Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It was a cool, overcast morning but excitement was in the air! No more sleepies to countdown, Christmas day was here.
After all the pressies were opened and the girls were lost in their gifts the kettle was put on for a cup of tea and Christmas mince pies were put out for breakfast. The pot was ready for the gammon and the potatoes had to be peeled.
Then off it was to their Granny and Grandpa to get the party started.
This is my brother that stayed with us for a week, not too long ago.
Caitlyn and Jaina opening pressies at Granny and Grandpa.
My beautiful Mommy.
Granny, isn't this a delicious Christmas choc?
Anyone for some Christmas trifel?
Mmmm, Granny this Christmas pudding is delicious!
I hope you all had a wonderful day, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And the livin' is easy

Sunday afternoon and not a breath of wind. It is so hot and the girls decided to have an apple bobbing competition.
Nearly got it...
And victory at last!!
Daddy's turn -
Hey girls, this is harder than it looks!!

The best day ever!

Yip, this was Jaina's description of our day yesterday. We spent the morning playing Pick up Sticks and looking at old family photo's. We reminisced about Christmases gone by of family no longer with us. They were privileged to know their Great Grandparents and we spoke of Uncles and Cousins that are also waiting for us in heaven. My Mom has got Christmas baubels, with our names and the names of all our family that are in heaven, on her Christmas tree - to remember everyone at Christmas time.
Then in the afternoon, when it got a bit cooler, we went to my parents home for a swim. What a relief to get away from the heat for a little while. They were all saying "Mom, stop taking photos and get in the pool"!
This is a photo of a tree my Mom decorated outside by the pool for Christmas.
And this is the top part of their garden, what an inspiration!
Last night, we went to friends for a braai (barbeque). Their daughter is a few months older than Jaina, but all 3 girls get on very well.
So this was Jaina's idea of the best day ever. No expensive toys or outings - just good times!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Carols

This weekend we had Christmas Carols at church. Caitlyn and Jaina have been going to the holiday club every morning last week and have joined the children choir, practicing everyday.
There was much excitment and nerves as they waited backstage.

Finally, all the practicing and waiting was over and they performed like the little stars they are.
Well, here we are with only a week before Christmas, most of my shopping is done - just a few last minute goodies to still get.
We have my husband's parents over for Christmas eve. I am cooking a hot meal with a glazed gammon and all the trimmings and my Mom-in-law is making a delish trifle.
Then on Christmas day we are headed off to my parents and I will be helping my Mom cook lunch after church. We will be doing gammon, roast leg of lamb and a chicken with walnut stuffing. Then roast potatoes and veg, which will be roast butternut with blue cheese with pecan nuts and a salad. For pudding - the traditional Christmas pud with custard, trifel and vanilla icecream with homemade choc fudge sauce (for my Dad, as he doesn't eat raisens). If it doesn't rain (it always seems to on Christmas day) we will swim the rest of the afternoon. By then we are actually so full, we feel as though we could sink to the bottom of the pool.
Yesterday was my wedding anniversary - 14 years. We took the girls to see Madagascar 2 and then went out for a wonderful supper. It amazes me that even after knowing someone for so many years, we still are learning and growing with each other. I think a relationship cannot stand still, it has to grow and change over the years, otherwise it will just fade away. I loved getting married at this time of the year, as when we went on honeymoon, there were Christmas decorations everywhere - it was, and still is very special.
Happy last minute prep to all!

Monday, December 8, 2008

In the Summertime

What a weekend!
We planned with friends of ours to go to a Carols by Candlelight, with the Welsh Male Choir, at our local botanical gardens. It promised to be a wonderful day with only 20% chance of rain. We got all our picnic goodies (spare ribs, sausages, salad and for pudding - chocolate fudge with pistachios and Christmas mince pies) and found our perfect spot. Once we had settled, a few clouds started gathering and a light breeze started blowing. Thankfully we were sitting under a large thorn tree as the first of the rain drops started to fall, the optimist in me said "it will be over in a few minutes" - my famous last words. The sky opened up and down came the rain and then came the hail - we wrapped our children in picnic blankets, but we all looked like drowned rats. The whole event was cancelled and the children did so much want to see father Christmas. All was not lost as we were still able to hand in clothes and toys that the children do not use anymore for orphanages in the area.
Our friends went home and put on dry clothes and brought their picnic things to us and we all still had a good time. We put on Christmas carols and our girls put on a show of dancing for us. It didn't turn out too bad after all!
This morning I took these pictures of the garden, not a cloud in sight - but this is a good thing as I need to get my washing dry.
Can you spot Toffee in the picture (bottom left corner)?
I couldn't resist taking a pic of a "guinea pig window" in one of their tunnels!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

My favorite time of the year!
There is excitement in the air, children playing, birds are singing, the smell of gingerbread, spicy peaches, fudge been made in the kitchen and Christmas music playing gently in the backround. What more could a mother ask for.
As the song goes "It's the most wonderful time of the year". My children are what makes Christmas so special for me, we didn't actually have a Christmas tree and decorations until Caitlyn was born.
This is just a little peek of how Christmas looks in our home, it has been lovely to see everyone's homes decorated in their own special way.
It is a reminder to us that we received the greatest gift of them all. That this is the time of our Saviour's birth and the great love that our Father has for each and every one of us.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Freedom at last

It has nearly been 3 months since our baby guinea pigs were born. Toffee (black and white) and Pepsi (black and brown) have become very tame in the last 2 weeks and have almost tripled in size.
They have been driving me crazy with their wheeting, wheeting, begging to get out of their house and on to the sweet grass. We have been cautious to let them out on their own as we live in a neighborhood with many cats.
Sasha, our oldest guinea pig, has been visiting them a few times a day and even spent the other night with them in their house. They all seem to get on very well together. Sasha seems to know that they are still babies and they seem to treat her like their mother as the first time they had contact with her, they were looking for milk.
So finally, we have let them run free. They are exploring all Sasha's tunnels and hiding places she has in the garden. It is wonderful to see how excited they are about life, running around and eating all the grass they want.
My neighbor said to me the other day "every home needs children and animals" - how true. I cannot count how many times I laugh or smile each and everyday because of these blessings that I have in my home.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Today!

Finally, the day has arrived - the last day of school as we know it!
From here forward I will be officially homeschooling my two daughters. What an exciting privillege. We are all looking forward to this adventure before us. The road will be long, at times will seem tiring but all good things are worth it in the end.
We have done the end of year concerts and the school Christmas Parties (the last was this morning for Jaina). Caitlyn, has been off school for 2 days due to sun stroke and a bad case of sunburn - due to the survival day they had on Wednesday. She just went in this morning to say goodbye to friends - one is moving back to Sudan - then came home with a big smile and Christmas presents under her arm from them.
Next on the list is getting out the Christmas music and decorating the tree. What fun!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Concert Time

Hooray, we had counted down all the sleepies and finally it was here.
Jaina's end of year concert went off very well! The theme was "We are the World" and the girls of Jaina's class represented the country of France. Yes, they did the Can Can.
We also had a good chuckle at boys doing USA, throwing their arms up in the air, one boy hit another in the face, who turned around with a punch on the offending boy's shoulder - it turned into a full on war! All this during "Wish they all could be Californian Girls".
They finished off the concert with a class doing South Africa and got the whole crowd going with "Hier kom die Bokke" and "Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika". They all then sang "Don't Kill the World". Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house.
When we went to fetch her from the waiting room, Jaina announced to her father that a group of boys in another class had told her that she was the most beautiful in her class. WELL, I must say, my husband kept his composure very well because this is his little girl that we are talking about!
Finally, here we are - 2 exams to go for Caitlyn and 5 days left of school!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Silly Sunday Afternoon

What a silly afternoon we have had!
Jaina started telling us a story about Goldilocks and the three bears. After Goldilocks had gone through the whole porridge (she called it pudding), chair and bed routine - the three bears morphed into the three little pigs that ran wee, wee, wee all the way home to check on their cooled down pudding. Only to find to their suprise, Goldilocks sleeping in the little pigs bed - they started to sing to her - PEPPER PIG, PEPPER PIG (a story she has been watching on TV lately). Well, by this stage we are all in stiches, but true to form she had to finish off the story with the seven dorfs coming over for supper with all of them!
The Kids club went off well on Friday. The kids watched the new Tinkerbell movie and made fairy wings with glitter, feathers and stickers. They had great fun.
I mixed up a batch of Flapjack batter and Caitlyn is busy flipping them downstairs. What a wonderful daughter I have. So it's Flapjacks for supper tonight, all that needs to be added is a delicious cup of tea!

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Week Down

... and one and a half still to go!
Exams are half way through and the weekend is finally here. So far so good, Caitlyn has said she has coped with everything asked in the papers she has written this week. The proof will be in the much waited for report, lets keep our fingers crossed.
Next week we have Arts and Culture, History, Geography, Bible Education and Technology. Let's not be hasty and wish life away, but it would be nice to breathe easy knowing that the exams are over.
Today I have given her a break from learning as this afternoon they have Kids Club at Clearwater Mall and the theme is Tinkerbell - sounds like it should be fun.
As I am typing, the smell of scrambled eggs is wafting up to me, Caitlyn is making lunch for her sister and herself. She has become independant so quickly, learning how to cook e.t.c. She even wanted to iron her own shirt the other day for school and was so proud to wear it.
Well, here is to the weekend, may we have a bit of sunshine.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

SO Stupid, SO embarrassed!

This morning, was one of THOSE mornings!
It started off well, leaving for school on time, getting to school on time, despite the traffic as a result of the rain.
After taking my girls to their classrooms, I went back to my car. Now, let me just set the scene - I am parked outside the windows of the main hall, outside which there are huge signs saying, "SILENCE!" because the matric students are writing their final exams.
I start the car, wave to one of the dad's we know and let out the clutch ... the car was not in reverse ... it launches forward, I slam the brake and my elbow hit the hooter ... PAAAAARP!!! Well, needless to say, the dad looked somewhat embarrassed and quickly got into his car and drove away!
My only hope was, as I hit myself repeatedly on the head with my fist, is that the rain covered windscreen was hiding my red, shiny face as I drove away with windows quickly misting up!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Those darn Hornets!!

I don't know if it is all the rain that is making them crazy, but we have just discovered another nest of hornets in our garden! I found one last year in our mulberry tree when one stung me on the neck while picking leaves for our silk worms.
Jaina was playing with the baby guinea pigs the other day. I was inside folding washing when I heard a very painful scream coming from her. The whole family rushed outside to discover her lying on the ground holding her leg tight. Within seconds a huge welt appeared with a dark red circle in the middle. I gave her antihistamine syrup and covered it with Anthisan cream. She lay on the couch for a long time with the family checking on her every few minutes, bringing blankets and warm cups of sweet tea. Her leg is much better now but the bite mark has left a small hole in her skin, very strange.
Now I was tying up a tree branch in the morning after the rain had stopped for a brief time, only to feel that terribly painful pinch on my fore arm. Arrgh, out with the antihistamine and Anthisan! Instantly, I got goosebumps down my arm to my fingers, it really is painful and with shaky hands consoled myself with a cup of warm tea.
Warm tea, my friend, what would I do without you!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Zoo Snooze

This morning at 08h45 I was standing with anticipation in front of the entrance gates at the Johannesburg Zoo, just waiting to get a glimpse of Caitlyn.
I had already got many anxious calls last night from her, so all I wanted was to see that my little girl was really ok. She had many exciting stories about the animals (including one about how the polar bear bit someones finger off, that's why they had a yellow line there that you had to stand behind), but they had walked round the entire zoo in the rain. She had got back to the education centre exhausted and wet, changed her clothes and had to get ready for the evening tour of the nocturnal animals, some of which she said didn't know they were nocturnal because they were sleeping when they got to them (ha ha, so cute). They got back at about 10h00 and were supposed to go to the bonfire. Caitlyn was too tired, so she brushed her teeth, got into her sleeping bag and phoned me to say goodnight. How strange it was for me not to be able to kiss the sleep into her eyes.
Well, all in all, she seemed to have a good time with her friends but it was into bed early tonight as tommorow she has to study science for her first exam on Tuesday.
It is so good to have my little girl home again and to be able to hold her in my arms and kiss the sleep into her eyes again before she went to sleep!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I can't believe that time has gone by so quickly, my baby has graduated from Grade 0 to Grade 1. Where has the time gone?
My oldest daughter Caitlyn starts writing exams on Tuesday and has been studying very hard. The teachers did a mock test last week and she got 10/12, the last 2 questions being trick questions. Tonight she is having her first sleep over with a school group - they are sleeping at the Johannesburg zoo - so exciting!!! She put up notes all over her room last night to remind herself first thing this morning when she opened her eyes that tonight is the night for the Zoo Snooze. I hope the rain calms just a little so that the night tour goes well. I can't wait to see her in the morning to hear all the wonderful stories.
Well, got to get downstairs as hubby is asking (I think 5 times now) when supper will be finished - until next time...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, Brother!

Well, my brother is back home again, with Mom and Dad and everything is almost back to normal.
Normal, meaning I had to shout again to get my daughters to dress for school, after taking their time to eat breakfast this morning. Then a big rush out the door, school bags in tow, leaving un-made beds behind.
Observing all of this, I sms my Mom saying "bring him back!" The sms I got back from Mom said "I took him breakfast this morning, only to be told - 'at Mandi's I also get a cup of tea in the morning'"
Ha ha ha what a sweet brother I have.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Good Week!!

What a great week this has been! My brother (17 years old) has been staying with us while my parents are away for their anniversary. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Mom and Dad!!
It has been wonderful to have the chats that usually we don't have much opportunity for. He has been great, even making his bed everymorning after waking at 05h30. Ha ha ha, I think my Mom might just send him back for a refresher course every now and then.
The girls have also been good this week, I have not had to sort out any fights or arguments. In fact, it is almost like they have grown up having their uncle around. Caitlyn has been helping me around the house and not once have I had to say "make your bed" or "get dressed". By the time I am out my bedroom, all beds are made, bodies are dressed and all are ready for breakfast - WOW!
I hope that this lasts for a while, it has been good not to have the stress of rushing in the morning before school.
Our baby guinea pigs have also come to stay, they are officially known as Pepsi and Toffee. It is just amazing how fast they have come to know us. Everytime I now open the fridge door or the outside gate, I can hear them "wheeting" (a sound close to what birds make, not at all a squeek).
That's it for now, only 48 days left to the end of school, yippee!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Aaaah, Back to School!

Well, it is the end of another holiday break and it is back to school tommorow. Shoes are polished and bags are packed, ready to start the last term of the year.
We have started the countdown and there are now 8 weeks / 57 days to the end of school and I just know they are going to go in a flash. With exam prep, school concerts and all the buzz that goes with preparing for the Christmas holidays, we will look again and it is over.
We are all looking forward to starting home school next year. It is a new adventure and an exciting one too.
Well, my girls are fed and bathed and in bed, on time! Wow, we didn't manage that once during the holidays.
Let's have a breather and a cup of tea and plan for what lies ahead.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Apple Pie for Breakfast

Yes, it is holidays! It is nice to have a slow start in the mornings and lazy days. This morning my daughters and I had apple pie and cream for Breakfast, deelish!! We don't have it everyday and once in a while won't hurt.
This weekend we went to visit our baby guinea pigs and are wondering what their names should be. The one is almost completely black, with a brown ring around it's tummy and white toes and butt. We are sure we are going to call this one Pepsi. The other one is more patchy (I suggested Patch, but no go), the girls are thinking of Sugar, Toffee or Sweetie as names. This time the babies were not tucked under their mom so much and she was trying to teach them how to eat pellets.
I must now do the dishes and vacuum and much later off to gym (must get rid of some of that apple pie, ha ha ha!)
Happy holidays!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spring is in the Air

This morning, after watering the garden, I could not help but take this picture of my Japanese Maple tree. This is the reason why this time of the year is my favourite. The new greens are just so fresh, everything is budding with the promise of life and things to come. A new start is what we all need to keep us going.
Yes, I love capturing images, having a moment in time stopped for all eternity. I can't say if I am any good at it, but it is what I love to do.
As you can see, our tomatoes are starting to ripen. This plant grew out of the compost I made last summer.
The Peas have also finally sprouted. This is now my third attempt. First weather got them and then the dreaded slug! Here's hoping we are actually going to see some peas soon, it looks promising.
As I am typing, I hear the happy squeals of my children running through the sprinkler. Wonderful, after being bundled up the whole of winter.
Here comes summer!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday, not so Blue

Monday. Not so bad, it is the end of the term and we have 2 weeks of school holidays to look forward to. The girls have a heritage picnic to go to tommorow morning and then school is done for a while. Hooray!
It has been quite a weekend, we added 2 new members to our family. Little baby guinea pigs, born on Friday, 19 September 2008, at 12h00! They are still too young to take home with us and will have to be visited often as the girls want to see how they change (they do grow so quickly). They are so sweet and so tiny, we watched how they suckled from their mom and how she groomed them. She was so protective, continuously tucking them under her tummy.
We have another guinea pig (Sasha), she needs new friends as her sister died in July (sneaking suspicion it was the garden service) and we have a dog (Zoe) that thinks that she is the mother of the guinea pigs (she is a cross between a maltese and a toy pom).
Well, we now have a 3 week wait until we can fetch them. I will be sure to post pics as soon as they are home.
Today we also handed in 3 weeks notice at the school - its now official, we are going to start homeschooling from next year - can't wait!
Yay, it's Army Wives on the telly tonight - something to look forward to once the girls are in bed.
Soon Caitlyn and Jaina will be home from their class at Club V (at Virgin Active), tired and hungry, so I am off now to get the supper on.
Have a great evening!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Afternoon, aaah Peace!

It is Sunday afternoon and I am savouring the last bit of peace before we start with the mad rush of the week ahead.
My girls have been out at a birthday party and have come back with stories of a birthday bus with a slush and candy floss machiene on board. What fun! (and a good idea if the weather is up to no good!)
First it is a cup of tea (always calming) then get my oldest daughter (10 - Caitlyn) to pack her school bag for tomorrow. Her bag is already breaking at the seam with all the books she has to carry with her everyday. First I need to pry her away from Sponge Bob Square Pants. Well, he DOES live in a pineapple under the sea . . . yes, I enjoy watching it too and sing along with the song! Then get youngest daughter (6 - Jaina) into the bath (such a mission for her) but once in have to nag for her to get out.
That's it for now, the kettle needs to be switch on and the bath water needs to be run.
Let's hope the week ahead holds good things for us!