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

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Se7en’s Week Back at the Gym…

March 3rd, 2017 · 11 Comments

After just over two weeks of getting up before dawn I have to say I am enjoying the early morning… though it is far from being a habit and it is throwing my night owl habits into quite a spin, not to mention blogging into disarray. This is of course is a good thing, part of being here is to jumpstart all those lifestyle habits that are draining me of energy and late nights is definitely something that needs to go.

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This is where all the busy folk appear to be working out and with smiles on their faces!!!

I am loving the workouts, I rediscovered the rowing machine this morning, sigh!!! It was brilliant. But still those gym bikes are elusive, I have yet to figure out how people sit on them… maybe folk who haven’t had eight kids. Whatever it is these particular gym bikes were not designed for actually sitting on, let alone sitting on and pedalling. Really just no. No. NO. The agony and no ecstasy. Otherwise, crunches… can we talk about these… I just can’t find my joy in them, my head is saying that I don’t have stomach muscles and the other folk in the gym class (all three of them, there is no escaping) just get on with it… so I say in my head crunch, as the coach counts 1, crunch, as the couch counts 2…. but seriously I don’t thing my nonexistent stomach muscles are doing anything. Then again there are things called planks, and I love them… love… can do those forever, it could possibly be from carrying small children around for a number of years.

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These are my worst enemies, just saying.

There are things I just don’t understand… how can stepping on and off a step be so exhausting… we do such seemingly inconsequential moves for 60 seconds, and then move on to the next inconsequential thing, then round about and do it again. Well there are times in my life when I cannot even believe how long a minute is… anyway I am doing it, I am loving it. And after so few workouts I am already feeling more able… I am feeling fitter, and feistier for sure. Though I am nowhere near doing this on my own. I need someone to tell me what to do, I need to hear just 15s more and I know that if I was doing it on my own I wouldn’t put even half as much effort into it. My head just isn’t nearly ready for the slacker in me to workout as hard as I can on my own.

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This is where the elites hang out, we walk past them a lot!!!

The one thing that is really hard is that I am so tired at the end of the day, after the early morning start, that I can hardly keep my eyes open, let alone blog once I have put the kids to bed. This is a really good thing, this will force me to make some essential changes. Before I began this programme I didn’t even recognise tired… I would just push through and keep going and do the next job and the next job… not things that my family are unable to do, just stuff I do for them. When they sit down to dinner, I pour the water, I collect things that were forgotten from the table and I often start eating when a couple of folks have finished already. Even though we always eat every meal together, I realise that actually I am not sitting and relaxing and enjoying meals at all, I am dashing about like a mad thing making sure everyone has what they need.

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That water fountain and I are going to be best friends. Except it is way across the hall!!!

So while the workouts are not affecting my kids at all because I leave in the morning LONG before they wake up and get back just as they are stirring, the programme as a whole is affecting them and not just because we have added a few five minute workouts into our school routine… I have a feeling this eight week programme is going to be life changing for me in more ways than just getting fitter… for the first time ever I am noticing that I can actually say I am too tired and go to bed or if someone needs a bit more water, I can say… I will get it for you when I am finished dinner. There is a whole lot going here that isn’t about gym at all. Good stuff, though not at all what I was expecting and it will mean rearranging folks expectations of me… and that is another whole game changer!!!

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And as for challenges, well I found the bathrooms at gym (my challenge from last week!)… and yes I still need to get myself a pair of actual sporty shoes… yes, I am still wearing my comfy croc loafers… there is an issue here – I loath and detest shopping and while I have to shop for my kids I will put off shopping for myself forever. I literally need to be forced out the door to do this, so my personal challenge for this week is to have a photo to post of a pair of new athletic shoes by this time next week.

Posts Over at the Sport Science Institute

Previous Posts in this Series

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I would like to thank SSISA for the free training/mentoring I am getting in exchange for an honest blog post. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

→ 11 CommentsTags: Home Truths

World Book Day, and Se7en’s Build a Library Book By Book Project…

March 2nd, 2017 · 6 Comments

It’s World Book Day, a huge day on the world of children’s books. This is the day we think about all the books that fired up our imaginations as kids… our favourite favourites. The ones we have to keep on our shelves forever and the ones we love so much that we have to share them…

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It is also the perfect day to talk about our Book Giving Day Project. The point of World Book Day is to encourage kids to read… and we are doing just that by creating libraries for children, who would otherwise not have access to books at all.

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We are trying, with your help, to build a library for a school with over a thousand students in it and no access to a library, either at school or in their community. No books for dreaming, no books for thinking and no books for just escaping… I think we could set as a goal to create a library that each child could take out a book every week. When I ask my kids what their favourite books are… we can be busy for hours. Our dream is to give each of these kids a favourite childhood book by the end of the year. I believe we can, just by gifting one book at a time…

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For those of you that are new here I thought I would quickly tell you a little bit about our Building a Library Book by Book Project: Once a year for a number of years now, we generate a library of books for a school in desperate need. With the help of our blogging community we have been able to build a rural library, a inner city library, a township library… it just grows every year. How it works is that folk all over the world send a gift of a book or two, either they buy them online or they ship books that they have already read and would like to share… and slowly but surely the books roll in, one by one until we have a library to share. It is completely possible to build a library book by book…

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This year we have sponsor, that you are all going to love, to help us with our project. Super Nova Magazine have come on board and as well as gifting our library with a collection of books they will match each order bought with our coupon code, by gifting the same order to our library project. Anyone who subscribes to the magazine before the end of April, is also buying a subscription for our library project. So already they have gifted a collection of magazines to the school, but your subscription can help our library grow…

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Super Nova is a locally produced, real live magazine for curious kids, geared towards primary and middle schoolers… it is a great quality magazine absolutely packed full of facts, issues, science, stuff kids (and their parents) love to read about. We recently featured in an article that they wrote on Citizen Science and you can check it out here… And if your kids do great and exciting stuff they can write in and join the story too… they love hearing from kids. This is the classic magazine of our childhood, reinvented for kids today… there is everything to love about it and we are so excited to have them onboard and helping us to create a library for these kids.

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You can read about our Citizen Science Project over here… and how dreamy is it to find yourself in real live print. Funny thing, instead of calling the hoods by their “real names” Hood #1, hood #2 etc… they gave them assumed names for the article… and that gave my guys hours of hilarity… they called each other by their Super Nova names for weeks!!!

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If you would like to join Super Nova Magazine and have them match your purchases then follow this link:

Use the coupon code: ”7+1” (no spaces) in their shop and they will know to match it. You can also leave a note in the notes panel.

So How Can You Help to Build a Library?

Step 1: Select a Book or Books

  1. You can search through your books for gently used books that your children have outgrown or no longer love. Remember these books are gifts, we will visit the school when they unpack them. Loved books are great, over loved books… not so much, and old tattered textbooks from your college days that have been used as door stops… really not so much.
  2. You can buy a book or two with your children and package them up.
  3. You can shop at Amazon and ship directly.
  4. And you can shop on-line, locally at Loot, and ship directly as well.

While all the students do learn English, many of the learners have Afrikaans or Xhosa as their first language. English books are very 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.

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Step 2: Contact us.

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

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 almost weekly. I will pop the photo’s you send into the blog post and if you do have a blog there will be a chance for you to link up as well…

Step 4: There is a Deadline…

We would like to deliver the books that we personally collect and accumulate in the first week or two of May, so while you can ship anytime… we are hoping to end this campaign by the end of April.

Otherwise if you have contacted us and left a comment, I will be emailing you all over the next few days with the shipping information… and if you haven’t received an email by next week then please please please comment again.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books

Se7en’s March and Your Free Printable Calendar…

March 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

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

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Dates to Remember

→ No CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

Getting The Recipes Under Control – Se7en’s 52 Weeks of Getting Things Done…

February 28th, 2017 · 3 Comments

I didn’t post our Kitchen decluttering post last week, what was I thinking… to spring clean the kitchen the same week that I began a “crack of dawn” gym routine. Everything round here has been thrown somewhat by the new gym regime, so I decided to embrace the rest I needed and I will just keep the posts rolling out as I write them. Meanwhile a little kitchen project that I have started and neglected and then started again, for the longest time… is the recipe and recipe book situation.

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Se7en Steps to Getting Your Recipe Collection in Order

  1. Recipe Books:
  2. Honestly recipe books are works of art, their functionality has gone way beyond putting ingredients to work and following step by step until you have dinner on the table. Recipe books are beautiful collections of photographs and books that you want to linger over for hours. Even if you never cook a recipe from them, you will walk away inspired. I love recipe books and love reviewing them, but I cannot keep them all. The way I keep our recipe books under control is to limit them to one shelf, it is hard, in fact it is brutal. But one shelf it is and I only keep my absolute faves. I have a new trick, I gift the recipe books I love, but don’t fit on the shelf, onto friends because then I can call them anytime I need a recipe.

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  3. Recipe Collecting and Gathering:
  4. Whenever I see a recipe I like, or a friend shares a recipe with me I toss it in a box, and literally forget about it there. I never keep magazines or recipe pamphlets, I cut out the recipe I want to keep and literally toss them into the box and then forget about them until the box is full.

  5. Make Time to Try Those Recipes:
  6. The question is, what do we do with all the recipes we want to try… firstly we have one night a week for trying new recipes. It has to be a planned night for us, because new recipes tend to require slightly different ingredients to the ones that you usually use and so require a special trip to the store. Not to mention new recipes take a little longer to prepare because there is usually something new to learn. Anyway, if a recipe is a keeper then it is written into our family cookbook on the day. If I leave it any longer it gets forgotten and never re-surfaces.

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  7. A Family Recipe Book:
  8. I started putting all our favourite recipes and recipes that we use frequently into a book… filling it up slowly and steadily as time wanders on. Whenever we review a recipe book and a new recipe becomes one that we embrace then I pop that recipe and which book it comes from and the page in the book was well. Every now and then I dedicate a double spread to a cook book we love… and list the recipes in there that we love, because is there anything worse than knowing that there is a recipe you want to make again and again but you just aren’t sure which book is it from. I want this book to be a bit of an heirloom, something that my kids would look back on and remember Monday Morning Pancakes and our favourite cookie recipes all on one page.

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  9. Creating a Quick Reference:
  10. I found that while the family recipe book gets fuller and fuller as we try new recipes… it isn’t quite the quick reference that I need on our kitchen counter. We have a heap of kids that are all growing up and they like to cook… so I keep a small recipe book, just with ingredients in it. They have been watching how to make recipes for years… but sometimes you just need a quick reminder of the correct amounts of ingredients. So it really is a teeny tiny recipe book… a quick reference that is really unique to our family. Our basic cookie recipe, our quickest cake in the world, milk tart.

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  11. Let it Grow Naturally:
  12. Every time the kids want to make something and the ingredients aren’t in the book, then I add that recipe to the book. Just this morning I added banana bread to the book. This little book is really just a guide, so that drastic mistakes aren’t made. If they need to know the procedure then they can refer back to the recipe in the family recipe book.

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  13. And a Challenge:
  14. Right now our box of recipes is full to exploding… I need to go through it and toss the recipes that we will never actually try and make a plan to use and keep the ones that we really are. This is a task I can easily do, while the kids are busy at the table alongside me. I just never get round to it… a realistic goal to tackle this week… empty out the messy recipe box.

Previous Posts in our 52 Weeks of Getting Things Done Series

→ 3 CommentsTags: Organizing Se7en

Se7en Interview 13 Bazillion Story Treehouse Author, Andy Griffiths…

February 26th, 2017 · No Comments

On one of the hottest days of summer, we headed into the city, to meet one of our favourite authors who is on a world tour and stopped in Cape Town to meet up with some of his fans. Andy Griffiths is the writer behind the author/illustrator team that creates the Many Storey Treehouse Series. Andy and his wife Jill, as well as illustrator Terry Denton have teamed up to produce best seller after bestseller after best seller. It is always good to stop by the Book Lounge for a visit and even better to meet an author face to face and chat about their work…

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We have been reviewing and raving about these books for years… they are perfect for kids at heart and kids who have mastered the beginner steps of reading and are looking for something more… with not too many words and lots and lots of hilarious illustration to keep them turning the pages for more. I believe everyone has a book that takes them from reading because they have to, to reading because they can and because it is fun. This series was just that for Hood 5, they took him from reading because he should, to reading because he really wanted to. Back to the hilarious story… Andy and Terry are friends who live in a wild and wonderful treehouse and together they write books. The tree house thirteen incredible storeys, each one crazier than the one before. Together they manage to take the ordinary and turn it into the extraordinary…

Se7en+1 Chats with Andy Griffiths

  1. Where did the Treehouse Series Come From?
  2. He and Terry created The Bad book, the Very Bad and then they ran out of ideas. So they got together to brainstorm more ideas for the Bad books, and they decided that they would need a treehouse to get the job done. The treehouse had to have this and had to have that and before they knew it, it had grown into something. And so began their new and famous series.

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  3. A Day in His Life:
  4. We always ask our authors if they are disciplined or inspired… what is there writing style and it turns out he is a really disciplined writer and he told us about a day in his life:

    Up at 6 am to read for an hour. Then he goes for a cycle or a run for an hour and home for breakfast. He has a big breakfast, usually an omelette. Then he and Jill, his wife (if you had read the books they are two of the three main characters, the illustrator, Terry Denton is the third. work through the problems in the book and talk about how they could make things better, funnier, cleverer, wittier… and then he writes from 9 till between 2 and three in the afternoon, when he has had enough. Then he listens to music or goes swimming and in the evening after dinner he watches a movie or a tv series with Jill, and together they analysis who said what, did what. After that he reads for at least another hour before heading for bed.

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  5. His Story writing Technique:
  6. He began to tell us just how he writes a story… (and he wrote in our notebook!!!). He creates a snapshot, then he elaborates forwards and backwards… He creates problems and then he solves problems in the most unconventional manner… In our snapshot, Terry got himself all tangled up and the problem was how could he be saved…

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  7. Three Dimensional Problem Solving Skills:
  8. What he does is try and figure out ways to solve problems that go way beyond normal and still keep things funny… he loves movies like Back to the Future… and thinks he needs to introduce time travelling to the Treehouse. Instead of going back 6.5 minutes to when Terry wasn’t tangled up, what if he went back 6.5 million years… to the time when things were just blots.

    His mind is a vast web ideas, a vast problem solving matrix. Everything has to fit into a three dimensional jigsaw. The ideas that fall into that dead place where ideas cannot be expanded upon, well those fall away and he keeps only the best ones for his books.

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  9. His book Writing Process:
  10. Whenever he finishes a book, he thinks, “That is the best one ever.” He just can’t imagine ever coming up with another idea. And then some more ideas begin to form and expand and grow… and before you know it he has enough for his next book. It takes a year to produce a great Treehouse book, from start to publication. It takes a few months to write the story, and illustrate and refine… there is a lot of refining and editing, and rethinking and editing some more, all the while whittling the mountain of ideas down to a book of 344 pages. Only thirteen storeys per book, refined down to 344 pages. No more, because that pushes the books up into the next price zone.

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  11. Where Does He find His Inspiration?
  12. Talking to readers does spark ideas, as he is writing he will think back to when a child in the audience asked a particular question. So when a child wrote to him and asked if he could be a bit funnier, he realised he needed to up his game. Most of his inspiration comes from reading… he is a prolific reader.

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  13. Let’s Talk About Favourite Reads:
  14. We asked him about his favourite books to read and believe it or not he stores his favourite books on his arm. There you will find all sorts of treasures. Alice in Wonderland is about his best book ever and then he told us to take a look for Little Nemo by Winslow MacKay… and we found Little Nemo in the Comic Strip Library.

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  15. Did He Know His Reads would be such Smash Hits?
  16. Nope, he actually didn’t think he would be published, so he took a year off life and published his own books… and sold them at markets. The same books sold again and again and that’s how he knew which books would be winners. Just tricking, and The Day my Bum went Psycho. He has an absurd sense of humour, clearly… and didn’t think he would ever get his books published. But, and here is his great writing tip: go with your gut, embrace it and follow through with it, otherwise your writing won’t feel genuine.

Of course the gang spent all day creating tree houses of the most elaborate kind… as one does!!!

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Previous Fabulous Childrens’ Author Interviews

  • Se7en + 1 Meet up with Chidren’s Laureate, the Author-Illustrator Chris Riddell.
  • Se7en+1 Meet David Melling, the Illustrator behind the Adorable Hugless Douglas.
  • Meet the Man Behind the Samurai Sword, Chris Bradford.
  • Se7en + 1 Meet Alan Glass, the Author of Oliver’s Outline.
  • Anthony Horowitz Reveals His Cabinet of Curiosities to Se7en+1.
  • Se7en Got to Meet the author, Emily Gravett.
  • Se7en Interviews Illustrator Jennie Maizels.
  • Se7en Interview The Children’s Madiba Author, Sean Fraser.
  • Huge thank you to Andy Griffiths for his time and PanMacmillan South Africa for arranging the interview for us. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to write it and all opinions are as usual our own.

    → No CommentsTags: Brilliant Books

    When You Get Back to Gym After an Endless Break…

    February 23rd, 2017 · 20 Comments

    So last week I mentioned that I would be blogging for the Sport Science Institute, yup a series on our blog about something I am doing, for the first time ever. It is time to do a little more than I have been doing, small changes are good… but at this stage I really need more. The first week was all about signing up and assessments… And I have to say, while I jumped at the chance to join up I didn’t really think about the steps you need to take in between “Yes, I would love to sign up” to actually “working out on the floor.” There are all sorts of nitty gritty details, like an access card and a fitness assessment. This is true to form, this is the gal that never bothered to pack for her honeymoon… I was thinking wedding and forever after. This is the gal that never gave to much thought to having a newborn, I was thinking about labour and life ever after. There is a lesson here… I need to look a little closer at the steps in-between.

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    Needless to say, the first step is a fitness assessment… wha–aaaat, the only the only person in the world that thinks I have a marginal fitness is my sweet mom, because I am always walking places. Folks, reality check… unless you walk with some purpose, you are just getting places and it doesn’t make you fit. And another thing, I avoid all things medical like you cannot believe… so the thought of someone checking my heart rate, gasp. Let alone checking my blood pressure and blood sugar. Gotta say, their team is super friendly and I was so distracted chatting away, that I hardly noticed the actual event… other than I had to do a number of crunches… and I had to ask what those were, what happened to good old fashioned sit-ups. And whatever you call them, I am fairly un-abled in this area… I have had eight kids and nary a tummy muscle to mention. That wasn’t all, there was visit to meet their psychologist and a dietician… and a sleep expert. These folk are not messing about, it you want to change then they want to help you do that.

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    By now I have done a couple of workouts… where a couple is more than two. I might have been a little over enthusiastic and arrived a day early for my first scheduled work out. This is somewhat mortifying, because I have to leave home at 5:45 in the A.M. in order to get there. I had this brilliant idea, about the early morning thing. I thought, I would go to bed earlier (sounds like a wise idea), but typically if I don’t say “GO TO BED” to myself, nothing happens. Here’s the thing, I can honestly say that if you haven’t been to gym at the crack of dawn for “oh about twenty years” and you then get up and pedal furiously on an exercise bike for fifteen minutes, and then fifteen minutes more… and so on, you may get home and not make it till lunchtime and just possibly crawl into bed for the night… at about 11:30 in the morning.

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    I made it to the next morning’s work out, bright and cheery and I have discovered that I still like working out… love it in fact. So that is a good thing. Turns out, I am not very good at it and there are basic skills that have quite literally flown out the window. I cannot think when last I grabbed my ankle to stretch a quad muscle… oh my word. Everyone else, all five folk (yes this is pretty much one on one), in the class appears to manage everything fine. I am sure that there are things other folk can’t do, but they seem so adept at well, everything. But I plan to soldier on, onwards and upwards. I haven’t been stiff or in mortal agony. I have worked out and I can feel muscles I thought were long gone, after only a week… so I am excited about the prospect of being able to do more in the near future.

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    Every time I say I don’t think I can do that, there is a friendly face saying, we are going to get you moving. Already a week of classes in and the word “I can’t” is being exchanged with “how do I?” My goals were fairly simple: get moving about, and get rid of all the “I can’ts” that have been creeping into my life. I was thinking that that would be enough… any other achievements will be a bonus.

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    But, there is a detail… that arrived with the fitness assessment… in the form of a sleep study. And this is going to take me from just blogging about my journey to totally engaging in this project. This is probably going to be my moment of truth and huge for me. I know how vital sleep is, and how the lack of it is a huge risk factor to all sorts of healthy living. And I know how good it feels to sleep properly. I am going to have to sort my appealing sleep habits out, for reals. I have to stop doing just one more thing, stop all the excuses… and learn how to sleep like a regular person again. Not only that, quite a few people are going to have to discover that the while the mother person sleeps, angels are not dashing around the house doing all those forgotten last minute things. It is going to be somewhat of a reality check for everyone around here. I might possibly have limits. Myself, I don’t believe I have limits… so how I expect my kids to expect that I do, is a whole new thing. This is not just about going to bed earlier, this is about lifestyle rearranging.

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    Gotta love the view from the gym as you step out the door.

    Last week my biggest issue, was I really needed to get some gym gear, I still do and I desperately need to get some sporty shoes. This week, I have other issues of course… while I still haven’t found shoes that I like, after looking all weekend, I also need to figure out actual gym logistics, you know like where the bathroom’s are… small details that could really enhance a gym experience. Anyway, there are plenty more weeks to blog about sleep and workouts. I will be blogging my journey through the Healthy Weight Programme every week over at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa…

    Posts Over at the Sport Science Institute

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    I would like to thank SSISA for the free training/mentoring I am getting in exchange for an honest blog post. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

    → 20 CommentsTags: Home Truths

    PanMacMillan’s ShowCase of Children’s Books for 2017

    February 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

    Last week was one of our highlight outings of the year… PanMacmillan South Africa’s annual showcase of all the latest and greatest reads for the 2017… and tons of new books that we are now longing to read…

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    Once a year there is a get together, when suitcases of books are brought along to be displayed and discussed… The meeting always has a theme and this year’s theme was none other than Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s fantastic 13/26/39/52/65/78/91st Story Treehouse series… which meant there were beautiful leaves for everyone…

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    And of course a fabulous treehouse cake…

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    All the characters were out in full force…

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    Fancy Dress Competition…

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    And the winner was…

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    No to mention a filled to the brim with wonderful books goody bag…

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    Yes in there… a Julius Zebra to race through and one of our fave characters, Mango and Bang Bang, not to mention The Treehouse Fun Book. And then: Here I Stand, I have reviewed this book before, one of my absolute best reads ever and honestly should be essential reading for every high schooler (and their parents) everywhere. I read it in a sitting, a collection of stories from the worlds’ best writers for children… compelling, thought provoking stories about issues facing the world: abuse, trafficking, racism… a powerful book that will leave you pondering about the world as it is, long after you have finished reading it.

    Let’s Meet the Publishers

    Priddy Books

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    Lots of new bright, bold and chunky fun, with crystal clear photographs and I can never get over the cuteness of the alpha print series. There will be the worst adorable alpha print flashcards. In Priddy learning there will be sudoku for little people, this is a good thing from the house of the sudoku obsessed. Otherwise, Hood #8’s absolute favourite ever series continues to be Playtown and there will be chunky puzzle books and construction vehicles… not to mention chunkier floor jigsaws. And darling counting books:

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    And this should fill all South African parents with joy… there is a new stunner: My First Book of South African Animals, and the bright and funky First 100 Words in a multitude of local languages…

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    Hachette

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    So many books flashed by, so I am going to tell you just the few that got my kids jumping out of their seats… Let’s begin in capital letters… there is a new CRESSIDA COWELL series coming out. After reading eleven out of twelve How to Train your Dragon’s together we have stalled reading the last one, because we just didn’t want the series to end… so this is going to be perfect. The title isn’t even revealed, but… a Hero and Heroine, who have to do what is right, there is magic and a battle against the dark… and being your very best. That’s all we know!!! Arrgghhh… can’t wait for more news!!!

    Otherwise: Chase by Linwood Barclay, for middle schoolers… about a very unusual dog; Eoin Colder has a graphic novel on the refugee crisis coming out, called Illegal. You know it is going to be good. For Teens, “It’s all in your Head” a factual and accessible guide to mental health. In Picture Books there is Oi Cat, we loved Oi Frog, so we are looking forward to that. And Squirrels who Squabbled, set in the New England countryside, a rompish lesson in sharing. There is going to be more of the delightful Rabbit and Bear… the rabbit with social issues and dubious habits, who is annoyed that tortoise is too slow and woodpecker is too fast. And just can’t wait for something new from Alex T. Smith, of Claude fame, so looking forward to the launch of Mr. Penguin… an amusing and adventurous explorer type hero, who is also a kung fu expert and his spider sidekick… this is going to be perfect bed time reading around here.

    Walker Books

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    The book of the year could well be: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, a powerful debut novel about an African American teen called Starr, who has to find the balance between the harsh neighbourhood she lives in and the private high school she attends in the burbs. There is a fatal shooting, by a police officer and Starr is the only witness…

    There are heaps more pending new releases but huge excitement in the house about a new Alex Rider… yes, Anthony Horowitz has done it again. And old favourites will be keeping my kids reading: Julius Zebra meets the Egyptians, and Timmy Failure #6, A Cat Stole my Pants by Stephan Pastis. And masses of Where’s Wally in his 30th year.

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    And then picture books: Mrs Mole I’m Home looks fabulous, about a mole trying to find his way home, only he can’t find his spectacles, and he does find himself surfacing unannounced in all sorts of unexpected corners of the world. Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is the first in a trilogy, it will be followed by square and circle.

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    PanMacmillan

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    More old favourites.. and There will be a 91th Story Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. Take Note… Andy Griffiths is on a World Tour and will be at the V and A Waterfront in Cape Town this Saturday (25 February 2017), at Exclusive Books from 10:30-12:30. Otherwise Chris Riddell, our absolute hero, is publishing “Travels with my Sketchbook” drawings from his time as Children’s Laureate.

    For teen readers: A new Francis Hardinge called a Skinful of Shadows, an historical fantasy with a twist… beautiful writing as you would expect, and set during the English Civil War. Nemesis by Brendan Reichs, a mystery thriller about Min, who every two years is murdered on her birthday, and then she wakes up. And she is going to have to save the world as well.

    And for the younger set… there will be a new Emily Gravett, called Old Hat about a rabbit who loves shopping for hats and we can’t wait for that!!! There will be a new “Just so Stories” for the younger set by Elli Woollard. and look out for the scratch and sniff called, Pirate Pete and the Smelly Feet.

    And that was it… until next year!!!

    Blast from the Past


    We would really like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for this fantastic event, for the invitation and of course the extra special treatment. This post is not sponsored in any way and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

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