Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with a cute visitor

This week has been a busy one and I sure am glad it is the weekend....

People we've seen and places we've been:

We had my almost 3 year old nephew here for a morning and he is an absolute delight. Keren managed to stay on track with her work while he was here but Zak spent a fair amount of time playing beautifully with him and swimming. Thankfully he could catch up later in the day.
My niece spent time here too, setting up a photo shoot for a project she needed to complete. And we were glad when she could stay for dinner .
Hubby and I visited a new connect group this week and the kids had their group here too. 
I got to see a dear friend as we enjoyed this month's Girlfriends Getaway at the movies. Always a fun evening with lots of treats and goodies and usually a great movie.

Keren and I made it to just one session of Walk for Life. We also joined Curves for a free month's trial. A lovely gym for ladies only. She got to train today but as I seem to be fighting a cold or flu, I only managed to try out the machines yesterday when we were being shown around. I look forward to our month there and getting back to walking next week too.
Keren enjoyed her Ballroom dance class and also did some babysitting this week. 
Zak practiced basketball this week but did not play the week's game.
 He attended a casting for Fanta and has another one tomorrow. 
It would be great if he got to feature in an ad!
Josh booked his driver's license and I look forward to the day he can pick up or drop off the kids!

In our homeschool this week: 

Keren started Consumer Studies and has been learning all about budgeting. A useful tool for a future homemaker. She also had to produce her first assignment for her portfolio and she wrote a great essay on a poem she had studied. Though the work load is heavy, she is enjoying her studies. 

She ran her first craft class of the year where she taught the girls to make jewelry boxes from old 2 liter coke bottles that have been decoupaged. They also made charm bracelets. It's great that she can earn some pocket money by running the classes.

I decided to research Easy Peasy all in one Homeschool and I like what I see. I started Zak on some of the math and language this week.
 He and I also enjoyed reading about Anne Frank and I think it was the first time he actually understood the tragedy and atrocity of war and the effects on humankind. 
During our read aloud time he has been making more HOPE bracelets for the Chaeli Campaign. 

Our favorite thing this week was the fact we could escape the heat and jump into the pool between lessons and before or after school! 
And then of course the younger two always look forward to Friday evening youth. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with Shakespeare under the stars

This week's weather has been glorious....hubby and I have left footprints in the sand and enjoyed the warm waters of the ocean on more than one occasion.

The two of us also took part in market research on online shopping habits and were paid in Woolworths vouchers, a great blessing!

The high-lite of the week for the kids was our annual outing to Maynardville Park. Their cousin joined us and we enjoyed a picnic dinner and Shakespeare under the stars, the Tragedy of Richard 3rd. The show did not fail to disappoint and the setting was just magnificent.

In the kitchen this week, there was meatloaf, most delicious, with loads of fresh herbs from the garden. Zak was proud of his tasty meal!

Keren baked copious amounts of cupcakes. The first batch were for a local shop and when she took them in, they wanted just three testers so they could decide if they would like to purchase from her in future. She had loads leftover and decided to "love bomb" strangers in the post office by giving them cupcakes....they were most  grateful and surprised by her kindness. 

The mini pink cupcakes were baked for all the youth at last night's fun Valentines evening. There was dress up, a fashion show, competitions, dancing, a photo booth and an awesome time of fellowship.

As the kids were all out on Valentines, we did a special candlelit dinner as a family the night before. 
We enjoyed a fantastic meal thanks to our Woolworths vouchers.

In our home-school this week there has been some fun doing PE as part of Keren's life orientation course. More new books arrived which have made a big difference and we found some fun free sites for Zak to use. He has been brushing up on his touch typing with Typing Club and he has been doing Math and Language with MobyMax, a complete K-8 curriculum .He loves the online interactive learning.
We have read through the book of Esther and enjoyed a discussion around our reading with the young people that meet here on Wednesday evenings for connect group.
Zak is reading the 7th book in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle. 

Keren has been working on her final Mona Lisa on canvas.
 At art  Zak worked with clay again. He made it to one basketball practice this week and attended his monthly Chaeli Campaign meeting where he handed the last of the funds he raised for his project selling sprudels. The Chaeli Campaign was his chosen beneficiary. 
This morning he has gone to a work party for the Chaeli Campaign. They are making HOPE bracelets which will be sold to raise funds. 

All in all a great week! Hope yours was good too!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Counting on..

I am thankful for the blessings of the last week....

1898) wonderful day out with my younger two, exploring the Da Vinci exhibition and enjoying the waterfront
1899) connect group at our home tonight, wonderful young people sharing together

 3 gifts found outside: 
1900) bright and cheery sunflowers
1901) smooth purple passion-fruit falling from the vine daily
1902) handfuls of tomatoes, chilies, onions, carrots and more gleaned from the garden

1903) my sweet friend visiting, bearing freshly baked cupcakes
1904) cool breezes on a hot summer's day
1905) wonderful summer's evening walk on the beach, just hubby and me
1906) naps when needed, thankful for my family's understanding
1907) this morning's message : we have a never failing Father who is able and in charge of all, yes all!

surprise gifts - unexpected grace
1908) camp fees for our two taken care of
1910) Woolworths vouchers for hubby and me for taking part in market research

gifts of laughter
1911) my older two teens sharing a laugh and enjoying one another's company
1912) my niece, her bubbly laughter always a joy to hear

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link-up: January 2014

January was a wonderful month with a holiday feel to it. The weather was gorgeous and it was wonderful to have family here in Cape Town.


My daughter came home from her extended holiday and wanted a change in her diet so we began experimenting with loads of raw food, salads, smoothies and juicing. One of our new favorite salads is made by ribbon slicing raw courgettes, marinading them in lemon juice , olive oil and a bit of crushed garlic. To that we add chickpeas and and a dressing made by blending a handful of basil leaves with sun-dried tomatoes and a splash of olive oil. 
We have been freezing watermelon and then blending it with lemon juice, a little water and a dash of  fresh mint...
deliciously refreshing on a hot summers day!


I made a batch of  pickled onions. 
While visiting my sister, I got her beetroot chutney recipe and made a batch of this too. It is really good! It has apples, onions , ginger and garlic in the recipe and is a bit sweeter than my normal beetroot pickle. 

My daughter also made a birthday cake for my sweet sister. 

This is a differently delicious cake. The base is made with egg whites,  nuts and cream crackers. It is drizzled with chocolate and then covered in whipped cream with fresh strawberries....


As we have been blessed with so many passed on clothes from friends (and have passed on clothes to others too), and still had a bag of clothes lying around, we sent them off to a charity shop where someone may eventually get good use out of them. 
I have also been going through our old school books and have managed to sell a number of them second hand. This has been a great help in buying new school supplies. 


I had forgotten about my drum of seaweed tea...we started using it in the garden again. 


The garden suddenly seemed to come to life and everything is looking green and growing well. 
Dotted around the garden bright yellow sunflowers bring cheer. 
We are enjoying the granadillas that fall from the vine daily, a few tomatoes, onions, chilies, courgettes and my favourite herb....basil.
I planted my red sunflower seeds and can't wait to see them flower.


This month I made another two slouch beanies.
 One in a soft dusky blue as a birthday gift for a sweet teen girl and a black one for hubby. 


I have done a little online reading regarding the Paleo way of eating. Interesting reading. 
The kids and I read a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci which was informative and enjoyable. 
My youngest and I enjoyed reading My Side of the Mountain. 


I joined "Walk/Run for Life" this month. My daughter is able to join me on the walks (I walk and she walks and runs) and we love getting out early in the day to get the blood pumping and clear the cobwebs. 
Our youngest attended his monthly Chaeli Campaign meeting.
My sister and I visited The Gravel Garden, a wonderful meeting place for the community to trade fresh produce, purchase heirloom seeds and enjoy a cup of tea with other gardeners.


We enjoyed having my farm sister and her family visiting Cape Town. 
Family teas, lunches, braais and outings...all good. 

Wonderful to have the cousins all together too. 

Beach walks and botanical gardens and birthdays celebrated with family and friends. 

All in all much to be enjoyed! 

Thanks Christine for the link up.

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Two in one

I am so ready for this weekend. The last two weeks have been full and generally rather busy. Here's a bit of what we have been up to.

The weekend before last we opened our home to a teen friend of the kids and she had a birthday party here. It was a pleasant evening with loads of great kids coming and going and enjoying themselves around the pool and braai. The past weekend we enjoyed a braai with family friends too. Keren and I also visited the Portobello Road market. A lovely girl's time out.

The pace of school has been stepped up....

Some of Keren's books arrived and we expect the rest in the week ahead. We love her new curriculum and she loves the fact that she can tick boxes as she goes. She has been working on English, Afrikaans, Math and Life Orientation. She is reading Lord of the Flies and The Hobbit for her literature studies. She managed to complete a weeks worth of work in Life Orientation in one day! It is good for her to get ahead in certain subjects as she will need to make up time on others when those books arrive.

Her art has also kept her rather busy. Her visual diary is looking great...

 I love her next Mona Lisa...

Her research essay was presented in an interesting way...

Today her art class went on an outing to the National Gallery.

Zak decided it was time to loose the locks and his new haircut looks rather good on him.

He has been drawing too...

and at art class they have been working with clay. 

This week we are enjoying reading The Swiss Family Robinson together. I can't believe we haven't read it before. I love the footnotes on natural history that add facts to the story. 

Basketball practice is in full swing twice a week and he played a game on Wednesday. A fantastic action packed game in which his team won 28-14. 
He enjoyed his nature club outing to Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens last week.

Keren and I have been enjoying early morning walks with walk/run for life 3 times a week before school. She tends to run and walk but I prefer to walk. The summer mornings are beautiful and it feels great to exercise. She has also resumed ballroom dancing and is enjoying it immensely. 

There were more exciting parcels in the last weeks...

The one shown above was from a family in Ireland. It was part of the International Children's Book Exchange, but the sender and I had been in contact and decided to send more than just a book. 
We received a friendly letter from the family, telling us all about their lives in Ireland and the area in which they live. Included were some old Irish Punts which are out of circulation in Ireland since they have switched to the Euro. Maps, traditional Irish recipes and a wonderful Irish Mussel Cuisine recipe book made up the remainder of the parcel. The Jaffa Cakes went down really well, we love Jaffa Cakes and those were excellent! 

In return, we made up a South African package including a letter, SA mini flags, rooibos tea, a pamphlet displaying our National symbols, SA coins, a Zulu beaded bracelet, a sand art card of the SA flag and spices for Cape Malay Chicken Breyani . With a bit of horror I now realize I totally forgot to put a book into the package! 

Another parcel came from a family in USA.  The family lives in Boone, North Carolina, and we are eager to learn about their rich history. We also look forward to reading the historical biography of Daniel Boone.

Besides the wonderful surprise parcels, the high-lite of the last week was definitely our visit to the Da Vinci exhibition at the Waterfront.

Having read about this genius, it was amazing to see replicas of his art and inventions. A once in a life time experience that has made our learning real and memorable.

We enjoyed exploring life sized interactive machines. It felt as if we were at an old fashioned science center!  It is amazing that one man came up with as many concepts as he did. I particularly enjoyed his anatomical drawings. 


I loved the delight expressed by Keren when she came face to face with the Mona Lisa. Having been the focus of her art over the last couple of weeks, she was absolutely intrigued by this section of the exhibition. She really appreciated the beauty and mystery of this masterpiece. We all discovered so much more detail to the Mona Lisa than we had noticed before. There was a replica of the original and the colours were just magnificent...soft and so much detail which is missed when one looks at the now faded and darkened replica as we know it.
This exhibition has now been extended until March 23rd and it is highly recommended if you have not yet been!

We enjoyed strolling around the Waterfront and browsing the craft stalls and of course we had to get a pic with our famous mountain!

Josh heads of to work daily and is enjoying his work. He booked himself a driving lesson this week...all on his own steam. It is good to see him taking ownership of things like this.

The week drew to a close with Keren as master of ceremonies at youth again tonight and Zak all dressed up in shirt and tie for the evening of fun.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February's gifts

The weeks are full and busy and not without stress but there is much to be thankful for amidst the daily chores, tasks and work....

1877) the sound of my teens laughing together
1878) my niece and my daughter cooking a delicious dinner for us all
1879) new school books arriving this week
1880) early morning walks enjoyed with my girl
1881) our swimming pool, looking good and running well for the first time in two years....wonderful to dip in in this week's heat
1882) surprise parcel from Ireland
1883) best ever jaffa cakes shared with the family
1884) my girl giving me a much needed pedicure
1885) gift in a person: my sweet girl, such wisdom and comfort in her words....beyond her years
1886) my girl colouring away the grays for me and helping me feel a little more human :)
1887) fun time out with my girl, visiting markets
1888) hubby working hard in the garden, making it look good
1889) a sweet friend inviting us over for a roast dinner
1890) wisdom in the words of a young man
1891) grace in action
1892) thankful for protection for myself and my friend when glass shattered all over us
1893) thankful for a great evening braai with friends
1894) conversation and long distance laughter with my much missed Mum
1895) chocolates and hugs from my hubby
1896) girl cousins happily helping prepare dinner again tonight
1897) much laughter shared with my youngest today