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

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Se7en’s February and Your Free Printable Calendar…

February 1st, 2016 · 2 Comments


Welcome to February… Just cannot believe that February is here already…

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Click on the calendar page, it will open in a new tab, print it out (landscape works better) 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!!!

Here you go:

  • 1 February: Robinson Crusoe Day
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  • 1 February: National Baked Alaska Day.
  • 2 February: Groundhog Day
  • 3 February: Elmo’s Birthday
  • 4 February 1902: Charles Lindbergh’s Birthday (1902 – 1974).
  • 4 February 1913: Rosa Parks Birthday (1913 – 2005).
  • 5 February: Western Monarch Day (U.S.A.)
  • 6 February 1895: Babe Ruth’s Birthday (1895 – 1948)
  • 6 February 1935: Monopoly Board Game.
  • 6 February 1911: Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004).
  • 7 February 1812: Charles Dickens Birthday (1812 – 1870)
  • 7 February 1867: Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 – 1957).
  • 8 February 1828: Jules Verne (1828 – 1905).
  • 9 February 1894: Hershey Chocolate Founded (1894).
  • 9 February: Clean out Your Computer Day.
  • 11 February 1990: Nelson Mandela Released (1990).
  • 11 February 1847: Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931).
  • 12 February 1809: Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865).
  • 12 February 1809: Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882).
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    It’s less than a month until International Book Giving Day…

  • 14 February: World Book Giving Day.

  • 14 February: Valentines Day.
  • 14 February: Ferris Wheel Day.
  • 15 February 1564: Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642).
  • 16 February: Presidents Day.
  • 18 February 1930: Pluto Discovered.
  • 18 February: World Whale Day.
  • 19 February 1473: Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543).
  • 20 February 1962: John Glen orbits the earth.
  • 20 February: Toothpick patented (1872).
  • 22 February 1732: George Washington (1732 – 1799).
  • 23 February 1997: Dolly the Sheep Cloned.
  • 24 February: Wilhelm Grimm (1786 – 1859).
  • 25 February 1841: Pierre Renoir (1841 – 1919).
  • 26 February 1846: Buffalo Bill (1846 – 1917).
  • 26 February 1829: Levi Strauss (1829 – 1902)
  • 27 February: Polar Bear Day.
  • 27 February 1807: Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow (1807 – 1882).
  • 28 February 1953: DNA discovered (1953).
  • → 2 CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

    Join the Se7en Gang for some French Classic Cooking…

    January 29th, 2016 · 19 Comments

    We are inviting you to join us on a French Classic Cooking Course, we have an extra special deal to share with all our readers… A couple of the Yuppie Chef courses have just been put on the UDEMY platform, which is an online learning platform with bazillions of online courses. The French Classic Cooking Course is available right now on the UDEMY site at $29.00… but I have a fabulous special of our readers. I have a number of vouchers that will allow up to fifty folk to join us in the class for only $5.

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    A new year and half way through our school year and we are always looking for some inspiration to get us through the second half, something fun and something that we can all enjoy together. How about a cooking course. Our kids learn French as part of their schooling and I know they are dying to master some French Classic Cooking skills, not to mention the father person’s favourite dish in the world is a fine crème brulèe…


    A while back Yuppie Chef started a Cooking School… online lessons and perfect for all ages and stages. We found the courses a great way to learn online: a series of fantastic videos, with class notes and printable recipes, se7en lessons and each lesson finishes with a fun quiz to see if you have learnt the material well.

    Previous Yuppie Chef Courses We’ve Done


    We have found online learning to be a great way to supplement our school and a fun way to learn together as a family. The one difficult thing about learning online is that it is easy to sign up, do one lesson and then weeks pass by and you never get back to it. So we have decided to invite our readers to join with us. Sign up, for a great deal and then experience the ride with us.


    Here’s the Plan

    We are taking a week for folk to sign up and preview the course, and give everyone a chance to get their ducks in a row. Next weekend we will start in our kitchen with Lesson 1, and we will instagram (#cookingwithse7en) our experiences as they happen. Each Monday after that we will blog about our journey through the lesson and readers will be able to share their experiences and cooking too. And we will do that week after week until we have made our way through the course. The idea is that every one has a week to conquer a class, share your feasts on instagram and each Monday we will blog a post, pulling the story together.


    French Cooking – The Course Outline

    • Lesson 1: Introduction
    • Lesson 2: Soups – A soupe au pistou and soupe gratinée à l’oignon recipe
    • Lesson 3: Sauces – A Hollandaise sauce and vinaigrette recipe
    • Lesson 4: Potatoes – A gratin dauphinois, pommes purée and pommes frite recipe
    • Lesson 5: Poultry – A canard à l’orange and poulet basquaise recipe
    • Lesson 6: Steak – A steak au poivre and a steak sauce Bordelaise recipe
    • Lesson 7: Desserts – A crème brulée and crêpes Suzette recipe

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    How to Join Us

    The French Classic Cooking Course is available right now on the UDEMY site at $29.00… but I have a fabulous special of our readers, wherever you are in the world. I have a number of vouchers that will allow up to fifty folk to join us for only $5.

    If you would like to join us, leave a comment

    You will receive, via email, a voucher that allows you to access the course for only $5.

    I do have to add that this isn’t automated, I have to email each of you and it might take a little while to get back to you, we homeschool a number of kids over here and email takes time… don’t panic I will get back to you with a voucher as soon as I possibly can.


    We would like to thank Yuppie Chef for inviting us to join them on their new Cooking School Adventure with UDEMY. This is not a sponsored post and we were not paid to write it. However Yuppie Chef did provide us with free access to the course and fifty $5. vouchers to share with our readers. Opinions expressed throughout our journey will be as usual, entirely our own.

    → 19 CommentsTags: Cook Book Reviews · Monday Munchies

    Se7en Ways to Raise Your Game by Doing Much Less…

    January 28th, 2016 · 8 Comments

    As I look back on our January blog posts over the years there is almost always on a post on rest, on slowing down, on avoiding the dash… it is a favourite theme of mine. The year that begins, for us, with summer holidays and walks on the beach… with everything in order… new calendars, fresh planners and inspiring holiday reads on getting so many things done. It appears to be so in order, like perfectly stacked coils of rope on the beach, our year appears to be off to a very good start.

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    Alas, often by this time of year, a week or two back into school, summer breaks are all but forgotten and really all folk can think about is how to get to the next weekend. Resolutions have simply flown out the window and new habits are having a hard time sticking… In fact, with all our rushing about and getting from one activity to the next one and the pressure to get everything done, very often we find ourselves slightly unraveled… and that is before February even begins.

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    So I am launching my year from a place of rest… In a world where self improvement is a way of life and productivity is measured by busyness I am looking out for ways to slow things down in those crazy places and picking up those important things that we never have time for. It is seems so against the flow, but for us it works. I am not talking about the obvious here… and that is sleep, break those bad habits, be the grown up and send yourself to bed… I am talking about finding rest in the day to day humdrum of life.

    Se7en+1 Ways to Raise Your Game by Slowing Down

    1. A Morning Read: So many good habits are being added to folks’ morning routines that I am not surprised they need another nap before breakfast. The reality is, you just can’t do it all before breakfast. One thing I do know is I hate rising fast… leaping out of bed and dashing is just not for me, and always leaves me floundering my way through breakfast. This year on waking up I have headed straight for the couch and read a chapter or two of my latest book, before starting the day. Any little body that wakes before I am done, gets to do their school reading, and they have discovered they can be done before school. Just that little moment in time has meant that I am ready to face the world… I may be taking longer to launch but I am good and ready when I do. Not to mention, those couple of chapters are adding up to more books read than usual, by far.
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    3. Making Time for Friends: Nothing creates a mini break from the world like spending time with friends. Work stops, coffee brews and it is so good to chat. The days of saying I am too busy with kids to see friends are totally over. Friends sustain us through thick and thin, we live in a world where it is okay to call a friend when we are in trouble. I am thinking, so much, that we need to be present with our friends on the good days as well. I realise that so many of my friends are on the far side of the world… the last couple of months I have popped the kettle on, while they pop the kettle on, and what began as swapping pics of our coffees have become conversations and “catching up for lost time.” I tell you the truth it is a good thing to have friends, and those best friends on the far side of the world… catch up with them, they are best friends for a reason and we need them.


    4. Stop and Notice What is Getting Done: What can I say, I am a homeschool mom, and I have never met one that doesn’t feel like they are falling behind. In the past I would go into a flurry mid-morning, and create a huge pile of things to still do before lunch time. This year I have been putting all the books we are done with away by tea time. Don’t tell my kids, but it is astonishing what you can get through when you know most of your work for the day is done already.
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    6. Losing the Manic Panic in Monday: I have always saved the fun things for Friday, little rewards like pancakes for breakfast, after a week well done. Well over the years our Mondays fizzled into a day to avoid every single week… the kids get home from evening church late and consequently get to bed much later than usual. Grumpy Mondays… inevitable. Not to mention the piles of dishes and laundry left over from a busy weekend, and yet I still tried to do a full day of school every Monday. Turns out letting everyone sleep until they are done, a late pancake breakfast and redefining a full day of school as “getting a heap of the week’s reading done” gets us off to a much better start.
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    8. Stop Checking on those Chores: My kids have chores, they are their responsibility. How much energy I have wasted over the years asking, “Has the floor has been swept yet?” The floor still gets swept, maybe not in my time, but it is getting done. I have left the chores behind and turned a blind eye, my kids all know how to do a job. Checking that they have done a task, means that I am training them to do a job if someone is watching them… my kids know that we are all in this together and they need to know that if they see their job undone that they need to get on with it. Just taking a breath and looking the other way, doesn’t mean everyone is slacking off, just that is one less responsibility that I have to deal with.
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    10. Just Get Offline Already: Counter productive indeed, especially from someone who works online. Seriously… scrolling down your screen looking for a fab tweet to retweet, or commenting on an Instagram pic while you are actually meant to be doing dinner, just doesn’t work. The secret to getting almost all our school work done, whoever manages it all (!!!), on a given day has just been to switch my phone off and be done with it. I love to school with my kids, I love learning a alongside them… I love being on the internet too… but both at the same time is not multitasking, it is really just failing. There is nothing more frazzling than trying to do schoolwork with a small person and twittering at the same time, it is a recipe for “the furthest thing from rest.” Take a pic of the fun you are having, you can Instagram it later. Save up all your good behaviour points for the people that count, clean the kitchen counters for your family, sort a bookshelf with your kids because it is fun to sort books, go for a walk with your gang because it is good… not because you feel that folk are waiting for your next picture. Your true online friends, like real friends, care far more about you the person, than you the blogger or Instagrammer.
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    12. The Sacred Afternoon Rest: I understand that if you are working in an office this is impossible… but just so you know I don’t work in an office… while I have always encouraged my kids to do their reading after lunch. This past school year I had the not so brilliant idea to sit with a different child each day and catch up on any reading that we hadn’t gotten around to during school time. It turns out that a double page spread read with a mother half dozing can literally take an hour to get through and is dreadfully boring… our afternoon break was taking longer and longer and less and less was getting done. This year, everyone does their own reading – including myself, and should anyone (ahem me) need a quick nap, then they take one. That same reading that was taking all afternoon, is now read in a couple of minutes while that child peels carrots or the rice is boiling during dinner prep. It is amazing how much you can get done when you aren’t actually asleep.

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    So here’s the thing, I really would like in a practical way, to stay away from crazy unraveling and keep things slightly in order. It is ambitious I know… but I am hoping for more than just to launch this year from a place of rest. A week or two away at a luxury resort is not what I am looking for… just the thought of the re-entry is enough to put me off. I really believe that we have what we have been provided for in every way… including in rest. The world has told us that in order to be productive we need to be busy… I am not for a moment suggesting idleness, but I do think that perhaps in order to be productive we need to get a lot less busy and get a lot more rest… so that we have the energy to conquer the things that really matter.

    → 8 CommentsTags: Kids · Thoughtful Thursdays

    News Flash: Julia Donaldson Will be in Town…

    January 26th, 2016 · 4 Comments

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    Did you know: Julia Donaldson is going to be in town, really. Cape Town and Johannesburg, for a show. This is truly exciting stuff for anyone who is a lover of great books for children. Julia Donaldson is a pioneer when it comes to producing books that the younger set will love and their parents will enjoy reading too and because of that influence encouraging little folk to be lovers of books and to carry that passion with them as they grow up… If you step into any childhood book world you are sure to bump into dozens of Julia Donaldson titles…

    All of Julia Donaldson’s books are lyrical, the rhyme and the rhythm add so much to the stories, turns out she loves singing and drama and puts on a truly amazing show. You can take a peak at her performing her songs on YouTube… Really fun stuff for kids who are into drama and singing, and bringing books to life.

    Julia Donaldson will be performing in Cape Town and Johannesburg in early February, Cape Town details are in the first image for the post and Johannesburg details are below.

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    Thanks to Panmacmillan South Africa, who have brought Julia Donaldson out for us all to enjoy, we are looking forward to attending one of the shows.

    → 4 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books

    Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post… #303

    January 26th, 2016 · 6 Comments

    I have no idea how the year is traveling by so fast… just wanted to say “Hang on to your Hats” and have a fabulous week…

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    Lovely Links from This Week

    1. We were featured at Yuppie Chef’s Spatula Magazine this week: Learning to Cook… I am about dying of joy!!! We have a lot of Cooking School fun coming your way… get excited, get very excited!!!
    2. One of my favourite things to pin… is cool kids’ rooms, I can’t resist… Well here’s a whole lot of loveliness on A Cup of Jo.
    3. Simple HomeSchool is featuring a whole lot “days in the life” of homeschoolers this month and featured Sarah from the Read Aloud Revival this week. I have said it before and I will say it again… if you don’t listen to the Read Aloud Revival Podcast then you are missing out… on all good things to do with Reading Out Loud with your kids wether you homeschool or not…
    4. Read About a Mum who is climbing Kilimanjaro… because she knew she had to be part of it.
    5. Super Duper Fab Read, because not every mom wants to climb Kilimanjaro: What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life? on a Life in Progress.
    6. The Aquarium has a new display: Smart Living Exhibit: Just click on the link to read about their Smart Living Water and Waste Tips, as well as their Energy and BioDiversity Tips.
    7. I’ve been drawing… a lot. I completely lost my creative mojo and I really wanted to get it back… Well Chris Riddel’s Doodle a Day has been a huge help… it’s easy, it’s really simple and it is a tiny little bit every single day. Alisa Burke has a great post on Starting a Sketchbook Routine… Lots of loveliness from her as usual!!!
    8. And the se7en + 1th link:

    9. A Blast From the Past:


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    International Book Giving Day is on the Way

    A couple of folk have emailed me about this already… so excited to hear our readers are good and ready to go with this project again… and I will be getting back to you folk with all the details as soon as we are good to go!!!

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

    → 6 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

    The Week That Was… #214

    January 25th, 2016 · 5 Comments

    It is time to bring “The Week that Was…” Posts back… so here we go, a new year and a new weather tree…

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    It has been sunshine all the way…

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    Plenty of swimming…

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    And blue skies…

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    Crazy wild fires…

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    And choppers over head…

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    And a night we had to evacuate… because of overwhelming smoke.

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    Plenty of walks…

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    And rock climbing…

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    Fabulous friends in town…

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    Supper under the stars..

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    And bedroom makeovers…

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    And since we are back in school…

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    Secret notes past across the table…

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    And nature walks…

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    And trips to the library…

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    Artwork of the Week

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    Book of the Week

    Hood 8 and I have begun this series, How to Train Your Dragon, we have a way to go… since we have made it to chapter 3… but I am looking forward to spending time with him and finally reading the series and he is looking forward to… well dragons!!!

    And a Snapshot in Time

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    Hood #1

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    Hood #2

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    Hood #3

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    Hood #4

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    Hood #5

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    Hood #6

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    Hood #7

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    Hood #8

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

    → 5 CommentsTags: The Week that Was

    Se7en’s Fabulous Fun #302 and GiveAway Winners…

    January 20th, 2016 · 6 Comments

    We are back in school… it took a while and we took it slow, but we have found our rhythm. I seem to be embracing slow blogging, it may have something to do with the volume of books I have been reading – there is some sort of a book reading binge going on over here, it started small but it is turning out to be huge… I predict a reading post in the next week or two.

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    Otherwise, we have been posting away on instagram… because it has simply been too hot and windy to do much else. Not to mention so much email… clearly while we took a break the world decided to drop us an email, I guess I am getting to it, but right now my gang wants to be swimming and so I am spending my afternoons beside the swimming pool, not wanting to waste a moment of summertime… no offence, but email can ever so slightly wait a little bit.


    Lovely Links from This Week

    1. Imagine Childhood’s Animal Track Cookies… I totally love!!!
    2. How to make a Book and fill it with Stuff via The Guardian.
    3. The sweetest post I have read in forever: A Father Gets His Child to Read… on
    4. I stumbled upon this on twitter… who knew South Africa had a Walking Festival… What a fabulous idea!!!
    5. Before the Birds and the Bees by Tim Challies… Galactic Yes!!!
    6. Why Daughters Need Their Dads on… This is a must read, especially for dads who think they don’t matter.
    7. And the se7en + 1th link:

    8. A Blast From the Past:


    International Book Giving Day is on the Way

    A couple of folk have emailed me about this already… so excited to hear our readers are good and ready to go with this project again… and I will be getting back to you folk with all the details as soon as we are good to go!!!

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    GiveAway Winners

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    All the entries…

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    Mixed in the mug…
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    After picking and choosing, the winners are:
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    Ronél: Jan 13, 2016 at 10:56 pm I love looking back through my old diaries and remembering all the fun stuff I would otherwise completely forget! The pink would make a lovely gift for my niece.
    Alex: Jan 12, 2016 at 8:44 am I would love the blue diary 

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

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

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    → 6 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun · GiveAways and Swaps