Thursday, 27 November 2014

Oh to travel..... in time.

In an attempt to introduce the kids to something more than Frozen we are delving into the family movies of the 80's. ET was well received so we moved on the the Back to the Future movies. My do the kids enjoy these.

Tuesday afternoon on our way to swimming A suddenly pipes up with "Mom, if you could do time travel, where would you most like to go to?" I asked for a bit of time to think and she immediately asked "Do you know where I would like to go?". I had a ready answer for that one - Egypt at the time of Cleopatrs. She has long had a fascination with both Cleopatra and Egyptology. "No! she said. I would like to go back to the Renaissance and model for Leonardo da Vinci" It turns out she actually would like to be Mona Lisa!

So I asked C and L where they would like to go to. C went between the time of the Incas, seeing the first plane fly and riding with the cowboys when the West was won. He at last settled on the tiem of the Dinosaurs - he would love to know if what we think we know about them is actually true.

L had no hesitation - he would have liked to be Jesus' friend. I love that. And I love the little debates this all stirred up.

I have to add that a lot of this is possibly due to a new book I saw in CNA and immediately bought. It is wonderful encyclopedia type history book that shows every timeframe briefly up until 2012. It even features the Royal weddings of that year.
 This book has had the kids totally fascinated, entranced and has caused more than its good share of fights as to whom has the right to mainly read in it every day. It also means that I had to brush up a bit on my history and art history - both subjects I have always loved.

Btw - I chose to go to the time just before the turn of the century in Paris - the time of the Impressionists and Post Impressionists. I would love to meet Renoir, Toulouse-Loutrec, Gauguin, Manet and mostly Vincent van Gogh. Below is Starry Night - my favorite painting of all time. And who remembers the Don Maclean song?

So - I would love to know to which time you would like to travel and who you would like to meet. And your kids? Are they old enough to give it a go? Come on- ask them.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Scenes from a weekend.

I actually with joy realized today that a lot of the items on that list of events are over and done with.  Last night I pulled out my paint, brushes and a canvas and felt the happy of creating. Is there anyone else that read here that instantly feel the happy when they create?

This weekend we had a fun end of year function for the stables. It was filled with cocktails, a photobooth, nice company and general relaxation. On Sunday we had a hike up the koppie - something we try to do often but would like to do more. It was raining for most of the day but by the time we got to it the weather wonderfully cleared. It was a great hike - the word smelled fresh and lovely and at places like below you do not hear the city at all.
Of course the rain resulted in a bit of a muddy walk much enjoyed by the kids in their gumboots. Puddles were splashed , fun was had.
Saturday was a busy day for me and the boys - we attended two parties while A spent some time with H and her BFF. Both parties involved pools and water slides - in the heat it was a lot of fun and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
The mom at the afternoon's army party had a sweetie buffet for the parents (above). The kids were all on a kiddies table.

Cooldrink for the army boys - loved this
 And look at that platter for the parents! Filled with the type of eats I adore.
 At the first party the mom had treats fro the parents too - in bottles as above filled with Quality street, biltong and dried wors.
And you have to love the Ninja Turtle above - cute?
And just because I love this picture - water balloons from the afternoon's party.

So, was your weekend as colourful as ours?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

On friendship and more


 It's been a week and a half now of rain, on and off, sunny and cloudy skies, wind, thunder and even some hail. We also had an unexpected cool day or two. As if we haven't had enough dealings with insurance this year (one windscreen claim and one stolen camera claim expertly handled by Santam and one cellphone claim to MTN directly - I am yet to receive feedback) the lightening struck our house on Saturday morning. Thanks goodness we weren't there - apparently it is quite scary and the neighbor told us there were flames dancing on the electrical fence with the gate opening and closing all the time. Turns out both the fence and the gate is fine but our garage motor is totally burned out and the alarm system is as confused as a chameleon on a Smarties pack. ABSA home insurance has been phenomenal and if all goes well everything will be replaced and fixed by tomorrow afternoon. I have had enough of insurance and I am sure the insurers of me too. And the schleb and time it takes and....
Some of you may recall that one of my two BFF and old horse riding partner N has been living in Canada for the last 9 and a bit years. We have only seen them twice since - they waited 4 years to come out the first time and then were here for her MIL 80 th birthday the year before last. Well her MIL fell sick and they came here in haste to organize care for her. It's been a bit of a nightmare for them of course, finding and assisted living facility, organizing to move her things, getting records of her health, etc etc. But last night they managed to pop over for a quick dinner and visit. My was it good to see them. We laughed , had some great red wine and talked and could have gone on for hours and hours. But they have a move to attend to today and the friends they are staying with has early bedtimes so it was shorter than we wished for , but it was there. The kids had a little visit before they went to bed and now have some memory of who they are. I am always amazed at how great these two people that chose not to have kids converse with children. They had such great talks with all 3 - almost talking to them as little adults but about topics the kids can talk about. We were all amazed at the plastic Canadian money- very odd feeling (the notes are not paper but plastic with see through bits)
 We are well into the last bit of the year - next week is going to be extremely challenging, but as more and more things come to an end I feel better and better about things we have achieved this year. Amongst them is the above bit of sculpting work by our Mr C - his very first try and I am over the moon. For 7 years of age I think it's stunning.

So anybody else had weather damage? And how was your insurance year? And how is the rest panning out for your family?

Friday, 14 November 2014

I should have known...

That there is just no way that I can do a one a day blog challenge post in the busiest month of the year. So without even thinking or bashing myself about this, I am moving on - moving on towards a "Currently I am" post like a few other bloggers did. In a time of overwhelm its an easy way to say a bit of the very much milling in our minds.

Listening to Classic FM. Mostly. I find in times of great business the classical music calms my mind. I have also fallen in love with You Tube music mixes - that top button on the right hand if you search any artist. The last few days saw Mozart, Pachabel and Bach and in various other styles Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr and Leonard Cohen . Works well when I work.

Reading . I have just finished "The lost girls of Rome" by  Donato Carrisi last night - a chilling hair raising thriller/who dunnit that I do not think I will ever forget. I have just started with "Goeiemore Mnr Mandela" and am looking forward to reading it.
The Lost Girls of Rome

Thinking about what will be my first small little foray into painting after many many years. I have to get the me inside out again - my plan was to start painting again this year - it took me nearly 11 months but I am ready.

Looking forward to sing at two Christmas services with our praise and worship team over the next two Sundays. I have never realised how much I missed singing and singing to praise God until I started again. In this year of turmoil it has been a huge blessing to me.

Anticipating the December holidays, spending time with the in laws and just breaking the routine. Seeing the kids playing with abandon in the sea and the pool. Just summer and Christmas in true South African style.

Planning to get through the next two weeks that will involve - 1 Judo grading, 1 Judo parent showcase, 2 school price givings, 1 recorder exam, 1 music centre price giving, 1 ballet exam showcase, 1 stables price giving, 1 grade 0 farewell, 1 ballet end of year, 1 teacher baby shower and I am sure more to follow.

Wearing soft pants of all sorts with Tshirt type tops. I am tired - and comfort works right now. Especially loving my new Big Blue Shwe shwe print pants.

Drinking way too much coffee and Roses lime cordial with soda.

Thankful that our kids really tried so hard this year. They gave their all.

Wishing and praying that L could have started at his new school next year but positively planning to start where he is now and make the best of it. Also wishing and praying for a place very early next year in what will be his new school.

Not looking forward to getting the logistic in place for next year - stationery, school clothes, bags , labels etc.

Dreaming about care free days , sunshine and sea

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Things we talk about

Hunter and I have always tried to do our best to raise children with a good general knowledge. When we do not know the answer to a question we will find out and find the answer. In fact, we are teaching them to slowly and in a very basic form find out the answers for themselves. Be it in books or into the big pool in cyberspace. So the type of things that get discussed around the breakfast table may be coloured just a little by this.

Sunday morning A kicked off the discussion with "Dad, was Einstein really the most intelligent person that ever lived?" He immediately answered suggesting other possibilities and that it is truly impossible to define or label someone as most intelligent. Some of the examples the two of us fielded were: Dr Chris Barnard(heart transplant pioneer), President Paul Kruger (ever heard the story of the division of a farm between two brothers?), King Solomon of the Bible (and the story of the two woman and one baby), Dr Ian Player (conservationist who we all had the honour to meet) and Leonardo da Vinci were all mentioned. Also the fact that there are different types of intelligence. I also had to mention Marie Curie as it was her birthday on Friday. I highlighted for the sake of simplicity her role in developing medicine to fight cancer and that she was the first woman to win the Nobel prize.

And so the discussions ranged on - we touched on where chocolate came from - and the mention of the Aztecs and Mayans moved on to pyramids and then Africa and where the queen of Sheba came from. And possible places where Kind Solomon's treasures may be hidden here in Africa. And so on and so on.

Gosh, they do challenge our general knowledge at times but I do believe somewhere it will pay off - at least they think further than what they learn in school. I hope that we can continue with enriching their knowledge every day - they are certainly helping us to enrich ours.

What I do find challenging however is current affairs. I try to shield them against the harshness of the world we live in  I do realize however that this will have to change soon. As they grow older the discussions in class and amongst them grow. The grade 3 girls for instance had wide opinions on the Oscar Pistorius trial.

BTW - I use a wonderful mommy blogger and home schooler in Cape Town Se7en's blog every month to find themes to discuss in the car.She does a lovely monthly blogpost with the main calender happenings in history on her blog - here's Novembers'. I do not discuss every topic - I keep to the main or big things. This morning we discussed the Great wall of china as it was opened to tourists yesterday in history. I may not always be exactly on the day, but use it as a general guide. BTW I am trying to find a list of dates for South African history , art etc. Anyone know of one? And do you actively promote general knowledge at home?

On to #blogvember:
11. Favorite spot in your city:

For this I felt it could not be a restaurant or shop, it must be a place to visit. Two spots very quickly came to mind - hiking up the koppie at the Faerie Glen reserve and taking the kid's bikes to Rietondale park. Both are lovely family outings and both can be done with the dogs if we want to.

There is a small entrance fee at Faerie Glen reserve and as some game has been released there this year dogs have to be on a leash. The kids love to feel the accomplishment of walking to the top of the koppie and taking in the view.

There is no entrance fee at Rietondale park and dogs must preferably be on leash.  Near the tennis court is a lovely play equipment park and some tracks for cycling but the real gem is to the west where there is a wide open park with benches and a long cycling/walking track/

Monday, 10 November 2014

Vintage - and more.

We had a lovely weekend apart from the frustrations with the stolen phone and all that hangs around that. I need to seriously do some catching up on Blogvemeber - so here goes:

 8. Favorite Restaurant - For years we frequented a little Italian place called Tutti Pasta and honestly the last few years with the kids we have fallen into the abyss of Spur. But I blogged about our foray into good cuisine with kids last week so we will do more of that - so my current favorite will have to be Mesa Portuguesa.

9.Take a photo - Vintage. Table center piece of a family wedding we attended a few weeks ago - Vintage themed.

10.Dream date?  At this stage any date with my Hunter would be great - we are low on time and babysitters. But dream, way out of anything realistic? A dawn hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara during migration with bubbly to add and a 5 star breakfast in the bush follow. We are both nature lovers and seeing the migration is a bucket list item for me. This would be both exciting and very romantic.
Photo credit

Friday, 7 November 2014

This that and Blogvember

I am so very angry this morning. I was deliberately distracted in Spar yesterday afternoon, the flap of my handbag lifted and my phone stolen. Within minutes it was de activated and find my iPhone could not trace it from my iPad. Now the mess to get this sorted - and it's a company phone so the paperwork etc is doubled. And I am going to a funeral this afternoon. This might just take away the one Saturday morning I booked out for myself this year. Bummer....

So today we are going to say goodbye to our great friend's mom - the type of friends that are family . Family you chose to have. But we lost her about 3 years ago already. She was an exceptional lady - she could translate 7 languages and speak them all. Back in her best days she was extremely knowledgeable in a almost anything - history, current news, philosophy, music, art and architecture. She was a fantastic person to converse with. As students and even later as we entered the job market we spent many many evenings at their home, talking about anything and everything around a glass of Belgium beer or good wine, eating wittlof and fritte, waffles and even rabbit. Around 15 years ago she started to slip, slowly into the mist of what is early onset Alzheimers. Around 2 years ago even her long term memory slipped away and she was lost into her own mind of muddled thoughts. The last 6 months she has been house bound. I guess in a sense it is a relief to all - but this does not lessen the loss and sadness for a life that was a great one, although way too soon lost to us. I feel sad for them, we will hold the good memories.

Onto Blogvember - today is about the series you watch.  I am really a bad TV watcher - and more often than not will sit and read. But I do enjoy Masterchef in all it's forms and at the momebt MasterchefSA is followed by Baaimaster on etv so that makes a nice Thursday night's viewing. I used to watch all the CSI series and the Mentalist but now it's sort of hit and run - when I happen to sit down and they are on I may watch, or not.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

So I am going to try #blogvember

I never take part in these blog challenges - and honestly I find myself hardly reading what people write when they do it. But somehow this one by Cupcakemummy and Love, kids and other things looks a bit different. So I am going to give it a shot - mostly because there are photos involved to. We shall see how it goes - I may have to do a few at a time but am going ot give it a bash.

Today is the 6th - I am just going to fall in here:
Today's shoes are my sometimes loved, sometimes hated turquoise wedges. Loved for many things of which their colour is not the least, but in general I have lots to wear them with and they are comfortable. Sometimes hated because now and again, like last week Wednesday they hurt me and chafe my toes - so much so that I had to wear other types of shoes until yesterday. Today however, they are doing just fine

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Your kids may just surprise you

Honestly we have never taken our children to a proper grown up restaurant. Coffee shops and so forth, yes. But no proper place with cloth napkins and no play area. Some place that serves great food and not over basted steaks. Somewhere where they do not have a play area, colouring in sheets as place mats or an offer to make your own pizza. Proper dining.

Well for Sunday lunch we did it. With friends. 4 adults, 6 children 11 to 5 with 3 7 year olds in the mix. It went well - amazingly so. I promise you I could hardly believe it. And all we took along was some paper (an old traffic impact study printed on one side) and a set of twisty crayons.

We had great great food (Portuguese buffet) , good wine, excellent company for 3 hours and very good children. In fact, it was such a nice experience that it has totally turned my very tired, very irritated and low mood into a very happy and positive mood. The naps after at home certainly sealed the deal. None of the "we went out to lunch, the food was just sort of ok but at least the kids had fun" feeling.

It just goes to show a point that was made to us by Piero from the now closed Tutti Pasta restaurant. Children have to learn to sit at a table and enjoy a good meal - without having the adaptions that we as a society have made to make it easier for them. If we always take them to kid friendly venues they will never learn and every time you take them to a non kiddy friendly place they will learn and adapt.

I know we have left this late - our kids are 7 and 9 - certainly we could have tried this earlier as some of you may. But truly, we as adults are entitled to having the dining experience we want and our kids need to adapt too - no use us always adapting for them. Admittedly it gets easier as they grow up but I am wondering if we could not have done this years ago if we started younger and just got them used to it.

So what have your experiences been?

(We had lunch at Mesa Portuguesa that has a stunning Sunday lunch buffet - it is well worth the visit. There is a little plastic table in one section for very small toddlers I guess - our kids did not even attempt to go there but for  a 2 year old this can help)

Monday, 3 November 2014


Is exactly what I did this weekend. And no, we did not cancel everything. We just made sure we had a relaxing Sunday with a happy event - and a nap. But more about that later.

Friday night saw one of those end of year events that you sometimes dread as well, we are all tired and the year is speeding to an end. But I am glad we did as A's troup won Juniors of the year - great excitement and as the views from Schanskop Fort where the function was totally took my breath away. I did not even take my big camera with me - these were taken with the trusty iPhone.The Fort itself was quite a pretty venue too with a huge old tree in the middle.
Voortrekker monument against the sunset

Pretoria City centre

Spectacular clouds and the Voortrekker monument/ Thaba Tshwane area

Night time city view.