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

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Se7en’s February for 2015…

February 1st, 2015 · No Comments


Welcome to February… Just cannot believe that February is here already…

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Click on the calendar page, it will open in a new tab, print it out (landscape works better) and then colour it and fill in the days that you want to celebrate… pop it on the fridge and you are good to go. You can still find all the calendar pages down the right hand side of our website and they are all gathered together in our Almanac page for easy searching… If you have holidays or ideas that you would like to add then please go ahead and comment, I would love to have our calendars packed to the brim!!!

Here you go:

  • 1 February: Robinson Crusoe Day
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  • 1 February: National Baked Alaska Day.
  • 2 February: Groundhog Day
  • 3 February: Elmo’s Birthday
  • 4 February 1902: Charles Lindbergh’s Birthday (1902 – 1974).
  • 4 February 1913: Rosa Parks Birthday (1913 – 2005).
  • 5 February: Western Monarch Day (U.S.A.)
  • 6 February 1895: Babe Ruth’s Birthday (1895 – 1948)
  • 6 February 1935: Monopoly Board Game.
  • 6 February 1911: Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004).
  • 7 February 1812: Charles Dickens Birthday (1812 – 1870)
  • 7 February 1867: Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 – 1957).
  • 8 February 1828: Jules Verne (1828 – 1905).
  • 9 February 1894: Hershey Chocolate Founded (1894).
  • 9 February: Clean out Your Computer Day.
    • With only se7en bazillion photographs, not to mention millions of emails on my computer I was happy to allow this day to pass totally uncelebrated.
  • 11 February 1990: Nelson Mandela Released (1990).
  • 11 February 1847: Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931).
  • 12 February 1809: Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865).
  • 12 February 1809: Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882).
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    It’s less than a month until International Book Giving Day…

  • 14 February: World Book Giving Day.

  • 14 February: Valentines Day.
  • 14 February: Ferris Wheel Day.
  • 15 February 1564: Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642).
  • 16 February: Presidents Day.
  • 18 February 1930: Pluto Discovered.
  • 18 February: World Whale Day.
  • 19 February 1473: Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543).
  • 20 February 1962: John Glen orbits the earth.
  • 20 February: Toothpick patented (1872).
  • 22 February 1732: George Washington (1732 – 1799).
  • 23 February 1997: Dolly the Sheep Cloned.
  • 24 February: Wilhelm Grimm (1786 – 1859).
  • 25 February 1841: Pierre Renoir (1841 – 1919).
  • 26 February 1846: Buffalo Bill (1846 – 1917).
  • 26 February 1829: Levi Strauss (1829 – 1902)
  • 27 February: Polar Bear Day.
  • 27 February 1807: Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow (1807 – 1882).
  • 28 February 1953: DNA discovered (1953).
  • → No CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

    Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun… #261

    January 31st, 2015 · No Comments

    What a week… what a week… between power failures and internet crashing… and blog posts begun and heaps of folk with summer colds, well blogging didn’t really happen. In fact not a whole lot of anything happened. So here’s a Friday Fun Post to get back into the rhythm of things…

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    GiveAways Galore

    Last weekend we had a weekend of GiveAways and you have twenty four hours left to enter them… please click on the image and enter away…

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    A Little Miracle Onsie, for a Great Cause, from Spree.

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    Marigold and the Faraway Tree… from RandomStruik.

    The Happy Christian by David Murray, this is an excellent read.


    Lovely Links from This Week

    1. Probably the most useful link I have ever posted: 27 Diagrams That Making Cooking so much Easier…
    2. You have to look at this “Rock and Mineral” project on Oh Happy Day – it is delightful!!!
    3. Gotta Love: Tinkerlab’s Daily SketchBook Challenge.
    4. How are these stunning Lunch Jars: Making Lunches Easy this Year with Salads in Jars on A Beautiful Mess.
    5. And since we are in Jars: Take a peak at Design Mom’s Flavoured Sugars.
    6. Food for Thought: 13 Ways You Waste Your Money… Tim Challies.
    7. Learn How to Say NO by Jon Acuff… because we all need to know this.
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      It’s less than a month until International Book Giving Day…

      And the se7en + 1th link:

    9. A Blast From the Past:

    Book of the Week

    War of the Roses: Trinity by Conn Iggulden and published by Penguin Books:

    A year ago we reviewed the first in this series and I loved it, what can a say, but I preferred the second. Be warned: The War of the Roses by Conn Iggulden is a series that gets better as it goes along. These are fat historical sagas that take you back to the 1450’s and immerse you in the world of King Henry VI. King Henry VI continues to be weak and frail, and he leaves a gap for so many heroes to rush to the fore and fight the fight the good fight in the name of all that is good and noble and English. There are heaps of battle scenes that you find yourself spinning through them. And there is an heir to the throne… these are exciting times indeed and this is an exciting read. This book is obviously about real people who lived and fought their way across the English countryside… I have a feeling that after reading this you will want to take a little trip and see exactly where the book went on. If you are keen on historical sagas then you will really love this series.

    Conn Iggulden’s War of the Roses: Trinity was given to us for review purposes by Penguin books South Africa, we were not paid for this review and the opinions expressed are our own.

    That’s us… Hope your weekend is a fabulous one…

    → No CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

    The Week That Was – #206

    January 29th, 2015 · 8 Comments

    And a Week That Was Post… How can it possibly be almost the end of the month already?

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    Our days appear to be all about the splash right now…

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    Swimming, swimming and more swimming…

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    Spot the Hood… he is up there…

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    And load-shedding, even the lighthouse was out, though I would have thought they functioned off the grid somehow. Surely the light has to keep on burning?

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    And new neighbours… these folk have arrived on our block…

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    We blogged about se7en + 1 things we would like to try each week this year… and we are popping our 52 Weeks progress into our Week that Was post… accountability and all that!!!

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    Our 52 Week Challenge

    1. Walk of the Week: Just too words for our walk this week: “very, early.”
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    3. Game of the Week: I might have had visions of working through our board game collection, that isn’t happening so much. And while endless games of Sorry are being played on a daily basis… it is Chess that is standing out by miles. Chess tournaments are the rage over here and while some small folk might be reinventing the game others are getting better and better at it.
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    5. My Just Because Book:
    6. This was just totally delightful… I have had this on my “must read list” for the longest time and when I spotted it on a friend’s shelf I dived straight in. I think the word is delightful, I loved every second. Written in the format of a number of letters between folk in post war England. Letters speed to and fro over the channel between the Guernsey Islands and London, it is at once intriguing and lovely. As the reader you feel like a fly on the wall, you literally sense the letters dashing onto the page… really really enjoyed this one.

    7. Letter of the Week: Everybody had their letter writing hats on this week… thank you letters were written and “I love you letters” between little friends. And I even managed two letters off the list of letter recipients… This holding yourself to a weekly letter could actually work!!!
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    9. Organizing Project of the Week: This week was all about me, just getting myself sorted. Getting an I.D. book (it has been years since a particular child put mine through the washer), renewing my driver’s license, and even an eye appointment – for myself, not a child!!! Nothing short of miraculous… but sometimes a mother needs to gather her wits about her… and that means getting myself sorted!!!
    10. Recipe of the Week: And after all that blogging about bread last week… Totally never gave recipes a thought, let alone writing one into our book!!!
    11. Our View from the Deck: I cannot believe I will keep this up for 365 days… nearly a month, and I am wondering if I can do eleven more of the same!!!
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    13. Our Challenge of the Week: Deserves it’s own post, and it follows this one… It’s a scientific challenge and I am so looking forward to posting it!!!


    There is a certain person that seems to think that wrapping pipe cleaners around your pencil is a way of getting work done. it might have crossed my mind the “not so much” about the school thing, but those pencils do look pretty funky!!!

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    And our garden is growing… really growing and we are feasting on the rewards…

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    We may even get corn out of this!!!

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    Someone is always up a tree…

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    My little guys rediscovered this recently and they play and play and play… the most popular toy around here by miles!!!

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    It is definitely the season of make your own meals…

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    Artwork of the Week

    This teeny tiny witches hat… there might be folk over here just slightly fascinated with all things Winnie the Witch!!!

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    The Book of the Week

    My three youngest are switching and swapping these books around at the library each week and making sure that between them they bring home a stack of Winie the Witch Books. They have passed the “read again and again and again test.”

    And a Snapshot in Time

    Hood #1:

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    Hood #2:

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    Hood #3:

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    Hood #4:

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    Hood #5:

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    Hood #6:

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    Hood #7:

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    Hood #8:

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    That’s us… Hoping you all have the most fantastic week!!!

    → 8 CommentsTags: The Week that Was

    Sunday Snippet: You Have Searched Me, Lord…

    January 27th, 2015 · 4 Comments

    Our Bible Verse of the Week…

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    Psalm 139:1,2

    You have searched me, Lord,

    and you know me.

    You know when I sit and when I rise;

    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

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    → 4 CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

    A Weekend of GiveAways: And David Murray’s The Happy Christian…

    January 26th, 2015 · 18 Comments

    Our weekend of GiveAways is coming to an end and this is one you really should be interested in. This book arrived on my desk with lots of reasons to grab it with both hands, and I will get to those later. Not to mention heaps of recommendations. I was curious to read a book called “The Happy Christian” because let’s face it, that sounds like a collection of “blessed little thoughts.” But I have reviewed David Murray’s books before and after having spent the entire weekend reading it, I can honestly say… this is one of the most practical and optimistic books that I have read in ages.

    About The Book

    Here’s the thing… I wouldn’t recommend that you read this book in a weekend, compelling as it is… and I will have to go back and reread it more slowly. This book is essentially a “challenge in every chapter” kind of book. If you have found your joy somewhat lacking, if you have felt like you are wading trough your days instead of flying, if you have felt like things would be better if only you would do any number of good and intentional things in you life, then I highly recommend this book. This book will change your thinking about happiness… it is achievable and not just for a special select few. In this book David Murray has combined recent scientific research, with Biblical truths, to create a practical read, a workbook really, on the how and where to find this mysterious happiness. It really helps that he introduces many personal anecdotes – these make the book relatable. I’ll be honest and say, it is not hard to find your own self lurking in the pages… amidst the paragraphs on self-doubt and “I should be doing better,” there are lots of nuggets of information.

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    I thought I would post some of the notes I made from reading the book, but I realise that out of context and without the depth of writing around them they look somewhat “peh.” We all know that we can’t change the facts of a situation and we all know that our thoughts directly affect our emotions and that we can train our brains, just like our bodies, to think different thoughts… that is not really the point. The point is how do you do all that… this book provides the how on every level and more, it provides biblical examples on how to achieve this. One of my favourite verses is Philippians 4:8, don’t even ask certain folk in our house how many times they have written it out, gets a whole chapter. Just how to think about whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable… this is a life skill in a world where the media knows that “bad news sells.”

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    Once you have worked your way through this book, and yes, though it is an easy going read, it is dense, there is tons of information on these pages, and it is quite a work. I made copious notes, excuse me there are action points and things to do, references that I wanted to follow up on and so on, but I digress. Once you have worked your way through this book, you are not going to have that warm happy glow that you see in marketing campaigns, or that content feeling that you get after a throughly good classic or enjoyed a feast with friends. You are going to have lots of actionable things to do, practical things that you can think about and be intentional about, these things will quite likely change the way that you think about happiness.

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    Make no mistake, this is not a quick fix for years of depression, nor is a diatribe about “positive thinking,” this book is unlikely to lift your spirits if you are in the depths of despair, but it will provide useful help that goes way, way beyond the pithy sayings folk like to offer us when we are down. Practical and doable help, that a person can choose to work on and exercise, in order to discover happiness for themselves. If you have ever wondered why christian joy appears to be so elusive, and out of reach and why is there such a disconnect between the written Word and the faces sitting in the pews around you on a Sunday morning, then look no further. Not only does this book provide the connection but it is an excellent read as well. If you are looking for a good book to get your year off to a good start, then this book is a really good choice.

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    Image from The Happy Christian Website.

    Book Bits and Pieces

    This book is available for pre-order now and if you order before the 24 February 2015, then you will receive a bundle of practical goodies worth $100 to go with your book. In the bundle you will find a study guide to the book, devotionals, not to mention films, an impending app, and so much more.

    The GiveAway

    So we have a copy of this book to GiveAway to a reader anywhere in the world. If the reader is within the Continental United States of America or Canada, they will receive a physical copy of the book and a winner outside of that area will receive an e-book copy. This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of 31 January 2015. We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after that. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I 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. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!

    I would like to thank the publishers, Thomas Nelson and the author, David Murray, for asking if we would like to review this book and for the opportunity to offer it as a GiveAway on our website. We are not paid to write our reviews and the opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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    → 18 CommentsTags: GiveAways and Swaps · Sunday Snippet

    A Weekend of GiveAways: Marigold and the Faraway Tree….

    January 25th, 2015 · 26 Comments

    We promised a weekend of GiveAways and here is GiveAway number two. Let us introduce you to: Marigold and the Faraway Tree by Alison Fast and illustrated by Wendy Paterson…

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    This is a sweet story of a gal called Marigold… who discovers a tree… the kind of tree that childhood is made of. This is a tree where dreams are dreamt, swings are swung… and the flowers are magical. This is a welcoming tree, of the cool shady kind on hot summer days and the warm cozy spot on cold winter days.

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    The life of the tree, is interwoven with the story of Marigold… her friends and the real dilemmas that arise between little friends… friendships are restored, the tree follows the seasons… (spoiler alert) Marigold has to move, and her experience of moving away from her friends and tree are somewhat bittersweet, and as she says farewell to the tree… so the tree drops a leaf in her hands. The tree will go on…

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    The first thing that you will love about this book is the beautiful illustrations… and my three youngest kids literally swooned over the bright colours and then magical sweetness of them… these illustrations are full of colourful hearts, and hidden animals: chameleons, and peacocks and nests filled with baby birds, little butterflies and bugs. There is lots and lots of loveliness to look at on every page.

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    Another thing we love about Marigold and the Faraway Tree is that it is set in one of our local hang-outs: Imhoff Farm It is a place we have been visiting for years and years and years… we have spent many lazy days playing under huge trees, just like this one in the fields at Imhoff farm, picnics with friends, sketchbook afternoons and it is the place that we discovered how to make cheese. Oh the joy for a book set in your own neighbourhood. There is a lot to be said for culturally relevant stories for children. There are not many picture books about our actual neighbourhood, but I believe their is something fundamentally important about reading a story that you can literally get lost in. As we read this story we can hear the sounds of buzzing summer insects, the cawing peacocks, you can hear the horses in the field beside the tree chomping the grass… you can hear the tinckle of the goat’s bells… and you can smell the coffee wafting over from the coffee shop!!!


    And finally, behind the story is a secondary story about trees… and while this is an exceptional tree… let’s face it trees are the best for playing, hiding, exploring, reading, clambering. We kind of love trees over here. This book is one of those that will make you want to get outdoors and take a closer look at the trees around you. And often when you go hunting, for little hiding spots amidst the branches or little magical surprises amongst the roots you actually do find them.


    The GiveAway

    RandomStruik together with the author, Alison Fast have given us a copy of the book to GiveAway to our readers… All you have to do is leave a comment before the end of play on the 31 January 2015. Go ahead and leave a comment. We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after that. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway.

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    Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!

    We would like to thank Random Struik and Alison Fast for the GiveAway. We were given two copies of the book, one to GiveAway and one to review. We were not paid to write this review and all opinions expressed are as usual our own.

    → 26 CommentsTags: GiveAways and Swaps

    A Weekend of GiveAways: A Little Miracle Onsie from Spree…

    January 24th, 2015 · 20 Comments

    So just when we had found our new year blogging rhythm… and a week of less than intermittent internet I have decided to declare it a Weekend of GiveAways… The first GiveAway is brought to you by Spree and Little Miracles. Now you know how we love babies over here and you know how we love a good cause. Well here is a product that combines both… I think I need to hear a wahoo…

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    Recently together with Jo-Ann Strauss and Keedo launched their Little Miracles Zippy Babygro… I have to say that over here, a zippy onsie is hard to find, but we have a precious friend in the United States that sent us one each time we had a baby. The truth is they are really just the best for easy peasy night-time changes. Literally, unzip, change diaper, zip-up and pop the babe back into bed before they even know they were out of bed. Yup, zippy onesies are pretty wonderful, infact anything that makes night time parenting easier is a little wonderful.

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    The joy of these onesies, is that not only are they a great product, but they were created with a great cause in mind. For every onsie sold an underprivileged family of six will receive a balanced meal. Honestly, I had to find out more… this sounded too good to be true. Last year I blogged about the desperate food situation in our country, where for so many of folk malnutrition is quite literally a way of life. The problem with malnutrition is that it is such an overwhelming situation, that most of us just don’t know where to start. Well here is a project, initiated by a group of folk that just weren’t overwhelmed and instead came up with a doable project.

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    And a happy delivery day…

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    I am guessing these guys enjoyed every moment of it…

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    When Spree contacted us and asked us to spread the word about these cute Little Miracle Onsies and their project to raise meals for kids suffering from malnutrition, we jumped at the chance. Little Miracle Onsies are available online at Spree, and we are giving one lucky reader a onesie. These little Miracle Zippy Onsies are 100% cotton, available in four sizes: newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months and 6-9 months and three colours: neutral stone, blue or pink.

    The GiveAway

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    Spree is a South African online store and will deliver the prize to the winner anywhere in South Africa, but we support this project so completely, that anybody world wide can enter and if an overseas reader is the winner we will happily mail it on to you. So anyone anywhere, is welcome to leave a comment, before the end of play on 31 January 2015, and help us feed a family.

    Thank you to Spree for the fantastic Giveaway and Jo-Ann Strauss and Keedo for initiating such a great project. All photographs are thanks to Spree and Keedo. We were not paid to write this post and all opinions expressed are as usual our own.

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