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

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Se7en Discover the Streams, Springs and Ponds at Kirstenbosch…

July 14th, 2016 · 1 Comment

We have hit holiday mode… which means I am nowhere near my computer and blogging is taking a back seat to the fun things we are doing right now… and that includes a whole lot of getting outdoors and taking every opportunity to enjoy the Winter Wonders Programme and Free Entrance to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for kids.

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Every Saturday during the holidays, they have a fantastic guided tour of the gardens under the guise of “Family Treasure Hunts…” Think following clues and exploring your way through the gardens and the treasure is ultimately a heap of knowledge. The volunteer guides are fantastic and spend about two hours answering bazillions of questions, from everybody there… short and tall… about plants and birds and rocks and trees… with enormous patience and enthusiasm. They obviously are passionate about their task and they do it well.

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You can choose from four themes, and that is the problem… they are that good, and we have only managed two of them. I really hope they offer these family friendly tours to families again and again because we are loving them. You can pick your treasure hunt from flowers to trees and rivers to the conservatory… whatever the weather there is some good exploring to do.


Streams, Springs and Ponds

This week we chose the watery tour… and our first clue led us into the gardens to find the teddy bear ears…

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The Lily Pond…

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And could you drink this water or not… hmmm a lot of reeds are filtering the water… it is moving… lots to think about.

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Onto the next clue…

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And dashing off to find the next clue… I love that the kids are intended to get heart and soul involved and can (and do) ask as many questions as comes to mind, not to mention encouraged to stop and listen, touch and feel… and there is always a good spot to climb and clamber, all in all making what could be a drudgy visit to the botanical gardens something fun and exciting and something they want to do again and again…

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And we have been hoping to spot one of these fresh water crabs in a sunny spot for ages, so that we could get a really good look at it…

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And then we got a little bit side tracked by banana trees…

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There are the bananas and hanging down at the bottom is the enormous flower…

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And this… is a banana seed. Have you ever. You learn new things every day.

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Following the Stream…

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To the source…

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There is a spring in that pool, created by the different lanes of rock… the Table Mountain Sandstone is porous, and the Cape Granite is not. So the water is forced out and creates this beautiful stream that is always 18 degrees Celsius.

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Meanwhile, the guides had a collection of magnifying glasses at hand for taking a closer look.

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We stopped to look at the science experiments…

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Beautiful mountain water…

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Pond life…

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While wandering through the gardens…

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Through secret tunnels…

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Past incredible plants and creatures…

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One thing we have all learnt is to stop and read the signs… there is a lot to learn on them…

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On we went…

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Into the wetlands… and real live bull rushes… and the sounds of dozens of frogs…

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And then we learnt where the rivers and streams flow…

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We are all about the source to the sea…

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You can download the full Winter Wonderland programme here.


Finding 50 GiveAway

Don’t forget we have a fabulous GiveAway running right now… click on the link and leave a comment…

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Previous Kirstenbosch Posts

We would like to thank the publishers Struik Nature and Penguin Random House South Africa who supplied us with the spotter’s guides to giveaway. Also, thank you to Hippo Communications for organising free entrance to the Gardens for myself, so that I could attend these events and bring them to our readers. This was not a sponsored post and all opinions are as usual my own.

→ 1 CommentTags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot

Se7en Journeys to Europe with the Read the World Book Club…

July 13th, 2016 · No Comments

This is Week Three of our Read the World Book Club Series. For the next couple of weeks we are going to be posting a pile of our favourite books from each continent… and you are welcome to join us on our journey. This week we are journeying to Europe, along with The Simple Homeschool Folk and #Giveyourchildtheworld.

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Welcome to Europe

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Travels in Europe

When I was really small my parents travelled Europe from end to end. My first memory is of a friend of my parents’ best friend throwing a snowball off the edge of the world, actually is was a hill, but I was only just a year old”ish.” After my early travels it wasn’t until I was married that I again got to travel a lot more, always for work. Just before we had children the father person and I went island hopping in Greece for a month, and then since I studied Italian at university, my lecturer offered us the use of her apartment in Rome. So another couple of weeks in the heart of Italy, from where we could venture all over Italy… fun times, and I can’t think why I haven’t ever blogged about it.

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Otherwise we did take our kids to London for a couple of years ago and then spent a few of weeks in Wales. Part of the reason I started our blog was because friends kept asking us how to travel with a collection of kids and lazy me, I didn’t want to tell the story again and again and thought I could just blog it and send them the link…


Se7en + 1 Travels in Europe

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Our Favourite Books from Europe


Actual Factual Books

Let’s begin with fact books… certain books need to just be strewn about and absorbed as we float by in our day to day living. Books like Sasek’s wonderful classics have inspired art projects again and again.

Diane Stanley’s biographies are the best. We love them and even though they are a little long to read in once sitting we always do… we just can’t stop ourselves.

A fairly new discovery for us is Salvatore Rubbino’s wonderful city guides… they are delightful and cover absolutely every landmark that you would like to visit and then a few more… delightful in everyway. These books are classics in the making and will be read again and again and again.


Cook Books

After guidebooks, and you can’t beat DK guidebooks, I do leave cookbooks floating on the coffee table for weeks at a time. Never underestimate the power of a cook book to take you to places that you have never been before. It turns out that tastes have a way of bringing back memories like nothing else and flavours make great traveling companions. These are a few of our favourites…


FolkLore and Literature

Hans Christian Anderson really does define childhood fairytales for me and so a good collection is the perfect addition to our library. Aesop’s Fables, like Mother Goose, really needs to be read… they just do. D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths is another such a classic, it must be read… though I battled to read it myself. So I got the audible book and then we all enjoyed it so much better together. Shakespeare we love and my kids can’t get enough, we have endless Shakespeare resources and read these stories, in a variety of formats, again and again and again. Also terribly English, but has to be included would be a good collection of Robin Hood, my kids love Robin Hood and any reading is followed by weeks of wild play.


Read-A-Louds Books

The Once and Future King is the complete collection of Kind Arthur Stories… pure English countryside. We have been listening to this audio book for ages and ages, it was such a good bargain – so many hours of listening and what could be better than Merlin and King Arthur, and long descriptions of English nature study. Then Heidi in the Swiss Alps, what can I say… don’t get an abridged version… you want the whole book and you want to read it out loud, this book is thoroughly good for the soul. My Family and Other Animals is a laugh out loud, really out loud book and is our next book on our pile of books to read as a family… This is a memoir of Gerald Durrel’s childhood on the island of Corfu. A family of eccentrics and a house full of creepy crawlies and pets of every single description.


Picture Books

Nothing says English countryside quite like Beatrix Potter and James Herriot, both of these books we love. Then of course there is Madeline from Paris and The Cow in the Canal from Holland, Ferdinand in Spain. All the Katie Books are fabulous, there is everything to love about them. And finally one of our all time favourites has to be the Red Balloon, that Hood #1 illustrated for us.


Chapter Books

You might know the Bullerby Children as the Children of Noisy Village, I grew up with the Bullerby children and I love them still, happy to read again and again. The Family under the Bridge is a beautifully poignant story on the wintry streets of Paris, one I was read to at school and one I have read to my kids many times too. London Stories is not a classic, but it is a great book… each chapter is a story from another era… and the reader travels through time in the city of London. Red Sails to Capri is another classic, this time set in Italy and obviously Capri… there is magic in this book, we have read it several times and never get tired of it. Sticks Across the Chimney was a lovely surprise… we read it for school, it is set in the Danish countryside and once we got started we couldn’t stop… it is a keeper. The White Stallions of Lipizza, another beautiful book that highlights the tradition of the Spanish Riding School, this book is a delight form start to finish. If you had to ask my kids what their favourite story was ever then Hans Brinker would come up again and again… this story is every bit of loveliness. Emil and the Detectives is set in Berlin. Emil is a young boy who finds himself nodding off to sleep on the train, when he wakes up the money that was pinned in his pocket is gone and so is the man in the bowler hat. Emil and a group of lads become detectives and set out to solve the mystery. The Wheel on the School, by Meindert DeJong, well anything by Meindert DeJong, but this one tells you all about life of a little girl in school… and how she and her classmates set out to find a wheel for the passing storks to nest on… it is a great story, full of determination and ultimately heroism. My kids absolutely love Henry Winterfeld’s mystery series set in roman times… what can I say, fantastic reads. And finally, Theras the story of an Athenian boy, is set in Ancient Greece and highlights the differences between life in Athens and Sparta. I loved this book so much as a child it inspired me to love all things Greek… and was the first country I had to visit as an adult.

A collection of books from Europe wouldn’t be complete without books from the great wars, you can’t beat Michael Morpugo for beautiful war stories, but another author that we absolutely love is Sam Angus. Sam Angus’ books are set throughout Europe… from France to Gallipoli, you will find these tragic and heroic tales… books you will cry through and love all at the same time. There is everything to love about Sam Angus.


Teen Books

When I asked my kids what their favourite books were from Europe a couple of teen reads crept into the mix… here they are. These are all sweet teen reads, with a little love thrown into them, they are definitely not young adult reads and there is nothing untoward in them. The Debutantes are a family of four great down to earth girls living in the English countryside in the 1920s, they realise that the only way to escape their dilapidated mansion and get anywhere in life would be to escape to London to seek their fortune… life and love get in the way of their plotting and planning, this is great reading. And the story goes on in Debutantes in Love, these are really a bunch of fun girls that you wish were in real life and not just on the pages of a book. Hero on a Bicycle, by Shirley Hughes – yes of the wonderful Alfie picture books fame, is set in Italy during World War 2, the background might be the war, but the story is about 13 year old Paolo and his older sister Constanza, who loves a German soldier, while their father has vanished and they suspect he worked for the Resistance… many ins an outs and a beautiful read. The Girl in the Blue Coat is set in Amsterdam in World War 2, the story is told from many perspectives and Hanneke the heroine is on a journey to find missing girl, she gets drawn in to working for the Resistance. This book has a very unexpected ending… it’s a great read.


Previous Posts in this Series

Se7en Are Off on a Book Voyage

Se7en Journeys to Africa with the Read the World Book Club…

Interview on Growing up in South Africa on Simple Homeschool…

Se7en Welcomes the Read the World book Club to Sunny South Africa…

You are welcome to join the club… and if you do post on instagram use the #Giveyourchildtheworld hashtag.

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Follow se7en_hoods’s board Se7en At School on Pinterest.

→ No CommentsTags: Se7en at School

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #323

July 11th, 2016 · 6 Comments

This is pretty much where we are at, relaxing and chilling out… and busy catching up with all our school friends that are on holiday right now. So lots of business and lots of relaxing and not a whole lot in-between. The weather has been pretty glorious, so plenty of time to run around exploring in the great outdoors too…

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First things first, if you haven’t read our interview on Growing up in South Africa on Simple Homeschool, then click on the link already. I shared a few details of our life and times that I don’t often share over here on our own blog.

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And we have a fabulous World Wide GiveAway click on the link if you missed it and leave a comment.

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Lovely Links from This Week

  1. Playing by the Book has excellent post after excellent post after excellent post: I loved her post: Nuturing Reading Over the Summer Break and if you are looking for some magic: Once upon a Wish is Just Epic.
  2. Babble Dabble Do posted a gazillion Art projects for Kids!!!
  3. Oh how dreamy is this space… Susie Q on Natalie Creates…
  4. A little late in the month to discover this, but it is fantastic: Take a look at the July 2016 Nature Journal Calendar on Blog, She Wrote.
  5. Tinkering Space on Tinkerlab… Oh to be a kid again and visit this spot!!!
  6. Almost everyone we know is away, has been away, will be away and I can’t help browsing around GetAway Magazine…
  7. I have vicariously traveled to Italy over the past few weeks with Alison Chino… and I will never ever complain about the stairs up the mountain behind our house again. I know never say never… but seriously!!!


A Blast From the Past:

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The Last Week for Free Entry for Kids into Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is absolutely free for kids during the school holidays, you do have to buy a ticket for the accompanying adults though. They have a fantastic kids program for families… I’ll say it again… it is absolutely free. You can download the entire Winter Wonders 2016 Programme on the Kirstenbosch website.

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Programme printed with permission of StruikNature.

Thank you to Hippo Communications who have provided me with free entrance to Kirstenbosch, for the duration of the holidays… I will be bringing you a post about the holiday activities later in the week…


Mandela Day at Snow World

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That’s us… Hope you all have a fabulous week!!!

→ 6 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Book of the Week: Jan – A Breath of French Air…

July 11th, 2016 · 6 Comments

A little while back we blogged about a French Cooking Course we had been doing with our cooking friends from Yuppie Chef, it makes sense that we followed up by reviewing a cookbook with a French Twist. Jan, a Breath of French Air, by Jan Hendrik Van Der Westhuizen is published by Penguin Random House South Africa, is the memoir of a South African with a Michelin Star restaurant in the south of France. So very French, and lots of South Africanisms brought into it to add a little twist and a flair.

If you follow Jan Hendrik on instagram you will immediately see that he is a food artist of note. His book deserves to be a fabulous coffee table book, it is a work of art… to be perused and paged through, not to mention a certain amount of spillage, at least a splash of flour between the pages. This is a working book and the pages need to be open in order to cook from it. I received a e-version of the book for review purposes and to be honest, you need to feel the paper.

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So first things first… we went trawling through the book together looking for fine things to eat… there were lots of fine things to choose from. The problem is, when you are working from an artist… not everything is as simple as it looks. Many of the recipes were overnighters. Very few things recipes were make in a flash… which is fine. We tackled this book and found ourselves quite lost, in a good way, in the process many times. Also upon careful reading we were able to discover that there were indeed quite a few quick and easy tricks that could be performed fairly quickly with great results… we started with those. We learnt a lot reviewing this cookbook, it took us a long time to work our way through it satisfactorily. Quite a few recipes have been popped into various notebooks because we will return to them again and again.

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  1. Mosbolletjies: Mosbolletjies are a staple South African favourite. A bread that is like a soft springy brioche packed with aniseed. These just say “road trip” to my family and I have been trying to perfect them for years… finally we have a recipe that works. My fail was in fact that we were always adding a teaspoon or two of aniseed to our bread dough, but the recipe in this book adds a whole lot more… and a quick glaze once they are baked and we have arrived in the world of mosbolletjie heaven.
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  3. Pain Au Chocolat: We tried our hand at croissants for the first time ever, chocolate croissants. For a first try… mini croissants, next time we are making them bigger and better. Firstly, a whole new respect for the bakers that make the chocolate croissants we buy in the store and secondly… while time consuming, making croissants wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be… we are definitely going to be making these again and again.
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  5. Olive and Rosemary Sticks with Whipped Miso Butter: Well always looking for an instant snack that looks a little smarted than you average… these are perfect and impressive. Honestly, olive tapenade can be made in an instant and if you keep a roll of pastry handy then thesis snacks can be made, literally in moments.
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  7. Homemade Ricotta: This is just the easiest thing in the world… basically with a little ricotta, and some olive tapenade from the previous recipe, you have a ready made party waiting for you to serve up at anytime. This ricotta is packed with a zesty lemon flavour, and herbs from the garden added to the flavour. I have a feeling we are going to have a tub of ricotta in the fridge for weeks and weeks because of this book, everytime we finish a tub somebody quickly creates a new one.
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  9. Homemade Butter: I love that in this book there are recipes that are literally child’s play, and some recipes call for butter. My kids love making their own butter from cream. It is easy enough for kids to make… we normally make it in a jar, but in honour of the book we used the mixer… Just as easy and so worth it. The croissant recipe called for butter and we were happy to add it to our recipe collection.
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  11. Chocolate Bark: For all the recipes in this book that require you to wait overnight and leave things to rest for a couple of hours, not to mention multiple components… there is chocolate bark. Anyone can make this. Anyone.
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  13. Milk Tart Croquembouche: Hmmmm… these are eclairs with a surprising and lovely twist. The eclairs are filled with a delicious milk tart custard, with a caramel glaze poured over them. Fairly heavenly and if you are going to make it you have to know that if you can get all the delicious components to the plate. they aren’t going to last a moment longer.
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  15. Raspberry and Cream Meringue Kisses: Yum, yum, yum… without a piping bag our meringues did not look anything like the rows and rows of perfection in the recipe book. However, ours meringues were spiky, pail pink and delicious and the raspberry cream turned something quite lovely into something extravagant.
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  17. Pancakes With Mushrooms and Gruyere: Follow the link to this recipe, for our latest and favourite pancake mixture… our dinner did not look quite as perfect as the version in the cookbook, but I can say that the entire family loved it. And so we have another fairly easy family friendly dinner to add to our repertoire.

All in all this is a beautiful book and well worth the artwork of it. The recipes look a lot harder than they are… follow the steps and you will conquer them. We really enjoyed working our way through this book. You can take a look at Jan Hendrik’s website here, and he has lots of recipes to try as well.

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We would like to thank the publishers Penguin Random House South Africa who supplied us with a copy of the book for review purposes. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed are as usual, entirely our own.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books · Cook Book Reviews · Monday Munchies

Se7en Welcome Read the World Book Club to Sunny South Africa…

July 8th, 2016 · 3 Comments

We are so excited to be part of the Read the World Book Club. This week the book club is visiting Africa and today the tour is virtually stopping by, and visiting us in South Africa. We thought we would like to write a post welcoming all the folk visiting our blog from Simple Homeschool today… and include a collection of South African books for children.

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Let’s begin by introducing you to Sunny South Africa…

Se7en + 1 Questions Kids Ask Us About Living in Africa.

Se7en + 1 More Questions Kids Ask Us About Living in Africa.

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South African Places to Visit

  1. Se7en Brilliant Things to Do in Cape Town…
  2. Wild life in Cape Point Nature Reserve…
  3. Se7en Free Outings in Cape Town.
  4. Se7en Budget Outings in Cape Town.
  5. Hiking Table Mountain with Kids…
  6. Se7en Priceless Outings in Cape Town.
  7. The Great Kalk Bay Round-Up.
  8. And the se7en + 1th

  9. Se7en’s Trans-South African Road Trip…

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South African Flavours and Food

  1. Yuppie Chef’s Enkosi Cookathon – A Week of South African Recipes.
  2. Se7en + 1 Review Justin Bonello’s Latest Cook Book: Roadtripping in Southern Africa.
  3. Se7en Reviews: Simply Delicious’s Cook Book Review and Bunny Chow…
  4. Se7en and the South African Braai.
  5. Se7en Make Bobotie and Yellow Rice in Se7en Steps.
  6. Se7en Make Buttermilk Rusks.
  7. Se7en Make Koeksisters and Donuts.
  8. And the se7en + 1th

  9. Marvellous Milk Tart in Se7en Steps…

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South African Activities For Kids

  1. Se7en + 1 Tips for Creating Nature NoteBooks With Kids…
  2. Learning How to be Citizen scientists in the National Botanical Gardens.
  3. Se7en’s Rainbow Nation on the Crafty Crow.
  4. Se7en Build A Township.
  5. Ndebele Huts to Hats in Se7en Steps.
  6. Madiba Magic … Silk Shirts.
  7. Se7en Create Bead and Wire Flowers.
  8. And the se7en + 1th

  9. Beastly Bushveld Bunting in Se7en Steps.


Se7en of the Best South African Story Books for Kids

  1. Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom, is a picture book and the true story of a man with a heart for freedom… I have a feeling that you would want to read and learn about this great man alongside your kids. This book has beautiful illustrations and the story captures the essence of the man. If you are looking for an easy chapter book on his life, then choose The Children’s Madiba. This is a biography that your children can read on their own and get a sense of the man that he was.

  2. Anything by the Bester sisters is just fantastic… she grew up on a farm in South Africa and the main characters in their books are a type of cattle, called Nguni cattle. These cows and their unique colours are quintessentially South African. The stories tend to have lots to learn in them… life lessons and practical lessons. For example in the long trousers a young nguni cow needs help to shorten his trousers before a large family wedding… everyone is too busy to help him, so he leaves his trousers on the table and goes to bed. The next morning everyone gets up and seeing his trousers shortens them for him… of course by the time the he puts them on for the wedding… they are way too short!!!
  3. If you are looking for a lovely South African picture books then look no further than Niki Daly. He consistently has produced beautifully illustrated picture books with poignant tales that stir the imagination. Our favourite character of his is by far Jamela who is just the sweetest little girl, and the scrapes she gets into often have a cultural twist to them.
  4. Famous South African Folk Tales: Folk tales are a great way to provide a background to South African culture. The stories are short two to three page at most, with lots of fun illustrations. While I usually read through this book to my younger children I will often find it has been taken off the shelf by my older kids for a quick read. Stories Gogo Told Me: The author of this book spent several months touring Southern African villages, looking for the village storyteller, usually a grandma, known as Gogo. The stories are often tall tall tales, with animals as the main characters… they are fun and include a number of life lessons in them, as folk tales tend to do.
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  6. The Monty Stories: are about a mongoose that lives in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens… the stories revolve around Monty and his animal friends, al local birds and animals. They venture out into local natural sites and have an adventure or two along the way. All the way through the stories a nature facts are woven into the plot… there is lots to learn about Cape plants and animals, and this is a lovely way to present them. You can download activity sheets for each book and though they aren’t available on Amazon you can buy, download a pdf version from the publisher.
  7. Seekers of the Lost Boy is a novel for middle schoolers and a great family read a loud, because there is a lot to talk about. It is the story of a homeschooling family in Cape Town who discover an old bottle on the beach that contains a message. The children who live in a post-apartheid South Africa, go on a quest to find out the story behind the message and in doing so take a look back in history. My children are interested in history but I have said it before and I will say it again – there is a gap in our local history that understandably for very painful reasons folk just don’t want to talk about. I love books like this one that bring history to life and open it up for our children to read about and understand.
  8. The Diary of Iris Vaughan is a book that was read to me as a child in our last lesson of the day… imagine hot, dusty afternoons waiting for the bell to ring and your feet slipped out of their shoes swinging under the bench. This book is hard to come by and most likely out of print, but it is a part of my childhood and describes almost exactly the world that my grandmother would have lived in. It is a diary written by a very literal 11 year old girl, and it is life as she saw it in South Africa before the Anglo-Boer war. It is hysterically funny, and very very South African. It is not easy reading, because it is full of her spelling mistakes and such… but if you do discover it, read it to your kids: It begins… “Today is my birthday. I am going to write a diary a dirt a diary Book. Pop told me I could. He gave me this fat book. It was a government book, but it is mine now. I shall write here in the loft and hide my book in the old box with straw where no one can see it. Everyone should have a diary. Because life is too hard with the things one must say to be perlite and the things one must say not to lie. This is something I can never get right. If you say you are an ugly old man. that is bad manners. and if I say you are not an ugly old man I am telling a lie and not speaking the truth… “
  9. And then Jock of the Bushveld, forget the movie… it doesn’t even come close to the book. This is the story of the life of a hunting dog, Jock, the runt of the litter, during the Transvaal Goldrush and one for older kids to read. The era of pioneering in South Africa and the dog and his transport rider owner find themselves in many exciting scrapes and adventures, and their survival a harsh, tough and uncompromising world. There are long portions of descriptive writing describing the environment and wildlife around them… there are lots of details and stories within stories. This is not an easy read, I would read it in small chunks to my children, that being said the author did write it as a collection of stories he told at bedtime to his children, so chapters are pretty much complete stories.


Previous Posts our Read the World Book Club Series

Se7en Are Off on a Book Voyage

Se7en Journeys to Africa with the Read the World Book Club…

You are welcome to join the club… and if you do post on instagram use the #Giveyourchildtheworld

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Follow se7en_hoods’s board Se7en At School on Pinterest.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books · Se7en at School

Se7en Visit the Logos Hope…

July 8th, 2016 · 6 Comments

You know how we love ships and shipping… The Logos Hope, is visiting Cape Town from 23 June until 12 July, it is the largest floating book Fair in the World. The goal of the Logos Hope is to bring Knowledge, Help and Hope to people all over the world. At the moment their crew of over four hundred folk, comprises of people from more than fifty countries of the world, all serving together and working together as a team. This is really a world tour, on a world tour.

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When the team are in port they have a Book Fair, they do community outreach programs and also visit churches. They visited our church on Sunday and my gang were desperate to take a tour and see what life was like on board the ship. When one of the team contacted me and said, “I follow your blog, would you like to visit us,” I was literally blown away… I have said it before and I will say it again, “Blogging takes you to some quite incredible places.” Anyway, that’s exactly what we did… we visited and took a tour of this unique ship…

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We chose a particularly cold and wintry day to visit and it was actually great to get out of the cold and meet our guide and her friend. Our guide is a full time mum, and is raising her two little ones on board ship. The ship has a school for the children of families that live on board. Families tend to live in the same corridors, in small apartment size quarters. Play space is at a premium, and my guys were quite appreciative of wide open spaces they have. The children lead a very interesting life, and their mums were filled with wisdom and anecdotes for my curious kids.

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We immediately discovered how the teams stay in shape… it is a nine deck ship and to get anywhere you have to climb stairs and lots of them…

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First Stop the Deck

On a good day you would get a fantastic view of Table Mountain from here… on a wild wintry day… we got to see Table Mountain covered in a cloudy blanket.

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Otherwise we learnt about drills and safety…

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And the world of a deck hand… or a deckie as they are called.

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And Up to the Bridge

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Where there is a lot to see…

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And a lot to be seen…

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And someone, who doesn’t ever get to be in charge, had the opportunity to take control…

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Neighbouring vessels remained in tact… and we managed to extricate ourselves from the Captain’s domain without incident…

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Dinner is Served

A big concern for my kids was the food situation, isn’t it always (!!!), and feeding 400 people a day, everyday… puts our own thirty meals a day firmly in their place. We had a peak at the bakery,

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And a look at the cafeteria,

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And a glance at the menu… which received the stamp of approval from the gang. I have to say that I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that I don’t have to do the grocery shopping for this… I just can’t even begin to imagine it…

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The Book Fair

And this is the reason that most folk visit the ship… an enormous book store packed with books at really affordable prices. Thousands and thousands of books…

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You will have to spend some time browsing…

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There is a coffee shop and stories and entertainment to help you recover… and lots of super friendly volunteers ready to help you and tell you about life on board ship.

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And some very happy book shoppers!!!

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Quick Facts About the Logos Hope

You can take a virtual tour of the ship here. And any questions about the ship and the task that they do you can read about here. And if that isn’t enough, these articles of celebrating 40 years of OM Ships are fascinating reads, especially this one, which includes dozens of recipes.

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So if you are heading for the Waterfront over the next week or so, then pop down to the Logos Hope for a visit… a really interesting outing that will have any of your young potential world travelers very excited about their future.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Cape Town · Outings · Sunday Snippet

Se7en’s Visits Kirstenbosch and the Winter Wonderland Programme… And A GiveAway…

July 7th, 2016 · 12 Comments

I keep saying there is a fantastic holiday programme on at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens at the moment, I keep saying the gardens are free to children… in other words you can take your kids and their friends… I keep saying this!!! This past week our kids have had an absolute blast at Kirstenbosch and I wanted to share this with you before the holidays slide by and you have missed it all…

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Kirstenbosch’s Birthday

It was a cold rainy day and the gardens turned 103 years old… we went for a romp in the rain, honestly the gardens are good whatever the weather. If it really is pouring with rain you can head for the conservatory… but for the most part at Cape Town’s winter showers there are sets in the garden where you can wait out a little rain and when the sun emerges again you can head off.

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The Winter Wonders Program

Apart from the gardens being free for children, there are a number of fantastic events on. This is certainly not the time to stay home because it is cold and wintry. A number of book events, because every body loves books… brought to you by Struik Nature Books, and a number of events bright to you by Kirstenbosch themselves. We haven’t been able to go every day… but if we could have we would have. Read on read on…

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The events include arty crafty things, treasure hunts and a collection of South Africa’s best loved children’s natural factual authors reading their stories at “meet-the-author” events. From our own experience, there is nothing like meeting an author to create a passion for books in a child. You can download the full programme here. Honestly Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Struik Nature (Penguin Random House South Africa) have put together a stunning programme for children these holidays, really beautifully presented, well planned and something not to be missed… I have posted heaps of photos on Flickr, you are welcome to take a look around.

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Snake Encounters

The first event that we joined was a snake encounter with Johan Marais, the author a number of snake and reptile books in South Africa, including the Complete Guide to Snakes and What Snake is that?

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He was happy to field dozens of questions and provide us with lots of incredible facts…

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Then he went on to show us a few of the snakes he had brought along to show everyone…

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And then everybody had a chance to meet up and play with the snakes that he brought with him. I was astonished to discover that while I preferred to be on the other side of the camera, my kids were thrilled at the chance to get to meet the snakes up close and personally.

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In fact one of us actually loved the whole event… and we had a long discussion about snakes being wild animals and best we leave them there.

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Head over to the Struik Nature Website and you can download a very useful printable guide to South African snakes.


Winter Wonder Family Treasure Hunts

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On Saturday mornings, throughout the winter school holidays, they have a series of themed, family friendly treasure hunts. We decided to try them out and we were so impressed… what a difference it makes to have knowledgable and enthusiastic guides to show you around the gardens. We always learn something new when we visit there, but my word with an engaging guide we learnt so much more…

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There are four different treasure hunts to follow… flowers, streams and rivers, trees and the (in case of rain) the conservatory… Our friendly guide took us off on the tree trail, and as we learnt about a number of weird and wonderful trees we also traversed the gardens…

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Taking a little longer at each tree meant that we spotted things that we don’t often see…

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We discovered delightful hidden trails that we didn’t know existed…

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Can we say “Cool Bananas!!!”

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And it takes seventeen kids to hug this tree…

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So many weird and wonderful trees to stop and look at or even listen to, yes one tree you can hear making little snaps as you stand beneath it. Each tree was presented with a bit of a story to help you remember what you had learnt… really a brilliant presentation.

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And always good a wander over the boomslang walkway…

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And everytime we pause on the walkway and take a breathe, we spot something magical…

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We learnt about all sorts of trees, including these magnificent ancient trees…

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The whole event literally flew past… we covered a lot of ground, but all at a very easy “chatting as you go” pace.

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I love that they understood that kids need to stop and linger longer sometimes, and stopped especially at the perfect climbing tree…

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Struik Nature Find 50 Treasure

Another Winter Wonder Program, brought to us by Struik Nature event we attended on Monday made full use of the Find 50 Guide Kirstenbosch Guide… A genuine treasure hunt with fantastic prizes for everyone who took part.

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The idea was that the you head out into the gardens and find twenty five of the items off the list of fifty… take a photograph of the team with their discovery… and dash on. It wasn’t as easy as you might think… finding an ant is actually a little tricky and trying to get a bird with your gang in the picture – well impossible!!! This is an activity that would be fun to do with your kids or a group of friends anytime…

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Monday turned out to be the absolute perfect day for adventuring. It may have started with everyone in sweaters, but very quickly the sun warmed us up, in the middle of winter we were dashing around in t-shirts gathering treasures on camera…

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Finding 50 GiveAway

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We had such fun at the Finding 50 Treasure Hunt that we thought we would share a set of these fun guides with a lucky reader…

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Essentially, they are spotters guides for beginners… 50 things to find, in a fold out pamphlet and a check box to tick when you have found them. Inside the cover of the pamphlets are some fun and interesting facts for those fact collectors amongst us. These are a great resource and fun for everyone…

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We have a set of Spotter’s Guides, thanks to Struik Nature (Penguin Random House South Africa) to give to one of our readers somewhere in the world. All you have to do to stand a chance of winning is leave a comment, before the end of play on Saturday 16 July, and tell us what plants or animals you and your children like to spot, wherever you are in the world.

We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after the 16 July. 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!!!

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Previous Kirstenbosch Posts

  1. Se7en+1 Reasons to Visit Kirstenbosch Right Now…
  2. Se7en+1 Set Out As Citizen Scientists in the Fynbos…
  3. Se7en + 1 Meet the Dinosaurs Amongst the Cycads at Kirstenbosch…
  4. Se7en + 1 Discover the Boomslang at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens…
  5. Adventure Trails in Kirstenbosch.
  6. Kirstenbosch’s Winter Wonder Program.
  7. Kirstenbosch and the Braille Trail…
  8. Kirstenbosch for kids…

We would like to thank the publishers Struik Nature and Penguin Random House South Africa who supplied us with the spotter’s guides to giveaway. Also, thank you to Hippo Communications for organising free entrance to the Gardens for myself, so that I could attend these events and bring them to our readers. This was not a sponsored post and all opinions are as usual my own.

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→ 12 CommentsTags: Cape Town · GiveAways and Swaps · Outings · Saturday Spot