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

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Today is National Bandana Day…

October 12th, 2015 · 2 Comments

A day that is deeply significant to South Africans far and wide… Bandana Day is the day that South African’s wear bandanas in support of the very important work that the Sunflower Fund does… to raise awareness for the National Bone Marrow Register. This is a big deal, it is a real life saver for thousands of people and is easy way for folk to just do the right thing. Purchasing a bandana for R25 could make a difference and offer those fighting leukaemia and other life threatening blood disorders a chance of a future.

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Bandanas are available at all Pick ‘n Pay stores… grab one and at the same time head straight for the Sunflower Fund Website and see what you can do to support them. Everything you need to know is on their site… how to support them financially, how to get onto the register and what to do if you are a match. They are trying to build up a bank of widely diverse folk, to give as many folk as possible a chance of a match.

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The point of Bandana Sales is to raise awareness, raise funds – did you know that The Sunflower Fund sponsor the test costs for folk to get onto the register… and for your contribution there are only about a million things you can due with the truly gorgeous and versatile bandana…

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  • Almost instant picnic quilts… and cushions galore…
  • They make the best possible, reusable, gift wrap ever.
  • Endless head gear…
  • Beautiful bunting…
  • Wardrobe Upstyling…
  • Dressing up…
  • Aprons…
  • And of course gifting… kids love them… new moms love them, for about a million reasons, everyone loves them!!!

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We have a massive pile of fabric, we planned to make a giant bandana/picnic cloth and ended up with weeks of all of us with the flu and unable to make one, we are still working on it… and will post our progress. Encourage us, we are not the best sewers ever. As soon as we have a giant bandana put together we will show you…

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Meanwhile, take a peak at the Sunflower Fund Website and see what you can do to help them…

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Blog Events · Home Truths

Happy Brilliant Birthday to Hood #5…

October 12th, 2015 · 10 Comments

You know the gang wasn’t well when it takes them a week to celebrate a birthday… but celebrate they did, in style. And suddenly we have an eleven year old in the house…

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Eleven is such a fabulous year…
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It is going to be a great year for the young man who loves the great outdoors…
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Happy to try anything new…
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And always exploring…
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Climbing higher than expected…
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Always helping…
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And just watching the world…
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Because that’s what one does…
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To the chap who loves experimenting…
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And trying new things…
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To the boy who would rather be out doors than in…
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Who is always looking for a higher mountain…
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Or a deeper rock pool…
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Happy Brilliant Birthday… Young Man…
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May your year be packed with adventures…
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Real and Imagined…
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May your travels take you far and wide…
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May you discover many new and amazing things…
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A Blast From the Past…

Ten was the busiest…
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Nine was fantastic…

May eleven be filled with new and exciting kitchens…

Time certainly flies by so fast…

We blinked…

And you grew!!!

The cutest…

Tiniest… (not the teeniest, tiniest cheeks mind you!!!)

May you always be just as sweet as you are…

And Happy Brilliant Birthday to you!!!

→ 10 CommentsTags: Home Truths · Our Events

What We Are Reading Right Now #36, the PanMacMillan Edition…

October 9th, 2015 · 2 Comments

We thought we would bring you some fantastic weekend reading… Masses and masses of books and something for everyone to read and enjoy. Here are the latest and greatest family friendly reads from PanMacmillan South Africa.


The Galactic List of Latest and Greatest Reads

For the Mother Person

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume: I am reading this and really enjoying it… I am stuck in the middle of all the angst that is the Fifties in New York. The book is pure fiction but based on many events that happened in the life of Judy Blume in the 1950’s, one feels like you are literally dipping into a slice of life. The details, the coverage… I have no words. Now, I didn’t power my way through hundreds of Judy Blume’s as a teen, possibly because she was so popular and the rebel in me had to be different, silly me. I have been missing out on a masterful storyteller. At first I thought that I would need a spread sheet just to get through part one, but hold onto your hat and just read your way through it… like moving into a new neighbourhood, you don’t have to know everyone’s name to get a good picture of what is going on. Read on, read on and the story will reveal itself. Told in small snippets, you leap from character to character… and I really thought I wouldn’t get it. But the story reveals itself through the characters and somehow you find yourself getting to know who is who and what they are up to… despite my severe inability to remember names, let alone faces in real life. This is not the human maze it appears to be, the main player is Miri, who is coming of age and realises that world of grown-ups is very much a case of do as I say, not as I do… as she steps precariously into into a more grownup world. Meanwhile, her Uncle Henry is keeping us up to date with the world events of the day. Plane crashes, one after the other after the other, and their effects on the local community and such like. This is not a book you can read fast… there is a lot of reading, then a pause to digest… honestly I am loving it and don’t want to see it end. I want the characters to live on.

I Quit Sugar: Now here is an interesting read… it is a bit of a dipper, not to mention a challenge. One of the very best step-by-step guides to actually quitting sugar. In a real and a committed kind of a way, this book provides endless encouragement and reasons why you should get off the sugar band wagon forever and literally never look back. She makes a lot of sense, her directions are clear and while she shares her own story, she is committed to helping others find their own story… This book is packed with heaps of tips and little tricks, places you would never expect to find sugar, and how to hunt it down when you are label reading. She has menu plans and ideas to help you fill the gaps that are created when you take sweet treats out of your diet. At least half of the book is devoted to pages and pages of fabulous sugar free recipes, if you did nothing else but included some of these into your diet you would be doing your health a huge favour. Things like: courgette cheesecake or apple pancakes for breakfast; fennel or roast pepper soup for lunch; even goodies my kids wanted to try like avocado and coconut lollies… and her raspberry ripple looks to die for. You can check out the author, Sarah Wilson’s, website here, for loads of sugar free recipes that will leave you smiling, literally.

The Hoods Are Reading…


Hood #1:

Machine Gunners by Robert Westall: As I began this book I realised that I read this book as a child, I distinctly remember it, it stood out that much. It is set in a town in Northern England during World War II, and is the kind of glorious and terrifying adventure that adults would never expect children to have. In the local school there is pressing competition and status is defined according to one’s hierarchy of war debris collected and discovered. The fourteen year old hero, Chas, believes he has “arrived” when he discovers a downed German plane. Someone else has already laid claim to that, but it leads to a bigger and more frightening discovery… the plane’s machine gun is still intact. Chas and his friends decide to detach the machine gun. All the while the pilot’s body remains in the cockpit. It is grim and terrifying. Together the friends create an air-shelter and watch for the Germans, as the story gets more and more gripping. Pick it up, it is an excellent read, years after it’s launch, the relaunch is just as epic. This book is a must read for any middle-to-high schooler learning about World War II, who want to get a genuine feel for what life was really like.

The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon by David Almond: This book is one of those stories for all ages, our whole family can quite easily listen to this and understand it on so many levels. The book begins with Paul, heading for the top of his apartment block to touch the sky. There are a lot of quite interesting characters to connect with on his journey towards the sky and it becomes a book where while everyone is telling the truth, it is all somewhat stretched. The characters are all exceptionally ordinary, in that they are each a little quirky, this is an adventure in human variety like no other. Paul believes the moon is a great hole in the sky… and Polly Dunbar, the wonderful illustrator, will have you firmly believing the same. There is something of a quest and a great working together of all sorts of folk who you can’t imagine ever working together… this a great read. Different in the best kind of way.


Survivor by Tom Hoyle: The first thing that stands out about this book is that it is bright luminescent green, all of it. George, who is a fifteen year old Australian, is awarded the chance to participate The Ultimate Bushcraft Challenge. A chance in a lifetime really, that goes terribly, terribly wrong. One person dies… tragedy, then two… suspicious, then more… and suddenly the title makes perfect sense. Suddenly coincidences appear to be paranoid plots and chance interactions are well… psychological sabotage to say the least. The story is told from many of the player’s perspectives and it is hard to tell who is the good or bad right to the bitter end. This is a gripping read, and so a quick read, but not so much for the fainthearted.

The Switch by Anthony Horowitz: In true dry and amusing British style Anthony Horowitz brings you a classic case of Mistaken Identity. Tad, the boy who has it all, wishes that he could be someone else… and then he is. He wakes up to discover that he has become Bob Snarby, a somewhat needy fellow and the son of somewhat criminal carnival workers. Of course there are twists and turns in the tale and of course Tad learns his lesson… eventually. A great ripping read in true Anthony Horowitz style.


Hood #3:

Just as Long as We’re Together and Here’s to You Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume: Teen reads by the wonderful Judy Blume, who seems to be able to get right into the minds and hearts of her characters and tell her readers what they want to know about them too. Three gals: Rachel, Stephanie, and Alison, and of course Junior High. Rachel and Stephanie have known each other forever, so where does Alison fit into the story… well, Rachel is feeling left out, and so the story goes, the complicated ins and outs of teen life. In the sequel, Here’s to You Rachel Robinson, we get to know Rachel a little better… she is an over-achieving A-grade student, and the youngest to two somewhat difficult siblings. These books are great for figuring out how families work or don’t, and how relationships do eventually work themselves out.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot: Well Meg Cabot is back, the return of the Princess Diaries… fifteen years since their first launch and just stylish and glamorous as ever you find yourself in the world of Princess Mia and the land of Genovia. Fourteen year old Mia is just a regular New York teen, until her Father breaks the news that she is actually a princess… These are books 4, 5, and 6 in the series… plenty to read and plenty to learn about. After three books Mia and Michael are at last an item and then Grandmere steps in and mightily disrupts their plans. On to Book 5, and Mia is about to turn fifteen and has big plans for the senior prom and is once again thwarted by Grandmere. And in Book 6, Michael is off in college leaving Mia to fend for herself. The overriding character is not so much our heroine, the reluctant princess, but rather her grandmother who keeps popping into the story – either to rescue from disaster or stir a little up. Be sure to check the entire series out of the library at once, you won’t want to stop until you have read all the way through… and then you will be sad it’s over!!!

Mollie Cinnamon is not a CupCake by Sarah Webb This is a coming of age book, and it is nice. It makes a good comforting weekend read. It is about Mollie Cinnamon, who is sent to a remote island to stay with her great grandmother, while her smash hit mother stars in a TV Series. Mollie is convinced that the island will be “Dullsville” and the people on it will be more boring than ever. Turns out that once you get to know folk, they very rarely are dull, and life on the island is a life that she learns to love tenderly. Of course there is a problem that needs to be solved, will the coffee shop need to be sold, or can they find a way to rescue it? The relationship between Mollie and her Great Grandmother is sweet, this is a delightful read aimed at the early teen reader.


Hood #4:

Heroes of the Wild Series by Nicola Davies: This whole series has been fabulous, so far… just higher than an easy reader, these are first chapter books for keen environmentalists; stories from around the world about rescuing and protecting animals in danger. They read like real live stories about true events, based on actual conservation projects… and there is a section at the back of the book with facts about the animals and their environments and where you can find more information about them. In the Whale who Saved Us, Suki and Levi live in northern Canada. Levi is dying and Suki is sent to live with her great grandmother far into the Arctic circle. Suki is convinced that the whales can save him. The Leopard’s Tail is set in the Armenian mountains and a young boy, Malik, is determined to protect the Leopards from poachers and set up a Wildlife Refuge for them. These are travel books, with environmental awareness themes, clearly a whole lot of action, and kids doing the action in them. They are also fairly short and I am not sure how the author manages to pack quite so many facts and interest into the pages… but she does, again and again. Perfect books for the fact lover, and the keen outdoor fanatic.


Hood #5:

Just William by Richmal Crompton: Well, Just William is back, in this glorious collection. The covers are refreshed with fabulous illustrations by illustrators we have all grown to love – hello Chris Riddell, Rebecca Cobb, Adam Stower, and Lydia Monks. Not to mention each one comes with a forward by a famous story teller… and well worth a read to see what they loved about Just William as a child. Between the pages are the illustrations I remember from my own childhood, those some what serious illustrations, until you read the captions. William is a law unto himself, mischief and pranks prevail… he is an earnest kind of chap, who doesn’t see the funny side to himself at all… it makes for a good, funny read. The best thing about these books is that they haven’t softened the vocabulary for the modern child… Words are words and these books are packed with good ones, words that stretch your understanding and interpretation and add a whole new level of richness to the story. I have heard a lot of chortling as this series of books is being read again in our house.


Hood #6:

Enid Blyton’s Collection of Holiday Stories: This is a fabulous book to introduce your kids to the famous storyteller from so many childhoods. We have started reading this together, and I am hoping by the end of our summer there will be a new and excited little Enid Blyton reader in the world. The stories are just long enough for a bed time read, stories for boys and stories for girls. Sweet stories, with a little excitement, a couple of adventures, and of course a good dose of magic, and, well, happy endings. It is rather lovely, and satisfying my own sweet holiday memories of lying in a shady spot reading Enid Blyton’s again and again… If you have readers ready to launch from easy readers to chapter books then this would be great, and if you have listeners ready to launch then it is pretty easy reading for the grown-up person involved too. Good clean fun, of the Enid Blyton variety… what could be better really!!!

You Are an Artist by Marta Altes: this book nearly didn’t leave my desk, I battled to let it go… but I knew this kid would totally love the artiness and creativity that this book brings with it. Pages and pages of an artist’s journey to find their hidden talents, half drawn portraits to fill in, picture frames to create, there is nothing pale or static about this book, it is bright, funky and fun all the way and for the child that might think it can’t want to draw, this book will have those fingers positively itching… the pages are robust and have withstood markers and watercolours, crayons and pastels… this is a hardcore workbook for an aspiring artist and to help them complete their masterpiece their are dozens of stunning stickers to add to their pages too. I love this book, and I will most likely be buying a couple of these books, this one and the one below that Hood 7 is working on as my go to gifts for the next longest time. This series is delightful in every possible way, if you see them grab them… kids appeal on a massive scale!!!


Hood #7:

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif: We loved Birgitta Sif’s first book, Oliver, so much that we were excited to discover this one in our package of review books to read. Frances Dean is a little girl who loves to dance. But Frances Dean is a little shy and doesn’t want folk to know that she is a dancer… and then she is inspired by a little girl who loves to sing… and Frances is off on a journey of self-discovery as she dances high and low, for the birds, for the neighbours dog… everyone really. The illustrations are delightful and the story all about the heart, the powerful and inspired heart of a little girl that thought “she couldn’t” and then discovered that “she totally could.” This is a very “happy to read it anytime book.”

Let’s Go Find a Tiger! by Yasmeen Ismail: You know how adult colouring is all the rage… well I tell you the truth their are some kids’ activity books that adults should be buying too. This is one of them. It is a gripping story of two cute characters… heading through the jungle looking for… well a tiger of course. There are incomplete drawings, in lovely fat marker and paints and my goodness you just want to join in… Add some monkeys to the monkey page… fill the butterfly page up and so on. And then of course there are lots of lovely arty stickers to join in the mix… and complete the story that you, the young artist, have helped to create. This is brilliant and the world needs more books like these that take “interactive” and “activity” book to a whole new level.

And the se7en + 1th Books:


Hood #8:

Playtown: AirPort by Roger Priddy: Hood 8 discovered this series earlier this year, with Roger Priddy himself. He loves them, there is everything to love about these books and then some. A large style Board Book, with beautiful spreads, setting an airport scene… and then dozens of sturdy flaps to lift and see the inner workings. You can see inside folks luggage, you can see inside the cargo, you can see inside the engines… it goes on and on. And for the naturally curious, who wants to know who is who in the zoo… these books will keep them busy and entertained for hours, and hours, and hours. The pages look almost word free, when you lift the flap there are words for a grown up to read – revealing a couple of the inner workings of the picture… Why does the fire engine plane have a water tank? What is the Departure Board for? What happens inside the control tower? All questions we may have wanted to ask or answer before… This book is packed with airport information and lots of little themes run throughout the book… certain things to spot and hidden on every single page… For instance Roger Priddy is on every spread, so is a marmalade cat… This is part of a great series of books, that curious kids will love, sturdy and strong for little ones, and great for independent reading time. Not to mention lots of things for curious parents to look at too…

Super Sticker Book based on characters created by Ellen Crimi-Trent, Published by Priddy Books: Another great quality activity book from Priddy Books, these guys certainly know what their young readers want to read. This book is about a group of animals called the schoolies… and the ins and outs of their school day… masses and masses of stickers. Scenes to complete, puzzles, games… and did you see over 800 stickers?! That is a lot of stickers, and they are great quality, strong enough for little hands to manage, because nobody on earth wants torn stickers. Pure fun, head for school with the schoolies and do a couple of things that they would do at school with them… to my homeschooled kid, this was nothing short of intriguing. So a great book, what can I say, activity books are not what they used to be – they are vastly improved and packed with fun. There is lots to learn, in a joyful way, and it doesn’t feel like you are being tricked into spending your playtime on an “educational workbook.” Boredom be gone, funky sticker heaven has come to the rescue!!!

Play and Learn with Wallace, A Giant Priddy Workbook: A big, gloriously fat 300 pages of school stuff, the ultimate busy book for the youngest student, and often the only student, in the house… who is dying to do school when everyone else is. There is simple letter tracing practice, shape tracing, cutting and sticking, numbers and counting… calendar stuff, a little phonics, and a few sight words… just enough to make a fellow think they are doing heaps of school work. He loves poring through this book… it is a Priddy book, the illustrations are glorious, and the pace slow and steady. I would have thought some pages nearer the end would overwhelm… but not daunted he has filled in things I didn’t know he knew and abandoned pages that I thought he would find unmissable. Basically this is his school workbook for the year and when he has a desire to sit down and work… well, he works in it. There is tons to do, it is undoubtably very educational in that it looks and feels like school… which is exactly what this young fellow is after, when he aspires to be doing what his older siblings are doing.

We would really like to thank PanMacMillan Books South Africa for providing us with the books to review for this post. We would like to declare that this is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to do these reviews, just provided with books. All the opinions are as usual, entirely our own!!!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books

Just Taking a Week Off School to Volunteer…

October 9th, 2015 · 6 Comments

So we made it through the first quarter of our school year – completely… reading done, math done and language arts. I know, good job and all that… (I won’t mention the science kits that remained unopened, the journals that are somewhat off the pace… and the one child that simply refuses to read anything that might possibly be school… and my natural tendency to wait and see could ultimately work against me in this case… and that’s a whole ‘nother post)… I rewarded my guys with a week off school and gifted them in the best possible way, instead of staying home and sorting the chaos that the house tends into, all on its own, while we do school. And the sort of thing only a mother wants to do when we are off school… we spent a week volunteering. So this is just a quick catchup on some fun, easy ways for kids to volunteer…

World Beach Clean Up Day

Years ago, when we began beach clean ups our kids were a little nervous about what they might find, and a beach clean up was something they loved when they were doing it, but it wasn’t something they looked forward too. Since we discovered exactly where our garbage goes… we can’t clean beaches fast enough.

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On World Beach Clean Up Day, with a team of kids, we once again tackled the beach at Olifants Bos in the Cape Point Section of Table Mountain National Park.

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Absolutely everything you need for a beach clean up is supplied at the Ocean Conservancy website…

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Gather with some friends and print out your data sheets from the Ocean Conservancy website. Collect garbage and document your finds as you go.

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It is always surprising to us, exactly how much garbage we find, even on what looks like a pristinely clean beach…

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We began by doing a grid study of the beach – determining where the most garbage was gathered on our beach…

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Clip boards and kids keeping their eyes peeled and picking up and recording data…

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There are always some curious and interesting finds…

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Finally, a pile of trash off the beach…

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Most of our beach trash is always fishing line, and lots of it.

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Magical Mural Painting…

More than a couple of weeks back, on July 21st, we joined our friends from San Parks to help them upgrade an underprivileged preschool, as part of their Madiba Day Project. The plan was that we would help to paint a mural, and the weather turned out to be one of the worst storms to hit the Cape the entire winter. So we did as much work as we could, but new that we had to return to paint the school at a later date. Well the weather has cleared and it was time to pull out the paints…

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I got to paint murals in Zambia, with GreenPop, this year and I was dying to get to paint a whole wall with my kids and give them the thrill of getting it done… I have to say that when we arrived the wall looked overwhelmingly bigger than I ever remembered and we only had a morning to tackle it in. So…

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Split the colours into warm and cold… we went with an animal theme… so popped some animals up on the wall. Gave the warm colours to the small people and the cool colours to the bigger ones and set them to painting… finally whip through with some black defining the lines and we were done.

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All work and no play…ahem!!!

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And there we go… what a privilege to get to paint an entire wall and it turned out to be really hard work… and totally valid fun as well.

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I know this video is sideways… so sorry. That’s us figuring how the video works, and I have no idea how to edit up after the fact, but it shows our painting process, so I added it in for you.

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And this video is just us finishing up…

Tree Planting with GreenPop

A week of volunteering would not be complete if we didn’t manage to plant a couple of trees with GreenPop, we are always checking out their website for tree planting days. On Heritage Day we were able to join them at a dog shelter up the West Coast and plant some trees and much needed potential shade for these dogs.

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It was our hardest plant days, considering more than a few of my kids are somewhat weary (afraid) of dogs… and there were a lot of dogs. It was good to see how well cared for the dogs were, but so many dogs was fairly overwhelming for my guys.

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First things first, a refresher on how to plant a tree… and then we were split into teams.

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Luckily the holes were dug for us, and it was just a matter of adding compost and fertiliser and water, and showing the trees a lot of love, to get them planted.

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My guys figured out between them, in their teams, they helped to plant twenty three trees. That’s a good effort, considering the difficult circumstances they were planting in. Little by little and bit by bit… planting trees can make a big difference to the environment.

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Of course it was fun, planting with GreenPop is always a heap of fun.

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And that was us… Some fun volunteering projects spread over a week, left us all feeling a bit like “we would like a little more!!!” We will definitely be looking for more tree planting days to join in and beach clean ups to get involved in… fun times.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Se7en at School

Se7en + 1 Questions for Homeschooling Veteran and Author, Shirley Erwee.

October 7th, 2015 · 2 Comments

A couple of weeks back I had the chance to review Shirley Erwee’s latest book, Homeschooling the Primary Years, Published by Penguin Random House South Africa. As a follow up we were lucky enough to get the chance to interview the author and find out more about her homeschooling journey. Questions and Answers that I hope will inspire many of our homeschooling readers.

Let’s Meet the Author

I’m a homeschooling mom of six children and author and co-author of various homeschool curriculum materials and I run a couple of homeschool-oriented websites. We started homeschooling in 1997 when my husband was awarded custody of my step-daughter, who was age 5 at that time. Homeschooling was a brand new concept in South Africa at that stage so I feel like I’ve ‘grown up’ with the local homeschooling community.
In her teen years, my step-daughter chose to go back to live with her mother and she attended high school, so about 3 years ago, I started researching the high school options available for my own children. I started compiling the information to share within our homeschool community and in a nutshell, that’s how my first book, Homeschooling High School came to be. When it was accepted by the publishers, they immediately asked me to write a second one focusing on the primary years, which was released in July 2015.
I am passionate about encouraging homeschooling parents and I love finding answers or tips to share with others. My latest venture is offering personal support via live online webinars for homeschooling parents. I help them find the info and answers they need to build their confidence as they set out on this educational adventure.

Se7en + 1 Questions for a Veteran Homeschooler

  1. Looking back, can you remember what was it that drew you to homeschooling?
  2. I researched homeschooling for a few weeks online before we took the plunge to try it out. I recognised the many benefits that homeschooling offers but I was sold mostly on the fact that we could give our family a good quality academic education and teach them our own family values and faith at the same time. I loved the fact that we would have the opportunity to build stronger family relationships than if our children were attending school most of the day and the freedom that it would give our family.


  3. There is so much information available about homeschooling on the internet… so much so as to be overwhelming. If you were a beginner homeschooler where would you turn for help, encouragement, mentoring?
  4. I have created a page giving ten steps for new homeschoolers to follow in order to find what I believe is the essential information for new homeschoolers. It is titled “First Aid” for New Homeschoolers and the steps include homeschooling parent books to read, seminars and webinar courses to educate parents as well as links to associations offering legal and social support for homeschoolers in South Africa. Homeschoolers in other countries should follow similar steps, but link in with their own local support groups and get legal advice that is applicable in their local circumstances.


  5. If you could begin homeschooling all over again, would you do it differently?
  6. I think I started pretty well, given the knowledge and experience I had at the time. We started slowly with only a Maths and Reading programme and we used the library for everything else. With hindsight I think I would relax more and not be so hard on myself. We homeschool mothers always feel we should be doing more, that we should be more organised, more skilled at X,Y or Z, instead of just accepting ourselves and the limits of our time, talents, skills, budget and circumstances. If we are doing the best we can on a given day, then that is good enough!


  7. If you had to give one tip to a beginner homeschooler what would it be?
  8. Do your best not to constantly doubt yourself and compare yourself with your own (false) ideals or with others. Just live in each moment and accept that homeschooling is never the same from one day to the next because real life interferes with all of our schedules, programmes and agendas. Learning to deal with that is a priceless life lesson for our children, more valuable than filling the pages of books or ticking off assignments as ‘done’.
    I am not raising my children to be factory workers or employees who have to clock in at the same time every day, stick to a schedule, take orders, get through a workload, never question anything, wear a uniform and clock out at the end of the day. I want my kids to be flexible, self-motivated and have the freedom to find their passions and pursue them and earn a living along the way. When you are self-motivated and hopefully doing what you love, you don’t need a schedule and discipline to keep at it. In a nutshell, I think being motivated and flexible is more important than being highly regimented.


  9. What has been the biggest challenge to you as a homeschooling family?
  10. Keeping our home orderly, clean and neat is a constant challenge as we are a large family. Although everyone helps, with young children especially, there always seems to be a mess somewhere.


  11. What is the one tool you would rather not have to school without?
  12. The internet. When I started there was hardly anyone I knew doing homeschooling, so my own support and learning came almost entirely from the internet and books I ordered online about homeschooling. Today, we have a super offline local support group, but the internet is a priceless learning tool for all of us.


  13. How do you deal with the bad days and the doubts that inevitably assail homeschooling parents?
  14. I’ve often fallen into that trap of comparing with other homeschoolers or my own expectations and feeling that I am not accomplishing enough, for various reasons. However, the following quote always reminds me of where to put my focus as our ‘buckets’ are never as full as I would like them to be:

    “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

    This quote reminds me that one of my goals is to equip my children with the skills they need and to nurture in them a love of learning so that they will become self-motivated and so that they can learn anything they want to or need to at any point in the future.
    Secondly, parenting and homeschooling has been and still is a huge part of a journey of spiritual growth in my life. As I’ve faced our challenges, I have had to recognise my own character weaknesses and allow God to teach me lessons about myself, about human frailty, about love and forgiveness and the nuts and bolts of building relationships.
    When homeschooling is a conviction or a choice you are committed to, then you just have to persevere and find ways to overcome the challenges.


    And the Se7en + 1th question…

  15. What has been your favourite thing about homeschooling?
  16. Being able to witness my children reaching various learning milestones first hand – accomplishments like learning to read or to master long division, and being there to help them and coach them to develop good relationships with one another.


Many thanks to Shirley Erwee and the Publisher, Penguin Random House South Africa, for providing us with this interview.

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Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #292… And a GiveAway Winner…

October 6th, 2015 · 4 Comments

Another week another desperately slow start… we obviously need some summer weather to clear the cobwebs out of our house and dash a heap of flu germs away… away… away. Spring is in the air, wherever you look and while we are lying around in recovery mode after a week of incapacity… the world appears to be leaping into action around us!!! In fact it has been about two weeks since we were in the great outdoors… and I sense our hiking feet are starting to look for a little adventure…

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Lovely Links from This Week

  1. When you are off the internet for an entire week and you return to discover fab posts like this on Nurture Store… The 21 Best HomeSchool Blogs to Follow. So many of my own faves on there… and us!!!
  2. Just the most delightful quick and crafty Fish Bowl on Krokatak… I love it!!! And a little more craftiness… these cute Yarn Monsters on the ZingZingTree!!!
  3. And Baked Eggs on a Bed of Roasted Tomatoes… on a Cup of Jo… that is looking like real wintry comfort food. Perhaps if I plan that for Saturday breakfast we will get some fabulous summery weather… life is full of contradictions!!!
  4. It is the annual 31 Days of October… a writing fest for bloggers all over the world… heaps and heaps and heaps to read and lots of lovely little inspiring surprises. There is something for everyone, including Mt. Hope Chronicles 31 Days of Book Detectives… you know you want to look at that!!!
  5. Here’s a Brave Homeschool Post that every homeschooler needs to read – everybody has been there: When Nothing is Working in your Homeschool… on Simple HomeSchool.
  6. I love that friends like Mandi at Life Your Way are not afraid to write: Breaking the Silence for Pregnancy and Infant Loss
  7. And beautiful rooms on Blossom… because interesting and inspiring rooms are one the things I pin most… can’t help myself, a kids room with a slanted roof and a map on the wall and I am totally sold!!!
  8. And an extra little link because we love Mick Manning and Brita Granstorm and I am sure everyone wants to know how to draw William Shakespeare!!!
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    Otherwise it is Bandana Season again… And if you haven’t noticed Bandanas are back in Pick’n Pay Stores… All over Pick’n Pay Stores… this is a good thing because you can do so many stunning things with a bandana and buying a bandana supports a very important cause that is dear to our hearts, take a look at The Sunflower Fund Website and see how you can support them.

    And the se7en + 1th link:

  10. A Blast From the Past:

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Book of the Week

This is a fun modernisation of What Katy Did… and if you read the classic then you will enjoy the quirky Katy in this version too. Katy is a fearless and feisty gal, the oldest of six siblings, always out there and somewhat reckless. An accident finds her in a wheelchair and having to come to terms with not only the physical constraints of that, but cope with her step-mother, who she had managed to carefully avoid up until then. Katy learns to view life from a very different perspective to the one she has always held onto so dearly… her personality carries her through… life in a big family, full of pranks and fun and getting along. This book is all about coping, if not conquering troubles, and staying cheerful while you are at it. Of course, it is Jacqueline Wilson, and so a great read… honestly you can’t go wrong.

We were given a copy of Katy by Jacqueline Wilson by Penguin Random House South Africa for review purposes. We were not paid for our review, this is not a sponsored post and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

A GiveAway Winner

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We posted a review and GiveAway post on The Giant of Jum and a Giant Mug GiveAway… and today we announce the winner:

All the entries…

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All together now…
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And the winner is:
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Chrish Sep 30, 2015 at 5:32 pm My favourite is a freshly baked cake in a mug with a dollop of ice cream.

Congratulations Chrish, you can look forward to hearing from us soonest…

We would like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for supplying us with the Giant of Jum Mug. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed in it are as usual, entirely our own.

That’s us… Hope your weekend was a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you!!!

→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Sunday Snippet: The Wilderness Will Rejoice and Blossom…

October 6th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Our Bible Verse of the Week…

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Isaiah 35:1-2a

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
The wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
It will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

Week by Week

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