Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Murder Mystery Evening at the Cape Town Science Centre - Wednesday 31 October 2012

For those of you looking for an alternative for Halloween, it looks like there is a mystery to be solved at the Cape Science Centre with a science twist - guaranteed to be both fun and educational.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Photo Journal: My backyard garden - the Table Mountain National Park

Recently we went on a homeschooling excursion up the mountains behind our house and we came across the most glorious plants.  I can't tell you what they are called. There were so many others to see but these are the ones that really caught my eye.

And for those of you that are wondering, we live in Kalk Bay in the Western Cape (according to South Africans) or in Cape Town (as the rest of the world views it).  We live between the Table Mountain National Park and the ocean - which often entertains us with dolphin pods, fishing boats and southern right whales breaching.  A beautiful part of the world.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Did you get your brandbucket?

A knock on the door, a bucket full of goodies delivered to my door. And what a wonderful treat this was.  Full of Revlon products - I love Revlon. Most of my makeup and perfume has always been Revlon.  And I love their deodorant range.  In fact I had used some of the ladies deodorant's before the men's 24/7 was a pleasant surprise.  I could just hold onto my man all day and smell his neck (not his armpit) all day.  It's delicious - it's intoxicating - I see my husband through the haze of sexy smell appeal.  Yes I know, too much info but seriously ladies - I love it when my husband smells so good.

And where did this surprise bucket come from?

Now just to clarify, they did not ask me to write this post, but I thought that some of you, that like to get lovely goodies in the post for free - all in exchange for a brief review which you do online on their website (you don't need a blog), might want to sign up quickly.  They are only accepting a limited number of applications so you don't want to miss out!  (this is limited to South Africa for the moment)
Now that I have done my bit and let all you know about this great freebie, I'm off to find my husband with that 24/7 ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: The Sewing Machine starring Sandra Prinsloo at the Baxter Theatre

Going to theatre at the Baxter is always an amazing experience.  There is a vibrancy, life and creativity about theatre.  I so enjoy arriving early, sitting and having a glass of wine and watching the colourful theatre lovers arriving to a night out.

Tonight's treat was in the Golden Arrow Theatre.  It's much smaller than the main theatre and I know that when we are in this smaller breakaway theatre that we are in for a treat because what we are presented with something intimate and dramatic.

We were not disappointed.  The Sewing Machine, performed by Sandra Prinsloo had me laughing, frowning,  crying, smiling and even feeling guilty - an array of emotions.  Sandra Prinsloo portrays an old lady in her 80's who is waiting for someone to come and fetch her sewing machine.  And while she waits she talks to us, the audience, about her life - about moments of joy, anger, tragedy and loneliness. She's hauntingly familiar as anyone's grandmother found in the numerous old age homes found in South Africa.  Special individuals who lived in South Africa during the apartheid era, and now living in a "new" South Africa.  She's endured and experienced so much and many of these experiences are familiar to us as moms - the joy of a new baby, the struggles of dealing with conflict with a child, having to confront the fact that her son has chosen an alternative lifestyle, marital conflict with her conservative husband Tielman, losing a child to a crippling disease, aging and the loneliness that comes with it.  I might have small children but I was drawn into examining my own relationship with my mother, grandmother and even my own children.

Her sewing machine - a Bernina, known as Miss Muffet - is carefully and lovingly cleaned and prepared for it's collection, as we are invited into her life.  And it feels so real, I sat there at times wondering whether she was talking to me.  What a masterful actress! At times it felt surreal, with clever use of recorded voices over the sounds system as we listened to excerpts from her memory.  It felt like we were there with her, remembering. The stage seemed so familiar - like any room in an retirement home - with an old dresser, her Bernina, an old radio.  Even the way the way she dresses is so common amongst our South African aged, the thick stockings, the practical plain shoes, even the skirt-jacket suit - all speaks of an age gone by.

The play won the Nagtegaal Playwright’s Competition award when it first opened in March 2009 and its success was immediate, overwhelming and undisputed. Further accolades include two Fleur du Cap awards - one for Best Performance by an Actress (Prinsloo) and one for Best New South African Script. Since its inception four years ago Die Naaimasjien has traveled throughout the country and has been performed more than 250 times.

It was a masterful performance and a show I would highly recommend.!  I would take a couple of tissues though:)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hurry up, I haven't got time for you!

The clock is ticking and my diary is full of appointments, cancellations, shopping lists and school activities.  I want to spend time with friends but there is supper to be made, ironing that has been waiting for a month because as usual I am procrastinating, a dust ball floating down the corridor reminding me that I still haven't done a clean sweep in 3 days and 2 laundry baskets brimming with washing that needs to be done.  And I have realised that unless I put certain things in place, this will be the status quo for the next week and the week that follows ... and before you know it, it's another month... and then it's Christmas.... and then it's October again and I am turning 41!..(OK that is a slight exaggeration considering I just turned 40 a few days ago - but you get what I am saying)
I have tried to put some things in place to ensure that I get 
* maximum friendship time
* that my house is still being managed and looked after
* that my children don't feel neglected
* that my husband doesn't feel like I am never there, that supper is never cooked or that the house is a shambles

This is quite a list to maintain just to spend time with friends but it can be done! At least most of the time.  This is how I manage (and just a quick disclaimer - on any given day this might not be happening, and the day I write this someone will arrive at my house and find chaos - but I try to do this MOST of the time)

1.  Cook lots of meals
I cook more meals than we eat during the week so that on the days that I am out and about with my friends, dinner is sorted.  I normally do 2 easy meals on the same night, one for later and one for dinner.  For example a simple leek and potato soup which, once the vegetables are peeled and prepared, can simmer on the back plate while I prepare dinner.  And at the same time, I am soaking peas for a stew that I will make tomorrow.  My children love cooking and so I normally give them the responsibility of preparing one of the meals which also takes the pressure off me.

2.  Plan and diarise
If I am not intentional it doesn't happen. Send an email, book a day.  If I say to someone "let's get together sometime" it NEVER happens.  My friends reading this will most likely be nodding their heads at this point.

3.  Keep it simple pimple (couldn't resist, we used to say this when we were kids)
I have a friend who brings her knitting, sewing, mending to my house because she knows that I never sit still and in fact while she is visiting I am baking and cooking.  We are comfortable together.  She knows that I need to do things but love her company.  If I tried to make sure that I never had anything to do so that she could visit, we never would.

4.  Get the kids involved
My children love play dates, and this can be a very motivating factor to get things done quickly - whether it be schoolwork, cleaning up or preparing snacks.  Use the word "friends" or "play date" and you will have your house fixed and ready in no time.

5.  Make sure you are not away from home all the time
Men don't like their wives MIA (missing in action) all the time or everyday. I always check with Sean if it's OK and also try not to be out so much that he feels like I am never at home.

6.  Try unconventional times
I try to visit with my friends in the afternoon but sometimes because of all the activities we are involved with it can get very busy.  Then it's time to do an evening - a group of friends having coffee and cake is fantastic, theatre or a movie.  Or we do a family affair.  A get together around a fire, coffee or the beach on the weekends.

7.  Housework happens all the time
Housework cannot be an event, it has to happen all the time.  When I consistently do housework all day a little at a time, I am on top of things but the moment I make it an event then that's when the paw paw hits the fan - piles of washing, ironing, dishes for three meals etc.  Even in our homeschooling day, when we take breaks we are folding washing, washing a set of dishes, sweeping or putting a load in - before we have our tea, snack or lunch.  If I manage my housework like this, I have lots of time to visit with my friends and they can stop by without walking into a hurricane.  Of course I do have days like that when there are projects all over the tables, we have been baking and have not cleaned yet or there is washing being hung inside because it's raining - but that's life.

8.  Don't waste time on friendships that aren't going anywhere
I love meeting new people, I love building new friendships but sometimes we can labour in a friendship just because it seems like the right thing to do - or there is an expectation because children are friends.  Then you spend precious time with someone who just is not meant to be a friend.  Make peace with it. Don't close the door  but realise that we are not called to be friends with everyone, not even everyone we like.  Friendships are special and if you spread yourself to thin then you are not available for the people you really care about.

9.  Exercise together
Sadly this has not happened for me for a while but one of my best friends and I used to run and walk together every morning before anyone in the house was up.  I loved it.  We talked and talked and huffed and puffed and it was brilliant.  I have yet to pick this one up again but there is not a day that goes by when I don't see women walking together when I don't miss those times.  The added bonus is that you get a whole bunch of talking done, AND exercise.

10.  Be honest
I you only have an hour, say so and make the most of it.  Most friends will love to see you even if just for a short while.  If you know you only have a short time with someone, you cut right through the fluff and chat about the real issues or heart issues, never mind coffee and cake.

Friendships are very special and very needed in our lives, but it takes planning, thought and a bit of creativity but it can be done!  I would love to hear about how you manage your friendships and how you prioritise them so that you get time to build with those that you care the most about.

Press Release: A double treat at the Baxter with Sandra Prinsloo and Pedro Kruger

A double treat with two Edinburgh hit shows, The Sewing Machine starring Sandra Prinsloo and Normality with Pedro Kruger at the Baxter.

Cape Town audiences are in for a double treat when two Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit shows, The Sewing Machine, starring Sandra Prinsloo and Normality with Pedro Kruger, will be staged in South Africa for the first time, at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 16 October to 31 October and 10 November respectively.

Presented by Hennie van Greunen of Wordsmith’s Theatre Factory, one of the most successful Afrikaans theatre companies in South Africa, the two productions will run in repertoire with performances on alternate nights. There are nine performances of Normality which closes on 31 October the same for The Sewing Machine, which ends on 10 November. Both productions start at 7pm nightly with selected matinees at 3pm.

Fresh from its recent success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s South African season, the English version of Rachelle Greef’s mega hit play, Die Naaimasjien (originally written in Afrikaans and winner of four major theatre awards), comes home to have its national debut in English. Translated and directed by Hennie van Greunen it received rave reviews, (with five-star nods) and played to sold-out
audiences at the prestigious festival in Scotland in August.

The darling of South African theatre Sandra Prinsloo has breathed exquisite life into the beautiful character which has captured the hearts of audiences all over South Africa in this powerful drama which combines strong writing, pitch perfect delivery and an intense physicality.

The play won the Nagtegaal Playwright’s Competition award when it first opened in March 2009 and its success was immediate, overwhelming and undisputed. Further accolades include two Fleur du Cap awards - one for Best Performance by an Actress (Prinsloo) and one for Best New South African Script. Since its inception four years ago Die Naaimasjien has traveled throughout the country and has been performed more than 250 times.

In Edinburgh one reviewer described it perfectly by saying: ‘This is a very powerful piece of drama that seems to have made the transition to another language and another culture whilst losing none of its original power. See it, whatever your age.” The Telegraph referred to it as a “delicate, understated one-woman show” and “supremely touching” while The Stage simply described it as an “entrancing

Susan Mansfield from The Scotsman said, “cleverly and compassionately brought to life by leading South African actress Sandra Prinsloo and Hennie van Greunen, the director behind the wonderful Normality, here on the Fringe in 2009.”

Normality is Hennie van Greunen’s inspiring one-hander which stars the acclaimed entertainer and actor Pedro Kruger, directed by Shirley Ellis. In 2000 van Greunen wrote the musical theatre show Lyf which made its debut at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK). Almost a decade later, after many accolades and more than 400 performances, he translated the play into English. Normality was taken to the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received five 5-star reviews as well as the fringereview.com Hidden Gem award.

The play enjoyed equal success in the corporate sector when South African companies immediately saw the potential in the show’s message which was perfectly suited for their disability awareness and education campaigns.

Normality is a simple love story between Alex, whose body has been ravaged by Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lisa, a reporter who refuses to fall for Alex’s scathing, self-deprecating humour and looks past the skewed body to see the man hiding there. The story is hysterically funny in parts and devastatingly sad in others.

The Stage summed it up best saying, “This brilliantly realised multi-layered production plays deftly with our perception of normality while managing to be rippingly entertaining at the same time.” Fringereview.com praised it by saying, “It's an outstanding work, and well worth five stars” and Fringeguru.com said “Expect to be challenged - expect to be uplifted - expect to be changed. But whatever you do, find time to see Normality.” The British Theatre Guide agreed, “Wickedly funny, raw and entirely real, this beautifully performed and brilliantly realised monologue is a remarkable piece of theatre.”

The inspiration for the show has its origin in three seemingly unconnected spheres. “It’s a fusion of three important things and events in my life,” explains van Greunen. “In 1985 Whoopi Goldberg’s groundbreaking Broadway show redefined the one-person show genre and I was hooked. Then there’s the fact that my older sister contracted Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was three years old and finally the multiple talents of Pedro Kruger. This perfect storm of inspiration and talent led to the development of Lyf and now Normality.” Straight after it run at the Baxter Normality will transfer to New York (42nd Street, Broadway) to participate in the United Solo Festival, a festival of one-person theatre.

Booking for The Sewing Machine and Normality is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.co.za or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. Both shows are at 7pm nightly. Normality will be performed on 17, 19, 20, 26, 27, 30 and 31 October and at 3pm on 21 and 28 October and The Sewing Machine on 23, 24 October and 2, 3, 6, 8, 9 and 10 November and at 3pm on 4 November. Ticket prices are R95 and R160 for both productions.

For discounted corporate, block or schools bookings contact Sharon on 021 680 3962, email sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen on 021 680 3993 or email carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Eating an elephant?

I have a vision, a dream, a goal, a must do, a list.  They all require me to do something,,  Whether it's learning Mandarin so we can move to China, losing the excess kilograms after enjoying the wine and food in the Cape, homeschooling my children so that they are prepared for the life they are called to live - but all of these things need me to do something .....anything.

I don't have a dream of eating elephants even though we live in Africa.  In fact in Cape Town the closest thing to an elephant is when I catch site of my rear end while trying on a new pair of jeans.   But there is a joke my children love to tell me.

Q:  "How do you eat an elephant"
A:   "One mouthful at a time"

The truth of the matter is that some of the items on that list seem huge.  Almost impossible.  When I hear that I need to learn 5000 Chinese characters to be fairly comfortable with Mandarin and I have only learnt about 100, that task seems daunting! When I think about losing 10kg's I want to run in the opposite direction to the local ice cream shop to buy a Bulgarian chocolate delight while I mourn the path ahead.  When I think about homeschooling for the next 14 or more years (based on the youngest in the family) - I want to get applications forms for the school round the corner.

But there is a secret to all of this.   
One mouthful at a time.

And eventually the thing that seemed too big, too challenging, too hard, too anything.... is achieved.
So tonight that means that once I am finished blogging, I will be studying Mandarin for about 30 minutes.  Tomorrow I will start my day with the right breakfast and enjoy a day of learning with my children without thinking about next week or next year.

The result - I am that closer to reaching my goal.

What are you hoping to achieve?  What big project have you wanted to tackle but it's just seemed to much for you to handle?  Look at it with new eyes and ask yourself, what small thing can you do today?


It's my 40th birthday today, but I wanted to just thank all of you who follow this blog for your support and the gift you are to me!  I love being in this space, connecting with all of you and so I pray for God's richest blessings on all of you today and that you will walk into your destiny and purpose that God has planned for you.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Interview with Kevin Baker Local South African Barista

So I told you about the coffee, that delicious aromatic flavoured, freshly roasted Arabica coffee - just thinking of it makes me think that maybe I need another cup just to keep me going. Well now I would like to introduce you to the man behind the coffee Kevin Baker.

Before I dive into the questions, he's not a barrister but a barista, as Kevin keeps telling me. Yes there is a difference. I know you thought they were the same - or is it just me? So here's a teachable moment for those of you that don't know:
a person who is specially trained in the making and serving of coffee drinks, as in a coffee bar.
(in England) a lawyer who is a member of one of the Inns of Court and who has the privilege of pleading in
the higher courts or any lawyer
[Source: dictionary.com]

I jumped right in and interviewed a locally brewed South African barista - and I had so many questions. Now I know a lot of you think that I am such a serious coffee drinker because of how much I love it (and how many litres I drink a day - think it's two because they say you should drink about 2 litres of water a day and I just add coffee for extra flavour) but I don't think I am the most discerning or knowledgeable for that matter. And so I was able to reveal all my ignorance on these caffeinated matters and have the expert keep me informed. Here are some of the questions I have always wanted to ask about coffee. You might have a completely different set of questions then leave a comment at the end I will ask them in the next session - but for the moment we'll just stick to mine.

Q: I am a new coffee drinker and I go to the shops and there are so many different flavours, how do you choose a good coffee? How do you know where to start?
A: I think you have to know what you want. Do you want strong coffee or mild coffee, decaf, regular, or flavoured coffee. A lot of people don't even know that you can get flavoured coffee. I think you need to know some things to make the choice. For example: There is a coffee called 'Blue Mountain' - this is a very rare and expensive coffee that only comes from a certain area in Jamaica, it's some of the most sought after coffee in the world, and most of it is sold to Japan. You can just about not get it in South Africa and if you do, its very expensive. So when you see a package in the shop that says Blue Mountain coffee, and its the same price as the Mocha Java, or 'House Blend', you can be pretty sure it's not true Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. If you look at the small print on the package you will see something like 'Blue Mountain style' coffee. I've personally never tasted any and maybe I will some day, when I go to Jamaica;)
Q: So what do you look for in a coffee?
A: For me personally I like a full-bodied coffee, I will look for something that has been roasted to the right colour - in other words something that is not too dark nor too light. If it's too light it will likely be too mild,and if it's too dark it can be too bitter, and very strong. Next I will smell it for freshness. To smell if coffee is fresh is really something that comes with experience. Also because I roast my own coffee, I know what it's supposed to smell like after it's been roasted.

Q: Is there a bad coffee maker or bad coffee? I've tried to make lots of different coffee's and a lot of them just don't taste that great. I have come to the conclusion that I must just be a really bad coffee maker.
A: It could be both. But it could also be the coffee you choose. Some coffees are poor quality. There are some coffee sellers in Europe who take beans that have been returned from supermarkets because they are past their sell by date and they reprocess it and then ship it out to the less discerning third world countries like ours.

Q: Do you ever lower your standards and drink instant?I am asking because I always wonder what coffee specialists drink and if they would ever drink anything but the best?
A: I do, I keep a small bottle of Douwe Egberts decaf in my kitchen cupboard, and I sometimes have one of these in the evening if I don't feel like firing up the espresso machine.

Q: What about decaf coffee? I have heard that drinking decaf coffee is so bad for you because it's all done chemically and that you might as well just stay with regular coffee?
A: There are two processes that I know of. The better, more expensive way, is where they use hyper-cooled CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas which is pumped through the beans at high pressure and removes almost all the caffeine, but leaves the taste profile of the beans intact. Apparently it leaves no residue at all because it's in the air anyway and we breathe it all the time, so it's not poisonous as such. The other, more economical method, is to use a chemical called methylene chloride. Product labels don't normally say anything about which process was used, but when we get our green beans it usually tells us on the bag how it was decaffeinated. I prefer the CO2 method.

Q: What is instant coffee?
A: It's liquid coffee that has been made from beans and then freeze dried - by evaporating all the moisture that is with it. They brew it like normal coffee - and then make the granules. Most of the instant coffee we get is made from a coffee variety called Robusta, which has less flavour than Arabica coffee and it has a higher caffeine content. Its also much cheaper and a much hardier bean. It grows in lower altitudes and is more pest resilient.

Q: How do I decide on which roast to choose when I choose my coffee - medium roast, dark roast?
A: Medium roast is always a safe bet - its like the middle of the road. Many people prefer different roasts at different times of the day. You might want something stronger to get you going in the morning, but you prefer a milder coffee in the middle of the day, or in the afternoon. Then in the evening, or after dinner you could want a decaf so you're not up all night. Unless being up all night is your thing..! If keeping 2 or 3 open bags of coffee in your kitchen is too much, then maybe a medium roast would do for anytime of the day.

Q: Now when we get it, it's roasted and prepacked - so what does that mean to us in terms of freshness and quality?
A: Most supermarkets sell ground coffee with a sell-by date of almost a year, which they shouldn't really do. Rather check the date of production. You can't really find super fresh coffee in a supermarket. If you go to a reputable coffee shop, their beans have not been roasted longer than a month ago and they grind it and make the coffee at the same time. If you are about to buy from a specialty coffee store or any coffee seller,ask them when the coffee was roasted. They should be able to tell you especially if they are running a coffee shop. Freshness is very important for good coffee. That's why most self-respecting coffee shops will grind their own coffee beans on site because they want to ensure that its as fresh as possible.

Q: So in fact if you go to the supermarket, if you have a choice you should buy beans and grind them yourself?
A: Yes, whole beans stay fresher for longer. Ground coffee deteriorates at a much faster rate. The general coffee rule is that roasted beans should be used within 1 month, ground coffee should be used within 1 day,and freshly made coffee should be drunk within 1 hour. The longer coffee sits on the warmer plate in a coffee shop, the more bitter it gets.
Q: Are there different types of coffee or are they categorised by the country they come from?
A: Arabica and Robusta are the two main types of coffee. Arabica is a better choice of coffee for brewing, as it has a richer, more delicate flavour. The Arabica coffee we sell is mostly from East Africa, Central America and Indonesia. Robusta has a higher caffeine content, is mostly grown in West Africa and Southeast Asia at low altitudes, and is generally used to produce instant coffee. There is probably more Robusta sold in the world than Arabica.

Q: So what exactly do you do as a judge when it comes to coffee?
A: Coffee judging is a whole other ball game. We'll have to cover that in a separate interview... :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What does turning 40 mean to me?

I know I keep saying that I am turning 40 this year, but this morning when my mom phoned and reminded me that I am turning 40 on Monday (notice the day please so if you want to send any gifts you know what day to send it on:)), it finally struck me.  40.  A big fat round number!  So it got me thinking about what turning 40 means to me.

1.  I wonder whether I am now middle aged or maybe I was middle aged from 30 but living in denial?

2.  Moms still have babies at 40.  Now I might not be having another baby physically but Sean and I are still hoping to adopt again.  More children at the age of 40 is a great idea!

3.  They say sex gets better as you get older - so it's going to be fabulicious.  If you see my husband in the street with a goofy smile on his face - then you know this 40 thing is working.

4.  I can stop looking for pimples and start looking for those lines of maturity on my face.  I expect I am all mapped out already but looks like there's still space for some more.

5.  Grey is the new red.  Though my mom at 70 still has her own red hair with a few grey hairs in her side burns, so hopefully I take after my mom and not my dad who has a receding hairline and grey hair - or worse my cat, who sheds hair daily.

6.  Do I qualify for pensioners yet? Oh I think that's only at 65.

7.  Young couples will start to admire Sean and I as we hold hands at the beach and think to themselves "when I am old I want to be just like that couple".

8.  I will be the envy of every woman who ever wanted a younger man.  I am two years older than Sean so now I will be a woman in my 40's married to a man in his 30's.

9.  I get to blame everything on menopause and hot flushes  - you know all of those lady things that I have no real idea about but have heard rumours of.

10.  My children can now walk around telling everyone that I am now 40. I am sure they relish this idea - they seem to have no difficulty in announcing my age to everyone they meet, even the security guard at the entrance of Pick 'n Pay.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How often do you journal with your kids?

Journaling is something I am really passionate about.  I make every effort I can to get my children to journal as much as possible.  It has become part of our daily routine.  With homeschooling starting tomorrow after a short break, we will most likely write about our favourite holiday activity.

I don't think there are any hard or fast rules about journaling but these are some of the guidelines I use as to how often I journal:

1.  As often as I can (yep a really simple one I know but it's true)

2.  I settle them first thing in the morning - by giving them the chance to express their thoughts.  

3.  After any big event - holidays, birthdays, excursions, visits by friends, camps

4.  Sometimes not for a week - I put this in so that you realise that I don't get it right either and some days are just crazy busy.  

5.  As often as possible without it becoming a chore, burden or something they hate.  They might occasionally moan but once they get into it they really enjoy it.

Though I make this as part of our school routine, I have found my children writing in their journals during holidays unprompted.  It becomes second nature to them eventually.

Happy Journaling



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cuttting down when things are tough

We recently have been a bit tight with finances, which can create a fair amount of stress in our household and as mom, I think the burden of having to create food out of nothing or knowing there are things your family needs but can't afford - can be fairly difficult to deal with. There are many ways you can deal with this: you can borrow, you can get a credit card, you can go into overdraft, you can not pay your bills 


This is not always the nicest option.  I've had to make phone calls to end sport sessions, or stopped extra curricular activities, not gone on as many excursions, saying no to invitations to parties because we can't afford a babysitter and gift.  


Of course it is.  
It requires humility ("I can't afford these lessons anymore")
it takes honesty ("I would love to visit but actually I don't have petrol money")
 not having the things you want or need ("I really need a new pair of sneakers")
 eating more basic meals ("I wish I could have some mushrooms and cream with this pasta sauce instead of just tomato")

but it also 

I have to trust what God says, trust that He will take care of us - sometimes in ways that I wouldn't have chosen (like someone arriving with groceries at the door) - but put my pride in my pocket and trust Him and be grateful for what He gives me.

But given the choice between debit and faith - I choose faith any day.  Debt imprisons but faith brings freedom.

Choose freedom!
 Remember you are not alone.  I too have wept.  I have had times when I have had an empty fridge.  I have had moments where I have been fearful of losing my home and yet time and time again - God done the most amazing things in our lives and in our family's life.  

If you would like prayer, feel free to email me. I will pray with and for you as we trust God together to do what needs to be done, and to provide in a way that only He can.  Even if you have already cut back, tried your best to live frugally and still you are really struggling to make ends meet, let's pray!

Linking up with Domestically Divine Tuesday

Monday, October 8, 2012

Journaling 101: 10 reasons why we journal?

We journal often.  And I have boys. Yes that's right and they love it.  They may be kinesthetic-bounce-in-their-chairs-never-sit-still-boys but they really enjoy journaling.  I might struggle to get them to write - in the old school ways of creative writing - but somehow journaling works differently and is seen differently by them.  They enjoy writing in them and they love reading their previous entries even more. 

1. It's fun
It is, and my children love me reading what they have written.  I make sure that it stays fun and I don't correct what they write.  I just read for enjoyment and because I do this, they love bringing it to me to read.  I can see them watching my face as I do, to see my reactions.

2.  Teaches writing skills
Not overnight but it does.  The biggest challenge with any child in developing writing skills is to actually get them to write.  I know the rest will come over time, but for the moment I just want them to write.

3.  Consolidating experiences
Some of our writing exercises have been about excursions or adventures and so they get the opportunity to consolidate and express their experiences.  It's interesting to me what they focus on - it's often the thing I least expect them to remember or be interested in.  It also gives them an opportunity for written narration because of this.

4.  It's not just about writing it's about creative expression
There is art, list making, collages, photos - but it's all about them and it's all varied. I love the fact that journaling is like art.  It can be done in so many ways, it's personal and no two pages look the same.  Journalling is a platform of creativity in so many ways.

5.  Giving children the opportunity to express their feelings on difficult issues
Given the opportunity - children are very honest writers.(this comes with a warning - they can be brutally honest) but I think its good.  Especially if you suspect that they are dealing with something in their lives, choosing a subject to write about wisely, gives them the opportunity to talk through some of the things they are wrestling with.

6.  Develop a love for writing
I love writing.  Am I a good writer?  I would say I am so so but that doesn't stop me from doing it.  I believe that reading and writing go hand in hand and it happens when they are passionate about it and love it.  There is nothing in their heads that say - no you can't do ti!

7.  Put into practice the theory of grammar and language
Journaling allows children to put into practise so much of what they have learnt. Having said this - I do not correct grammar and spelling in their journals.  I do however make a note and try and cover some of those issues with them, when we do any other English work

8.  Memory Moments
Such precious memories to them, to me, to the family can be found between the pages of their journals and I hope that one day they will be able to read back and remember all the good things they did.

9.  Getting to know my child
I know this is a semi-selfish reason but sometimes they write things that bring tears to my eyes, make me laugh, reveal an aspect of who they are that I didn't know (Can you believe that its possible? But they constantly show me a different facet of their personalities and boy are they complex).  I think they also get to find out who they are too.

10.  A Writing Portfolio
 Because I give the children such a variety of topics, they eventually end up with a writing portfolio which showcases what they can do. Bearing in mind that it is a journal and they probably won't always deliver top of the range work - I think there will be so much to choose from that you will be spoilt for choice.  We have included items like: writing their own menus, letter writing, descriptive writing, lists, poetry - the list is endless.

I hope that I have maybe motivated or encouraged you to start journaling or to persevere in it. It might not come naturally to you because you don't or didn't journal but keep on with it!  It's worth every minute and every bit of effort you put in!

Happy Journaling!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Out and About: Baxter Theatre: 8th Baxter Dance Festival

Well it was date night with Ethan and we headed to the Baxter Theatre for the opening night of the 8th Baxter Dance Festival.  Date nights with my boys are always an event, and theatre ones are always winners and this was no exception. 
It took us about 15 photos to finally get both our heads in, we were laughing so hard because we kept chopping parts of us off.
 The Baxter Theatre is a lovely place to spend an evening.  With their restaurant, bar area where you can purchase a couple of savoury snacks, lots of interesting people milling around, its just the place to be for an evening rich in sensory experiences. 
Umnikelo "Offering"

We attending a performance showcasing the Vuyani Dance Theatre Project where they performed two pieces - Umnikelo "Offering" and MayhemUmnikelo was magnificent.  If I were to categorise the type of dancing I would say it was a mixture of a African, modern and ballet.  It was incredibly intense.  The music, the lighting, the costumes, even the fact that all the dancers had shaved heads, created a visual effect that was both moving and effective.  The backup musicians produced haunting rhythmic sounds while one of the dancers joined in with deep throaty vocals.  When they finished this part of the show they received a standing ovation for the incredible performance.  Dramatic dance at its finest.

After a brief intermission, we watched the second half Mayhem.  Ethan enjoyed this half because of the humour, however I found this to be in stark contrast to the excellent first half.  The dancers' dramatisation of those who are institutionalised was well performed but I wasn't sure whether I should laugh or get upset at the way in which these people were being presented, though very stereotypical.  It surely reflected on their ability to be versatile if not necessarily original.

Special mention needs to be made of Luyanda Sidiya who delivered a phenomenal performance which can only be expected from someone who has won titles like "Best Male Dancer" at the Dance Manyano Awards and the "Most Outstanding Dancer in Contemporary Style for Dance at the Umbrella Festival.
Also Gregory Maqoma, the founder of the Vuyani Dance Theatre Project who himself is an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, director and scriptwriter.

Showcasing dance companies and choreographers, the 8th Baxter Dance Festival is scheduled to run from the 4 - 13 October 2012.  With such a variety of shows to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Homeschool Rooms Part 2: On Pinterest

For those of you looking for great ideas for decorating, organising and planning your homeschool rooms  - why not have a look at my Pinterest page.  So many lovely ideas, you will love!
Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy birthday to a saint!

Declan means saint, and though he is imperfect as we all are, he is my saint!  12 years old today and my first born.  Love this special guy - consumes books like no one's business, big brother, excellent sportsman, photographic memory, highly gifted, can mimic almost any sound or accent he has heard.  My boy with the flame coloured hair and kisses from the sun.  Love you my boy - more every day.