27 June 2013

Randomness on a Wednesday

Charly is no longer sleeping in our bed - hooray! Although she occasionally still gets to sleep with one of the kids she is now well able to sleep with the other dogs downstairs without crying or performing.

The house-training continues...we are successful most of the time IF the weather is not foul. Unfortunately for daschund owners it is a well documented fact that these little canines despise wet/windy conditions and will potentially avoid going outside unless forcibly coerced. On the whole though I am very happy with our progress.

Today I scored one of those stupendous bargains on gumtree. I have been looking for an area rug for my entrance hall. But not a cheapie nylon thing - something with a classic design and a nice deep pile. Everything I priced came up close to R1500 if not more. I spotted a brand new, pure wool carpet on gumtree a week ago but the guy was out in the winelands area and I am not a big fan of travelling miles....a bargain is a bargain only if price AND location work.

Long story short (or is it too late for that?) he brought the carpet through to Russells office today and I parted with the princely sum of R400. *happiness*

We had a very chilled afternoon having all acquired new reading material from the library. We each found a sunbeam and read until 4pm. 

Tomorrow we head out early to see Monster University in 3D before heading out to Mcgregor for a short-long weekend. 

25 June 2013

Love These Days

I love days like these.

This morning I dropped Levi off at his friend Elijah's house. Elijah is one of 4 boys and I just love that Levi hangs out with this family and gets plenty of opportunity to indulge his masculinity in a safe environment. Only a mom of 4 boys takes it in her stride when a kid arrives for a play-date with his swiss army knife! Today was his longest play-
date ever - he spent from 930 to 1600 and still it was just not enough. All the boys were less than impressed when I showed up - but rather that way than the other eh?

I also took Rachel up to some friends of mine in the estate. The husband and I have known each other since schooldays and I have recently become friendly with his wife, Shaney. They have 3 small children under 4 and I suggested a while back that Rach would love to pop in and entertain the kids for a few hours giving the mom some much needed space. Having an extra pair of hands (eyes) is such a huge help - I was so blessed to have friends with older kids to help me back in the day.

Rach had a wonderful time - came home around 4pm utterly exhausted but exhilarated. The kids are adorable and she loved the interaction and really rose to the occasion.

Faith spent the day unwinding at home on her own. She had a marathon play-date yesterday, only returning home after 4pm which means she needs some time alone to regroup!

I spent much of the morning with a good friend (who happens to have taught my girls and is currently teaching my lad) swapping ideas and thoughts around curriculum for next year. She will be leaving formal education at the end of this year and be homeschooling a few kids; Faith and I will be working alongside her in an informal scenario.

Having someone so highly qualified, with 25yrs experience in the education industry, provides a great deal of comfort to me in this time of transition. I am always filled to the brim with inspiration after time spent with Kerrin.

This afternoon we said goodbye to Faith 'princess sleigh bed' that we acquired many years ago from Joanne!

Seasons of change are blowing through this house; Faith wants a slightly more 'grown-up' bedroom. Thankfully she has chosen the right time to ask for change cos this mama is on a roll.  ;-)

I also scored a little bargain on gumtree today....but more about that in a later post.

About to go and brew up a hearty soup and watch the final of Project Runway.

24 June 2013

Holiday Project

Bit scary putting this on my blog because now I actually have to do it. Or not I guess but that would be to admit defeat to all 12 of my readers. ;-)

I have this rather ugly cupboard that I bought from a friend many years ago. She had acquired it somewhere along the line with good intentions to restore it. I took it off her hands with the same idea in mind - the furthest I came along that road was taking it from white to brown.

all that stuff on top is out of another shelf that I am busy repainting!

This unit currently stands proud in my studio/classroom. It houses a TRUCKLOAD of stuff - it is big and has MANY drawers which means it is a clutter magnet but also incredibly useful if used wisely.

I have big plans for it. Grand plans that will take if from a studio clutter magnet to centre stage in my living area. Thankfully Annie Sloans paints will be available locally from 1 July which means NO stripping, sanding or priming required! Woohoo!

Stay tuned.

And pray for patience and perseverance for me. God knows both of these are in shocking short supply in my life.

23 June 2013

Weekend in Review

Much funner weekend this week with everyone able to get out of bed! Faith is still a bit under the weather but we were able to exit the house for a few hours.  

I have developed a wee 'bee in my bonnet' about redoing the decor in my house. As a person who likes to move house every year I find the only answer to NOT moving every year is to 

1. move furniture around. often.
2. move actual rooms around. often.
3. sell old stuff and get new old stuff.
4. occasionally buy actual new stuff.
5. re-do old stuff to make it look like new stuff.

I dragged my family on a little trip to Mr Price Home and managed to score this little beauty for my extremely oversized, under-utilized entrance hall. I do kind of love this space as it looks straight onto our pool and the mountains beyond. The winter sun pours in here and I do think I will be sipping tea and doing 'very important things' on my ipad in this space.

Raine is one of my friends that has stood the test of time - we move in very different circles nowadays but we have managed to maintain a close relationship despite only seeing each other once or twice a year. Thankfully that is changing as she finds herself at home now with 2 delightful little lasses and more time to kill. An impromptu coffee date at Cafe Roux was a rare treat.

Fathers Day last weekwas a total bust so we did our best to make it up to the Dad this morning. Tea (in the tent where he spent the night with Levi!) and scones for breakfast.

Loads of time on the couch reading his book followed by late afternoon drinks at Harry Goeimans - a family favourite hangout.

The kids are not quite as embarrassed or rude about their parents engaging in very occasional PDA's! Now I even have a few photographers to choose from! ;-)

20 June 2013

And then he was 7

Not excited about my Hooli turning 7. Thankfully his excitement made up for my lack thereof.

Happy birthday dude!

Somehow there is a sense of loss in that it's official now. I am 'that mom'. The mom with older kids that looks upon the moms' with younger kids with a faraway look, laden with nostalgia.

Early morning presses include squash balls and a swiss army knife

Scones for breakfast - lots of humour for so early in the morning!

Lots of little boys getting ready to party!

Bring on the craziness!

 Anyyyyyway. He had a superb birthday. He dodged the flu lurgy, raked in some awesome pressies AND had an energetic, action-packed birthday bash with all his mates at a local activity centre. Sadly I forgot to put the memory card in my camera so no pics to speak of barring a few iphone images.

Just add bounce 

A little shy as his friends sing to him
It was difficult leaving the girls at home; we really felt incomplete without them but they simply were not up to par enough to be going out. We will be doing our customary Spur birthday outing as soon as everyone is 100% again.

The tent has been a huge hit and he hasnt slept anywhere else since!

19 June 2013


Yes, after my last post all about happiness, contentment and soft toned living ...*pop* it all went a few days later.

I felt less than stellar on Friday. By Saturday evening both my girls were ill. Fortunately I escaped flu and had a nasty headcold while nursing the two girls through their first bouts with the flu virus.

Capetonians are weird creatures. Everyone always says 'oh, i had the flu last week' or 'we were all down with flu' when in fact they had colds. Colds are nasty, yes, but they are NOT FLU. 

I had a long chat with my doc about it today and we were having a good old laugh about it. I was saying how we (the kids and I) had never had flu. He was chuckling away telling me how many people he sees daily that come in complaining of flu when its just a common cold. Real flu is far less common than most of us realise.

Watching my girls this week - daily horrendous fevers (esp Faith), zero appetite and practically unable to walk from one room to another has left me eternally grateful that this is such a rare occurence. As all you moms know it is freaking heartbreaking to watch them suffer.

Thankfully he skipped the bugs and spent hours reading

So not a helluva lot to share from this last week. Suffice to say we have watched lots of tv, have eaten very little and slept even less. >_< I am heartened that the worst is over (please God) and holidays lie before us with great opportunity to relax and enjoy good health!

I did manage a little 'refurbishing' this weekend. In those small moments when kids were sleeping and I was sufficiently medicated. ;-)  Am loving seeing all my old 'blah' furniture begin to take shape with just a few licks of paint.

not finished but getting there

14 June 2013

A week in pictures

Fridays seriously sneak up on me. I have a couple of free hours right now while Faith is at a friend and much as I love to blog I would rather do something messy today - my arty crafty side needs some nurturing. 

A photo post to sum up some of the highlights this week will have to suffice!

Faith made a beautiful large denim drawstring bag for Levi for his birthday. Complete with monogram. It is apparently for all his sports stuff (balls, bats, racquets, helmets,pads et al) 
A picture will be posted once he has received it!

She is also made this little pin cushion yesterday afternoon. She is just in love with the sewing machine and am indebted to Michelle for fostering this and teaching her so well.

I think she needs a name?

Not the  best picture but this was 3pm in my home yesterday. Levi learning his timestables on www.multiplication.com (game Flurry of Flavours) and Faith colouring in pictures in her Story Sums workbook while Rachel was writing me a persuasive essay on exactly WHY I should homeschool her!

Absolutely delighted that my boy has suddenly become an AVID reader. He dragged me in the pouring rain to the library (in his pjs!) to go and get 3 books - all in The Boxcar Children range. I credit his teacher, who is passionate about reading, as she began reading book 1 in this series to her class. He read 6 chapters last night and was up at sparrows this morning to continue reading. I have waited many years for this time - our FIRST winter where everyone can curl up reading for hours at a time.

No more ipad in quiet time - the reader has arrived

The morning is freezing, wet and windy. Faith had to knuckle down and get through her maths this morning in order to head out at 11am for a highly anticipated playdate. Heater, puppy, cushion and Khan Academy to teach her long division. She is blossoming and happy. As am I.

09 June 2013

Schoolroom Mini-Makeover

I am in the process of re-working some small parts of our schoolroom. As a newbie homeschooler I am still figuring out what works for us and what doesnt.

In its former life it was my studio - a place where I used to paint, art-journal, create and generally get messy and try new things.

I am fortunate enough to still have a space like that (just not an entire room!)  it is now in a corner in our family/play room. We built this house 7 years ago and it has served our changing needs exceptionally well and now is no exception.

The first thing I did was take ownership of a carpet that a friend of mine was throwing out - I had it re-edged and it fits perfectly into the space. While I am not a fan of carpets (my entire house is wooden flooring) I can see and feel how much warmer the space has become as winter creeps in on us.

Of course, my THREE dogs love the new carpeted space and we have them for company most mornings.

2 out of 3 getting frisky!
I also spotted a real find at my local haberdashery store today - this material is just beautiful. The colours restful and the pattern engaging but not overbearing. It is a thick, heavy calico type fabric.

I will be enlisting the help of a very "Martha Stewart friend" who will be making two large roman blinds for the room. Will post a full look-see when all is done!

06 June 2013

Exam Season

Overheard in the school car park over the last few days:

'how long did Jack study for geography'

'i am so stressed, these exams just kill me and the kids'

'these kids have to learn that if they cant handle exam pressure they wont handle life as an adult'

'these exams are key; if Annie doesnt score well here her self esteem will be shattered'

'this week her anxiety has been at an all time high, the rescue remedy is almost finished!'

(all spoken by parents with kids Gr 5 and 6!)

I have a daughter in Grade 6 in a private school. A very small, friendly and laid back school but STILL she is battling to get to sleep at night and says her hand shakes so badly at the beginning of each exam that she cant write properly. She loves to learn and absorbs knowledge and new concepts with fervour. She is bright and capable and still, EXAMS frighten her to death.

On the flipside I have watched my homeschooled child just go from strength to strength - learning and growing and blossoming. Having these two children juxtaposed is just highlighting critical weak areas in our current system of education.

I keep quiet in the car park at school. I cannot enter into these discussions. I cannot be seen to be questioning the status quo but it makes me sad - the system has to change - our youngsters have so much more to offer if we just remove the Fear and Performance from their learning; without fear our kids know no bounds.

05 June 2013

The Best Birthday Ever

I have been slow in putting this blog post together as this birthday of Rachel's was about so much more than turning a year older. 

The daughter of mine has truly become one of my favourite people to spend time with; somewhere along the line our trouble relationship turned into one of mutual respect and admiration. I see all the good in her and vice versa. I held my breath initially, wondering how long it would last, but I see a real heart change in her and for that I am truly grateful.

The timing is just perfect as she will be homeschooled next term and I can say with confidence that any reservations I had some months back have been allayed; she is ready and her motivation / reasons for choosing to experience this type of education are exactly what I needed to hear. 

Happy birthday to an amazing daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend to so many!

Having fun with the Magic 8 ball

Magic 8 ball is a winner! (Faiths pressie to Rach)

Very special afternoon spent with Granny Allie

A few days before her birthday I decided to ask her friends to surprise her....we always go to Spur for birthday dinners so I invited 5 of her closest girlfriends to join us there as a surprise. It was the middle of exams and I was so stoked that they all managed to persuade their parents to allow them out!

While the food was on order the girls cruised Musica and Wordsworth. They are helluva accommodating and even let me follow them around (in public) with my camera! All the kids (and their friends) know I have a one minute rule - Let me get some decent pics in one minute and then I will be GONE - no hovering about.

Very special girls

Best friends for many years - my two favorite Rach(a)els!

Find a couch and lets chill babeeee

A new friendship blossoming and so much in common!

My very special birthday girl - glowing like her sparkler!

03 June 2013

Notes from a 9yr old homeschooler

How is homeschooling different to regular school?

How homeschooling is different to real school is that number one I get to take breaks whenever I want number two is that I don't have to do orals and number three is that I get to spend a lot more time with my mom which I like.

Do you do more work, less work or the same as at school?

I think I do more work than I've ever done in my life.It's because my class was kind of slow in their work.

Do you miss your school life?Like your friends,assembly,plays,sports day?

I don't really miss my school life that much.I think I'm only going to miss sports day and assembly.Why   
because I liked seeing the skits in assembly and I enjoy winning sports day for my team.

Don't you get bored when you are all alone every morning?

Sometimes I get lonely and bored while my mom's out but most of the time I'm pretty happy to stay home alone.

What are your Top 3 favourite things about working at home?

My top three are my mom is there most of the time to help me,I get to do work on the laptop and I enjoy having my mom's company.

What is the worst thing?

My worst thing is doing my eye exercises.

Would you like your brother and sister to be home schooled?

I would like both of them here but I'd like Levi to come home when he's a bit older so he's not so boisterous!

Does your mom get irritated with you or is she a nice teacher?

My mom never ever gets irritated with me. I'm not lying.

What your morning routine? Do you do school in your pj's?

Yes sometimes I do school in my pj's and my morning routine is:eye exercises,maths and English and last of all timetables and  extra math on the laptop.

Do you have to do chores AND school work?

Yes i have to do chores AND school work.

Do you get homework?

No I don't get homework even if I don't finish something. I just do it the next day.

Do you do projects?

Yes I do do projects.

Do you write tests?

I don't write tests now but I think I'll do them in the future.

Will you go back to regular school one day?

I hope I won't go back to normal school because I'm enjoying being home schooled so much!

02 June 2013

Stories of Stormy Days

This was a landmark weekend. I realised just how far we have come. As the parent I now have kids that are completely self-sufficient, in fact, they can now serve us!

Russ and I were treated (both mornings) to a stellar breakfast of tea (Faith)  fruit platters (Levi) and grilled cheese sandwiches (Rach). And I didnt even have to prevend to enjoy it!!

We spent many hours in our beeeeg bed with our gadgets and books

Moving from our beeeg bed to our snug couches we did puzzles and watched endless hours of movies, series including Survivor, Bear Grylls, Legally Blonde, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and Little Manhattan.

The only downside to rainy, stormy days is the housetraining of certain little princesses who do not like wetness or wind....I spent far too much time outside in my uggs and with my red polka dot umbrella waiting for Charly to see that I was NOT not going to give up!

I was genuinely disappointed to have to wake everyone up and bundle them off to school on this frrreezing morning. Bring on the holidays!