The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Introducing Suzelle’s DIYary, and it’s a GiveAway…

December 11th, 2016 · No Comments

After another series of GiveAways, something for music lovers and something for kids… we finally have something for all the creative organisers out there… A DIY diary, or as Suzelle calls it a DIYary.


Just who is Suzelle?

If you are not familiar with SuzelleDIY, then let us explain that she is the South African icon of craftiness… she has a series of clever and crafty videos on youtube, like absolutely no other crafty videos you have ever seen. If you have ever wanted to know how to peel apples with a drill or create a Christmas tree from a step-ladder, or even a hair-do from a sponge… she has thought of it and she has the video for it. Her attitude is very much a can-do attitude and her byline is “Because anyone can.”

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A couple of years back, before Suzelle was Suzelle, our gang had a hilarious interview with her, so hilarious that folk around us stopped to see what we were up to. She is a character of all characters (with the occasional expletive) and convinced that with a little encouragement we could all be making and doing all kinds of stuff. She has jumped on the bandwagon of journaling and brings us the most useful DIYary… packed with craftiness of the most fun variety… she will have your markers out in a flash as you page with her through her timeless diary. There are no dates, you put your own dates into it… so this diary can begin and end whenever you want it to.


    Se7en + 1 Things to Love About the DIYary

  1. Pretty paper on every page… Every page is numbered… so it doesn’t matter when you start…
  2. Monthly Habit trackers… and lists for music, birthdays, books to read, places to go, recipes to try, movies to watch!!!
  3. Lots of lekker tips… like how to make yogurt drops, bath bombs… and other magic.
  4. Recipes like brownies in a cup, raspberry puffs… and a conversion chart.
  5. Monthly planner… and then enough pages to do your own thing on for the rest of the month…
  6. Doodle pages…
  7. Cut out gift tags, and the easiest origami you have ever seen… and mini-bunting, a gift box, mini-envelopes… and wash tape… more shiny pages…
  8. And stickers, because what is a diary without stickers!!!
  9. The GiveAway

    We have a copy of a Suzelle’s DIYary to give away… to one of our lucky readers:

    This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of play on the 13 December 2016. We will draw and publish the winners on the 14th of December. I won’t respond to your comments as we do on our other posts because we don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. Our GiveAways are open to everyone, worldwide: If you have already won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away.

    We would like to thank MapStudio who supplied us with a copy of “Suzelle’s DIYary”, one to review and one to GiveAway. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed in it are as usual, entirely our own.

→ No CommentsTags: GiveAways and Swaps

An Airstorm Hamper GiveAway from Just Fun Kidz…

December 9th, 2016 · 13 Comments

When Just Fun Kidz approached us to review the Air Storm Range for a GiveAway post, I knew that these would be toys that my kids simply couldn’t refuse. I know I don’t often post about toys or weapons for that matter but these are pure fun and my kids have absolutely loved them.


Not to mention, so has every single adult visitor that’s passed through our front door for the last ten days. For pretend play these are tops, though I confess a lot of folk, especially “ahem” the adults were not pretending at all… they were all out completely into these toys. Clearly these toys should come with a warning label on the boxes, “kids, beware… adults will take these away just to check out how they work.” The teens in our house couldn’t put these down, they really are great toys for all ages…




From the mother, who savours peace and quiet, I was a little bit weary of introducing toys that would clearly create noise and chaos… not to mention I am that mother that has decluttered all but the favourite, favourite toys and never ever buys toys anymore… well folks we have some new favourite toys.


I have to confess I would never buy a plastic toy with potential pieces that can get lost, because I am wary of extremely disappointed kids. Plastic toys can be flimsy and missing arrows would be disastrous. Well, these are definitely not flimsy… they have played hard, really hard and nothing has broken… and ten days in and lots and lots of shots fired later, we still have all the pieces. These are really extreme toys… tough, easy to use, hardworking and fun. My boys and girls loved them equally and they played with them inside and outside. In fact they are a great way to get kids outdoors… I am afraid an onscreen cross-bow-kind-of-game just can’t compete with playing with a real one… these toys will get your kids moving, for sure!!!

What’s in a Hamper?

We were sent two hampers to try and two to GiveAway… Each hamper consists of three toys…


  1. Air Storm Sky Ripperz: These are mini rockets that you pull back with an elastic to launch and then they fly, they really really fly. They have a soft top, so while they fly fast and hard they don’t actually hit hard, but they sure do bounce, off walls and across rooms… The box claims they fly 75 m, and believe it or not… they do fly far… we tried ours across the parking lot and they made it. It does have a very cool whistle as it rushes across the sky.
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  3. Air Storm Zano Bow: This is a small bow, with a practice target on the back of the packaging. It comes with two suction arrows and they do stick to the fridge, the wall, well everything. They are great for indoor play… the arrows shoot accurately up to 10 m, and more importantly they haven’t broken any window or hurt anybody yet. They are easy to load, even for small hands… hook your arrows onto the elastic and you are good to go.
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  5. Air Storm Z-Curve Bow: This is the gasp toy for my kids… they all wanted to own one of these. It really does shoot forty meters, it has two types of arrows, those with a suctions to stick onto your target… ceiling, closet door, so many things; and the very popular whistle blowers, that make a lovely whistle as they blow.


The GiveAway

This GiveAway is for our South African readers… A hamper for two of our lucky readers… delivered to your door. Sounds like a win to me!!!


This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of play on the 13 December 2016. We will draw and publish the winners on the 14th of December. I won’t respond to your comments as we do on our other posts because we don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. This GiveAway is open to our readers with a South African delivery address. If you have already won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away.

We would like to thank Just Fun Kidz, who supplied us with the Hampers, two sets to review and two to GiveAway. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed in it are as usual, entirely our own.

→ 13 CommentsTags: GiveAways and Swaps

Se7en Discover Innovative Learning at the Global Skype-a-Thon…

December 7th, 2016 · 3 Comments

I love learning about new and amazing things. Last week I enjoyed such a day a day of learning. Firstly I got to attend school for a morning, the first time in many many years and secondly, I got to see the Microsoft’s World Wide Skype-A-Thon in progress. This is innovative learning and pure fun all at the same time. Children from all over the world, from over fifty countries travelled 9 881 582 virtual miles, chatted together and played together… asking questions and learning about each other’s cultures, from their own classrooms.


I arrived just in time to see the children engaging in a conversation with Anthony Salcito, the vice-president of WorldWide Education at Microsoft… who performed a marathon, staying awake around the clock more than once, so that he could engage personally with each classroom as they moved from time zone to time zone.


First the children sang a drumming song for him, because music is the universal language… and then they played a guessing game. They showed him photographs and gave him clues and asked if he knew who or what the following South African things were: Rooibos tea, a Koeksister, Springbok, District Six, Trevor Noah and Biltong. He was surprisingly clued up about our country and the children had a fantastic time. Chatting to him as if he were right there in the classroom. They told him all about their Entrepreneurship Class and how they raise funds and contribute to local charities. This past year the children collected pet food, library books and money for a local orphanage. Then they asked Anthony Salcito what Microsoft does to support and uplift local communities. He replied that Microsoft really encourages their workforce to be involved in community projects and they match hour-for-hours spent in community work with cash contributions.


The children had quite a lot to say about their interview afterwards as well. They ranked it 9/10 as a way to learn about other cultures and 10/10 as a fun experience. Not only that, but children discovered that they had learnt a lot about their own culture in preparing their quiz for the event.


There was a lull in activity and I got to chat with some of the teachers about their interesting online learning. One of the teachers is a Microsoft Innovative Educator, with lots of expertise and training and full of ideas about how they use other microsoft tools for innovative teaching. The children are given real live projects, they have to collaborate and use thinking and reasoning on a number of levels and then present something to show learning, using technology. One class built their school to scale with Minecraft, using google maps and real live measurements. Another class was working on the Mars 1 project and were able to join their scientist in the Skype classroom and ask all the questions they needed to ask to proceed with their question. You can meet their scientist, Adriana here… It really is incredible how internet access has opened up the world to curious folk, no matter what their age is.


A new class came onto the scene and a dance session, to warm up their brains. This class got to learn about other cultures around the world, playing a game called: Mystery Skype. The idea is that teachers from around the world connect on Skype… and then the kids all ask each other questions… to and fro to figure out where they are in the world. It’s not as easy as you might think… the kids were asking, “Is it hot?” … and the questions very quickly changed to “Are you in the Northern Hemisphere?” or “Are you in Asia?” They went from eagerly waiting their turn to ask a question…


To trying to figure things out…


There was a scramble for computer power, as they recognised a flag on the class room wall…


The first class they played with hailed all the way from Finland…


It just so happened that the children in Finland were busy with their English lesson at the time, and with a little help from their teacher, both classes were able to communicate.


The next class was a lot more obscure to find, not to mention this school overcame a lot of difficulties to connect: their internet connection was poor, the electricity went out and the teacher continued the game with his phone and finally English was not their first language. The kids in this class went from mildly interested to dying to know where our local kids were… their teacher was an inspiration, he was fantastic at encouraging them on. And our local kids were desperate for them to figure it out…


They got as far as Africa, heavy hints were dropped… we are surrounded by sea, but not an island; we won the World Cup, but not for soccer; have you heard of Madiba? We play cricket… and when they finally got South Africa, there was joy on both sides!!!


So all in a days work: the children visited Ukraine, Pakistan, Finland and finally Beirut in Lebanon. They learned an enormous amount, they had to use a wide variety of resources, they had to think about good questions to ask… and they loved it. Honestly, I did too… it was great learning in a very fun online environment. My homeschool kids would love to play along with this too and I think we are going to learn more about it for next year.


Thank you so much to the very friendly staff and students at Micklefield School in Rondebosch, who hosted the Microsoft Skype-a-thon, and welcomed us in to share their exciting learning experience. Thank you also to Microsoft South Africa for the invitation to their annual Global Skype-a-thon. If you want to know more about the Skype-a-thon, then look for the hashtags #msftedu and #skypathon This was not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write it and opinions expressed were, as usual entirely my own.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Se7en at School

The Season for Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts… and This is a GiveAway…

December 6th, 2016 · 19 Comments

After a weekend away and adventuring with a couple of my kids I have arrived home to the chaos of the last week of the school year and I can tell you that the lull of summer holidays has definitely not quite arrived yet. That being said, we do have a brilliant collection of wonderful GiveAways for all of you. So gather yourselves, I have another week of fabulous prizes coming your way interspersed with our regular blog posts.


Three Sets of Double Tickets to the Summer Concert Series

With each set of tickets there is a voucher for wine tasting and a tour of Groot Constantia

This is another GiveAway for folk that will be in Cape Town over the summer season. Kirstenbosch and Groot Constantia are part of Cape Town’s Big 7 Must See Sites. And if you are going to be visiting in Cape town on a Sunday evening then a visit to one of their Summer Concerts on a Summer Evening are pretty much unmissable events.


Do you see these rolling lawns that are so great for playing on, well on Sunday evenings in the summer season these fields are transformed into the perfect place for a pile of blankets and picnic suppers, not to mention summer music concerts under the stars. Can you imagine how fantastic that is… summer nights, listening to your favourite musicians live in the great outdoors. We have been dying to go to a summer sunset concert for years, somehow our kids weren’t old enough or someone was ill and we couldn’t make it… there was always a reason why we just couldn’t possibly get there. Meanwhile friends have raved on and on about the summer concert series. Every year the line up gets better and better and this year it is almost impossible to choose just one concert to attend. Anyway after years of not making it we will finally be attending a concert and we have tickets to share with three lucky readers… so that they can be part of the fun too!!!

The Line Up

This is the cream of South African musicians, outstanding local performers that have made it world wide and head to Cape Town to enjoy some summer sunshine and to perform in a concert or two while they are visiting. There is definitely something for everyone, from classical to rock n roll, instrumental to lyrical… every genre of music is represented here. There is something for everyone to love in the line up. I know we had a hard time choosing a concert that the whole family could agree on and we will definitely be blogging about it nearer to the time.

The GiveAway

And we have a GiveAway for you. Three sets of double tickets to the concert of your choice. With each set of tickets there is a voucher for wine tasting and a tour of Groot Constantia. This is really one of those perfect holiday treats… a chance for locals to be tourists in their own town and a chance for visitors to visit two of the best sites that Cape Town has to offer. If there is a concert in the list of concerts above that you absolutely have to attend then please enter away… (If you just can’t wait for the competition results and have to have your tickets sooner If you just can’t wait then head over to web tickets and book your tickets…)

This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of play on 13 the December 2016. Tell us which one concert that you would absolutely love to attend. We will draw and publish the winners on the 14 December. I won’t respond to your comments as we do on our other posts because we don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. This GiveAway is naturally only open to folk who will be able to attend the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert of their choice, over the 2016/2017 summer season.

We would like to thank Hippo Communications who have provided us with tickets to attend a concert of our choice and provided the tickets for our reader giveaway. We were not paid to write this post and the opinions expressed in it are as usual, entirely our own.

→ 19 CommentsTags: Cape Town · GiveAways and Swaps · Outings

Weekend Vibes…

December 2nd, 2016 · 2 Comments

Just taking the weekend off and thought I would send some summer sunshine vibes from glorious Cape Town…


And ice cream of course!!!


And happy wanderings…


Hope you have good one!!!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Outdoors

A Week’s Worth of GiveAway Winners…

December 2nd, 2016 · 2 Comments

So we had an entire week of GiveAways… and it was so fun to blog and we loved the heaps of comments that rolled in. Especially the comments that told us where in the world you were… our wall map is full to the brim with pointers all over the world and that is a blog post all of it’s own. So thank you to all of you who stopped by and left a comment. Here are the GiveAways we had:

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And a mug full of colours waiting to be chosen:


And the winners are…


  1. A Family Photoshoot with Marike Herselman: Olivia Nov 30, 2016 at 7:43 pm Seems family photos are not a regular occurrence for many, have never had one, but would love you get one of the family in Cape Town.
  2. Family Tickets to Dinos Alive with Cape Gate: Chris Nov 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm Not sure if you all have seen what a Kosmoceratops looks like… I love what it looks like has an awesome “crown”!
  3. The World… Globe, puzzle, cards collection from Mapstudio: Cassey Nov 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm Oooh fun times. We’re in Stellenbosch here in SA with you. 
  4. The South African Atlas from Mapstudio: Jo Nov 22, 2016 at 11:10 am The boys love atlases but we just get them from the library– would be awesome to have one. I’d love to take my family to the Drakensburg one day– we grew up going there every year but I have never visited with my family!
  5. The Diaries from Mapstudio: Ina Nov 26, 2016 at 3:31 pm Pink will be just lovely! And Nurah: Nov 26, 2016 at 10:24 am Would be my son’s first diary if he wins. Green is his fav. Thanks for a great giveaway!

Thanks again to all our readers who stopped by and left a comment and of course thank you to our fabulous sponsors: Cape Gate Centre, Marike Herselman and Mapstudio. I have a couple more fantastic GiveAways that I will be posting next week… come back again and take a peak, I think you are going to love them.

→ 2 CommentsTags: GiveAways and Swaps

Se7en’s December… And Your Free Printable Calendar…

December 1st, 2016 · No Comments


Hello December and we’ve made a special calendar for you this month… it is an Advent calendar.

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You are welcome to either print the first page as our usual calendar and decorate a tree each day for the month of December or you can print both pages and with a craft knife cut along three sides of each window on the first page. Line your pages up and as you open a window each day of the month you will reveal a Nativity scene as December rolls along. To print them out click on the images, they will open in a new tab… choose to print them using “landscape,” it just works better.

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Meanwhile here are our links and ideas to add to your calendars and explore during the busy month of December…


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→ No CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar