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!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Silvermine Waterfall Walk

Last Sunday, despite the heat, we joined a few other families for a walk and picnic at Silvermine. We entered Silvermine on the east side and strolled along the gravel road. 


The views of the valley and Noorhoek in the distance were magnificent on this crystal clear day.

Fynbos is a scent I never tire of. I didn't take many photos of the flowers but kept my eyes wide open, taking in the sights and sounds and even spotted a dung beetle rolling his ball of dung along the path.
The kids were way ahead of me, but waited up for me about 15 minutes from the start, where we turned off the gravel road and down 150m into the valley.

The walk down was steep but so worth it. 
The cool waters of the waterfall were so refreshing.

We sat among the trees beside the waterfall and enjoyed our lunch and conversations with fellow walkers. 
The climb back up was pretty strenuous on the legs but once again the kids kept calling out and checking I was ok. It was a great outing, a place to visit again for sure and perhaps linger somewhat longer in the shade besides the cascading waterfall...

Weekly Wrap-Up

Wow, this week seems to have flown by. A busy and productive week.
 The first couple of days this week, I hobbled about like a little old lady as we had been on a hike on Sunday. My thighs were killing me but I actually enjoy that kind of pain.It tells me my body has worked! 
The kids thought it rather funny that I couldn't move without groaning!

Josh wrote 2 papers this week, English and accountancy. Just two to go and then he will be done!
 He also had a good meeting with a prospective employer this week and has a lot to think about and plan regarding his future course of studies.

After school we had a little running around to town as Zak had two castings on consecutive days. One for BMW and one for Mercedes. Sometimes these can be a real drag as there are loads of kids. Luckily this time around it was fairly quick in and out. Now we wait to see if he is cast.

We attended our weekly Afrikaans lesson at the library and I am amazed at the sudden jump in confidence in the kids conversational skills.

We received a coin exchange from Canada this week. It included a map and some postcards.

 I have never really paid much attention to a map of Canada before and it was interesting to browse. 

We have continued learning about India and the culture and have been reading "Bold Believers in India".
Our Egyptian studies have us reading a wonderful living book, "Peeps At Many Lands, Ancient Egypt" . 
We have read of pharaohs, the life of an Egyptian soldier and the lives of Egyptian children and their tales of long ago. While I read aloud, the kids keep their hands busy. Keren usually does some art or crochet work and Zak has taken to drawing too. We have also watched some online clips on the lives of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great. Today I managed to download a bunch of free kindle books on Egypt. We look forward to dipping into those and seeing if they are worthwhile reading. 

Zak has started working through an art book that was given to the kids by my dad.

It is a fantastic book and he enjoys doing the exercises. He plans to draw every day. I am so pleased as when he was little, he refused to draw anything and always wanted me to draw for him. I think he felt he couldn't do it as he was comparing his ability to that of his sister who was three years older!

Here is the blind contour drawing and the unfinished crow he was copying from a photograph.
The end result was really good! 
It was also wonderful to hear Keren encouraging him in his new found interest in art. 

Keren and I found a free short online cooking course on the art of baking with Yuppiechef. We started the first lesson and plan to go through the course and bake some of the yummy and delicious recipes.
Another thing we discovered this week was a nearby paper craft shop....
oh my word, we had to restrain ourselves! 

The colorful paper and bits and bobs for card making and scrap booking were just beautiful and so well priced !
 Keren bought supplies for her craft workshop that she ran yesterday. 

She taught four younger girls Christmas card tutorials, a fun flower card and how to make a cute gift box. The two of us have had some fun being creative and making cards for this weekends mini market too.

This morning I enjoyed some time doing mosaic while a dear, sweet friend visited.
 The kids watched the movies we took out at the library, "Journey Through the Valley of Kings" and "Trompie en die Boksombende". When I was a kid we used to watch Trompie! Great for them to improve their Afrikaans.

Tonight sees a house full of teens as both the boys invited friends for a games and pizza evening.
 Great end to a busy week.