September 20th, 2016 · 9 Comments
Did I ever mention that blogging can take you to some interesting corners of the world… well a couple of weeks ago the breakfast show, Expresso, contacted us. They were looking for a blogging family who didn’t mind sharing their dirty laundry. With a family of ten we sure do have laundry… but to be honest, we are just a little too busy with life to spend our days doing laundry.
Luckily they weren’t after our actual laundry, just a lifestyle that creates laundry… hiking, great outdoors, volunteering… we fitted the bill and they came and shot their snippet last week. We will be on the Expresso Breakfast show sometime, maybe tomorrow morning (Wednesday)… When you see a slot, with a popular laundry detergent, then look out for us!!!
For months I have been saying that we need a massive tidy up and then for months we have been putting it off, well… there is nothing like knowing that you will have a few TV cameras in your home to make you do something of a cleanup. We had a grand scale clean out of galactic proportions… sorting, tossing, tidying… surfaces cleared, closets sorted, and even the garden got a “it must be spring face lift.” By the time the film crew arrived we were all a little bit spent in the neatness department… the first thing they asked was, “Could we get a bit dirty, maybe some baking?” There was a hushed silence from the gang… and they headed outdoors to do a little gardening instead, and a bit of hiking on the mountain behind our house.
The Truth About Laundry
I know that with a family of ten, folks think that we spend our lives doing laundry… we don’t. In fact the green person inside of me can’t do laundry every single day… just the thought of all that water and all that electricity, means that we make a conscious effort to do the least possible laundry that we can. (And if we are talking about green detergents, then I also want the least packaging and eco-friendly chemicals… why would I want to pour the water down the drain, when I can use it as greywater, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)
We do have the biggest washer we could find when we bought it and only ever wash a load when it is completely full. So when someone has laundry they pop it into the washer, there are no laundry baskets around the house. I usually check the washer before I go to bed and if it is full I turn it on. Nope I don’t spend hours sorting it into lights and darks, just everything in (sorry mom). I am fairly convinced that our modern washing detergents are quite capable of coping with the figuring out which clothes need more of an effort than others.
It is really only once the washer is finished it’s load that the real work of laundry begins for us and then I have a team of laundry elves. The first person up checks the washer and if there is a clean load ready to hang then they take the washing out the washer and sort it into piles of tops, bottoms, socks and so on… and then one person hangs the shirts, one person hangs the trousers and… it is a well oiled machine!!! At the end of the day, the same team brings the laundry in, and our shirt person folds all the shirts, the trouser person all the trousers and… This all happens on our dining table, so all the piles of laundry have to be packed away before we can set the table for dinner.
That’s it, in a nutshell… I have a feeling laundry for a family of ten is a whole lot easier than laundry for a small family, simply because we have a team of helpers. Not to mention that after spending a week or two in Lesotho a couple of years ago I became very grateful for my first world washing machine… if you had to take all my appliances away, except one… then I would keep the washer. I’d live without a stove, a fridge, in fact I would love to live without a toaster… but I never ever want to live without my washing machine.
It’s been quite a while since the gang were on the Expresso Show… fun times, I tell you!!!
Tags: Home Truths
September 20th, 2016 · 2 Comments
Well September the weather is gorgeous, though it is definitely not summer yet.
This week is Cape Nature Access Week, that’s free access to Cape Nature Reserves… Just Saying…
Lovely Links from This Week
- Oh for the love: 9 Printable Planners and Calendars on CraftWhack.
- Something for your inner artist: Juggling Act of Life has an Instagram Adventure of a Doodle a Day… I love it!!!
- Such a useful link of Seasonal Fruit and Veg in South Africa, on the Le Creuset website.
- Love the Painted Rock Cactus Plants… on Lil Blue Boo
- Seth Godin’s 10 Quick Rules for Online Newbies…
- Kara Fleck had a fabulous post at Simple Homeschool: 10 Fresh Homeschooling Paths to Add Variety to your routines.
- Every blogger knows they should have an email list, but so many of us have no clue of the how, here is a post packed with ideas: 16 Mistakes Bloggers Make When Building an Email List on JeffBullas.com.
A Blast From the Past:
That’s us… Hope you are all had a fabulous weekend!!!
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
September 18th, 2016 · 2 Comments
We decided to make the very most of last week’s free week with SanParks and head to the West Coast National Park to see the spring flowers… It has literally been years since we were last there and I am so thrilled that we had the opportunity to go again. The West Coast spring flowers are a phenomenon not to be missed.
On a very cold and wet Friday morning we headed out in the dark, way before dawn,… I was determined to miss the traffic in the city… the excitement was palpable and sleepy wide eyed faces feared at me from the back of the car.
The first thing we did when we got there was head for the dunes and have a good long look at the Atlantic, not to mention the rain pelting down. You need sunshine for the flowers to open and so we bided our time…
We took a look around the information centre…
We stopped to look at the houseboats in Kraalbaai…
And decided that that was definitely a weekend away worth dreaming about… you can book these houseboats for a holiday.
And it continued to drip with rain…
The Langebaan Lagoon
So we headed down onto the mudflats of the lagoon at low tide…
To see the flamingoes…
And to run of course…
And collect treasures…
There were tons of animals to see…
Of course it is spring… and there were plenty of babies around…
And the perfect place to stop for lunch on a rainy day… inside a bird hide where we spotted lots of birds we had never seen before… new things to look up!!!
And that was us… though one of us was clearly not ready to go home yet!!!
Previous West Coast Posts
The West Coast Flowers and Our Visit to GeelBek Restaurant
Se7en+1 Visit the Strandloper
Se7en of the Best Places to Visit Around Cape Town.
Se7en Significant Hikes
Tags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot
September 16th, 2016 · 2 Comments
I know we post tons of book collection posts, but some books are so spectacular that they deserve their own post… and this book is indeed one of them. As soon as I saw this book I popped it straight onto my list of essential childhood books.
A First Book of Nature is by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Herald. Every single Nicola Davies book has been a keeper in our house, but this book I have to say again is essential. Get hold of a copy from the library from your local bookstore, read it… read it again, dip in and out of it and page through and dream… leave it on the coffee table for young folk to enjoy and dream a little bit too… because it is somewhat dreamy. You can meet Lindsay Davies at her website here, and you can meet the illustrator, Mark Hearld over here.
The book is a big square paperback of the sturdy variety… absolutely packed with inspiring illustrations… collage prints that feel quite classical, and reminded me of reading children’s encyclopaedias when I was little. The book is divided into four seasons… filled with poems and very easy things to do. Not to mention something new and lovely to discover on every spread. It has quite a whimsical feel to it, filled with beautiful and inspiring poetry that little people will enjoy along with the person reading to them… you can really only read a page or two and then ponder a little bit, before wandering deeper into the book.
- Spring: You will want to go for a spring walk and look for tadpoles, and plant some seeds and maybe create some compost.
- Summer: Looking out for butterflies, pond dipping and rock pooling, things to do in your den.
- Autumn: Lots of things to look out for, how to make a berry crumble.
- Winter: Beachcombing and saving seeds, and making bird cakes.
If you or your small people find yourselves stuck indoors and unable to motivate to get outdoors, even though you know it is the right thing to do… this book will inspire you to bundle up and get out there when it is cold, and to find a shady spot when it is warm. This is the perfect book to toss in your bag and head outdoors with a blanket for a read. This is a book that deserves to be lived in, take it down to the shore and read about rock pooling, take it with you when you go gathering leaves… this is a book that is perfect inspiration for nature notebii
Thank you so much to PanMacmillan South Africa for the copy of A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to create it and the opinions expressed are, as usual, our own.
Tags: Brilliant Books · Se7en at School
September 15th, 2016 · 6 Comments
We have been climbing Table Mountain for a couple of years now… it all began as a dream of one of my kids… the thing is, as a child I went up and down the mountain all the time, really: All.the.time. I walked my dog up and down the mountain every single day and it was literally a hop and a skip to the top. And then I had eight kids and climbing Table Mountain couldn’t have been further from my mind. That was until one of the gang said he had a dream to get to the very top of Table Mountain… I had the idea that it would be a hop and a skip… I was totally wrong.
After that we made it an annual family event… to gather together and climb to the top of the mountain. Turns out Table Mountain is a real live mountain that warrants a lot of respect, we only climb it once or twice a year… but we do work hard on other hikes in our area, at least a hike a week, to keep ourselves good and ready for our annual trek. Last week I posted a collection of family hikes in Cape Point and Silvermine and a couple of folk asked if I could do the same for hiking on Table Mountain… so here is our definitive guide…
Firstly, Table Mountain is part of a mountain range, there is a lot of clambering and climbing to do… and there are plenty of ambles and hikes to do on the mountain that take you nowhere near the “actual top of the mountain,” which are a whole lot of fun… in fact there really is something for every level of fitness. Whatever hike you do you need to be well prepared… Se7en+1 Steps to Great Hiking with Kids.
Se7en + 1 Family Hikes on Table Mountain
If you are visiting Cape Town, or you have young children with a dream, who desperately want to get to the very top of the mountain I would highly recommend saving for a trip up the Cableway car… and then take the hour long walk across the top of the mountain to Maclear’s Beacon. It is a fairly easy walk, one with a huge sense of accomplishment because you get to the top of the mountain. We would highly recommend this as a great family walk.
Otherwise, if you want to hike all the way from the ground up… and you are fairly fit then you can hike up Platteklip Gorge, which for some reason is very popular with tourists and is considered to be the shortest trip up… it may be short but it is also steep. Very steep. This was our first hike as a family with a goal to get to the top of Table Mountain, our youngest was 4 and he had no problem leaping up the mountain. I on the other hand battled all the way. It is a zig zag stone staircase taking you vertically up the mountain. It was a lot harder than I remembered it to be in my student days… and while this is one of the most popular hikes up the mountain it is nowhere near the easiest hike. I am guessing that if you get an early start (we didn’t), and take your time that it is totally do-able. This route takes you to very close to the Cable Way station, and then you have another hour’s walk (the hike mentioned above) across the top of the mountain on tired legs to get to the very top of the mountain.
After our battle up Platteklip we gave ourselves a year to relaunch Our Journey from Amblers to Hikers Step by Step… and we chose a different route up Table Mountain. This route is very pleasant with beautiful views of Cape Town’s beaches… this was a great hike, there is lots to look at on the way up Kasteelpoort and with a little fitness we were able to get up fairly easily. The up is of course up… there is no way round that, but the surroundings are lovely. Like most hikes it takes you up and across the mountain top to the Reservoirs, and then there is a last push up to Maclear’s Beacon.
This is one of my favourite childhood hikes, I did it often with my father and later with my dog… and it did not disappoint, it is wonderful. This hike is suitable for family’s whose kids are beyond the “carry me” stage and ready for a little adventure. Skeleton Gorge, just the name sounds formidable, but honestly if I can do it… and enjoy it, then anyone can. At the top of Skeleton Gorge, you will find the reservoirs which is always a good place for lunch, and then head either up Smut’s track to Maclear’s Beacon or we chose to go down Nursery Ravine.
Earlier this year I smashed my arm, but we had a hike scheduled and I was desperate to go… we just so happened to have a fabulous guide and he organised a drive up to the reservoirs… and from there instead of the more common hike up Smut’s Track to Maclear’s Beacon we took a more interesting route around Junction Peak and got to see the famous February Disas.
This was spectacular and well worth enduring the pain of a freshly broken arm.
Hike #6: Constantia Nek to the Reservoirs – The Easiest Route Up.
This was the hike we did this past year and for some reason I didn’t blog about it, I will have to remedy that but meanwhile, you can see all the photographs here. It is a really easy hike, not the most exciting and up being the word. You simply follow the Jeep Track all the way up the mountain… start early it is pleasant enough, and slow and steady gets you to the top… the weather turned cold really quickly when we got to the top so instead of pressing on to Maclear’s Beacon we explored some of the paths close to the Reservoirs before heading down again. If you are looking for a quick and easy way up to the reservoirs, then this is the way to go.
If you are just looking for an easy walk, and you have a free morning or afternoon and you want to declare that you have been hiking on the slopes of one of the Se7en Wonders of the World, then look no further than Newland’s Forest… heaps of paths, places to explore and just an around visit into the great outdoors without having to go too far.
If you are looking for an adventure, and need to get to the top of a mountain, in full view of Table Mountain, but maybe not as high as Table Mountain… then Lion’s Head is a great alternative. We have seen a lot of tourists lurch up there, totally unprepared – you do need to take a warm top, water to drink and emergency numbers. It is a proper mountain, a real hike, for adventurous spirits and geared for families who are ready for more than an amble.
Tags: Outings · Saturday Spot
September 13th, 2016 · 2 Comments
Well September is in full swing and there are signs of Spring everywhere you look, it is a wonderful thing to see new leaves and trees budding… not to mention longer days… summer is indeed on the way and we are all looking forward to it…
This week is SANparks free week for South Africans with an ID book… and this link has all the details for visiting our local parks, Cape Point and Silvermine.
Lovely Links from This Week
- Zen Habits on Procrastination… such a good read. I have such big ideas for a blog update… then I read this was so inspired and ahem, never got near my computer for about five days… I wasn’t even trying to take a break!!!
- Handmade Charlotte has the solution to Christmas in the middle of Summer… Gingerbread Ice-Cream Trucks.
- Spotted on Nuture Store, I think I’m in love with the Just So Festival… even though I live on the far side of the world!!!
- There is so much going on right now… and if you haven’t signed up for a Virtually Live event before then this Roald Dahl Day would be a good time to start!!!
- Imagine Childhood and Geography at Play… Lots of Magic over here!!!
- Coffee and Books: An Unexpected Homeschool Game Changer… I love this totally, from Simple Homeschool.
- Alisa Burke on how to Ice Dye… you want to take a look at this!!!
A Blast From the Past:
Pedia Sure Media Drop
We were part of the recent Pedia Sure media drop,
we were sent their products to try. I can see how this product would be great for children who are recovering from an illness, and waiting for their failing appetites to improve, or even as a temporary help to children who are picky eaters. The pamphlet that came with the product showed a number of meals that the milkshake replaced… it is packed with nutrition. My robust bunch enjoyed the milkshake flavour, it was a treat for them, but there was absolutely no convincing any of my kids that this replaced a nutritious meal.
Upcoming Event at the Sport Science Institute
That’s us… Hope you are all had a fabulous weekend!!!
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
September 12th, 2016 · 12 Comments
And so begins the season of September birthdays in our home, with a Happy Brilliant Birthday to the Father Person…
And I could write a post about what a fabulous dad he is… and how I couldn’t possibly raise this gang of wild and crazy kids without his help, or his sense of humour. But instead I thought I would provide a more useful post… packed with parenting tips from the father person himself. So I have been asking him for his personal parenting tips for the last couple of weeks. A man of few words, but if you add up the total number of years of his kids that’s 101 years of parenting experience… that has to count for something…
Se7en + 1 Parenting Tips from the Father Person
- The Vomit Test: If you want to buy a baby product, first vomit on it, if you can’t clean it off, then don’t buy it.
- You Only Have Two Hands: You can’t push a stroller and a shopping cart. Buy a sling and save on the stroller.
- The Glue Gun Test: They are going to break it, whatever it is, if you can’t fix it with a hot glue gun, then don’t buy it.
- On Toilet Training: Teach them how to dress themselves before you introduce toilet training, for obvious reason.
- On Chores: If they can drive an i-device, then they can work a washing machine, dishwasher and any number of other appliances.
- On Time Management: Stop teaching your children to count to three. And if you are leaving in five minutes you don’t have to announce it, just get up and go, they will follow you.
- On Babysitting: If I have to go out or work, then he parents his kids, he doesn’t babysit them. He might have a different parenting style to me, but that’s a good thing.
And the se7en + 1th tip
- On Height: Never underestimate them. Children are short not stupid.
There you are, short and precise… 101 years of parenting wisdom summed up in eight points!!!
Tags: Stuff About Us...