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

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The Giant of Jum and an Instant Cake… A GiveAway…

September 29th, 2015 · 14 Comments

A couple of weeks back PanMacmillan South Africa gave us a copy of the Giant of Jum for review purposes. We reviewed it of course, The Giant of Jum is delightful. But we have a little more for you…

This is an extremely delightful fairytale by Elli Willard and Benji Davies. The illustrations are full of colourful details… just right for little people to gaze at and spot things of note. There is a very hungry and grouchy giant of the genteel “couldn’t hurt a fly” variety, who with wonderful rhythm and rhyme, is looking for a yummy child to munch. His quest of course is thwarted at every turn… because he is a very loving giant, who can’t help himself but help the children he would like to snack on. The children see him as delightfully tall and an extremely helpful friend – he can rescue errant balls, and cats in trees and even little boys too tired to walk all the way home. After so much rescuing the children are quite sure that they have a gentle giant on their hands and convince the giant that nice giants always eat…. CAKE!!! You may very well spontaneously need to make a cake after reading this book!!!

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A Giant GiveAway

We all know that giants have large needs and this giant needs a large mug on a daily basis… Welcome to my new favourite mug folks, and I have one to GiveAway to a lucky reader, somewhere in the world. Meanwhile, I have had this recipe tucked in my diary for about four years – it passes on from year to year and diary to diary… always waiting for the right moment to share it. And then my kids discovered it and they are away… Chocolate cake in a mug – a life skill!!!

60 Seconds Chocolate Cake in a Mug

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Meet the Players:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of castor sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of cocoa

Let’s Play the Game: Mix all the ingredients together in your mug and pop it in the microwave for 50-60seconds. And you are done… a touch of cream, a topping of sprinkles or a couple of berries and your treat is good to go.

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2 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Giant Mug

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When you have a giant of Jum mug, which is a super huge mug, you might need something slightly grander…
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Meet the Players:
  • 4 Tablespoons of flour
  • 4 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Tablespoons of milk
  • 3 Tablespoons of oil
  • 1 Dash of vanilla
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    Mix this up… spin it right round. This is easier in a mixing bowl, and then pour it into your mug.
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    Cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes. And again you can smother it in sprinkles or chocolate chips or a dash of cream.
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    The GiveAway

    So we have a Giant of Jum Mug to GiveAway to a lucky reader. This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of play on Sunday, 4 October and tell us “What your favourite treat in a mug is?” We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after that. 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.

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    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!!!

    And we would especially like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa who supplied the Giant of Jum for review purposes and the mug as a GiveAway to one of our readers. This is not a sponsored post and the opinions expressed are as usual totally our own.

→ 14 CommentsTags: GiveAways and Swaps

Sunday Snippet: He Made the Moon to Mark the Seasons…

September 28th, 2015 · 4 Comments

Our Bible Verse of the Week…

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Psalm 104:19

He made the moon to mark the seasons,
And the sun knows when to go down.

Week by Week

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #291… And a GiveAway Winner…

September 28th, 2015 · 10 Comments

So we fell off the blogging world this past week but here we are back. I decided to take a much needed break from school and it quickly evolved into a week of volunteering, it was good and it was busy and blogging had to take a step back. Not to mention, a disastrous trip to the play park resulting in dental work for one of the hoods (be still my heart) and now we have a couple of sick little ones, that have taken to the couch with coughs and splutters. Needless to say, blogging and birthdays took a back seat. But it is a new week and I am optimistic, not to mention there are a couple of posts lingering in the draft folder and I just have to get them out to you all…


photo credit: Marike Herselman

One thing I do have is a heap of official photographs from Zambia, and I love this one of the school girl that I planted trees with…


Lovely Links from This Week

I might not have been able to write even a post or two… but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t reading… here are a few more links than usual and totally the best of the rest!!!

  1. The most Epic Post on the web this week: 41 (children’s) books to change my life… on Playing by the Book. I need to blog about this, I really do!!!
  2. A Complete Illustration of David Melling’s Tour in South Africa.
  3. I am so ready to be shuffling furniture around… I never ever plan it first, but I would be slightly tempted to plan and get the tape measure out because of A Beautiful Mess’s “How to Draw a Floor Plan.”
  4. Alisa Burke has a free colouring page that is everything to love…
  5. Re-Ignite Bible Reading That’s Become Boring… a Great Post on Head Heart Hand.
  6. Here’s a great post for homeschool moms, packed with resources for homeschool moms worried about teaching science: How to Homeschool Science, on Nurture Store.
  7. I spotted the perfect job for me, perfect Remote Scottish Village Needs A Teacher.
  8. Exactly the Bird Watching Post I need, from a totally unexpected source, Conrad Mbewe’s Letter from Kabwata, – the birds we see in our garden clearly named and explained.
  9. Great post for nearly new parents: 10 Decisions for Parents of Newborns… on Keeper of the Home.
  10. This NatGeo photograph on instagram spoke a million words about food wastage… go on, take a look and read the splab.
  11. Finally, have you seen The Topical Topic of this week: The Global Goals… so many good intentions in one place.
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    It is Bandana Season again… And if you haven’t noticed Bandanas are back in Pick’n Pay Stores… All over Pick’nPay Stores… this is a good thing because you can do so many stunning things with a bandana and buying a bandana supports a very important cause that is dear to our hearts, take a look at The Sunflower Fund Website and see how you can support them.


    And the se7en + 1th link:

  13. A Blast From the Past:

Book of the Week

Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, Published by Penguin Random House South Africa: Last year in school, as a family we sought out books on Greek myths and read and re-read our way through them, finally we listened to the audio book of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and my kids were hooked on Greek myths forever more. Percy Jackson is a natural progression to take reading and learning about the Greek Gods to the next level. Well Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes is the great, big, fat, 500 page version of the myths involving twelve great heroes like: Perseus, Daedalus and Theseus to name a few… You may or may not have met Percy Jackson in his previous books, he is the main character and hero, in the series after his own name. He is a young demigod, the son of Poseidon and the stories are written from his perspective… and explained really well so that the modern young hero can fully understand the ins and outs of life in ancient times. This is really ancient history rewritten as a teen fantasy. Keep in mind that Greek Myths were full of brutal head slayings and tragic deaths… and very unconventional relationships. If you are living with someone who is not afraid to put on their super hero cloak and head out to slay the world then this book is a must read. Not only is it one rip-roaring adventure after another, but there will be no forgetting, let alone confusing, the Greek Heroes after reading these adventure tales. My first thought was that my middle schoolers would really enjoy it, but after a little reading my way into it, realised that Greek gods were not exactly a moral bunch and there were some things in their lifestyles that wouldn’t have occurred to my middle schoolers yet, though Rick Riordan is very good at using humour to cover up a multitude of sins, this book is probably for teens and mine certainly enjoyed it.

We were given a copy of Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Penguin Random House South Africa for review purposes. We were not paid for our review, this is not a sponsored post and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

A GiveAway Winner

We posted a review and GiveAway post on Justin Bonello and Helena Lombard’s Latest Book: Road Tripping, and today we announce the winner:

All the entries…

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All together now…
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And the winner is:
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Aunty Muffin Sep 18, 2015 at 9:54 am Those recipes look good! Roosterbrood is great, but really anything on the braai grill will be devoured by all of us!

Congratulations Aunty Muffin, you can look forward to hearing from us soonest…

We would like to thank Penguin Random House South Africa for supplying us with the GiveAway books. 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!!!

→ 10 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

When your Heart Wants your Kids to “Do What You Do” and “Not Just What You Say…”

September 24th, 2015 · 14 Comments

So this week came to pass and just following Hood #1’s birthday, is my birthday. I spent the day on the beach with my kids, about my favourite thing to do. Since then a day at the dentist and a day painting a giant wall… turns out this week my gang and I are taking time off school to volunteer… volunteer week is well on the way and deserves a whole ‘nother blog post but actually I digress this is my birthday post the post each year where I say something a little bit different to my usual blog posts.

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You know when they say… “Children do what you do and not what you say” well this was the year that I really tried to put that concept into to action, I really would like to be the mum whose children “Do what she does, not just what she says…

Se7en + 1 Ways that My Kids Do What I Do and Not Just What I Say

  1. Treasure your Friendships:
  2. When your children are small friendships revolve around play-dates… my kids are older now and respect that I have friends that are important to me… in fact they love that I will go off for coffee with a friend from time to time or a “walk and talk.” The thing is, and it is hard to believe when your children are all small, there comes a time when your friendships will no longer really on the “who, what and where” your kids are… there does in fact come time when your friends are the perfect little sanity saver in a day. Nothing beats a good friend that knows your heart and stands by you through everything. The more your kids see you value your friendships the better they are at their own friendships… I have found this to really be a case of what they see they do.

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  3. Sleeping for the Win:
  4. Catching up with tasks that have been left undone, ticking things off your to do list, and struggling through fatigue to do stuff you said you would, isn’t nearly as important as getting enough sleep. Nothing you do or even blog about is that important. There is nothing you can do well when you are tired that you can’t do so much better when you have slept. My kids sleep all night, mostly, they do….. and so there is no excuse for me to stay up other than I have lost my way to bed. I am mastering gently steering myself to bed and making sure I get a good nights’ sleep. It is a magical thing, when I sleep there is nothing for my kids to stay up for and they tend to just go to bed too.

    My Favourite Book of the Year.

  5. Reading Just for Fun: This was the year of reading for me. I have always been an avid reader… but for a while I got lost in reading just review books and it felt like work and it looked like work and worse, it was work. This year I was determined to regain the love of reading for the sake of the book. Picking up a book and reading it through just because I wanted to read it. Everyone says that your kids need to see you reading, that you need to lead by example… this is true, and I have never stopped reading. But I have a feeling that is more important that your kids see you reading because you enjoy it… you know dinner running late because you mum is reading one more chapter in a sunny spot is a good thing, not every evening but some evenings.
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  7. Saying No Just Because You Are Saying No: I always thought that you said yes to requests, unless you have a good reason why you can’t do something. It turns out that you can actually say no, because you have something better to do. I have always accommodated folk, pushed and pulled our schedule to fit folk in that wanted to stop by for any and every reason. Often cutting into our afternoon quiet time, because hay… maybe someone needs to us more than we need a little peace and quiet. Actually, while sometimes it is a yes and their are friends that I would totally rearrange my whole life for… not all things are that important and sometimes I am going to say no to a pressing request from someone for my time, because actually I would rather be sitting in the sun reading through a pile of library books with my kids. In the scheme of life, just another day and just another pile of books… but in the scheme of making memories… I have priorities. So I have started to say no to a few things things even when “if I rearranged our entire lives” we could fit them in. I have started to say no, and letting my kids know that I am saying yes to them rather. When I say I will help a teen with math at such and such a time, then that is an appointment, and I will say no to someone who wants to stop by and ask about teething, or anything really. My kids need to know that much as I am happy to help folk, if I have set aside time to be with them then that time is theirs.
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  9. I Firmly Believe That How We Speak to Our Children Becomes their Inner Voice:
  10. The Nature of our homeschooling life is that I am my kids’ teacher… and that means a lot of our conversations go something like this, “Have you done your math yet, can I help you with your geometry?” “Can you read to me while I cook dinner?” it can be all very dry and functional… I have to make time, and remember that kids need real conversations too – every single day. Time is one thing, but matters of the heart quite another… That sounds a lot easier than it is… it is so easy in this world to speak as we are spoken too… but with kids and especially older kids you have to consciously decide to talk to them as they should be spoken too rather than as you are spoken too.

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  11. Maintenance and Lots of It: We live in a house. The ongoing mystery as to how we accumulate stuff in our house never ceases to amaze me. I have this vision of a pristine home with one or two busy looking projects out, to demonstrate that actual humans live here. Turns out my vision and our kids’ vision are not quite the same thing. Maintenance is ongoing, one of those things we like done and not so much doing. I am not the best at it, but I have to consistent for my kids to master this. Maintenance is something I am so working on… turns out a little bit every day is key.
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  13. Doing Stuff Together:
  14. With eight kids ranging from five to eighteen it isn’t always easy to find things to do together. Shared memories are the ties that bind us together. Boardgames believe it or not, are not as easy to play with a heap of kids, they are great for one or two kids, but not eight. Reading has been a fabulous way to create shared memories and reading together is one thing we do a lot of… we have all wandered about in the 100 Acre Wood together and we have all tumbled down a rabbit hole… we have traveled the world and survived many trials, all from between the pages of a book. I am making the effort to make sure that they hear the stories I grew up on, cultural literacy and family literacy is a real thing and I want to keep it alive and well… not by making them read through a pile of books (how does that work anyway), but by reading with them and aloud to them. I am the voice that reads to them, while they are eating breakfast and lunch, I am the voice the voice that washes poetry over them while they stop the day for cocoa’o clock. It is my privilege to be that voice and I can only hope it inspires them to be the same voice for their children one day.

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  15. Getting Outdoors: How often my kids play outdoors, while I am indoors getting supper ready, or indoors blogging, or in doors doing a bazillion “important things.” Turns out on those days when I really want to sleep late, when I really want to lie in, I have to get up and get out there. And after two years of dedicated hiking I am winning, just the other day one of my hardcore “Do we have to?” kids told me they have started to love hiking for the sake of it and not simply to get to the end of it. That’s huge!!! Our kids need to see us trying difficult things and succeeding, hiking is a good place to start, because it can be as easy or as difficult as you are able. The thing is, we don’t need books to tell us how we need the great outdoors, we know it makes us feel so much better about everything, we actually just need to get outdoors. Some hikes are a race up the mountain, and others are an amble along the beach to a bench with a view… it doesn’t matter what it is, ours began with an evening amble… Big dreams and high mountains really are reached one step at a time.

Turns out there are so many things that I would like my children to do because I do them… rather than just because I told them too… the list is endless in fact. But I have started with one or two things and I am slowly working my way to including better habits, nothing awesome and incredible… just a lot less bossing around and a lot more action on my part. I’m better for it and so are they…

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Previous Birthday Posts

→ 14 CommentsTags: Our Events · Thoughtful Thursdays

There is a Birthday in the House… Happy Birthday to Hood #1

September 22nd, 2015 · 20 Comments

And just like that I became the mum of an eighteen year old. I cannot fathom how that happened but I can say I am beyond thrilled about celebrating…

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To the guy that can almost always be found behind a camera, or drawing or reading… you can find him on instagram.

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Taking incredible photographs like this one:


Or in front of a camera…

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Or balancing…

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Who climbs mountains for fun…

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And cleans beaches…


And plants trees…

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Did I mention cameras…

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And knows all about rock pools…

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And loves sharing it…

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Really sharing…

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Did I mention the camera…

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And incredible photographs…


And really the camera… day and night…

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Really incredible photographs…


The king of LEGO…


And his brothers’ keeper…

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To the guy who’s feet are not often on the ground…

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Happy Brilliant Birthday…

I have no idea how time has flown or how you have grown so fast… eighteen years sure did fly by.





Wishing you the Very Best Year Ahead…

Previous Blogging Birthdays…

→ 20 CommentsTags: Our Events

Sunday Snippet: Blessed is the Man Who Remains Steadfast Under Trial…

September 21st, 2015 · 3 Comments

Our Bible Verse of the Week…


James 1:2

Blessed is a man who remains steadfast under trial;

For when he has stood the test,

He will receive the crown of life

Which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Week by Week

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→ 3 CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #290

September 20th, 2015 · 10 Comments

That was just the craziest week and by the end of it we really needed a day in the great outdoors… we loved it of course.

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I have the restlessness of spring… it is pretty much two good days, followed by two poorly ones. Should we savour the cold, or embrace the sunshine… so many decisions!!!

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Meanwhile, we would love you to head over and enter our Justin Bonello GiveAway…


Lovely Links from This Week

  1. Oh I just love this… heaps of my faves in here: Inspiring Books to Get You Going on the Shutterbean.
  2. I don’t think I could ever coordinate my head and my feet with a treadmill desk, but a standing desk is looking pretty cool, considering how many hours a day I spend sitting alongside one kid after another after another for school each day. So do I know any folk that use standing desks?
  3. This post on Simplicity Relished: Why You Need a True Hobby (and not just a side-hustle)… The Bottomline: Don’t Work All the Time, says it all.
  4. This incredible Common Place Book on the Instagram Blog this week…
  5. There is so much to see on The Big Draw Website that I thought I would just start at the About Page and leave you to check it out!!!
  6. Do you remember a week or two back we interviewed David Melling the Author of Hugless Douglas, well he keeps a doodle diary and these are about his trip to South Africa, always good to read about your own country through someone who lives abroad’s eyes:
  7. Two of my fave Australian blogsites in one spot this past week: Meet Me At Mikes interviewed on the Problogger.
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    It is Bandana Season again… And if you haven’t noticed Bandanas are back in Pick’n Pay Stores… All over Pick’nPay Stores… this is a good thing because you can do so many stunning things with a bandana and buying a bandana supports a very important cause that is dear to our hearts, take a look at The Sunflower Fund Website and see how you can support them.

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    And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past:


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

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→ 10 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun