se7en

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

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Se7en + 1 Meet Alan Glass, the Author of Oliver’s Outline… And a GiveAway…

April 17th, 2015 · 7 Comments

It appears to be a week of books on our blog… settle in there are going to be books abounding. Oliver’s Outline is a new picture book on the block, by Alan Glass and illustrated by Sandy Lightly, published by PanMacmillan South Africa. Earlier this week we met up with author, Alan Glass and what a fun and lively interview followed around our kitchen table. We have a copy of his new book, Oliver’s Outline, to Give Away to one of our readers…

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The Book: Oliver’s Outline

Oliver’s Outline is the story of an ordinary looking lad, in an ordinary looking house, with an ordinary looking family… but look again. Oliver has no outline, he is different and he is troubled to find himself different. His parents encourage a very tentative Oliver to head out into the world and seek his outline. Oliver bravely heads out into the world on a fantastic adventure. As the adventure unfolds so more and more outline appears in the illustrations, and finally Oliver realises that he is complete. This book is about a young person who feels that he can’t “fit in” because he is different… Only to discover somewhat triumphantly that he is quite complete just as he is. The book is written in rhyme and this, along with the illustrations, makes the book. You want to read along just to hear the rhythm play it’s way out… and to see Oliver succeed. I have to say our copy of the book is looking somewhat worn already, it has been read and re-read… not to mention inspired an afternoon art session. My younger guys sat around the table painting folk without outlines… fun times!!!

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Let’s Talk to the Author, Alan Glass

Alan Glass is a South African author, who lives in our neighbourhood… they seem to flourish here. He recently wrote Oliver’s Outline, but he is clearly a man of many talents, with lots of interesting and creative jobs under his belt. Not least of which was creating a heap of parent friendly music for kids and number of books to go with it. Let me just say… bravery award to the author who isn’t afraid to take on se7en+1 kids all at once and answer a barrage of questions…

  1. Let’s talk about your typical day: First thing… he makes his bed, (one or two hoods nearly fell off their chairs), because it makes it highly unlikely that one will clamber back into bed. Next he takes his dogs for a walk on the beach or on our mountain… yes, we share a mountain and I cannot fathom why we haven’t bumped into him before. Then he sits at his desk and does business things – email and what not… before heading out for meetings. He creates whenever and wherever he is inspired, and ends his day by walking his dogs… Clearly he has very energetic dogs!!!
  2. Let’s talk about kid books: He is a huge advocate of reading. he took a while to get reading, in fact he wasn’t a huge reader as a kid… but he had three older sisters who read heaps to him when he was a kid and he loves everything Dr. Seuss as a result. His favourite book ever… well that would be The Book Thief.

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  3. Let’s talk about what he is reading right now: He always has a pile of book that he reads simultaneously. Recently he read Lewis Pugh’s book: 21 Yaks and a Speedo. Clearly I need to read this book, so many folk have highly recommended it.
  4. Let’s talk about this book: He had this book lurking around in his head for a while, he was dying to write it. Writing books like this – well this is the work he wants to be doing. He hates dumbing down books for kids – do I hear a hooray!!! – He has a glossary at the back of his picture book so that kids (or their parents), can look up any words they might find tricky… Words like glossary are in the glossary. He was also proud to show us a reference, a salute really, to his father… hidden in “the class photograph” – so clever, I love it.
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  6. Let’s talk about food: He really wanted to talk about food… apparently he loves food… all food… which makes it somewhat difficult to answer a question about his favourite foods. But chocolate ranks high. And he always works with a cup of coffee or tea beside him. He loves eating out, but he also loves to cook in. A favourite dish… hmmm something with pasta.
  7. Let’s talk about ambitions: As a young child he coveted a gold album on the wall at his aunt’s house… he wanted to have one too. He stayed strong in his dream and did get his Gold and Platinum Albums with his Beautiful Creature Cds.
  8. Let’s talk about the future: His enthusiasm is contagious and he so enjoyed writing Oliver’s Outline… he would love to write more books like it.
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    And the se7en + 1th thing…

  10. Let’s talk about advice: Be careful what you wish for, wishes tend to come true… Here’s a book in itself, he had several examples of things that he had wished for that really did come true… only what he wished for wasn’t exactly what he wanted and those wishes might have ever so slightly missed the mark.

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The GiveAway

We have a copy of Oliver’s Outline to GiveAway… This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before 23 April 2015 and tell us “where you would go on an adventure.” We will draw and publish the winners in the following Fabulous Fun Post. 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!!!

We would love to thank Alan Glass so very much for spending time with us and we would like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa who provided us with two copies of the book, one for review purposes and the other for a giveAway. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to write the review and the opinions are as usual entirely our own.

→ 7 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books · GiveAways and Swaps

Brilliant Books: Sweet, Sam Linsell’s New Cook Book…

April 16th, 2015 · 4 Comments

I have been a fan of Sam Linsell for the longest time… her photography is out of this world and she manages to add a twist or a tweak to a plate of food and suddenly it is a work of art… really. Her food photography so often leaves you with that “have you ever…” feeling, more than once I left a comment on her instagram account to say I wish we were neighbours. Anyway, I was lucky enough to get a copy of her latest book, published by Penguin Random House South Africa, to review. And I was so excited to see if we could vaguely get her recipes to come close to her photographs…

This book is packed with treats and delights. Everything in moderation and all that… these recipes transform a normal cup of tea into something special. The chapters are: Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate, Fruit and More Sweet… and the recipes range from bakes and cakes to ice-creams and granita, hot desserts and summer coolers, plenty of drinks to concoct… If you are looking for a little something… be it a teatime treat or a dinner party dessert, you will definitely find a recipe that you can create within the covers of this well thought out cook book.


Se7en + 1 Reasons to Love This Book

  1. A book with an entire chapter on caramel… should I go on…
  2. I was surprised at how easy her recipes were to recreate. They look so fabulous that, honestly, I thought they would be difficult… I couldn’t have been more wrong, in fact some of the recipes my kids dived in and went ahead… what’s not love a book about a kid grabbing your cookbook and baking away.
  3. I thought the recipes would have exotic ingredients… but no… easy to find and ready at hand. Ingredients like flour, sugar, butter… really ingredients you have. Occasionally there will be a special seasonal ingredient… for example in the fruit section, but typically all goodies that are readily available.
  4. I love recipe books with just one recipe on a page… and a photograph of what you are aiming for, and this is exactly that.
  5. The Conversion tables at the back of the book are actually useful… including ingredient specific conversions… how useful is this fact: how many grams of chocolate chips in a cup? or nuts, or oats…
  6. It has a useful index – you have no idea how useful it is to find a recipe book with an actually useful index… there is nothing worse than a cookbook that has recipes like: granny’s favourite cupcakes in the index… when those cupcakes are mini apple pies.
  7. This book is packed with potential gifts and recipes to turn a regular cup of tea into a sweet banquet.
  8. This book has been made with love and written by someone who loves her craft… it shines through on every page.


Se7en + 1 Fabulous Recipes We Tried

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  1. Vanilla French doughnuts with a lemony glaze: Firstly these don’t last… they are designed to be eaten instantly. Just give them a few seconds to cool down and they will be gone. I have to say – had I known how easy it was to make donuts then I would have probably been making these for years… the lemon glaze on top is just the perfect touch.
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  3. The very best shortbread ever: Shortbread, honestly, is not my favourite recipe to make – because it very often turns into a massive crumbly mess… but when a recipe claims to be the very best shortbread recipe in the world I had to give it a try. She’s right this is very VERY good shortbread and tucked into a tin it looks so pretty… this could well be my “go to gift” of the future.
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  5. Salted caramel sauce: Another case of “had I known how how easy it was to make this…” not to mention that you most likely have the ingredients for it in your house as I speak… I knew that I needn’t bother to put this into a jar. Straight into a bowl and pass folk a teaspoon… Obviously you are meant to use this as a topping on just about anything, but we didn’t get anywhere near there!!!
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  7. Churros with Baileys chocolate sauce: This recipe is very similar to the doughnut recipe above, but the first wet wintry day we have had all year and they were just perfect. They are pretty quick and easy to make and my kids are going to love these over the winter. Ours of course look noting like the beautiful ones in the cook book… but this is not the recipe to worry about appearances, it is the yummy taste that wins the day.
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  9. All-white chocolate rocky road: Oh so easy… and the coconut just took this rocky road to the very next level of yummy. Here is a really quick treat that my kids were very keen to create and have ready in a flash for a quick snack. So easy, so quick and so delicious.
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  11. Limoncello tiramisu: If you teach your children nothing else in the kitchen, may I suggest that you teach them how to make tiramisu… for the simple reason that it is really easy, really impressive and you can make it well ahead of time. Not to mention the left overs, should there be any are simply heaven.
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  13. Banana and cinnamon crumpets: These have an unusual ingredient, which makes them fluffy and light… I have to say that I don’t often treat my kids to pancakes… because trust me, even multiple batches are never ever enough. Interestingly the child, who really can’t abide bananas, probably ate the most of them… the vanilla and cinnamon may well have been enough to disguise them.
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  15. Rooibos iced tea with ginger, lime and litchi: We have been looking for a good iced-tea recipe for the longest time and this one covered all the bases… Most iced-tea recipes contain buckets of sugar, but this recipe adds fresh fruit juice and squeezed juice from a couple of citrus fruits to sweeten the flavour. It was a great summer afternoon treat…

This book has so many more recipes that we still want to try and I fully intend to leave it lying around in the hopes that our children will pick it up and make something in it to surprise us, in the best possible way..

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We really want to thank Penguin Random House South Africa for the copy of the book for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are as always entirely our own.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books · Monday Munchies · Reviews

The Week That Was… #210

April 14th, 2015 · 4 Comments

So we missed a couple of Weeks that Were Posts, which means that we have been busy busy busy… here comes a round up of the life and times. Firstly, and you know how we deny the change in season, but changes are indeed a foot, just to give our friends in the northern hemisphere a little reassurance.

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The mornings are crisp and the days are glorious, the sun rises later and sets earlier. We have had a couple of weeks off school, which means we are in the thick of a bazillion projects and cannot fathom how we ever fit a days work in to our busy lives…

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Just one of our trees has spotted the change in the seasons… and I am guessing we are going to have to go on a hunt for Autumn fairly soon. As is our tradition.

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And otherwise our corn outgrew the picture frame…

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The surf is up…

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And the moon’s been out…

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Definitely the season for beach ambles…

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And watching the world go by…

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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: We have been conquering mountains… as one does…
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  3. Game of the Week:
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  5. My Just Because Book: I rediscovered an old favourite author of mine… Sharon Penmam writes glorious historical novels set in old England, when knights were knights and kings were kings. I had simply forgotten how much I enjoyed her writing, and discovered a whole new series set in the eleven hundreds… I will definitely be looking for more of these in the library and going back and re-reading her epic series that I read previously. If you enjoy historical novels and books set in way back when… then look out for Sharon Penman.
  6. Letter of the Week: Not only have letters been written… but surprise of surprise… they have been mailed!!!
  7. Organizing Project of the Week: This might not look like organising to you… but if I tell you that that bird feeder has been hanging on the edge of a book case for about three years… just saying, getting things done.
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  9. Recipe of the Week: Finally, finally recipes are being written into the recipe book… I have dropped all expectations – there will be no magical lettering or beautiful watercolours to go with these… simply recipes, our faves… all in one place in a book. Sometimes you have to settle for “good enough” and get the job done.
  10. Our View from the Deck: We have managed a photo a day for 100 days – seriously an achievement… and this is a view of our one tomato, hiding behind a little green teapot… and clearly we will never ever be tomato farmers.
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Otherwise…

There have been races…

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And beach days…

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And… train spotting…

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Really train spotting…

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The girls in our gang conquered the Pick’n Pay Ladies Walk…

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And we had a bus trip through the Nature Reserve – high excitement!!!

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Play has been continuous…

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The sense that the endless summer may not be forever means that play has become slightly more intense than usual…

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Garden projects… and overland adventures…

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Adorable visitors…

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And alarming visitors…

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And late night ice-creams… because… endless summer…

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The Artwork of the Week

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There has been plenty of artwork,

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You just can’t beat beach art…

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The Book of the Week

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We spotted this in the library and we loved it totally… it brought back so many recipes of our visit to London and we read it again and again… Just pure loveliness and we are going to have to look out for more books in this series, for sure.

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!!!

→ 4 CommentsTags: The Week that Was

Sunday Snippet: I Will Instruct You And Teach You…

April 14th, 2015 · No Comments

Our Bible Verse of the Week…

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Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye on you.


Week by Week

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→ No CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

Saturday Spot: NoordHoek Community Food Market…

April 13th, 2015 · 2 Comments

We have been meaning to go to the Noordhoek Community Food Market for the longest time, and last week we finally made it…

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There is a very playful atmosphere as you arrive and folk from all walks of life were arriving, some from the office and some from the beach…

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The food hall is filled with wonderful things to eat…

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Prepare yourself for some serious decision making…

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Honestly we were having such a good time, with all of us making different decisions and choices that we could swap and share, that I almost completely forgot to take photographs.

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There were lots of folk there, perhaps because it was school holidays and the most spectacular evening…

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There are plenty of picnic tables set up and rolling lawns for picnic blankets…

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We settled ourselves halfway between the crowds of people and the sunset…

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Because the sunset…

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Oh the sunset…

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Is totally…

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Worth waiting for…

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Thursday Nights from 16:30 to 18:30 at Cape Point Vineyards

So if you find yourselves free on a Thursday evening… don’t do what we did and leave it forever… get yourself over there, it is really worth your while.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Outings · Restaurants · Saturday Spot

Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun #270

April 13th, 2015 · No Comments

The season is changing… and we are in the glorious days of endless summer days and crispy cold mornings…

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Well as you can imagine we are hanging on to the endless summer days and late night treats for ice-cream sure help to create that endless summer feeling…

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Lovely Links from This Week

  1. Oh these masks… What a great celebration of the Ocean!!!
  2. I keep telling everyone I know to listen to the Sarah MacKenzie’s Read-A-Loud Revival… to the point of exasperation… but here she is on Simple Homeschool and she can tell you all about it herself!!!
  3. Babble, Dabble Do’s 25 DIY Toys to make at home… yes please!!!
  4. Zoe at Playing by the Book just reviewed a book that I keep hearing about everywhere: You Have to Look at 100 Great Children’s Picture Books.
  5. Leo Babauta loves to challenge, here’s food for thought: Your Internet Habits Create Your Reality.
  6. Heather Sander’s never fails to post great, well thought out, researched homeschool posts: Can’t Keep Up: 11 Ways to Simplifying Next Year’s Homeschool Curriculum.
  7. I loved Megan Tietz’s blog Sorta Crunchie… well she just launched her new podcast Sorta Awesome… chatty, fun, moms chatting, their challenges, their thoughts and more…
  8. And the se7en + 1th link:


    A Blast From the Past:


Book of the Week:

I read a book from start to finish… actually more than one, a passport queue can do that to a person. So many folk have been reading, and writing about this book that I just had to take a look at it. This is a book about tidying up never again… and I think for a lot of folk it would be eye-opening. I literally inhaled it. Finally I have met someone who embraces… if you don’t love it get rid of it… I felt for her frustrations at growing up in a house of hoarders… Not so much because I grew up in a house of hoarders (and I did), but because I live with nine other people who battle to get rid of anything. I am the family “toss-it-out” person and I am vigilant about it. To be honest I didn’t embrace all of it… I am not about to thank our possessions as we leave and enter our home, for “bringing us joy.” But trust me I am inspired to chuck a whole lot more than I already have. I love that she provides real solutions to tossing out those things that prove difficult… things that have been gifted, things that you loved in the past, but not so much anymore. My closet is well, at a minimum… and books I am forever weeding out… because there is only so much space.

But it is time to say good-bye to a whole lot of dishes in our kitchen that I never use, crafty materials that we are never getting round too… not to mention it is time for another toy reduction. While we only have a very select collection of toys… I see that my kids only play with their faves within the collection… so it is time to lose a few more. f you are about to embark on a galactic declutter then this would be a great place to start and it will save you money, as she says – don’t waste money on storage – just get rid of the stuff. Honestly, we live in an are of “over-availability” there is just no need to stockpile anything. The question is, how do I convince the rest of my family to embrace my “lose it if you don’t love it” attitude. Honestly, I can’t change them… I can do my bit and my older kids were quite keen to read a book that I read with such enthusiasm… I think this could well be a book I just mention as a “quick read that they might want to dip into.” In a nutshell, this is a book filled with practical ideas on how to get rid of – or release – the stuff that is stifling you in your home.


The Penguin Waddle

Follow the Waddle… throughout this week:

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And that’s us… hope your weekend is packed with fun and heaps of reading!!!

→ No CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

There was a Birthday in the House…

April 12th, 2015 · 12 Comments

There is nothing I can do about it… they just keep growing up. Suddenly my sweet gal is 14 years old. It has been a couple of months since we celebrated a birthday over here and this gal knows how to celebrate in style!!! Earlier this week there was an entire day of baking!!!

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Happy Brilliant Birthday Hood #3

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The girl with the camera at hand…

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Who would bake every single day given the chance…

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The girl with the ready smile…

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Always up for a laugh…

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The girl who can swim for hours…

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The girl who is not afraid of working hard…

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The girl who cares about the world we live in…

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And isn’t afraid to take a stand…

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The girl who loves her friends with all her heart…

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And the gal that really believes in a good cause…

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The gal who reads so many books, the rest of us just cannot keep up with her…

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The gal who is not afraid to try new hairdos…

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And is up for adventuring with the best of them…

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The gal who is the very best big sister…

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Seriously…

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To the gal that is going places…

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I salute you…

You are full of surprises, you are fearfully and wonderfully made… Wishing you the best year ahead, may fourteen be filled with magical adventures and loads of adventures.

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Time Really Does Fly When You Are Having Fun…

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→ 12 CommentsTags: Home Truths · Our Events