Monday, April 28, 2014

April's Gifts

Counting His blessings...

2001) time chatting with my eldest on the daily drive to and from work
2002) thankful for our youngest's easy to use curriculum
2003) my sister surprising me and arriving two days early for an overnight stay
2004) Easter egg hunt with 3 exuberant teens
2005) family taking up a whole row at a beautiful Good Friday worship and communion service
2006) coffee and hot cross buns with family
2007) my own white Easter eggs, my favorite!
2008) my kiddos arriving safely at camp for the long weekend
2009) much needed restorative sleep
2010) honey from my sister's beehives
2011) my sister , here again with her hubby
2012) His grace by which I live and breathe
2013) my heart stilled by His Word
2014) Easter Sunday at my Dad
2015) happy teens safe and sound, home from camp
2016) my sister and her hubby cooking dinner for us
2017) perfect autumn weather
2018) pocket money for sitting as a portrait model in my Dad's art studio

2019) Proteas picked from my dad's garden, now gracing my coffee table
2020) coffee with hubby
2021) celebrating my precious nephew's 3rd birthday
2022) my sister delivering flowers to my far away Mum from me

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Another Short Week

The weather over the last week has been perfect.... Cape Autumn weather.
 Glorious crisp days with sunshine and no wind. Easter Sunday's service was wonderful. 
And Easter Sunday afternoon was spent doing what most South African enjoy....

.....a hearty braai at my dad's place.

Family together,  good food, 

 perfect weather and magnificent views. 

Monday, a public holiday, came with excitement as the two kiddos were coming home from camp. Exhausted, happy and needing a shower, they arrived home safely.
Tuesday it was back to school . The short school week was filled with planning, moving forward in leaps and bounds in math and Afrikaans for Keren and daily assignments for Zak. He is enjoying learning about Ancient China and finished his first big essay assignment. There was a home school ice skating outing,  crochet club, connect group and art.

Keren is exploring Expressionism at art class this term.

My sister and her husband spent another evening here with us and they blessed me by cooking dinner that night. My niece was in and out the house daily as the girls are house sitting so Keren is dropped off every morning and collected every evening.
On Friday evening Zak enjoyed a friend's birthday party at the movies, Spiderman 2. Keren was MC at youth and Josh enjoyed having a bunch of friends over for a burger evening.

Yesterday Keren and I enjoyed a morning at my Dad's art studio.
 I was the model and four artists began portraits of me. 

It was fun to see their individual works at the end of the morning. 

We also got to meet the sweet, not yet 24 hour old, baby alpaca. 

She is yet to be named.

Today in SA, it is Freedom Day. 
20 years since the first democratic elections!
I can hardly believe they have flown by so fast.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Short Week

The short school week went by in a flash. Keren and Zak tackled their work daily with great attitude.  There were tests and new concepts and revision too. Zak was thrilled to learn that he is moving onto a new unit in History, Ancient China. He had asked me a few weeks back if he could learn about Ancient China. What a blessing that it has come up in his studies and I don't have to plan a unit as it's all done for me!

 He enjoyed learning about Confucius and had fun making a copy of the five virtues of Confucius.

There was art too.....always art!

Quality pencil drawings by Keren.

Just love Zak's chameleon!

And a lovely Worldwide Culture Swap parcel from France.

In the package there was an informative letter, CD, sweets, a French book, postcard, some pamphlets, stickers, money, and a  magazine. We had fun learning a little about France. 

Thursday brought a lovey surprise around lunchtime! My sister arrived two days early to come and spend the night . We invited our niece to join us for dinner and surprised her too.

 That evening we did a fun Easter egg hunt for the teens as they wont be home on Easter. They had a blast and turned my lounge upside down hunting for Easter treats.

Good Friday was good, ever so good. Church with the family and communion was precious. After church we enjoyed hot cross buns and coffee with my in laws and then the younger two set off on church camp. 

I know they are having a good time but I miss having them around the house. 

Culture Swapper

Monday, April 14, 2014

2000 Gifts!

2000 gifts...such a blessing to count the ways He loves and blesses us!
Counting gifts has been a joy and sometimes my life line in times of difficulty. It pays to lift one's eyes from whatever the circumstances may be and give thanks to God for seemingly small or insignificant things. After all, He is the giver of every good and perfect thing.

1985) sleeping in on a cold and rainy morning
1986) yes to a lounge full of noisy teens staying over for a Star Wars movie marathon
1987) mom and daughter time out in a tranquil garden with my sweet 16 year old girl
1988) warm bowls of soup filling hungry tums on a cool evening
1989) my niece, breezy, bright and ever cheerful
1990) good results on my eye test
1991) kisses from my gorgeous almost 3 year old nephew
1992) a walk through the richly scented pine forest
1993) friends popping by and staying for an evening of pizza, laughter and fun
1994) thankful for a washing basket, hangars and spices that my neighbor was getting rid of
1995) thankful for the gift of salvation and our 13 year old son's decision to be baptized
1996) thankful for the beautiful bonds of love and friendship between our 3 kiddos
1997) safe return of our eldest after a night out at the matric dance
1998) thankful for good health care and medicines that fight infection
1999) conversations with my far away sisters
2000) thankful for the challenge to always seek and count His blessings despite circumstances. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Big One

The week was full and busy with school starting again. The weather was usually warm for this time of year and Keren and I kick-started the week with a lovey walk on Monday morning. We also attended a free fit club session on Tuesday evening. A great work out that left my muscles sore for two days!
The kids had a great attitude about starting the second school term and Zak kept on track with his daily online assignments while Keren plowed through her work at a steady pace. Crochet group and art classes started again. 
Josh was home most of the week as he was sick. I too ended up getting rather sick and there was a trip to the doctor for antibiotics for me and a sick certificate for him. Despite the fact he was sick, it was rather nice to have him around the house again.

As infants we dedicated our children to the Lord, believing as parents that when they were ready to, and in the full knowledge of what baptism meant, they would have a believers baptism. 

Last Sunday Zak was baptized. We are so thankful that he chose to be baptized of his own accord and it was wonderful  to hear him give his testimony. Specially wonderful to hear him speak of the  sisterly love, input and influence that Keren has had over his life in helping him come to this decision. 

On Friday evening we attended the Chaeli Campaign annual graduation ceremony for Pay-It-Forward Ambassadors and Mentors for 2013-2014. Zak has been a mentor to the ambassadors over the last year and has grown and gained much from his experience.

2013-2014 Ambassadors and Mentors

Topics covered over the year were telling and appreciating his story; successful introductions; networking; his world - the global village; the world created by the media; the world he wants for his children; promotion of social development; volunteerism and promotion of Chaeli Campaign events; business plans, basic marketing and PR; growing his own project. 

Zak and Chaeli.

Last night Josh suited up for his girlfriend's matric dance.

 She looked beautiful in the dress her mum made for her. 

The glamorous girls and their partners were taken by bus to an unknown destination.

It turned out to be the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West. 

I think his hair may just be longer than hers!

And I think she was the only girl who was bare foot too!

They enjoyed a wonderful evening of dining and dancing.

I look forward to a short and quieter week this week, and the upcoming Easter long weekend. Especially good as my sister and her hubby will be visiting!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: the holiday week

The week whizzed by far too fast for a holiday, but the kids made the most of their week off school . There were movies and visits with friends, there were sleep ins, sleep outs and sleep overs. On Wednesday evening the connect group teens decided to have an all night stay awake and movie marathon. The lounge was strewn with pillows and blankets and long legged teens...they had fun!

On a perfect, crisp Autumn morning Keren and I had some girls time out and went for tea at a delightful place we haven't been to before.

It was wonderful to connect with her as she has hardly been home over the last week. We relaxed in the beautiful garden, enjoying red cuppachino and chai latte and the soothing sound of the fountain.

We had surprises from the post office. 
I won 10 kg of assorted biscuits which came in handy with all the extra teens around. We also received another Worldwide Culture Swap parcel from North Dakota, USA.

Flags, a puzzle, coins, pamphlets, a letter, sunflower seeds, tootsie rolls and chocolate coins, a fridge magnet and a key ring made up this fun pack. We are grateful for this fun exchange and learning more about other cultures.  

The younger two enjoyed youth group on Friday evening and have been making the most of the weekend.  It's back to school next week!

Culture Swapper

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link -Up: March 2014

March brought a noticeable change in the weather and our first good rains. 
We hurried to complete the term's work and are now enjoying the short school holiday. 

Our granadilla harvest has been good and delicious deserts as well as cordial were made. Our neighbor made some granadilla sorbet which we enjoyed on pancake day.  
Hubby made homemade pizza which he hasn't made in a while. 
The cooler weather has meant nourishing soups are back on the menu. 

Omelettes are always welcome meals any time of the day, and so cost effective. We have made delicious variants with home grown herbs and marinated peppers.

 Besides marinated peppers and granadilla cordial, I have made basil pesto and a batch of sweet chili jam. 
I have also discovered a local shop selling dry goods at much reduced prices. I have popped in there a few times and always manage to pick up good bargains on tinned and dry goods. 

Decluttering is an ongoing process and it's good to donate or recycle goods that are no longer used or needed. 

We observed earth hour.

My red sunflowers have blossomed! 
I love the rich color!

This month I planted heirloom beetroot seeds, gemsquash seedlings, black basil and aubergine seedlings. 
Our harvest has consisted of chilies , peppadews, baby cabbages, carrots granadillas, tomatoes, herbs, peppers and red onions.

My goodness, I began a new scarf for my daughter using circular needles. I found them very difficult to use and pulled it out, only to begin about three more times before I manged to get the pattern right on two needles.It is nowhere near finished but is looking good. 
My neighbor commissioned me to make mosaic numbers for her house. It is also an on going project. 

 Most of the reading has been school related this month.  
I have enjoyed the last of the magazine subscription my sister blessed me with. 
We learned much about Spain and California as we received two wonderful cultural exchange parcels. 

My daughter began teaching a group of younger girls and two adults to crochet. They met weekly for the month and are all making good progress. I still need to learn the art of crochet. 
My younger son and I took part in a 4 km walk in aid of the Chaeli Campaign.
I have enjoyed clocking up kilometers with my walking club. 
Hubby and I continue to enjoy our church connect group and the teen group meets here weekly too.

Hubby and I enjoyed a rare evening out at a local food market to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.
I have taken part in three fun runs this month with my kiddos. 
Our neighbor hosted a pleasant neighborhood dinner as one of our neighbors is moving soon.
My dear sister surprised me with a visit for a week. We enjoyed wonderful family times with our dad, brother and aunt and uncle. Her visit was a blessing. 

Thanks Christine for the link up.

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button!

Multitudes in March

I stand in awe of His blessings...

1960) a wonderful gift package from USA
1961) my dear sister surprising me with a visit to C.T for a few days
1962) lying in bed with my sister and having long conversations
1963) an envelope filled with "His richest blessings" 
1964) a visit to my Dad with my sister, wonderful get away and family time
1965) my Dad's generosity
1966) another get away to the wine lands with my sister, visiting our dear aunt and uncle
1967) The heavens telling of His glory, a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night, they keep on telling about God....


1968) my sister picking up my grocery tab
1969) ever so thankful for a tank full from my generous sister
1970) hubby home and helping with concepts I could not explain during school time
1971) wonderful evening with our connect group
1972) a wonderful parcel from Spain
1973) my sweet kids blessing me by doing a bunch of chores without me knowing or asking them to
1974)wonderful Sunday conversations with my far away sisters
1975) a new friend sharing dinner with us
1976)winning an almost 10kg box of cookies, perfect for the holidays
1978) winning some wonderful facial products
1979) a verse of encouragement from my sweet sister:
"Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!"
1980) houseful of happy teens and being able to feed them all
1981) school holidays, time of recharging and relaxing
1982) friends filling our chalk board with their lists of thanks
1983) thankful that He has saved my girl from the turbulent teen years I lived
1984) His protection when there could have been a bad accident