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

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Happy Brilliant Birthday to Hood 5…

October 5th, 2017 · 3 Comments

Birthday season is in full swing… and just like that Hood 5 is thirteen… from 4 teenagers, to just three and back to four in the space of a week… I think we are in for some exciting times!!!


To the kid who is always first and last in the water…

Always learning about the great outdoors…

And trying new things…

To the kid who dreams big…

Who swims, no matter what the weather…

And explores….

Always exploring…

Out there…

And looking for things to discover…

Happy Brilliant Birthday




The Celebrity Chef’s Recipe Collection.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Home Truths

A Travel Diary of a Weekend Away on the Garden Route with Fancourt South Africa…

October 3rd, 2017 · 7 Comments

A week or two back I had the opportunity to visit Fancourt South Africa for a Media weekend. My family were happy to let me go, a birthday weekend and complete spoil for me… and really an opportunity not to be missed. Fancourt is an exclusive golf resort on the Southern Coast of South Africa. It is situated in the town of George, which is typically known as the gateway to the Garden Route. A five hour drive from Cape Town and short plane trip from Johannesburg, this is the perfect place to make a complete getaway… to a part of South Africa that is called the Garden Route for a reason. From the wide open beaches of Wilderness, to the Outeniqua Mountains… from Knysna and Plettenberg Bay to Oudsthoorn, there is unprecedented natural beauty wherever you look.


Getting There

I have become a bus traveler… and after my previous trip across Africa, I was quite happy to enjoy a little Hilton Ross luxury as we left a cold and blustery Cape Town early on Friday morning…


And headed out of the Mother City…


Away from laundry piles…


And into the countryside…


Where I settled down with Cressida Cowell’s latest read… and it is a good one folks!!!


And lunch was provided…

I tried not to think about ALL the packaging and really hope like crazy they have someone sorting the garbage and recycling it all.

Before I noticed the time fly by we were in Mossel Bay…


And the next stop, just ten minutes from the George airport, we arrived at Fancourt.


Welcome to Fancourt


First impressions are lasting impressions and immediately after signing in, and a snack in the club, we were whisked off for a quick tour of the grounds on a golf cart.


And since I am a mom, and since these little golf carts can get up to fairly impressive speeds, I asked to see the driver’s licence…

#1/7 pictures I sent my kids to show them that I was in good hands.

And did I say a region of unprecedented natural beauty…


Because… the Garden Route, is really a show case of all that is lovely…


Everywhere you turn, it is just stunning…


Fancourt Accommodation

After a tour of the grounds we were taken on a tour of the accommodation and to be honest that deserves a post all of its own… really it does.


Of course there was five star treatment and champagne throughout…


And would you look at the bath goodies…


And the views…


And the grounds…


Just the most restful place… and these little surprises…

#2/7 pictures I sent to my kids to show them the garden robots… that keep the lawn trim and only stay within their little area, and rest up at a recharging station… just too cute.

The Recreation Centre

From the accommodation we wandered down to the recreation centre…


A club for kids to play and relax… with a stunning pool…


And the Poolside Cafe…


And bikes for everyone…

#3/7 pictures that I sent my kids… because there really are bikes for everyone, and then some more!!!

A Quick Refresh in Our Rooms


Would you look at the entrance to my room, which was actually a suite: bedroom, lounge and bathroom… and lots and lots of lovely little 5 star details!!!


Not to mention a gift on my bed… would you look at that sweater, that I have worn ever since!!!


Followed by a sumptuous braai for dinner… I am not kidding just look at the lovely table, and why oh why have I never thought of more than one salt and pepper set at the table, this would put an end to a lot of dinnertime discussions in our house.


And that was me, over and out for the day…


And in my room, my own personal little tea/coffee caddy… I am not really a camomile tea gal, and no thanks to coffee at bedtime not even decaf, so I kind of wished there was a hot chocolate sachet in there… to go with the book I was reading. But then I discovered this in the closet… and I was able to cope without hot chocolate after all…


Because this gown was just pure life for me. Had I known that that cosy gown was waiting for me in my room, I may not have been so keen to see all the sights. Honestly, I could have stayed in my room, in this gown the rest of the weekend. I didn’t mind you… but I could have!!!

And then it was Saturday

Day two began bright and early… and I had so many good intentions of going for an early morning run on one of the trails or visiting the fabulous gym… but really the crisp white sheets and that gown, I may have lingered a little longer in bed.


Breakfast starts at 6:30 and I was there… why make my own coffee when I can get a cappuccino in the restaurant.


And we were soon out on a day tour of the Garden Route… It was fabulous.


Driving through the countryside, while our driver kept up an interesting dialogue, telling us about the history and interesting facts about the area… the best school for rugby, hiking trails in the area, historical snippets, where to stop for fun times with kids, the transport museum and strawberry picking and even where to do your shopping.

Sedgefield Markets

We spent a wonderful morning wandering about the markets in Sedgefield… three markets, all within walking distance, really meters apart… and each with their own distinctive character.


5/7 picture I sent my kids because I know Hood 8 would absolutely love a pop gun



From the Markets we continued down the road, past the severe damage of the recent fires…



Past the lagoon…


And into Knysna…


The Knysna Waterfront


The Knysna Waterfront is very picturesque…


I have a feeling their Waterfront is focusing on overseas visitors, and we had looked at all there was to offer pretty quickly, perhaps because we weren’t shopping for things to take home with us. That being said, for a world renowned little town with thousands and thousands of visitors passing through annually, there must be more to Knysna than the Waterfront, and I am determined to return and explore it a little more.


From the Waterfront we headed down to The Paddle Cruiser for a luncheon cruise down to the World Famous Knysna Heads. The Paddle Cruiser is the only one of its kind in South Africa, it was made in Cape Town and then towed around the coast to Knysna.


Now you are talking my language, put me on the water and I could be happy forever…


And we went past our Honeymoon spot of nearly twenty five years ago… really, even I can’t believe it!!!

#6/7 pictures I sent my kids to show them the little wooden houses that we went to on Honeymoon in the olden days.


Lazy lunch on board…


Ready for a nap… we headed back to Fancourt…


The Links

On the way back to Fancourt we stopped by The Links. Remember George is all about golf, there 27 golf courses and seven five star hotels, and any number of Messy golf courses, which only have nine holes but there are two tees, so it feels like eighteen. Fancourt is very definitely all about the golf, three very exclusive golf courses. Two of the courses, the Outeniqua and the Montague are on the Fancourt Estate and are open to the folk visiting the resort.


The Links is a very exclusive members only course, within its own estate. They managed to clear the members lounge for us to take a sneak peek and here we are the Media team, taking a look at the eighteenth hole in front of the club house lounge.


Back to Fancourt

We headed back to Fancourt, for a quick tour of the spa…


And would you look at that pool…


followed by some relaxing… and then a gala dinner…


With the most amazing deserts…


All to soon it was breakfast again…


And time to fly home on the bus…


Past the spring Canola fields…


#7/7 pictures I sent to my kids, saying I was nearly home… and light the candles for the Father person’s cake… Yes, it is birthday season over here!!!

Fancourt, the Garden Route

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write it and opinions expressed are my own. That being said, Lesley Simpson Communications did invite me to the media weekend and together with Fancourt South Africa provided me with a weekend away.

→ 7 CommentsTags: Saturday Spot

Se7en’s October and Your Free Printable Calendar…

October 1st, 2017 · No Comments


So October has crept up on us…

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

Se7en’s October

1 October: Homemade Cookies Day

1 October 1908: Henry Ford Introduced the Model T

1 October 1924: Jimmy’s Carter Birthday (1924-)

2 October 1950: Peanuts First Published

2 October 1869: Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (1869 – 1948)

3 October 1906: SOS Established

3 October 1189: Richard I (The Lionheart) crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey

3 October 1916: James Herriot’s Birthday (1916 – 1995)

4 October: Child Health Day

7 October: National Poetry Daythis day moved to September 28 this year, but it is too good to miss!!!)

7 October 1885: Niels Bohrs Birthday (1885 – 1962)

8 October 1871: Great Fire of Chicago

9 October: First Two Way Telephone Conversation

9 October: Leif Erikson Day

9 October: Mouldy Cheese Day

9 October: World Post Day

11 October 1884: Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)

11 October 1880: Boer War Began

12 October: Columbus Day

12 October: National Fossil Day

14 October 1066: Battle of Hastings

15 October: National Grouch Day

16 October: World Food Day

16 October: World Dictionary Day

19 October 1879: Thomas Edison Demonstrated the Electric Light Bulb

21 October: Apple Day

21 October 1959: Guggenheim Museum Opened

23 October 1940: Pele’s Birthday (1940 – )

23 October: Mother in Laws Day

24 October 2009: United Nations Day

25 October 1881: Pablo Picasso’s Birthday (1881 – 1973)

26 October 1836: International Red Cross Organised in Switzerland

27 October: International School Library Day

27 October 1848: Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday (1858 – 1919)

28 October 1886: Statue of Liberty Dedicated

30 October 1735: John Adam’s Birthday (1735 – 1826)

31 October 1941: Mt. Rushmore completed

31 October: Halloween

→ No CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

And Just Like That Hood 8 is Se7en+1…

October 1st, 2017 · 10 Comments

Did I mention it was birthday season over here… because we have another birthday in the family… Hood 8 is eight, and that really flew by so fast… I know it is a cliché, but really time has flown past!!!


A man who knows his books…


Like any good pirate…


He is always hunting for treasure…


And ocean life… is the life for him…


And so so so strong…


Always beating to his very own drum…


Ready to try anything new…


Sometimes I cannot even imagine what he has been up too…


And once a pirate… always…


Always good for a well earned break…


After a day of hard work…


Always ready to step off the edge… any edge…


Always ready for war…


Did I mention the ocean…


And the higher up you go, the better the chances of spotting the enemy…


And always a drawing at the top of every mountain…


And reading the LEGO manual…


And cook outs… Happy Brilliant Birthday little one…


Once a pirate… always a pirate…


You Can Read About His Well Documented Life Here…


→ 10 CommentsTags: Home Truths

Se7en’s A to Z of Cape Town for Kids…

September 29th, 2017 · 2 Comments

I cannot believe that it is Spring Break in Cape Town already, and kids are on school vacation and looking for fun family friendly outings all over the city…

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Cape Town’s A to Z for Kids


A is for Aquarium

B is for Boulder’s Beach
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C is for the Cable Car

D is for District Six Museum

E is for Elephant’s Eye

F is for Free Walking Tours

G is for Green Point Park
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H is for Hout Bay
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I is for Intaka Island

J is for Just Nuisance

K is for Kirstenbosch

L is for Lion’s Head

M is for Muizenberg

N is for the Noon Day Gun

O is for the Old Biscuit Mill

P is for the Planetarium

Q is for Quick Family Walks

R is for Robben IslandThis is on our bucket list still…

S is for the Scratch Patch
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T is for Table Mountain

U is for Underwater with the Shark Centre
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V is for V&A Waterfront

W is for World of Birds

X is for Xtreme (Board) Games at the Big Box Cafe

Y is for Yellow Beach Sand

Z is for Zip Zap CircusAnother one on our bucket list!!!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Cape Town · Outings

Have You Heard About the Case of Adventure…

September 27th, 2017 · 2 Comments

We are always trying to bring the world into our school. We are a world schoolers at heart, and while we do travel, though not nearly as much as I would like too, we also do a lot of virtually traveling. Now that the world is so accessible to us, it is a lot easier to virtually travel with our kids… visit museums all over the world, listen to tours all over the world, there is a lot out there. One resource that I have been having a heap of fun with, with my youngest three is the Case of Adventure.


Switzerland in a Chapter Book

A while ago we won the Case of Adventures first book, The Cuckoo Clock, and adventure that takes a homeschooling family of five from Cape Town to Switzerland. What starts as an exciting discovery quickly becomes a wild quest as the five children go on an adventure uncovering history and treasure, as they work together to solve the puzzle.


The story is great but there is more, the resource pack that you can purchase with it is incredible. Everything you could possibly need for a virtual adventure. The printable pack of pure fun, we didn’t dive into it at first we just looked at it and loved it… but this year we have totally gotten into it… the resource pack comes with a travel starter pack… everything you need to get your journey going… travel documents, codes and ciphers, airport signage, maps and paper money… this is a well thought out project, by a mom who knows how to stir up her kids curiosity and who believes that play is learning. Homeschoolers and non-homeschoolering children who are into adventures and discovery will love this.


Madagascar the Podcast


We were so excited recently to discover that a podcast was beginning… Countries for Kids, and the first country is Madagascar. Along with the podcast is a free printable pack… with everything you can think of: maps, money, flags, postcards, word searches and crosswords, animal cards. There are things to fill in, but just enough for the minimalist writer not to think there is too much writing and just enough to make you feel like you have been on an adventure.

Romania the Podcast


The second podcast in the series is all about Romania, and it’s activity pack you can also download for free. The activity pack has recipes, vocabulary cards, visas, and all the goodies you will need for the most committed virtual traveler.

Scotland in a Chapter Book

There is a new book, A Clash of Swords, set in Scotland that launches this week. We are looking forward to this like you cannot believe. You can scroll down this page for a sneak preview over here and if you would like to enter the GiveAway, then head over the Case of Adventure Site. You could win a copy of Destination Scotland over here… but today is the last day to enter… so if this sounds amazing to you… dash over there and enter. And if it is something you just want to try out for free first then head for her podcasts, try them… my kids love them.

This is how the Case of Adventure works, there are two fabulous chapter books in the series and their complete activity packs are available to purchase, and their are two podcasts that you can listen to and their activity packs are free to download, just click on the link and head over to their website to explore. The second book launches this week and today 27 September 2017 is the last day to enter the Give Away for the new book… just saying!!!

This is not a sponsored post, it is a community service post(!) really, it is a product we love and think you will as well. All opinions expressed are as usual our own.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Se7en at School

Se7en + 1 Things I am Loving Right Now…

September 25th, 2017 · 10 Comments

Another year and another birthday. My birthday sprung up on me this year. I have no idea how the world is spinning around so fast, but clearly it is. I remember when I was a kid and the the weeks up until my birthday literally crawled, that’s if they weren’t standing still. Well I was all intentional about doing something for my birthday this year and then suddenly my birthday was past… it was lovely really and my kids spoilt me rotten. And because I didn’t plan anything specific, my friends rallied round and somehow a play date here and a coffee there, a hike and a beach walk and it all added up to time spent one on one, or as close to one on one when you have eight kids (!), with so many of my best friends. My heart was filled and the birthday came to pass. So this is my birthday post…


Se7en + 1 Things I Am Loving Right Now…

  1. Time with my Gang: We haven’t done any huge hikes lately, but lots of little hikes do add up to time spent together in the great outdoors. And adding a few weekly walk/runs to our schedule helps to spend time together where we can’t be distracted by all the world around us… for some of us it is literally survival of the fittest. Otherwise this year I popped games onto our list of things we have to do everyday for school and this means that at least once a week I get to play a game with each of them. Different kids choose different games, it is fun and one on one time, all under the banner of school.
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    You know you have gone full circle when your kids give you your first ever lego kit for your birthday

  3. Audible Books: This is the year I have become committed to audible books, previously I may have listened to one or two books a month but right now, with driving to and from gym everyday I am powering through two or three books a week… and my word it is fantastic. One of my goals is to read through all the Sonlight books in our school library, and while I have read most of the primary school books, I do have a ways to go in the high school collection. So I have been listening to some of those on audible as well… I just listened to Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers. What a fantastic book… I loved it so much that I immediately listened to one of his other books, The Tipping Point. I thought these would be business, go getter, kind of books… but they were both really interesting. They are packed with snippets of useful information, and they are really anecdotes demonstrating the “hows and whys” of folk who have gotten ahead.
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  5. Free Coffee: And isn’t this a good way to connect with your teenage son, who recently discovered (because I would never notice things like that), that with our medical insurance, if you gather up your exercise points for the week and maintain your goals… ten thousand steps a day or a gym visit and a park run and such like, then you get rewarded with an actual coffee. What a treat, I get to spend a few minutes of one on one time with him, I get a latte and he gets hot chocolate and we are both happy!!!
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  7. Swimming: Two weeks ago I rediscovered swimming, in the olden days before I had children, I was a swimmer. And I love it. How could I have been going to gym for six months and not tried swimming before. Truth is actually thought I wouldn’t fit into my costume, but I do… and it is great and the laps are rolling past again.
  8. Rearranged Bedrooms: In my year of getting things done, rearranging our bedrooms was a top priority… the other day I realised that it was September and I hadn’t even begun that project… it took two days but the bedrooms have been shuffled and now our boys have a room and the girls have a room and it is all working.
  9. I Tossed My RoadBlock: My Year of Getting Things Done sort of stumbled to a halt, the problem was that I was using “getting my to do list in order” as an excuse not to do anything. I tossed the To-Do list, and I am rolling again. I know, even I am a great advocator for creating a list and writing down how long a project should take, and then getting things done whenever I have a few minutes. Turns out because the list appeared to be never ending, and because I kept thinking about more things to put on the list… I was not actually doing anything. I tossed the list, I pick a job and I tell myself to do as much as I can in fifteen minutes… once I have begun it appears to be easy enough to just keep going. Things are getting done… including LOTS of decluttering. The minimalist in me just breathes so much better when surfaces are clear.
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  11. Our School: I never thought I would write down that I love school, but that is the truth I am loving homeschooling right now. And for those of you in the trenches of early days, and filled with the stress of getting little ones to write just one sentence and sound out a handful of words… as a veteran homeschooler with almost two graduates, I can honestly say that I just don’t stress about school anymore, it happens, work gets done and we have a lot of fun doing it. It is not perfect and I am sure my kids are avoiding things they probably should be doing, and I am encouraging them to do things that they probably needn’t do, but overall everyone is learning, making progress… and it is working.
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  13. Sleep: I am loving sleep… I have no excuse not to, and I am fully intentional about getting to bed. I used to worry about going to bed before everyone else was safely tucked in for the night. All that is over, if my teenagers want to stay up late… well I don’t have any time for that, I head for bed with the book I am reading and after a chapter or two I am sleeping. I blog a lot less, but it is worth it for me… I always said my family comes before blogging, well it turns out that my health comes before blogging too and I have a feeling most of our readers would be all for that.
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→ 10 CommentsTags: Home Truths