se7en

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

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Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #359

January 16th, 2018 · 4 Comments

It has been a while since we posted a Fabulous Fun Post. I took a bit of an internet break and I have to say, I really enjoyed it… but I am back and my year is rolling into place and I thought perhaps it was time to share some of the things we have been loving lately. We are always slow starters to a New Year and often only really surface once schools go back and we get our complete fill of summer. So we are doing summer to the max, with daily trips to the beacon either side of the seasonal crowds… which really is a small price to pay for the joy of living in a tourist destination.

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Just jumping into summer…

Book Giving Day


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YASSSSSS…. It is nearly Book Giving Day and we will be ready to bring you a new library project on the 14 February, look out for that post… because we can’t wait!!! If you want to take a peak at the previous Libraries we have created with our readers then take a peak at last year’s library… and previous year’s as well.

Lovely Links from This Week

  1. First things first… Here is my hot tip for a New Year… and the first thing I do every year. If you are reading this then I bet email inbox looks just as tragic as mine does… stuffed to the full with a bazillion things you have subscribed to and even more that you haven’t subscribed too… take five or ten minutes… Right Now… head over to UnRoll.Me and just unsubscribe from all the stuff that cannot want to be subscribed to anymore. Don’t waste hours unsubscribing to individual emails… Unroll.me is your friend… and you can thank me later. (and they didn’t pay me to say that… they don’t even know who I am!!!).
  2. Can We Talk About the Sketchbook Project… we didn’t join in last year because the exchange rate between dollars and rands made it totally out of reach… but this year one of the Hoods surprised me and bought one for us… there is a sketchbook travelling the world to Cape Town… if you would like to join the Sketchbook Project then follow the link here… and if you would like to see our previous sketchbooks then check them out here.
  3. The Brilliant Playing by the Book… is going to have a Literary Voyage Around the World reading challenge 2018. And as a book reviewer I can’t wait to see what she does with all her ARCS (Advanced Reader Copies).
  4. I followed along Raising Little Shoots Calendar of Firsts Last year and it is not too late to start your one for 2018… I love this idea, just the thought of it makes me more aware of the nature around me in our everyday life.
  5. And while you are thinking about Journals… The Artful Parent shows you how to create art journals with your kids.
  6. If you still haven’t gotten your sleep sorted… then watch this video: It will give you “The Why” to get to bet timeously, every single night.
  7. The Bullet Journaling Bug has hit our home… and I spotted this on Pinterest 33 Genius Bullet Journal Tracjing Spreads You Need to Try in 2018. Fabulous stuff!!!
  8. If you are looking for some delightful homeschooling… then look no further than Reaching Happy and A Closer Look at Birds.

A Blast From the Past:

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Look how small they were!!!

Discovery of the Week

Since starting gym last year I find myself driving across the countryside in the early morning before dawn and audible books have been brilliant. Hours and hours of audible books have poured into me, literally a book a week. Well apart from the audible app, and the obvious joy of discovering that my husband has been an audible member for years and has slowly but steadily built up a fabulous eclectic library… I discovered that he has been downloading the free book of the month from Christian Audio for ever… so just discovered on my phone another library of fantastic books waiting to be listened to… This month’s free book is 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You… this is a great read/listen… it’s free to download… and they have a free book every single month.

Book of the Week

I have been reading a ton over the holidays… after all my review posts at the end of the year, I gave myself a break from reviews and read a few books that I had been meaning to read for a while…

Oh where have I been, I absolutely loved Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home, in fact I listened to the audible book of it and immediately got hold of the kindle version and read it again… making notes!!! So good… Gretchen decides on a whim to create a happier home, by tackling a project a month over the period of a school year. When her first project was to clear out her home of all things that didn’t represent them and to create “shrines” to the things that did… it just resonated with me, I was hooked and inhaled the rest of the book. She reveals throughout her book several truths of adulthood. A fun read, packed with home keeping tips, including the big one… you can’t change your family or their habits, you have to change your own. Food for thought. I have enjoyed her podcast from time to time, but now that I have read one of her books you can be sure that I will be reading her other ones as well.

Another Podcaster that I enjoy, Michael Hyatt, launched his latest book… Your Best Year Ever this past week… and along with the launch came a number of freebies, including the free audible book, as well as a 5 lesson tutorial guide through all the goal setting steps he describes in his book. Fun to learn something new, and a great choice of book to read in the first two weeks of the year. Since I am about the worst goal setter on earth, this is a fabulous book for me to read… the book really does bring your goals from completely outside reality into something difficult but achievable. He looks at the difference between goals and habits… and really how not to quit… a great read, if you you think you could do with a bit of coaching.

Movie of the Week

A delightful story of Mary Reynold’s journey from rank outsider to youngest winner of a Chelsea Flower Show gold medal… from the wild countryside of Ireland, she brings more than a touch of magic and creativity to gardening… it is the sweet story about rewilding our gardens… what I loved was that it was a true story and she has written a book full of her very unique artwork… I will definitely be looking out for this in the library. Meanwhile if you want to see her Ted Talk, then check it out here.

Big Screen Movie of the Week



Not a whole lot like the book, movies never are… but my kids loved the treat of a trip to the movies… fun times!!! Not to mention air conditioning on the hottest day!!!

That’s us… hope you have the most fabulous week!!!

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Se7en Takes One More Tiny Step to Living Greener…

January 13th, 2018 · 3 Comments

This is the season when everyone is making new year’s resolutions… and as one of my kids says, “New Year’s Revolutions.” Revolution works for me… I would love a green revolution to sweep through our home. We do some greening, but we could do so much more and what started as little incremental changes in our home have become so much bigger. Turns out lifestyle changes to support the environment, need to be cost effective and aesthetically pleasing. When you add those two factors to the fact that we have to change our lifestyles, then green living becomes the easier option.

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We are raising eco-warriors and this is the year we are determined to put our words into action… I really want us to make one easy change and embrace it, then another, and again and again and again. Because we all know we could be living greener, but we don’t necessarily do so. Last year we did a home audit, to see where we could be living greener, how we could be using less of the bad stuff, and embrace more of the green. Turns out it isn’t enough to talk about it around the table, you actually have to do something. And we started changing some of the things that had been bothering us… things we changed and then stopped, tried again and stopped… really change things forever. One little change a month has got to ultimately make a difference.

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So for example, for the longest time we had wanted to get rid of plastic shopping bags… the longest time. We were pretty good, 95% of the time, but not perfect. It was one change that we just couldn’t get right all of the time. One day, at the beginning of last year, we just said no more and that was it. We have fabric shopping bags, but we would forget to take them with us to the store. It took just one or two trips to the store where I refused to buy plastic bags and we all had to carry individual things home from the store and suddenly we were all able to remember the bags. That’s what it took and we broke the habit… ta da… no more plastic shopping bags required… like ever. None, we are done with them. Somehow that last little 5% of we will never ever use plastic shopping bags again, not even occasionally was a huge leap of green for us and I am so glad it is over.

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I recently discovered that I am an appalling under-buyer… I loathe and detest shopping and if I never had to shop for anything again that wouldn’t be soon enough. That sounds brilliant on the surface, less clutter, less chaos, a life of less has to be better. Right? Actually wrong… we need to replace our non-green lifestyle items with greener ones. This year I have determined to shop online once a month… and buy something that we need for greener living. I know it sounds weird… more stuff is definitely not greener.

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But for instance, we decided during Plastic Free July that it was finally time for us to let go of cling wrap… so I stopped buying it. The roll eventually ran out and then… Boom… first hike without it and nobody wanted to carry their lunch in a plastic container. Yes, the anti-plastic aversion is strong in our home. So then what. Everyone stopped taking lunch up the mountain and our hikes became… well hunger strikes, which are never good for morale. Apples are good and so are oranges, they come in their own skin and require no plastic. But they don’t feed a crowd of hungry teenagers to the full… just saying. So… when I got to December and we still hadn’t resolved this issue I decided that we would get our kids a green gift for Christmas. Did you see that… Green gifting – it’s a thing.

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And it worked so well… they loved their wraps and have used them ever since. These are fabric wraps, that have been coated in bees wax that protect your food and snacks in your backpack or cover your salad bowl, just as plastic wrap would. I no longer have to prepare anything for any hike… ever. I say we are hiking and the gang says they are packing… Just like that. They are making their own snacks or sandwiches to go in their wraps, for every adventure, with enthusiasm. It is only two weeks into the year and these Supa-Wraps have been used on more than a few hikes and beach adventures… I have to say I thought they would seal better than they do… but the kids quickly found a solution and are happy to tie them closed with a piece of string. Truth is I should have bought these years ago, if not months ago.

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So happy kids with green packaging on a daily basis… that’s a win. It is time to give greener gifts, throw out much less garbage and generally stop doing what we know we shouldn’t be doing. Watch away, we will be showing you our green shopping from month to month through out the year.

This is totally not a sponsored post, and we are just sharing a product we thought you might love as well… you can buy wax coated wraps at quite a few green markets, we got ours from Faithful to Nature. We love shopping there, they always add a little treat or a sample product to their packages for you to try. Not to mention, excellent overnight delivery… no matter when in the night you order!!!

→ 3 CommentsTags: Green Living · Thoughtful Thursdays

Se7en Visit the Zeitz Mocaa, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art…

January 9th, 2018 · 2 Comments

During our stay in the city over the holidays, we visited The Zeitz Mocaa Museum, which is the recently opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in the Waterfront in Cape Town and we absolutely loved it. If you looking for a day out to go with your visit to the museum, here is a recent day out we had exploring the V&A Waterfront.

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The Zeitz Mocaa is a Fantastic Surprise

Capetonians, if you haven’t visited the Zeitz Mocaa yet, then I think you are missing out on a gem. When the Zeitz Mocaa opened its doors to the public, after much anticipation, a lot of folk asked me what I thought. Well, finally we have made it there and like most things we are opinionated:

  1. It is Affordable for Locals, can I hear a Hoorah: Folk thought that it would be another pricey venue that locals couldn’t afford… can I just say… it is free to folk from Africa on Wednesdays between 10am and 1pm; and on museum nights; and it is half price between 4 and 9pm on the first Friday of the month. Otherwise: Children are Free. (Under 18’s with id cards). All the time. Not to mention: if you buy an annual subscription… priced from R250, then you have unlimited access… in other words if you go more than twice, your ticket has paid for itself. This is going straight onto my homeschool wishlist of the year… totally totally worth it, since I would be taking ALL my kids everytime I visited. Check out the small print… this is really a landmark that has made every effort to make themselves available to the locals… that totally gets my WOW!!!

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  2. If your Kids Aren’t used to Contemporary Art then they will find it Magical: A lot of friends have said… “Oooh, Contemporary Art, that’s Modern Art… isn’t it weird?” Yes, it is Contemporary Art, which means it is modern art in the sense that it is art that is happening here, in Africa, and now, and some of it is very innovative and nothing like you have seen before. All sorts of art: fabric art, photography, movies, music, life size puppets, mobiles… yes of course some things are a little weird, compared to our day to day life… but thats the point. This is a place to visit for expanding horizons and stretching imaginations. My kids loved it and were completely taken with the artwork surrounding them. Scroll down to see some of the displays, with links to the artists. There was one display that my kids found a little weird, otherwise I have found that what they don’t understand tends to go over their heads… and then again… there was so much that they were completely amazed by that I don’t think they had nearly enough time to inhale it all.
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  4. This is a Great Museum for Kids That Haven’t Ever Been to a Museum: There is nothing “fuffi” about this museum, plenty of places to stretch and let off steam and lots of works that your kids can and will interact with as they go… This is not a place for tiptoeing and whispering, it is a place for being yourself and experiencing art in your own way. I do think of all the museums we have been to locally, this one most feels like an oversees museum, with lots of interaction with staff as you go, but no imposition… no security guards following you around from room to room, as if your children are the worst behaved in the world. And when expectations are high, kids tend to raise their game. I really feel that the younger children are exposed to incredible art, the more creative their thinking and let’s face it, we need creative thinkers.
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  6. The Queues Were Not Nearly as Bad As We Expected them to Be: When the Museum opened the queues on social media looked incredible, and when we did try and visit previously on Museum Night. As soon as we joined the queue a friendly member of staff told us how long the queue was and how long we could expect to wait… we chose to return another time. We chose a Wednesday, knowing it was busy, because we wanted to make the most of the free day. When we arrived at opening time, 10:00 am, the queue was long, but by 10:10 we were inside and roaming the museum. Clearly as soon as the doors open things move and there have very friendly staff members that chat to you in the queue and engaged with all our kids and asked them what they hoped to see and so on. Really the queue was no problem at all. Not only that, once the museum is full they slow it down and don’t let too many folk in… so you never feel overcrowded inside.
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  8. You will Spend a While There: There is a lot to see and this is a big space… this is not a quick visit on your way somewhere else kind of the museum. It is huge inside, what was once a collection of silos sending wheat out into the world, has been hollowed out, so to speak, and filled with artwork, showcasing art to the rest of the world. We took a very comfortable two hour wander through the museum… could have spent a little longer, but couldn’t have been much quicker.
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  10. Being Prepared for Stairs, though they are not Essential: The artworks spiral in rooms up the side of the silos and it was a good break between levels for the kids to stomp up between floors. That being said, if you can’t face the stairs there are elevators… so don’t panic if you just can’t face the stairs, but we found them to be a pleasant interlude.
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  12. There is of course a Museum Shop: With all sorts of amazing art related goodies abounding: notebooks, materials, art… postcards, everything you would expect. And priced as you would expect it to be… we treated it as an extension of the museum!!!

The Anticipation

We have been watching and waiting for this museum to open for years…

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We first heard about it on a Red City Bus Tour in 2013

Years of construction…

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And watched the construction over the years

Turned this site into an architectural wonder…
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From a building site to it’s full glory…
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And when you reach the top, there are views for miles… of Table Mountain…
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And since you are in the harbour…
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The Architecture is Incredible

The building alone is incredible… it has gritty, and edgy industrial flavour to it. With the huge wide open space in the centre they have managed to create a beautiful space for presenting art in all it’s various forms…

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The history of the building is all surrounding…

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And there are plenty of interesting nooks and crannies for curious minds to explore…

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This is a multilayered building…

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The spiral staircases up…

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And down…

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And don’t forget to explore the basement, it is a bit of a treat.

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Let’s take a Look at the Art

Our approach to our first visit was that where the children stopped and looked we would stop with them, and where they wandered through, we would wander too. I love a space where I can learn as much as they do and I certainly wasn’t in “look at this, or look at that mode…” simply for the sake of “they should be looking at things.” There was no need, in fact there was a lot of “did you see that?!!!” All in the spirit of wonder… there were some art pieces that my kids stopped and looked at for minutes at a time, even finding a seat and just really engaging with it. I left them to it, there is plenty of time and there will be lots of future visits to explore the art more. Some of the artists may have had a completely different purpose for their art than the one’s that my children interpreted… the thing is that doesn’t matter… my kids loved it and engaged with it and appreciated it… and I think any artist would like that.

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Here to Stay by Jody Paulsen

Can I just say… felt collage… incredible…
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Proposed Model for Tseko Simon Nkoli Memorial by Athi-Patra Ruga

This is one of the first works you will see… it is created from hundreds of artificial flowers, and jewels… my glitterati kid, literally exploded when she saw this!!!
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Map of Frengland Australis by Frohawk Two Feathers

And this was our map lover’s favourite piece… and the fact that the artist used tea and coffee paper, thrilled him because he does that himself to make his own maps.
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More Sweetly Play the Dance by William Kentridge

This is a piece of art that you literally climb into… you stand in a room, while the music emerges from the speakers and the art flows past you on the walls, it repeats every fifteen minutes, but you can stay or move on as you would like to…
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Speakers from the piece above…
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Artist by Roger Ballen

Having just read the audiobook of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and learned all about the Automaten… my kids were literally electrified by this part of the exhibition.

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Hanging Piece by Kendell Geers

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By Ghada Amer

Definitely a linger longer portrait…

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OphioPhillia by Frances Goodman

And one of my small children immediately knew what the motley crew of serpents was made from, and was thrilled that her secret guess was correct!!!

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Divider by Lungiswa Gqunta

And this display to walk through… beer bottles and fabric rope…

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How to be a Door by Marlene Steyn

This artists work, on canvas and her sculptures were special…

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The Waves by Liza Lou

This piece of work just amazed me… an entire room of changing shades, all created with white glass beads… the texture and shades come from the hands that created, hours and hours of threading white beads to create sheets and sheets of cloth… really an incredible feat.

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And So Be It by Daniella Mooney

Our little poet loved this… and has written it out countless times since we visited… a play on words is a fun thing.

That was just a sampling, and there is so much more to see. We literally inhaled it and can’t wait to go back. Yes, for some of my kids it was an interesting walk through, and others had to stop and reflect all the way along their journey. They were all struck by what they saw… I can say that if I suggested we stop by again tomorrow it wouldn’t be too soon. This is real art, presented in a very real way and completely accessible to local visitors…

Zeitz Mocaa

→ 2 CommentsTags: Cape Town · Outings

Quickest Easiest Desserts in the World…

January 6th, 2018 · 2 Comments

Summertime and my go to dessert is watermelon, it feeds a crowd and brings joy to any gathering. Sometimes though, you need a little more… It really is the season for tons of drop in friends and visitors popping over for dinner… and the truth is we want to spend our evenings on the beach. So in order to keep everyone happy all of the time I have been making these very quick and easy recipes over the summer, that I got from a friend I bumped into.

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Quickest Easiest Cheesecake Ever

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With just three ingredients:

  1. 1 Packet of Tennis Biscuits
  2. 1 tub of Lemon Merengue Full Cream Yogurt (decadent and to die for).
  3. 1 can of Condensed Milk.

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Step 1: Crush the tennis biscuits in a bowl.

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Step 2: In a separate bowl mix the condense milk and yogurt together.

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Step 3: Place your crushed biscuits in a layer in a serving dish.

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Step 4: Put your layer of yogurt/condensed milk mixture on top of the crushed biscuits.

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Step 5: Bake your cheesecake in the microwave for five minutes.
Step 6: Once your cheesecake has cooled down place it in the fridge overnight.
Step 7: You can make this just hours before, but overnight is supposed to be better. Never happened here though!!!

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Quickest Easiest Chocolate Mousse Ever

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With just three ingredients:

  1. 200 g of broken chocolate pieces
  2. 300 g of marshmallows
  3. 2 cans of evaporated milk… (One of the cans needs to be chilled).

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Step 1: Pop the marshmallows and chocolate bits together into a bowl, with a can of evaporated milk.

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Step 2: Slowly warm it through in the microwave to melt the mixture together.

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Step 3: Whisk your chilled can of evaporated milk until it is bubbly and stiff.

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Step 3: Mix the two mixtures together carefully and pop into the fridge to set.

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That’s it!!! Really!!!

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→ 2 CommentsTags: chocolate · Desserts · Monday Munchies

Se7en’s January… And Your Free Printable Calendar…

January 3rd, 2018 · No Comments

Welcome to 2018 and a fresh year of printable calendars will be rolling out month by month…

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Click on the calendar image, it will open in a new tab, print it using “landscape” 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, we would love to have our calendars packed to the brim!!!

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To print: click on the image and it will open in a new tab… print away!!!

And how Se7en’s Weather Tree Works…

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Se7en’s January

→ No CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

The Year That Was… 2017

January 2nd, 2018 · 6 Comments

We really wanted to take a moment to wish all our followers a wonderful New Year and thank you for following our blog and taking the time to stop by and leave comments. We really hope you have the most fantastic year ahead, full of adventures and great opportunities.

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The se7en+1 hoods are launching into 2018 full of plans, full of ideas, full of things they are looking forward too… never a dull moment over here. Another year of loving and learning, just flew by. Conquering new challenges and trying lots of new things… we conquered more mountains than before, we ran further than we ever had before, which was nowhere really and read through piles and piles of books. And became wiser and better eco-warriors on a grander scale than we imagined that we could. It was a year of Getting Things Done… though not a lot of the things that we planned to get done, rather seizing opportunities as they arose. Seize the day, it turns out is definitely not a bad premise to live by!!!

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As for the Hoods

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Hood 1: Conquered another year of college, all the while growing his photography company and well LEGO, of course!!!

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Hood 2: Spent the entire year reading and consuming vast quantities of chocolate, he just finished his schooling and is looking forward to working next year and studying part-time.

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Hood 3: Spent the year getting tons of work experience and loving it, this adventurous soul is going places and not a whole lot is going to stand in her way while she gets there.

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Hood 4: Apart from growing out of every single item of clothing in the house, several times… He has not stopped running the entire year, things like hill training are part of his everyday life along with drawing and drawing and drawing…

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Hood 5: Made it quite clear that if he could swim in the ocean for every moment of the rest of his life he would be the happiest man alive, apart from that his servant heart mixed with a ton of craziness saw him trying all sorts of new things this year.

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Hood 6: Proved again and again that once a maker, always a maker… this creative kid did so many amazing projects and made things things in and out of everyday. She also discovered the art of getting lost in a good book… what a joy.

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Hood 7: Spent this year making tons of friends wherever she went, in between writing endless books and she totally surprised us with her running skills, routinely out running all but one sibling with ease at the ParkRun.

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Hood 8: Our resident pirate mastered the art of reading, running really fast and hiking in the great outdoors long after everyone else was ready to call it a day.

Previous Years…

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Photo Credit to Marike Herselman Photography
The Year That Was… 2016

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The Year That Was… 2015

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The Year That Was… 2014

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The Year That Was… 2013

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The Year That Was… 2012

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The Year That Was… 2011

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The Year That Was… 2010

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The Year That Was… 2009

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The Year That Was… 2008

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Turns Out 2017 Was a Good Year for Learning… A Lot!!!

December 31st, 2017 · 12 Comments

I have been having an actual holiday… time away from my laptop, and it has been lovely!!! It is the week between Christmas and New Year, I should be resting and chilling out, it has been a long year and after countless roast beasts and secret Christmas preparations in the past few days, I feel like I need a bit of a break. But I have a new notebooks to start and a fresh pack of markers and I just can’t wait to dive into 2018… So I am taking a moment to reflect on the year that flew by. Back in 2016, I made a conscious effort to include rest in my life, not sleep mind you (silly me), just rest. I wanted to take time to step off the world and read or write or have a coffee with a friend, rest away from the work of a homeschooling mom of more than a handful of kids.

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This past year, 2017, was the year the I was Getting Things Done, I was putting aside everything else to get the stuff, that never ceases to land in our home, sorted. Turns out I did absolutely everything else, which says quite a lot about what “writing your goals down” means for me… I did want to send our instagram followers into the thousands (tick); and blog off our blog, dare I say write elsewhere (another tick); I wasn’t sure how that would pan out, but it did; I wanted to slow school down and really enjoy homeschooling (another tick), that’s a whole ‘nother post; and I really wanted to MOVE more, but didn’t think I could!!!

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Se7en Things I Learnt This Year

  1. If You Don’t Sleep You Aren’t Living: Do something about it. I have blogged and blogged about sleeping better this year, because I truly believe in it, it changed my life. Turns out, the more sleep deprived we are the more we think we are ok. I didn’t need special encouragement, I didn’t need extra special sleep coaching, or sleep training… I needed and I still need DISCIPLINE. Sleep is a discipline, it is not a good habit… something you can build into your life after 21 days… it is something you have to be strict about and something I constantly battle with. I love reading just one more chapter, I love doing just one more thing before bed… but the truth of the matter is that with a good nights sleep I literally fly through the next day… no I soar!!! But I have to tell myself every single night, “That is enough for today and get to bed already.” I am consistently inconsistent at this, but I am so much better. Every single time I don’t get to bed timeously I pay a terrible price the next day. If sleep isn’t your number one goal for the year… then make it your number one goal, because everything else will fall into place.
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  3. I Am The Champion of Excuses: I have discovered that I am the champion of excuses. I did set myself a number of goals… and guess what… I couldn’t do this because I hadn’t done that, and I couldn’t do the next thing because I hadn’t done the other thing. I realised that the clutter that was overwhelming me actually wasn’t what was stopping me from getting stuff done… it was the excuse that I had clutter to sort out, that was stopping me from all sorts of other things, all the fun things. As soon as I put all that decluttering aside, I was able to get masses of stuff done. Basically, I was consistent and cleaned out a corner of stuff each and every week, donated and donated and donated… I got a lot of decluttering done, it is still far from perfect over here, but I no longer use “I have to declutter first” as an excuse not to go for a walk, head for the library, go for a swim. If I want to journal better, then there is no need to wait until my desk is perfect; if I want to paint a bookshelf, then I no longer have to sort every book in the house first, I can really just paint the bookshelf…
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    This was our Christmas Card photo, until a a bird flew by and photobombed it!!! That will teach me to be happy with a “one click” photo!!!

  5. I Am Not Very Good at Goals: But I absolutely love a challenge. This year I challenged myself to get moving… I floundered about forever trying to find a goal, and in the end settled on “Just MOVE already.” For years I have tried a daily walk, a weekly hike and any number of things to get moving, but this was the year that I challenged myself… to walk up a flight of stairs when I got to one, to fetch a book from the next room instead of asking a kid, to play on the beach with my gang, instead of just reading a book while they played. I also got to gym, which was life saving, but I think it was an attitude of “moving all the time” that actually got me moving.
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  7. If You Think You Need to Move More, Then Start Already: Don’t wait… dance around the table, walk the dog, walk the kids… just move. You can be kind to yourself, you can be slow and steady, you can give yourself days off (only if you’ve had days on!!!)… eventually you are going to have to do the hard stuff. If you want to run 5km and I do, but you feel dreadful “gasp” when you do, then you can do every other exercise that isn’t running but eventually you are going to have to run. Do the hard stuff, it won’t get easier, but you will get much better at it. At the start of the year I started the ParkRun, it was a family decision to encourage our potential runner… I nearly died the first time. The second time was worse!!! The third time was my absolute LAST EVER (never believe a word I say at the end of a run)… and 35 ParkRuns later I am still chugging around a 5km course each week. I would love to run it, but I just can’t yet. I know I can just download the couch to 5km challenge and work through it… but I was way too unfit for that programme… I am on the Pre-school version of the couch to 5km and perhaps by the end of next year I will be able to run 5km!!!
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  9. Habits Take a Lot More Than 21 Days to Establish: Everyone will tell you that if you do something for twenty one days then it will become a habit and you will just do it routinely. Anyone who has ever started a new habit will tell you that this is a fable. Just saying. Somethings are habits, everytime I get into the car I press play on the audible book I am listening to… that’s a habit. Other things like getting up at 5:00 in the morning will never be a habit, they are a lifestyle. If someone said to me, you can sleep late and get all the things you want to do in a day done… I would probably try that theory out, I would love to believe them.
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  11. Hook Your New Habits onto Something You do Already: I get up everyday, and part of getting up is going to gym. It is as simple as that… I get up and walk out of the door before I even think about it. The first time I give a conscious thought to my day is when I walk back in the door as my kids are stirring. I do not check my phone, I do not have a snack, I do nothing except put on my gym clothes and walk out of the door. It is that easy for me to get to gym… it is literally just part of getting up. I treat myself to a coffee on a Saturday morning, on the way to the coffee I do a ParkRun… do you see what I did there… I hooked the changes I wanted to make onto things I was already doing. Hooks work for me. I thought I was a rewards gal… a year ago I would reward myself with coffee for getting up, another coffee for getting breakfast done, another coffee for hanging out the laundry… really!!! Turns out I am not so much a rewards gal, I just need to find things to hook new habits onto.
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  13. To Do Something Well You Need to Do it Everyday: I started writing with my kids, everyday for fifteen minutes, during November. We did it for the full month, I have 30 pages of writing, and found my writing mojo again… really if you want to do something you routinely do, like writing and blogging then you just have to practice it. Just as you wouldn’t be able to walk the balance beam very well if you only got round to stepping out once every couple of weeks. You literally have to practice and practice and practice to get things right. It is the practice of writing that creates better writing, it doesn’t always flow… it is the practice of going to gym that makes my workouts better, they don’t always flow. In fact it is often hit and miss… but the practice and more practice will set you on your way to being better at almost all things.
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  15. Friends Are Your Strength, Work on Them: Sometimes you feel like you just need to get away from it all, sometimes you feel like you just need a breath of fresh air… well I have discovered, and this is huge… that those are the times you most need a friend. Call them, message them, just stay hi… do it. You will be richer for it. I never take time off the world for myself, there is always one more thing to do… but this year… whenever I was stretched beyond reason, I messaged a friend first, instead of just retreating, which is my usual game plan. Try it. You don’t have to spend hours, and I rarely have those, but instead of trying to always escape… call a friend and say hi before you escape. It was a great strategy for keeping connected and keeping those friendships alive. Trust me if you feel like you need some encouragement and a time out… you will have friends with exactly the same needs… they also don’t want to spend a whole afternoon nattering, but they might well want a momentary afternoon pick me up before they dive into dinnertime and bedtime.

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    And the se7en + 1 + 1th… YES, I am saving the best for last…

  16. Don’t Ever Give Up on Yourself: Honestly, I thought there were somethings I could never ever do… I have hiked my whole life but never been up Lion’s Head via The Dreaded Chains. I really thought I could say good bye to wanting to do that… turns out… never ever give up on yourself, you can do the hard stuff… and when I finally got there, it wasn’t even that hard!!! Never say never and keep on trying.

There is a vague hope maybe 2018 will be the year I get all the clutter of living with ten people sorted, but I have a feeling that it is quite the most impossible task. While I do have strategies to keep on sorting, I certainly won’t be putting my life on hold, while I get it all done. It has to be an onward and upward kind of a year for me, it is the only option.

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