Friday, April 15, 2011

News: SA Lifesaving Championships in Strand 2011

What an amazing 3 days of SA lifesaving championships. This was a first for us but I can see how this really is something to look forward to every year. I am amazed at how many children arrive from all over South Africa to participate. Obviously they are only represented by coastal places so we had places like East London, Durban, Plettenberg Bay, False Bay and more. There were 22 teams represented.
Apparently for the last 2 years Fish Hoek has come second, well this year we changed all of that and came first place beating Durban by 30 something points. Though our team members do not always get individual trophies, the team participates in every event and that earns us points and that's how we win - by team work.

It was also so good to get to know some of the parents, as often at practices you don't really get a chance to chat but with this event you are together for a solid 3 days and you get to shout, cry and laugh together. Every evening we had a meal in a conference facility and the children were given feedback about the team and booby prizes were handed out for silly things that happened during the day. It was so festive and lively and though by evening everyone was exhausted it was so much fun to be part of all of the hype.

My children have always participated in various sports - they love it and they are good at it - but this is really the tops for them,and for us.
To go to the photo album just click on Chad and he'll take you there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: I am Hutterite by Mary - Ann Kirkby

I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage
This biography is the story of a young girl who lives within a Hutterite colony where she has a real sense of community and relationship.  However all of this changes when her parents decide that it’s in their families’ best interests to leave.  She and her family face both rejection and challenges from both the colony and her new “world” but through determination, friendship and some quick thinking she overcomes and establishes her own identity.
I am a reluctant biography reader (too many prescribed books at university and school) but this one was remarkably different.  I was captivated by life on the Hutterite colony – the sense of community, simplicity and deep friendship and family bonds.  In fact it appealed to a latent longing in my soul to revert back to a lifestyle where we are governed less by technology and lives that are so busy that we forget about those around us.

At times I was reminded of my own childhood struggles of rejection and the pecking order at schools I have attended.  Her easy to read writing style, reminded me of a diary and I found that I was quickly lost in her beautiful descriptions of the colony and relationships fraught with misunderstandings and differences.  What amazed me the most was that though she had every reason to despise her colony and the people there, she returns time and time again to visit her friends and family.  She even goes as far as to thank those at the colony who helped her remember some of her experiences and stories .  I think that this is what makes this biography so unique, there seems to be no hint of bitterness at those that have wronged her family but rather a gracious acceptance of their differences.
 I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

News: The Grant Boys Western Province Champs

As you remember I mentioned the boys participated in the Nippers (which falls under the Fish Hoek Life Saving Club) Western Province Champs and did really well.  They have really taken to this sport and have achieved good results in almost all the competitions.  The team got some press coverage for the event!  

In fact this weekend is the SA Champs and they have been selected for every event individually and for teams.  I am so proud of them and Chad (who is still in the younger age group called Starfish ) has been chosen to be the team mascot - no surprises there.  He may be 7 already but he is still so handsome (dare I say cute?!!) He apparently has to walk out in front of the team when they do their march on with flags.  They had their last practice tonight and of course the coaches wanted to have one more team talk before the event. 
 They train really hard and at the moment they have been practising 5 days a week, mostly evenings which in this part of the world means wet suits and freezing water, though they normally get hot chocolate after practises.  During the competition they participate in sprints, flags (run for flags, one less flag than participants, elimination each round until 1 winner and this could mean up to 10 heats one after the other), body boarding, malibu's, long distance running, surf swim, run-swim-run, tapeline relays(run, swim, body board and malibu), sprint relays, malibu relays and body board relays.  As you can see lots of events! And they participate in every single one over 3 days! And to qualify they have to also do an oral exam and time trials for swimming just to be included in the competing team.  This is definitely not a sport for the faint hearted. 

And the best part of all of this is that we know that God has given them these exceptional talents and we pray that they will continue to give Him all the honour in everything they do.  We have seen Him grow them through some of the things they have experienced - swimming amongst jelly fish and being stung and still needing to carry on racing, being disqualified for false starts, losing in races, winning,  injuries because of unwise behaviour, learning to be a team player, persevering when weather conditions are really unpleasant, being dumped and hit by boards, and so many more.  They have earned the respect of their peers and coaches - and their mom:) We often underestimate our children and their abilities, but give them the right opportunities and they can and will amaze you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Out and About: Navy Birthday Bash Simon's Town

Spent the day at the Navy Dockyard in Simon's Town for their annual 3 day Birthday bash - only took us about 30 minutes to find parking and then when we did I wish we had seen the spot first.  Though a little off the beaten track, it was quiet and there was direct access to the event.  With all the children in tow we arrived to find the dock a hive of activity.  We spent the afternoon climbing on warships, watching divers in tanks and watching them pour water in the dry dock.  Definitely a good excursion for the family but especially for the boys, they loved all the missiles, guns (I am sure there was some technical word for this but it evades me at the moment) and all the men in their uniforms telling them about war!

The roar of the water was amazing, I've never seen a dry dock being filled before.
 Notice the mouths hanging open in amazement.

This is the warship we boarded and were given a guided tour that must have lasted about an hour.  

The boys were totally enthralled with the divers.  It was so funny to watch them looking at each other:) I am not sure who was more facinated though?

Waiting ... waiting ... waiting...

And then some more waiting....

 Of course our little princess in shades was so NOT impressed with all the metal and machinery but she pivoted and pranced in her glasses, smiling at strangers and enjoying all the attention she was getting.

Daddy's little girl!

There were the most amazing air force antics that had me craning my neck in all sorts of odd angles - lovely!
  I could have stayed there the whole day! We will definitely diarise this event next year!  There was so much happening it was difficult to choose!

And as usual there was a little time for mom and dad to walk around holding hands and acting like teenagers!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Diet Diaries: Look Great, Feel Great – The Challenge

Before we start may I emphasize that I truly hate the term “diet”, as every hair on my body stands on end, my body starts going into panic mode (which includes irrational cravings for chocolate, chips, biscuits, pasta and anything I would not normally eat on an average day) and I can already feel headaches and feelings of exhaustion wash over me. As I read over this paragraph it makes me wonder whether I am in serious need of some counseling.
Look Great, Feel Great: 12 Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life NowThis new adventure (optimistically speaking) is partially the beginnings of a review on a book written by Joyce Meyer namely; Look Great Feel Great and my desire to lose some extra weight that I have managed to store up in all those God given places only found on a woman – her hips and thighs.  UGGHHH! Not that I have anyone else to blame but myself and the fact that I really love food and when I really love food – well I eat it.  After all isn’t that we are supposed to do?  Eat it?  Or have I missed the point?  Based on my hefty weight addition recently I definitely think I have lost the plot and so in light of this, I thought this would be a good enough time as any to weigh up the merits of this very enthusiastically titled book.  The reason I have decided to share my highs and lows – and I know that things can get really really really low (imagine my voice deepening tragically at each word) – is that I know that there are many of you out there who have the same struggles and maybe successes too, who can understand all too well the yoyo dieter’s lifestyle.  However having started this book already I can see that this is not a diet but a shift in focus and lifestyle change.  Weight loss and a healthier lifestyle that’s not difficult to attain and habits that can actually last a life time.
Weight is not the only issue, there are so many lifestyle choices that I am currently making that are just not healthy or good for my body – including copious amounts of coffee, water intake minimum, exercise …… let’s just say I think about it often, not getting enough sleep, putting myself at the end of the needs list, and just about every other misdemeanor I could inflict on my body.  And so this adventure is not about weight, it’s about looking after me.  For mom’s this is probably one of the hardest things to say to yourself – “I am going to look after me!”  Not selfishly at the cost of all else but the way I should, the way I need to – because when I do it will make the world of difference now and in 40 years time.  So here goes… the adventure begins!  Watch this space next week to find out more.
Look Great, Feel Great: 12 Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life Now 

Gold Nugget Links #1

As usual I found some good links this week.  I struggled to keep the list short as I spend hours researching so many things but here's the list.  Enjoy!
Gardening: Recycling and Container Gardening
Thanks to Se7en I found this one at
Re-nest abundant designs for green homes  about gardening combined with recycling. I love the old guitar and the gutters filled with veges. We have a very small garden and substantial cement veranda, but with this we could add more garden with hardly any extra space and of course the added benefit of homegrown, organic veggies! Who could say no?  We bought the compost and soil today and will let you know how we go but we'll keep that for another day.

I am also simply loving  Their article 66 Things You Can Grown at Home:  In Containers, Without a Garden  in fact once I got there, I spent close to an hour reading all the different links and more. So many projects I would love to do. 
Blogs : Decorating your blog
I am no web fundi but I love playing around with web stuff and I spend endless hours just researching and reading things on the web. I found this lovely site The Cutest Blog on the Block  which allows you to revamp your blog (dare I say for free!) and it means you can update your site frequently if you want to match the season. Mine might be a little early but decided to prepare my blog for the Easter season using her templates.And if you feel that their selection is limited, why not try Shabby Blogs.
Homeschooling:  Free Downloads Every Day
This one is for homeschooling moms The title of this one says it all. If you give them your email address they will send you an email every Sunday to tell you what down loadable resources will be available for free for download. The trick though is that it is only available for one day. If you try and download the next day – it don’t work! I have already downloaded some great books and worksheets. Occasionally they even include some audio books or short stories which the children love.

Reaching Out:  iKhaya LikaBaba - The Father's House
As many of you know, Sean and I are passionate about helping orphans.  In fact we are currently working on a site to to do just that.  However some of you may or may not know that we started up a babies' home in Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal about 3 years ago.  Though we handed it over to a new coordinator and a wonderful management committee, we still support the work done there.  We have seen amazing things happen there and children been saved and adopted.  If you are looking to support a charity, why not support them?  They are a registered non profit organisation,  a public beneficiary organisation (which means for those in the know - that there are tax benefits for supporting them) and orphanage.  Find out more about who there are here.  They do also have a facebook group and a blog with all their latest updates.

 If you would like to submit a link, write it in the comment box and I will pick it up (an of course if you would like to add a giveaway or discount, it always helps:).  Bearing in mind the content of this blog and its readers, I will only link to those sites that I consider to be appropriate.

Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches