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

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It is World book Day and We Are Growing a Library Book by Book…

March 5th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Today is World Book Day and I am excited to announce that books are starting to arrive, little by little and bit by bit. There is always that gap between when we announce our Library project and when books start arriving that I wonder if we will get any response at all… and each year we are wonderfully and gloriously surprised!!!

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Se7en + 1 Builds Libraries Book by Book

For a number of years now, on World Book Giving Day, we have begun a project to create a library for a school or a community that does not have access to books at all. In our part of the world it isn’t hard to find vast areas, where literacy is a huge problem and children are just not familiar with books, they do not have any books at all, not at home, not even at school. Naturally, we cannot raise a library on our own, we rely on our readers to help us and firmly believe that little by little and book by book that we can make a significant difference to the lives of these children. One or two books is all that we ask, and it will be life changing… imagine holding a book and getting lost in a book for the first time, when you are already way down the road of primary school.

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This year we are trying to help a school in Manenberg, an area of Cape Town that is notorious for crime and violence, plagued with gangsterism, substance abuse and domestic violence. Not to mention, that for socio-economic reasons, these children are unable to pay for school fees and there are certainly no extra funds for the luxury of books. Those of us who are surrounded by books can not believe a world without books, and we don’t see them as a luxury or privilege at all. The truth is… books are the one place that we can all go to escape and retreat into when the world is overpowering, these children, who so need the relief to escape, are unable to.

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These children are just like yours and mine, they dream dreams, they get lost in a good story and they have a very good idea about what books they would like to read about. My children have the privilege to get away from it all in a good book, my children can drift off to sleep each night on the cloud of a good story. These children, who live under immense and continuous stress, should have this privilege too.

Renowned Author, Illustrator Niki Daly Supports Our Library Project.

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“In today’s world of electronic communication and mass media, it is difficult for those of us who are ‘connected’ to imagine a home without any of the tools required to become a fully literate individual. And yet, there are children who still do not have a book they can call their own; children whose only contact with a book is likely to be that of a scrappy text schoolbook or outdated reader.

So, I am deeply comforted to know that there are groups such as Se7en who are identifying the need for story books in rural areas and underprivileged communities. In these areas, where life is hard, books for children may seem non essential for survival. However, they are very much connected to survival as I see it —

  • Books with pictures and stories that hold the imagination of children are the building blocks towards learning to read and love stories.
  • Learning to read and write are key to literacy, knowledge and education.
  • Knowledge and education are empowering – essential to employment.
  • Employment and survival go hand in hand.

It is also my firm belief that stories are essential towards ‘feeding’ our imagination – that inner space in which our wishes and dreams are conceived; where we recognise our own potential in stories that take us beyond the ordinary; fairy tales, wise folk stories, stories of heroes and heroines that fill us with hope and a trust in being able to face our own challenges, conquer our own fears, go beyond ourselves in making our dreams come true and to feel optimistic about life.

All the Best,
Niki Daly”

We Need Your Help to Build a Library

Step 1: Select a Book or Books

  1. You can search through your books for gently used books that your children have outgrown or no longer love.
  2. You can buy a book or two with your children and package them up.
  3. You can shop at Amazon and ship directly.
  4. And you can shop on-line, locally at Loot, and ship directly as well.

While all the students do learn English, many of the learners have Afrikaans as their first language. English books are very welcome, so are books in Afrikaans. Any books will be great, story books, picture books, craft books, cook books, reference books… really any books. There is a large community being served here. If you are shopping overseas and would like to buy local language books then click on the South African vendor to find books and they will deliver locally for you.

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Step 2: Contact us.

Leave a comment and tell us that you intend to help or contact us. I will reply to you all as soon as I can with the shipping details, with the address to send the books you have chosen. There is a human person behind each and every email (that would be me) and they take time… please be patient the address will get to you.

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Step 3: Let us Know All About the Books You Chose

We would love if you could photograph the books you are sending, if you shop on-line then just send us a list of the books that you ordered. If you have a blog and write about it then let us know and we will have a Progress Post each week. I will pop the photo’s you send into the blog post and if you do have a blog there will be a chance for you to link up as well.

We are excited about this project and we really hope that our readers seize the day and join us. It doesn’t have to be huge, if even one percent of our readers pop a book into an envelope and post it off, we will have a library. So here’s to hoping that we hear from you all really soon. Leave a comment saying you would like to join us, contact us… Please share this post… whatever you need to do… we would so love to hear from you.

If you have contacted us and had no reply, please try again, one or two of the email addresses I received kept bouncing back… Please email again… there could well be a little glitch.

We know that a project with a deadline often works better so could we aim to get our books in the mail around mid-March. That gives you a week or two… to get mailing!!!

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We would like to thank Niki Daly, International Book Giving Day for their enthusiastic support and Biblionef South Africa, for helping us to find a community in our area that needs a library, over the years they have provided us with unprecedented support in helping us to pursue our dream to provide books for children just like ours, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to books.

Disclosure: The Amazon and Loot links are affiliate links and our blog will earn a very small percentage of the book sales made there, we pledge to put any of our earnings from books for the school directly back into buying more books for them… this is their project and we don’t in any way want to gain financially from it.

→ 1 CommentTags: Brilliant Books · Caring and Sharing · Home Truths · Our Events

CT Bloggers MeetUp and A Fab Mr Price GiveAway…

March 5th, 2015 · 15 Comments

I have said it before and I will say it again, I firmly believe that bloggers need to meet up with other bloggers to blog their best. They need to mingle with folk that understand that they will stop mid-sentence to photograph their breakfast, the need to mingle with folk that understand that in every moment their is a blog post lurking. Folk may blog about the same topics or different topics, whatever, they will definitely have different viewpoints… but friendships are made and supporters are found and you can’t beat the encouragement.

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Cape Town Mom’s Meet Up – #CTMOMBlogMeet

So Saturday past, the Cape Town Mom Bloggers got together to meet and learn more about blogging and to feast of course.


So here we go, we met at Graze in Kenilworth… I’ve never been there before, but I will have to remedy that with a few more visits because: I love their green wall, their hardworking chefs and their beautiful food. The breakfast was beyond stunning and I have to say we lingered a fair while and some folk were coming in for lunch, and my gang would definitely like to stop by here for burgers one evening. The kiddie menu is cute and functional and for moms of tots a bit of a dream come true.

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Meet the People

Moving on… the point of a meet up is to meet the people…

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So here are the Cape Town Mom Bloggers that attended: Caffeine and Fairydust; Haley’s Joys; Acidice; Rumtumtiggs; A Thing of Beauty; What Happened to My Body; Surviving the Madness; The Milk Memoirs; Perfectly Normal Life; Between Daydreams; Nikki and Nicholas; Red Lips and Daring Adventures; Life and Times of the Fireflies; Cupcake Mummy and Fysh; Elle Kay – Living with Boys; Cass Lee and Chasing Dreams.

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Meet the very talented Cindy Alfino, from 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House, who not only likes organising blogger meet ups, but she is brilliant at it.

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And our speaker, Nikki Lincoln, who is the Digital Food Editor at Woolworths Online… what happy to share all sorts of valuable tips about blogging, SEO and Google Analytics in a very understandable way…

The Talk

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You could have heard a pin drop as notes were taken, clearly bloggers are eager to know more about the art of blogging… and our very eloquent speaker had heaps of excellent tips and ideas…

Se7en+1 Topical Tips, that I jotted down while listening:

  1. Get yourself a Working Editorial Calendar: It will help you blog more efficiently and remove the stress of “What’s to do next?”
  2. How to Create a Working Editorial Plan: Print out a calendar and make a list of posts you want to write… your favourite celebrations and special occasions; a list of curated content (pulling older posts back up to the fore-front); a list of created content. Fill up your calendar with potential posts.
  3. There are Four Types of Post: Inspiring, educating, persuading and entertaining. The more of these components that you can add to a post the better.
  4. A Post Needs to Be: Findable, readable, actionable and shareable.
  5. What Are People Looking For: Searchable, Interesting Titles… with relevant keywords. Layer your post with {H1}, {H2} headers.
  6. Google Analytics: The important ones – visitors, sessions and uniques. Your bounce rate is the % of visitors that drop off your site… things that affect are links to a subdomain, always open them n a new window because navigating with the back button effects your bounce rate. In other words, in-page navigation is important to google.
  7. Device Metrics: How are folk reading your blog and what does it look like on that device… hmmm that is something I should look up… never ever thought of it before.
  8. Reader’s Like Longer Posts: If they arrived because they are looking for something, then they are looking for details. You can’t know where your readers are entering the topic from, so provide background.

The Sponsors

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Another great aspect of blogger metopes and why they may well be the best thing for bloggers to attend is the hidden in the goodie bag… heaps of lovely sponsors and an introduction to brands that you may not have come across before.

Huge thank you to all the sponsors, including the main sponsor of the event, Gumtree. Our goodie bag was packed with products from: Wakaberry; Kin Shop; Oh So Heavenly; Ella’s Kitchen; Reusable Pouches; Tangled Tree; Baby Group; Optiphi; Wellness Warehouse; Almay; Mitchum; Beautiful Earth; Adventure Bootcamp; and The Galileo Cinema. Not to mention GiveAway Prizes from Ella’s Kitchen; Lauren Pretorius Photography; Sticky Fudge; Adventure Bootcamp; Wellness Warehouse; and the Windsor Hotel.

Mr Price

And then the sponsor that took us by storm… because everybody loves Mr Price, and turns out Mr Price loves us right back. A Last minute call for our children’s clothing sizes and each mother attending was surprised with a personal gift for each of their children. And some mothers had quite a few more children than others, I have to say I was blown away. Beautifully selected and gift wrapped gifts for each child…

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Vouchers for our teens:

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And complete outfits for everyone else.

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You can safely say that my gang were simply over the moon with excitement…

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The GiveAway

We were given a voucher to share with you all… and we have a R250 voucher for one of our readers to spend at Mr Price Fashion. All you have to do is leave a comment, tell us about your kids’ favourite clothes, before the end of play on Saturday the 7 March 2015. You can use this voucher to shop online (Hoorah!!!) and deliver to a South African Delivery Address.

Huge Thank you to Cindy for organising this fabulous event and Nikki for her great presentation. And of course, thank you to Mr Price for the fabulous gifts and GiveAway Voucher for our readers. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to write it, and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

→ 15 CommentsTags: Blog School · GiveAways and Swaps

Parenting Tips by the Dozen for Raising Se7en+1 Kids…

March 4th, 2015 · 10 Comments

It has been an age since I wrote a parenting post, I guess when you are in the thick of it you can quite forget to write about it. Recently my friend Marcia from The 123 Blog asked me for my top 3 parenting tips – gasp. To be honest I actually choked a bit, what do I know about parenting, not to mention parenting tips. The father person mentioned that after parenting for 17 + 15 + 13 + 11 + 10 + 8 + 7 + 5 years… I probably knew enough to write a blog post. The point is, we all know so much about parenting until we have kids. It just goes to show that you never feel overly confident at it, and to be honest parenting is very a much a two-player game between a parent and a child. Talk about always learning, always learning, always learning. Parenting each of my kids has brought out something completely different in all our relationships – they have made me grow up far more than I was comfortable with at first, and they kept me young at heart more than anything else could have.


Parenting Tips for Raising Se7en + 1 Kids…

Well once I got started with three tips for Marcia, I got on a bit of a roll and in no particular order…

  1. Everything looks Better in Daylight:
  2. So I Asked My Kids… What do I always say when mums ask me for advice… and the first thing I say is get as comfy as you can and make it through to the morning. Somehow walking the halls at night with crying babe, or sitting in the bathroom while a kid has croup or worse a tummy bug… seems terminally hard. And never quite so hard in the daylight. Don’t try and make it through to next week, or next month… just get to the morning and everything will seem so much better. And if all else fails… and here my gang collapsed in a heap, “I always say, go for a walk.” Who knew I said that, but it is true. I always say, go for a walk… after even a short walk to the mailbox or a long walk to the end of the block (!), all grumpiness tends to dissipate. Very often a much needed nap will follow, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.


  3. Enjoy the Moment:
  4. There are so many nay sayers… really. “Just wait until they are teething, crawling, toilet training… ” There are the woeful ones, the terrible two’s, the theatrical threes, the fearsome fours and the frantic fives… Not to mention, just wait until they are teenagers. Well teenagers are delightful, and nothing beats the deep sleep of a trying two year old collapsed in your arms. There is always something to love right now… I know this sounds crazy, but don’t wish away your child’s childhood. We long for these babies, we work so hard to have them and then our crazy dashing world says – hurry up and make grow up. Well this is one time when you should go against the grain and linger longer. Enjoy these little ones while they are small because it really does all fly by so fast.


  5. Your Kids Need You, Not Stuff:
  6. We live in the world of marketers and child rearing has become, just like sport, a marketers dream… without a million products you cannot raise a child. Don’t believe it for a second. There are millions and bazillions of perfectly fine kids all over the world who didn’t have a special wedge in their cot, in fact they didn’t have a cot… they didn’t have special educational mobiles that rocked them to sleep while singing Mozart, and still those kids grow up to be fine. The one advantage that you can really give your kids is just being there alongside them. This will be far more key to your kids “getting ahead” than any extra mural or any multi-sensory toy ever. And your kids don’t need you to be doing special crafts, special dates, special activities, special anything. You there lying on the couch on a lazy afternoon asking about the game they are playing or their walk earlier counts for so much more than you think. And no marketer is ever going to tell you that – EVER.


  7. Set Your Kids up to Succeed:
  8. I have said this before and I will say it again, kids need three things to survive… lots of sleep, nutritious food and plenty of fresh air. Their parents need the same. Those three things together. The child that is sleep deprived isn’t going to eat well and will hate fresh air; the child that is never hungry, won’t sleep comfortably and just can’t run around outdoors; and woe to the poor child that never gets to be in the great outdoors, because they will never feel the fatigue of a good days play and they will never stimulate their senses enough to enjoy tasty food. When you see a parent-child couple melting down anywhere, then usually one of those factors is not in play. When you have crying baby and they have cried for hours… wrapping them up and going for a walk is often the best medicine for everyone. Often when I am gathered with mums of little people they just seem to feed and feed and feed them. The snack industry sure is making millions out of moms of tots. When these kids say they are hungry, they are really just bored and a walk in the park, or races in the garden would be equally satisfying.


  9. Equal is Never Ever Fair:
  10. This might not be a tip, so much as a pet hate… but treating siblings equally is actually quite mean. I know when you have your first child you think you will never love another the same, turns out… you will love subsequent children, totally and differently. Each child is perfect in their own delightful way. Where one child loves trucks and the other loves wild animals, I can assure you if you want to treat them equally no one is going to be happy: One child will hate the truck they are given or the other will hate the toy zebra. And if you compromise and get two zebra trucks – just no-one will be happy. Seriously treat your children as individuals, and gift them in the way that fills them up. If one child likes to chat away while you are washing dishing dishes and another likes to sit in your chair and read a book… for me that works. There is enough love for all our kids, we just have get creative and giving the love that fills them up. The most obvious case of treating kids fairly vs equally is when once in blue moon we go and let everyone choose a treat… imagine if I said all eight of my kids had to have the same treat… eight of the same is never quite as glorious as eight carefully selected.


  11. Not Every Moment Has to be Picture Perfect to be Perfect:
  12. Often good enough is really quite perfect enough. So you didn’t get a multilayer, triple sponge, double chocolate cream birthday cake… and you grabbed yesterday’s breakfast muffin and stuck a candle in it instead. That’s fine. For years we had magical, marvellous birthday parties… heaps of our early blog posts are about them. By the time I had five children I was hanging on for dear life and by six I just gave up in despair. But kids love parties and they love being celebrated… so now we have an ordinary cake, often they make it themselves, and invite all their friends over for a play date. There is no expectation of elaborate crafts, or jumping castles or creative party packs… just a play and cake and of course “Singing Happy Birthday” and everyone is totally happy. Really, often good enough is good enough… Movie night can just be a movie… one movie, you don’t have to have special snacks and popcorn everywhere and late bedtimes… just a movie. Who would’ve thought.


  13. Children are Short, Not Stupid: Adults so often make this mistake and think that they can talk down to children or worse, be sickly sweet with children, when actually those adults would rather be doing anything else. Try it, talk to a child like a person and you will be strangely surprised how eloquently they respond. Kids see right through our fake voices, we call it the gym voice… When you are at gym and you hear mums saying, “Darling, just get out of the shower will you, just pick up your towel, just get dressed for the ten millionth time.” That mum is about to pop and everyone knows it, even the kid. You can be true to yourself and respectful at the same time, while I am polite to my children, “please and thank yous” flow freely, children understand grumpy days and moody moments a whole lot better than we think. We want them to know that we love them no matter what, so let’s give them the chance to love us, no matter what.
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  15. Expect Great Things:
  16. Kids naturally rise to your expectations. If you aim too low, don’t be disappointed. So many folks say they can’t take their children to a restaurant, they just can’t sit still for longer than a minute. Hello, the same children that can watch a full length movie five times in a row. Sitting still is not the problem. Engaging them and talking to them about what is happening and can they see the waitress and what colour plate do they think they will have, and do they need help with their napkin (not likely)? The question is, do small children really want to go out to a grown up restaurant and eat grown up food with you, not to mention try new things? You bet they do, kids love being treated like they are people. They want to use real tools, not plastic imitation ones, they want to use real art materials and they can, they want to be just like us. It is really up to us to enable them.


  17. You Wish Your Kids Knew How to do Something:
  18. Then stop and take the time to teach them… if you hate tying shoelaces, or hanging up bath towels, or stacking dishes… even small children can be taught how to do this. Then leave them to it, no one likes to be bossed around, least of all kids. If you have taught them then leave them… if they ask for help offer it, and if they are clearly failing, reteach… but don’t ever hover, then the only person trained is actually you. It takes time to teach them, yes, but it is so empowering for them to do things for themselves. Really the smaller the better, is the time to teach them all sorts of wonderful things. If you wish your children could sit nicely at the dinner table, take the time to teach them what that means to you. You actually have to sit down with them and eat nicely at the table yourself. Because children learn by what you are doing… if you are scampering around the kitchen cleaning up and chatting on the phone while they are having dinner then they will most likely do the same.


  19. What they Don’t Know They Won’t Miss:
  20. My kids never knew that bedtime was an issue, so bed has always been somewhere they want to go at the end of the day. Somewhere to linger and lie in the dark and chat together as they drift off to sleep. The same can be said for take-outs and candy and sugary drinks – if they don’t know about it, they won’t miss it and they won’t develop a taste for it. When my kids were small they had an elderly aunt that said, “Shame,” every time she saw them… because they were always drinking water and eating fruit… Really I was just too spartan with them and they would never cope in the “real world” if they didn’t learn how to handle candy and juice in moderation as a small child. Well my kids did get treats from time time, but they are convinced that while adults can drink juice, children can only drink water. And as for candy and treats, they can dive in with the best of them but on special occasions… it isn’t a daily thing and it isn’t even a weekly thing. What they don’t have they just don’t miss.


  21. Your Kids Are a Team, Treat Them Like One:
  22. If you have more than one kid then you probably want them to grow up to be fab friends and yet somehow that friendship can very often look like a war zone. The thing that makes relationships work is time together, not quality time – it is quantity time. If your kids are always flying in opposite directions and to different activities… then their shared experience will most likely be car pooling – and everyone knows that isn’t the best place to generate good times. Think of ways that your kids can spend hours together, sharing every day things and plenty of time to chat about life together. I have a feeling that creating shared memories and a history together is important to friendship down the line. And if your life is chaotic then schedule time for your kids to spend together, just them, not them and a friend each… not them in their own rooms down the corridor from each other. Take them for an amble, let them bake together, anything really… time together is the glue that binds.


  23. Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke:
  24. Just because other folks are all doing it, just because all the parenting books say you must do this or that… if something is working for you then leave it. Your kids will eventually stop nursing, they will use a bathroom and they will even sleep in their own beds – you can force them, or go with flow. It is going to happen anyway, so relax and enjoy the ride. For example, some folks stress so much about toilet training they spend the first two years of their child’s life asking them if they need to go to the bathroom or not… I would rather show my kids heaps of other things and grow a huge vocabulary … they will spend enough of their lifetime discussing toileteering habits without any encouragement from me.

There you go, a heap of tips all in one post… please pop over and visit my friend Marcia, she has an entire series of parenting tips on the go!!!

→ 10 CommentsTags: Kids · Thoughtful Thursdays

Saturday Spot: The Summer of Fires, Muizenberg Fire So Far…

March 3rd, 2015 · 12 Comments

It has been the summer of fires and we have had two large fires above our house already… The fire from this past weekend has been unprecedented and engulfed a large part of the Silvermine Mountain Range.

The Muizenburg Fire Day by Day

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Saturday Evening

The kids heard the helicopter fly by and dashed out to see if they could see a fire… they couldn’t but they soon saw the spotter plane and knew that there would be one. The conditions were extremely windy and cloudy and really not good for fire control on a dry dusty mountain and the end of a long hot summer.

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Sunday Morning Above Westlake

As we traveled towards Lakeside on Sunday morning we sae the fire had expanded over the Muizenberg side of the mountain and was creeping along above Lakeside and Westlake…

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Sunday Afternoon – Westlake

When we returned to the South Peninsula in the afternoon the fire was in full force above Lakeside and the helicopters were hard at work.

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Sunday Evening – Ou Kaapse Weg

Looking from Lakeside into the sunset on Sunday evening was alarming, but we were able to drive over Ou Kaapse Weg and where the Fire Services were watching the fire.

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Sunday Night…

The wind came up and the fire literally engulfed the top of the mountain… the whole of Silvermine, over the top into Hout Bay and down through Noordhoek. We were able to watch the fire lurk along the top of the mountain line above Clovelly, just before dawn.

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Monday Morning

As the dawn broke we could see that the damage was extensive and that Silvermine had literally been burnt out. All roads to the South Peninsula except the one, the main road – which is again dug up for road works and so only one way traffic… a logistical nightmare for the city.

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Monday Afternoon

By Monday afternoon the fire-fighters had been working in really difficult conditions, the entire weekend. They were still bombing along the mountain ridge at the end of the day. We spent most of the day watching the fire progress and taking photographs.

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Monday Night

The fire was still raging before dawn and is now steadily marching down the valley.

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SilverMine This Morning

This is the same area that we drove through on Sunday evening, and it has been devastated by fire. One of our favourite hiking spots is a dessert.

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I am sure there will be more photographs taken today and we will add them to this post later on…

→ 12 CommentsTags: Our Events · Saturday Spot

Sunday Snippet: A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath…

March 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

Our Bible Verse of the Week…


Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Week by Week

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→ No CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

Se7en’s March 2015, and Your Free Printable Calendar…

March 2nd, 2015 · No Comments


March is here!!! Really!!! And as promised here is your March printable calendar. You are welcome to print it out, use the landscape option, it works better!!! Click on the image and it will open in a new tab. Print it out and write the days you would like to celebrate on it then pop it onto the fridge as a reminder…


Dates to Remember

→ No CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun – #264

March 1st, 2015 · 3 Comments

It is worth getting up in the morning for this…

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Lovely Links from This Week

  1. Most brilliant post by Tsh, who is homeschooling on the road this year… fabulous tips on the road: Ongoing Education: 12 Tools I Really Dig on The Art of Simple.
  2. How cool is our friend Zoe, who is Building a Book Den…
  3. HandMade Charlotte is so good at discovering Crafty Finds… take a peak at Put a Bird on It. And while we are there, take a peak at her Mini Beach Bungalow Gift Wrap!!!
  4. We Are Wealthy. And Why it Matters on Becoming Minimalist.
  5. TinkerLab’s SketchBook Challenges are just pure loveliness!!!
  6. There is a new book in Town and this project: Our Garden Classroom… on Nuturestore. Love it!!!
  7. Can You Quit Your Job as Stuff Manager on BlogHer…
  8. Excellent post for Bible College Students… Recovering Joy in Seminary, by David Murray of Head Heart Hand and while you are there… 10 Biblical Formulas to Change Your Life.
  9. se7en - 101214 -_.jpg
    We Really need your help to Build a Library, Book by Book.

    And the se7en + 1th + 1th link:

  10. A Blast From the Past:

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