has taken on teaching a young boy to cook and bake.

Beach walks and braais, 
forest and mountain walks....

.....all good for the soul.

I had a dear friend visit from up country for just over a week and it was wonderful to spend time together and catch up as we haven't seen each other in a while.

Our daughter's 16th party was a wonderful event with loads of teens dressed in pjs and playing party games like musical bumps and pass the parcel. 
They enjoyed reliving childhood party games and fun.

We celebrated hubby's birthday this week too and enjoyed a home movie evening and rare treat of take out for dinner.

Slow Living 2013 - Month by Month

Thanks for the link up Christine.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nature Club and the Littlewort Trail

Last Friday we joined our nature club on an outing to the Littlewort Trail in Newlands Forest.
 It has been a while since we joined the monthly nature club outing and it was a great end to a somewhat stressful and busy week.


The trail starts just above the Newlands Forestry and Fire Station. It was designed as an educational trail to introduce children to the ecology of a forest and our leader had copious notes on the trail and regarding the area of each marker.

The first marker being the Cork Oak Grove.

The group was rather large and I didn't manage to keep up with the leader and hear the information on each marker.

The views of the mountain were splendid.

At one point the path took us alongside a hedge of dense Wild Almonds. Apparently this was part of Van Riebeeck's hedge, planted around 1659. It was planted as a defensive barrier to prevent cattle and sheep being driven through by the neighboring Khoikhoi.

Our national tree, the Yellowwood was seen too.

We reached the stone bridge and waterfall and the kids, from little ones to teens, had a wonderful time scampering about in the stream, climbing trees and just being kids!
Moms and tiny babes enjoyed the shade and spread out picnic blankets and had a good old natter. 
On the way down, I discovered other walkers with dogs...
I know our crazy dog will just love this walk and so I plan to take him there soon!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good gifts

Every good and perfect gift is from above. 
They are there, you just have to find them....

1833)  Gifts enjoyed : another evening with my cute nephew, always a blessing to have him here
1834) an evening with my daughter, just the two of us enjoying a beautiful movie together
1835) Gift accomplished : sorting out years worth of books and managing to sell some for a neat little profit
1836) receiving a lovely goody bag with all sorts of treats
1837) winning a watch in a lucky draw
1838) my dad popping in with bags of dog food just when we had run out, a blessing
1839) my teens lounging on my bed and chatting and laughing with me
1840) hubby making us burgers tonight, a night off for me
1841) a wonderful afternoon tea celebrating a birthday with girlfriends, lots of laughter
1842) nature club outing enjoyed... soul food and good company at the end of a busy week
1843) thankful for unexpected orders this week
1844) thankful for wise decisions my daughter has made, blessed to see her growing into a beautiful young lady with a heart after God
1845) brisk beach walk with my younger two, great for calming the mind
1846) a gift strong : my husband, ever stable
1847) reminded of and resting in the knowledge that my childrens'  futures are in His hands
1848) gift in Christ: grace .... undeserved but given
1849) delicious celebratory birthday breakfast for my brother, lovely to have 3 generations of family together
1850) gift enjoyed: family fun time out in nature again, beautiful fynbos on the mountainside, a cool mountain waterfall, soul food!
1851) blessed time in church this evening
1852) answered prayers
1853) gift from a friend, black kale plants for my veg garden

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

I came across the idea of a weekly wrap up over at Weird , Unsocialized Homeschoolers and I like the idea!
I am hoping to be disciplined enough to post weekly. In the mean time we are well into the fourth term and here's a little of what we have been up to.....

It's exam season here for Josh who is writing his Cambridge AS level finals. Not sure who has to remember to breathe more, me or him! So far he has written 3 physical science papers, 1 English and 1 math paper. He has 4 papers to go and on November 5th he will be done with home education! I can scarcely believe how the years have flown and we are immensely proud of his achievements to date.

The younger two and I have got into a good rhythm this term, all working together on various days and then Keren working alone on others. 
Her art has taken up much of her time and she is doing incredibly well , attaining very high marks in theory and practicals at art school. Some of her work was recently chosen for an exhibition at the opening of a local school art center. She has had two all day art practical sessions this term and though she comes home exhausted, she is loving art school.
Last week the two of us enjoyed attending an art exhibition of Cape artist, James Thackwray. His work is distinctly South African and captures the daily lives of the Cape Malay people during turbulent times in our history. The Bo-Kaap and District Six are featured in his works too.

The younger two and I attend free Afrikaans lessons once a week at the local library. It has been fun and the kids are doing well. In a recent test they achieved 65 and 75 per cent. One of them attaining higher marks than me! It has been rewarding to see their confidence grow when speaking the language and taking part in a class setting. Keren has enjoyed it so much, she has decided she wants to learn many languages and has started teaching herself Swahili with and on line course.

Zak has enjoyed his monthly tekioo class.

He made this awesome DVD rack.

 He has enjoyed a couple of outings too with fellow home school kids. The skate park, a drumming workshop and ice skating were all a big hit. 

He attends basketball practice at the local Waldorf School twice a week and is loving that.

Zak is number 24.

They have played two matches so far this term. Sadly for them they lost both games. The teams they played were high school teams and their team is from age 9 to 13. Their next game will be a more even match as they will play against a team from a primary school.
Zak has attended his monthly Chaeli campaign meeting where he serves as a mentor to the ambassadors.
 He is trying out a two month free trial of online math. He is enjoying Aleks math on the computer and is learning new skills daily. 

The three of us wrapped up our unit study on Mesopotamia and have moved onto ancient Egypt . We are also doing a study on India and enjoying reading "A Passage to India". We plan on making an Indian meal next week for hubby's birthday.  
We have also enjoyed reading "When Whales Go Free", a story set in 1912 about the establishment of a whaling station at Plettenberg Bay.
We have read a book of short biographies of Polycarp, Alban, John Oldcastle, Cranmer, Wishart, Chalmers, Bonhoffer, Nate Saint, Moiseyev and Graham Staines. All remarkable men who didn't give in and chose to do the right thing even in the face of great danger.

Keren has a new student, a young boy who is keen on cooking. She will be teaching him to cook and bake every second week. Last week she had her first session with him and they made meatballs in tomato sauce and a chocolate cake. He is a keen student and it is a great way for her to earn some pocket money.

 She practiced preparing the meal the night before she gave the lesson.
 Lovely for me to have a night off cooking!

We received bags of granadillas from a friend and Zak and I got busy in the kitchen too.

 He made a delicious granadilla cordial and has made a yummy granadilla yogurt fridge cake a few times. Josh has declared it to be his favorite desert!

We received a coin exchange from Korea with an informative letter about their currency.

We enjoy these exchanges and use them as an opportunity to learn about different countries and cultures. The kids found and marked Korea on their maps. We sent off a package of SA coins to the family in Korea.

We have enjoyed some beautiful spring weather and on occasion, ditched the books in favor of an early morning beach walk with our crazy dog. I love that we have the freedom to do so.

 We have seen all sorts washed up on the beach such as giant jellyfish, beautiful shells, shark egg cases and a poor little baby seal that seemed to be dying. 

That morning we spent ages on the beach waiting for the SPCA to rescue the poor little thing. 
Sadly the little fellow didn't make it and died on the way into the SPCA. 

Yesterday we enjoyed our nature club outing to the Littlewort Trail at Newlands forest, a beautiful trail that we have not done before.

Just what we needed at the end of a busy and somewhat stressful week.
 Lovely to catch up with other home educating families and enjoy being out in nature. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Grateful thanks

Despite the mundane daily tasks and anything that may be going on, 
there is always something to be grateful for....

1816) harvesting from my little veg garden, a delight to pick things to add to our evening meals
1817) reading aloud to my younger two teens, thankful they still enjoy it
1818) great progress made in helping my eldest study for his upcoming English exam
1819) a forgotten chocolate discovered in the cupboard, shared and enjoyed
1820) a surprise visit from my sweet baby nephew and his dad
1821) thankful to find just the right color mosaic tiles I need for an order, yes I am getting orders!
1822) my dear gentle and sweet friend stopping by, lovely to catch up with her this evening
1823) my sweet girl making us all french toast for lunch
1824) neighborhood braai this evening, kids loud and full of energy, 
wonderful to see them so happy and care free
1825) friends enjoying an afternoon braai here, lovely to catch up with them

1826) my precious 2 year old nephew sleeping over...

....giggles and laughs, 
his cute husky little voice stringing sentences together,
 baby kisses and cuddles and stories,
 and a full night slept through!
1827) a good long afternoon nap just when it was needed
1828) hubby helping me make dinner when it was getting late and I was not in the mood for cooking
1829) a Sunday call from my mum
1830) sushi shared with my girl
1831) left overs for dinner, a blessing as we got in late
1832) a gift read...a reminder that He is always working, yes always

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Cape of Good Hope

Early last month we took advantage of the free entry offered to SA citizens at our National Parks. 
Despite it being a school day, we enjoyed the freedom and spontaneity of making this a field trip day. 
We fetched some friends and went off on an adventure for the morning.

We drove out on the coast road, alongside False Bay, heading south to Cape Point. Along the way we stopped near Miller's Point to admire the views of the bay, and in the hopes of possibly spotting a whale or two...

 The kids ran down the hillside onto the beach and enjoyed clambering over huge granite boulders.
Sadly no whales were spotted.

We headed along the winding coast road, enjoying the views and looking out for baboons and whales along the way. Finally we reached the Table Mountain National Park, The Cape of Good Hope.
 The park encompasses 7 750 hectares with a 40 kilometer coastline of beaches, bays and sheer cliffs. It is vast and diverse with rocky mountainous areas , beaches and open sea. The Cape of Good Hope is popularly believed to be the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans , but geographically these oceans meet at Cape Agulhas National Park.
There are at least 250 species of birds and numerous small animals in the park . Larger animals are a rare sight. We were lucky enough to spot a herd of Eland grazing as well as a troop of baboons in the distance.

The Cape of Good Hope is an integral part of the Cape Floral Kingdom which is the smallest but richest of the world's six floral kingdoms. There are numerous indigenous plants and some that do not occur naturally in other parts of the world. The scent of fynbos is rich and aromatic. 
A scent I never tire of.

We enjoyed driving through the park on roads we have not taken before. 
We stopped at Olifantsbos Point and strolled to the look out point.

The views spectacular....

While climbing around on the rocks, our friend shouted out that she found a clay head. 
Of course we thought she was joking and we all climbed up to take a look....

There it was, nestled in the rocks.
 A surprising and rather strange find.
 We really could not figure out why this sculpture was hidden in the rocks in the middle of nowhere!

We made our way south to the parking lot,  curio shops and restaurant.
 The view looking back over False Bay, just beautiful!
 The sea was flat and glassy and numerous fishing boats dotted the water below.

Instead of taking the funicular, we opted to walk up the mountain to the old lighthouse.

View of Dias Beach.

 There were bus loads of tourists making their way up and down. I reminded the kids we are privileged and blessed to live in a truly beautiful city and that many travel from afar in order to visit this place.

Once again, the views from 200 + meters above the vast swirling ocean...incredible.

We reached the old lighthouse, 249 m above sea level.

The new lighthouse was spotted in the distance on Dias Point.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed the morning out in the fresh sea air and taking in the views of this world heritage site. 

Before we left, we bought some postcards to use for cultural exchange parcels or postcrossing.

Thank you to Hip Homeschool Moms for the opportunity to link up with their Field Trips Around the World series.  We hope that if you haven't visited the Cape of Good Hope, you will!

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Monday, October 14, 2013

Always, yes always...

There is always something to be thankful for. 
No matter what the days bring, seek out the good and that for which you can be thankful for. 
Over the last week, a busy one, there has been much to be thankful for.

1797) two free gazania plants from the nursery
1798) a morning run and swim at the beach before school, thankful that we have the freedom to do so
1799) thankful that so many are keeping my boy in their prayers as he writes final exams
1800) thankful for a lift to and from exams today for him
1801) thankful that today's practical exam went well
1802) hubby's helping hands at dinner when I was not feeling too well
1803) catching up with a special friend when she needed a friend
1804) pizza for dinner, a treat
1805) gift of change...spring, a beautiful season of growth and change,
 loving my garden and the daily changes
1806) a gift small...snippets of time on the weekend to just be, and get lost in creating with mosaics
1807) a gift read...a message from my Mum, just perfect timing, must be mother's intuition!
1808) good to be in church this morning
1809) thankful for the gift of granadillas
1810) my sweet two year old nephew phoning me to say hello because I wasn't in when they popped by... so cute and heart warming
1811) winning another prize today 
1812) time out with my girl when she needed it....
a stroll in a local garden, pretty poppies for her and a visit to an art exhibition
1813) my girl cooking dinner tonight, a blessing to have a night off
1814) the sounds of laughter... my three and hubby enjoying being together
1815) beautiful scent of sweet-peas and lavender freshly picked from my garden this evening

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

Ordinary...there is nothing ordinary about our days.
 Our eldest is writing his final exams for Cambridge AS levels.
 I am not sure who has to remember to breathe or him.
 Days are filled with anticipation and expectation as he writes practice papers and diligently devotes his time to his studies. 
His ordinary chores are taken over by me or his siblings.
 I am filled with the knowledge that this is the end of his season of learning at home. 
Ordinary days don't exist, each day that he is here with us is special....
Where will he be in a year?
 How many more nights will he spend here before spreading his wings and making a a life of his own?
 How many more evenings will I hear his loud music or the chatter of my three together?
...all ordinary occurrences which make the days extraordinary
 ...each moment treasured

"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!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

International Currency Exchange for Children and Youth

We recently signed up for an international currency exchange. 
We enjoy discovering more about other countries and cultures and this seemed to be a fun way to add something new to our learning.
Once signed up, one exchanges coins and paper currency with a family in a different country.
 Participants can send one piece of currency or as many as they like.

The kids enjoyed receiving currency from USA , Peurto Rico and a Mexican coin.
 Maps were pulled out to discover exactly where our coins had traveled from . We looked up information on pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters and dollars. We discovered who was represented on the various coins and what made them famous enough to be represented. I was pleasantly surprised by their knowledge of  the various American Presidents but then again, a lot of the curriculum we have used over the years has been American. 

We put together sets of South African coins along with a key-chain that has the SA flag and all the SA paper currency on it. 

These are winging their way to the families that kindly exchanged with us. 

The kids found it interesting and we had great discussions around foreign exchange and coin collecting, otherwise known as the "hobby of kings". 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October's garden

Spring is in the air...

...there are a couple of lemons on the tree.

First broad beans have been enjoyed.

Spindly sunflowers get taller by the day.

The scent of colorful sweet-peas fills the air.

Leeks will soon be eaten.

Peas are picked daily.

Broccoli and bright lights, ready to eat. 

Beans are sending out shoots.

And one large tomato plant already has fruit.

Just love the season!