Here is a fun series of books, new to us, that we have really enjoyed. They are picture books, and each page is beautifully illustrated. The writing just slightly harder than an easy reader, but easier than a chapter book. They made fabulous books to read to our younger children and the middle ones enjoyed reading them for themselves. The stories are about great christian heroes and we are all for books that provide our children with heroes relating to their christian heritage.
The story of Mary Jones in an unforgettable one. A young girl, growing up in Wales and poor as can be. She dreams of going to school and learning to read. The arrival of a village teacher means that this dream is achieved… but like most dreams one dream leads to another. Because she can read she is allowed to read from the village bible and she begins to dream of owning her own bible. The price of a bible is far beyond her means and her parents encourage her to save… she does odd jobs for people in the village and works hard to achieve her goal. After six years of saving her precious coins she finally has enough money to purchase a bible… and this leads to the next challenge. Mary Jones did not live in a time when you could just visit the nearest book store. Turns out she has to walk 25 miles on her own to the next village… and when the now teenage, Mary arrives at the door of the local church to buy a bible, the minister does not have one readily available. Upon hearing here tale and the years of perseverance that went into her journey, he manages to find a bible for her, in her mother tongue – Welsh. The minister is so caught up by her story that he carries it to London where he shares it, in an effort to get more bibles made – available to the folk in Wales… this sparks the idea of bible translation and so one little girls dream sparked an idea that would bring so many people the world over, a bible in their own language.
You can read an interesting printable of her story on the Bible Society Webpage, as well as a look at a map of her journey, which I love – filled with photographs and tips to help you achieve the two to three day hike, talk about stepping back in time.
So many stories have been written about David Livingston, and to be honest I didn’t think our kids would go for yet another retelling. But I was wrong, my middle boys loved this book – they read it with enthusiasm and kept dashing to tell me more, before they read on. It may be the way that the book begins that caught their attention: He was the second son of seven children… they lived in one room with no electricity or heating… My kids relate to that well, they have stayed in one room homes and they understand being one of many. They were really inspired about the effort he put in to studying – David Livingstone didn’t give up, or uses circumstances as an excuse. He wanted to learn and he studied after work, late into the evening he attended night-school, only to get up before dawn the next day to work in the spinning mill. And as for the adventure, the traveling into Africa as a young family, being put to the test of courage time and time again… well this really peaked their interest and on they read.
We have a copy of each of these books to GiveAway to a lucky reader. This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of 3 March, 2014 and we will draw and publish the winners 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!!!
As usual we have to thank Christian Book Discounters, who supply Sunday Snippet GiveAway books for us to review and GiveAway. We are not paid to write our reviews and the opinions expressed are entirely our own.
Tags: GiveAways and Swaps · Sunday Snippet
February 24th, 2014 · 2 Comments
Time for a Friday Fun Post… on a Sunday – but what a crazy fun weekend. So inspired, about a heap of pending blog posts… and don’t even ask about how many photographs are sitting on my camera waiting for some attention.
Meanwhile we have launched our annual project to build a community library… and we really need your help… This is a dream of ours to provide books to children around our country, who would otherwise not have access to books at all. We have done it before with the help of all of our readers and we are hoping you would like to join us again. It really is so easy, click through to find out how to help…
And because we are thinking about books and we have a heap of books on our review pile right now – prepare yourself for a couple of GiveAways… beginning with this one:
Here are some lovely links from this week:
- Have you seen Lucy’s Nature Table on Alisa Burke’s Blogspot – head straight over and be inspired!!!
- Now here is a cool project: Science for Kids: DIY Camera Obscure on BabbleDabbleDo.
- Loved this poignant post on A Beautiful Mess: On Changing Dreams…
- Have you met the LEGOgrapher… spotted on DeMilked this week, take a peek!!!
- If you do nothing else this week…Get some sleep… here’s why: If you want to be more Productive, get More Sleep on Michael Hayatt… a pretty convincing info graphic!!!
- I am all for traveling with kids… take a peak at this lovely trip to Venice on Classic Play this week…
- I loved this family book shelf on Apartment Therapy… And… feel like a Creative Competition… I love They Draw and Cook and this looks so fun!!!
And the se7en + 1th link:
- A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:
That’s us… Hope your weekend is a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to our week of books coming your way on the blog…
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
Just like most South Africans we love a good road trip… and the first question folks ask when we talk about road tripping is: “How on earth do you go road tripping with eight kids?” Well we have a brand new and fabulous Road Tripping Guide book to South Africa GiveAway, brought to you by MapStudio, to one of our lucky readers… stop by and leave a comment at the end of this post if you would like to enter. It is a fabulous book and the perfect roadtripping guide to South Africa.
Se7en + 1 Tips for Road Tripping with Kids.
- Travel Light: With se7en+1 kids, whatever car we use it is going to be a squash and a squeeze… we really travel light. The great thing about road traveling is that everyone you meet is new – it doesn’t matter if you wash and wear your clothes again and again as you travel. So we take the clothes we are in and a change of clothes and tend to rinse and wash clothes overnight.
- Avoid the Obvious Tourist Traps: Wherever there is a large and fancy curio stall with associated shops and play centres, stop and have a browse, but be warned you are being charged tourist prices. The truth is, wherever there is a large touristy looking centre, 200m away you will find a smaller and maybe less glamorous farm-stall at far more reasonable prices.
- Leave the Endless Snacks: I remember road tripping with friends as a small child and their mom spending the two days prior the trip preparing “pad-kos.” I usually take a batch of brownies… for desperate times and family tradition. There are always places to eat along the way. Avoid fast-food chains at major spots along the way the cost adds up really quickly. Look for spots that locals eat and if you can’t find any then head for the local super-market and grab some rolls and a block of cheese, to tide you over.
- the Journey is the Activity: We don’t take activity books or car games. Kids really can just hop in the car and go… the thing about traveling with kids is that everything is so different to the run-of-the-mill-day-in-the-life. I think folks might underestimate kids ability to just enjoy the ride. Our kids are quite keen and eager to see all that is new along the road. There is no need for live entertainment… there is so much to see… even if you are driving across the “Valley of Desolation” in the middle of the Karoo… there is an unusual beauty and plenty of windmills to count.
- Leave the Special Entertainment: My kids don’t know that people watch movies in cars – they would be horrified to hear that folk choose to miss the ever changing scenery… even if the scenery is truck after truck after truck. Not to mention, do everyone a huge favour and leave the kids music at home, only the strongest parents can stomach endless hours of “little bo peep”. Rather pick a theme, your favourite music from high school and play on… it will pick you up when the going gets tough, all the while providing your children with amazing insights into your past.
- Make Your Stops Count: Plan your trip, but not overly. Make sure you know where the great landmarks are on your trip and take the time to stop and explore. And landmarks don’t have to be national landmarks or heritage sites… I have very fond childhood memories of a kink in the road where we would pull over and a short walk would lead to a fabulous spot beside a river for a swim and a picnic. While it is good to plan often you cannot plan for the best events… a cool green tree that everybody wants to climb may well be the “memory maker” for this trip.
- Get the Rest You Need: Remember this is your holiday, step out of the “got to do everything on the list and now” mode of everyday life and stop and smell the roses. Make sure you have plenty of breaks to stretch legs and enjoy all that is different to home…
And the se7en + 1th tip:
- A Guide Book: We usually take a guide book and a local wildlife book… and read it along the way as we go. It is one thing to read a guide book at home and get a feel for your adventure… and quite another when you are on the road immersed in the sites and sounds. There is a whole lot more to a guide book than where to stay and what to eat… a good guide book is packed with snippets of information, local history and tales and can really bring a place to life.
Road Tripping South Africa, the Book.
Meet the Guidebook Road Tripping South Africa, off the beaten track detours, brought to you by Map Studio. This book has been sitting on our coffee table the last two weeks and we love it. The irony that it arrived about the time that our trusty steed and ancient kombi breathed it’s last… So while we are car-less we have been dreaming…
The book contains twenty of South Africa’s favourite road tripping regions and while their routes will get you from A to B this book is not about getting from A to B at all. This book is all about the journey, where to stop, where to rest, where to spot landmarks, where to make memories. I love that they have used a collection of authors to write about each trip… each writer bringing their own expertise to a certain route.
I noticed all the routes have been marked on our wall map… there is someone in our family that is keen on road tripping… there are regional road trips like the West Coast road trip or the Cederberg road trip and then there are historical road trips, the Great Trek road trip for instance. There are activity road trips… a Surfing Road Trip, very similar to one I took as a student in the olden days when I was young. We may pass on the “Golf Road Trip” but other than that we are pretty much packed and ready to go on any of these trips… who needs a reason, just go already.
The book is large format it has to be to accommodate grand scale maps, and soft cover, which means it doesn’t way a ton, you could toss it in your backpack and be good to go. It is jam packed with beautiful photographs and tons of useful tips and recommendations. Each of the twenty road trips comes with a large and detailed map, a list of appropriate places to stop and visit and suggestions of place to stay overnight. There are contact details for a number of local places of interest: B&B’s, nature reserves, museums, restaurants, interesting local industry and tours. There is also a section of websites – providing links to regional areas and places of special interest on the route. And a fabulous little feature to love, a list of good reads recommended for each road trip… who wouldn’t want to pack a good book for a week away. This book is a valuable resource, that the authors have managed to pack with so much information. This is not your average guide book by any means and we won’t be leaving home with out it!!!
We have a copy of Road Tripping South Africa
to GiveAway. This GiveAway works in the usual way:
Leave a comment, tell us a road tripping memory
it can be anywhere in the world… Comment before the end of 3 March 2014,
and we will draw and publish the winners 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.
We would like to thank MapStudio who supplied us with two copies of this book, one to review and one to GiveAway. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed in it are as usual, entirely our own.
Tags: Outings · Saturday Spot
Friday was World Book Giving Day… and a day we love to celebrate as a blog every year. One of the great things about having a blog is the community it creates and we love that our readers have helped us again and again. Together we have equipped a rural school and build a library for a village in Lesotho. Last year, we created a library for a township community outside Cape Town.
At first glance creating a library seems like a huge undertaking, but reader by reader and book by book it really can be done. After our rural and township libraries in the past we are moving on to an urban library this year…
We are hoping to help the Evergreen Resource Centre in Blackheath to create a library. This is a community centre built on a dream to enhance the lives of the local youth and senior citizens. They provide enrichment and craft classes for the elderly, as well as job empowerment skills, like sewing and basic computer training for people in the surrounding area. It is a centre of up-liftment, with a goal to keep youngsters off the street and busy and in a community battling to build literacy skills. As part of their project they created a small library based on donations. There is no other library in the area, the nearest library is about 7km away and really too far for children to walk too after school. The local children have no access to books at home or at school and the schools are filled with children that just cannot read at an age-appropriate level.
These are not the poorest children in Africa, but they are far from well-off, which means that they fall into the social gap of not receiving funding. Because they have got going and begun to create a library for the children themselves and demonstrated that they are keen and self-motivated means that they are even less likely to receive funding for their efforts. Which leaves them with a library of donated books that looks fabulous on screen but is far from fabulous close up. These book have been donated by folk, who though well meaning, are obviously trying to get rid of the books. The books are mostly old and often so outdated and in a really shabby condition, certainly not age-appropriate for beginner readers, especially beginner readers battling to read. All the books have been mended and re-mended and are certainly not appropriate for building a love of literacy and words.
This small library is trying to perform a monumental task – to create a love of reading, they are supporting the entire area’s book needs:
- Three mornings a week they provide story time for local community pre-schools and creches.
- The primary schools in the area attend the library each week, for library time and with the goal to improve reading skills and encourage the teachers.
- The secondary school students attend and use the library for homework assignments.
- Over and above that the library has a membership of 400 learners and 250 adults.
I love the work they are doing, it is uplifting and inspiring. I love that they are serving the whole community, from little ones, through teens and tweens all the way up to their senior citizens. We are hoping to draw alongside this library and plan to pack it with books that children would love to read… books that will draw them in and inspire them to dream impossible dreams. I think as a blog we could fill those empty shelves with some magical and enticing books. I distinctly remember sitting in our school library and being literally transported by the words I was reading on a the pages… I would love for the children in this neighbourhood to have that same privilege and together with our readers I really believe that we can do it.
So How Can You Help?
Step 1: Select a Book or Books
- You can search through your books for gently used books that your children have outgrown or no longer love.
- You can buy a book or two with your children and package them up.
- You can shop at Amazon and ship directly.
- And you can shop on-line, locally at Kalahari, and ship directly as well.
While all the students do learn English, it is not their first language. Most of the learners have Afrikaans as their first language and about twenty percent of them have Xhosa as their first language. Do not let language hold you back, they do learn English in school. English books are welcome, so are books in Afrikaans and Xhosa. Any books will be great, story books, picture books, craft books, cook books, reference books… really any books. There is a large community being served here. If you are shopping overseas and would like to buy local language books then click on the South African vendor to find books and they will deliver locally for you.
Leave a comment or contact us
for the address to send the books you have chosen. There is a human person behind each and every email (that would be me) and they take time… please be patient the address will get to you as soon as I can.
Step 3: Let us Know All About the Books You Chose
We would love if you could photograph the books you are sending, if you shop on-line then just send us a list of the books that you ordered. If you have a blog and write about it then let us know and we will have a Progress Post each week. I will pop the photo’s you send into the post and if you do have a blog there will be a chance for you to link up as well…
We are so excited about this project and we really hope that our readers seize the day and join us… it doesn’t have to be huge… if even one percent of our readers pop a book into an envelope and post it off… we will have a library!!! So here’s to hoping that we hear from you all really soon… leave a comment saying you would like to join us, contact us… Please share this post… whatever you need to do… we would so love to hear from you!!!
We know that a project with a deadline often works better so could we aim to get our books in the mail around the time of World Book Day. That gives you a couple of weeks to choose a book or two and post them on…
Disclosure: The Amazon and Loot links are affiliate links and our blog will earn a very small percentage of the book sales made there, we pledge to put any of our earnings from books for the school directly back into buying more books for them… this is their project and we don’t in any way want to gain financially from it.
Tags: Our Events · What We Are Reading
Time for a Friday Fun Post… and I have no idea where this week went other than to say… busy busy busy doing so much stuff… walking on the beach multiple times, hearts everywhere, reading through mountains of library books, learning lots of new things with my kids – we are back in school for sure… fun times, but not a lot of time for lingering on the internet at all!!!
Meanwhile next weekend is the South African Food Blogger’s Indaba, I blogged about it… and if you want to know more details about this fab event then click on the image.
In other news I have a huge pile of review books on my desk – huge… SO I am spending this weekend immersed in reading and hope to bring you a whole week of books… And in corresponding news we have a fabulous Book Giving Day Project, I know Book Giving Day was yesterday… but our project wasn’t good to go yet. I am hoping all our readers will back us and share when we launch it on Monday.
And remember a week or two back we sent greetings to a church in New York… well we virtually made it to New York… imagine if we could go their for real!!!
Here are some lovely links from this week:
- This post in Oh Happy Day… filled my happiness tank – Sprinkle Cake DIY.
- Cape Town’s very own Skinny laMinx was on Mollie Makes this week – Swoon!!! You can take a peak inside Skinny laMinx’s wonderful store right here…
- The Ultimate post of Free Resources for Art and Music Classes… on Homeschooling Hearts and Minds.
- These totally fab recipe collections in Yuppie Chef this week, totally fab… Everything you ever wanted to know about salad dressing… and their stunning salad collection… and I thought to myself – why have these guys not written a recipe book already!!!
- Whatever you do, do not miss Decorating with hearts on Handmade Charlotte…
- For those of you who love art journaling but just don’t know where to start then look no further than Daisy Yellow Art… totally packed with Art Journal Prompts Galore.
- And everyone needs some bloggin inspiration from time to time… this post: 5 Ways To Create Better Content in 10 Minutes Or Less on the Official Klout Blog is well worth a read…
And the se7en + 1th link:
- A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:
That’s us… Hope your weekend is a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to our week of books coming your way on the blog…
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
So Valentines Day was celebrated with glitter and a host of hearty Treats…
Where have I been? Just our regular old waffle recipe plus two tablespoons of cocoa and a shot of expresso…
And suddenly our waffles were transformed!!!
Then one little person suggested we add some caramel sauce – who am I to argue with that…
Caramel Sauce in a Flash
You will need equal parts of sugar, butter and cream. I usually use a cup of each… In a pot gently heat the butter and the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and your sauce is smooth… then add the cream and let it simmer for a while. I would say you can store it in a jar… and it does make the perfect last minute gift… but honestly it hardly ever gets into a jar and almost never gets given away!!!
Chocolate Covered Wafers
We needed an easy treat that even little people could make with pride… I am all about enabling. We used a cookie cutter to create mini-heart wafers. Dip those little hearts in chocolate and leave them on wax paper to set.
If kitchens could earn a badge of bravery… for all the chocolate smeary delight that they endured – on every surface… ours would be the winner!!!
Valentines Day occurs in February, the hottest month of the year… ice-cream is a requirement!!!
We keep a stock of frozen berries in the freezer just for this… about two cups of frozen berries and 1 cup of buttermilk, about half a cup of castor sugar and a dash of vanilla. Pop that all in the food processor and go!!!
Quick Kitchen Smores
Place a marshmallow onto a biscuit, we use Marie biscuits but if you don’t have them then digestives will do. Pop them into the microwave for about ten to fifteen seconds… watch it, marshmallows puff up magnificently!!! Pour melted chocolate over the top and leave them to cool.
And I know World Book Giving Day is on Valentine’s Day… We do have a project, but there are a few details that need to be put in place before we hit the go button… So we will be launching our Project on Monday, along with a week of book blogging and can’t wait to tell you how we are going to help to build another library…
Tags: Gifts and Treats · Monday Munchies
It is February… and all the posts on New Year’s Resolutions and awesome goals are starting to wane. Always late to the party I am finally getting your family’s goals for the year in a row… but that’s a whole ‘nother post. My concern is in all the dashing around to exercise more and read more and hydrate more and sleep more… and play more and write more and create more… we might be forgetting something really quite important. In a world that is obsessed with being busy, in a world where someone somewhere is always up and about and doing something… we have been sold a lie – being busy isn’t the beginning and the end of all that is good.
Sometimes we just need a break. It has come to my attention that from time to time I actually need to take a break… and I know all sorts of efficient folk would say – well multi-task that break and get some exercise, read a book, learn more… but I am way beyond that – I need a real break. I am not the kind of gal who wants a weekend away from my kids (horrors – in fact), or even a girls’ night out. I definitely don’t want a day at the spa – trust me, just no!!! But I do know that I need a change of pace. It seems a bit silly, in my luxurious world of a washing machine and running water and honestly every convenience… but every now and then I get a little hunkering for a little pocket of time or space. It is not actually the impossible dream, my kids are quite equipped to run our household, at this stage they still want me around and I am happy to hang on to that… but…
I am all for creating lazy days for my kids, but while their days are lazy I am very much in the season of: “Put the laundry on, serve a meal, clean up from said meal, and hang out the laundry, prepare the next meal, clean up from that meal and then bring the laundry in and fold it before I begin the next meal… and repeat. While my kids do do tons of chores, the lion’s share of domestic tasks fall to me. So I sat at lunch with my kids the other day and we all agreed that I need some time off to do whatever it is that mom’s do to take breaks. And here is the shame of it… nobody knew how this mother takes a break. Somewhere in the last number of years of being busy with kids it appears that I may have just ever so slightly forgotten what it is that I really do like to do, to get that elusive break.
So we did what we do best, we brainstormed a little bit, and came up with se7en+ 1 ways for their mother person to get a break.
Se7en + 1 Free and Easy Ways For A Mother Person to Take a Break
- Take Tea: I normally grab a coffee in the morning and if I don’t lose it along the way, it follows me getting first tepid and then cold as I just do one more thing. Somehow tea is so much more intentional. By calling it “Take Tea” means that I take it somewhere nice to drink, not alongside a task, actually outdoors while watching the sea, or enjoying the breeze on a hot day.
- Take a Nap: Not a nod off to sleep, while reading my way through a pile of picture books… as little people say not very gently: “Wake up!!!” An actual intentional nap in bed under the duvet and sleep for a reasonable period of time. Twenty minutes of concentrated and uninterrupted sleep is actually something worth dreaming about!!!
- Pottering: I love pottering. I could potter forever, but our house has so many projects and there is always one more thing that just must be done. There is remarkably little time to just be, to rearrange this and that and to straighten out the pile of books on my desk… to put away the things I am finished with and look at the things that inspire me. In the dash to get through life and the urgency of organising one more thing, it appears that I haven’t created a pottering time slot.
- Get Gardening: I love when our garden is in full swing… and I always say that it would be so nice to have someone to do the big maintenance jobs, so that we could do the fun stuff. Well I started a gardening day… one day a week everyone heads to with a task: chop the hedge, weed the back wall, sweep the leaves and so on. I suddenly realised that after six weeks of this our garden has resurfaced and it is ready for some planting and pottering and I can get that elusive break just by watering the tomato plants and watching the beans sprout.
- Read a Book, and Get Inspired: An old familiar book, a book I want to read because I just want to read it… not for review purposes, not because someone needs this book read stat, or because I need to try and prepare eight new recipes for a blog post… just read or browse through a book for the simple sake of reading.
- Write Some Letters: I love writing letters to friends, but I never get round to it… somehow getting the kids pen-friend letters off has been enough. I just haven’t been writing as I should be, to my friends on the far side of the world. It doesn’t have to be a package, it doesn’t have to be an epic… just sitting at the table away from a computer and penning a real live note to a friend has always lifted my spirits.
- Get the Kids to Bed Early: I know this one is crazy… but it can be done… and I have started once or twice a week just getting the end of the day ready a whole lot earlier… It isn’t easy and requires mountains of self-discipline because I so love lingering longer. And not every dinner has to be a masterpiece there is nothing wrong with baked potatoes for dinner – where have I been all my life!!! And then just a little more effort to do the dishes and clean-up straight away instead of leaving it till most of the kids are in bed. My kids were all appalled to find themselves in bed by se7en the other night, instead of lingering on until nine… and I tell you the truth they were all asleep by 7:30… clearly a bit of a catch up was in order for all of us.
And the se7en + 1th…
- Go for an Amble: This is it!!! I have stumbled on the ultimate way for this mother to get a break while raising eight kids!!! By accident we began a little project, the #dailywalk… I confess it is more like the daily amble. I know getting outdoors is the answer to all sorts of woes and often getting the kids out and just watching them play is the best. But we just started a daily amble to get the cobwebs out at the end of the day – turns out it is the one thing that, though it requires an effort on my side – I would much rather fall into the evening routine than go for an amble… it is the best thing for all of us. The great escape… it helps that we live at the sea-side and I am determined that my children grow up being very ware of that. But trips to the library can be quite an adventure and window shopping in all the local junk stores has been a heap of fun… I say “I remember when…” and they say… “In the olden days when you were young did you have cars!!!” It’s fun and funny and just the break from the rut that I need. Even our dinner guests seem to enjoy our evening ambles, it has been an easy habit to introduce… and I do hope it lasts through the winter. Hopefully slowly but surely our daily ambles will get more adventurous and by the time the weather starts to get cooler I will be launching us up the mountain again, it has been a while!!!
That’s it… my great epiphany for 2014 has been the #dailywalk. And for all you folk out there who are good at taking regular breaks and getting the rest that you need… you are welcome to stop by and leave a comment and let us know how you “take a break from it all,” because over here we are totally new at the “taking a break” thing.
Tags: Thoughtful Thursdays