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

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Se7en + 1 Fun Ways to Get to Know the Periodic Table, and it’s a GiveAway…

April 15th, 2016 · 14 Comments

I cannot believe that it is possible to go through your entire education without at some stage meeting up with the elements on the Periodic Table. For some it might seem like a completely pointless exercise, but apart from the obvious reason that some sort of “element question” appears in every kind of quiz game… ever. It is actually incredibly useful to have this foundation well in place and understood long before you have to actually conquer chemistry. For most of us a grasp of the basics before we dive in is foundational to our long term success in a topic. So in our last few weeks of school for the year we are planning to conquer the Periodic table. I am all for little by little and day by day.

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When I was in grade 7 I remember staying in after school day after day because I refused to believe it was possible to learn such an enormous list of the names and symbols of so many elements. My science teacher said, “Of course you can learn a long list.” And she left it at that. Well after over a week of missing sports practice and potentially missing a match, not to mention almost dropped from the hockey team. I discovered that I was indeed quite able and in fact very motivated to learn that long list. Priorities. It was a battle of wills more than a battle of the brain… and the science teacher was winning all the way. I may not remember every detail about the periodic table, but I did learn that I can learn lists of facts and fast, and that has stood by me all my life. Lesson learnt, kudos to my science teacher.

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Skip forward a couple of years and it is time that our little school comes to terms with the Periodic Table. and I really want my gang to have a better experience at learning this than I did. We started, where all good projects begin, with a pile of post-it-notes.

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We colour coded them to match our table. I know some and then with some swift and elaborate folding we have begun to slowly learn a few facts…

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Se7en + 1 Fun Periodic Table Resources from Around the Web

  1. Funky Products: I absolutely love these Periodic Table Blocks on Imagine Childhood, and would you look at these Chemistry Crayons.
  2. The Elements by Theodore Gray: Apart from the brilliant book, this is a fantastic website and resource for all things elemental… Not to mention his Wooden Periodic Table, click on any element and it links you to all the little details. You will want to explore here, it is incredible.
  3. Printable Periodic Tables: This is the one we use and my kids all have a copy of it in the science journals… I believe that familiarity will help them learn it. But there are any number of printable Periodic tables and this link has every printable you could ever need or want.
  4. A Bit of a Scavenger Hunt: What better way to learn about the ins and outs of the Periodic than by filling one in yourself, step by step, this is a bit of a Periodic Table Scavenger Hunt, something to with your kids and by the time you have finished working through it they will have created their own Periodic Table.
  5. Lesson Plans: If you are a lesson plan type of homeschooler, then look look no further… this is the ultimate resource. The American Chemistry Society has Middle School Chemistry on the Periodic Table, with lots of printables, activity pages and links to fun goodies.
  6. And then there is You Tube:

    • For a Ten Minute Crash Course of the Periodic Table.
    • Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements” animated.
    • They Might Be Giants: And Meet the Elements.
    • How to Memorise the Periodic Table, the easiest way possible. This is a three part video… and teaches the first 20 elements. Thereafter you have to pay for the rest of the videos… honestly, 20 elements is a great place to start.
  7. And then Games: There is The Periodic Table Battleship…
  8. And the Se7en + 1th…

  9. Cartooning: A list of all the elements as cartoon characters… memorable…I think so!!!

The Periodic Table GiveAway

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So we have this really cool Periodic Table Poster from the MapStudio to help us learn… it has everything you could possibly need to learn from a Periodic Table, colour coded into groups and each element has it’s atomic number, atomic mass and symbol. It is up on the wall and a quick reference guide as we power our way through it. One person has already claimed it for next to their bed… What can I say, some kids lean towards fabulous funky facts.

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We have not one, but two of these fabulous Periodic Table Posters to Give Away… all wrapped up in a roll and ready to mail anywhere in the world. This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of play on Friday 22 April, 2016. 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.

Follow se7en_hoods’s board Se7en At School on Pinterest.

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!!!

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


→ 14 CommentsTags: GiveAways and Swaps · Science · Se7en at School

The CTmeetup: Where Local Bloggers Meet and Greet…

April 13th, 2016 · 8 Comments

This past weekend was another of Cape Town’s fantastic blogger meetups. A meetup is when a heap of bloggers get together for no other reason than to meet and greet, to connect and share. If you are looking for a Cape Town based blogger then look no further than the CTmeetup.

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The secret to fabulous blogging is that it is all about relationships, it is very hard to blog in isolation, getting together is a fabulous way to affirm your blogging relationships, to connect with folk, not to mention learn a heap about blogging.

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The great thing about going our with a bunch of bloggers is that you get to meet the folk that you live alongside online, the hard part is the person we are online, no matter how honestly we blog, is not quite the person we really are. It takes something of a leap of faith to step into a room with fifty odd folk that you do not know in real life. I can honestly say that every time I have stepped out and met fellow bloggers it has been entirely worth it. More than that I have forged invaluable friendships, enduring friendships and engaged with followers that I never knew I had.

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The thing is if bloggers knew how good getting together was for their blogs then there wouldn’t be enough coffee shops in the world…

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Turns out that Cindy Alfino of 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House, understands how important it is to connect and she organises these meet-ups on a grand scale, for Cape Town bloggers, every couple of months. At these meetups there is always heaps of time for mingling and meeting new faces, tons of great sponsors and fabulous speakers to teach us more about blogging.

Eat on Main

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One thing that is vital to a marvellous meetup is fabulous food… and Eat on Main sure did provide that, and plenty of it… friendly, helpful staff catering to every need… coping with difficulties as they arose and also providing a great atmosphere… who wouldn’t want to spend a sunny afternoon in Obs, with fab food and friends.

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Let’s Meet the Speakers

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Speaker #1: Sam from Tech Girl

Sam’s talk was entitled: “Know your Worth…” She had a conversation about the ins and outs of what PR folk are looking for, and more importantly what we as bloggers should be giving back. In the past PR work amounted to a massive mail drop and hoping that someone would use the information… that has all changed with the arrival of bloggers and “influencers” into the mix. Bloggers provide a unique portal into a PR’s market, with their niche audience and focused readership. The challenge for a PR person has become getting as much engaged exposure for their campaign without breaking the bank… enter the niche blogger, or social influencer into the mix and you could end up with a winning campaign.

When you are approached by a PR company your first concern should always be: “Is this something that my audience would care about?” It doesn’t matter how cool the media drop is, if it isn’t something that will resonate with your readers then to stay authentic, you will have to let it go. The point is, that if a company sends you an interesting media drop, even if they don’t ask for coverage, there is the unwritten expectation to give something back. If your audience is not interested in the show piece then rather say, “No thank you.” The thing is that brands want direct access to your audience, but if it something that your audience connects with then good and well, but never ever work with a brand or product you don’t like because your audience will see right through that campaign in an instant. Bottom line: If you wouldn’t personally spend money on a particular brand then don’t expect your readers to spend their cash on it either.

And here comes the worthiness of it all, the PR company will be getting paid for that campaign and as part of the campaign the blogger should be paid too… I heartily agree with that and have turned down many an “opportunity” to show case a product that didn’t quite resonate with us or one where the PR person claims they have a zero budget… ummm no. She was adamant that you should never work for nothing, figure out your worth… do you have an hourly rate, a campaign rate and so on.

And this is the part I enjoyed, if you agree to work with a company, then create great content for them… You don’t have to gush and say they are wonderful, you can’t in fact love every brand, but you can create good content. Intermingled in her talk were examples of her clever ability to take a product and create interesting and exciting content around it… this is a life-skill folks. Remember it is always, always about your audience and if they care about what you are writing about or not. Know your audience, and know your worth.

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Speaker #2: Ruan from (a site full of adult-only content), clearly knows his market and about all that is branding and blogging. His talk packed a punch and was entitled “What A Blogger Should Not Do.”

  1. Don’t work for free. If you want to make money from your blog then you can not work for free. With every campaign you should receive a cut of the budget. Your blog is your art and you shouldn’t give it away. The only way to start earning from blogging is to charge for your content.
  2. Don’t dilute your own influence by following folk just because they follow you. Brands are looking for engagement, they don’t care about the number of followers you have nearly as much as they care about your engagement with your followers. If folk don’t interact then they will never be back and you can safely drop them.
  3. Don’t only have one have one source of income, a blog should have many streams. You can’t be everywhere, so choose what works best for you.
  4. Don’t try and please everybody… you can’t be everything to everyone. Your core audience has to love your work… focus on them.
  5. Don’t suck up to brands, it won’t make jobs come to you, you still have to go out and find the work. I fail here… there are a couple of brands that I love, my readers know it, the brand knows it. It has certainly worked for me to be a superfan for certain brands.
  6. Don’t be afraid to invest in your blog, if you don’t want to pay money towards marketing yourself, then pay money towards your content creation.
  7. Don’t make promises you can’t keep… obviously.
  8. And a do:

  9. Do start an email list already… get yourself a newsletter and be consistent… show up whenever you promise to show up. And make it easy for folk to subscribe and even easier for them to unsubscribe. Oh dear I have yet to create a newsletter and can’t imagine why anyone would want to read one, not to mention as soon as I find myself on one I unsubscribe to it immediately… this is one blog tip I know I should do, and just can’t bring myself to do.

The Goody Bag

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A great part of a meetup for brands is that it is a golden opportunity, one place where they have an opportunity to connect with bloggers and splash them with a taste of their products… with a meet up for all sorts of bloggers, from beauty bloggers to travel bloggers the goody bags are always a treat and packed with an interesting collection of products. I had to see what was inside my goody bag and instantly packed it out onto the table I was sitting at. Lots of beauty products and for a gal that never dreams of wearing make-up I have to confess that I wasn’t about to give away the stunning Almay eyeliners or the Revlon mascara to my teen daughter. Heaps of deodorant, which is a good thing in a house full of boys… they were all thrilled to get something. Oh so Heavenly bubble bath is a a winner with my little guys – a bath is a real treat in our house, they mostly have a quick shower. I love that the Botanical Society always has something in the goody bags… their Veld and Flora magazine and mints are winners every time. Tons of beauty creams, eye creams, skin creams… well creams… I’m not a beauty blogger, but my mom-in-law was thrilled to know me. Otherwise, there were a lot of “new to me” products like the Boost and Dlux vitamins, and tons of rescue remedy products… Rescue Remedy is always a good idea and I am thrilled to have a nice stock of it in our medicine drawer. My favourite goody in the goody bag was the Buchulife First Aid Gel, an antiseptic pain relieving gel, made using the oil from the buchu plant. In a house with eight kids… this gel for bumps and scrapes is an absolute winner.

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Lucky Draw

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And it wouldn’t be a CTmeetup if there weren’t tremendous prizes… I confess I won a Spa Voucher to the One and Only… I know, I know everyone would love this. Last time I one a spa voucher I eventually gave it to a friend, I just couldn’t pluck up the courage to go. But since my spa outing with Rain last year, I am thinking I may be a little braver and get myself there. And of course, now that I have told our readers about it… I know I will have to go!!!

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And finally, possibly the coolest thing there… how cute is this little gadget from Brand Rocket… post a picture on instagram, make sure you use the event hashtag… your picks will show up on the screen and print away!!! I love it… Oh I think I need one of these for an entire day just to print all my fave photos off instagram… it is the coolest thing out. Not gushing at all, I just absolutely love it.

Previous Meetups

Huge thank you to Cindy Alfino, if you would like to attend a future #CTmeetup then dash over and sign up to her mailing list.

→ 8 CommentsTags: Blog Events · Home Truths

Se7en + 1 Green Games in the Great OutDoors at the Good HouseKeeping Family Fun Day…

April 11th, 2016 · 2 Comments

Last week I blogged about the Good HouseKeeping BrightFuture Family Fun Day. An outing like this is so far removed from our kids everyday life, because we mostly tend to avoid crowds and head for the hills and because we have a gang of kids and events like this can get really pricey really quickly, with the hidden costs involved in just wandering about.

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Turns out this event offered value for money, a minimal once off entrance fee and then everything inside was free. There was nothing for sale. There were face paints and activities and games and everything was covered in the price of the ticket, or sponsored (I guess).

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What I wasn’t expecting was a lovely green theme, which takes any event for my green loving kids from good to absolutely fantastic…

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In fact, if one posted a pic tagged #sendaseed they promised to plant a tree. Hopefully a forest will be planted because of Sunday. We like anything awesome to do with planting trees. So we posted a pic!!!

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Typical Fun at the Fair

The day was sweltering, and the crowds daunting… except as we arrived the early risers were leaving, turned out to be perfect timing.

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Local musicians and folk sitting in every available shady spot…

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And overhead sprinklers for the win!!!

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There wild rumpus dancing competition, in which my kids were determined to be winners and scored about a week’s worth of breakfast cereal!!!

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Food Trucks

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The only thing we did have to pay for was food, but arriving a little later meant that the food trucks had run out of food. That could have been a galactic fail. There was plenty of icy cold water. There were sponsors walking around with yummy yogurt. But lunchtime… on a hot hot day and nothing to eat. Of course there was that supply of cereal. But for the win, the organisers called out for free pizza for the kids… none of my gang were complaining, and that really saved the day. Food trucks became food bikes.

Green Games in the Great OutDoors…

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And here is the reason for the post: Good clean fun in the great outdoors and lots of it. There was a field of games that my kids loved. Easy games to create at home, made from mostly recycled goodies. My guys rushed home, inspired to create a few garden games of their own.

  1. Tic-Tac-Toe:
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  3. Play Catch:
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  5. Bowling:
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  7. Bubbles:
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  9. Twister:
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  11. Ball Toss:
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  13. Ring Toss:
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    And Finally Face Paints

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    There are a couple of short people I know, that love face paints with all their hearts…

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    They had no problem waiting in the long long long queue…

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    And that was it… a great day out… will be looking out for this event next year.

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    This is not a sponsored post. We were provided with tickets for the event, but we were not asked to blog about it. I thought our readers would enjoy a peak at a fun day out, and the opinions expressed are entirely our own, as usual.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Outings · Saturday Spot

Happy Brilliant Birthday to Hood #3…

April 11th, 2016 · 13 Comments

A busy weekend, a good weekend… and a birthday in the house… I blinked and my oldest gal is a fabulous fifteen…

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Happy Brilliant Birthday…

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To the girl… behind the camera…

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Who loves the ocean…

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No matter how big the waves are…

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And learning about the world we live in…

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To the girl who likes to try new things…

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And is not afraid of getting her hands dirty…

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To the girl who reads books anywhere and everywhere…

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And the girl who is always ready for an adventure…

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May your year ahead be full of exciting adventures and many new mountains to climb…

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And A Blast From the Past

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There was a Fabulous Fourteen…

And a Thrilling Thirteen…

A Talented Twelve…

An Exciting Eleven…

And a Totally Ten…

A Nice Nine…

And an Endless Eight…

→ 13 CommentsTags: Home Truths · Our Events

Another Week, Another Beach Clean-Up at Cape Point…

April 9th, 2016 · 7 Comments

A couple of weeks back I took a group of kids for a walk in a pristine part of our favourite hiking spot… Cape Point, in Table Mountain National Park.

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It was one of those perfectly beautiful days, in a protected area, which means that it really isn’t frequented by a lot of visitors and it was glorious. Never have we seen the Atlantic ocean quite so calm… it was a truly memorable day. There was one problem… when folk say that the amount of garbage in our oceans is detrimental to life on our planet they aren’t kidding… there was too much garbage for us to carry off the beach.

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So we decided to return later in the week and do a beach clean-up. With my friendly beach clean up warriors we ventured down to the beach again…

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Watching the WildLife

Since we were in the nature reserve we did do a spot of exploring and wild life watching at first, as one does…

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And this is our year to learn about birds…

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So let’s start there…

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Also its been a year since the massive fires… and it is interesting to see how that area is re-greening…

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And all the fresh fynbos is an invitation for the local wildlife to have a feast…

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And let’s not for get our friends the bontebok…

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Through fields of restios…

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On to the Beach

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It’s quite a hike into the area where we were going to clean up…

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Someone was watching us all the way…

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And the treasures made this so worthwhile…

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From the dunes to the sea there was plenty to pick up, some things we couldn’t even carry…

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Finally we got to the wreck…

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And began cleaning up…

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And then we carried our curious collection out… most of the stuff on these isolated beaches are things discarded by passing ships… not as much icky rubbish as on populated beaches… tons of plastic bottles, jerry cans and masses of bottle caps… and then a laundry basket (that’s a first for us) and always a toothbrush or two and of course, an odd shoe.

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Leave only Footprints

It was pretty cool to walk into a protected area, and where they always say leave only footprints, take only photographs, well we took a load of junk too.

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Top Tip…

Beach Clean ups are fun, wholesome work… and there is always something to pick up on any beach. We highly recommend that you always take a bag for collecting your garbage… so that you won’t have to hike your hike twice… unless of course you need an excuse to return!!!

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That’s us… Have a fabulous fun weekend!!!

→ 7 CommentsTags: Outings · Saturday Spot

The Week That Was #215

April 7th, 2016 · 10 Comments

It’s been a while since A Week That Was Post. After a break from blogging it seems like a good way to get back into things. Can I just say that a break from blogging is a fabulous thing, no wonder how much you love blogging. Just getting to bed early and reading a book… watching a movie on the couch with the kids and not even giving a thought to the next post is kind of a luxury!!!

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The Weather Tree…

The season is really changing, clear blue skies are not quite as clear as they were…

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But sunrises and sunsets are unbeatable…

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Worth stopping to catch them…

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The Easter weekend was basically hot cross buns, coffee and piles of books, pretty much a family readathon as we read our way through all our review books.

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And we are hanging on to our endless summer for all our might… tell us that summer is going to last at least a little longer…

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It has been eight very long weeks from cast to cast to brace… highly recommend that you don’t break your arm as a grown-up. My goodness it has been a schlepp…

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I can honestly say that I have done no laundry and washed no dishes and not even swept a floor for the duration… and my gang seem to have survived the extra burden of chores in high spirits…

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Otherwise we have played…

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Gone on evening ambles in the city…

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And we are settling in for game season… every board game is getting maximum use right now…

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I am rewarding the person who gets their school done first a quick game of whatever they like… Bananagrams is possibly the most loved game over here… like ever!!!

Artwork of the Week

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We are in the home straight of our school year and we have managed an art project every week… that’s a bit of a win… it has taken years and years of homeschooling to find our groove and get the school work that we like the most, done.

Book of the Week

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Otherwise these three are flying into bed every night as we race through the How to Train Your Dragon Series… I started reading it with just Hood #8, but the others quickly joined us and we are intrigued. The first few chapters were a little darker than I anticipated, and I thought they might be a little scared to go creeping around in a cave… but no, no fear at all!!! And once the hero, Hiccup, has his naughty little toothless dragon in his arms there was no looking back. We are hooked.

This is our family read right now… five books in one, almost 800 pages of my favourite childhood books. Every time I read it I think, “Oh my, these books are so brilliant.” Definitely written in an era before kids reads were routinely dumbed down. The chapters are an average 25 pages long, and lovely rich vocabulary. We are half way through Book 2, and it is epic… so glad we still have three books in the sequence to go, because much as everyone wants to know what happens, nobody is ready for the story to end anytime soon.

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!!!

→ 10 CommentsTags: The Week that Was

Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun #311

April 5th, 2016 · No Comments

So we took a week off, we did a little hiking, a little baking, a little reading and a lot of resting… and we are back!!!

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Lovely Links from This Week

  1. Can you imagine: Craft Your Way Around the World on Mollie Makes.
  2. I’ve never thought about it before, but I sure do love it: Seasonal Reading on 5minutes for Mom.
  3. Fun times with Faber Castell… Jazz Up Your Planners Using Stamper’s Big Brush Pens…
  4. Have you heard about Write_On… I love the idea of this challenge: 30 letters in 30 days, during the month of April.
  5. More about books, do you have a book autobiography? And what about a Touchstone Book.
  6. Seth always has something to think about: All the Events You Weren’t There to Control.
  7. Oh and a little bit of pencil love on Chronicle Books.
  8. And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past:


International Book Giving Day

We really need to fill up these shelves for Book Giving Day Project. We have shelves to fill with books and we are looking for your help!!!

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We are thrilled that books are starting to arrive…

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And we had a fantastic donation of books and posters and all sorts of goodies from PanMacmillan South Africa!!!

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

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→ No CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun