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

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Se7en + 1 Celebrate Sugar Cookie Day… Lemon and Double Chocolate Expresso Cookies for the Win…

July 11th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Right around this time every year we declare a science week and take a break from our regular routine and get tons of science experiments done… day after day – fun times. Also, according to our calendar, yesterday was Sugar Cookie Day… and I am all about scientific discovery. It doesn’t take too much to suggest a celebration round here and cookies and science seemed like a win…


Many of our days look just like this… we have a lot of drop in visitors and a fresh batch of cookies is so quick and easy to make. My kids love to hear me say – whip up a batch, as someone arrives at the gate. I am a firm believer in practice makes perfect… and our table looks like this a lot. So I needed to up the cookie game a little bit in order celebrate “cookie day,” everyone was with me…


Double-Chocolate-Expresso Cookies

So we began with a cookie invention and a few batches of our regular cookie mix were made ready… for experimental purposes, of course.


I was thinking I might need a little expresso to keep up with the troops…


And we have had a jar of chocolate bits for the longest time… two shots of chocolate and a shot of expresso…


Straight into a batch of cookies dough, except instead of plain flour we used self-raising flour because chocolate cookies require a bit of spring in them. Roll into balls and bake in a medium oven until they just start to turn golden…


And there you go… the winners.


Lemon Cookies


Now we were expecting visitors, so in case our cookies inventions were a fail, we made our regular lemon cookies as well… Another batch of cookie dough, and we replaced the regular sugar with castor sugar. Castor sugar makes for a finer cookie… and these cookies are fine.


We add the juice and zest of a lemon to the mixture…


Mix away, roll out and use a cookie cutter to make your cookies as usual…


Pop them into a medium oven, just until they start to turn golden and leave them to cool on the baking tray.


And this is what totaly makes these cookies our absolute faves… the secret is in the drippy icing…


To make the icing: In a bowl of icing sugar add a few drops of lemon juice, and stir… you want it once and runny like syrup… add more lemon juice if need be. Just lemon juice, no butter, no water… nothing else… and your icing will have a nice “bight” to it.


Drizzle the icing over the cookies… it will drip and run, it is meant too…


Cookie Craft

Now there are one or two young gals in our household, who do not consider a celebration to be a celebration, unless there is some sort of craftiness involved…


Cookie pin-badges to the rescue. Paint some old badges any sort of cookie colour, chocolate cookies always work. We used acrylic paint, it dries really quickly and sticks to anything. Use project glue to glue some felt icing onto your badge when the paint is dry. And have a few essential cookie decorating buttons and beads on hand… And I think we may be gifting a couple of friends with these… quick and fun and really easy to make.


Cookie Game

Creating some spot the difference photographs… these are quite sneaky and just as much fun to create as to figure out.



Cookie Books

And whats a celebration with some really fabulous books…

Previous Cookie Posts

I don’t think my kids will be forgetting the importance of scientific discovery in the name of cookies anytime soon… wishing you all a fabulous feast…

→ 2 CommentsTags: Cookies · Monday Munchies · Plenty of Parties · Tuesday Art Task

Se7en + 1 Go Exploring in Newlands Forest…

July 10th, 2014 · 1 Comment

In the spirit of doing a real hike once or twice a month, over and above our daily ambles, we went for a walk in the woods. Newlands Forest is on the slopes of Table Mountain and the place where I grew up… I walked my dog here every afternoon after school and knew it like the back of my hand. My kids haven’t been there for years and I wondered if they even remembered it…


Like all good hikes, it began with rows of sandwiches on the kitchen table. It’s winter here…. so sandwich making in the dark.


And then we were “good to go” to visit my old stomping ground…


Class in the Great Outdoors

Each month we meet up with our SANParks ranger and when she mentioned we were going to learn about Afro-Mountain forests on the slopes of Table Mountain we were desperately keen. We were there to learn the difference between our indigenous forests of Africa, and the alien plantations. You can spot the difference hear: the dense wild and crazy mix of trees versus the neatly planted rows of trees…


And it is magical… Shady paths in every direction and deep in the forest you are shielded from the noise of the city… it is very quiet, you really can hear the sounds of silence.


And we were off…




And some class time…


And our avid notetaker… who was desperately keen to see the aliens… (note to self: an explanation of alien vegetation may be in order)…


And exploring…


And don’t you love that our ranger whips a microscope out of her backpack… not something I would ever dream of taking on a hike, but it was just brilliant…


We definitely need to do more microscopic explorations…


And natural factual expeditions…


And things we wanted to stop and draw…


We definitely need to go back there…



When you wander through forests you expect to see trees…


Many trees…


Roots of trees…


And tall trees…


Leafy trees…


Colourful trees…


And berry trees…


Rivers to Explore

And it was just after heavy rain there was plenty of water…





And mushrooms everywhere… I have never seen so many beautiful and different types of mushrooms before…








Moss and Lichens







Ferns and Wildlife





After the class we were free to roam and went exploring… we went looking for reflections


And a fine place for a picnic…


Lunch in the sun…


The Hike

And then we were ready to take a hike…


The paths wander in and out of each other you can head up to the Contour path, just below the contour path is the Woodcutters Path and that’s the one we went on. You can follow the path round to look out over the city…


Or if you head away from the city you can hike towards Kirstenbosch.


Would you look at the waterfall, it had been raining…


The higher up the mountain you go the wilder the forest becomes… full of strong vines that we call monkey ropes…



But the paths are easy to follow…


This was so fun for my kids, they are used to the more exposed vynbos walks of the south peninsula and we all loved being in the forest, surrounded by shady trees and birds… we couldn’t see them, but it is definitely time for us to learn some bird calls…


And though it was easy walking, little legs do eventually get tired…


And challenging streams…


The perks of hiking, include discovering that you could do far more than you thought you could…


And problem solving in real life is so much more fun to learn in the great outdoors…


And that was us… a great day out.


We highly recommend Newlands Forest as a place for a family amble, and the higher up the mountain you go the more adventurous it becomes. You really can pick the level of athlete you have in your group and head out. While the paths are all well marked, all the signposts higher up the mountain had been knocked off their posts… I would recommend having a map of the area with you or studying the map at the entrance gate carefully. That being said, you can’t get lost, uphill takes you up the mountain and follow a path downhill and you will eventually be back at the entrance or close to the entrance on the walkway next to the highway.

→ 1 CommentTags: Cape Town · Outdoors · Saturday Spot

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #229

July 8th, 2014 · 2 Comments

So it’s Monday… Took the weekend off the internet, didn’t miss it for one second, not even one. I had a list about a million miles long of things to do and things that desperately needed doing… did none of them. Didn’t even get to my desk, which was my number one priority. It is just too cold, hibernation has set in. Mind you I did learn one lesson, in the scheme of avoiding tasks that must be done at all costs: If you run out of book space on your bookshelves, and you take all the books off all the bookshelves and rearrange… there still won’t be room on the bookshelves for all the books when you are done. Just saying we need to get rid of some stuff, and there is a very subtle purge going on because you know me: limit the stuff to fit the space, and all that.


Otherwise we did have a moment of glorious sunshine and we grabbed it. Not to mention we were lulled into thinking that if that is winter then we can definitely handle it… but just like every year we were taken completely by surprise and by the end of the week… snow and lots of it.


We are living under blankets and the entire gang is wearing beanies to bed at night. As for school… it is entirely possible to do large portions of reading in bed and all in the name of education… yay for good books!!!

Book of the Week

When you take the weekend off… well this weekend all the plans we had were canceled and I sat myself down and powered my way through a heap of books on my Kindle… it is time to conquer what’s on there!!! Anyway our recent visit to Soil for Life and garden inspiration means that there are a number of folk asking: “When are we planting, when are we planting… when are we planting?” So I dived in and read this book from cover to cover. Now I am no farm girl, trust me on this!!! And we are not getting chickens or any other beasts anytime soon, but it sure made a fascinating read. Really this is the “how to keep actual livestock” kind of book… interesting as that was, I was quickly able to move on… and glean the stuff we were after: lists of vegi’s and how to grow each and every one of them. I love that each kind of plant gets its very own story and tips. The reasons for many of our past gardening fails were somewhat glaring and it goes without saying that any plants that actually survive under our care do because they are tenacious rather than nurtured. Anyway we have cleared a whole corner of our garden that we have never gardened before and we need to load some compost and go. I have some very eager helpers, but we really need just slightly warmer weather for me to get totally into this project!!!


Lovely Links from this week:

  1. If you are keen on working with brands then you really should have been following the Problogger last week and here is his round-up… Problogger Partnering with Brands… everything you need to know about brands, stats, media kits, advertising… the lot.
  2. And these gals make everything look fabulous… A Beautiful Mess… Powder Paint…
  3. Loved this Cork Mobile… on Hand Made Charlotte.
  4. Last Week I posted a link to Cressida Cowell’s childhood holiday… and this week: Zoe at Playing by the Book posted the Ultimate Viking’s Guide to Deadly Dragons with Cressida Cowell… If you live with a fan then head straight over there.
  5. A galactic yes, yes and yes again… to my friend over at Life Your Way: Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt…
  6. Book Benches all over London, spotted on House and Leisure…
  7. I loved this post and sage advice from Ann Wood: Start where you are…
  8. And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past:

That’s us… Hope your weekend was a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging…

→ 2 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

It was Se7en-1 Years Ago Today…

July 4th, 2014 · 10 Comments

That we started our blogging journey… or there abouts


The now… and then…


Time really does fly when you are having fun and I have loved blogging from the start. I thought of celebrating with a galactic GiveAway… or a post packed with potential: “The Hows and Whys of Living with Se7en+1 Kids” but instead I am going to take the weekend off. Tidy my desk… I know, I know the glamorous life I lead. So wishing all our friends the most fantastic weekend and see you all next week… with a heap of posts all lined up and good to go!!!

→ 10 CommentsTags: Blog Events · Home Truths · Our Events

Se7en’s July… And your Free Printable Calendar is Out…

July 3rd, 2014 · 3 Comments


Our calendar posts began, and have grown, because it was interesting to see what events were occurring on a particular day. We don’t celebrate everyday – but we could!!! At the beginning of each month we print out a new calendar, just click on the calendar and it will open in a new window, ready to print (print it using Landscape it just works better). Then we read through the blog post and pick the days that we would like to celebrate. We write those days out onto our calendar and pop the calendar onto the fridge. On the particular date we visit the website and have a look at the links or create a fun post for our blog.

se7en-03-Jul-14-July 2014001.jpg

If you would like to now more about how we use our calendar for school as a fabulous resource of famous people and events then do pop over to the Almanac page for an explanation… Meanwhile, we hope you have a jolly July!!!

  • 1 July: Scarecrow Day
  • 1 July: Canada Day
  • 1 July 1863: Battle of Gettysburg (1-3 July 1863).
  • 1 July: International Joke Day
  • 2 July 1900: First Zeppelin Flew (1900).
  • 2 July 1937: Amelia Earhart disappeared (1937).
  • se7en-07-Jun-14-DSC_0754.jpg

  • 3 July 1937: International Plastic Bag Free Day.
  • 4 July 1776: American Day of Independence (1776).

  • 7 July 1883: Pinocchio first printed (1883).
  • 7 July: Macaroni Day.
  • 7 July: Star Festival Day (Japan)
  • 8 July: Liberty Bell Cracks.
  • 9 July: Sugar Cookie Day – Here is a list of our cookie recipes.
  • 10 July: Teddy Bears Picnic Day.
  • 11 July 1899: E.B. White’s Birthday (1899 – 1995).
  • 11 July: SkyLab fell to the Earth.
  • 12 July: Barn Day.
  • 12 July 1960: Etch a Sketch Introduced.

  • 12 July: Paper Bag Day.
  • 13 July: National French Fry Day (U.S.A).
  • 13 July: Bon fest and Feast of Lanterns (Japan).
  • 13 July: Puzzle Day.
  • 14 July: Bastille Day.
  • 15 July 1954: First Boeing 707.
  • 15 July 1606: Rembrandt Van Rijn’s Birthday (1606 – 1928).
  • 16 July 1969: Apollo 11 lifts off.
  • 16 July 1872: Roald Amundsen born (1872 – 1928).
  • 17 July 1955: Disneyland opened.

  • 18 July 1918: Nelson Mandela’s Birthday.
  • 18 July: Cow Appreciation Day.
  • 18 July: Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 in the Olympic Games (1976).
  • 18 July: National Ice-Cream Day (U.S.A.).
  • 20 July: Chess Day.
  • 20 July: Ice Cream Soda Day.
  • 20 July 1969: First Moon Landing.
  • 21 July 1899: Ernest Hemingway Birthday (1899 – 1961).
  • 21 July: National Junk Food Day (U.S.A.).
  • 22 July 1284: Pied Piper Arrived in Hamelin.
  • 22 July 1898: Alexander Calder’s Birthday (1898 – 1976).
  • 23 July 1888: Pneumatic Tires Invented.
  • 23 July 1904: Ice Cream Cones Introduced.
  • 23 July: Mosquito Day.
  • 24 July: Celebrate the End of the Tour de France.
  • 24 July 1783: Simon Bolivar’s Birthday.
  • 24 July: Amelia Earhart Birthday
  • 25 July: F.B.I. Created.
  • 27 July 1940: Bugs Bunny Debut (1940).
  • 28 July 1866-1943: Beatrix Potter’s Birthday (1866 – 1943) .
  • 28 July: First Finger Prints.
  • 29 July: Lasagna Day.
  • 29 July 1958: NASA Established (1958).
  • 30 July: Cheese Cake.
  • 30 July 1818: Emily Bronte’s Birthday (1818).
  • 31 July 1965: J.K. Rowling’s Birthday (1965).
  • Hope you have a great July…

    → 3 CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

    Happy Birthday to Hood #6…

    July 2nd, 2014 · 8 Comments

    Half way through the year and birthday season has been in full swing over here. There is another energetic eight year old in the house…


    I cannot believe how quickly time is flying…


    To the girl with fantastic ideas…


    Who never stops making…


    And creating…


    Who can wear any head gear…


    And has no problem with a map…


    To the girl who loves chess…


    And did I say making things…


    The girl who has a certain style…


    And her own unique spelling habits…


    To the girl who thinks “over the top” is a way of life…


    To the who has incredible ideas…


    Who conquers beach walks…


    And mountain hikes in her stride…


    The girl who loves the great outdoors…


    And makes shoes continuously…


    To our sweet gal who can zip anywhere…


    Did I mention just a little over the top…


    Who can’t resist exploring new places…


    Who loves to try new things…


    And always creating…


    To the girl that needs to live at the beach…


    To the girl who always has to play…


    To the girl who loves living things…


    To the girl who is serious about fairies…


    To the girl who loves making friendss…


    To the girl who was once so teeny tiny…


    Happy Brilliant Birthday… May your year be filled with new adventures and packed with plenty of projects…

    Previous Birthdays:

    Happy Birthday to Hood #6 2013

    Happy Birthday to Hood #6 2012

    Happy Birthday to Hood #6 2011

    Happy Birthday to Hood #6 2010

    Happy Birthday to Hood #6 2009

    → 8 CommentsTags: Home Truths

    Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #228

    June 30th, 2014 · 6 Comments

    A Fabulous Fun Post got pushed to Monday. This is what happens when you spend your weekends blogging about Urban Gardening, From the world of winter, cold and sunny weather… with impending rain. We have become intrepid trainspotters. It’s the new sport round here!!!


    So here are some great Monday reads for you all. And thank you all for entering our fab GiveAway last week. Read on, read on…

    Book of the Week

    The Sword of Kuromori by Jason Rohan published by Penguin Books South Africa. This is the story of Kenny Blackwood, he is off to Japan to spend the summer with his father, who works there. Curious things begin to happen, even on the plane… and curiouser and curiouser. Kenny discovers that he and his grandfather have a special ability, they can see the spirits behind our real world. The world of mythology is right there with them as they go about their daily life. He is on a quest to unravel this mystery and save millions of lives – time is of course running short and to add to the tension his father is captured by the “Japanese Secret Service.” This is a tale of magic and mythology intertwined, and the fast pace leaves you feeling like you are dashing through a comic book rather than a chapter book. My teens really enjoyed reading it… interesting and intriguing and different to the other spy, mystery, adventure genre that they typically read. We were given The Sword of Kuromori by Penguin Books South Africa for review purposes, the opinions expressed are as usual our own.


    This Weeks Lovely Links

    1. Here’s a little news for you: Kirstenbosch Gardens will be celebrating “101 years tomorrow” and their is free entry into the gardens for everyone. If you haven’t yet taken a walk on the Boomslang Canopy Walkway grab the chance!!!
    2. Well I don’t think there is a book I read as a child that I didn’t want to visit one day… I have a long list of places to visit, simply because a book I read passed through it. You have to take a look at Cressida Cowell’s Real Life Dragon Island…
    3. HandMade Charlotte DIY Collages… Fun! Fun! Fun!
    4. I have a lad who would love, love this…Aircraft Carrier… from Love and Lollipops is just a must.
    5. Best use of pegs ever, spotted on Kireei!!!
    6. Can we have a galactic Hoorah: What Katie Ate… is back…
    7. This post one of the best blogging posts I have read in forever, dead honest… just how blogging is: Anatomy of a blog post by Elise of Elise Gets Crafty.
    8. And the se7en + 1th link:

    9. A Blast From the Past: Just a trip down memory lane, from previous years:

    GiveAway Winner

    The Amazing Scratch Map for Kids from MapStudio


    All the entries…


    Our annual winter puzzle has begun… slow, slow, slow progress. Hundreds of pieces still to go. Can you tell what it is!!!


    Anyway our Scratch Map winner is… comment #46:


    Ashley Lee Jun 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm What fun!

    Congratulations to: Ashley Lee expect an email from us shortly so that we can get your prizes to you as soon as possible.

    We would like to thank MapStudio who supplied us with the GiveAway map. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed in it are as usual, entirely our own.

    That’s us… Hope your weekend was a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all…

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    → 6 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun · GiveAways and Swaps